Take an Amtrak Getaway to…Durham

20150925-448Looking for an adventurous weekend getaway? One option many haven’t considered is right under our noses: taking Amtrak to Durham. My wife and I did this urban excursion back in the Fall and had a fantastic experience. Not only were we able to take an unfamiliar mode of transportation and avoid heavy traffic, but we were able to explore a culinary playground for what felt like the first time. Our one-night excursion included a night at the incredible 21c Hotel, drinks in the 21c’s bar, dinner at Mateo, and late-night drinks on the roof of The Durham Hotel.

So packing your rolling suitcase! Here’s how to do make it fun and easy:


Taking the train to Durham made the trip really feel like we were getting away from it all. Had we driven, it would have felt like just another trip to Durham. Amtrak is scheduled to leave Raleigh each day at 4:50pm and the fare is $9 per person.

Parking is less than ideal at the Raleigh train depot. Though it is free, the lot is very small, and overflow means parking on the street. The alternative is departing from Cary where the terminal is spotless, parking is outstanding. The train leaves at 5:03pm each day from Cary, and fare is $6.50 per person.

The problem with departing from Cary, though, is that you skip the great experience of leaving from downtown Raleigh. You definitely want to sit on the right side of the train, because the views as you depart downtown Raleigh, passing by the new train depot construction site, through NCSU, by the backs of Hillsborough street businesses, and by the NC State Fairgrounds, is superior to that on the left side of the train.

It should be noted that Amtrak runs late the majority of the time. Thankfully they have an outstanding phone app which accurately reports the train’s status. It is a must when traveling on Amtrak.

Usually this train doesn’t sell out, so you can buy a ticket at the depot upon arriving. Seating on the train is general admission, though, so it does help to be first in line at the designated steps when the train is loading. All seat rows have a standard pair of electrical outlets under the window, and the seating dimensions are similar to those in First Class on a large airplane. Baggage is loosely stored overhead, not checked.

if the train is running late, you can walk across the tracks to visit Videri Chocolate Factory or Boxcar Bar + Arcade. CAM is also an option on some days, as they are open until 6:30pm on Wed-Fri. If you are in Cary and the train is late, consider visiting the shops in the Ashworth Drugs block.


20150925-464Durham has three outstanding hotels: The Aloft, The Durham, and the incredible 21c Hotel. The latter two hotels are just two blocks from the Amtrak station, while the aloft is adjacent to the DPAC, essentially 4 blocks away. The scheduled arrival is 5:24pm, so you should have plenty of time to check in and prepare for dinner.

The Aloft– As with most Aloft hotels, the rooms are modern, certainly adequate, but not high end. This location just opened 6 months ago, and I’ve heard a good first hand report about the couple’s stay. Rooms are usually $160 per night.

The Durham Hotel – Set in an old office building that looks like it came out of 1960s Miami, The Durham delivers a high end experience in incredibly minimalist rooms. Nightly rates begin at $290.

20150925-454The 21C Museum Hotel – Named as one of the best new hotels in the nation in 2015, the 21c is set in the 1930s era Hill Building, Durham’s tallest. The public areas of the building have been converted to a restaurant, a bar, and several rooms of museum space. The front desk area is tucked away on the second floor, but that only ads to the intrigue of the place. The rooms are large, and terrazzo floors and rugs, modern furniture, and neat lighting. The bathrooms look like something from a Stanley Kubrick movie, glowing fuchsia backlighting around the edges of the mirror. Very sexy. Rooms at the 21C begin at $240. Note: the hotel has a construction site across the street, so request a room on the west side of the building if you can.

Make no mistake, these are three high fashion hotels. The 21C has a spa and workout room. The Aloft is the only one with a pool, but it is very small. The Durham has no similar amenities. This is the area where these three hotels are sorely lacking, honestly.


20150925-470There are some outstanding dining options within a four block walk of these hotels. We walked 2 blocks to Mateo, the creation of James Beard award-nominated chef Matt Kelly. The dinner was impressive, which comes as no surprise given the reputation of the restaurant. Last week Alton Brown gave high praise on Facebook, calling Mateo America’s best tapas restaurant. As of now, you can still have a decent choice of times on Open Table one week in advance.

