If you live in Charlotte, you may not consider visiting Rock Hill. If you do find yourself there, as I recently did, you might be charmed by the historic Old Town, and you also might be quietly pleased at how easy it is to find a parking spot. But is there enough going on to spend a day there?
It turns out that Rock Hill has a lot going for it. Here’s how you might spend a Saturday. Almost all of these places are within very easy walking distance of each other.
157 East Main St.
Maybe this is cheating, because the Rock Hill outpost of this popular bakery and café will feel familiar to most Charlotte residents. But still, it’s a good way to start your day. Get a slice of quiche or a breakfast sandwich with your coffee.
Rock Hill Pottery Center
201 East Main St.
Several professional potters work at a studio in the Gettys Art Center. Stop by and visit the gallery. If you’re here during the week, the studio that the potters share is open for visits.
The Newsstand Records and Books
154 East Main St.
If you lose yourself browsing through records, then this could be the spot for you. The Newsstand carries new records and a selection of books as well. Some other shops that might be worth a stop are Overhead Station Gifts and Stationery, and Joe’s Classic Video Games.
Five and Dine
135 East Main St.
Get the chicken and waffles, with a side of history. Five and Dine is housed in the old McCrory’s Variety Store, where the “Friendship 9” chose jail over bail, a protest that would become a significant step in the Civil Rights movement. Five and Dine displays the original stools and lunch counter from the protest.
300 East Main St.
This small park is worth checking out for the 100-foot high fountain that is its centerpiece. The park is the site for many of the city’s festivals, as well as Food Truck Friday and Old Town Farmers Market held Thursday evenings. There’s a sign that says if you connect to Comporium Wifi you can control the fountain jets. Confession: Although I connected, I couldn’t figure out how to control the jets. This can be your challenge.
725 Crest St.
This is the only place on this list that’s not just a few steps away from the others, but it’s still under a mile away. The 11-acre manicured garden features a creek, pond, walkways, a multitude of flowers and a veteran’s memorial. This is a popular spot for photographers.
The Flipside Restaurant
129 Caldwell St.
Ask locals for dinner recommendations in downtown Rock Hill and you’ll hear Flipside mentioned … a lot. Its upscale Southern cuisine has made its mark on diners here. There is an especially high level of buzz about the balsamic–glazed Brussels.
Concerts at the Courtroom
201 East Main St.
Two or three times a month, the circa-1930s courtroom and post office (now serving as Gettys Art Center) plays host to indie, punk or rock shows. I bet you weren’t expecting that. Try to time your visit to coincide with one of these shows. You can see the schedule on the venue’s Facebook page. The annual Don’t Sweat It FEST will be bringing three nights of music, beer and art to the courtroom June 22-24.
Photos: Zach Nesmith, Mike Baker Photographic, Jody Mace, Old Town Rock Hill