Tag Archives: Wake County

Wine Authorities To Open in Raleigh! Residents Hunt for Wine Cards!

Wine authorites

Wine lovers take note, Craig Heffley, the Founder of Wine Authorities in Durham has been working tirelessly these past few months as he prepares to open a second Wine Authorities location in downtown Raleigh at Person Street Plaza (211 East Franklin Street).  

This is great news for downtown Raleigh and the Triangle wine scene. It is also a huge boost to the exciting Person Street & Mordecai area which has seen a surge of activity in recent years with local businesses opening up like nearby Yellow Dog Bakery, Slingshot Coffee, Oak City Cycling Project, PieBird, The Stanbury, Escazu and The Station. I drive by the future home of the Raleigh Wine Authorities every day on my way home from work and it warms my heart to see the area revitalized with local businesses. I look forward to the hub of activity it is transforming into right before my eyes with each passing day.

About Wine Authorities
The Durham Wine Authorities location was opened by Craig Heffley back in 2007 and has been a centerpiece of the Triangle wine scene ever since. This is due in large part to their commitment to artisan “farmer made wines” and their unintimidating and playful approach to educating consumers about the wines they purchase. Wine Authorities has repeatedly won Durham Magazine and Indy Week’s “awards for Best Wine Shop, and in 2013 The New York Times’ wine critic Eric Asimov praised Wine Authorities as a “shop devoted to removing intimidation from the wine business.” The store is the perfect place for drinkers of everyday wine, with all wines being under $50 a bottle, with the vast majority of the inventory under $15.

The new 3000-sq foot Raleigh store will be 50% larger than the Durham store, allowing for a larger lounge area for tasting more wines and beers, double the capacity for cheese, charcuterie, and refrigerated specialty items, and a more comfortable shopping experience.

To complement farmer-grown wines, the Raleigh location will sell hand cut local cheeses, breads, crackers and local charcuterie, including Wine Authorities’ own private batch made by Greensboro’s Giacomo Santomauro. Other coveted local products, such as Salad Dressings from Toast, crackers and granola from Scratch Baking, and Big Spoon Roasters Nut Butters, will be available.

Enomatic Wine Sampler

Enomatic Wine Sampler

The Enomatic – Wine Sampling Station
Wine Authorities has also won customers with the Enomatic – an Italian wine dispensing machine – ideal for sampling and tasting wines before purchasing. (1 ounce tastings range from 80¢ to $5) The Durham store was the first in the Triangle area to offer 12 wines for tasting throughout the day with the automated wine dispensers; the new Raleigh store will serve 24 different wines daily and boasts a larger lounge area. Wine Authorities will also serve local craft beers on tap, including Trophy Brewing, Crank Arm and the highly allocated Ponysaurus, once it’s available.

Wine Authorities Enomatic Card Contest

Art Sheppard of “The Wandering Sheppard” Travel Blog Discovers an Enomatic Card at Yellow Dog Bread

Contest – Win $20 Enomatic Wine Cards!!
Earlier this month Wine Authorities introduced Raleigh residents to the plans for their new store with a series of Enomatic cards strategically placed at historic sites and locally owned businesses in downtown Raleigh. Each day Heffley and his team discreetly reveal the location via social media, and those who discover the cards post a picture of them after finding the card on social media, then enjoy their Enomatic dollars once the store opens.

Art Sheppard, my friend and author of the The Wandering Sheppard travel blog used his sleuthing skills to discover one of the Enomatic cards at Yellow Dog Bread Co. earlier this month (victory picture above). Make sure you follow wine authorities on facebook, twitter, and instagram to follow future clues and your chance to win an Enomatic card of your own. The contest will continue for the next few weeks while final preparations for the grand opening of their store is underway.

Soon after opening, Wine Authorities plans on hosting an open house featuring neighboring businesses and food trucks. Once open I plan on stopping by to grab a few pictures of the store, and try some wines for a future feature on the blog. Happy hunting for those Enomatic wine cards!

Wine Authorities – Raleigh (Opening Soon!)
211 East Franklin Street
Raleigh, NC 27604 (map)
919-831-WINE

wesbite: http://www.wineauthorities.com
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WineAuthorities
instagram: http://instagram.com/wineauthorities
twitter: @WineAuthorities

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Filed under Businesses, Wine Tasting

Sola Coffee & Cafe’ Introduces New Dinner Menu!

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Sola for Dinner ~ Assorted Meats & Cheeses

If you follow me on instagram and twitter then you know I am no stranger to Sola Coffee & Café. They are one of my “go to” places for great coffee and espresso drinks in Raleigh. Yet my pictures of coffee and cool latte art only tell half of the story at Sola. Over the past year Sola has blossomed into a great café with a creative and ever growing food menu that now offers great options for the dinner crowd in addition to their already well known breakfast and lunch offerings.

