By Mandy Howard and Alexandra Drosu
“New Year’s Day…now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”
— Mark Twain
So Mark Twain may’ve been pessimistic about the possibility of change and the new opportunities that a new year brings, but in most circles optimism abounds! We know that all you need is a goal and a plan to make this the greatest year ever, filled with memorable experiences and moments that can take your breath away. Plus we’ve already done the legwork for you. Here, we’ve compiled our favorite 17 things to do in 2017. Don’t be like Mark Twain; put these on your calendar and resolve to make 2017 unforgettable.
See a celestial miracle.
It has been 26 years since the last total solar eclipse could be viewed in the United States, so don’t miss the opportunity to see this natural marvel on Aug. 21, 2017. The sun will be completely obscured by the moon; plunging you into total darkness for about two minutes, and the narrow, 70-mile-wide path crosses the Western edge of North Carolina in Cherokee, Jackson and Macon Counties. Book your hotel now!
Do your part to heal America.
No matter what side of election news you fell on, it’s clear that our communities need love and healing. One excellent way is to volunteer at the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Carolina. There are five different clubs in Raleigh that stay open until 8 p.m., so it’s easy to find time to mentor, tutor or just help out. “Volunteers at Boys & Girls Clubs help kids to realize their potentials and create great futures,” says Heather Brosz White, Director of Government & Foundation Relations.
Play dress up.
Feeling disillusioned by life? Do something you’ve never tried: COSPLAY! You know you want to. Dress up as your favorite character, and enter a world of fantasy as people accept the premises that are set before them. No better time to try this out than the ever-growing two day Oak City Comicon (Mar. 18-19) where the fan favorite event every year is the massive COSPLAY contest with more than $5,000 in cash and prizes. Best part? Your costume can be so elaborate that your clients and colleagues will never know it was you!
Unearth a time capsule.
Fifty years ago, On June 8, 1967, students of nearby schools and local businesses in Midtown contributed to a time capsule that was buried in the sidewalk of the old Cardinal Movie Theatre. When Kane Realty bought the land, it acquired the time capsule, which is now between Verizon and the Bonefish Grill on The Lassiter side of North Hills Mall. The opening will take place June 8th. Let’s find out what’s inside!
Send a letter without a stamp.
A mile down Sunset Beach, only accessible by foot or bicycle, you’ll find an unusual sight: a single mailbox in the sand with the words “Kindred Spirit” on it. The story goes that local Frank Nesmith put the mailbox up almost 40 years ago so he and his lady friend could leave letters to one another. People stumbled across it and started leaving their own, addressed to no one in particular. Today, notebooks and pens sit in the mailbox, and visitors anonymously share their personal stories, both tragic and uplifting. The experience can be spiritual. Make the pilgrimage to the site and enjoy a shared connection to humanity.
Spend a night in Rodanthe before the oceans wash it away.
This year is the 15th anniversary of the popular Nicholas Sparks’ book that inspired the movie with Richard Gere and Diane Lane, so expect an uptick in interest in this Outer Banks getaway. With grim climate change forecasts and continued rising water level predictions, you don’t want an OBX vacation to become something you ‘should’ve done!’
May the 40th be with you.
Yes, it is Star Wars’ 40th anniversary this year on May 25th so in addition to the May 4th puns, be prepared for this added layer of quips, especially in light of the fact that Episode VIII will be released late in the year. Will Luke take the light saber? Will he finally speak? Whose daughter is Rey? Don’t know what I’m talking about? Then, catch up on your Star Wars knowledge! Plus, hardcore fans can head to Orlando for the ultimate four-day Star Wars Celebration, including exhibits, fan-inspired activities, celebrity guests and more.
Celebrate the life, the legacy, the music of Prince on his birthday.
On June 7, Meymandi Concert Hall is planning a memorial worthy of royalty as it invites saxophonist Marcus Anderson, who toured with Prince and the New Power Generation and singer/guitarist Marshall Charloff, to perform the talented artist’s biggest hits. The evening will include songs from all generations of Prince’s work including “Purple Rain,” “When Doves Cry,” and “Kiss.”
Take a golf pilgrimage.
The strongest golfers in the world will display their prowess in Charlotte, NC for the first time ever as the PGA Championship will be played at Quail Hollow Club between Aug. 7-13. This marks the 99th competition for the trophy dubbed the ‘Wanamaker Trophy.’ Pay tribute to the sport by finally playing at some of the state’s most well-regarded courses: Pinehurst No. #2, Grandfather Golf and Country Club in Linville and Old North State Club in New London.
Go Over the Edge.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Here’s one of 365 to consider: Rappel down 30 stories for charity. Every year in October, the Special Olympics of North Carolina challenges locals to raise $1,000 and go “Over the Edge” of the Wells Fargo Capitol Center. The experience is terrifying and exhilarating, but once you reach the ground another feeling overwhelms you—strength. Strength that you overcame your fears successfully, while also raising money for a good cause.
Witness the opening of a new cathedral.
Catholic or not, you’ve likely heard about the $41 million magnificent feat of architecture that is being constructed just off Western Boulevard near Centennial Campus. Holy Name of Jesus, the new central parish for the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, is scheduled to be complete in early summer, and it’s the first cathedral in the U.S. to be built from the ground up in the last decade. The dedication day, the day the Bishop officially opens the church and celebrates mass for the first time, will be July 26th.
Crank up your ‘Caniac’ Fever for the 20th anniversary of the Carolina Hurricanes!
When the Canes first set up shop in Raleigh, it was considered a gutsy move since hockey wasn’t a familiar sport for natives. The team quickly earned a loyal following and brought home the Stanley Cup in 2006. Head to PNC to hang out with Stormy and listen to the Scorpions’ classic hit, “Rock you like a Hurricane,” for the greatest 20th birthday party in the city, happening all season long.
Old Baldy turns 200!
It’s time to visit the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina, and while you’re there you may as well tour all of the state’s six existing coastal lighthouses, including Cape Hatteras (the nation’s tallest), Ocracoke (the oldest operating lighthouse) and Oak Island (one of the world’s most powerful). Bald Head Island will commemorate the big birthday with a weekend celebration (Aug. 4-6) including a fun run, live entertainment and more.
Splurge on an event you’ve been dying to try.
Every year Raleigh boasts numerous celebrated, black-tie events that are often on the pricier side. This year chose one, like the Triangle Wine Experience’s grand gala on Feb. 4th, and embrace the evening. Dress in evening wear, enjoy the best wines, and stay out late. You’ll remember the experience more than the price tag.
Travel the world…in Raleigh
Expand your palette through the myriad of International restaurants in the city. Taste Laotian cuisine at Bida Manda, travel to Greece at Taverna Agora, try duck a l’orange at Royale, or enjoy the flavors of Korea at Seoul Garden. Create your own personal passport to explore Raleigh’s dining scene.
Run that marathon!
You have 10 months to train for the 11th Annual Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon. First of all, yes you can. Second of all, no, you don’t need zombies chasing you. Third of all, there’s a half marathon and a 10K too. The point is, this is Raleigh’s true marathon, priding itself on guiding runners through our city’s incredible landscape. And, let’s face it, there’s been lots of construction and changes in our fair city; what better way to check out what’s new all over town than at a respectable pace while kind of wanting to die?
Take a class.
There’s a French saying that one starts to grow old when one stops learning. So battle the sands of time, and decide to learn something new this year. With so many universities and colleges in the Triangle area, it’s easy to find a subject that interests you. Prefer a less collegiate environment? Take a cheese making or cooking class, learn to play an instrument, attend a TEDX event or take a Skillpop class.