Top 5 to Check Out

Barbecue Festival
Barbecue Festival in Lexington

…just outside Raleigh

1. Mural Bike Tour

Durham
October 7th, 10-11:30 a.m. Durham Central Park

The Nasher Museum of Art and Preservation Durham present a 90-minute, 7-mile bike tour that covers 13 murals from the 1970s to the present day. Anyone comfortable riding a bike through the city streets will be able to stop and admire full-scale pieces ranging from whimsical to abstract to architectural to still life. “Here Comes the Sun” by Karen Sun, while ironically heavily faded by exposure but evokes memories of swaying to the Beatles in the summertime. The more contemporary “Pauli Murray” by Brett Cook was created as part of public art project to document stories of Durham community life. Bring your own bike and helmet, and follow a knowledgable cyclist to experience the murals for yourself.

2. Mediterranean Deli

Chapel Hill

Once a tiny 12-seat eatery, the Mediterranean Deli is now a full-scale restaurant and an icon of downtown Chapel Hill. Owner Jamil Kadoura emigrated from Jerusalem to the United States to attend school and simultaneously worked hard in the hospitality industry, climbing the ranks from dish washer up to the director of food and beverage before he felt ready to open a small deli. Now, Kadoura provides Middle Eastern cuisine—with an emphasis on vegetarian, gluten free, organic and vegan items — including more than 60 options from the deli case and a full bakery. A visit to the deli ensures you are indulging in the Mediterranean diet, which uses olive oil rather than butter as a primary unsaturated fat resource and is largely made up of grains, vegetables, fish, fruit and beans. Pair your order with the deli’s gluten free pita bread, recently perfected after a year-and-a-half of experimenting. 

3. Barbecue Festival

Lexington
October 28th, 8:30 a.m.—6 p.m.

Lexington-style barbecue — slow cooked pork over a bed of hot hickory coals — has earned the city the title of “Barbecue Capital of the World.” More than 100,000 people flock to Historic Uptown Lexington to attend the free festival each year, and while the barbecue sandwiches served up in three humongous tents are the main draw, the festival dishes out its pork with a heaping side of family-friendly entertainment. Seven performance stages, pig races, a 50-ton pig crafted out of sand, an antique car show, a bicycle stunt show and a rock climbing wall are among the many attractions. 

4. National Pumpkin Festival

Downtown Spring Hope
October 7th, 9 a.m. — 9 p.m.

The U.S. National Pumpkin Festival is right in your backyard! Spring Hope, North Carolina is proud to host the annual festival each fall. Between the opening ceremony and the festival parade, families can do some early Christmas shopping at the Craft Vendor Fair, cheer on a contestant in the pumpkin weigh-in contest — where record-breaking pumpkins are showcased each year — and try to catch a glimpse of the Miss and Little Miss Pumpkin Queens. The competitive spirit of the pumpkin recipe contest and pumpkin decorating contest are set to the festive beats of live and local bands. This year’s line-up includes 7th Hour Groove Band, Real Rowdy and East Coast Rhythm and Blues.

5. Vicious Fishes

Angier

Ken O’Berry, Vicious Fishes founder, thought up the rhyming moniker in college in 1991, but it wasn’t until the start of this year that the name became formally attached to the first and only brewery in Harnett County. A few miles over the Wake County border, Vicious Fishes Brewery focuses on brewing New England style IPAs, standing out from most breweries in the area, which serve IPAs in the West Coast style. “New England-style is marked by balance — between hop flavor and aroma with a markedly reduced bitterness,” O’Berry says. “Frequently described as having a light, pillowy mouthfeel, beers in this style are juicy and luscious, but not bitter…Conversely, the traditional IPA, now commonly referred to as ‘West Coast IPA,’ is often bitter and described as citrusy, resinous and piney.” Vicious Fishes expects to launch a second taproom in southern Wake County by the end of the year.

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