World Premiere of “Harry Connick, Jr. A Celebration of Cole Porter” at DPAC in September!

Harry Connick

A very special show is coming to DPAC in September. Harry Connick, Jr., the celebrated singer, musician and actor is launching his brand new show HARRY CONNICK, JR.—A Celebration of Cole Porter, honoring one of America’s most respected songwriters. The show will open on Broadway at the Nederlander Theater this December, but prior to the Broadway opening it will have its world premier at DPAC on September 21st and 22nd.  

Featuring a modern, multi-media presentation of some of Porter’s most beloved songs in an unprecedented and unique way,  Connick  will delight audiences with his signature style, while celebrating the life’s work of a legend’s significant contribution to the Great American Songbook.

This all-new production is conceived and directed by Harry Connick, Jr. with scenic design by Beowulf Boritt and Alexis Distler, projection design by Beowulf Boritt and Caite Hevner and lighting design by Ken Billington.

Tickets for the September 21st and 22nd premier at DPAC are on sale now and can be purchased throug the event website here:


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Durham Distillery Announces Plans to Open Their Own Cocktail Bar!

Lee and Melissa Katrincic

Co-Owners of Durham Distillery – Melissa and Lee Katrincic

Co-Owners Melissa and Lee Katrincic have announced plans for Durham Distillery’s craft cocktail bar “Corpse Reviver” in early 2020. This announcement comes on the heels of the passage of Senate Bill 290 this past week, marking a historic milestone for distilleries in North Carolina. The bill enables cocktails to be served at distilleries, therefore also making it possible for distillers to operate a bar in addition to the distillery.

“Since opening the distillery in 2015, it has been our goal to showcase our Conniption gins in cocktails, but ABC restrictions have prohibited us from doing so; approval of this bill changes everything, and enables us to celebrate our brand in the fullest and most experiential way,” explained Melissa Katrincic. “Corpse Reviver is a natural complement to our award-winning Conniption Gin brand and distillery, and will provide an opportunity for us to bring our premium Conniption Gin to life, just as other distilleries have done across the US.”

Durham Distillery_Food Seen_135.jpg

Durham Distillery’s Canned Cocktails
(photo by Felicia Perry Trujillo)

Durham Distillery’s Corpse Reviver will be located on the ground floor beneath the distillery with an entrance and outdoor patio facing the historic train trestle. This will enhance Conniption Gin in a craft cocktail bar setting, modeled after the luxe, modern gin bars of London. Named for both the classic gin cocktail, Corpse Reviver #2 – composed of gin, absinthe, Cointreau and lemon juice – and its’ basement setting located in a former coffin shop, Corpse Reviver is designed to showcase Conniption Gins at their best.

About Durham Distillery & CONNIPTION Gin:
Founded in 2013 and opened in 2015 by Melissa and Lee Katrincic, Durham Distillery is a craft gin, vodka and liqueur distillery – known for modern techniques and uncompromised quality – located in Durham, North Carolina. The company produces premium gins leveraging a differentiated two-step process combining time-honored gin making traditions with techniques borrowed from modern chemistry to create spirits that are both classic and contemporary. The full product line offers CONNIPTION Navy Strength Gin and CONNIPTION American Dry Gin, DAMN FINE Liqueurs (Chocolate, Mocha and Coffee), Cucumber Vodka, and Canned Cocktails (Gin & Tonic, Cucumber Vodka & Soda, and NEW Rose Spritz). As the leader in the South’s Gin renaissance, Durham Distillery has earned more than 50 national and international awards and in 2018 was named the #1 Craft Gin Distillery in the U.S. by USA Today.  Co-Founder Melissa Katrincic is recognized as one of the prominent female distillery owners in the U.S.

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Mother Earth Brewing Ironclad Half Marathon Discount Code


Running through downtown Kinston!
(photo courtesy

If you are looking for a great North Carolina Half Marathon to run this fall I highly recommend checking out The Mother Earth Brewing Ironclad Half MarathonOctober 19th in Kinston. This is a great local small town road race with lots of charm and a fast and flat course providing an awesome opportunity to achieve that PR!

I ran this race with some friends from Raleigh (pictured above) back in 2017 and we loved it! This is my “go to” fall race now and I’m looking to running it again this October. With around 500 half marathon runners and 500 participants in the 5k it is a nice manageable race. The field isn’t too crowded, but still offers just enough runners to bring that fun race day energy to the course and after party.

