A love letter to Davidson, NC

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When I was 16, my brother introduced me to a coffee shop called Summit, about 30 minutes away from our house in some random, tiny town called Davidson. There was free music outside that evening and he thought I’d enjoy it. As soon as we arrived, I fell in love. There was a large patio, a stage with bluegrass musicians under a tree, and a crowd of folks who all seemed to know each other. I had a milkshake, because coffee was still gross to me. I started making the drive up to Davidson to do homework at Summit’s tables, listen to music, and take photos of my best friends around Main Street with a film camera I was just learning to use. I ended up unknowingly photographing Tim Helfrich of Summit, laying in the grass with his pup one of my first times there, and it’s one of my favorite photos that I took in high school.

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It was an effortless progression for Davidson to quickly become my second home. My friends and I would go on Friday nights to talk to boys, saying we had to head home we were really leaving because we didn’t have our “After 9” license and our parents were waiting outside. We spent our last night together before heading to our respective colleges, clutching coffee at a table and talking about what we’d miss. After college, the last place I expected to be was back in Charlotte. Luckily, the fact that I landed a job in Cornelius and the opportunity to live in Davidson on the lake, and later Main Street, softened the blow. Becoming a resident made me love this tiny little town even more.

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I spent my days here enjoying the farmer’s market, grabbing beers on the patio, or heading down the street to DBC with friends who worked at Summit. I even dated a barista for a year. Margarita Mondays became a tradition in 2013 and continued on and off for FOUR YEARS. From Randall, to Brooke and Sarah, to Elliot, to Morgan, and all the lovely folks in between, y’all made my marg game STRONG. I walked dogs for side money with Davidson Pet Sitters, and the pups I saw daily began to feel like my own. I had an amazing boss there who I miss dearly but love that I still see her family constantly around Davidson. I discovered strong friendships through lunch dates at Kindred, which turned into amazing and hilarious photo shoots, Christmas parties, and bubbly in bed with sweet Abbey. Wine nights with her, Tyler, and Tara helped my weeks go along. I became Summit’s house photographer, which was the epic task of photographing community runs, Friday beers at 5 on the patio, and latte art.

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My favorite part of living in Davidson, especially as the loner I am, was observing this beautiful town and it’s people on the outside. I spent many mornings walking into town to watch the bustle of the Farmer’s Market, petting dogs, and saying hello to folks along the way. I walked 6 miles one day without even realizing it. Summer evenings also meant walking onto campus with my earbuds in, catching lightning bugs by myself and looking like a total weirdo to those around.

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I always wanted to live in Davidson, but always knew it wouldn’t be where I settled. I’m leaving excited for my new home, but so sad to leave the comfort and love that stays here for me. I’m going to miss waking up in my garage apartment, driving to Main Street to grab my iced coffee and mail, enjoying a book outside, and saying hi to the wonderful people I always see. I’ll miss watching my friends’ kids grow from baby bumps to intelligent small humans that have strong and amazing personalities. This town truly taught me the meaning of community. I can be anywhere, anytime, and never feel alone or not cared for. There’s always someone who wants to talk to you, to help you, to make sure you feel loved. There’s no doubt I’ll be back soon. <3

 2010

2010

 2018

2018

Amy Ellis