I just completed my second clinical rotation at an outpatient clinic in Fort Mill, SC! Keep reading to hear all about my five week experience in CLT.
The first battle was finding a furnished place to stay for five weeks. I searched Airbnb, VRBO, and even craigslist. Everything on Airbnb and VRBO was far too expensive, even just to rent a room in a strangers house! I resorted to craigslist and almost got scammed. Luckily, I did my research and found the ad was illegitimate before I gave the person any money. At this point, I was starting to get nervous that I would have to pay an exorbitant amount of money for a month long stay. I reached out to my Aunt Susie and Uncle Bernie, who live in Asheville (about 2 hours away from Charlotte) to see if they knew of anyone who has a rental in CLT. And it turned out, they had a friend of a friend looking for someone to sublease her apartment for the month of January! So it worked out perfectly-I had my own bedroom and bathroom in one of the most beautiful apartment buildings I’ve ever seen. Complete with a fitness center, coffee bar, covered parking, and even a movie theater- The Ashton South End was a dream!
My angel of a boyfriend drove me and my Jeep all 8 hours from Pittsburgh to the Queen City. The building I was staying in had covered parking and the clinic I was working in was about a 20 minute drive, so it only made sense for me to have my own car for my five week stay. On the days that I didn’t have to work, my building was right across the street from the train station so I paid $2 to get around the city. I became a Light Rail expert at about week 2- Callie and Tim were even impressed! When it was dark out and I didn’t feel like waiting for the train, an Uber to anywhere in the city was only about $6.
Food + Drink
I had to start a diet when I got back from my trip from all the great food I ate! On the weekends, I tried to go to a new place every day so that I could try as many of the recommendations I got as possible.
Our first night there, Penn State was playing in the Fiesta Bowl so Andy and I wanted a good place to cheer on our Nittany Lions. Callie told us about the Steelers/Penn State bar, Fitzgerald’s. It was packed full of PSU fans! We shared some nachos and had a couple of drinks to watch State dominate. We also tried out Sycamore Brewing, which just happened to be down the street from my apartment. It has an awesome outdoor area for when the weather gets warmer!
On New Year’s Eve, we had brunch at Tupelo Honey, right around the corner from my building before heading to Boone to ring in the new year. Andy had the blackberry Habanero Pulled Pork Burger with potato cracklins and I got the Shoo Mercy Sweet Potato Pancakes with fried chicken, bacon, and a fried egg. Before our entrees came out, they brought us fresh biscuits with blackberry jam-so delicious! And of course, no brunch in the city is complete without mimosas!
The night before Andy’s flight back to Pittsburgh and my first day of work, we had an incredible meal at Seoul Food Meat Company. It’s a Korean style barbecue joint known for it’s double fried wings. We were starving so we ordered a bunch of small plates. We got wings- half in spicy sauce, and half in soy garlic. I loved the soy garlic drumettes, and Andy preferred the spicy flats-it’s no wonder we make such a great pair 🙂 We also ordered Kimchi Fries, Ramen Mac and Cheese, and a side salad (because we hadn’t eaten a vegetable in days).
Another fantastic restaurant was one that Callie and Tim took me to in a part of the city called NoDa. Haberdish serves THE BEST fried chicken I think I’ve ever had! And it’s not a greasy spoon either-the atmosphere is equally as good. We had to wait two hours to be seated but it was well worth the wait. We ordered a whole fried chicken, mac and cheese, corn bread pudding, and kale salad. So delicious!
For Callie’s birthday, we went out for tapas at Soul Gastrolounge in Plaza Midwood. We split asian glazed pork belly tacos, fried brussels sprouts, garlic shrimp skewers, Korean barbecue wings, and french fries with garlic-herb salt, pecorino, and truffle oil-yum!!
One night, we went out for drinks at this awesome new bar in South End called Hoppin. When you get there, they give you an electronic wristband that allows you to pour your own drinks from over 60 local beers, wines, and ciders! This is awesome for those wanting to try some new things without having to drink a whole glass-you pay by the ounce so you only pour as much as you want to drink. The night we went there was an awesome bluegrass band playing.
And what southern trip is complete without some barbecue? Callie and Tim took me to Midwood Smokehouse in Plaza Midwood for the best BBQ in Charlotte. I got the “Burnt Ends” of brisket with hush puppies and smoked veggies. I’m normally not a huge fan of brisket but HOLY COW was it delicious (no pun intended, hehe). Topped with MS’s Eastern NC Vinegar or Fat Tire barbecue sauce on the side (or a combination of the two!), this meal was to die for!
