Thursday, July 10, 2014

Milling About

HUNTERSVILLE, NC: Okay, I admit it. I LOVE mixed use communities. It makes me sad that somewhere in our history we decided to separate the places we live from the places where we eat, shop and congregate. I long for the cities of Europe where everything can be accessed from outside your door.
Perhaps I am spoiled having spent ten years in Arlington, VA, considered one of the most walkable communities in the US, or having lived in Newport, RI, where within a mile of your home you could find yourself on the doorsteps of numerous restaurants, shops, a library, movie theatre, several churches, grocery stores, art galleries, and a marina. Birkdale Village may not be its equivalent, but it's impressive none-the-less.
The village is laid out fairly simply. Most of the parking lots are on the off-shoot side streets. Two parallel streets loop around to form the commercial center of the complex. Shops and restaurants line the outer permeter, a heavily shaded green space lies in between where visitors can catch a break from the hot, mid-day sun; rest up on one of the many available benches; or, catch some live music during the summer.
Apartments and offices are on the upper floors, shops are on street level. Condos, town homes and single family homes can be found just outside the main commercial hub. The shops are not necessarily upscale. They are more middle of the road...the shops you'd find at most malls in the country. To see a list of the shops, click here.
Golf carts toot around the village. I suspect they are associated with the leasing office just up the street. 
The architecture of the complex is a bit reminiscent of the cape style homes in shoreline communities. I realize that there are plenty of communities across America of a similar nature, but I have to say, this is one of the nicer ones I seen in a long time in terms of how it's laid out. I hear it's especially beautiful during the holidays. 
The leasing office is no less impressive. Residents here are within walking distance to Lake Norman (see my previous post), a golf course, a grocery store, gym and movie theater ~ in addition to all the shops and restaurants seen above.
My visit occurred in early spring of 2014. There were lots of people milling about, eating outside, picking up produce at a farm stand, shopping and reconnecting with friends and family. If your sole mission is to shop, I can't vouch for whether or not this is THE place to go. What I CAN say is that if you wish to stroll, browse and spend a day outside milling about, this place is worth the trip. Just make sure it's a nice day.