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Historic Yates Mill in Raleigh NCBy Leigh Hines; above photo by @OutaboutNC 

Greater Raleigh is modern in so many ways, and there is also a lot of history in the destination to see. With the help of N.C. Cultural Resources and Raleigh Historic, we put together a list of Greater Raleigh’s oldest sites. Many are open to the public for tours, and those that are not open to the public still make for great photo opps (think Instagram).

Yates Mill
Historic Yates Mill stands on a mill site in operation since ca. 1761 and part of the current mill may date to that time. The frame mill includes a number of generations of construction throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and gets its name from Phares Yates, who operated the mill from 1869 to 1948. The mill has been restored and now sits on a 174-acre county park. Learn more.

Joel Lane House in Raleigh

Photo by Leigh Hines

Joel Lane House
Built ca. 1770 by Joel Lane, an early settler of Wake County, the house is known as the birthplace of Raleigh as Joel Lane sold to the State of N.C. 1,000 acres of his plantation for the establishment of the capital city. The house was moved one-half block to its current site in 1913. In the winter months, the Joel Lane Museum House is open for tours on Sat. afternoons, with set times on the hour from 1-3pm. Beginning in Mar., tours are available Wed.-Sat. with special group tours on Sun. Learn more.

Lane-Bennett House
The Lane-Bennett House, also known as the Joe Bennett House, is a small, beautifully-finished Georgian-style house constructed in 1775 for Joseph Lane, the brother of Joel Lane, and was home to the Bennett family after the Civil War. In recent years it was enlarged with a small wing on the east gable end of the house. This house is now a private residence.

Photo by B.Fullington for N.C. Cultural Resources

Photo by B.Fullington for N.C. Cultural Resources

Mordecai House
This home is in the heart of downtown Raleigh and was once the site of Greater Raleigh’s largest plantations. It is also the birthplace of 17th President Andrew Johnson. Joel Lane built a one-and-a-half-story hall-parlor plan house for his son Henry in 1775, and in 1826, Henry’s daughter, Nancy Lane Mordecai, added the two-story Greek Revival-style section featuring a handsome two-tiered front porch designed by William Nichols, the English-born architect who had designed the State House (predecessor to the current North Carolina State Capitol). This is also the site of the Ellen Mordecai Garden. Learn more.

Haywood Hall House and Gardens
John Haywood, a long-time Treasurer of the State of N.C. during the late 18th and early 19th century, began construction of this fine Federal-style house ca. 1800 and its elaborate interior woodwork showcases the early architecture of the state. The house museum contains family portraits, original furnishings and a permanent doll collection. The gardens are open all year, and the house is open Mar.-Dec. and is a popular site for weddings. Learn more.

Crabtree Jones House
Built ca. 1810, the Crabtree Jones House, home of the influential Wake County Jones family, is one of the few remaining early Federal-style plantation houses left in the county. It is distinguished by its well-executed exterior and interior detailing, including marbleized baseboards and a Federal-style mantel with a landscape panel. The house was moved from its original site nearby to the north by Preservation North Carolina in 2014 to save it from demolition. The house is not open to the public.

State Bank of N.C.
The main branch of the State Bank of N.C., constructed in 1814 to house the bank as well as the banker’s residence, is Raleigh’s only surviving early 19th-century commercial building. The Federal-style building was executed in Flemish-bond brick with matching two-tiered classical porticos. In 1968, it was turned 90 degrees and moved 100 feet southeast from its original site to its current location. The bank is open during normal operating hours of the State Employees Credit Union.

Elmwood, built ca. 1813, is a Federal-style side-hall plan dwelling, two rooms deep and two-and-one-half stories tall, with a number of mid-nineteenth-century additions. It was built for John Louis Taylor, chief justice of the state’s first supreme court, and his wife Jane. Originally, the land between the house and Hillsborough St., now occupied by two buildings, was Elmwood’s front lawn. Elmood now serves as private offices.

White-Holman House
The original portion of the White-Holman House, built ca. 1798, is two stories in a side-hall plan and features stone foundations, modillion cornice and molded weatherboards and window sills that mark it as one of the best houses of its era in the area. In 1896 it was enlarged with the addition of the two-story gable-front wing on the east side of the house. It was moved from 209 E. Morgan St. in 1985. It is private and not open to the public.

