How to feed your senses (and your sweet tooth) in east Charlotte

Grab something colorful at BW Sweet Bakery, then head to Reedy Creek Nature Preserve to see the fall leaf spectacular

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takeOUTside is proudly presented by Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, our partner in helping Qcity Metro readers find new ways to explore and enjoy Charlotte-area restaurants, parks and green spaces.

This Month’s Pairing:
Park: Reedy Creek Nature Preserve
Restaurant: BW Sweets Bakery
Locations: northeast Charlotte
Distance: About 4.8 miles

Sensory overload. That’s the best way to describe the feeling you get when entering BW Sweets Bakery in northeast Charlotte. First there’s the brightly painted interior and the happy seat cushions made to resemble big, colorful donuts.

And that’s all before you even get to the display case, which is packed with all flavor of colorful goodness: cakes, pies, donuts, candy apples, cupcakes and more.

The Reedy Creek Nature Preserve is like that, too, but without the sugary goodness. It’s a quiet spot in Charlotte where residents can go for a different kind of sensory experience.

With about 10 miles of hiking trails, the 832-acre preserve can offer loads of fun for parents with children, or plenty of quiet solitude for someone looking to simply walk (or run) with nature. On a recent Saturday, its trails saw plenty of use but were far from crowded.

About BW Sweets

Address: 3126 Milton Rd (In the East Town Market)

Opened in 2011, the bakery recently moved to a bigger location in the same shopping center. Owner Frankie White said he needed more kitchen space for his expanding business. He also wanted more seating area accommodate families.

White named the bakery in memory of his son, Bradley, who died of brain cancer, also in 2011. White, a former real estate agent, said it was all serendipitous; he never set out to open a bakery but began baking cakes as a way to cope with his son’s terminal illness.

The bakery offers dine-in, take-out and delivery. It also makes cakes and other desserts for special occasions, such as weddings and birthdays.

Like many other Charlotte restaurants, BW Sweets is bouncing back from the economic hit it took when the Covid-19 outbreak first arrived. (White said his business declined by about 40%.)

With business now increasing, White is scheduled to open his second location, in the city’s SouthEnd neighborhood (1425 Winnifred Street), on Oct. 3. He said the new location will offer many of the same desserts but with a larger variety for vegans.

Photo: QCity Metro

About the nature preserve

Address: 2900 Rocky River Rd.

You don’t have to be an outdoors fanatic to enjoy the Reedy Creek Nature Preserve, especially now that the weather is getting cooler and the autumn leaves will soon be changing.

Take a slow walk, a fast hike or even go for a brisk run; we encountered a variety of people enjoying the preserve, all in their own way. (Sorry, no bikes are allowed on the nature trails.)

This preserve is huge, so whatever your pleasure, we suggest you wear a comfortable pair of walking shoes. It’s also natural, so don’t be surprised if you encounter some wildlife.

According to the preserve’s website, it is home to 109 species of birds, 15 species of mammals, 20 species of reptiles, and 12 species of amphibians.

Reedy Creek Nature Preserve also is home to Reedy Creek Nature Center, which currently closed.

In addition to its hiking trails, the preserve also has lakes for fishing (Anglers age 16 and older must have a NC State Fishing License) and is adjacent to the 116-acre Reedy Creek Park, which tends to be more active with its dog park, basketball counts, disc golf course, baseball and soccer fields, playgrounds and picnic areas.

The preserve is open Monday – Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

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