20150925-467Over at The Durham, James Beard award-winning chef Andrea Reusing’s new lobby-filling The Restaurant has received high praise from the highest of area food snobs.

The 21c’s Counting House restaurant, Pizzeria Toro, Rue Cler, Piedmont, Dashi, Bull City Burger and Brewery, and Dos Perros are all excellent dining choices as well.


Our “pregame” events included cocktails at the excellent bar in the 21c. We were able to peruse the art gallery; a wonderful experience. After the meal at Mateo we made our way two blocks to The Durham’s rooftop bar. Views here are very good, and it gave us a chance to experience the neat, quirky aspects of this hotel project. The atmosphere at the top was certainly the most Glenwood South-like experience of the evening, however.

20150925-478Some other good bar options inside the Durham Loop are Alley Twenty Six, Bar Virgile, and Arcana Bar and Lounge.


Admittedly, our trip was a food-based one, however there are some great entertainment options in downtown Durham including a DPAC or Carolina Theater event, a Durham Bulls game, or even a public event at the American Tobacco complex. While these are great options, the Amtrak factor must not be forgotten. Many of these events begin before 8pm and given Amtrak’s history, it could put a squeeze on dinner plans or even jeopardize seeing a ticketed event. If you anticipate dinner and one of these events, prepare to compromise by abandoning the Amtrak option in the afternoon and just drive it.


One of the reasons this getaway is an adventure is that Durham is not the safest place on the planet. In fact Durham County is one of North Carolina’s three counties with a higher violent crime rate than any county in New Jersey. Its rate is 2.5X higher than Wake County’s.

I have had no problems, however my sister and her date did have a scary incident. On a warm night this winter, between the 21c and Mateo, they approached an oncoming group of about 20 young black males who, from across the street, yelled at them, mocking them as racists and making lewd suggestions. There were no other people around to help had the group decided to cross the street and be violent.

The streets are dark in downtown Durham, and sometimes are quiet. In 4 nights of going out inside the Durham Loop, I have never seen a police officer. While the crime rate inside the Loop is probably not nearly as high as the county’s rate, the people creating that rate are not far away. This needs to change, now. Downtown Durham is poised to be the next Big Thing in the nation, as long as people feel safe. The population on the street is changing this spring, however, as the general population walking around patronizing businesses on a given weekend night is steadily increasing during warm weather nights.

Return Trip

There are two options for your return trip on Amtrak; 9:42am and 2:42pm. The early train is good for those who need to get on back to Raleigh, but the afternoon train is the way to go. Regardless, check the Amtrak app upon waking and see how the trains are running. (we made the mistake of hurrying to the station only to learn that the early train was delayed 2 hours).


There are some great lunch spots in downtown Durham. The most popular is Dame’s Chicken & Waffles, reported to be “the real deal”. Another great option, however, is Parker & Otis, which is 2 blocks west of the Amtrak station. P&O is a great café and gift shop like none in Raleigh.

Some other excellent lunch options include Toast, Old Havana Sandwich Shop, Luna Rotisserie and Empanadas, Pizzeria Toro, Dashi, Bull City Burger and Brewery, and Dos Perros .

* * *

Sometimes we all need a getaway. Unfortunately we find ourselves turning to the same old options, many of which involve multiple-night stays and a considerable amount of difficult driving. However random adventures can be just as exhilarating. Consider a great option that is right in our backyard; the Amtrak Getaway to Durham.



Fury 325 Test Run POV Hits Internet

Carowinds’ Fury 325 will open this summer as the 5th tallest roller coaster in the world, and will be the most discussed coaster on the continent this year. On Wednesday the track saw its unmanned maiden voyage. A point-of-view camera was mounted and footage is now posted on YouTube.

The 325’ high coaster is 20’ taller than the Statue of Liberty, and will be the highest and fastest for Bolliger & Mabillard. The firm known for engineering the smoothest coasters ever built sees itself well into the 300 foot zone with this coaster. It’s a zone that Intamin has dominated over last decade and a half. Hopefully B&M can bring their brand of well-managed lateral Gs to this class of coasters.

Looks like some track tuning still remains as well as much landscaping. It appears the coaster has a fantastic fine del capo under the pedestrian plaza followed by a splashdown into a lake. This should be a dynamite addition to the NC side of Carowinds, and will attract visitors from around the world to this hidden gem of a park.


