Archives for posts with tag: outdoor activities

WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary NCThis weekend Greater Raleigh once again takes center stage of the collegiate and amateur soccer world when the NCAA Men’s College Cup returns to WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. Four teamsUniversity of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), Providence College and the University of Virginia (UVA)will square off to decide the 2014 NCAA Champion. Two national semifinal games will be played Fri. evening with the championship game on Sun. Here’s everything you need to know:

1. Matchups and game times:

Fri., Dec. 12 | 5pm: UMBC vs. UVA (TV: ESPNU)

Fri., Dec. 12 | 7:30pm: UCLA vs. Providence (TV: ESPNU)

Sun., Dec. 14 | Noon: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner (TV: ESPNU)

See the full tournament bracket at NCAA.com/collegecup.

2. Tickets:

Tickets can be purchased for the semifinal games ($30 for both games), the championship game ($20) or as an all-session pass ($43) HERE. Tickets are general admission and include parking fees. Print your tickets at home or have them waiting for you at will-call. Plan ahead and arrive early. Ticketing is being run by Campbell University, the official host institution of the 2014 Men’s College Cup.

3. Powerhouses:

UCLA and Virginia both sit inside the top five for all NCAA DI programs for most NCAA Tournament and College Cup appearances. UCLA, a four-time National Champion, is participating in their 32nd straight NCAA Tournament (42 appearances overall), along with making their 14th College Cup. Six-time National Champion Virginia has reached their 12th College Cup (and second straight) in their 36th NCAA Tournament. UCLA is the tournament’s number two seed; Virginia is the number 16 seed.

WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary NC4. Cinderellas:

This UMBC squad has reached a place no team at their university has gone beforethe Final Four. The unseeded Retrievers, who have won four games in a row in four different stadiums, are yet to allow a goal in 400 minutes of play in the NCAA Tournament. UMBC is no stranger to competition, however, as this is their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last five seasons.

Providence, this year’s Big East Champion (the program’s first), had never reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament before this season. Now the unseeded Friars find themselves just one win away from playing for the national title. The team’s 15 wins this season is the most in program history.

5. Visitor Info:

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau set up a website for visitors at visitRaleigh.com/CollegeCup. On this page you’ll find:

  • Calendar of events across the area for this weekend
  • Accommodation info
  • Restaurants in the area
  • Area maps
  • and more

Visitors can also view the online version of the Official Visitors Guide to Raleigh, Cary and Wake County. While you’re in the area, stop by the Visitor Information Center in downtown Raleigh to find out more about the area and receive personalized recommendations for your stay.

Have questions while on the go? Tweet @visitRaleigh with any of your needs!

6. Fan Festival:

The Fan Festival will keep fans entertained before games on Fri. and Sun., located behind sections 109 and 110. The festival will open at 3pm on Fri. and 10am on Sun. The festival will include interactive games, face painters, concessions, merchandise and more. Tickets are required to access the fan festival.

7. A History of College Cups:

This year will mark the 10th College Cup (4th Men’s) to be hosted by the Town of Cary and WakeMed Soccer Park since 2003. Either a Men’s or Women’s College Cup was held in Cary from 2003 to 2010, and again in 2013. Next December, the women will return to Cary to crown another national champion.

College Cup in Cary NC8. Stay Connected

Want to keep up with the NCAA College Cup while in town (or watching from home)? Follow along on Twitter and Instagram (and post your tweets and photos) using the hashtag #CollegeCup, and make sure to follow the teams on Twitter: @UCLAMSoccer, @UVAMenSoccer, @PVDMensSoccer and @UMBCMensSoccer

As always, follow and tweet to @visitRaleigh for information on the Greater Raleigh and Cary areas.

Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest Tree. ©Luster Studios.Every weekend Raleigh has an event lineup that keeps you wanting more. They never disappoint. Here are a few events you shouldn’t miss this weekend.

Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest Celebration

Downtown Raleigh’s winter celebration brings you the grand Official Mayor’s Tree Lighting along with outdoor skating. Even more festivities will line Fayetteville St., including live music, carnival rides, a sledding hill, a beer and wine tent and the brand-new Taste of Downtown feature and Gingerbread House Competition. Learn more.

Raleigh Little Theatre’s production of Cinderella

Cozy up inside during this musical comedy production of Cinderella. Just the right mixture of comedy and romance to add the sparkle of magic to your holiday season. A visually-stunning musical combining elegant costumes and scenery with song, dance, conniving step-relatives and resourceful fairy-folk. Learn more.

Scandinavian Christmas Fair

Area holiday celebrations are not limited to those of secular pop culture but include celebrations paying homage to cultures from across the globe. Take part in the rich traditions of the Nordic countries during the Scandinavian Christmas Fair at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds and indulge in homemade Scandinavian foods, Nordic folk dancing, a traditional Lucia Procession and more. Learn more.

Winter Wonderland

Most absolutely can’t go without binge-watching holiday movies in Dec. Get social when you watch holiday flicks this Sat. at North Hills for its free Winter Wonderland event. Showing both Doctor Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Elf while kids activities, shopping and more transpire. Learn more.

First Friday

We couldn’t go without mentioning First Night, a monthly downtown Raleigh favorite. Visitors can experience downtown’s cutting-edge cultural hot spots tonight as local art galleries, art studios, alternative art venues and museums as they stay open late, until 9pm. Learn more.

Click through to see more events happening this weekend. Trust usthere’s a lot going on!

By Derek Allman

It's a Wonderful Life Radio Play, Cary, N.C.The Greater Raleigh town of Cary is set to deliver packages of holiday goodness this season. Immerse yourself in holiday magic at these charming Cary events:

1. It’s a Wonderful Life Radio Play

Dec. 4-8 at the Cary Arts Center. Cary Players bring the beloved American holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, to the stage as a live radio broadcast. You’ll be transported back in time at this live theatre production staged as if it includes 1940s radio stars broadcasting from a studio. Add live sound effects created on-stage by a collection of hand-crafted wind machines, miniature doors and other old-fashioned “Foley-props” and more, mix in live music and animated voices, and you’ve got a rich and wonderful production. Based on Frank Capra’s holiday classic film and recreated for the stage by Philip Grecian. Click for show times and tickets.

2. Town of Cary Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Dec. 6 at Cary Town Hall. For outdoor family fun, take your blanket to the always-festive, official Town of Cary Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The night features actors, singers and musicians, plus the unveiling of the tree with hand-crafted ornaments from more than 120 community groups. The Community Christmas Tree is a true representation of the diversity of Cary.

3. The Night Before Christmas Carol

Dec. 12 at The Cary Theater. If live theater is your style, check out The Night Before Christmas Carol from renowned Dickens scholar and author Dr. Elliot Engel and watch history, humor and the holiday come to life. Go back in time and join Charles Dickens in his study on Fri., Oct. 13, 1843. In this acclaimed performance, actor David zum Brunnen portrays Charles Dickens and 17 familiar characters; giving personal, social, and historical context to the ghostly classic, A Christmas Carol.

4. Seasonal Movies at The Cary Theater

Occurring throughout Dec. On the holiday calendar are a handful of traditional seasonal movies at The Cary Theater. From the Natalie Wood classic Miracle on 34th Street to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, The Muppets Christmas Carol (Kids Movie Morning), Bill Murray’s Scrooged, Will Ferrell’s Elf and the children’s classic The Polar Express, directed by Robert Zemeckis, The Cary Theatre offers a heap of holiday movie big-screen showings.

And of course there are many more reasons to visit Cary in Dec. Click through to see a full list of events.

By Kristy Stevenson. Follow her here.

Every Sat. morning, rain or shine, the Western Wake Farmers’ Market in Morrisville opens so that Greater Raleigh visitors and residents can benefit from locally-grown food.

Western Wake Farmer's Market Market offerings include fresh seasonal produce, flowers, herbs, baked goods, prepared foods, eggs, cheeses, meats and seafood, as well as coffee, beer, soda, local honey, crafts and more.

