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In August 2018 we moved cross-country from Washington to North Carolina. While we miss the PNW we do enjoy being so close to family and all the east coast has to offer including where America was built and history was made.

We went to D.C. over New Year’s Eve and Charleston (coming soon) for our anniversary but we obviously had to check out the big city just an hour and a half north of us. Raleigh is the capitol of North Carolina and is home to several well-known regions/cities including Chapel Hill, Durham and the Triangle. The Triangle is the area of three major universities (Duke University in Durham, The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in Raleigh.) So the nightlife, food and amount of things to do is jam-packed. Not to mention it’s hours away from Asheville, the beaches on the coast and 20 minutes driving from RDU airport.

As of January 2019 we have been to Raleigh twice and, while I’m not a local-local I can offer some insight on the city or a quick trip.

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If you plan on staying the night in Raleigh try this Airbnb and we felt very safe in the apartment. It was just the right amount of space and a few minutes walk from the main strip. There was street parking available as well as covered parking garage which we always prefer.

We stayed there over October 19-21, 2018 to celebrate my husband’s birthday and to spend a day at the Triangle Oktoberfest.

Our first night in was our usual eat and drink around the main strip. There are two to three areas with great bar districts and they’re a 30 minute walk or quick Uber from the Airbnb. We mainly checked out S Wilmington Street. First stop was food at Gallo Pelón Mezcaleria.

Upstairs is their sister restaurant, Centro. If you get a chance try the Cats Out Of The Bag IPA from Ancillary Fermentation; they only make 120 per month. At these types of places I enjoy trying out the cocktails so I tried the Cucumber Caipiroska. We shared their tacos, nachos and spicy chicken sandwich which were all really good but smaller portions than you would get at a chain Mexican restaurant.

You probably sat too long taste testing tequila so get to walkin’ down the street a few blocks to The Raleigh Times. Check out their website! This 100-year-old building displays newspaper clippings from it’s namesake newspaper. They have restored and expanded the establishment several times so there are plenty of booths, table, bar space and an upstairs seating area with a rooftop if the weather’s nice.

This bar is a super cool interior and seat yourself. I had the Peach Milkshake IPA and the Blackberry Ale which were both delicious and drinkable to keep the night going. We didn’t try their nachos but heard this is one of the few places offering a late night menu. The later you go, the fewer options you’ll find.

Down the street is the Landmark Tavern which reminded me of a Irish tavern but had the trendiness of a basic hipster bar in and outside. There’s a $1 cover and we had the 2 Hearted IPA from Bell’s Brewery.

The London Bridge across the street was closed for a private event and, what looked full of Greeks; otherwise it looked like a fun, younger crowd with loud music and live events!

A popular choice from everyone who visits Raleigh is Trophy Brewing Company. Head to the corner, turn left and walk down a bit before you see their neon sign next to other random streetside stores. We were in the mood for a late-night snack by now and shared their tots and wings. The wings weren’t too good and really spicy but the tots are definitely worth ordering!

Trophy Brewing Wings and Tots

Trophy Wife and Cloudburst were probably the top beers we had from our visit. Other people have also raved about their session IPAs, the Milky Way Stout which ‘tastes like candy’, and the best nano brewery in the Triangle.

Trophy Brewing Company

On Saturday we were planning on going to Oktoberfest but first…BRUNCH. The biggest must-do while here is heading to Beasley’s Chicken + Honey. We were able to take our time getting ready and got there right before their 11 am brunch doors opened. We didn’t want to stand in line too long so we walked around and found the street closed down for a festival where artists were creating chalk art on the pavement.

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If you can get there right as they open to wait in line DO IT or else you’ll be waiting for a while. Even on a rainy day Beasley’s was buzzing with guests. We snagged a couple seats at the bar and ordered drinks and brunch from the menus written on the wall. Hope you brought your glasses! I don’t think you could really go wrong ordering anything on the menu but we loved their beer, cocktail Ameila’s Crush, and several more classic cocktails. I cannot remember what we ate but I’m pretty sure mine was The Reunion after looking at several strangers plates. (Ok Creeeeppp). Drew had their recommended Huevos Rancheros.

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We caught an Uber for the 30-minute drive to the Triangle’s Oktoberfest. We did NOT expect to spend all day here but we did!  Pre-purchase your tickets which I believe were about $30 for all you could drink cup option but they have several to choose from. They open up an outdoor, riverside ampitheatre which is also used for concerts and your proceeds go to benefiting the rotary clubs, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and several other organizations.

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They had two large tents, a row of food and drink vendors, competitions, weiner dog races, brat and food stands, live music and performers, games and much more. (Sorry this video is sideways!) 

It was a great family-friendly crowd and we ended up shutting the place down with some new friends we met and Uber’d back to Raleigh with.