Austin: Discovering Uchi

IMG_20130704_122029After leaving the dreadful remnants of Terminal 1 in Raleigh, we landed in Nashville to change planes. Nashville has a reputation of being one of America’s cities with the most personality. However their airport is one of the blandest I’ve ever seen. The food selection exists as a 4-store food court, O’Charley’s, and the Gibson Cafe. Of course, we did the latter and it wasn’t anything to rave about.

Landing in Austin, however, one is greeted by an airy steel and glass room, a live band, and a good food selection. The Austin terminal feels like Raleigh’s Terminal 2 concourse, but isn’t as beautiful. There is one arc-shaped concourse, and the ticketing and concourse areas are essentially one big room  separated by a glass wall and a split level offset. Very unusual.

IMG_20130704_175723We headed straight to Uchi, one of America’s most celebrated restaurants. Chef Tyson Cole is a Top Chef, James Beard, and Nation’s Restaurant News award winner, and Uchi carries a rare “29” Zagat score. Known as the “Sushi Capital”, the understated little house on South Lamar doesn’t disappoint. We got Miso, Panko Fried Green Tomatoes, the steak special, the shag roll, and the tempra shrimp roll. (We stuck with cooked items because I have spent enough time in microbiology class that I’m not eating anything out of the world’s toilet without cooking it). What was so impressive was Cole’s blending of flavors and layering of flavors. For instance the Miso wasn’t just broth with a little green onion, it had a nice, sweet seaweed flavor to it.

The steak special was just that, special. A top quality flank steak, cherries, sunchoke, and ramps on a sunchoke purée. The blend was delicious, and the ramps added that little punch the dish needed given the understated sunchoke flavor in the purée.

The salmon roll was fantastic as well. It includes avocado, sun-dried tomato, cilantro, watercress, and sits on a mild mustard based sauce. The sauce was the notable point of excellence. Once again, flavors are blended so well, no one stands out and the dish becomes more than the sum of its parts.



Austin: Why Austin?

I’ve always been fascinated by cities and development. The product that a particular culture builds is fascinatingly different than another culture’s product. All cities have their own signature, however there is always an interesting compare/contrast exercise that can be performed between two cities.

Cities are shaped by their people, an expression chiefly made of ancestry, geography, and climate. For instance, where non-swampy land was a premium, Mahatten development started as urban and stayed that way. Raleigh, on the other hand, started with the urban Christmas pattern, but quickly morphed into an irregular, land gobbling pattern once the city grew out Wake Forest Road and Hillsborough Street over a century ago. It’s easy to understand how cities can be similar and different, however there are always surprises.

My best friend from high school and her husband moved to Austin, TX from Los Angeles about 6 years ago and they love it there. As a Raleigh development enthusiast, I’ve heard much about Austin. Austin, like Raleigh, is a government town with the state’s largest university. It, like Raleigh, was a pretty sleepy government town until the ’60s as big sisters Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio scraped up all of the oil money and beat their chests to the rest of the world.

Like Raleigh, Austin is a political town, and is the largest collection of people leaning to the left and/or creative young adults in a state full of conservatives with traditional values. The unusual position in which these cities find themselves leads many to feel that Austin is like “a big Raleigh”. So with a close friend there, a voracious appetite for Mexican food, and a comparison project, I’m headed to Austin! (Cue the food network non-descript bump music.)

More, including my visit to one of America’s best sushi restaurants, coming soon!



Summer Bringing Great Triangle Concerts

concertSummer is just around the corner, and that means another great concert season in Raleigh. From now until the end of September, there is a slew of music and comedy shows guaranteed to ramp up the fun rate in the area. Once again, there are very few dates between now and mid-June that have no event scheduled, so save up, and get out of the house!

There are 100s of good entertainment options coming this summer. The best 85 of the music options (as of today) are assembled below. All of these events appear individually in the gogoraleigh Do-It Calendar with venue information, so you can easily add any event to your personal calendar.