The Western Wake Farmers’ Market was conceived by a set of Greater Raleigh moms with a desire to feed their families with locally-grown food. The market is located on Morrisville Carpenter Rd. between Davis Dr. and Hwy. 55 in the Carpenter Village neighborhood.

Western Wake Farmer's Market FoodMarket staff works diligently to educate the public about the importance of locally-produced and sustainable food.

“To me, food is a way of lifewhy not make it good food?” stated Madison Whitley, marketing manager for the market. “I furthered my love of food by studying nutrition in college. I learned about the components of food, why they were important in the body and why it was imperative to eat fresh, local whole foods. They are not only better for you, our environment and economy, but they taste so much better.”

Western Wake LettuceAs the holiday season approaches, Western Wake Farmers’ Market will host the Fall Craft Fair on Sat., Nov. 1, from 8am-noon. In addition to its regular vendors, the fair will showcase approximately 30 local artisans and crafters at this year’s fair.

Craft Goods in Greater Raleigh, local good, farmer's market, sweatersGet a jump on your holiday shopping and support Greater Raleigh artisans. I bet those on your holiday shopping list will love it.

The 2014 Fall Craft Fair will take place rain or shine.

Western Wake Market3To learn about what is in season at the market, and browse through some great recipes, visit the market’s website.

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

One of the nation’s largest and most prestigious cross country events, the Great American Cross Country Festival, returned to Cary’s WakeMed Soccer Park Cross Country Course this past weekend for the sixth consecutive year. More than 2,500 runners from 140 high schools and colleges across the U.S. met in Cary on a beautiful morning, Sat., Oct. 4, and competed against each other as well as the 5k course. Results from the meet can be found on the Great American website.

Here are some photos from race morning. Click the photos to zoom in.

Great American XC 7

Great American XC 13

Great American XC 11

Great American XC 12

Great American XC 10

Great American XC 2

Great American XC 4

Great American XC 6

Great American XC 1

Great American XC 5

Great American XC 3

Great American XC 8All photos are courtesy of the Great Raleigh Sports Alliance. You can follow GRSA on Twitter at @raleighncsports and Instagram at @raleighncsports. There’s more cross country happening in Greater Raleigh this fall and you can see a schedule of sports events at raleighsports.org.

Nature lovers will enjoy spending time at Crowder District Park in Apex. This is one of my favorite parks in Greater Raleigh because it has wonderful playgrounds for the children, family environmental programs and easy walking trails that are perfect for the beginner hiker.

Crowder Park 4Crowder Park has two walking trails. The first one, called the Outer Loop Trail, is about 8/10 of a mile. My son’s Cub Scout Pack uses this trail yearly as the first Cub Scout hike for the season. On this trail, walkers loop around the Bird Garden, Prairie Garden and the Shade Garden. The second trail is much shorter at 3/10 of a mile. This Inner Loop/Pond Trail takes you by Crowder Pond, the boardwalk and to the observation deck, where you can view park wildlife.

Crowder Park 1Crowder Pond is the perfect place to take in hands-on water quality educational programs. We had fun counting the turtles on our visit!

Crowder Park 2Crowder District Park consists of 33 acres of landscaped grounds and hardwood forests. There are three playgrounds, three picnic shelters, a sand volleyball court, playfield and an outdoor amphitheatre. Picnic tables are scattered throughout the park and available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is also an Eagle Scout picnic area, which is a gravel pad area with two picnic tables and small grill located between the Robin Shelter and lower restroom facilities.

With the Butterfly Garden and environmental staff on-site, the park offers many educational opportunities for children throughout the year, as well as events. For 15 years, it has hosted an annual Frog Fest. Frog Fest, is a hoppin’-good time with games, hands-on educational experiences and live music. This event is usually held in the spring.

Crowder Park 3Bring out your nature side at Crowder District Park. The park is open daily from 8am-sunset and is located at 4709 Ten Ten Rd. in Apex. Park admission is free. Some educational programs do have a small fee, and registration is required.

