City News

Find family fun near home

“Think globally, act locally.” It's not just a bumper sticker, it's a good idea.

While there is little one person can do about global fuel and food prices, the microeconomics of our lives are well within our control. We can make better choices. We've already demonstrated we can conserve, but we can also share as neighbors.

We conserved water so well last year that the rate for water service was increased to cover the fixed cost of delivering water to the county. This seems like a cruel irony, but when officials divide the cost of infrastructure by units used, it's inevitable. The reward for conservation seems elusive because it is communal. The ultimate consequence of squandering resources is losing the use of them entirely, and no one in Charlotte lost water service as the result of the drought. Exploding water pipes is another issue – but not for this column.

There are people in our community who must choose between spending money on medicine or gas or food. Many of us have backyard vegetable gardens. For those with surplus produce, please remember Second Harvest (www.secondharvestcharlotte.org). Sixty-five percent of Second Harvest's partner agencies reported increased need in 2007, and no doubt this trend continues.

Summer is the traditional family vacation time, but who says one has to leave home to spend time as a family? All we need to do is break out of our normal routine to have an adventure.

Consider going uptown. Charlotte offers great museums – all on bus lines. To make it more special, dress up a bit, and instead of fast food for lunch, try a local restaurant.

The Mint Museum of Craft + Design, 220 N. Tryon St., will dazzle you. From the Dale Chihuly chandelier in the lobby to the teapots and Ben Owen III pottery, beauty radiates from every object. For lunch, try Monticello in the historic Dunhill hotel across the street.

The Levine Museum of the New South, 200 E. Seventh Street, provides a comprehensive survey of Charlotte and the wider Southern experience since the Civil War. It's not only useful to newcomers trying to understand their new community, but a great way for multi-generational Southerners to reconnect to their history. Visit Reid's deli for lunch. This gourmet grocer started in Myers Park and still offers all the flourishes at Seventh Street Station.

Kids fidgety? Try Discovery Place at 301 N. Tryon St. Children discover how science works through interactive displays, and there's also an IMAX theater. Details: www.discoveryplace.org.

Discover what we have to offer all those conventioneers we attract, and in doing so learn that sometimes there's no place like home.

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