Great Places NC 2013 Winners

Blowing Rock

Blowing Rock is a picturesque town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Main Street is the heart of the “village,” an energetic place with a mix of unique shops, galleries, independent restaurants, and the lovingly-maintained Memorial Park. Events like concerts in the park and downtown festivals bring life to Main Street, while friendly locals make everyone feel welcome. A major preservation effort has been in place for the past several years to protect the proud historic heritage of the village and maintain the community character that so enhances this small town.

Main Street in Blowing Rock is the anchor of the community. It acts as the center of town, with neighborhood roads leading away from it like spokes around the hub of a wheel. Its historic buildings and charming scenery provide attraction to visitors and a sense of home to locals. Main Street is also the social and business center – a place for work and play. The bulk of the town’s businesses are located on Main Street, as is the Post Office, Town Hall, Police Department, Community Library, and two of the larger churches. People gather on Main Street at Town Hall for meetings and functions, and in Memorial Park for celebrations and recreation. Memorial Park even serves as a meeting place for kids after school, as they can walk there from the school grounds. Town festivals and events feature Main Street locations for various happenings because it’s the heart of the town, and visitors feel connected to the community when they spend time there.

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Riverwood is the community for today’s families. Taking a page from the past, Riverwood is a place where children walk or ride bikes to award winning community schools. Less time on the road, more time together, Riverwood offers maximum convenience for today’s families on the go by providing so many opportunities in the community from day care to music lessons to the Riverwood Athletic Club to a grocery store across the street. Families enjoy the active lifestyle Riverwood has to offer. All types of afternoon and evening activities can be found within the community, cutting down drive time and increasing quality family time.

Riverwood hosts events and festivals throughout the year. In the past, street festivals, triathlons, artists-in-the-village concerts, Easter egg hunts, Christmas in Riverwood, and dinner with Santa have been held. Families can explore a wide array of amenities to extend their ties beyond the walls of their homes while simultaneously establishing themselves as families. Riverwood’s elementary and middle schools join the proud list of Johnston County schools which rank among the top in the Triangle area. Riverwood Elementary School and Riverwood Middle School have been designated as Schools of Excellence by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

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Well-travelled visitors to Downtown Concord consistently remark that Union Street is one of, if not THE, most beautiful “main streets” in North Carolina. Union Street’s residential approach to Downtown under the magnificent street tree canopy fronting stately historic homes is impressive in itself. The Downtown business district, while modest in area, is highlighted by two National Register historic districts. Within these districts is a diverse offering of shops, restaurants, galleries, gardens, and museums, making it Cabarrus County’s most unique business district. The beauty and businesses of Union Street draw patrons from throughout Cabarrus County and the Charlotte region.

Union Street forms the backbone of downtown Concord and the greater community. Downtown is the heart and Union Street is the spine. Along its length are historic homes from magnificent to modest, as well as the governmental core of Concord and Cabarrus County, including City Hall and the court system. Union Street is the location for festivals, parades, concerts, dining, shopping, banking, living, walking, jogging and doing business from legal to IT to photography.

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Davidson’s Main Street embodies quintessential Americana, bursting at the seams with both local character and historic charm. Much more than an assemblage of quaint brick sidewalks and historic architecture, Main Street is the nexus that binds the community together – neighbors, businesses, churches, events, and more. Flanked by picturesque shop fronts, the village green, a library, a post office, churches, historic homes, the town’s eponymous namesake—Davidson College, and even a “Soda Shop,” Norman Rockwell could not have imagined a more charming small town street.

Main Street also operates as Davidson’s front door, literally welcoming visitors to peruse the town’s local shops, sample locally-grown goodies from the farmers’ market, stroll along the town green, or enjoy a nice dinner in one Davidson’s many independent restaurants.
Above all, Davidson’s Main Street has proved resilient over the course of time. Born of the need to provide support services to Davidson College almost 200 years ago, Main Street’s role has morphed as the town grew to become both the literal and figurative backbone of the community.

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The Elkin community gathers year round downtown, with prospering small businesses, crafters, antiques and funky shops sprouting up along downtown streets. Live music is offered every Friday and Saturday night at Fiddles Pub on W Main St. Gourmet coffee & ice cream, imported chocolates and delicious food and wine can be found within blocks of each other offering unique experiences like no other in the Yadkin Valley.

Crater Park offers a boat ramp on the Yadkin River with a paddler’s camping area. Elkin is a Trails Town with the NC Mountain to Sea, the Overmountain Victory and the Yadkin River Trails converging through our historic downtown. Reeves in the Raw events occur at the historical Reeves Theater during warmer months while local volunteers continue to raise money for renovations. The Liberty is a new venue opening this year for large events (ie: wedding receptions, corporate meetings, live music) with seating for 400+ people bringing a large investment to the downtown. Elkin offers an architectural/historical walk that offers information on historical buildings and the history of Elkin, and a literary walk is being created which will have hidden poetry & literary quotes for Main Street visitors to search for. Downtown is located in the heart of the Yadkin Valley Wine Region along with the Foothills Arts Council.

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Hay Street is a distinctive, authentic, and unique public gathering place, full of history, transition, renewal, and vibrancy. Anchored by the historic Market House landmark on its east end and the Haymount Residential Historic District and Airborne and Special Operations Museum on its west end, this distinctive corridor represents a journey through time as reflected in its architecture. It has a long history as the gathering place of public figures, merchants and entrepreneurs. However, Hay Street cannot be fully understood without the historical context of its transition from the epicenter of Fayetteville’s “red light district” in the 1970s to the pleasant tree-lined boulevard of today, with its thriving restaurants, sidewalk cafés, and mix of everyday uses, offices, and residences. Because of the City’s commitment to its renewal and refurbishment, Hay Street has made a strong comeback as a truly great main street, and today, Hay Street is a popular destination for tourists and residents alike.

Twice a year, residents gather to witness one of its truly unique qualities- the sun rising directly through the Market House arches- providing a glow to the entire structure and the light of day; a sampling of the delight that is in store for the person who takes the time to experience the Hay Street corridor.

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Fayetteville Street is North Carolina’s Main Street. The historic commercial spine of North Carolina’s capital city, Fayetteville Street has been transformed in less than ten years from an emblem of urban decline to a dramatic symbol of urban success. Following its conversion from a pedestrian mall to a ceremonial Main Street, the area in and around Fayetteville Street has seen more than $2 billion in public and private investment, including the construction of Raleigh’s tallest skyscraper; a completely revitalized street-level economy including dining, retail, art galleries and nightlife; and major new residential developments. By day, Fayetteville Street bustles with business and government activity. At night, it pulses with youthful energy fed by the restaurants, bars and nightclubs. And for special events, the street welcomes individuals and families by the tens of thousands from across the region with interests ranging from live music, to the arts, to motorcycles and classic cars. The passing of the seasons are witnessed by a weekly farmers market during the growing season, and outdoor ice skating and events during Winterfest. With its broad sidewalks, formal landscaping, and revitalized City Plaza, Fayetteville Street has become the place where all of greater Raleigh gets together.

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