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Bruschetta

Earlier this fall Sola introduced a new dinner menu featuring additional menu items diners can enjoy at their café after 5pm Mon-Sat. The new dinner menu features small plate items like meat and cheese boards with fresh fruit, nuts, olives and local honey, bruschetta, and new fresh salads and artisan pizzas. This is all in addition to their already fantastic menu of homemade soups and sandwiches that Sola continues to offer (along with their famous mini doughnuts which are always available!)

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White Garden Pizza

If you follow Sola on facebook you will often catch updates about the homemade soups they offer, like this weeks vegetarian chili! My current favorite new menu item at Sola is the White Garden Pizza (pictured above) with mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, spinach, pesto, basil and a flavorful balsamic glaze. As with all their menu items, the ingredients for the new dinner options are always fresh in addition to locally and regionally sourced whenever possible.

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Local Beers & European Wines

With the addition of new food items, Sola has also started offering a select menu of locally brewed craft beers and several great European wines. I love the local beer scene in the Triangle and am thrilled to see Sola offering brews made by some of my favorite local places like LoneRider Brewery and Big Boss Brewery. If you are more of a wine drinker they have a nice selection of whites and reds to enjoy with dinner. I’m a big fan of gruner veltliner wines out of Austria. I find the spicy fruitiness and dry finish of a gruner makes for the perfect white wine to enjoy during the colder fall months.

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Mixed Green Salad

If you have been following my blog recently you know I have been writing a bit about upcoming marathons and half marathons I am preparing for. Part of my training is about eating better and that includes eating more healthy salads. Fortunately I have found lots of great salads at Sola. I particularly enjoy their mixed green salad (shown above). It has a healthy portion of mixed greens along with cucumber, cherry tomatoes, almonds, red onion, and garbanzo beans. The homemade dressing is fantastic and is made using a secret recipe!

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Affogato

Of course, just because I am eating healthier these days doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a treat now and then. There are several sweet options to enjoy at Sola including yummy affogatos (espresso shot poured over a scoop of ice cream) or a slice of cheesecake or chocolate cake. They also now offer a gluten free apple crisp desert which I think is great. It is very yummy and I appreciate the fact they provide options for people with dietary restrictions looking for gluten free items.

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Live Music at Sola

If you are looking for a fun date night location in North Raleigh check out the Live Music scene at Sola. They typically have live music each Friday and Saturday night starting around 7:30pm. I’ve heard everything from bluegrass and Jazz to Celtic music played at sola. It is great to see the community support great local artists and I love that there is a great place to grab dinner and hear live music in North Raleigh now on the weekends. Visit their events calendar to keep up to date on the live music schedule.

Sola Coffee_TriangleExplorer

Cappuccino

Of course no matter when you visit Sola you can always enjoy a great coffee or espresso drink. My current drink of choice is the cappuccino. I always make sure I leave room for coffee after dinner! To learn more about Sola and keep up to date on their special events and new menu items visit their website and follow them on facebook.

Make sure you stop by Sola this week and pick up your free invite to their “Thank You Raleigh” celebration scheduled for this Sunday, November 17th. The invite is good for one free drink at the event – donations will be accepted to support the Friends of Guardian ad Litem Program of Wake County and the children they represent.

Sola Coffee & Cafe
7705 Lead Mine Road
Raleigh, NC 27615
919-803-8983

Website: http://solacoffee.com/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/solacoffee
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SolaCoffeeCafe
Twitter: @SolaCoffee

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Filed under Coffee, Raleigh, Restaurant Reviews

A Visit to Historic Yates Mill Park in Raleigh!

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Yates Mills Park ~ Raleigh, NC

Yates Mill Park is one of my favorite places to visit in Raleigh each fall. I’ve made it a yearly tradition to walk through the park each November before Thanksgiving to take in the fall foliage before the colder winter weather arrives. The park is located park that is located about 2 miles south of Tryon Road along Lake  Wheeler Road. It is 174 acres and is home to a  20 acre pond, a wildlife refuge, environmental research center, and the only remaining working gristmill in Wake County which has been in operation since around 1756!

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Yates Mill

Of course the highlight of the park is Yates Mill. It is the only remaining water-powered gristmill left in Wake County. The Mill is open for guided tours by appointment and during specific dates from March through November. They also hold corn grinding demonstrations with people dressed in period clothes on the third weekend of each month during the tour season. Reservations are encouraged and a small fee applies. See the park website for additional tour details and information.

