Last Friday was taken as a vacation day. The plan was to go spend the 3 day weekend in Raleigh, taking in an opera on Friday night and seeing the local sites for the remainder of the weekend. It was almost perfect. The only thing wrong was that I booked a room at a Motel 6, sight unseen, and it was in a part of town that was a little seedy. It was along a highway, so there was road noise. There were some less than desirable folks staying there. And for some reason the air conditioner went through phases of working and not working. If and when there is another opportunity, I will choose a Red Roof Inn nearby but looking to be in a slightly nicer area.
It takes about 2 hours to drive from my house to Raleigh. We got there a little after noon, checked in, and went out to tour around. We walked around the Governor’s Mansion (beautiful and wonderful gardens) and then went to an administration building for a little bit. Susan once lived and worked in Raleigh, nearly 20 years ago, and thought she may still know some people that worked there. However, she found that everyone that she knew had retired.
We then went to an area that is across from a park. It had shops and small restaurants. I forget the name of the area, but it is very close to a bus station, a Children’s museum, and an IMAX theater. We found an Irish pub that had been recommended called “Tir Na No’g”, and had sandwiches and beer. It was very good, although my beer was a little more hoppy than I like…still, it was just fine.
We drove back to the Taj Mahal, I mean Motel 6, cleaned up and changed, and went to the opera, “Rigoletto”. The performance was nice, however, we were sitting a little too far away from the stage. I was not familiar with that theater when I bought tickets…next time I will try to get closer, or even just get a couple pairs of opera glasses. I have seen Rigoletto before and enjoy it very much. Before the show the conductor came onstage and apologized ahead of time for a sinus problem with the female lead of “Gilda”. However, I couldn’t find anything wrong with her…she sounded great.
After the show we drove back to the area of the Motel and found a great place to eat called “Jack Astor’s”. Our waiter told us it was a Canadian chain and that there are only 2 in the states…Cary NC being one of them. The other in Buffalo NY ?? Anyway, it was fun. Like a sports bar with good food, and a flair for fun decorating. They had an Elvis shrine corner table. I will post pictures later.
On Saturday we toured. Lots of time spent at the Natural History museum. We saw a show about Tornados and a live demonstration on Tropical areas, given by a fabulous speaker. Lots of geological history info and displays pertaining to NC. Across the way was the NC History Museum. Both of these were free, by the way, and reminded me of the Smithsonian. We didn’t get to spend as much time in the second one but may go back some day and do that and more.
Breakfast that day was at a Bob Evans restaurant (my first time ever). Dinner was at a mall with “Crabtree” in the name, and we ate at a “Cheesecake Factory” restaurant. WOW, what great food and nice service. The place was crowded, attesting to how good it is.
On Sunday, after checking out, we had a lighter breakfast at Bob Evans, and then we drove to a food store Susan wanted to see, called “Trader Joe’s”. She had been before and said that they are more well known in California. Nice place. Good fresh food. Then we went to Chapel Hill to walk around the campus of UNC. By the way, every day was just beautiful. Sunny but nice temperatures…no rain even though it was forecast. The campus is very nice and I found out later that it was “parent’s weekend.” And yes, I did see a lot of people who would be parents, but didn’t think anything of it at the time. There was also a street fair going on with many arts and crafts tents up and down the road.
We ate dinner at the "Mellow Mushroom" in Greensboro. The MM had closed down from a different place, and reopened in their present location. Very nicely decorated inside. The pizzas were wonderful.
Alas, all good things must come to an end and Monday came just a little too quickly. However, I got a decent night’s sleep at home after 2 not so good nights at the Motel 6.
I will have JP for the next 2 weekends, and after that perhaps we may go…..CAMPING! (which would be my first time ever) Stay tuned!