ColumnsThe Seeker

Navigating ‘Sprinter,’ the Time Between Spring and Winter

A brewery closes, a social district opens

Katie Grant looks over her shoulder and smiles
Katie Grant, The Seeker. (Photo by Moving Mountains Studios)

We have now entered “sprinter,” that hazy Venn diagram of seasons when you’re mentally prepared for spring and the weather sort of gives it you only to knock you back down and remind you it’s still winter.

As I type this morning, cozy in the bed with one of my dogs slumbering through his mid-morning nap, it’s drizzling outside — chilly enough to need a sweatshirt but not cold enough for it to snow. Accordingly, my weekend “hot girl walk” scheduled for Reedy Creek Park has been moved to the Eastway Regional Recreation Center for an indoor sweat sesh.

Earlier this weekend, I attended the bittersweet closing party for Blue Blaze Brewing in Charlotte’s West End. Because of the “sprinter” effect, my evening outfit of choice was a hodgepodge of turtleneck, jeans and open-toe sandals. It was the sandals I regretted a few hours later, despite being huddled together with friends from different phases of my life around a late-night fire pit.

The beginning of March has also marked a significant milestone in Charlotte’s history, as the inaugural social district is rolling out in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood as I write this. But what does the social district mean for folks ages 21 and up who are interested in experiencing this new concept?

Patrons can use 16-ounce stainless steel cups, available for purchase at participating bars, to carry their drinks and move freely between businesses that choose to participate in the social district. This initiative aims to create a more social atmosphere, allowing people to enjoy their beverages responsibly while exploring the neighborhood.

The social district operates within defined boundaries in Plaza Midwood, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

I’ve witnessed firsthand the many thoughts and concerns during the social district rollout process; most are valid and, therefore, understandable. Others, however, are highly hypothetical and, honestly, just fucking ridiculous. To the gentleman overly concerned about customers collecting the stainless steel cups at home as trophies, please sit down.

Personal opinion: I view the social district concept as a cultural shift — a new set of societal norms to gradually get used to together. As Russell Ferguson with the Plaza Midwood Merchants Association said in a recent conversation with WFAE, the rollout process is to be considered a “soft opening.”

And if everyone follows the guidelines like adults, there hopefully won’t be any issues.

As winter slowly bids its farewell, the anticipation of socializing in the warmer months is becoming palpable. Am I the only one filling up my social calendar with things to see, do, and spend my hard-earned paycheck on?

My inner art enthusiast is looking forward to the Class of 2024 Art Market at Le Méridien, taking place on Saturday, March 16th. This “artistic extravaganza” is free (one of my favorite things) and open to the public, whether you intend to purchase art or not.

However, because my heart is unwaveringly connected to the Charlotte nonprofit realm, I would be doing ArtPop a disservice not to mention that the event has sponsorship opportunities available.

Transitioning from the indoor environs of the art scene to outdoor wellness opportunities, Wing Haven, another Charlotte nonprofit, is offering Gentle Slow Flow Yoga sessions every “Wellness Wednesday” until June 5th.

Led by an instructor in the outdoor sanctuary, each class promises to weave gentle, breath-centered movements to calm the mind and body. The perfect mid-week wind-down opportunity is surrounded by verdant horticulture so lush you may even forget you’re in the heart of a city.

As we bid adieu to winter and its lesser-known cousin, “sprinter,” the transition into March brings a mix of experiences suitable to all kinds of interests. Whether it’s day drinking with a stainless steel solo cup, perusing unique vintage goods, or experiencing new health and wellness opportunities beneath the city’s canopy, here’s to a spring filled with the promise of connection, exploration and discovery.


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