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

10561749_706321976088751_8725344352360511920_nHead to Koka Booth Amphitheatre and Symphony Lake for the 1st Annual Dragon Boat Festival! Both the race and accompanying festival started more than 2,000 years ago in southern Mainland China. Brought to you locally by Asian Focus, the Pan American Dragon Boat Association and the Board of the Carolinas Asian-American Chamber of Commerce (CAACC), this event is designed as a day of community-based recreation that promotes team-building, wellness and cultural awareness. Previous years have boasted more than 7,000 visitors.

10524353_706378402749775_1675853464756262278_nThe Dragon Boat Festival is popular across the country, and is an opportunity to bring people together, watch races from club and community teams, experience various food and performances and enjoy a fun cultural experience. The festival title–in Chinese, “Duanwu Jie”–translates to the Double Fifth Festival which is derived from being celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese calendar (the lunar calendar), commonly known as the Summer Solstice.

The team sport of dragon boat racing consists of 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steers person paddling to cross the finish faster than the competition. The paddlers work in unison to a drummer’s beat in a long, narrow boat decorated at bow and stern with a dragon’s head and tail. The event encompasses the elements of power, speed, synchronization and endurance. Twelve local teams have entered the competition and welcome you to cheer them on: N.C. Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce Top Fast, Grand Asia Market RTP Community Team, North Carolina State University, CDBA, TACAS, Healing Dragons, Merck Dragon Boat Team, RCLS, HEALING DRAGONS OF LAKE JAMES, TAA-NC, Koka Cruisers and Raleigh Relentless.

10384919_706378079416474_2999066948654964110_nThe day will include cultural performances (music, dance, sports, fashion), a variety of food/drink, as well as exhibits. There will also be informational vendor booths set up on site.

The festival itself runs from 9am-4:30pm on Sat., Sept. 27, while the boat race will take place between 9:30am-4pm. Races will continue throughout the day. Admission is free; blankets, lawn chairs and bottled water are allowed. No picnics are permitted as the festival will feature a variety of international cuisine for purchase. Venue-owned parking is offered at no charge.

Written by Kristy Stevenson. You are invited to follow her online.

Photo credits: Dragon Boat Festival in the Greater Triangle Area Facebook Page

20140814_183457Nickel Creek’s first tour in seven years could not have passed through a better venue. On the road in support of “A Dotted Line,” their first studio album since 2005, the band spent an Aug. evening at Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre. This show was extra special as singer-songwriter Josh Ritter joined the bill for the second of only three nights together.

For this blogger, few events better signify the warm North Carolinian spring and summer like an evening at Koka Booth Amphitheatre. Sitting on 14 acres with a capacity of 7,000 people, the amphitheatre is encircled with hardwoods and pine trees. To the south, bordering the grounds, the shimmering Symphony Lake beckons visitors to picnic beneath the pines before and during events.

20140814_184718CobbleStone Courtyard, where the main entrance spills out, serves beer, wine, sandwiches, pizza, ice cream and other snacks.

20140814_183614Crescent Area houses Crescent Café, where guests can purchase beer, wine, mixed drinks and hot sandwiches. The amphitheatre sells table seats in Crescent Area featuring wait staff service.

20140814_18342120140814_183520A new wrinkle for me was the addition of three food trucks, and each show is sponsored by two local breweries. I lucked into Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing and Fortnight Brewing Company.

20140814_18460520140814_183917Koka Booth Amphitheatre gives patrons plenty of reason to keep coming back. Pickin’ in the Pines Bluegrass Series kicks off this year on Sept. 3 and continues every Wed. through Oct. 1. Between May and Aug., Koka Booth Amphitheatre hosts the outdoor movie series, WakeMed Movies By Moonlight. Beginning in late May, the North Carolina Symphony Summerfest runs for eight weeks. Raizin’ A Ruckus Country Music Series brings stellar country tunes every Wed. in July. Meanwhile, the venue books a star-studded lineup to play throughout the warm season. Past acts include Crosby-Stills-Nash, Alan Jackson, Duran Duran, The Avett Brothers, Ben Folds, The Lumineers and My Morning Jacket.