Photo by: Leigh Hines

Photo by Leigh Hines

Click here to see a list of even more historic sites in Greater Raleigh

Leigh Powell Hines is founder of the N.C. travel community #outaboutnc on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Follow her the lifestyle and travel blog, Hinessightblog.

romantic restaurants in Raleigh. Fine dining By Leigh Hines; photos by @hinesightblog

Feb. is the time of year that Cupid strikes his bow and arrow and aims to bring out your romantic side. Greater Raleigh has exquisite options for dates, and here are five of many:

Dine at one of America’s most romantic restaurants
Raleigh is home to one of the most romantic restaurants in America. Second Empire Restaurant & Tavern (pictured above), a charming Second Empire-style mansion in, downtown, has been bestowed this honor by Open Table voters for 2015. For those who want to experience the gourmet cuisine on its formal menu, but do so in a less formal environment, the downstairs tavern at the restaurant allows diners to dine off of both menus. When Second Empire Restaurant & Tavern knows you’re celebrating a special event, expect a little something extra, so let them know those details in your reservations. Arrange for a carriage ride down Fayetteville St. before or after dinner.

chocolate at NC State Take a romantic stroll through Pullen Park and the campus of North Carolina State University (NCSU)
Dates don’t have to break the bank. Start your adventure with a little spin on the romantic and historic Victorian-era carousel at Pullen Park, enjoy a picnic basket by the lake with goodies that you bought from the nearby State Farmers Market, Raleigh, and be sure to stop by NCSU’s own Yates Mill Bakery at Tally Student Union to enjoy some NCSU-molded chocolate. Share a kiss under the striking Bell Tower that illuminates the color of love: red.

Dinner and a show
Be entertained with North Carolina Theatre’s production of Billy Elliot The Musical (2/10-15), Black Pearl Sings (2/6-22), presented by Theatre In The Park, or Casablanca (2/13-14), which will be presented on the big screen with Max Steiner’s Oscar-nominated score played live by the North Carolina Symphony. Before or after one of these shows, have a romantic dinner at Irregardless Cafe, which just celebrated its 40th anniversary and received the prestigious N.C. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award.

Let your heart beat to a different drum
Enjoy Greater Raleigh’s live music scene. Celebrate with coffee, sweets and a show by Danny Stanley (2/14) at Lorraine’s Coffee House, or enjoy swingin’ jazz at the Halle Cultural Arts Center with Lenore Raphael and Guests (2/14). Also, catch Shelby Merchant (2/14) at My Way Tavern in Holly Springs. The Raleigh area has a vibrant music scene, so be sure to check for the latest performances at all of the area’s live music venues. No doubt, Greater Raleigh has the most live music in N.C.

Bring out your artistic side
Declare your love the old-fashioned way, but with a modern twist, and create handmade valentines for each other over a glass of wine or craft beer at Art Bar. At a cost of $60 per couple, you can create something from your heart while having an unforgettable experience. Every Fri., the venue hosts an Art Party. You can also buy a bottle of your favorite wine or beer from an area wine and beer shop and paint a masterpiece together at Raleigh Wine & Design. It’s also a great way for singles to celebrate Cupid’s holiday, too. There are three Raleigh Wine and Design studios in Greater Raleigh (Wake Forest, Cary and downtown Raleigh).

Leigh Powell Hines is founder of the N.C. travel community #outaboutnc on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Follow her the lifestyle and travel blog, Hinessightblog.

The World's Largest Dinosaurs exhibition in Raleigh NCBy Leigh Hines

There’s something BIG in town, and you don’t want to miss it. I took the kids to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences recently to see The World’s Largest Dinosaurs, a new exhibition about the super-sized sauropods, the most colossal animals to walk the earth.

I’m not well-educated on dinosaurs at all. In fact, most of my knowledge comes from the public television show, Dinosaur Train. I knew dinosaurs were big, but man, that sauropod is BIG. Some sauropods reached lengths of 130 feet. This is a fun, educational exhibit that the whole family can enjoy. It’s not scary for little children at all, but I do think elementary-aged children would enjoy this exhibit the most. I have a five-year-old daughter, and she almost wanted to run through the exhibit quickly, however, the museum does an excellent job of keeping younger children engaged through interactive play areas. It’s fun to see if you can fit in the gigantic dinosaur footprint.

I personally got a big kick out of seeing how many greens the sauropods ate daily.

They weren’t kidding when they said BIG. Talk about an enormous salad bar.

The BIG highlight of the exhibition is the detailed model of a 60-foot-long Mamenchisaurus. You actually see this fellow breathe and watch him digest food. The World’s Largest Dinosaurs takes visitors beyond the bones and into the bodies of these titans, shedding light on how heart rate, respiration, metabolism and reproduction are linked to size.

Your future paleontologists (your kids!) will enjoy digging in the exhibition’s fossil pit before heading into the gift store where they can take home their own baby dinosaur (the soft and cuddly kind).

