Even having lived in Fort Mill for more than a decade, I struggle to find local activities to do with visitors.
While the variety of restaurants has gotten better, we still find ourselves going to Charlotte or elsewhere for shopping, leisure and entertainment. If you think about it, outside of the Greenway or Lake Wylie (which technically isn’t Fort Mill anyway), there isn’t a whole lot of nature to explore. No hills or mountains to speak of for climbing. No points of interest to investigate. Not even any historic sites. If you don’t have young ones to go and find a swingset or two, you’re probably out of luck at those places too. Playing a rousing game of Count the QT’s and Teeter’s grows old quickly.
If you think about it, you have to go to Rock Hill or Charlotte to bowl. Visit Pineville to ice skate. Travel on an interstate or two for outlet shopping. Cross the Catawba to circle the Velodrome or traverse the BMX course. I guess you can golf a bit here, but you’ll have to keep it to the small white balls. The Frisbee golf is elsewhere.
Maybe we don’t want or need the influx of people coming to Fort Mill for activities. Maybe we’d rather see green space and envision a few hundred new homes there instead of diversions. I just feel kind of bad that when guests come, we get in the car and show them a lot of places not in Fort Mill.
Never miss a local story.
When my sister recently visited from New York City, I think the only local establishment we went to was Flipside Café. It was a fantastic dinner, but we spent a day going to uptown Charlotte for sightseeing, NoDa for shopping and a snack, and South Park Mall just to prove Fifth Avenue isn’t the only destination to be snobby and pay a fortune for clothes and baubles. They actually were interested in seeing the U.S. National Whitewater Center, James K. Polk homestead and Charlotte Motor Speedway, none of which are in Fort Mill.
It’s not a topic I’m really going to push hard on though. I can pretty much get to any place I want in the area in less than 45 minutes, and I’m not sure how excited I’d be for the Springs Retreat, Conference Center and Activity Complex to open nearby. Heck, I guess if I want to visit ruins, I can put on a hardhat and visit the crumbling remains of the old PTL Tower, which inexplicably is still standing. But I bet you’ve never heard me rant about that before.
Maybe I just have to accept I’m in a sleepy town that builds gas stations, schools and supermarkets instead of places of interest. Afterall, we are a mill town – not a thrill town.
Scott Cost: firstname.lastname@example.org