Ironclad 3

Running through downtown Kinston!
(photo courtesy

The race starts of with a cannon blast and features a single loop course that starts outside the historic Grainger Baseball Stadium, the former home of the Kinston Indians. It’s a fast and flat road course that will take runners through parts of downtown and scenic country roads just north of town.

It is well supported with aid stations, and there were even a few musicians entertaining runners along the course. Some other highlights include running past the CSS Neuse Ironclad gunboat and finishing along the first base line on the baseball field.

After you finish you can celebrate your achievement with a free race picture by the cannon and ice cold Mother Earth Brewing Beer as you cheer on the rest of the runners crossing the finish line.


This race is not just a lot of fun, it is also super convenient. It is one of the few races I have done that offers FREE race day packet pickup. Kinston is an easy 90 minute drive from Raleigh, so you can just drive down the morning of the race. Parking at the start/finish is plentiful too making for an all around stress free race day.

There is a nice crew of runners from Raleigh headed to Kinston to run in the race this year and I hope you will consider joining us on October 19th! You can save 10% off  your race registration for the Half Marathon or the 5K using the code “2019RunKinstonWithJH“. 

To learn more about the race and register visit the race website here.

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Sunflowers Return to Dix Park ~ July 2019


Dix Park Sunflower Field – July 2019

The sunflowers are back at Dix Park in Raleigh! I was out there earlier today to check on their progress and snapped these quick photos. The sunflowers are blooming a little later this year due to the dry conditions, but they are slowly waking up this week and should put on a good show for Destination Sunfest on Saturday, July 13th (2-9pm). If you plan to attend Sunfest check out the official event website for all the details and parking info. (Note: You will not be able to park at Dix Park on July 13th and will instead have to park offsite and ride shuttles to the park.)

Dix Park Sunflower Field – July 2019

In the meantime you can go check out the sunflowers on your own all month long from dawn to dusk. There is a mix of short and tall sunflowers plants this year with the shorter ones opening first. As of today only a small portion had begun to open. I expect peak bloom to be sometime starting next week. Pro Tip: wear a hat an bring some bottled water. There isn’t much shade out there and it gets super hot under the July sun!


Dix Park Sunflower Field – July 2019

How to find the Sunflower Field:
The sunflower field at Dix Park is located off Hunt Drive near the soccer fields and the historic cemetery. The best way to find them is to enter the park on Hunt Drive off Western Boulevard. Once on Hunt Drive you will quickly notice a large soccer field and gravel parking lot on your right. You can park there and easily access the field from the gravel lot. Click here for a google map of the field location. Enjoy the blooms!

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Burger Mondays Are Back at Mandolin!


The “Blueprint Burger” at Mandolin in Raleigh

After its successful last summer, Chef Sean Fowler of Mandolin has brought back his delicious “Blueprint Burger” as a special addition to the summer bar menu. The Blueprint Burger is Chef Fowler’s entry into the Blended Burger Project, an initiative of the James Beard Foundation to re-imagine the iconic burger to have a lighter footprint on the environment, and they’ll be serving it at now until the end of July.

Chef Fowler’s creation is a sustainable take on the American classic that’s made with the perfect blend of 50% grass-fed chuck, 25% Heritage Farms bacon, and 25% Fox Farm trumpet and shiitake mushrooms. The burger is finished off with blue cheese, pickled Mandolin Farm ramp aioli and a La Farm Bakery brioche bun.

The result is burger that’s incredibly delicious, healthier to eat, and more sustainable for the planet. Best of all, every Monday in June & July you can order this special burger at the bar bar for just $9 (usually $15).


“Soulshine” Cocktail made with Moonshine, Blackberry & Shiso

Mandolin has also added a selection of delicious handcrafted summer cocktails to their drink menu – my favorite is the refreshing “Soulshine” cocktail with it’s blend of moonshine, B&B and raspberry. And did I mention the fries? The fries are dusted with a duck fat and malt vinegar powder that adds the perfect burst of flavor! You can pair this gourmet burger and fries with one of the many cocktails, NC beers or wine by the glass at the bar for a fun Monday date night at Mandolin.

After you’ve given this special burger a try I’m sure you will want to cast your vote for Chef Sean in the #BlendedBurgerProject.  This year’s winner will be invited to cook their burger at the Beard House in NYC! To learn more about the Blended Burger Project, and to VOTE, visit

Mandolin Raleigh
2519 Fairview Road
Raleigh, NC 27068

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