Reserve your Sunday for RECOVERY. We went to BREW Coffee Bar which was said to be an old train station converted to serve local beer and use coffee from Raleigh Coffee Company. When we got there it was the post-church, college study venue in a strip mall. Next door was Donatos Pizza which made my Ohioan husband go crazy with childhood memories and (to be honest) pizza on the hangover never sounded better!

On our second trip in December 2018 things were a bit more tame. It was a day trip with my dad and sister while in town for Christmas. Luckily it was a sunny (but windy and cold) day to wander around downtown. If you continue down S. Wilmington you’ll come up on the corner of the Capitol building. The North Carolina State Capitol is a 19th-century Greek Revival–style building with a statue of George Washington dressed as a Roman general in its rotunda.

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You can walk around the grounds to view the statues and views of the city and you can enter with a brief security scan before exploring the building. There are three levels and when it was decorated for Christmas it was beautiful! They have most rooms open including detailed signs of where the NC Supreme Court, Legislature, General Assembly and the two committee rooms on the opposite wings. There’s also a small library and a geology room.

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A block and a half away from Beasley’s is Sir Walter Coffee where they host a board of pay-it-forward drinks, seasonal flavors and friendly service and treats. While we just stopped in for a drink to warm up they also had a beer menu for their late-night guests.

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Take your drink and wander down to the historic Raleigh City Market.

The cobblestone streets are home to some venues, pet stores, restaurants and artsy boutiques. The market opened in 1914 and through the years hosted farmers with a variety of goods. Over the years it was sold and purchased from several owners for numerous purposes but it’s still a small corner of charm in the Raleigh.

If you’ve never been to The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar you. need. to. go. It was the largest menu selection I have ever seen and they were featured on the show Tanked. Every mash-up we had was insanely delicious, top-grade burgers and sushi. The portions are pretty large and easy to share. We loveddddd it and I can’t wait to go back!

 

We will of course be back in Raleigh soon and I’ll update you on everything else there is to do as we explore the area. If you have any suggestions or places we need to visit on the east coast let us know and until next time…

 

Cheers!

Marin

Girls Weekend in North Carolina

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We had just moved in to our new home in North Carolina and would host our first guests the next week. Over Labor Day 2018 two of my friends, Lauren and Tessa, made the drive down from West Virginia!

We were new to the area and had much less to do than the PNW but we still had a blast! The first day we had together was spent driving out to Caswell Beach on Oak Island. We chose the Oak Island stretch because of the liquor laws and the atmosphere. There were lots of young couples and about as many families during the busy weekend. Before you go, research what the rules for alcohol are , because some don’t allow it, then pack a cooler of canned beer and head out. 

We made the wise decision of eating lunch before heading out to take beach photos. Much like Oahu. Grab a table at Shagger Jacks for some seafood, burgers and simple drinks. It’s a short drive to the beach and free parking for  beachfront access. 

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We had a great time laying out on the beach since the sand was super soft and surprisingly clean. We were to the left of the Oak Island Pier that’s experienced multiple hurricanes and was built/rebuilt a total of three times from what I’m aware of. We liked playing in the warm Atlantic water even though we couldn’t see much. 

After a day in the sun, grilling at home and having friends over for game night was perfect. 

The next day we wanted to take our friends on a tour of Fort Bragg (something we usually do with any guests we have in a new area) and on up to the infamous Southern Pines. Southern Pines is just south of Pinehurst which is known for their world class golf courses and hosting several events. Southern Pines is easy to walk around eating, drinking and shopping in this area. Over the multiple trips we usually visit Chapmans, The Bell Tree, Neville’s and The Jefferson Inn. New favorites include the Mockingbird on Broad for unique gifts, Betsy’s Crepes for the infamous treats, Southern Pines Growler Co. and Southern Pines Brewing Company just a few minutes down the road. We have a few places on the still-need-to-visit list including Sweet Basil

If you’re looking for any suggestions, reach out! 

If you’re worried about having fun…don’t be.

On our way home we also stopped in at the hometown star of the show, and well loved by locals, The Mill at Puppy Creek. They frequently announce live music guests and have homestyle food with a few local and domestic beers. The thing that really sells this place, however, is that it is set in the woods down a gravel drive with an old mill feel next to a river. During Hurricane Florence it was amazing to see how many people volunteered times and services at The Mill to help block the rising river from destructing the restaurant again. 

There are basically two levels to the restaurant and bar with an outdoor seating patio perfect for twinkling lights and live music. It was not only fun to meet new friends but also get an initial bachelorette party for Lauren! (Hint: The Bud Light hat.)

How we feel after hosting a whirlwind Labor Day Girl’s Weekend.