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Walking Trail

While the mill is the main attraction, I also enjoy taking a stroll around the pond on the nature walking trail. It provides great views of the pond with the mill in the background and you are surrounded by a multitude of vibrant leaf colors from the numerous trees along the trail. I typically head over to the park two or three weeks before Thanksgiving. The leaves are in perfect color right about now and it is nice to enjoy them while it is still somewhat warm! I haven’t taken the tour of the mill yet, but I discovered you can stop by the park visitor center where stone-ground cornmeal made at the mill is available for purchase everyday.

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Visitor Center

The mill pond and surrounding natural area makes for great photo opportunities and is a favorite location for wedding pictures and family. It is important to note that the park has several rules to be aware of. In particular no pets (other than service animals) are allowed in the park and the trails are for walking, bikes are also not allowed.

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Boardwalk over Yates Pond

In addition to the mill and walking trails through the woods there are also a few boardwalks incorporated into the trails that provide access across sections of the pond. These boardwalks serve as great spots to do a little fishing with kids.

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Undated photo of the Mill – courtesy of Wake County Parks Dept.

Fall visits to Yates Mill Park have become an annual tradition for me and my wife. Later this month I’ll share some additional Triangle locations we enjoy visiting each year as the holidays approach! You can learn more about the long history of Yates Mill here on wikipedia.

Yates Mill Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC 27603 (Map)
Open 7 days per week, 8 am to sunset.

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Filed under Parks

North Wake Landfill Park in North Raleigh – An Unexpected Green Space

Top of the Hill Trail

Top of the Hill Trail

As I prepare to run in my first marathon this fall I find myself constantly looking for new places to avoid getting bored using the same old route. Since the race I am running, the City of Oaks Marathon, is right here in Raleigh it is also important that I incorporate some hill work into my routine so I am ready for of the topography on race day. Fortunately I live just down the road from the relatively new North Wake Landfill Park located off Durant Road in North Raleigh which provides a short hill perfect for hill training

View from the Top

As the name implies this the North Wake Landfill District Park is in built on top of a now closed landfill. The landfill was capped a few years ago and is now used as a park with fantastic open green space with a small playground, walking and mountain biking trails, picnic shelter, and great views from the the top of the “Big Hill”.

North Wake Landfill Park

Park Map

I pulled the map above from the park’s official website. It shows the location of the trails, parking and various recreational areas. It is a small park, but I find it to be a great place to do short runs and work on hill repeats. If you are looking for longer runs you can take one of the trails that connects to the the much longer Neuse Greenway trail that stretches on for miles

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Top of the Hill Trail

I need to give a “tip of the hat” to the River Run Club for the idea of using this park for “hill repeat” runs.  This place is so convient to my neck of the woods and the hill is challenging but not impossible so it makes for a good training spot. The “Top of the Hill Trail”  is only .07 miles long with an elevation climbing to 469 feet above sea level. Once up top you your efforts are rewarded with a nice view of the surrounding area including downtown Raleigh. I enjoy running up and down 5-6 times then doing a quick loop around the park.

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Another View from the Top

The park is open from dawn to dusk. Signs currently posted at the entrance indicate exactly what time the gates will close at night. Right now the park is ope from 8am to 9pm. It’s definitely worth checking out if you are looking for a new place to run, walk, or just get some nice views from the hill. Park brochure with addition information.

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Filed under Parks, Running

Wine Tasting at the Twisted Vine in Wake Forest

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My wife and I love to discover new places to try wine. Whether it is going on trips to vineyards or simply finding a cool local wine shop that holds tasting on the weekends. If they have wine, we want to check it out.  Two weeks ago we were in downtown Wake Forest on a Saturday afternoon and we stopped by a little place called Twisted Vine.  It is located on the second floor of an old brick building on White Street adjacent to the area where the farmers’ market is held in the spring and summer.  The neat thing about the building it is in is that there is  also a nice little coffee shop on the first floor. To get to the Twisted Vine you actually need to enter the coffee shop first and then go up stairs to enter the wine shop. 

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The wine shop has a nice little selection of wines at a range of prices and offers free wine tasting on Saturdays from 12-4.  They were tasting four wines the day we stopped in. One was from NC and the remaining three were from Spain. The striking thing about this place is its ambiance. It has exposed brick walls, original hardwood floors, and wine barrel tables set up by windows overlooking white street. I’m pretty sure they serve wine by the glass and on occasion even have music. They also feature art from local artists and photographers. This is hidden gem in Wake Forest. It’s quiet atmosphere and historic surroundings makes this another one of those places that allows you to relax  feel  worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the modern-day Triangle!

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For more information about Twisted Vine and their scheduled tasting events check out their website. And don’t forget that every second Friday is “Art After Hours” where you can discover the Arts in Downtown Wake Forest! This monthly event runs 5-9pm on the second Friday of each month and many of the local businesses like Twisted Vine stay open late for this event and feature artist openings, receptions and live music.

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Filed under Wine Tasting