“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” —Lao Tzu
Almost a year ago to date, I was packing the last of my belongings into a large moving truck with my newly appointed husband, Alex. We had only been married a few weeks when we said good-bye to all of our friends and family and the only place I had ever called home, Indiana, to move to Raleigh, North Carolina.
As I closed this chapter in my life, all I remember feeling was an overwhelming sensation of anxiousness, knowing that Alex and I were leaving our entire support system back in the Midwest and moving to a place where we knew absolutely no one. The thought of it was thrilling…it was an adventure to a new place with my partner in crime…but, it also was terrifying. We were moving to North Carolina because Alex had a great opportunity to transfer with his company, and we had always wanted to live in the South. Raleigh seemed like the perfect fit. It had the southern charm we were looking for, great local restaurants, about a million breweries to choose from, and is close to the beach and the mountains. Nevertheless, to say I wasn’t nervous that we were making a horrible decision moving away from all that we knew and loved, would be a lie.
But, here we are a year later, loving the life we have created in Raleigh. The people are friendly, the food is fantastic, and it seems as if there is always something to do. It then only seems fitting, to give you all a little insight on what made me fall in love with this new city. So here you go, a complete list of all my favorites of Raleigh.
This Italian restaurant has stolen my heart. The service, ambiance, and not to mention amazing bread (I’m a sucker for good bread), makes this restaurant one of my absolute favorites. Amazing date night, girl’s night out, or a fun place to even just grab drinks and an appetizer, since their outdoor area is stellar with a killer water feature, bar, and tons of seating.
And this is where you eat all the hummus and pita your heart desires. I’m pretty sure my husband and I go through a pound or two of pita every time we go here and it’s worth every penny. This place not only has great food, it even has an outdoor deck that overlooks Raleigh and is a perfect place to sip on that cocktail while winding down after a long day.
Angus Barn isn’t directly downtown like the other two, but it is an experience nonetheless. Even though it is a pricier option, my favorite is to just go there and grab drinks and walk around because there is so much to see! This restaurant is one of the largest I have ever seen and the decorations here are everything. If you go on the weekend, they even have live music and crackers and cheese for you while you wait (or meander around if you are like me and are just there for the drinks). And they have possibly the largest selection of wine I have ever seen. If you are going for dinner save it for Christmas time because it is nothing like you have ever seen before. The decorations are on steroids and just walking in there, you feel like a little kid again on Christmas Eve.
Where are my wine lovers out there? This is paradise for any wine lover. I have had a lot of visitors from Indianapolis since I moved to Raleigh, and I always try to take everyone somewhere different to spice it up a little bit. But, I fail miserably when it comes to Vita Vite because we go there every. single. time., and for good reason too. It’s in a great location downtown, has fun outdoor seating (think porch swing), and oh yah….THE WINE IS TO DIE FOR!
Anything you read about Raleigh’s food/drink scene pretty much mentions this place and I have to agree with them. I love this place. They have the perfect outdoor patio, an amazing bar top, and more whiskey based drinks than you know what to do with. Just go here- enough said ;).
This is one of my favorite places to take visitors because it makes everyone feel so VIP. Green Light is a secret bar in the Architect behind a bookshelf. There is barely enough room for 6 tables in here, but the intimate, speak-easy feel speaks to my heart. Sometimes you can get by with just showing up, but just in case, I would make a reservation. The only way to make a reservation is to go to the actual place and there will be a “host” guarding the door and you will take his card, and text him your request. Kind of a pain, but in the end, it’s worth it.
The Great Outdoors
This is my favorite place for a number of reasons. They have walking trails, kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, fishing, and even different activities throughout the week. If you’re like me and love an active lifestyle, this place is for you. It’s also a great place for a cheap date idea.
This is probably one of the coolest things I have ever done. It is zip lining meets obstacle course and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. For those adrenaline junkies out there, this is for you, even my uncoordinated self enjoyed it.
The state farmers market in Raleigh is something like I have never seen before. This thing is huge! From fresh fruit, produce, and flowers, to home goods for purchase, you can find just about anything here. It is my favorite thing to do on a Saturday morning.
I know, I know, you see “Chocolate” in the title and you think…coffee? But, yes. OH. MY. YES. Not only does this place have possibly the most delicious chocolate you have ever tasted, but they have the cutest and amazing coffee shop inside. Try it, you won’t be disappointed.
This is the perfect app to download if you live in, or are visiting the area. It gives great tips on what is happening during the week throughout the triangle. It is my go-to place to start to plan my weekend adventures.
One year. One year of discovering this new place we call home, and I feel as if we have barely begun. These places I have shared with you are already dear to my heart, and I can’t wait to share more as we continue to explore this amazing city. At the beginning of this post, I shared a quote that has been important to me as we adjusted to our new surroundings. I hope my story gives all those out there who may be nervous about a new change in their own lives, a little hope knowing that sometimes if you just let things flow naturally and embrace the change, you will find yourself in a more perfect “state” than when you began.