To know: Stumptown Park sits In the middle of downtown Matthews. Why Stumptown? That’s the nickname Matthews had back in the 1800s because of all the stumps left behind when the land was cleared for planting. You won’t find many stumps in the town’s thriving downtown now, though. Matthews and neighboring Mint Hill have grown tremendously in recent years, with about 60,000 people combined living in the two southeastern Mecklenburg County towns.
To eat: Every day that starts with Your Mom’s Donuts is a good day. Matthews has gone a little barbecue crazy in recent years with three spots — Mac’s Speed Shop, City Barbecue and Moe’s Original Bar B Que — within a couple of miles of each other. For something a little more international, head to Kebab-Je for Mediterranean cuisine and New Zealand Cafe for sushi. The French-influenced fine dining at Santé makes for a great date night, or you could eat in with meat and produce picked up from the Matthews Community Farmers Market.
To drink: Sip a latte on the porch of a restored 1925 house in downtown Matthews at Brakeman’s Coffee. Enjoy a coffeehouse vibe while sipping a local or Belgian beer at Carolina Beer Temple, or get a bottle of rosé at Black Chicken Wine Cellar. Continue the beer tour across the street at Beer Temple’s sister concepts, Seaboard and Temple Mojo, and catch a game at traditional Boston Bar Beantown Tavern. Over in Mint Hill, you’ll find Vintner’s Hill, the town’s first upscale wine bar.
To do: Enjoy performances from musicals to plays at Matthews Playhouse. Step back in time at Carl J. McEwen Historic Village, the “living history museum” in Mint Hill. Or step into nature at Squirrel Lake Park and Four Mile Creek Greenway. Also worth seeing: The 16-foot mosaic sculpture called “Embrace,” located at the corner of Monroe Road and Conference Drive.