September 8 - September 12 2018
How I Got There
Once again, I was in town for work and arrived the weekend before to explore the city. I flew the friendly skies on a red eye from San Francisco directly into Raleigh airport.
Where I Stayed
I stayed at the State View Hotel, a part of the Autograph Collection on the campus of N.C. State University. When I booked the hotel I thought that the "state" referred to the Capitol, but it turned out that it refers to the state university. This hotel is really new, and it did not exist in the Autograph collection when this project started. It is located in the middle of the woods near the campus, and there is not quite a view of anything.
How I Got Around
Lyft, Uber, and Electric Scooters are all the rage in Raleigh and I was able to get around to most places with little trouble. They have a fairly regular bus system as well. Unfortunately my hotel was in the middle of no where so I took Lyft most places.
What I Did
The red eye got the best of me, so I arrived at around 6AM and immediately passed out until noon. In the afternoon I made my way downtown and stumbled upon a massive music festival. A couple of the streets were closed off, there were art stands all over the place and music was blaring up and down the streets of downtown Raleigh. I hung around and checked out the tunes. In between I visited the Raleigh City Museum, North Carolina State Museum, and the State Capitol. I topped off the trip with a hearty lunch of delicious Carolina BBQ.
I had dinner at the hotel, it was themed after a chemistry lab. The menu resembled my old O Chem notebook. I ordered a red fish, which was over seasoned and over cooked. They were out of most deserts. It was kind of a ghost town and there was a family of spiders crawling around overhead. However, the service was impeccable.
The next day I woke up and went to the farmers market near the University. This has got to be the best farmers market that I have ever been to. It is open all week long and has a great selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, treats, and a massive fried fish restaurant. I had a pile of clams, prawns, and scallops from the outer banks doused in a tarter sauce. Apparently, North Carolina produces wine, I tasted and picked up a bottle of Cabernet. I wandered around downtown for the rest of the day and had dinner at a fried chicken joint.
The rest of the week was full of the conference and meetings. Everyone around town was rushing around to get ready for the incoming hurricane. The highlight of the week was the life changing dinner that we had at Bida Manda which served Laotian cuisine. I can still taste the sea bass cooked in banana leaves.
What Was the Fuss
I was surprised at how much Raleigh had to offer. It's one of the greenest places that I've been to all year. It has a vibrant local arts, food, and culture scene. Several large companies call Raleigh Home, and the research triangle along with three great universities make the region appear to be the Silicon Valley of the South. The people I've talked to mentioned how much Raleigh has changed over the last few decades. As it continues to transform from a rural seat of government into a quickly growing city I will be curious to come back in a few years to see what else will change.