Date Event
4/18 Alton Brown
4/18 Bob Mould Band
4/19 Chris Tucker
4/19 The Marshall Tucker Band
4/19 Billy Bragg
4/21 B.B. King
4/24 Sarah Silverman
4/25 Jillian Michaels
4/26 Barry Manilow
4/27 Styx/REO Speedwagon/Ted Nuget
4/27 Bob Seger
5/2 Bob Dylan/Dawes
5/3 Rush
5/4 Lyle Lovett/Delta Rae
5/4 Tim McGraw
5/6 Airborne Toxic Event
5/7 Smashing Pumpkins/AWOLNATION
5/7 Il Divo
5/8 Band of Horses
5/8 Boz Scaggs
5/8 Imagine Dragons/Paper Route
5/10 Amy Schumer
5/12 Josh Ritter
5/12 Carol Burnett
5/12 Robert Randolph
5/14 Alkaline Trio
5/17 Titus Andronicus
5/17 Los Lobos
5/18 Artsplosure
5/23 Kenny Chesney
5/30 James McCartney
5/30 LeAnn Rimes
5/31 Everclear/Live/Filter/Sponge
6/1 Best Coast
6/1 Flobots
6/4 Dropkick Murphys
6/5 Japandroids
6/5 Kevin James
6/7 The Postal Service/Ra Ra Riot
6/8 Brad Paisley
6/8 Widespread Panic
6/9 Widespread Panic
6/10 The National/Dirty Projectors
6/11 Passion Pit/Cults
6/13 Lumineers/Cold War Kids
6/15 Glen Hansard
6/20 Warren Haynes/NC Symphony
6/21 Zac Brown Band
6/22 Heart/Jason Bonham
6/22 One Direction
6/23 Kendrick Lamar
6/29 Indigo Girls
6/30 Gladys Knight/The O’Jays
7/6 Rachael Yamagata
7/6 Valient Thorr
7/7 Big Time Rush/Victoria Justice
7/9 Harry Connick, Jr.
7/10 Quidam Opens
7/11 Black Keys/Flaming Lips
7/13 Luke Bryan
7/21 OAR
7/23 Black Crowes/Tedeschi Trucks
7/26 Keith Urban
7/27 Lil Wayne/TI
7/28 Barenaked Ladies/Ben Folds Five/Guster
7/31 Jonas Brothers
8/3 Sheryl Crow
8/3 Bruce Hornsby
8/7 Goo Goo Dolls/Matchbox Twenty
8/9 Blake Shelton
8/16 Slightly Stoopid
8/17 Tift Merritt
8/24 Miranda Lambert/Dierks Bentley
9/3 Iron Maiden/Megadeath
9/5 Hopscotch Music Festival
9/5 John Mayer/Phillip Phillips
9/6 Pink Martini
9/6 Hopscotch Music Festival
9/7 Hopscotch Music Festival
9/8 Hopscotch Music Festival
9/10 Maroon 5/Kelly Clarkson
9/13 Jason Aldean
9/13 Taylor Swift
9/18 Steely Dan
9/20 Mary Wilson of the Supremes
9/24 City and Colour
9/25 Fun/Tegan & Sara
9/27 IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass Festival
9/27 Rascal Flatts/The Band Perry
9/28 IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass Festival

Pondering Greensboro’s Future

Growing up in Raleigh I’ve had several occasions to do things in Greensboro, especially in the Coliseum area. During my lifetime Greensboro seemed to get all of the great concerts, got great stores before Raleigh, and got to host the ACC Tournament. For many, many years there were real reasons to not only visit Greensboro, but to live there over Raleigh.

Greensboro was a thriving mill town in the first half of last century, which led to the prolific growth of gorgeous classic neighborhoods. Hayes Barton is the bastard child of Irving Park in that regard, but even in the middle income areas there is a prodigious number of houses that were built before Suburbia kicked in. In that era Greensboro invested smartly in their road system, implementing many Wade Avenue type arteries around the older parts of the city. Around Greensboro’s city streets, traffic problems really only exist out in the Suburbian Battleground Avenue, a US1 North-esque sole artery north out of the city. When I-85 was planned, it was a no-brainer to include Durham and Greensboro, as they were thriving, productive cities, unlike Raleigh, the sleepy government town. As Raleigh quickly grew through the 70s and 80s, the two cities were relatively the same size and seemed to have a remarkable number of similarities.

We went to Greensboro for the Friday evening session of the ACC Tournament. Knowing that the Coliseum food is expensive and terrible, we opted to stop at a gas station for beer and stop at a downtown restaurant for take out before tailgating before the game.

