In this episode I discuss travel during a pandemic.
Hey y’all! I’m back! You’re listening to Tourist in your Town and I’m Sharon. I decided it was time to go somewhere and do some traveling. It turns out, I was wrong. I went to Charlotte, NC. It was an odd experience for me. But I did enjoy Charlotte and I’m going to tell you about it.
I got into town on a Friday afternoon. I drove from Knoxville, so about a four hour drive. I had two free nights at the Hilton Garden Inn from points that I had earned through Hilton Honors, so I figured why not. The hotel itself was fairly empty when I arrived. How do I know? There were like 3 cars in the parking garage. Most hotels are not cleaning the room while you are there unless you request it. This makes sense, I mean you don’t want them going into your room after leaving that last room. Who knows where that person’s been?! I had a nice room with a microwave and fridge. Hiltons are one of my favorite hotels. They are always clean and comfortable. I love consistency like that. I felt okay, although a little weird about how empty the hotel was. I decided to go find something to eat. Turns out most of the restaurants that had dine in service didn’t open until 5pm. The rest did not have dine in, if they were open at all. I did find that many of the places that did allow dine in did not have public restrooms available. This was definitely an issue for me. After walking around for awhile and not finding a place to sit down and have a beer and snack, I finally found a bar. Upon entering, I found the bar area packed with people. No masks. The rest of the place was empty. So, I found a table far from the bar. The bartender came over and I ordered my beer. I ordered a Guinness because that was the only non IPA beer they had. Then I tried to order food and was informed that the cook had gone on break and wouldn’t be back for an hour. I decided to just drink the beer and try to find something to eat later. I walked back to the hotel to do some research on it. I was in the uptown area which seems to be a mostly business district. I was next to the Nascar museum but it was closed. I don’t know if I would have gone anyway. But it wasn’t an option anyway. Back in my room, I could hear the person in the room next to me coughing up a lung. I mean it was a very dry, hacking cough. After that, I took the stairs down and tried to touch nothing in the hall and use a small cloth to touch the button in the elevator up. I was on the 11th floor, so walking up was just a bit too far for me. My maximum is 8 floors. I did find a place to eat. I walked over to Charlotte Beer Garden. A wall of beer made me happy. Pretzel with beer cheese on the menu. Sold. The pretzel was actually dipped in batter and fried. I am not lying y’all, my gall bladder did a little lurch when it landed on the table. I ate about half of it and took the rest back to the room for a late night snack. For beer I started with the Bitchin Betty, a brown ale by Armored Cow. It was a bit darker than most browns with a slight bitter finish. It felt more like a porter to me. My second beer was Bible Toast by Suffolk Punch Brewing. It was nice refreshing beer with a slight citrus taste.
I walked back to the hotel, working off my deep-fried snack. I talked to my husband about my misgivings. I knew that I could always go home in the morning instead of staying another day. I decided to walk downtown after dark and see if it felt less abandoned and if anything was open. I admit that I was kind of tired and didn’t wander off the main drag. There were several chain restaurants and couple of local places open. I wanted seafood so I went with McCormick’s and Schmick’s. It’s a chain restaurant but they did have outdoor seating. I ordered the Seared scallops, prepared with Roasted Corn & Bacon Hash / Avocado Cilantro Lime Puree, and was delicious. But pricey. I think this place is great for special occasions. But after dinner at an expensive chain restaurant and a good night’s sleep, I decided to tough it out.
I’ll tell you all about Day 2 in the next episode. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to share it with your family and friends! Thank you for listening to Tourist in your Town. Be sure to visit touristinyourtownpodcast.com for pics from the trip. You can find TIYT on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube under Tourist in Your Town.