As much as I love getting out of town, state, and country to travel, my sense of exploration doesn’t turn off when I’m at home. I’m often surprised that I’m still discovering things where we live, but we do live just outside of North Carolina’s second most populous city, Raleigh. (It’s also the sixth fastest-growing city in the U.S.)
New stuff is always popping up, and I’m always getting around to seeing stuff for the first time that’s been here for years. This year’s new-to-me locations include a whole town (albeit a small one) and a donut establishment that is in no way new to North Carolina, but is new to the area. In 2016, be on the lookout for a recurring series on where I live — encompassing Raleigh, Durham, and the whole of the area known as the Triangle.
The Town of Apex – Apex, N.C. (Wake County)
Downtown Apex comprises just a few blocks, but in that small space, it holds more character than some full-fledged cities.
So far, I’ve visited the coffee shop – Common Grounds, the bookstore – All Booked Up, the antique shop – Antiques on Salem Street, and several boutique shops – including Stylish Living and Moon & Lola.
And the festivals! Either they’re always setting up for one whenever I go, or they’re advertising for one coming up soon. It seems like Apex is always hosting some type of event, so if you visit on a weekend, be sure to see what’s in store.
Saxapahaw Rivermill – Saxapahaw, N.C. (Alamance County)
Though it requires almost an hour drive to get here, I never regret it. The Rivermill in the tiny town of Saxapahaw is a serene retreat. Featuring a restaurant, a coffee shop, the Haw River Ballroom, and a few other spots, the Rivermill has something for almost everyone, all compact in one location and offering pretty views of the Haw River. I love to escape here every now and then, where life slows down for a little while.
Raleigh Rose Garden – Raleigh, N.C. (Wake County)
Not far from the hustle and bustle of downtown Raleigh, and mere blocks from N.C. State’s busy campus, Raleigh Rose Garden stays tucked away, almost like a magical secret garden. In the summer, the roses are everywhere, blooming in every color imaginable. It’s free to enter, and if you have any appreciation for flora and fauna, it’s worth a stop.
21C Museum Hotel – Durham, N.C. (Durham County)
New to downtown Durham, the 21C Museum Hotel is a small chain of boutique hotels that double as museums. The first few floors hold art exhibits that are free and open to the public. In the Durham location, you’ll find things like a money vault turned lounge, interactive art pieces, modern art, and more.
Bond Lake – Cary, N.C. (Wake County)
Well, we’ve lived in Cary for almost four years now, and it took me until this year to finally walk the lake. At least I’d been in Bond Park before, but it wasn’t until this year that I discovered the beautiful boat house area and lake trail. Shame on me, I guess, but I’m glad I know about it now.
Proof that sometimes I miss the beauty in my own backyard!
Do you love to explore in your own city? Have you ever found things that surprise you, or that you knew nothing about?
This is day 11 in the 12 Days of Travel on The Globe Turner. Stop by tomorrow for day 12 of #12DaysofTravel, a series of travel memories from 2015. There will be a post every day ’til Christmas! (And tomorrow’s the last day!)