I love suburbia for its conveniences. You can park once in a shopping center and walk to everything you need for hours. Food. Entertainment. More food. Shopping.
You can also drive to every shop if you’re lazy. It’s allowed.
Looking back, I spent a happy chunk of high school sampling the original offerings of Promenade on Providence at the intersection of Providence Road and Ballantyne Commons. It’s only gotten better. There is nature. There is food. There are home goods to obsess over. What more do you need to exist?
My three favorite offerings:
(1) The Fresh Market
– A board with specials greets you. You are cordially invited to buy me some Crispie Cookies.
– An expanse of vibrant produce bursts before you.
– The greatest coffee names in all the land are on display: Almond Amaretto, Hazelnut Cream, Pumpkin Spice (I see you, fall), Butterscotch Caramel Bliss, Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee. Sweet sensory overload.
5349 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
– Wine bottles wine (excuse me, line) the walls here. It’s the stuff of dreams.
– Naturally, this is a sip-friendly spot. Wednesdays feature half-off bottles of featured wines.
– This also happens to be home to Joanne Spataro’s favorite grotesquely stuffed lasagna.
– Not to be overlooked: Lunch specials. Check the sign outside the front door.
(3) Outdoor entertainment
– A green haven spouts a fountain, tables and chairs in the center of Promenade on Providence for your communing-with-nature needs.
– The outdoor music series lasts through September. Next up: Aerial View plays Aug. 18.
– Film nights!
– This map. One cannot be too careful when wandering the suburbs.
– Leah & Co. 5341 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy, Suite 550.
– Home Depot Garden Center. Abloom with perennials, annuals, shrubs and beyond. There’s sod, too, if you like to get your hands dirty. 5415 Ballantyne Commnos Pkwy.
– Tropical Smoothie Café. Because sugar highs are crucial. 5349 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy, Suite 400.
– Kirkland’s. Sometimes you need to escape from the black hole of IKEA and Target and go off the beaten path to hit the home goods jackpot. Note the sidewalk sale here. 10822 Providence Rd., Suite 400.
– Staples, for all of your psychotic office supply needs. 10850 Providence Rd.
Short driving distance:
– Providence Produce Market. For your farmers market fix. Don’t be deceived by the fact that this spot is adjacent to the Shell Station. Once upon a time, my favorite thing to do was buy corn here in the summers. Time to revive that habit.
Photos by Katie Toussaint. Gif courtesy of giphy.com.
If you can’t get in touch with Katie Toussaint today, she’s probably still at The Fresh Market sniffing barrels of coffee beans. Don’t mind her. On normal days, Katie edits for CharlotteFive and community news at the Charlotte Observer. Follow her on Twitter @katietoussaint.