Vacation in Raleigh, North Carolina

My SO and I are going to Raleigh for a wedding July 4th weekend, and have decided to make a mini-vacation of it.

This will be my first time in the south (Disneyworld doesn’t count!). Is there anything we should see or do while there? We will only have two and a half days of actual tourist time, so a lot of driving is probably not a great thing. I know I need to getmy hands on some sweet tea, but what else?

Also, are there any great Fourth of July festivities in the area?

I lived in the Triangle for a long time, and while I don’t think of it as a superb tourist trap, I imagine there are things to do there.

You may want to visit Durham, where you can wander around the spectacular campus of Duke University (especially the botanical gardens and the chapel), go grab a bite in the funky little Ninth Street district, and maybe catch a performance at the internationally-acclaimed American Dance Festival.

Chapel Hill is nearby, and is a pretty cool town; again, it’s got a pretty campus (not Duke-pretty, but still nice), and there’s Gim Ghoul castle hidden in the woods behind the St. Thomas Moore school.

You’re gonna want to sample soul food, so you may as well go for the best: Mama Dip’s is another famous landmark in the area, and is really, really good.

I’ll see if burundi can stop by and give you museum recommendations. My only one is again in Durham: the Museum of Life and Science is a lot of fun, with plenty of very well-designed, interactive nature exhibits.

Have fun!

We just a thread with lots of good ideas on things to do in the Triangle: What to do in Raleigh

If you like music festivals, the Eno Festival (in Durham, but it’s not far from Raleigh) is the best thing to do on the 4th. The flea circus is my favorite part. It runs the whole weekend, but it’s more fun and festive on the 4th. It’s also hot and exhausting. I might be there on the 4th.

If you’re looking for fireworks, Raleigh has fireworks at the fairgrounds, Durham and Chapel Hill at the football stadiums.

If you go to Mama Dip’s, get some sweet potato biscuits! And while you’re in Chapel Hill, stop by Maple View Dairy for some ice cream (I like the double chocolate).

Oooh, yes–Maple View is a short drive from my mom’s house, and we try to stop there whenever we visit. They also sell the world’s best chocolate milk.

And I can’t believe I forgot about the Eno Festival.


Oops, I should have searched. :smack: I’m going to print out that old thread for reference.

The Eno Festival looks like a lot of fun. That should take care of a whole day of the vacation. Some of the crafts on the website are just gorgeous! And I’m already drolling with the idea of sweet potato biscuits at Mama Dip’s!

Oh, yeah. Their chocolate milk is unbelievable. Just a warning–if you have their chocolate milk, you will never be able to drink any other chocolate milk. It is the One True Chocolate Milk.

I’m only ten minutes away from Maple View. :cool:

Well, I’ll have to provide the dissenting opinion on Mama Dip’s - ever since they moved to their newer location, it’s gone downhill. The food is not that great and very overpriced for what you get. The last time we went - and it will be the last time ever - I was still hungry after eating my meal, and I am a 120-lb, 5’ 2" woman. So beware.

Also, if you will be in Raleigh, Chapel Hill is 40 miles and 45 minutes to an hour away, so if you want to maximize your time, you may either want to a) skip going over there altogether or b) plan on spending the whole day.

If you do want to go to Chapel Hill, I’d recommend Allen and Sons barbecue instead. It’s closer to Maple View too.

For the 4th, you might also want to consider the free concert the North Carolina Symphony gives at the Amphitheater in Regency Park in Cary. There will be fireworks and you can also bring your own food and drink if you like.

Interesting! I went there about six months ago, and thought it was far improved over the times I went there as a child/teenager. I had way more food than I needed, and it wasn’t quite as lardy, and the prices were very reasonable. If you want overpriced faux-Southern, check out Crook’s Corner: the sign is pretty much the only thing that place has going for it.

Can’t argue with that. I’m pseudovegetarian these days, but I have very fond memories of going there as a kid.

I’ve never been to Crook’s Corner, but to hear some tell it, it’s the mecca of Southern Food, though personally I doubt it. The menu looks a bit pricey to me! Real southern food is cheap and they should give you lots of it. And that’s all I got to say about that :). I’m glad your experience was better than mine. The last time we went was not all that long after they had moved. Maybe enough people complained that they improved things a bit.

People in this area do seem to rave about certain restaurants that have turned out, at least to me, to be pretty underwhelming.

Yay! A link to a thread that I started. I feel so special.

Maybe we should have a non-NC Dopers’ Dopefest in Raleigh that weekend. I *think *I’ll be in town then too. Unless **MagicEyes **keeps mentioning the copperheads!

My wife and I went there once, when we’d first met, and we spent dinner bickering over Clinton’s foreign policy like a couple of dorky fools. That may influence my low opinion of the food. But the entree I got was twenty bucks for a tiny aesthetically-pleasing tower of fish and undercooked vegetables; it was nothing like Southern.

The Triangle has some great restaurants in it, but I agree: it’s got a lot of dogs, too, and there’s plenty of folks who can’t tell the difference (or at least who disagree with me–I thought Akuni Sushi or whatever it’s called was dreadful.)


You mean Akai Hana? I like Akai Hana. Maybe I don’t have very good taste in sushi. I like Charlie’s, too, and it seems like no one else does.

I never went to Mama Dip’s before it moved, so I can’t compare. I don’t think the food is really fabulous, but I’ve never gone away hungry. I have the opposite problem–I usually can’t finish a meal there. And the sweet potato biscuits are very nice. I’ll second Allen and Son (I usually go to the one on 15/501, but the food’s probably the same). Greasy hush puppies–yum yum! I haven’t been to Crook’s Corner–I’m not sure I’d like the food, but I’ve heard good things about their desserts.

taxi78cab, it’s not like the copperheads hang out on the street corners and assault innocent people as they walk by. (That feels very Far Side–gangs of snakes in little leather jackets harassing pedestrians–“Hey, baby, I like the way you wiggle!”). I’ve never actually seen one, but they have been spotted in my neighborhood, which has a little more wildlife.

If anyone wants to get together on the 4th, I’ll be in town. We could meet at the festival or do something later.

MagicEyes, I can picture a Far Side cartoon with snakes hanging out on street corners. It’s great!

Unfortunately, now that I’ve said let’s get together, I’m rethinking the trip down. I’m pissed at my BF and don’t know if/when I’ll get down that way again. :frowning: If I do though, we’ll definitely have to make plans for at least a mini-Dopefest.

I agree, Crook’s Corner was sorely disappointing. Tables packed up against one another so you can barely move and forget a private conversation. Then greasy soup and bland cheese grits, and a huge bill.

It has nothing to do with southern cooking, but one of my favorite area restaurants is 518, in downtown Raleigh. It’s roughly Italian, and really yummy. My favorites are Stella’s Insalate and Steak and Cheese Polenta.