This is a ticketed-admission exhibition in the museum. Get $4 off adult tickets here! Tickets are free for museum members.

The World’s Largest Dinosaurs will run through Apr. 12. In conjunction with the exhibit, the museum is holding a special lecture series through Mar.

Follow Leigh Hines on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or visit her blog here: HinesSightBlog


Ice skating in downtown Raleigh; Photo courtesy of Ipreo Raleigh WinterfestBy Leigh Hines; Photo courtesy of Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest and Carolyn Scott Photography

Grab your family and hit the ice for a fun-filled afternoon of ice skating in downtown Raleigh before the ice “melts away.” You still have time before Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest closes for the season on Feb. 1.

Thousands of visitors have already enjoyed Raleigh’s only outdoor ice rink since it opened in late Nov. 2014 for the season. The Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest ice rink is located in City Plaza, situated on the southern end of the 400 block of Fayetteville St. The cost is $9 per person, and that includes skate rentals. Even if you have your own ice skates, admission will be the same cost. Children and adults are charged the same price to skate.

The Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest offers events and specials throughout the week. Fri. nights offer late-night skating with a DJ on-site. You can also skate late on Sat. nights. To view the full ice rink schedule, see the weekly schedule. Schedules can change quickly due to inclement weather so always check before heading out.

If the weather isn’t perfect, you can still have fun in the area! Within a few blocks, you’ll find Marbles Kids Musuem, lots of BIG dinosaurs at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and a look into blockbuster films made in North Carolina at the North Carolina Museum of History. There’s always something good playing at the Wells Fargo IMAX Theatre at Marbles, too. Check out the Greater Raleigh Museums section on to plan your agenda before or after ice skating.

Follow Leigh Hines on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or visit her blog here: HinesSightBlog

B.Good serves Farm to fork food from local N.C. farmers. By Leigh Hines

B.Good, a farm-to-fork restaurant serving fast food in a casual atmosphere, is the first of its kind in Greater Raleigh and North Carolina.

The concept behind this new restaurant is simple: Real food sourced from local farms.

And by the looks of the line of customers on a Fri. evening, people have been waiting for a place just like this to open in Greater Raleigh.

B.Good at North HillsSteve Woodward, Greater Raleigh’s B.Good owner, and the first person to bring the Boston-based franchise down South, fell in love with the restaurant’s core concept of serving food sourced from local farmers.

There are 17 B.Good locations in the Northeast, and with N.C. being a top farm-producing state, Woodward felt the time was right to open B.Good in Raleigh’s North Hills.

food fresh from farms at B.Good“A lot of people only think of farm-to-fork dining in a high-end environment, and B.Good shows that you can eat real food that is good for you at all price points,” remarked Woodward. “I’m so excited to be in North Hills.”

B.Good keeps its menu simple and farm-fresh. It specializes in burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads and Kale and quinoa bowls.

all-natural farm-fresh burgers at B.Good at North Hills ; dining in Raleigh, N.C. As soon as you walk into the restaurant, a map showcases where all the food served is sourced locally.

N.C. farmers who partner with B. Good are pictured on the wall. The all-natural, local, grass-fed beef comes from Harris-Robinette in Pinetops. Milkshakes are made with ice cream sourced from Maple View Farm in Hillsborough. The sweet potatoes for the delicious sweet potato fries are from Burch Farms in Faison. The farmer, whose photo also graces the wall, is the largest sweet potato producer in the state.

Farm fresh dining in Greater Raleigh, casual, fast foodGreater Raleigh brews are also served at B. Good. Selections can be found from Big Boss Brewing Company, White Street Brewing Company and Lonerider Brewing Company.

B.Good burgers are about five ounces and are priced at $6.99. Add a side of farm-fresh fries and a handcrafted natural soft drink, tea or lemonade for an extra $3.79. A kid’s meal with a side and drink is $5.99. A kid’s meal with a side and smoothie/milkshake is $7.99. B.Good also has gluten-free options for diners.

I love this restaurant, and as a parent, it’s nice to know that your kids are being served the best possible foods straight from N.C. farms.

b-good_local-beer-selectionsB.Good serves lunch and dinner daily at Midtown Park in North Hills shopping center at 201 Park at North Hills, #100.

Follow Leigh Hines on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or visit her blog here: HinesSightBlog

White Street Brewing Company seasonal aleBy Leigh Hines

It may be cold outside, but these Greater Raleigh seasonal brews are sure to keep you warm this winter. Gather with friends at the breweries where these beers are made and celebrate the tastes of the season.