But on Aug. 14, Nickel Creek and Josh Ritter held the eyes and ears of my fellow Music Maniacs. At 7:30pm, Josh Ritter walked on stage. I’ve been seeing Josh Ritter live for 10 years, and this show marked the first time I’d seen him without a full band. He was joined on stage by Josh Kaufman, who added some dazzling guitar work for about half of Ritter’s set.

DSC_0073Ritter and Kaufman opened with the wistful “Monster Ballads,” setting the tone for his set: peaceful, honest and mellow. Lacking a big band, Ritter avoided the raucous songs in his catalogue, such as “To the Dogs or Whoever” and “Mind’s Eye,” to focus instead on the acoustic ballads which originally brought him notoriety. He strummed old favorites (including “Kathleen,” “The Temptation of Adam” and “Me & Jiggs”) and mixed in a few new unreleased songs, including my new favorite, “Cry Softly.” His songs tell stories of the Midwest, his literary style a unique blend of poetry and prose.

DSC_0061Ritter’s 2013 album “The Beast In Its Tracks,” a stripped down solo acoustic record, seemed destined to get lots of love from this type of set. Not surprisingly, Ritter closed his set with three songs off his newest release: “New Lover,” “Hopeful” and “Joy To You Baby,” a song about acceptance and moving forward. Ritter’s Midwestern croon had the crowd at ease and primed for the headliner.

Nickel Creek blended bluegrass with rock, pop and ragtime, creating a new genre dubbed “newgrass.” Members Chris Thile (mandolin), Sean Watkins (guitar) and Sara Watkins (violin) are all in their 30’s now (upright bass player Mark Schatz joins them on tour), but that same youthful energy that made them crowd favorites when they formed 25 years ago remains the hallmark of their music.

DSC_0091Nickel Creek began their set with their new album’s opening track “Rest Of My Life.” Ostensibly about waking up with a hangover following a wild party the night before, this song sounded to me like a metaphor for their career. Their first successful run as a band netted them, among many other awards, a 2003 GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Perhaps a hangover set in after so many years together, and now the band is waking up to a new life post-hiatus. “I’m coming to. I’m turning myself into something a little less promising, a little more useful,” Thile sang.

But that didn’t mean the band would forget the songs that made them famous. Only six of their twenty songs from their set list were off the new album. Old fans were treated to “The Lighthouse’s Tale,” “This Side,” “Smoothie Song,” “When You Come Back Down” and “Ode To A Butterfly.” New fans caught “Destination” and “21st Of May,” singles released ahead of “A Dotted Line,” as well as the humorous instrumental “The Elephant In The Corn.” After explaining that they’d been kicking around a cover song for a couple of weeks, Nickel Creek launched into Fleetwood Mac’s “The Ledge,” delighting the eclectic crowd.

DSC_0111Their two-song encore concluded at 10:30pm with the closing track from “A Dotted Line:” “Where Is Love Now.” “Where is love now?” they harmonized. “Out here in the dark?”

Clearly it was, and the crowd let them know it. Welcome back to N.C., Nickel Creek. In your absence, I never found somebody more like you.

To my fellow Music Maniacs: Miss the Nickel Creek and Josh Ritter show? Check out Koka Booth Amphitheatre’s concert lineup here and experience the stellar venue for yourself.

When dogs check into The Umstead Hotel and Spa with their owners in Cary, North Carolina, canine guests, big and small, certainly have something to wag their tails about. The hotel recently unleashed its passion for its four-legged guests with a new amenity: DogWoods

Umstead Dogwood DogThe Umstead Hotel and Spa created an enclosed playground for canines on the verdant grounds of its Five-Star property this summer. Named DogWoods, in a nod to the Dogwood trees indigenous to the area and to N.C.’s state flower, the Dogwood Blossom, the new playground offers plenty of space for running, jumping and fetching. Each pup gets some treats and a complimentary tennis ball in addition to the already-established indoor amenities: a plush bed, water bowl and additional doggie treats.

