Phish

Saturday, Jun 18

Midtown Farmers Market

Saturday, Jun 18

Downtown Farmers Market

Wednesday, Jun 22

Def Leppard/Heart

Friday, Jun 24

Keith Urban

Saturday, Jun 25

Midtown Farmers Market

Saturday, Jun 25

Downtown Farmers Market

Wednesday, Jun 29

Haircut

Friday, Jul 1

Midtown Farmers Market

Saturday, Jul 2

David Gray

Sunday, Jul 3

Cirque du Soleil's Alegria

Wednesday, Jul 6

Downtown Farmers Market

Wednesday, Jul 6

Tim McGraw

Friday, Jul 8

Psychodelic Furs

Saturday, Jul 9

Midtown Farmers Market

Saturday, Jul 9

Downtown Farmers Market

Wednesday, Jul 13

O.A.R.

Thursday, Jul 14

Boz Scaggs/Michael McDonald

Friday, Jul 15

Iris Dement

Saturday, Jul 16

Midtown Farmers Market

Saturday, Jul 16

Plug-in 2011 Conference

Monday, Jul 18

John Butler/Gomez

Wednesday, Jul 20

Downtown Farmers Market

Wednesday, Jul 20

Nov
25

Raleigh’s Biggest Thanks

DT_snow Thanksgiving is a day where we like to reflect upon our fortunes and blessings. I don’t see too many civic-based lists, so here’s one man’s take. I am thankful for:

  1. A city where there is more to do than I a) have time for and b) can afford.
  2. The RBC Center. Until the 1986 opening of the Student Activities Center in Chapel Hill, the Triangle did not have an air conditioned space that could hold more than 2,300. The Smith Center is difficult for attendees and cannot be operated without major government subsidies. The RBC Center is an excellent, comfortable, convenient venue that made it possible for the area to have its first major pro sports franchise.
  3. The 440 Beltline. Sure it acts like a sieve to outer/inner traffic transitions, but if you ask Charlotteans they will talk at great length about how hard it is to get around a city with just city streets.
  4. Clean water at a good pressure piped right into my house. How much harder would our lives be if we had to boil river water any time we needed it?
  5. Live sports on an HDTV. I love watching basketball, hockey, and football on a big TV. In some ways it is better than going to the game.
  6. A strong Y-Guides Program. Several decades ago the Raleigh YMCA established a local Indian Guides program which gave fathers and sons chances to do projects and spend wholesome time together. The program was a wild success, adding a father/daughter program. Together they are, by far, the largest Y-Guides programs in the nation. Dallas’ is a distant second.
  7. Lex Alexander. Many years ago Lex Alexander established a small grocery store in Durham called Wellspring. It was such an excellent outlet for ingredients for chefs, that it acted as a magnet, attracting chefs such as Ben Barker and Scott Howell to that are. The roaring success of Durham’s restaurant scene has spilled over giving Raleigh its own chapter in the area’s nationally recognized dining market.
  8. Everett Case, Dean Smith, and Mike Krzyzewski. These three weren’t the only factors in making the Triangle the capital of college basketball, but they were the most important at each of the area schools.
  9. Excellent shopping options. Whenever I travel to a smaller market I am constantly stunned by how few shopping options there are. If there is a good retail outlet, it is often the only one of its type in a small market, leading to delays if the item is out of stock. Sure, there is interesting stuff in the major shopping markets, but in the modern era I don’t find myself coveting retail finds in major markets like I used to.
  10. Strong youth sports programs. While the odds of becoming a professional athlete are slim for an area child, the opportunities offered by Raleigh Parks and Recreation, the YMCA, American Legion, and Boys and Girls Clubs are an important opportunity for children to learn how to work on a team and hone a skill.
  11. A great variety of music venues. In the area we have a plethora of music venues that is as good as almost every other market in the country.
  12. sparkchalk Downtown festivals. Annual events like Artsplosure, Sparkcon, Hopscotch, Raleigh Wide Open, and more are doing an excellent job of attracting people downtown and allowing them to create their own experiences. These events are important in building a sense of community. (the chalk drawing to the right was just one of the many fantastic works that appeared during SparkCon.)
  13. A stock of old buildings. Raleigh never had much industrial growth so its stock of old buildings, whether office or industrial, is not large. However the city has done an adequate job of of keeping its stock, offering some variety. Many other cities have torn down all of their old buildings resulting in a lack of character.
  14. The beach is only 2 hours away. Think of how many nice areas to live are within 2 hours of an ocean. There aren’t many!
  15. Stadium seating in movie theaters. I’m not the tallest person, and now I don’t have to crane my head because some giraffe is sitting in front of me.
  16. Ubiquitous internet access. The growing coverage of Wifi in Raleigh and the competing cell phone networks have made our options for communication, music streaming, and news reporting mushroom. The thought of listening to terrestrial radio is so foreign to me that I can’t remember relying on it.
  17. Chick-Fil-A. People who live in an area without a Chick-Fil-A are missing America’s best fast food experience.
  18. Cars and light traffic. I honestly love being able to get out of my seat and get to a post office, a hardware store, and a computer store on my terms, quickly, and comfortably. While I-40 is something I don’t like, traffic in the Raleigh is generally pretty good, especially inside the beltline where there are numerous options for moving from point A to point B.
  19. RDU Airport. We are lucky to have an excellent airport in the area. Movement through the terminals is efficient, they are clean, and the routes offered a good for a city this size.
  20. North Hills. The North Hills Mall was in terrible shape when John Kane purchased it. His speculative plan to replace the mall with a lifestyle center serves as an excellent example to other developers that something other than a boring strip mall can survive here. North Hills isn’t perfect, but it is outstanding compared to the other renovation/replacement ideas that were being considered.
  21. Plumbing! “Pipes the $%^& right out of your house!” (History of the World)
  22. Civil obedience. We want Raleigh’s crime rate to be lower, but generally we live in a society that respects others’ rights, property, and authority. Without those we have no value.
  23. The Wake County Public Schools. It’s been a rough couple of years, but in all honesty the school system here is as good as the child and his/her parents want it to be. Not all cities can say that.
  24. Curb & Gutter and Sidewalks. There are some excellent neighborhoods in Raleigh that don’t have curb and gutter, and I wouldn’t consider living in any of them. Sidewalks really make a neighborhood valuable.
  25. Local blogs. I honestly appreciate all of the other local-based blogs, and am very upset when one shuts down. We all have our own approaches, and no one site can do it all. Luckily we have quite a collection of interesting sites like (in no particular order): The Raleigh Connoisseur, Goodnight Raleigh, Raleigh Skyline, NewRaleigh, The Downtown Living Advocates, Raleigh MSA, Raleighing, the Raleigh Downtowner, Triangle Modernist Houses, VarmintBites, OvertheTop/InsidetheBeltline, GlutenFreeRaleigh, LiveWorkPlay, ITBInsider, The Independent, and many more! (If I omitted anyone, it is an accident. Please let me know because you are all important to our experience here in Raleigh!)

