Whether you are relocating to (or within) Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding communities or you already live here, whether you have a “stay-cation” coming up or are just looking for something FUN to do with the family, whatever your purpose, we asked our Fonville Morisey Sales Associates and Staff what some of their favorite things to do around The Triangle are. Compiling all the data and submissions we can break it down to three distinct categories – museums, parks and recreation, AND what we’re calling – “Did You Know?”. Each of the suggestions below are very economical and further detail more reasons why living in The Triangle is a wonderful place to be!
Museums and Gardens
An overwhelming majority could not say enough about the North Carolina Museum of Art and its Museum Park. Admission to the Museum, its permanent collection and the grounds of Museum Park are all free. There is a charge for special collections and events. If you’re just in The Triangle for the day, this is one stop you definitely should make! Catherine Baldwin had this to say -
“I love the NC Museum Park trails! The art along the path inspires me.”
Many of our Agents marveled at the value in Membership at the Museum too. Cynthia Parker noted, “With their outdoor movies in the summer and indoor showings in the winter, they’re free to members and only $5 for non-members.” Of course, that’s only one perk of many with membership.
Other area museums with either free or reduced cost admission that made mention were the Museum of Life and Science as well as the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, both in Durham; the Ackland Art Museum at UNC in Chapel Hill, and the North Carolina Museum of History as well as the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. The latter in particular has a fantastic program – Science Thursdays. Says our Jean Stevens -
“The Science Café is every Thursday at 7:00pm. It used to be once a month but now it is weekly. It is ideal to get there early and enjoy a meal at the Daily Planet Café before the discussion begins. My parents enjoy going on a regular basis. I finally went myself and enjoyed it. This week’s topic is Genetic Ancestry. I think it is neat to have the opportunity to hear from the experts and all the different topics. The weekly discussions are free!”
The Museum of Life and Science in Durham has some special discounts for Durham residents throughout the year (and if you’re a Member, admission is FREE!) and the Nasher Museum of Art is free to everyone every Thursday evening from 5-9pm as well. Two more great values!
When it comes to gardens, we have many of those too…and once again, many are FREE to visit!
A couple of the most popular gardens mentioned by our Agents were Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham and the Coker Arboretum at the North Carolina Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill. In fact, the NC Botanical Gardens got quite a few mentions. The gardens of either are absolutely gorgeous this time of year too!
Parks and Recreation Around The Triangle
Our community is very fortunate as its almost impossible to count the number of city, county, and state parks that dominate the landscape. Two popular destinations for many (on a large scale) that our Agents suggest are Umstead State Park in Raleigh and Eno River State Park in Durham. Both have a plethora of trails to choose from whether you are a beginner or advanced runner or biker. Many trails offer scenic overlooks where visitors can take in the view of ponds or, if at Eno, the Eno River itself. Add to that the number of places to picnic (shelters, open areas) within the properties as well, each park offers a whole lot to a person who enjoys being outdoors.
The Triangle also offers many lakes – big and small – to enjoy. If you’re into gas-powered boating, there’s Jordan Lake and Falls Lake. If you enjoy kayaking, canoeing or the latest craze, paddleboarding, there are several smaller lakes that offer any or all of those activities as well; but of course, you can do all of that on the larger lakes too (check out Jordan Lake Watersports for rentals).
Some of our Raleigh and Wake County-based Agents’ favorite parks/lakes are – Lake Lynn, Lake Ann, Shelley Lake, Lake Johnson, Crabtree Lake, and Lake Wheeler. Some offer water sports (like canoeing, kayaking) while others just offer pretty views, fishing, and even walking trails around the lakes. To learn more about each visit the Raleighparks.org. Says our Linda Payne -
“You can rent canoes and small boats or you can just fish off the piers. It’s a great thing for families to do on a Saturday!”
Let us not forget the two longest Greenway projects and trails along our Triangle borders – the American Tobacco Trail in Durham and the Neuse River Greenway Trail in Wake County. Both stretch for miles and are great for walking, jogging, or biking. Destiny Sutton had this to say about the beauty of the Neuse River Greenway -
“My favorite free thing to do in the Triangle is explore the Neuse River Greenway Trail- 33 miles of gorgeousness from the North to the South of the Triangle’s Eastern Edge. Biking, Running, Kayaking, and Picnicking along the river with the lushness of the trees surrounding you is pretty unbeatable!”
