In this era of GPS systems and Google Maps, Amanda Fisher and Paul Bright are taking a bold step, building a business based on maps. Old-school maps — the kind that you hold in your hands, and fold up and stash in your glove box.
Why a physical map?
“A physical map is an object you connect a lot more with,” Fisher says. “You can hang it on the wall and pin the places you’ve been. I think there’s a sense of nostalgia. It doesn’t feel like just information or just a way to get there. It really does feel like more of an adventure.”
The Charlotte Adventure Map is to digital maps what vinyl records are to MP3s. Just like part of vinyl’s appeal is the album art, this map is fun to look at. It features watercolor paintings and hand-drawn icons by Charlotte native Melissa Hammill, and hand-lettering by Fisher.
The map includes 140 listings, focusing on places off the beaten path.
“Some things have really cool Charlotte history tied to them, where you get the good old school vibes,” Fisher says. “We wanted to get people to go to different territories outside their comfort zone, outside their neighborhoods, and explore other parts of the city. Even people who have lived here all their lives.”
– Davis General Store, on Old Statesville Road, which opened in 1890 and still has that 19th century feel. You scoop seeds out of bins, weigh them on an old scale and then pay at an ancient cash register with a still functioning pull-down handle.
– The VFW Post near the store, where you can experience the Friday night Bingo subculture, complete with the regulars’ bingo bags and lucky daubers. (Note: it’s cheap to play and you can win up to $500.)
– Garrett’s Antique and Indian Shop, a 50-year-old store that backs up to Ballantyne Golf Course, where you can shop for jewelry that the owner brings back from trips to reservations all over the country.
The map includes 26 themed itineraries with titles like “Luxe,” “Circa 1970,” “Nerd Out,” and “Old South.” It also has monthly day trips to places no more than an hour and a half drive from Charlotte. April takes you to Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont and several points of interest in Shelby.
Just as the Charlotte Adventure Map is rolling out, Fisher and Bright are putting their belongings into storage and heading out on their next adventure, living and working in Europe for several months. Bright is leaving his job mapping out storm water systems for the City of Charlotte and will be working full-time with Fisher on EDIA Maps.
One thing they haven’t mapped out is what happens after that.
“I like not knowing,” Fisher says.
Bright says, “The map is our love letter to Charlotte before we leave.”
Photos: Jody Mace; EDIA Maps