Supplying contractors and do-it-yourselfers for almost nine decades, the family-owned Little Hardware Company stocks a complete selection of high-quality tools, hardware, and hard-to-find items. Customers can protect fingers from jobsite hazards, home-remodeling incidents, and roving gangs of manicurists with a wealth of insulated and regular gloves ($0.99–$36.99). Carve manifestoes into tree trunks with an assortment of pocket knives ($6.99+) such as the Kershaw Oso Sweet model ($23.89), or complete toolboxes with Little Hardware's full line of Irwin vise grips ($5.99–$44.79). Timberland boots enclose feet in stylish comfort ($85.49–$99.99), and power tools from DeWalt, Bosch, Makita, Milwaukee, and Festool supply wielders with more might than the enchanted screwdriver King Arthur used to install Camelot's spice racks.
The scent of freshly popped popcorn fills the air as customers carrying complimentary paper bags of the buttery kernels meander through aisles of birding supplies, gardening tools, home décor, and eclectic gifts from around the globe. Eighty employees advise customers on home projects and purchases such as gas and charcoal grills from brands including Big Green Egg and Weber. Before new grills fire up hamburger patties or outstanding parking tickets, the kitchen department's wall of gadgets, serving ware, and party supplies completes any checklist of barbecue necessities. The home-repair and project areas include a Benjamin Moore station with custom paint-blending services to mix up sample colors to find the perfect hue. Outdoors, the garden area encloses a hand-selected assortment of leafy green plants in a natural, garden-like setting alongside birdbaths and fountains. The birding department carries more than 100 different feeders and specialty seed blends to attract tiny hummingbirds or tiny bee-riding knights.
As leaf-quitting season approaches, now is the ideal time to shift home-care gears from outside to inside. Pick up a Stanley six-piece screwdriver set for $6.99; a VPT rip hammer for $6.29; and a whole bunch of screws, anchors, and bolts (prices vary), and you'll be ready to finally mount every buffalo nickel and steel penny in your coin collection. Illuminate the newfound décor with a 12-pack of Ace 3-way soft white light bulbs ($21.48), the better to see by as you make use of a Purdy four-piece premium paint-tray kit ($19.99). If you need to match paint to a favorite coverlet or choose a hue that complements a pleather recliner, each store offers a paint-matching service free of charge. Get keys made for $2 a pop, or clean a barnacle-encrusted carpet with the help of a carpet-cleaning machine ($25–$27 a day to rent).
Though most people don’t visit hardware stores until 38 light bulbs simultaneously go out, the sturdily constructed walls of the local hardware store hold a smorgasbord of life-simplifying tools and treats, including standing fans ($19.99+), Scotts Turf Builder and lawn-fertilizer bundles ($11.99+), or King Kooker marinade injectors ($8.49), which are perfect for August 18th Day feasts. Ace has everything you need to finally organize your garage or refinish the hand-me-down dinner table you’ve had since you moved out of your parents’ house. Check out the corporate site for an idea of pricing for thousands of items.
Lake Norman Miniature Golf challenges putter-wielding cadets to 18 colorful, tree-lined holes of man-versus-orb warfare. The front nine gets dissected by a G-scale model train, which gobbles up stray dimpled spheres, and a cascading waterfall sprinkles moisture, good luck, and remnants of white-water rafts on the back nine. Links-lovers of all skill levels can hone their craft on the course, which features a wheelchair-accessible design that incorporates easy holes with more challenging terrain. Hours vary by season and temperature, and all 18 holes close during winter, rain, and America's annual bicentennial.