Up until I started typing this (from my phone at work to pass the time), it hadn’t dawned on me that I essentially moved from the capital of one
better Carolina to the lesser other. It also wasn’t until a conversation on the car ride down to Charlotte a week or two ago that I realized how close Raleigh was to a lot of great travel opportunities.
Living in South Carolina my whole life, nothing was really ever close. We used to ski in West Virginia and it took half a day to get there, it seemed. Washington DC was over 8 hours away. The closest cities were Charlotte (2-ish hours) and Atlanta (3-ish). And neither one of those are very “vacation/let’s just get away” oriented. Even where I’m living now, its roughly 4 hours to get back home. That left the beach. Or for those of us who prefer the mountains… not much.
And not that I’m knocking the zoo at all but that was the only unique thing Columbia seemed to have going for it. I love animals. But there are only so many ways to look at flamingos and gorillas.
Oh how that has changed. Check this out:
- Washington DC is only 5-ish hours away. Not only that but hotel rooms are cheaper there on the weekends than during the week. That’s a piece of cake weekend trip to make. In the spring, I’ll find a weekend to get there.
- Winterplace Ski Resort in West Virginia is less than 4 hours away. It’s been awhile since I’ve been skiing but could definitely make a weekend trip out of that one too.
- Boone, Blowing Rock, and all of those good little NC mountain towns are roughly 3 hours from here. There’s skiing, hiking, camping, and all kinds of outdoor goodness there.
- And even if the beach is your thing, you can be there between 2 and 3 hours
What’s not to like about all of that?
With the hecticness that has been moving, Halloween, ACC Championship, Thanksgiving, and now Christmas, I haven’t been able to soak up much of Raleigh either. I’m looking forward to the new year so that I’ll have some breathing room to do some local things.
- I live on the Greenway and have set foot on it all of two or three times. It doesn’t help that it’s dark when I get home (Raleigh! Get with it… light up your sidewalks!) and I’m gone on weekends. But I want to spend one weekend walking or running it. And even though she’d spaz from all of the people, pets, and new smells, I’m sure Harper would appreciate the break in routine from her normal walking route.
- Next football season, I’d like to take in some of the local games. North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Virginia, East Carolina, and App State are all within reasonable driving distance. It’s safe to say after this year’s beat down, I can unfortunately cross NC State off the list of gameday experiences.
- When I came through NC on my trip, I didn’t do many of the national parks here. Most of them are in the Western side of the state but you’ve got the Appalachian Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smokey Mountains. So I’d like to do a little bit of that as well. Those are at least more pet friendly than my other options. And once the weather warms up, I can camp!
- I’d also like to find some decent local places to eat. Everything around my place seems to be chains. Suggestions are appreciated! I’ve already heard good things about the Boylan Bridge Brewpub. So it’s on the list of places to try.
So who’s up for some fun weekend trips?