Let's Hear It For The Boys
Getting The Guys Together In The Raleigh Area
You hear a lot these days about “girlfriend getaways”, those organized celebrations of traveling femininity that usually include ample helpings of shopping, spas, wine, and fine dining. Clearly, as the song says, girls just wanna have fun, and they enjoy and deserve the periodic exploits with female friends that the “girlfriend getaways” in North Carolina allow them.
But what about us men?
Our group of guys decided to make a weekend getaway to Raleigh, since it was a centrally located (we had some from Charlotte and some from Baltimore) and largely undiscovered territory for all of us. What we found was a good variety of masculine fun spread out over a wide area of cities and wide-open spaces. Here’s just some of what we found on our weekend of “boys being boys”.
Friday Night: Beer Me!
After the drive in from our various cities, a pint or two of craft beer is a great way to catch up with the gang before hitting the sack. And while Asheville deservedly gets a lot of North Carolina love for its micro-brewing scene, the Raleigh area is also a hotbed of great hops and barley. We settled in at the Big Boss Brewing Company (1249 Wicker Drive, Raleigh) for some samples of their amazing ales, lagers and stouts. Set back in a warehouse section of the city, the tasting room doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the inside is warm and welcoming, with pool, darts, and a shuffleboard table among the WWII-style airplane art on the walls. Our troupe of beer aficionados had good things to say about the Bad Penny Brown Ale, the Angry Angel Kolsch Style Ale, and the Aces & Ates Coffee Stout, but the clear favorite in our group was the High Roller IPA.
As always, designate a driver or call a cab if everyone chooses to partake. Better yet, buy a growler of your favorite brew and enjoy it in the comfort of your accommodations. If you happen to be out by the airport, we’ve also heard great things about the LoneRider Brewing Company (8816 Gulf Court).
Saturday: Play A Round
Up and at ‘em on a sunny Saturday, so it was time to grab our bags and hit the chains of a local disc golf course. The Triangle has countless opportunities for playing the fast-growing sport, including the popular Kentwood Country Club and UNC courses, but our group settled on the kinder, gentler, Middle Creek Park course out in Cary. With a nice mix of open and wooded 3-par holes, including one that shoots straight down a long flight of stairs, the course was fun and challenging for our group and our highly questionable disc golf skills.
If you’re more the “ball golf” type, the region is home to a great range of well-regarded courses, from the Duke University Golf Course in Durham to the Neuse Golf Club in Clayton. And if you’re looking to just get out and enjoy nature, you can’t go wrong at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area, with ample opportunities for boating, fishing, hiking, and camping.
Saturday Night: Hurricane Warning!
As the day winds down, it was time to head to Raleigh’s RBC Center for the pre-game festivities. Hockey isn’t usually known as a tailgating sport (can you imagine grilling outside in Calgary in February?), but Carolina Hurricanes fans (also known as “Caniacs”) have made it into an art form, surrounding the RBC’s parking lot with a sea of red and black and the tempting scent of cooked meat.
Afterwards, the crowd heads into the arena to cheer on the home team. The RBC Center is known as one of the loudest home rinks in the National Hockey League, and the Caniacs actually set an NHL record during the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals when crowd noise was recorded at 131 decibels (equivalent to the loudness of a jet plane at 100 feet). Not bad for a town that was not considered a “hockey friendly” city when the team moved here in 1997.
If you’re not visiting in the winter or spring, you’ll still have plenty of opportunities to catch a game. During baseball season, there are a multitude of minor-league games featuring the Durham Bulls and the Carolina Mudcats, and with three major universities in the area (Duke, NC State, and North Carolina), there’s always bound to be a major sporting event somewhere in the region.
After the game is over, head to downtown Raleigh for some food and fun. There are many restaurant, bar, and club options within a few blocks, but we settled in at the Raleigh Times Bar (14 E. Hargett Street) a comfortable restaurant and pub set inside a 100-year-old building that used to house newspaper offices. The Times has a large selection of beer and wine, as well as a menu that ranges from wings and nachos to steak and burgers.
Sunday: Breakfast & Bones
Well, it’s almost time to head home, but you would be remiss if you didn’t enjoy a Sunday morning breakfast at Brigs Restaurant, a local chain that specializes in fresh breakfast selections served day and night. There are five local locations around the area, in Cary, Raleigh, Durham, and Wake Forest. So feast up before you hit the road!
If you’ve got a little extra time, head back to downtown Raleigh and check out one of the free state museums. Our group decided to experience the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (11 W. Jones St.), the largest museum of its kind in the Southeast. Full of exhibits that explain NC’s unique geography and natural history (including the most complete acrocanthosaurus skeleton on display in the world), the museum gives you a great taste of the historical, cultural, and educational offerings available in the area. If you’ve got even more time, the North Carolina Museum of History is right next door!
With that, we head home, knowing that there’s still much to discover in North Carolina’s Triangle, and vowing to make this “Guys Weekend In Raleigh” an annual event.
added: February 25, 2011
updated: March 1, 2011
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