I think that there are a number of things that you can expect from life in North Carolina. One of them being the comfort that you get from the true nature of the people that live here. But also from the many comforts that you can expect.
Mobile Coverage in North Carolina
I live in Louisburg, close to the Raleigh border. Recently switched from AT&T to T-mobile. One thing to note, is that US Cellular and T-Mobile are going to be starting a roaming agreement soon for LTE. Not sure if its restricted to VoLTE or not though.
As far as coverage goes I haven't noticed much of a difference, I actually have better service at my house than with AT&T. Speed is just fine and I am using an older device (Note 4), so I'm not sure if it's taking advantage of all the fancy stuff t-mobile has rolled out recently. There's a food lion close by that I don't get any service inside the store, but it wasn't great with att either. I've been happy so far.
Not that this gives you any indication of coverage, but the RAN in Raleigh and the rest of South/North Carolina was originally built by a Triton PCS subsidiary called SUNCOM which was a regional provider covering those two states exclusively.
All that is to say, most of the time, regional providers do a fine job of covering their territories, because the focus is much narrower across a state or two, vs 49.
So the network there should have had a good starting point, but as always, YMMV.
While there we used the Android CellMapper, Sensorly, as well as the OpenSignal Apps to help document our coverage. You may find reviewing the results via the respective websites from those apps helpful.
Conducted non-stop...2-week long 24/7 simultaneous testing with the following devices as follows:
- Nexus 6P (4 units)
- Nexus 6 (2 units)
- Galaxy Tablet "A" (7 units)
- LG V20 (3 units)
- Galaxy Note5 (8 units)
One of our people also used a Wilson Pro Quad-band signal meter. Don't have precise numbers for her results at this time, but the daily numbers were good.
We found above average 4G LTE coverage in more than 90% of our traveled area at the time of testing.
Food & Dining in North Carolina
- Sullivans is a personal favorite of mine and its also Del Friscos sister restaurant.
- The Palm
Admittedly these are both chains, but I used to travel a lot and both of these places are my go-tos no matter where I am just because I can count on quality.
Charlotte has a lot of fine proprietary places (Dresslers, Lumiere, and Vivace are great examples) but I've found sometimes they can be a little sketchy on quality from visit-to-visit. Not 'bad' at any point, but they have a little more variation than your high-end chain restaurants.
Beef and Bottle does a great job if OP wants something very 'Charlotte', however.
We've enjoyed all, none of them were excessively priced. 5Church has great food, but the atmosphere isn't for everyone. The others all have a classier atmosphere.
If you can splurge, do the Chef's tasting menu at McNinch House.
It's $185/pp, but includes wine pairings and it's amazing. Best meal I've had in Charlotte.
The others on our list as follows:
- Bistro La Bon
- Cafe Monte
- Georges Brasserie
- Fig Tree
- Gallery (at Ballantyne Resort)
The below we wouldn't call 'fine dining' per se:
- Improper Pig
- Cajun Queen
- Futo Buta
- Soul Gastrolounge
And then there is Firebirds. Which is also not fine dining, though the steak I had at Firebirds last weekend was absolutely amazing. Heck of an establishment too.
Firebirds describes itself as "polished casual".
I don't think there are any hard and fast rules for what constitutes "fine dining", but some general indicators are: prix fixie menus, a chef's table, dedicated courses, a dress code.
Beef N Bottle is the mover for steaks.
If you are looking for a restaurant good for groups who want to hear each other talk; look for places with a private dining room. This list might give you some ideas. Make group reservations quite a bit well in advance, (like a month if you can). Some of the more popular venues book their private dining areas way out. Also, you might see if the restaurant inside the Hilton can hook you up with a private dining room.
Activities in North Carolina
People that have been here a while are pretty jaded but you can easily have a blast over a weekend.
I'd recommend grabbing an airbnb downtown where there's a few great restaurants and some good bars too (I'd recommend Pink Elephant if you like cocktails). Agreed that CF Wine Beer is overrated, but there's Flytrap pretty close by if you want a good local brewery. Noni Bacca for a good non-traditional winery (they import all their grapes).
If you like breweries, there's Flytrap, New Anthem, Waterline, Wrightsville Beach Brewery, and more.
Blind Elephant, KGB, and a new place called Whiskey Tango Foxtrot for cocktails. Bombers is a great place for craft beers too. There are great restaurants all over town.
Depends on what you like or are in the mood for.
As fare as activities, there's obviously the beach, they have helicopter tours now by the bridge on the river (idk how much), the serpentarium is awesome but I'm not sure if it's closed.
- There's Airlie Gardens for a price or the New Hanover County Arboretum for free.
- The Cape Fear Museum is really cool and you can spend an entire day exploring the battleship.
- There's live music all over the place and things going on just about every night.
I'd check out Encore's calendar or Port City Daily's.
Wrightsville beach is a quick Uber/Lyft away (that way you avoid the terrible parking situation), but if you want a less crowded beach experience and don't mind driving a bit further, Carolina Beach is more sparse and has the best donuts I've ever tasted at Britts. Also a not-terrible aquarium out that way if you're into that kind of thing.
I haven't lived in Wilmington in years, but visit a few times a year and always have a good time. The city definitely has its issues, but many of the problems will be invisible to a weekend tourist.