Friday, September 7, 2012


labor day weekend.
the last "official" weekend of summer.  i'll tell you one thing, it still feels like freaking summer around here. it's supposed to be 90 degrees tomorrow.
anyway, what did we do for our last weekend of summer? a staycation. it was our first. we planned out a weekend of fun, touristy things to do in raleigh, the city that we live in. we had a lot of fun and realized what we really already knew...that this awesome city has TONS to offer.

friday night was our first night of fun. we went to a durham bulls game. we've been to plenty of durham bulls games before, but hey, we love sports and found this to be the option we like the best. until friday arrived. remember i mentioned the weather still feels like summer? well, on friday it was SOOO HOT. but we went to the game thinking "once the sun goes down it will cool off." no such luck, my friends. we sweated through 8 innings of baseball. we left early because we were so damn hot.

the view from our seats. two rows behind the visitors dugout on the third base line.

i know it's blurry, but we couldn't leave without getting a picture with wool e. bull.

after sweating our balls off, we were hungry and thristy. so we headed to a local establishment near our "hotel"...the leesville tap room. we wanted to experience what the locals do. and believe me, there were plenty of upset nc state fans there when we got there. that football game was just embarrassing. we had a few appetizers and a few brews before heading home. i'd recommend this place. the atmosphere is pretty laid back, they have good beer and decent food.

saturday was a big day! we had lots of fun things planned. it started off with watching the ECU game, of course. no true pirate fan would miss the opening game of the season. unfortunately we could only watch until about the 3rd quarter because we had to get downtown for our segway tour, which i highly recommend to ANYONE. i don't care if you've been living in raleigh for 50 years, 5 minutes or are visiting. DO THE TOUR. it was so much fun. and we learned all kinds of things about the history of raleigh. like did you know the namesake of our city, sir walter raleigh, never even made it to north america?? yet we still found him compelling enough to name our capital city after. amazing, huh?
aside from all the sites and sounds, riding on a segway is pretty awesome. it's nothing like i've ever ridden on or driven before. it's totally worth doing. hell, i'd even do it again. that's how awesome it was.

and this is how cool you will get to look when you ride one. i know you dig the helmet. 

like most of our activities, afterward we are always searching for food and beer. what better place to do that that boylan bridge brewpub? we got to sit outside on another hot day and enjoy beers, food, and a wonderful view of downtown raleigh. 
this pub obviously makes their own beer, which was delicious. they have probably the best view in the city. the food was so super yummy. GO THERE.

 view from the pub. 

by the time we were done with all of this, it was dinner time. so we went home, took care of our pets (because a staycation sometimes isn't a real vacation. you still have responsibilities), and got cleaned up. once we were done with all of that, we decide to head out for a late dinner. we had a hard time deciding...for some reason. we eventually found ourselves at P. F. chang's. oh man. so, so, so, so yummy. everything about this place was fantastic. they have a $40 prix fixe menu for two that include soup, an appetizer, entree and dessert. all of that for each of us! we were so stuffed. nom nom nom. and with our leftovers that we brought home, the waiter gave us fresh rice to bring home. i know that isn't a huge deal, but i think that says a lot about a place taking that extra step to make a meal experience great. 
this brought our saturday to an end.

our sunday morning started off with food, of course. we headed to brasa, the brazilian steakhouse for brunch. have you ever been to a brazilian steakhouse? well, we never have. what an experience. so, it was a brunch. so naturally they had the endless buffets of all the most delicious breakfast and lunch food you could ever want. plus made-to-order omelets and belgium waffles. 
in addition to all of that, at a brazilian steakhouse each person has a rock at their place setting. one side is green and one side is red. if you turn your rock to the green side, you guessed it, that means "go". go in the sense that the meat starts. they bring all different cuts of meat to your table. a variety of servers walk around with meat on skewers. so that when you are ready, they will bring it to you. at brunch they only had four different kinds of meat (2 steaks, chicken, and pork sausage) and grilled pineapple. and like i said, as long as your rock is on the green side, they will just keep coming around bringing you MORE MEAT.
so naturally, when you turn it to the red side that means stop. "no more meat please." and guess what? you can go back and forth between the green and red sides as much as you want. hell, we could have sat there all day. and we would have, if we didn't have other sites to see. it was so delicious. and only $20/person, which included mimosas. hell yes.

after we were nice and full, we made our way back downtown to the natural science museum. now, i have been to the natural science museum a thousand times on field trips for work, but i still love it. and keith had only been once when he was real small, so he didn't remember anything. plus we were eager to see to new wing, the natural research center. it was awesome. there was so much see, touch, play with, and learn. i HIGHLY recommend visiting the natural science museum. for all of its wonderment, old and new.

 Keith pretending to be scared of the shark. FAIL.

 view of downtown from the skywalk that connects the old museum to the new wing.

since we were downtown, we found a local favorite spot that is near and dear to our hearts...natty greene's. it's very central to our history. we used to frequent the original natty's in greensboro when we lived there many years ago, during the beginning of our courtship :)
and since we hadn't been there in a while, we thought...why not? at this point we had a "local" with us. our friend dan felt the need to tag along. anywho, we got food and drinks at natty's. then of course, we had to head home to tend to our animals and freshen up.

the angus barn is a particularly famous restaurant in raleigh. they consider themselves a beef eater's haven. i've been there more times than i can count. however, i've always wanted to get dressed up and go there for drinks and enjoy their cheese and olive bar. so, we did that. oh, and dan decided to drag his brother along with us. now, i was really excited about this. and it didn't turn out exactly how i envisioned. i think perhaps our group wasn't as excited as i, which kinda bummed me out and ruined the experience for me. so i am definitely going to have "do over" at some point.
the last stop of our night, was trali, an irish pub in brier creek. the boys were hungry, so we had to feed them. i am sure many of you have experienced the wrath of a hungry man. it's not pretty. it was a good little spot. the food was yummy and our service was great. i'd go back.

on our last day of our staycation we had high hopes for completing more things on our list. however, we woke up....exhausted. we were tired. probably from eating and drinking ourselves silly for two days straight. so, we just relaxed and enjoyed the day off.

we had so much fun exploring the town that we live in. there is so much that we didn't get a chance to do that we are still so eager and excited to plan and do another time (farmer's market, NCSU arboretum, art museum and movie, explore more restaurants downtown!). there are always tons of events going on in raleigh. this really opened our eyes to that and reminded us of the really great city we live in. we hope to keep exploring and finding new places to love. so, i encourage all of you to do a staycation, just once, to learn more about your town. if you have no other saved us a hell of a lot of money.


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