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6 Comments

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  • Chris Said:

    Definitely thankful for the RBC Center. NHL Hockey in Raleigh! Love it! Especially as I was at game 7!!

    Our Celiac support group blog, raleighcelkids.com, is a great blog for all Celiacs in the Triangle.

  • Chris@raleighing Said:

    Great post, Dana! Agree with everything. I’d call out Greg Hatem specifically for the restoration/preservation of many of our old buildings and for having the vision years ago of what DT Raleigh could be.

    Also thankful that John Kane just let someone paint their North Hills storefront a color other than beige! (Hayley’s). Things are getting better ’round here all the time!

  • Dana Said:

    Yeah, you are right on all counts. I’ll add the Hatem mention I should have included all along.

  • Jedidiah Gant Said:

    Thanks Dana. Have a great Thanksgiving. The local blog scene is one of the many things that keeps this place running.

  • Mandy Said:

    Nice post, Raleigh is the bomb and we have lots of things to be proud of! I have alocal blog too, demandy.com – restaurant reviews for the Triangle. :)

  • SubwayScoundrel Said:

    1. RBC and Canes Hockey. Love being a pro sports city

    2. RTP Say what you want about large office campuses in the middle of nowhere but it is the reason Raleigh and the Triangle is not just a college and gov city(s). It is the reason the Triangle is a tech area (Thank IBM) and a Biotech area (Thanks to Burroghs Welcome and then Claxo)

    3.Downtown. It will only get better as long as some “anti” people don’t wreck it or under the importance and the move of cities from suburbia to more urban.

    4. The beginning of an entreneur society. OK, so it is not San Jose, but you see it in the biotech industry and you see in younger people with restaurants and such.

    5. Neomonde – Just love the place

    6. And yes, RDU airport. After flying around the world multiple times, I am always grateful to come back to a well run airport which is my home airport

    7. And that my family lives within 4 eixts of each other and I can see them when I want to and don’t see them when I don’t.

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