Earn that Turkey Dinner with Runologie’s “Trophy Trot” Thanksgiving Day!

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Skyline photograph by Matt Robinson of Cityscape Photography

This Thanksgiving there is a special race being held at Dix Park in Raleigh that I think is poised to become a great local holiday tradition. Don’t miss your chance to earn that turkey and stuffing and start your Turkey Day off right with the inaugural Trophy Trot 10K race! This is going to be a spectacular race put on by the great folks behind two great local businesses – Runologie and Trophy Brewing. With that excellent team behind the event you can be sure to expect a great race day experience topped off with excellent beer at the finish.


Trophy Trot 10k – Finishers Medal (Photo by Runologie)

All are welcome at this race next Thursday. Whether you are looking to set a new 10k PR or just want to burn some calories with friends before enjoying your Thanksgiving feast. No matter what your goal, this will be a great community event to be a part of and a fun way to start your holiday. Details below – Go Here to Register.

Date: November 23, 2017 @ 8:00 am

Start/Finish: Dix Park – 1251 Goode St, Raleigh, NC  (Course Map)

Parking: Parking will be along Maywood Ave in front of Trophy Brewing (Map)

Cost: $40 November 1st to Race Day. $45 on Race Day. Strollers are welcome. No dogs at this time.

Swag: Race medal and a beer from Trophy Brewing Company (non-alcoholic options available).


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New Whole Foods & La Farm Cafe’ Opens Tuesday in West Cary

Over the weekend I got sneak peek as part of a media tour of the new Whole Foods in the Alston Town Shopping Center located at 5055 Arco Street in West Cary – just off exit 66 on I-540. The new grocery store opens to the public Tuesday, November 7th at 9am. It is roughly 35,000 feet in size and is probably one of the nicest Whole Foods stores I have ever visited.

Of course like most whole foods there are tons of healthy items for sale with several local vendors featured. There is also a huge prepared foods section, expansive wine and beer selection and very cool and very large growler filling station. On the tour I also learned that you can actually enjoy a pint of beer while you shop and that most of their shopping carts are actually equipped with a cup holder to secure your glass (or other drink).

One special highlight of this particular Whole Foods is its partnership with Missy and Lionel Vatinet of La Farm Bakery to incorporate a La Farm Cafe’ in the store. The 1,500 sq/ft of cafe space is beautifully designed and includes ample indoor and outdoor seating. It features a European hearth oven and a full selection of breads, coffee and espresso service (using locally roasted Counter Culture Coffee) and a café menu with salads, soups, and sandwiches.

Grand Opening Activities
To celebrate the grand opening of this Whole Foods location the first 500 customers will receive gift cards ranging in amounts from $5 to $50 and the first 50 customers will receive free La Farm bread.

West Cary Whole Foods
5055 Arco Street
Cary, NC

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Weekend Picks: November 3rd – 5th

Oaks Marathona

City of Oaks Marathon is this Sunday

November is here and the fall weather is still perfect. There is a lot going on this weekend and here are my top picks of things to do. Happy Exploring!

Friday – November 3rd

Wake Forest Art Walk
The first Friday of each month enjoy a stroll through historic downtown Wake Forest where local artists will display a variety of work in the shops, galleries, boutiques and stores along and near South White Street. While your there stop by Wake Forest Coffee Company for some live music upstairs in the Artist Loft. Wake Forest Art Walk runs 6-9pm.

Saturday – November 4th

Raleigh Flea Market Reopens
Now that that the State Fair has ended the flea market is ready to reopen. This weekend the weather looks great making it the perfect time to browse the market and do some early holiday shopping. Market opens at 9am.

Chatham County Line Concert at New Whole Foods in Cary
To celebrate the opening of their new store in West Cary, North Carolina, Whole Foods Market will host Raleigh-based bluegrass band, Chatham County Line for a Community Concert this Saturday, November 4th at 5-8pm! This is an all ages event and tickets are just $1. All proceeds will go to support Good Hope Farm in Cary, NC. This event will be held outdoors rain or shine. Tickets can be purchased here.

Music at Mystery Brewing Public House in Hillsborough

Katharine Whalen Swedish Wood Patrol plays all their jazz favorites! Featuring Danny Grewen (trombone) & Robert Griffin (piano). Free admission! 8-10pm

Sunday – November 5th

City of Oaks Marathon
The Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon takes place this Sunday and it’s always a lot of fun to go out and cheer on the runners as they make their way through downtown Raleigh. If you are looking for a place to watch and cheer Runologie is hosting a Cheer Station from 7-9am in front of their shop at 401 Hillsborough Street (roughly mile #4 of the race).

Durham Food Truck Rodeo
After the marathon head over to Durham to refuel at the food truck rodeo in central park from 12-5pm. There will be over 50 trucks. For a full list of trucks scheduled visit the event website here.


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‘Love Never Dies’ Brings Boundless Love to DPAC

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Gardar Thor Cortes (“The Phantom”) & Meghan Picerno (“Christine Daae”) star in Love Never Dies (Photo by Joan Marcus)

What a way to spend Halloween night! On Tuesday I attended opening night of ‘Love Never Dies‘ at the DPAC. This latest production is a reboot of the 2010 sequel to the immensely popular ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ and just kicked off its North American Tour in Detroit last month. As it turned out, there was a little bit of a Halloween jinx at play on opening night. The show started later than usual (close to 9pm) due to some set delays. But that is the nature of live entertainment, it takes a heck of a lot of work to put on a top notch show and once I saw the intricate sets at play in this production, I can certainly understand the need to get it right before the curtain goes up.

