Monday, October 12, 2009

Welcome to North Carolina Where 17.5 Million People Come to Shop

I love to shop as much as the next girl. In fact, I probably love to shop MORE than the next girl. But when I found out that Concord Mills was the #1 tourist attraction not only in the Charlotte region BUT IN THE ENTIRE STATE of North Carolina I wanted to head up to Concord and personally yell at the 17.5 million people who visit there annually. SERIOUSLY PEOPLE?

You'd rather shop at a giant mall than:

* Visit Biltmore Estate?
* See Chimney Rock State Park?
* Hike Grandfather Mountain?
* Check out the Billy Graham Library?
* Attend a race at Lowe's Motor Speedway?
* Smell the orchids at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens?
* See the lighthouse at Historic Ocracoke?
* Explore the Land of the Waterfalls?
* Wander through the Mint Museum?
* Take a walk down memory lane at the Old Salem Museum and Gardens?
* Scale the highest peaks of the Sauratown Mountains at Hanging Rock State Park?
* Play with the animals at the Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville?
* Drive through Christmas Town USA?
* Go rafting at the U.S. National Whitewater Center?
* Watch the Panthers lose at Bank of America Stadium?
* Play 18 holes at Grove Park Inn?
* Take a tour of historic Downtown Laurinburg?
* Visit the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse?
* Walk the Dismal Swamp Trail?
* Discover something new at Discovery Place?

I am stymied. Seriously. Especially because my one encounter with Concord Mills left me scrounging through the bottom of my purse for a spare Xanax and wishing that drive through daquiri stands were still a reality.

So here's the story. Back in May one of our local Rotary Groups hosted an exchange team from Chile and I wound up volunteering to accompany the group to Lowe's Motor Speedway for a tour. Which I did. And I blogged about it. At least - the tour part. What I failed to write about was the fact that after the tour I had to drive over to Concord Mills to meet up with the rest of the group who had opted to go shopping. OMG. Shoot. Me. Now.

Did you know that there are like a dozen entrances to Concord Mills? And I sort of turned into the first one I could find but then I had to find "Door 8" (or something) and I was at "Door 3" (or something) and I had no idea whether to go right or left and so I opted for one direction which turned out the be THE ENTIRELY WRONG DIRECTION and so then I turned around and basically drove around the ENTIRE PERIMETER of this ginormous mall and I couldn't fucking find Door 8 only Door 7 and then I was in some kind of loading dock area and Holy Hell y'all I had a handful of Chileans in the car with me and I was in the throes of a FULL ON ANXIETY ATTACK and so yeah...that's another reason why I hate Concord Mills.

And in case you actually care, I did finally manage to find the right door and we met up with the rest of the group. And then the cherry on the sundae known as The Day On Which Concord Mills Killed My Spirit was driving back on I-85 in rush hour at which point I seriously contemplated pulling my car over to the side of the road, getting out, and hurling myself into oncoming traffic only oncoming traffic WASN'T FUCKING MOVING and so it probably wouldn't have done any good anyways.

The upside to that day was that I got introduced to Baby Guinness.

And if Irish Whiskey for Jews doesn't totally save the day, I'll kiss your...