If you’re familiar with anyone in a military or long-distance position you know how important it is to visit them and make an effort to explore a new place. We have lots of places left on our list but we are excited to get out and see the east coast! Please leave your suggestions below. 

Cheers!

Marin

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Cross-Country Road Trip: Part Three of Three

If you missed Part One or Part Two follow those links to catch up and meet us back here.


Saturday, July 28: Colorado Springs, Manhattan, KS and Spring Hill, KS
We left Colorado Springs at 9 a.m. to head for my home state.

We knew we were in Kansas when we stopped in Wakeeney for gas and then drove through Western Kansas until we pulled into the our Alma Mater: Manhattan, Kansas. The Little Apple holds a special place in our hearts because we attended school and graduated from K-State, we met and dated here, we were engaged here and we had years of great memories. We thought it would be fun to take Argo around our campus and places that were important to our relationship.

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After walking down memory lane we pulled into my hometown, Spring Hill, Kansas at 9 p.m. We grabbed some ice cream at Sonic with my dad, sister and her boyfriend. After hanging out at dad’s house we went to my mom’s very late where Argo met cats for the first time and the family dogs….That went about as well as you think. We fell asleep to a thunderstorm which we had missed for several years living in the PNW.


Sunday, July 29


For anyone who grew up in 4-H you’ll know county fair week is a *little* insane. My cousins, Kylie and Claire, came over to bake for the fair and play with the dogs. They were able to babysit Argo while we ran around town visiting family.

It was a super nice day with post-storm humidity and overcast. We realized this was going to be a shocker after living in WA. Here we were thinking we were tough…

We spent the morning with my dad and tried out The Bean which is a new coffee shop on the Main street of our town. It was really weird to go through town and see people you didn’t recognize. My grandma was hosting dinner for us at her house and it was great to catch everyone on their fair-prep break and in one place.

Our one request while in Spring Hill was to eat at the infamous K&M BBQ. We were craving burnt ends (A KC classic and what we’re known for) but after we ALL ordered the same thing…found out they were out. If you can’t make it out you can order sauce and merch online so click their website link above!


Monday, July 30
One of the biggest things my mom taught me was how to bake and cook so we spent the morning making breakfast and cooking with Mom for fair.

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We met up with dad for lunch at the Salty Iguana and then we played a round of golf at Top Golf. It was my first time going and I decided I’m better at putt putt. We took Drew to the Johnson County Fair where they were kicking off fair week and he was able to see where we spent YEARS of our life as well as family and friends. We went to my Aunt Lyneda’s to see their baby goats, updates on their house and have a few Boulevard beers.


Tuesday, July 31: Spring Hill, KS to Nashville, TN
And then it was time to go. We left Spring Hill and, for having a few fights, it was really cute to see Argo and Ruger cry and try to play again while we were leaving. We had some rain driving through St. Louis (apparently we left at the absolute worst time to drive across the country.) We had some lights go on in Illinois but it turned out to be a false alarm that corrected itself and we made it smoothly into Nashville, TN. This hotel wasn’t bad except for some creepers outside. We were able to pick-up Panera with a gift card (thanks, family) and spent the night booking hotels and looking at houses.


Wednesday, August 1: Nashville, TN to Asheville, NC
If only we knew how awesome and popular Asheville would be…We made great time on our drive on a rainy, two-lane highway. Asheville didn’t have La Quinta’s so we stayed at a Best Western that turned out to be the nicest place we stayed at! It was a fairly quick drive to Asheville’s downtown area where we walked around past their beautiful buildings filled with stores, places to eat and drink and plenty of people. It was a perfect mix of historical and updated buildings.

We ended up eating at Pack’s Tavern which had the best wings we’ve ever had! (Try the bourbon wings, club grinder and pizza.) You can’t really go wrong here. Pack’s was the site of many blue-collar industries and services in the town including the lumber and auto industry while turning to the “South Bar.” You can learn more about their top-tier hospitality and service on their website.


Thursday, August 2: Asheville, NC to Raeford, NC
We would have loved to visit the Biltmore and explore the area but it wasn’t worth paying the entrance fee with a dog and the rain. We left before noon and it ended up raining so bad most people had their hazards and max windshield wipers on while doing 30 mph on the highway.

We finally got to the Quality Inn in Raeford where we would be spending SEVERAL days. Because of a big Kids U.S. Open event going on nearby, most all hotels were taken so we were stuck in a non-smoking (but definitely smoky) room. We would spend the next few days driving around checking out houses and neighborhoods, touring post, trying out new restaurants every night that we could bring back to the hotel room and FINALLY found our new home and move in 10 days later!

Iron Mike on Fort Bragg, NC

Iron Mike on Fort Bragg, NC

If you would like to see more posts on our home or another topic, let me know. Until then, let’s see how we can make your hobby a brand. Consultations are always FREE.

Cheers!

Marin