Ballantyne (south Charlotte) and Weddington are "upscale" areas that young professionals would feel at home in, and they aren't too far from uptown Charlotte. You might not be able to find an acre lot in Ballantyne, and if you did, it would be very pricey. Ballantyne is more commercialized with lots of nice shopping centers and restaurants. Weddington is a bit more rural, and it's only about 10 minutes from Ballantyne. You might be able to find some acerage in Weddington, but again, it won't be cheap. Waxhaw and Wesley Chapel aren't far from Weddington, and you could probably find some acerage there for a better price than Weddington. Those areas are getting further out from Charlotte though (30-35 minutes without traffic), so that might be too far out for you.
Harrisburg is a nice area in Cabarrus County that has a country feel to it. It's not as upscale as Ballantyne or Weddington, but there are some very nice developments out there. It's also not a bad drive into Charlotte, and you'd be close to shopping at Concord Mills (large outlet mall) and the University Area.
Huntersville is very nice as well, and it's near Lake Norman if you enjoy water activities. Most homes there seem to be on smaller lots though, so you might have some trouble finding the land that you're looking for. There's lots of shopping around there too (Birkdale Village is a nice outdoor shopping center with an old-town feel, and Northlake Mall is a 10-15 minute drive away, and that's the newest mall in the Charlotte area). Taxes are higher in Huntersville than the other areas that I mentioned (it's in Mecklenburg County... same county as Charlotte), so that could be a concern.
A couple of other very nice towns close to the lake are Cornelius and Davidson. They're close to Huntersville for shopping, and also have some nice shopping of their own. You also might have an easier time finding the land you're looking for in those towns.