While driving around downtown on a beautiful Friday afternoon we got to see downtown Greensboro at its most vibrant. “Dull” probably exaggerates the experience. I was stunned by the comparative lack of interesting restaurants, the lack of downtown bars, and the overall lack of people. There is definitely a vibe in downtown Raleigh, and there is definitely no vibe in Greensboro. This was the first time that it really struck me how much further along downtown Raleigh’s vitality is than Greensboro’s. The number of young people making something to do, creating a sense of place, and moving the city forward is just, scant. The difference is quite palpable.

The point isn’t to beat Raleigh’s chest and flame Greensboro at all. Rather, it struck me on this trip; where is Greensboro headed? Ultimately the I-85 spine will keep all of the cities on the string in fabulous shape. Asheville and Wilmington will exist as creative outposts, and the rest of the state will become severely depressed. I like to call the string of cities the “Carolina Crescent”. Charlotte, Greensboro, Durham, and Raleigh will be linked by better and better rail service, and the spine will be a magnet for all important growth moving forward. Much like our current thinking of the Triangle, the crescent will eventually be thought of as a “macrometro” as transportation improves.

So Greensboro has that going for it. The tech and information job push that is filling Raleigh’s sails currently will continue for a good while, but we have to be prepared for another wave; a wave that could change the economics of the city as much as the exodus of the textile industry changed Greensboro and Burlington.

The Triangle is the educational and technological center of the state. It has a strong Liberal voice with a strong interest in environment and humanism. Charlotte will continue to be the strongest financial center in the state, and seems to be the Conservative core of the state. What identity will Greensboro develop? Will industries polarize their presence in North Carolina to Charlotte and/or Raleigh and skip Greensboro even more than ever? It’s looking that way, and the lack of an interesting market sector to ages 25 to 35 has to be the deepest concern for Greensboro in the next 50 years. Much like Richmond, Greensboro stands as a city of yesterday, with no ascertainable uniqueness to tomorrow’s economy. Its future is seemingly more loaded with questions than with answers.

* * *

Oh, BTW, we got food to go from OPA!, the Greek restaurant. The lettuce from the salad was basically from a food service, the olive oil they used was cheap, the pita bread for my wife’s sandwich was stale, the marinade for my chicken kabob was extremely uninteresting, my accompanying vegetables were bland, and my platter did not come with pita bread. This restaurant definitely needs to pick up a copy of The Grecian Plate (Durham Greek Orthodox Church’s cookbook)! An astonishingly better meal for the same price can be had a Taverna Agora; just so you know!


Pre-Flight Parking Shutting Down

The folks at Pre-Flight Parking near RDU informed me last night that the site is no longer taking new parkers, and will be closing as soon as the last car is claimed. Apparently within the last week the company that owns Fast Park bought out the Pre-Flight location last week. (A couple of employees said that they offered Pre-Flight employees $2 less per hour, too).

So, it appear that there are now only three alternatives for parking at RDU:

  • RDU: $12/day – Park across the street from either terminal
  • FastPark Parking: $5.45/day – No walking, covered parking, complimentary car wash, bus delivery from your parking spot to terminal front door.
  • District Drive Park & Ride: Free – Ride TTA’s bus ($2 each way, exact change) Route 100 (.pdf). Note that this option is only convenient for late morning/early afternoon arrivals and departures. Lot is not under surveillance, but there is security-by-obscurity in a safe area.

Steve Martin/Steep Canyon Rangers/Edie Coming to Greensboro

On Friday, May 31, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, featuring Edie Brickell will play the Greensboro War Memorial Auditorium. Ticket presale is on now (password: LOVE) at Ticketmaster.


HGTV Unveils Kiawah Dream Home

One of the great events of New Years is the HGTV Dream Home special. This year’s house is at Kiawah Island, near Charleston, SC. While this isn’t Raleigh, per se, it is the first Dream Home since 2006’s Lake Lure house that is within driving distance of Raleigh.

Set in the buggy marshlands of Kiawah, the house features 3 bedrooms and one living noise space. The house appears to be well built, and would be a great getaway a few times a year for Raleighites! You can enter to win this house thru February 15.