Whether you’re looking for trails to wander, feel like a good workout standing on top of a paddleboard, or you’re a shutterbug waiting for just the right moment to capture digitally, our communities offer so many options for the outdoors enthusiast…and most of which is FREE too!
“Did you know?”
As we polled our Agents and Staff, there were a few FUN things to do that just really stuck out us.
Our Esther Giambalvo suggested taking in a movie under the stars at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary’s summer program “Movies By Moonlight”. For just $3 for adults (free to kids under 12), it may not be a “drive-in” movie of old, but it’s an economical option for a summer evening. Says Esther – “My favorite cheap ‘date night’ for any occasion is Koka Booth Amphithetre’s ‘Movies By Moonlight’!” To learn more visit the Koka Booth website.
Martha Newport in our Chapel Hill office mentioned the Chapel Hill Library’s story time program. Infants, toddlers, school-age, or families can all participate. There’s even a program called “Pajama Time Story Time”. Who wouldn’t want to check that out? For more information, visit the Chapel Hill Library‘s website.
A favorite place that Beth Crompton in our Lochmere Sales office in Cary likes to visit is actually located just minutes away in Raleigh – the Joel Lane House. Mr. Lane is considered the “Father of Raleigh” because he spearheaded the location of the Capital of Raleigh on his land back in the late 1700′s. The historic restored house and plantation located just on the edge of Raleigh’s Boylan Heights neighborhood has guided tours and a beautiful garden. There is a minimal cost for the guided tour but history buffs will delight in taking it all in!
If you’re into all things equestrian, the Hunt Horse Complex on the grounds of the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh offers up free horse shows and competitions most weekends. Kim Decker and her family enjoy those! You can check out the schedule of events on the NC Department of Ag website too.
One of Kathy Legnaioli’s suggestions is the Duke Lemur Research Center in Durham. There visitors partake in a guided tour learning about Lemurs and their habitat. Visitors can even “adopt a Lemur” too! (Well, not actually take them home, but you know what we mean.). Kathy says -
“The Duke Lemur Research Center on Lemur Lane off of Erwin Road in Durham is fantastic. They do require reservations ahead of time, but it’s a blast and worth the few dollars to get in. It’s an experience you’ll never forget!”
For more information on the Duke Lemur Research Center, including pricing and tour FAQs, please visit their official website.
Another favorite “to-do” mentioned by many was the vast amount of Farmer’s Markets or farm stands in our communities. Of course, the BIG one – the North Carolina State Farmer’s Market is located in Raleigh, but there are many communities (and even neighborhoods – think North Hills in Raleigh’s Mid-Town, for instance) that host Farmer’s Markets throughout the season. Considering that many of our local restaurants also enjoy creating and serving dishes made with ingredients from local farmers, this isn’t much of a surprise, but it’s a GREAT way to take in a weekday or Saturday morning too!
Similar to area farmer’s markets was mention of the Raleigh Flea Market. We all love a good bargain and Raleigh’s own Flea Market is no exception. According to our Claudia Eades she says, “Browsing is free and cheap finds are available. You can even bring your dog too!”
Finally, if you’re into automobile racing, be sure and check out the Orange County Speedway in Rougemont OR the Wake County Speedway in South Raleigh. Both offer races most weekends during the summer months and for a nominal admission fee.
Truly, this was just a snippet of some of the favorite things our Fonville Morisey family members either enjoying doing with their own families or recommend to their clients as they transfer into and around the Triangle. There is so much to recommend for free and reduced costs, some of what we didn’t touch upon this time around…BUT we may just have to publish another post!
What are your favorite activities in our communities that are free or for a nominal fee? Please leave a comment below.
Many thanks to our Contributors, those mentioned above and – Anna Marie Ambrose, Christy Austin, Marie Brockenbrough, Amy Brown, Jackie Caprio, Beth Creaghan, Laurie Compiano, Lisa Hayes, Stacey Horowtiz, Sheila Kennedy, Deb Lepper, Jennie Logan, Kelly Mathews, Beth Prochaska, Lauren Richardson, Vicki Robinson, and Mike Strayhorn,
Images of NCMA Museum Park and the Neuse River Greenway credit to Lisa Sullivan.