My dad and Laurie came to visit me one weekend and we had an awesome meal at Angeline’s. I ordered the braised oxtail lumaconi, Dad got the pork shank osso bucco, and Laurie ordered Capesante and we all shared the Queen’s chop salad. Everything was to die for! Their cocktails were stellar, too. Afterwards, we went for a glass of champagne on the rooftop bar on top of the restaurant, Merchant and Trade. It had an awesome atmosphere and a great view of the city!
The Cotton Room is a really cool little bar in the top floor of the Belfast Mill in Brevard Court in Uptown. They have awesome craft cocktails and an intimate feel that’s really refreshing compared to other bars. I tried the Wild Thyme and Callie and Tim got the Smoke and Mirrors-we loved our choices!
Charlotte is a city of breweries. For a girl who doesn’t like beer-I was struggling! Luckily, there was a cider brewery in South End that was so fun! I had my first flight ever at Red Clay Ciderworks where they had tons of board and card games to play while sitting on cozy couches.
Things to do
I tapped into my inner yogi while I lived in CLT; Callie and I got a first month special at Yoga One in Plaza Midwood- $31 for 31 days of unlimited classes! All the classes in this studio were heated to a warm 95°, so on top of building muscle and increasing flexibility, you break a great sweat in the process! I am currently on the hunt for a good heated vinyasa studio in the SR area now because I think I’m obsessed…
Another favorite activity of mine in the Queen City was the farmer’s market. Even in the winter, there were two giant barns full of local vendors of everything from vegetables, to pasta, to pastries, meat, and even dog treats! Callie helped me pick out some great seasonal veggies and I made roasted kale, brussels sprouts, and butternut squash with hot sausage and balsamic vinegar on top-so good!!
On days that it wasn’t too cold out, it was also fun to walk through uptown to look at the architecture in and around the city. One thing I didn’t get to do was visit the museums in the area. Someone told me that you can get a pass for all of them for about $20, so when I go back it’s definitely on my list to try out!
The Rail Trail is a four mile running/walking/biking trail along the train tracks of the Light Rail. It also just so happened to be right next to my apartment building! I loved running on this trail because you get an awesome view of the city and there are also cool paintings on the concrete and buildings nearby.
For New Year’s Eve, we travelled to Callie and Tim’s friend’s cabin in the mountains of Boone, NC. We made dinner, played some games, and watched the ball drop. The view of the snow-covered mountains was incredible!
Coffee and Pastries
Another weekend goal I had was to get some schoolwork done each weekend at a different local coffee house. Amelie’s is a must while in CLT! I got a special hazelnut latte with almond milk and a chocolate croissant, my dad got a breakfast sandwich and coffee, and Laurie got a mini tart with coffee.
I had one snow day while I was working in Fort Mill, so I used that day to trek out into the blizzard and get some work done at Sunflour Baking Co. I ordered a cafe au lait with almond milk and got an assortment of treats to take to work. I would definitely recommend their vanilla sugar roll-to die for!
Not Just Coffee is a small chain of coffee shops/stands throughout the Charlotte area. Callie and I visited their location in the seventh street market and got cappuccinos; yum!
If you’re looking for a really cozy study spot, Coco and the Director was awesome! It’s connected to the Marriott in uptown and has tables everywhere! There’s also a cool flight of wide steps with pillows that you can lounge on, too. I worked on my inservice presentation for my internship here one Sunday after church.
Last, there was a Central Coffee Co down the street from my apartment so I stopped here on my way to work once for a latte. Their pastries were mostly vegan and looked amazing!
I worked in a small outpatient clinic in Fort Mill, SC. For the most part, it was me, my CI, and a PT tech treating patients; we occasionally were joined by another PT when we were super busy. My CI was awesome and I learned so much in just five short weeks. We worked 9am-7pm Monday thru Thursday and 9am-1pm on Friday’s. The “long” days actually did not even feel too long because we were busy most days. On the days that we may have had some cancellations or no-shows, my CI was able to quiz me or teach me different mobilizations that weren’t covered in classes back at SRU. She is manual therapy certified, so she has a wealth of knowledge about that aspect of the field that we don’t really get in our classes.