We arrived in Raleigh without a reservation. For those of you who know Traci well, this is a long ways out of character for her. We always have reservations at out next destination, usually 3-4 places in advance. We pulled into the NC State Fairgrounds and parked in an open site. It was was first come first serve, and we arrived about 3:00PM after a 5-hour drive from the coast. The place was rustic, but nice and open, and we settled near the back of the campground. It was located just 15 minutes from downtown, huge and well laid out. Some of the events for the weekend included a horse show (which is every weekend), a giant dog show with dogs everywhere, and a weekly flea market with probably 1,000 booths! After paying for our site, we headed over to the PNC Arena (home of the NC State Wolfpack), which was adjacent to the fairground. The first round of March Madness was in full session, and Duke had already been ousted – haha – too bad for the Dukies! The atmosphere was fun with beer gardens, food trucks and big screens everywhere to watch the action. Kind of nice to be around crowds after the ghost town of the OBX. We tried to secure tickets for the Sunday games, but the scalpers were out and not giving any discounts yet, so we headed back to the MoHo for diner and relaxing evening.
The next day we headed downtown, the City Market area. I thought it would be something like the Pike Place Market back in Seattle, but not the case; one small vendor station for produce, a few galleries, and otherwise not a lot more to see. We stopped into a busy place for lunch, and had a really bad service experience, and poor meal, then decided it was time to return to the comforts of our home.
Sunday we relaxed in the MoHo then and decided we would try to get some tickets for the NCAA games that night. Traci really wanted to see ex Coug coach Tony Bennett. We wandered over to the arena, and again the scalpers were way out of line! We had a beer at the outdoor venue, covered from the cold rain, and headed back to the MoHo. Movies and warmth for the night.
Monday – MY BIRTHDAY – and I wanted to do a pub-crawl for the day. We hit an area just east of town, and found that a lot of places were closed on Monday’s, damn! We enjoyed a great lunch at Natty Green’s, and a good beer or two. The day was nice, but the breweries were not open, so we headed home for me to make some wings and chill, all-around a relaxing good day – beer and wings!
The next day we woke and were tired, just slow moving. We decided to stay another night, and just spent most of the day relaxing in the MoHo. It was cold and rainy. About 3:00PM, we headed out to Chatham Hill Winery, only about 4 miles down the road. Some all right vinos, but not what we are used too on the west coast. We got a tip for a local BBQ around the corner, and got some take out to return to the MoHo. After a quick meal, we walked the 15 minutes back to the PNC arena and scalped some great seats for the nights NHL game, Carolina Hurricanes vs. NY Islanders. The game was entertaining, Traci’s first NHL game, with the home team giving up 4 goals in the first 12 minutes, but scraping their way back to a 5-4 defeat; a cold walk back to the MoHo, a late night, and on to bed. (Cold weather was now back, lows in the upper 20’s — we sure miss the Florida Keys!) Tomorrow we head to Charlotte, and the trudge towards Augusta is in sight!