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Host city spouse/guest tours provide a unique view of North Carolina.

Spouses and guests attending the NLC Congress of Cities will be provided several opportunities to experience all that the City of Charlotte has to offer. The city is coordinating several tours of attracting in and near Charlotte.

As the largest city in the Carolinas, Charlotte offers everything you'd expect from a big city with the friendliness of a small town. Charlotte has southern hospitality down to a science. Sports, museums, nightlife, food, action and the arts, from visual to performing, satisfy even the most demanding visitor. Explore the Queen City and experience it for yourself!

A Day With The Queen (Charlotte City Tour)

$27.00 per person (minimum of 30 guests/maximum of 48 guests per bus) Tuesday, December 6, 2005 (2-5 p.m.) Friday, December 9, 2005 (9 a.m.-noon)

Tour highlights may include ...

Uptown's Historical, "Old South" Sites: The Historic Fourth Ward, a preserved and charming area of Uptown with an abundance of Victorian architecture and the Carolina Theatre, which is being restored to its original condition of the 1927 American Theatre.

Uptown's "New South" Sites: The 60-Story Bank of America Headquarters currently stands as Charlotte's tallest building. View the breathtaking fresco created by renowned artist Ben Long that greets visitors entering the building's lobby. North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center is an Uptown center for the performing arts and is home to theater, art exhibits, artisans, classes and studios.

Elegant Home Sites: Neighborhoods such as SouthPark, Myers Park and Dilworth contain some of Charlotte's most beautiful homes.

Afro-American Heritage Tour

$35.00 per person (minimum of 30 guests/maximum of 48 guests per bus) Wednesday, December 7, 2005 (1-5 p.m.)

Tour highlights may include ...

Afro-American Cultural Center:. With two fascinating exhibits, this stop is a must. Currently, the center is hosting Stamps of Recognition, which showcases 70 famous African Americans featured on stamps from around the world. The second exhibit is the Blacks in Gold showcase. This exhibit illustrates the participation of African Americans in the North Carolina gold rush.

Shotgun Houses: These two-bedroom, one-bathroom homes were the most common type of house in African American neighborhoods during the first half of the 20th century. Due to land development and expansion, the homes were moved to the Afro-American Cultural Center site to ensure their preservation.

Grace AME Zion Church: Completed in 1902, this Gothic Revival church was the house of worship for several prominent African-American leaders including William C. Smith, publisher of the Charlotte Messenger, the City's first secular black newspaper.

Carnegie Library: On the campus of Johnson C. Smith University, this neoclassical building was built in 1904. Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie gave $12,500 for the building's construction with the provision that the school, known as Biddle University, at the time, matched his donation for an endowment to maintain the building.

Biddle Hall: Johnson C. Smith University was originally known as the Henry J. Biddle Memorial Institute. History tells us that during the Civil War, Major Henry J. Biddle was killed in action. His widow, Mary, decided to give financial/land support to the upcoming institute. Biddle Hall is one of the most beautiful buildings on the campus.

George E. Davis House: Dr. Davis (1862-1959) was the first black professor at Johnson C. Smith University and later became Dean of Faculty. His house was built in 1890.

MIC Building: Construction began in May 1922 on the Mecklenburg Investment Company. This was the first structure in Charlotte to be planned and built by blacks. It was constructed to house business and social activities for the former Brooklyn Community, which once was located in Charlotte's Second Ward.

Levine Museum of the New South: The centerpiece of the Levine Museum of the New South is the new 8,000-square-foot permanent exhibit entitled Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers: Charlotte and the Carolina Piedmont in the New South.

The museum provides a comprehensive overview of post-Civil War regional history exploring the economic transformations that pushed the Piedmont from a region of small farms after the Civil War to America's main textile factory region by the 1920's, to the second largest banking center in the U.S. today. The exhibit tells this story using "social history," told from the perspective of people who actually lived through it.

