Top 5 to check out… just outside Raleigh

Cape Fear Botanical Garden

Cape Fear Botanical Garden

Fayetteville

Now through Jan. 8, visitors to the botanical gardens will get a chance to explore an unusual display of nature, including an 8-foot hummingbird and 7-foot rose. Artist Sean Kinney, one of only 13 LEGO Certified Professionals worldwide, has crafted sculptures made from more than 500,000 LEGO bricks capturing the natural world. Guests to the 80 acre garden, nestled between the Cape Fear River and Cross Creek just two miles from downtown Fayetteville, can also enjoy strolling along the waterways, exploring winter blooms, and participating in family friendly activities.  

Lantern

Chapel Hill

Named one of the top 50 restaurants in the United States, this eatery fuses Asian flavors with locally sourced ingredients derived from chef Andrea Reusing’s exceptional culinary talents. The menu is on the pricier side, but expect attentive service, a great wine selection, and beautifully presented dishes. Fans have called it “mind blowing” and a “culinary adventure.”

fainting-goatFainting Goat Brewing Company

Fuquay-Varina

This boutique brewery, owned by veterans, just celebrated its first anniversary and offers a cozy taproom featuring a rotating menu of seasonal and handcrafted beers (including Udder Brother Pecan Maple porter and What the Buck Pale Ale). Weekly events such as music bingo, wine and design and open mic nights provide a fun way to unwind. Pet lovers will appreciate its dog-friendly patio; open Thursday through Sunday afternoons and evenings.

Hillsborough Gallery of Arts

Hillsborough

This local cooperative gallery features modern and contemporary works from 21 artists, including sculptors, painters, jewelry makers and more. During the month of December, the gallery hosts a yearly event called The Art of Giving focused on giftable pieces, such as Lynn Wartski’s fanciful botanical sculptures made from copper, glass and fabric or Evelyn Ward’s beautifully crafted salt-fired stoneware. The gallery also presents a featured show opening on the last Friday of every month.

 

scratchScratch

Durham

A 2013 and 2014 semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Pastry Chef award, owner Phoebe Lawless showcases classic southern techniques at her cozy bakery that seats only 18 and offers a small yet inventive lunch and brunch menu, including eggplant fattouche or a Po’ Boy Benedict. But the real stars are the made-from-scratch pies with seasonal fillings. The youngest of eight children, Lawless watched her mom do all the cooking at family gatherings, inspiring a love affair with food that is felt in each sweet bite.

Alexandra Drosu
Alexandra Drosu

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