Have an extra long weekend, but think there’s nothing *fun* to do here in the Triangle? Think again. There are great spots to explore in every corner of the Triangle, and the fun starts Friday!
Might I suggest…
In Hillsborough, Last Fridays is a free concert series and art walk held in the historic downtown area. You’ll find Cyril Lance and his band of Arkestrians on the lawn of the old courthouse this last Friday, as well as artists and crafters around the square sidewalks (6:30-9:30 pm). Stop in Cup-a-Joe to sample this month’s strawberry pie contest entries, or enjoy dinner out at any one of downtown’s restaurants.
Come back to Hillsborough on Saturday to take a tasting tour of the city’s fantastic restaurants, handmade chocolates, locally roasted coffee, and more. Pre-tour, stop in at the Eno River Farmers Market and perhaps pick up a bite for brunch from one or two of the market’s many vendors. But don’t spoil your appetite for the tour!
Or how about…
Just beyond the Orange county line, Saxapahaw celebrates the grand opening of the Haw River Ballroom with a triple bill: The Old Ceremony, The Love Language, and the Paperhand Puppet show, Lumanity. The doors to the ballroom open wide at 8:00 pm and the first band should hit the stage around 9:00 pm. Tickets are available online for a mere $15.00 in advance ($17.00 day of the show).
Of course, each Saturday afternoon from May through August (5 to 8 pm) in the small ‘burb of Saxapahaw is a fest of live music, a farmers’ market, plenty of kid-friendly activities, and great food, with a river view. Arrive early to pick out prime lawn seats, and take extra care to follow the parking signs & rules.
Meanwhile in Durham…
Durham’s sure to be the hub of activity this Saturday. At 8:00 am, the Doughman Quadrathlon begins as the teams eat and run, eat and swim, eat and bike… literally. Spectators and Cheerers-on can eat like a Doughman (and skip the really strenuous feats) via either the VIP ($40) or Supporter ($15) ticket packages. Don’t be surprised to see folks in costume running around downtown Durham that morning (and give ’em a shout of encouragement if you do spy a participant). If you’re planning a visit to the Durham Farmers’ Market that morning (perhaps to catch Chef Dave Alworth from Guglhupf cooking something tasty around 10 am), alternate parking will be available at 423 Morris St, and the streets around the market, as the Doughman event takes over the Durham Centre lot where we usually park.
The fun and food don’t end when the race is over. Stick around for the Doughman hEArTS Durham Banquet and the after-party at Motorco. In another part of Durham, you’ll find Family Fun Day at Sarah P. Duke Gardens (11 am – 2 pm). Admission to the event is free, and parking is free too (until 1 pm). Parents and children can explore the nature-themed activity stations and events throughout, including the “Great Fish Release” of new fish in the refurbished pools at the foot of the Terrace Gardens. About 2 pm, Paperhand Puppet Intervention will lead a parade around the garden grounds and all are welcome to join.
Picnic season is upon us. In downtown Raleigh, The Saturday Market at Rebus has all the goods you’ll need to whip up some picnic fixin’s: meats from Coon Rock, fish from the NC coast via Locals Seafood, cheeses from Calico Farmstead, produce from New Grass Gardens, and a variety of prepared foods, including chutneys, jams, mustard (yes, mustard!), baked goods, and Nello’s sauce. While in downtown, stop in the newly opened Raleigh Wine Shop for other “provisions” that make the picnic perfect.
Why not take that picnic over to the NC Museum of Art park? With miles of art-lined trails to explore outdoors and an expansive permanent art collection in the new building, hours of enjoyment are free for the budget conscious, and priceless delights abound, in and around the museum.
If you’re really in the mood for a road trip, what about a taste tour of frozen confections. Travel from one side of the Triangle to the other, with adequate breaks between to recover from brain freeze, of course. Start on the southeastern edge at Sunni Sky’s in Angier, and choose from nearly 100 flavor varieties served in cups or cones, shakes and floats, and best enjoyed in a rocking chair on the front porch.
Next stop has to be for snoballs from Pelican’s original location on Hwy 401 in Garner, on the grounds of 401 Par Golf. Snoballs are fluffy and refreshing, and with more than 100 enticing flavors (like Guava, Mojito, Praline, and Wedding Cake), you’ll want to make frequent return trips.
Head to Durham to seek out Locopops. Everybody loves Locopops’ paletas (available in both water-based and dairy-based varieties). You’ll find plenty of flavor options to tempt your tastebuds, such as Mexican Chocolate, Cherry Lime, and seasonal “guest stars” Watergate Salad and Spearmint Lemonade. Did I mention you should bring a cooler along on this tour? You might want to take home a Locopint of Rhubarb Mascarpone, as a souvenir of your visit.
Set your GPS to “Chapel Chill” to try the (for adults only) Gelato-tini treats from Sugarland. How about a Blood Orange frozen martini, created from house-made Blood Orange gelato, Cointreau, Mandarin Napoleon & premium vodka? Sounds perfectly divine, doesn’t it. But don’t over do it – there’s one more stop to make on our frozen treat tour…
Here’s where we reach a spork (because you can’t eat ice cream with a fork) in the road. Maple View Farm has ice cream stores in Carrboro and at the Country Store location, on the farm in Hillsborough. You pick your final destination for the tour – either location is equally tasty. Choose from the regulars (Chocolate, Butter Pecan, Carolina Crunch), or pick one of the monthly specials (I see Strawberry Cheesecake!).
I hope you can squeeze in some time, between barbecues this weekend, to seek out your local favorites. Do check each business for their hours this holiday weekend, just in case they’re taking a holiday break too.
Enjoy your weekend Triangle Stay-cation!