Exhibits include:

* Remaking the Countryside--recreated cotton field

* Bringing the Mills to the Cotton--mill village porch and oral history video

* Newsreel Theater--President Franklin Roosevelt's "Green Pastures" speech in Charlotte and Charlotte native Randolph Scott in a movie trailer

* We Shall Overcome--the segregated south, a 1960's lunch counter

Checkered Flag Tour

$35.00 per person (minimum of 30 guests/maximum of 48 guests per bus) Wednesday, December 7, 2005 (1-5 p.m.) Thursday, December 8, 2005 (1-5 p.m.)

Lowe's Motor Speedway: Charlotte is NASCAR country, and Lowe's Motor Speedway sets the standard in motorsports excellence. It is the home of the Coca Cola 600, NASCAR's toughest test of man and machine; the UAW/GM 500 and many more. Enjoy a close-up look at the areas you don't see when the cars and drivers are battling for points and position.

You will go behind the scenes to the garages, visit pit row, and stand in the same victory circle that has hosted Richard Petty, Bill Elliott, Buddy Baker, Dale Earnhardt, Harry Gant, Jeff Gordon and other NASCAR stars.

Enjoy a trip to the Speedway's Winston Theater where you'll see a video of the facility's history.

Enjoy an exciting lap around the actual track of the Lowe's Motor Speedway aboard your own tour bus. The lap and tour will be narrated by a Lowe's Motor Speedway tour guide. Experience the feeling of a 90 degree bank that facilitates turns at incredible speeds. You'll be fighting the force of gravity!

Additional attractions include:

The Sam Bass Art Gallery: Featuring many of motorsports' top artists including Garry Hill, Sam Bass and Jenna Barnes as well as many other artists. Artists' prints are available for purchase in the gift shop.

Hendrick Motorsports Museum & Gift Shop: A true state-of-the-art facility of some of the sport's top racers that features:

* An exploded display car showing Hendrick construction techniques

* Schrader's Famous 200 MPH crash car from Talladega Speedway '95

* 2,000 sq. ft. gift shop

* Exciting sports car displays--historic and current

* 40-foot viewing window takes you into a working shop

* Championship trophy displays and action photos

* Famous cars from the past, present and future

* Movie cars, concept cars, race trucks, all on display

Silver Lining of the Carolinas (Biltmore Estate Tour)

$110.00 per person (minimum of 30 guests/maximum of 48 guests per bus) Thursday, December 8, 2005 (8 a.m.-5 p.m.)

On Christmas Eve of 1895, George Vanderbilt opened the doors of his Biltmore Estate to guests for the first time.

The House, consisting of 250 rooms, contained many amenities, including central heat, mechanical refrigeration, indoor bathrooms and electric lights and appliances. These necessities, as we would now consider them, were unheard-of luxuries at that time.

In the halls and galleries of the estate, you will discover priceless works of art and furnishings collected during George Vanderbilt's world travels. Downstairs you will see how 80 servants ran the day-to-day operations of the estate. You also will see how guests spent their indoor leisure hours exercising, bowling and swimming.

The Gardens: To create the gardens and grounds for Biltmore Estate, George Vanderbilt commissioned Frederick Law Olmsted, whose brilliant landscape designs also include New York City's Central Park. Ysou will enjoy seven different gardens and the conservatory.

The Winery (time permitting): Established in 1985, the state-of-the-art winery follows George Vanderbilt's original concept of a self-supporting European estate. The 90,000 square-foot facility is located in buildings originally designed by Richard Morris Hunt as part of the dairy operation. You will be able to sample the award-winning wines in the tasting room and purchase your favorite from the winery gift shop. You also may elect to add wine tasting or the "Great Grape Stomp" to your tour.

Lunch: Dine at the Stable Cafe, adjacent to the mansion.

Historic Homes Tour

$35.00 per person (minimum of 30 guests/maximum of 48 guests per bus) Friday, December 9, 2005 (1-5 p.m.)

Enjoy this tour that provides a fascinating look at architecture new and old. This tour will take you back in time to experience life the way it was from the 1880s to 1930s. Whatever your fancy, you are sure to find Charlotte's Historic homes to be both beautiful and interesting. From wonderfully designed homes, to historic backgrounds, you are sure to find a favorite.