FrostNipper, Aviator Brewing Company
A collection of fall spices. The beer is a bit darker than brown ale. There is a combination of Perle and Willamette hops that provides a contrasting intensity with the fall spices.

Holly Daze Holiday Ale, Bombshell Beer Company
This spiced holiday ale showcases ginger, cinnamon and sweet orange peel on the front. It finishes with subtle chocolate notes from the Carafa2 grain and spice notes from the Pacific Jade hops.

Midnight Brüe, Brüeprint Brewing Company
This seasonal stout will keep you warm with hints of coffee, chocolate and fruit.

Carolina Winter Porter, Carolina Brewing Company
This winter porter is a black ale brewed in the style of a robust American porter. It’s a balance of roasted malt flavor from black and chocolate malts combined with hop bitterness and citrus-like hop aroma from Cascade hops.

The Miller’s Toll Imperial Oatmeal Stout, Raleigh Brewing Company
This winter beer brewed with roasted coffee, chocolate and highlights of rich caramel is on tap at the brewery through Mar.

White Street Stout, White Street Brewing Company
This winter seasonal from Wake Forest is brewed with notes of mocha to the U.K. export style: opaque and hearty, but not overpowering.

Red Nose Winter Ale, Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing
The brewery starts with a classic American red ale and adds fresh ginger, orange peel and cinnamon. Like the winter season, it’s festive, warm-hearted, companionable and meant to be shared with your favorite folks.

Click through for a list of Greater Raleigh breweries, a Greater Raleigh Beer Trail map and more.

Follow Leigh Hines on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or visit her blog here: HinesSightBlog

things to do in Raleigh with kids, Color Me Mine Cary paint ceramics. By Leigh Hines

There’s a new spot in Cary’s Waverly Place that will allow you to put your own dazzle on your holiday gifts this year. Color Me Mine in Cary is a walk-in, paint-it-yourself ceramics studio for painters of all ages.

My children and I stopped in one afternoon and they both wanted to paint.

The setup is easy. You choose from an assortment of ceramics in categories marked on the wall. My daughter chose a rainbow bank from the kid’s section, whereas my son chose a reindeer plate from the seasonal section.

Kids and adults can paint ceramics at Color Me Mine in CaryYou choose about six colors, depending on what you are painting, and then you can get as creative as you want with your design.

From rainbows to ornaments, Color Me Mine offers a lot to paintFor younger children, you may want to start with smaller items because each piece really needs about three coats of paint.

Once you have finished your ceramic, you turn it in, and Color Me Mine will glaze it, fire it and call you when it’s ready. This process usually takes less than a week.

Color Me Mine is fun for kids in Greater Raleigh, Art and Painting You pick it up and you have a gift for yourself that shows your creativity or a gift for a loved one with a lot of handmade love in it.

Kids can be creative at Color Me Mine Color Me Mine has a monthly calendar filled with many activities, including Music Night, Kid’s Night Out, Ladies Night and couple date nights. If you are an inexperienced artist, Color Me Mine has stencils and rubber stamps and a design computer with thousands of designs that you can transfer on to your pieces and paint by numbers! Staff will always be there to help you.

Fun for all ages at Color Me Mine in Waverly PlaceThere is a painting fee, plus the cost of the ceramic. Special nights usually give a discount on the painting fee, which is usually $6 for kids and $10 for 13 and older.

My kids loved it so much that they are ready to do it again, and I have to admit that I wouldn’t mind painting something as well.

Follow Leigh Hines on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or visit her blog here: HinesSightBlog

The Nutcracker in Raleigh NCBy Leigh Hines; Photography by Chris Walt

There’s no doubt that Carolina Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker is a Raleigh holiday classic. The stunning ballet, which we highlighted earlier this month, will be performed at the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh, Dec. 19-28, for its 13th year. Click for tickets.

With the curtain about to open in Raleigh, we compiled 10 amazing facts about the production:

1. The Nutcracker was the first ballet Carolina Ballet creative director Robert Weiss ever saw (when he was five years old), which led him to pursue a career in ballet. He performed every male role in New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker (except the role of Drosselmeyer) as a student and then as dancer in the company

2. It took more than 12 yards of net or tulle to make a single tutu skirt for the production–the net is specially manufactured for tutus and comes from England.

3. There are 333 stage lights in this production.

4. The Nutcracker, the Rat King, 10 mouse heads and Calico Cat’s head were built by Robert Alsop in England who also built many of the Star Wars costumes.