Umstead Dog AreaIt’s not uncommon for the hotel to have several doggie guests a week. Darah Whyte, marketing manager, said they wanted to enhance the hotel’s pet services. “We wanted to create a safe area where dogs could be unleashed and have some fun. They can be a dog. They can jump, bark and play.”

Umstead Dog Woods  AreaThe new DogWoods area is for hotel guests only, and is the only area on-property where dogs can be unleashed. Pets are not allowed in the restaurants.

The pet fee is $200.

Umstead Hotel and SpaThe hotel is a recipient of both the AAA Five Diamond award and Forbes Five Star rating. It has 150 guestrooms and suites, world-class cuisine, a luxury spa and a tranquil, outdoor pool, all in a serene, wooded setting.

Your dog will be begging to travel with you to Greater Raleigh so they can be pampered at The Umstead Hotel and Spa.

I suppose Raleigh could be better…

Sure, it’s a Foodie’s dream, housing the likes of Ashley Christensen, named by the James Beard Foundation as 2014 Best Chef: Southeast. I know there’s a burgeoning art scene, boosted by the presence of North Carolina Museum of Art. And yes, Greater Raleigh lists nearly two dozen breweries. The city supports innumerable collegiate and professional sports teams. I don’t need to be reminded that Raleigh has more music than any destination in North Carolina. Its citizens are open-minded, well-educated and community-centric.

But if forced to make a choice between staying static and being dynamic, well, I’ll take a second helping of awesome, please.

Enter Shop Local Raleigh, an organization designed to support locally-owned, independent businesses. You may know them as the creators of Brewgaloo, one of the largest beer festivals in the Southeast. On their latest venture, they’ve focused on the continued revitalization of the Glenwood South district in downtown Raleigh by hosting Glenwood Live.

DSC_0011Glenwood Live is a free, seven week concert series that began Thurs., Aug. 7, at the intersection of Glenwood Ave. and W. Lane St. Each Thurs. evening through Sept. 18, a local band will play an outdoor concert from 5:30-8:30pm. The event’s location changes each week, cycling through the Glenwood Ave. intersections of W. Lane St., Tucker St. and North St.

DSC_0014Glenwood Live encourages families (and pets) to chill and relax in the warm summer evenings. The series is sponsored by Oskar Blues Brewery, DeMo’s Pizza and Clear Channel Media & Entertainment, so of course there’s plenty of beer, wine, food and even margaritas. Beginning on Aug. 14, Right Time Kids joins the fun to offer face painting, balloon animals and other child-oriented activities so that everyone stays entertained.

DSC_0007
DSC_0034On the inaugural day of the series, acoustic duo Chapel Hill Serenaders took the stage, playing traditional music from the Southeastern U.S. The band, composed of singer and multi-instrumentalist Cary Moskovitz and fellow multi-instrumentalist Ed Witkin, focused on music dating mainly from 1923-1935. Moskovitz recently finished recording a tribute to Papa Charlie Jackson, who was the first blues musician to make records when he signed with Paramount Records in the early 1920s, and the setlist reflected this infatuation. Their selections included old standards in blues, ragtime, jazz and Hokum.

DSC_0017Moskovitz stayed true to style by playing a 1930 Paramount banjo, a 1930 S.S. Stewart guitar made by Gibson and a 1950 Martin tenor guitar. He also employed a harmonica and kazoo. Witkin, who grew up playing the piano, brought the most interesting instrument of the two: a banjo he built himself while in high school in 1979.

DSC_0026Let me reiterate–this event is FREE. Bring the family. Walk the dog. Explore the streets of Glenwood South. Need to eat? There are plenty of options, notably Plates, Sushi Blues, Sushi O and MoJoe’s Burger Joint. Want a beer? Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing sits around the corner and a new bottle shop, Stag’s Head, just opened at 106 Glenwood Ave. Inspired by the music and looking to get back into playing guitar? Harry’s Guitar Shop will get you going.

Embrace the growing scene on South Glenwood Ave. by checking out Glenwood Live. Visit the official website for the schedule and further information.

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