Sure, it’s a question you ask yourself each week around this time, what to do with your weekend. I ask myself that very same question and here’s how I’d answer myself if I was planning to spend this weekend, May 29 – 31, in Cary. Yes, Cary.
A late Spring Friday evening is best enjoyed outdoors, under the stars, maybe with a few friends at Koka Booth Amphitheatre taking in tonight’s Movies by Moonlight screening of the Academy Award nominated The Imitation Game. Admission is only $5.00 and you can pack your own picnic, making it a really budget-friendly start to your weekend. Gates open at 7:00 pm and the show starts when it turns dark.
Saturday mornings are for farmers’ market shopping, naturally. Salsa lovers will find this Saturday the perfect time to visit Cary Downtown Farmers’ Market for the Salsa Showdown between the chefs of Academy Street Bistro and Tribeca Tavern. In addition to the end of season strawberries and other fresh produce you’ll find at this market, I’d suggest picking up a few German baked goods from Annelore’s. Downtown Cary is a great place to do a little shopping too. Your first visit should be Gather, where you’ll find delicious coffee and tea to sip while browsing the gift shop filled with gorgeous wares from North Carolina makers and designers.
You may hear a distinct rhythm while in downtown Cary, emanating from Academy Street. Those would be the enticing sounds from the annual Ritmo Latino Festival, a free family festival that showcases Latino music, dance and arts. Plan to spend a couple of hours taking in all the sights, sounds, food and perhaps dancing in the street. When you’re ready to get off your feet and quench your thirst, local brewery Fortnight Brewing Company is a short drive from downtown Cary. If you time your visit just right, you can take a brewery tour too. When your stomach tells you it’s time for dinner, proceed directly to Academy Street Bistro for a lovely farm-to-table dining experience you won’t soon forget. If you don’t want the evening to end too early, walk around the corner and down Chatham Street to newly opened Pharmacy Bottle + Beverage for a local brew night cap, or pick up some beverage supplies for the rest of your weekend.
Sunday is Brunch Day on my calendar (by far, my favorite meal of the week). So where’s a nice place to brunch in Cary? In downtown at Belle at The Jones House where they serve their special version of Eggs Benedict: country ham, poached egg, greens, a house made biscuit, hollandaise and a healthy serving of market hash on the side. Post brunch would probably be a good time to take a stroll and my favorite place for just such an activity in Cary are the shaded trails of Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve. You can stick to the more moderate mulched trails or take the stairs along the Swift Creek Loop Trail to catch the best views of the Hemlock Trees, the bluffs and Swift Creeks.
Cary is home to my favorite kitchenware store in Wake County, Whisk in Waverly Place shopping center. They always have interesting classes (which frequently sell out) and just about any small appliance, gadget or cookware item you’d ever need, plus a few you didn’t know you needed until the friendly, helpful staff shared their favorite item in the store. Plus, they do in-store knife sharpening – everyone needs to pamper their knives once in a while. You can’t leave Cary without taking a tour of the shops and restaurants found in another part of Cary, in Chatham Square. The News & Observer refers to the strip mall as a “culinary United Nations” with cuisines of many cultures represented. You’re certain to find something delicious, whether you prefer tacos, chana masala or Himalayan steamed dumplings. Grab something appealing for Sunday dinner as the perfect way to wrap up your Cary cultural weekend.