Between the wedding, work, and winter weather John and I decided we needed a break and planned a super quick trip to Raleigh, North Carolina. Fares on Jet Blue were super cheap and we’ve always wanted to go to explore Carolina style barbeque.
We left at 4AM on Saturday, March 19th and had a quick 1 hour and 45 minute flight to NC.
Once we touched down we picked up our rental car and began our day at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens on the Duke University campus. It was hot out! Close to 75 degrees without a cloud in the sky. It was so nice to be in the warm sunshine. We strolled the gardens and enjoyed the gorgeous day.
Us in a gorgeous sunny spot:
This tree captivated me. So pretty and delicate:
Asian garden and bamboo trees:
After the Gardens we made a quick trip to the Durham Farmers’ Market. It was small but quaint and full of very nice people. John got a bison stick!
By that time we were definitely ready for lunch. We had our first BBQ at The Q Shack:
Fried okra, so good:
Next we went to the Fullsteam Brewery. There was no tour but the building was really cool.
This is how we spent our time at Fullsteam. It was so much fun:
Next stop, the Triangle Brewery. Read my review for more detail but this was one of the highlights of our trip.
Last brewery of the day was the Aviator Brewing Company in Fuquay-Varina.
After a long day, and long drive back to Raleigh from Fuquay-Varina, we stopped at Ole Time Barbecue for dinner. Hush puppies!
On Sunday morning we slept in, watched the Larry Bird/Magic Johnson HBO documentary, and went to the hotel gym for an hour. It was a lazy morning but exactly what we wanted to do.
When we finally left the hotel it was about noon and we were ready for adventure!
Our first stop was the North Carolina State Farmers’ Market. It was enormous!
The best fresh squeezed lemonade I’ve had in my life:
After the market we went to the North Carolina State Fairgrounds where they have a huge open flea market every weekend. It was definitely an experience, a combination of vendors and locals selling all kinds of worthless garbage. Still, the people watching was awesome and we had a fun time.
Wanting a change of scenery we opted to visit the J.C. Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University next. It was extremely peaceful and really pretty.
We then went on a mission to find the world’s largest gummy bear at Popalop’s Candy Shop but were disappointed to find it in the food court of a mall. Lame! However, we did find John’s definition of paradise though: Steak Escape!
We drove to downtown Raleigh to check out the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. It was really cool even though we only had about a half an hour there before they closed for the day. It was free though so definitely worth a trip.
After the museum closed we walked around the downtown Capitol Hill district of Raleigh for a while.
We took a pre-dinner bowling trip to The Alley. It was so much fun! Cheap, retro, and dead on a Sunday night!
Last but not least during our busy Sunday was dinner at The Pit in downtown Raleigh.
Monday was a low key day. We got up early and headed out to the Carolina Premium Outlets. We love us some outlet shopping! They had a Pepperidge Farm Outlet which was hilarious. Walls and walls of all the Goldfish flavors you could ever imagine!
For lunch we headed to Wilber’s Barbecue in Goldsboro, a good hour and a half from Raleigh. It was worth it though, definitely the best barbecue of the whole vacation!
We made the long drive back to Raleigh to get ready to head back to Boston. The Umstead State Park was literally across the street from the airport so we stopped there for a little walk before heading the the airport.
We were glad we stopped there because our flight was delayed 3 hours and we were stuck at Raleigh-Durham International just waiting until we finally took off for Boston at 8:30PM. We got home way later than we expected but it was alright.
All in all, it was a great trip and much needed! We rested, we ate, and we explored and that’s how every good vacation should be spent!