HGTV will run their Dream Home 2013 special three times:

  • Tonight (Jan 1) at 7pm
  • Tomorrow (Jan 2) at 6pm
  • January 11 at 6pm

Chef & Farmer Featured in Garden & Gun

GardenandGun1012Congratulations to Kinston’s Chef & Farmer restaurant for being featured in the October issue of Garden & Gun. The (great) magazine’s “Good Eats 2012” article opens with a backdrop of an Ashley Christensen-cooked meal, and moves through John T. Edge’s favorite 10 dishes of the year. Among the feature dishes is the Chef & Farmer’s Tomato Sandwich. Looks like a road trip is in the works…


100 Great Concerts Coming to Raleigh

The WaltSummer is just around the corner, and that means another great concert season in Raleigh. From now until the end of September, there is a slew of shows guaranteed to ramp up the fun rate in the area. In fact, there are very few dates between now and mid-June that have no event scheduled, so save up, and get out of the house!

There are 100s of good entertainment options coming this summer. The best 100 of them (as of today) are assembled below. Click the venue name for ticket information, opening acts, directions, and more.

In addition, soon, all of these events will appear individually in the gogoraleigh DoIt Calendar, so you can easily add any event to your personal calendar.

Date   Event Location
4/6   Alabama Shakes Cat’s Cradle
4/7   Daughtry Greensboro Coliseum
4/7   Loretta Lynn DPAC, Durham
4/7   We Were Promised Jetpacks Motorco Music Hall Durham
4/9   Joan Osborne Lincoln Theater, Raleigh
4/10   Kevin James DPAC, Durham
4/11   Daniel Tosh DPAC, Durham
4/11   Magnetic Fields Cat’s Cradle
4/12   Magnetic Fields Cat’s Cradle
4/13   Lewis Black DPAC, Durham
4/14   Lambchop Motorco Music Hall Durham
4/14   Martina McBride DPAC, Durham
4/15   Cake Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater
4/15   Patti Labelle DPAC, Durham
4/17   Mickey Hart Cat’s Cradle
4/18   !!!/Shabazz Palaces Motorco Music Hall Durham
4/18   Buddy Guy Carolina Theatre
4/18   World Series of Comedy Begins Goodnights Comedy Club Raleigh
4/19   Drive-By Truckers Cat’s Cradle
4/21   Amy Ray Carolina Theatre
4/21   Dayglow Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater
4/21   Van Halen/Kool & The Gang Greensboro Coliseum
4/23   Candlebox Lincoln Theater, Raleigh
4/25   Bela Fleck & The Flecktones Memorial Hall (UNC)
4/26   Needtobreathe Memorial Auditorium, Raleigh
4/26   Tommy Johnagin begins Goodnights Comedy Club Raleigh
4/28   Sugarland Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion
4/29   Elvis Costello DPAC, Durham
4/29   The Beach Boys Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater
4/29   The English Beat Cat’s Cradle
5/2   Mayer Hawthorne Lincoln Theater, Raleigh
5/2   Nick Lowe/Tift Merritt Fletcher Opera Theater, Raleigh
5/3   Feist Memorial Auditorium, Raleigh
5/5   Beach House Cat’s Cradle
5/9   Esperanza Spalding Carolina Theatre
5/10   Greg Morton Goodnights Comedy Club Raleigh
5/11   Kevin Hart Greensboro Coliseum
5/11   Mike Doughty Carolina Theatre
5/11   Ryan Montbleau Lincoln Theater, Raleigh
5/11   Zac Brown Band Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion
5/12   Archers of Loaf King’s Barcade, Raleigh
5/12   B-52s/ Band Together Benefit Booth Amphitheatre, Cary
5/12   Spiritualized Cat’s Cradle
5/13   Coheed and Cambria Lincoln Theater, Raleigh
5/13   New Edition PNC Arena
5/15   Madeleine Peyroux Carolina Theatre
5/16   Collective Soul Lincoln Theater, Raleigh
5/16   Jonny Lang Carolina Theatre
5/17   Rhett Miller ArtsCenter, Carrboro
5/18   Dar Williams ArtsCenter, Carrboro
5/18   Dierks Bentley Greensboro Coliseum
5/19   David Allan Coe Lincoln Theater, Raleigh
5/22   Jane’s Addiction/The Duke Spirit Memorial Auditorium, Raleigh
5/23   St. Vincent Cat’s Cradle
5/26   The Polyphonic Spree Cat’s Cradle
5/27   Keith Sweat Greensboro Coliseum
5/29   Natalie Merchant Meymandi Hall, Raleigh
6/2   A Prairie Home Companion Booth Amphitheatre, Cary
6/2   Yanni Memorial Auditorium, Raleigh
6/3   Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers DPAC, Durham
6/8   Lady Antebellum/D. Rucker/T. Square Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion
6/12   Gavin DeGraw/Colbie Caillat Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater
6/15   Apassionata begins PNC Arena
6/17   Anita Baker DPAC, Durham
6/21   Aziz Ansari Meymandi Hall, Raleigh
6/22   The Wailers The Longbranch, Raleigh
6/24   Vince Gill DPAC, Durham
7/6   The Jacksons Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater
7/8   Crosby, Stills & Nash DPAC, Durham
7/9   Hot Tuna ArtsCenter, Carrboro
7/9   Roger Waters PNC Arena
7/11   Furthur Booth Amphitheatre, Cary
7/12   Barenaked Ladies/Blues Traveler/Big Head Todd/Cracker Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater
7/13   Best Coast Cat’s Cradle
7/14   Everclear/Sugar Ray/Gin Blossoms/Lit/Marcy Pground Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater
7/14   Neko Case NCMA Amphitheater, Raleigh
7/15   Toby Keith Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion
7/22   KISS/Motley Crue Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion
7/25   311/Slightly Stoopid Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion
7/27   Jason Aldean Raleigh (venue TBD)
7/30   Nickelback/Bush Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion
8/1   Maze w/ Frankie Beverly Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion
8/1   Rod Stewart/Stevie Nicks Greensboro Coliseum
8/4   Little Feat Cat’s Cradle
8/5   Chicago/Doobie Brothers Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion
8/8   O.A.R. Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater
8/10   Rascal Flatts/Little Big Town Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion
8/11   ABBA Booth Amphitheatre, Cary
8/15   Cirque Du Soleil DRALION begins PNC Arena
8/18   George Jones DPAC, Durham
8/19   Jason Mraz Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion
8/21   Duran Duran DPAC, Durham
8/22   Big Time Rush/Cody Simpson Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion
8/24   Brad Paisley/The Band Perry/Easton Corbin Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion
8/25   Mary Chapin Carpenter NCMA Amphitheater, Raleigh
9/6   Hopscotch Music Festival Begins Downtown Raleigh venues
9/15   John Tesh Carolina Theatre
9/15   The Feelies Cat’s Cradle
9/29   Ian Anderson DPAC, Durham
9/29   The Fresh Beat Band Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater

The Pixies Coming to Greensboro

pixiesWith a new CD coming out in September, The Pixies are hitting the road this fall, and have planned a stop at Greensboro’s War Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday, November 8. Surfer Blood opens. The ticket presale is currently running (password DOOLITTLE) thru Thursday (7/14) at 10pm.

Note: the new CD coming September 6 will be a Black Francis solo CD with songs by him and Reid Paley. It will be named Paley & Francis.


Trip Report: Carowinds

carowinds_01Since the park’s opening in 1973, Carowinds has entertained people for much of the Charlotte area. The only problem is that the park didn’t stand up the offerings by other parks 4-5 hours up/down Interstate 85. Therefore it simply could not compete for customers beyond an hour’s drive away. Those days are over.

Built as a celebration of the Carolinas, Carowinds offered just the basics typically offered by a regional amusement park. Even with the acquisition by the Taft Corporation and later Paramount, the park remained the bastard child to siblings Kings Dominion, Great America, Kings Island, and Canada’s Wonderland. In 2006, however, the parks were all purchased by Cedar Fair, the operator of Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio), the coaster capital of the world. Cedar Fair acquisition isn’t always a blessing, as the company disbanded a nice Geauga Lake park in Aurora, OH. Rides from that park were sent to the remaining parks, including Carowinds. Luckily, though, Carowinds was the recipient of intense attention from Cedar Fair, and the park now stands as a peer to Kings Dominion, Busch Gardens, and Six Flags Over Georgia. In fact, the park has some advantages over each of those listed.

read more…

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