Tour highlights may include:

Historic Hezekiah Alexander Home: Visit the Revolutionary War era home of Hezekiah Alexander (circa 1774), a signer of the Mecklenburg County Declaration of Independence. The stone home has eight period-furnished rooms, a kitchen building and a Spring House building.

Explore three centuries of regional heritage at the Charlotte Museum of History. Tour the restored and refurnished landmark home with a costumed docent as your guide. Hear the sound of the American Freedom Bell, which also is located on the museum grounds.

Historic Rosedale: Built in 1815, Rosedale is one of the finest examples of Federal period architecture in North Carolina. Visitors will learn about the 19th century lifestyles of Piedmont area residents as well as view three rooms of original French wallpaper. The eight acres include restored formal gardens and numerous treasure trees.

Driving tour will include:

Biberstein House: R.C. Biberstein was a mill architect and paid $1,250 for the residence. It's the only house he ever designed.

William Henry Belk House: This now serves as the administrative offices for Presbyterian Hospital and was designed by C.C. Hook in 1924.

Frank Simmons House: Mr. Simmons was the sub-contractor who developed the entire Hermitage Road area. The house is Neo-classical and was built in 1913.

Duke Mansion: This home was built in 1919 and includes a 15-acre garden. The fountain water is supplied by a 12mile pipeline from the Catawba River.

Berryhill House: Restoration of the house was led by the Junior League in 1976.

Hickory Furniture Mart

$49.00 per person (minimum of 30 guests/maximum of 48 guests per bus) Saturday, December 10, 2005 (9 a.m.-3 p.m.)

Hickory, N.C., traces its furniture history back to the earliest part of the 20th century and a young merchant named George W. Hall. Standing in front of his general mercantile business on Hickory's main street as he watched the long freight trains rumble through town, bearing load after load of Southern lumber headed for northern furniture factories, he decided that some of the region's lumber should be used to build furniture in Hickory.

In 1959, a second industry arose to support furniture manufacturing when a handful of furniture manufacturers gathered to display their products to retail dealers. This first wholesale exhibition was held on the site of what is now Hickory Furniture Mart, and the Mart became the hub of the wholesale furniture exhibition business in western North Carolina.

Today, the Hickory Furniture Mart complex features a four-level main building housing 100 factory stores, outlets and galleries.

In addition to the acres of professionally decorated showrooms, the Mart complex includes a hotel, restaurant, coffeehouse, visitor center and museum. The more than 1,000 quality lines sold at the Mart include furniture, accessories, fabrics, imports and lighting. With the afternoon of shopping, guests will enjoy a catered lunch at Jessica's Restaurant at the Mart.

Shopping Shuttle

Provided complimentary to registered delegates, spouses and guests.

* Thursday, December 8, 2005 (11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) SouthPark Mall

* Friday, December 9, 2005 (10:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) Northlake Mall

* Saturday, December 10, 2005 (10:45 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) SouthPark Mall

Golf Tournament

$112.00 per person (minimum of 50 guests/maximum of 140 guests per bus) Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Birkdale Golf Club is the area's premium public daily fee golf course. Designed by Arnold Palmer, it offers the perfect golf setting.

Birkdale proudly boasts it's 7,043 yard, Par 72, Bermuda fairways and bent grass greens course that is challenging and fun. A truly memorable "19" holes.

Your custom golf tournament package includes:

* Round trip transportation in luxury motor coaches

* One uniformed escort for each coach (to accompany the group, handle payment and answer questions about your golf tournament)

* 18-hole Green Fee and Cart Rental

* Beverage Cart Service

* Boxed Lunch

* Use of Driving Range plus balls

* Personalized Score Cards

* Staged Golf Carts with Personalized Cart Signs

* Rules/Format and Pairings/ Handicap Sheets

* Bag Drop and Club Cleaning

* Professional Staffing & Scoring

* Tournament Set-up

* Proximity Markers for Contest Holes
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Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Geographic Code:1U5NC
Date:Sep 26, 2005
Words:2104
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