5. The Mother Ginger costume weighs about 100 pounds and takes a pulley to get dancer Davy Nethercutt into it.

6. There are 126 individual roles in the show.

7. There are more than 100 yards of various fabrics and more than 200 yards of horsehair braid in the petticoats for the Lead Mother and Party Guests roles.

8. The fastest costume change in the show is for Clara, who has just 30 seconds to change out of her party dress and into her nightgown before the battle scene.

9. There are 51 buttons on each soldier costume (hand sewn on the costumes). There are 20 soldiers in the show, so there are 1,020 buttons on these costumes total.

10. There are 126 dancers in each performance, which means 252 ballet shoes are used each performance.

The Nutcracker in Raleigh NCFollow Leigh Hines on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or visit her blog here: HinesSightBlog

Videri chocolate confections in downtown Raleigh NCBy Leigh Hines

Raleigh’s sweet chocolate secret is out.

Raleigh residents, like me, have known that downtown Raleigh’s Videri Chocolate Factory makes some of the best chocolate in the nation. The factory carefully curates its cocoa beans throughout Central and South America using fair-trade practices. It sources only the best organic cocoa beans, cocoa butter and organic sugar.

There is nothing artificial about Videri chocolate.

You can eat each bar, rich in antioxidants, and know you’re eating chocolate with whole, organic and fair-trade ingredients.

Videri Chocolate Factory in Downtown Raleigh, NCIt’s been a sweet year for Videri.

In 2014, Videri earned the coveted Good Food Award for its first single-origin chocolate bar 90% Dark Chocolate Ecuador Camino Verde. GQ magazine included the same bar among “The 50 Best Things To Eat Right Now: Chocolate to Die For” its Nov. issue.

Videri offers guests a true bean-to-bar experience. There is a fascinating self-guided tour that takes you through the chocolate making process. The trendy Warehouse District that Videri calls home is a thriving creative hot spot, and with a coffee bar inside Videri, you won’t want to leave.

Videri chocolate mocha in downtown Raleigh NCVideri’s confections make perfect holiday gifts.

This winter, Raspberry, Orange-Buttercream, Coffee and Pear-Mint. Lemon and Lavender vegan confections will be available through Valentine’s Day. Videri is also offering its first-ever 16-piece Valentine’s box in 2015, including French Martini and other seasonal flavors ($40). Six-piece boxes of any combination of truffles are available for $16.99 and individual confections are $2.50 each.

Videri Flagship Four in Raleigh NCVideri’s popular Peppermint Bars ($9.99) are a holiday season staple for the chocolate factory as well as its Flagship Four Gift Box–featuring 50% Dark Milk, 70% Classic Dark, Sea Salt and Pink Peppercorn Bars (four bars/$19.99)–and the S’mores Pack ($21.00).

My personal favorites are Sea Salt and the 70% Classic Dark. Who am I kidding? I’ll take one of everything, please.

Visitors are welcome at Videri Chocolate in downtown Raleigh NCVideri Chocolate Factory is located at 327 W. Davie St., Sweet 100.

Follow Leigh Hines on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or visit her blog here: HinesSightBlog

A Christmas Carol, theatre in Greater Raleigh By Leigh Hines

A family tradition for many is Theatre In The Park’s charming musical production of A Christmas Carol.

Now in its 40th year, the musical comedy added an extra performance date at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts to celebrate the milestone.

Holidays, Theatre in Greater Raleigh, A Christmas Carol Scrooge has been shown lots of love over the years.

Ira David Wood III’s beloved musical comedy, A Christmas Carol, has been performed annually since 1974 and named one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast.” Cited as “one of the most successful shows in North Carolina theatre history,” A Christmas Carol has enjoyed critically-acclaimed tours to England and France.

Get tickets here.

With more than one million people having experienced the magic of A Christmas Carol throughout the years, the show regularly sells out, so get your tickets now! This holiday musical, created and started in Raleigh, is like none other.

Theatre in the Park, Greater Raleigh Holidays, Arts, Dec. 7-13, 2014, is “A Christmas Carol Week.” Join the celebration.

Enjoy the laughs and get your family into the holiday spirit by seeing a performance of A Christmas Carol. Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane has proclaimed that Dec. 7-13, 2014, shall be known as “A Christmas Carol Week” by City of Raleigh.

Performances will be held Dec. 10-14, 2014.

There will be four evening performances and two matinee performances. Show times are: Dec. 10-13, 7pm; Dec. 13-14, 2pm.

Greater Raleigh Holidays, Christmas Performances, A Christmas Carol, Photos courtesy of Theatre In The Park. Follow Leigh Hines on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or visit her blog here: HinesSightBlog

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