And we’re off and running covering the Raleigh tourist traps and travel. Let’s start how we did the first time, with a great museum.
The North Carolina Museum of Art has an event we’ve been loving to do lately (recommended by a very smart and fun friend)- “Art in the Evenings”. Taking place on Friday nights in the West Building, admission is free, and there is wine, small plates, and live music from local bands. Depending on the band, there can be dancing, which every member of my family loves. You can also walk around the really great exhibits, my eldest especially loves the religious icon section. I prefer the Gothic, Edward Gorey-esque portraiture. I think if I was to have my portrait painted, I’d go for that style, below.
Outdoors there are summer concerts and show, we’ve seen a huge puppet show there, put on by Paperhand Puppet, and they also hold bigger name concerts like the Violent Femmes (coming soon, maybe we’ll go!).
Lastly, the NCMA has a great outdoor walking and sculpture path. Even just heading here for a walk is a great couple hours.
Next up, baseball! We headed to Durham for a Bulls game, and boy was it hot! Seriously, over 100 degrees. But once we bought water ice (also known as Italian ice, but I was born in South Jersey, so it’s properly pronounced woo-ter ice) and found a shady spot we were good to go. Sweaty puddles, but good to go and ready for some fun. Beers helped.
One great thing about Raleigh is it is only a 2 1/2-3 hour drive to the beach. Since we had one little guest visiting who had never seen the ocean, an overnight was in order. We headed to Surf City, on Topsail Island.
We rented a spot right on the beach for the night, via VRBO. Worked out well, we had a place to stay and plenty of time over two days to explore. We also got to see some great storms. The rain only sidelined us for an hour or two at most, and cooled off the days substantially. Not to mention the photo ops.
Another great experience in Surf CIty, especially with kids, is the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. Here you get to see the turtles that are being rehabilitated and take a tour of the facility. As a part of the Topsail Turtle Project, they protect and monitor sea turtle nesting on the nearby beaches, and will tell you when to expect the hatchings to emerge, if you are visiting in August check on this, because that is really a sight to see. The organization is staffed entirely by volunteers, so 100% of donations go directly to the sea turtles that are being treated. General admission is $5; children $3.
And what beach stay is complete without the kitschy family picture?