Raleigh, November 14, 2011 — A visit to Raleigh is a view into the “New South”. The city boasts lots of modern architecture, museum expansions, a new hockey team, forward-thinking restaurants and transportation. Yet, Raleigh has not forgotten its past. Raleigh’s Civil War heritage, traditional Southern cuisine and history still figure prominently.
What to do?
Raleigh’s convention and visitors bureau has grouped attractions into “i.d.’s” to identify your interests and arrange a trip based on your preferences such as “foodie”, “free spirit” and “adrenaline junkie”.
An easy, fun way to tour different parts of Raleigh without having to be the sportiest person on the block is on a Segway through Triangle Glides. They have tours of several lengths that will allow you do zip through the city and learn at the same time, with their guides.
Raleigh’s RBC Center is home to the Carolina Hurricanes, their 2006 Stanley Cup winning hockey team. For even more fun, upgrade your tickets to the “Champions Club” level, where there are tables, a private bar, BBQ and café’ buffets, and other perks).
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Science divides its exhibits into the different kinds of terrain the state has. Additionally, in Spring 2012, a new 80,000 square foot Nature Research Center will open. It’s being built as a huge globe for the city’s skyline.
Tobacco Road Tours offers walking tours, including night Haunted Adventure tours and special pub crawls. One of the stops can be the Isaac Hunter Tavern with their historic drink, cherry bounce made with bourbon and dark cherries steeped in a sugar-spice mix.
The North Carolina Museum of Art has outstanding permanent exhibits, as well as the temporary “Rembrandt in America”. This special exhibit is the largest collection of the master’s work in one place ever to be shown in America.
North Carolina has a long, storied history with its textile industry. Vestiges still remain in indie designers, including Flytrap’s hand-printed shirts and scarves, as well as Stitch by Holly Aiken’s sleek vegan handbags and accessories.
Chatham Hill Winery is a new, urban winery only five minutes from the Raleigh-Durham airport. You can do a tasting there for $5, learning about new, sophisticated North Carolina wines.
Where to eat
Big Ed’s City Market Restaurant serves old-school Southern breakfast and lunch. Order hard to find items like fatback biscuits, “Redneck biscuits,” house-made sausage and pancakes made like a pound cake.
Check out Market, a restaurant with a commitment to local produce, including its own herbs, veggies and honey. The chef/owner is from Baton Rouge, so many items on the menu have a Cajun/Creole flavor.
Irregardless Café’ serves vegetarian and vegan food, as well as a few meat items. The produce is local and inventively prepared, including the very popular appetizer, “Vegan Sex”. It’s stacked “salad” layering sliced avocado and oranges with a shallot dressing, quinoa tabouli (tossed with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, & parsley), mashed sweet potatoes and lime juice.
Red Room Tapas Lounge focuses on small plates, Spanish style, that you can share with everyone at your table. Sunday and Monday are half- priced tapas and there are nights with free Latin dance classes.
Escazu, next to Market, is one of the only artisan chocolate makers in the U.S. and has a gourmet hot chocolate bar serving historic recipes.
Natty Greene’s Brewing Company, named after the Colonial-era hero, brews their own beers and incorporates them into several of their pub fare offerings.
Where to stay
The Marriott City Center is right across the street from the convention center and the weekly farmer’s market, as well as within walking distance of the capital and many of the city’s attractions. It has an indoor pool and hot tub with a great view of the city’s skyline.
For the same elegant experience that celebrities crave when they’re in town, stay at The Umstead. It faces a state park, so the views are serene. They have their own curated art gallery that changes seasonally; the art is also available for sale. The Umstead is known for a luxurious spa, as well. The Umstead’s fine dining restaurant, Herons, serves gourmet cuisine with a Southern touch.
It takes a Renaissance woman to cover the cool, shocking, tasty, and thought- provoking things in the Baltimore region and beyond. Tamar is a Kentucky Colonel, a beauty pageant winner, and has managed several Southern rock and alt-country bands. She also has a column online, as well as articles of interest to the military. Read more Out and About Baltimore in The Washington Times Communities.
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