Now on to the show itself. The story of boundless love continues in ‘Love Never Dies’. The year is 1907 and it is 10 years after the Phantom (played by Bronson Norris Murphy) disappeared from the Paris Opera House. The Phantom has escaped to a new life in New York, where he lives among the carnival rides and freak shows of Coney Island. In this new, electrically charged world, he has finally found a place for his music to soar, but he has never stopped yearning for his one true love and musical protégée, Christine Daaé (played by Meghan Oicerno).

Now one of the world’s finest sopranos, Christine accepts an invitation to travel from Paris to New York to perform at a renowned opera house. Christine’s marriage to Raoul (Sean Thompson) is suffering at the hands of his drinking and gambling and they desperately need the financial rewards that America can give them.

In a final bid to win back Christine’s love, the Phantom lures her, Raoul, and their young son Gustave (played by Jake Heston Miller), from Manhattan to the glittering and glorious world of Coney Island.


“Only For You” – Mary Michael Patterson (“Meg Giry”) and Ensemble of Love Never Dies (Photo by Joan Marucs)

Going into the show I was prepared for a magical and poetic and even sometime melancholic score. And although there are indeed some hints of the original “Phantom” score intertwined into “Love Never Dies” I was pleased that there was no simple retread of the score and instead it is filled with new themes and interesting waltz rhythms that meld well with the carnival backdrop.

Bronson Norris Murphy did a commendable job as the Phantom and Meghan Picerno was wonderful as Christine. Her performance and strong Opera background added complete credibility to her character’s story about the success she found as a singer in Paris in the ten years since the Phantom disappeared. Little Gustave (played by Jake Heston Miller) brought a youthful energy to stage while demonstrating both strong acting chops and strong vocals alongside such older and accomplished singers.

In addition to the strong performances delivered, the sets for this production are simply dazzling. The lighting and costumes are particularly noteworthy. The set design by Gabriela Tylesova’s included a swirling rotating stage that worked so very well in many scenes creating a fluid movement of the action. I was particularly blown away by the carnival like atmosphere that was created each time a scene took place at the Phantasm on Coney Island and how many performers, colors, and movements were taking place at the same time. The choreography of it all was very complicated and executed perfectly.

Looking back now I found the first act a little confusing as the story tried to reset the relationships between the primary characters, but things really picked up steam in the second half of the show. There is an amazing duet between The Phantom and Raoul (“Devil Take the Hindmost”), in which the two men who face off over their love for Christine.

It is also in the second act that Meghan Picerno truly shines with a showstopping performance of title song “Love Never Dies”. During that performance Picerno takes center stage in a stunning lavender dress in front of a tremendous peacock-feathered backdrop highlighted with gorgeous lighting throughout the performance. It was mesmerizing and the highlight of the show for me.

If you were a fan of “Phantom”, or just a hopeless romantic you will want to see this continuation of one of the most famous stories about boundless love between two troubled souls.

“Love Never Dies” has performances at DPAC through Sunday, November 5th. For tickets visit https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/love-never-dies.

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Community Concert w/ Chatham County Line at the New Whole Foods Market in West Cary this Saturday!

Chatham County Line

Chatham County Line
(Photo by Patrick Shanahan)

To celebrate the opening of their new store in West Cary, North Carolina, Whole Foods Market will host Raleigh-based bluegrass band, Chatham County Line for a Community Concert this Saturday, November 4th at 5-8pm! This is an all ages event and tickets are just $1. All proceeds will go to support Good Hope Farm in Cary, NC. This event will be held outdoors rain or shine. Tickets can be purchased here.


Master Baker Lionel Vatinet
(Photo by La Farm Bakery)

LaFarm Bakery inside the new Whole Foods!
Missy and Lionel Vatinet of La Farm Bakery have partnered with Whole Foods to open a new 1,500 sq/ft venue inside the new West Cary Whole Foods Market. At this new location Bakers will be visible mixing, shaping and pulling loaves from the oven throughout the day and it will feature a European hearth oven just like their Preston Corners location and their new production facility in downtown Cary.

La Farm Bakery will highlight a specific farm, mill and grain through one of their breads. Upon opening, Vatinet will showcase Anson Mills’ organic, non-GMO polenta (Heirloom Red Trentino Flint Corn Polenta) in his Polenta-Fig- Walnut Bread. In addition to offering a full selection of breads, including holiday, seasonal and weekend breads, La Farm Bakery will also provide full coffee service and a café menu including Croque Madames, sandwiches and more. La Farm Breads will be available both in the grocery section of Whole Foods Market Alston, and in their bakery department. In the La Farm Bakery area, there will be seating for 30 indoors and 30 outdoors.

To celebrate this new partnership the La Farm Bread Truck will be on hand Saturday selling breads, sandwiches, pastries & desserts.

About Chatham County Line
Based on looks alone, Chatham County Line conjures a sepia-toned timelessness by huddling around a single microphone on stage, playing traditional string band instrumentation while clad in suits and ties. But for nearly two decades, the Raleigh, NC-based outfit has consistently crafted top-notch, original modern acoustic music that draws upon American roots forefathers like bluegrass inventor Bill Monroe and folk innovator John Hartford while acknowledging its own members’ backgrounds in rock ‘n’ roll band

About Good Hope Farm
Good Hope Farm’s mission is to honor Northwest Cary’s agricultural heritage while increasing the community’s access to farmland and connecting its residents to local, healthy food. The farm provides up to two acre plots to new and expanding farmers, with all necessary equipment and infrastructure available on site. The farm will soon feature a demonstration garden and offer agricultural and nutritional classes.

Whole Foods Market
5055 Arco Street
Cary, NC 27519

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