Monday, February 15, 2016


One of our travel goals in the United States is to visit every National Park. The Smokey Mountains is one of the few national parks that is free year round, so we planned a road trip to visit in the spring. To start our adventure we decided to visit some friends in the Raleigh area. While in Raleigh they took us out to a few restaurants and local attractions. We were having such a great time that we completely forgot to take any photos, and so the sources are linked below.

Our first night out we went to downtown Raleigh and got some grub at CalaVera, which is known for their Mexican fusion empanadas and tequila drinks. We had a small dinner - Kaili choosing the vegetarian empanadas along with a spicy pineapple tequila,  and Josh having BBQ pork & chicken mole. The food was excellent, and affordable, at a great location. From there we went out for a few drinks at two different venues.

Apparently speakeasies are the hip place to be seen and drink at when in major cities. For those who are not aware, the origin of the speakeasy goes back to prohibition era America, where alcohol was banned and the only way to get it was to go to private/secret locations that served it - the only way to gain entry was with a password. Kinda ironic for this day and age but its a fun way for current bars to get their name out and to have select clientele.
Due to the liqour laws within North Carolina, many bars require that patrons be a card-carrying member of the bar. This was no exception, which adds to the speakeasy ambiance. This bar is an upscale, novelty, kind of dig where you will find classically dressed "mixologists" creating some intricate designer drinks.  This is a great place for a liquor connoisseur or a fancy date.

Black Flower/Flashpoint was our final destination for the night. In direct contrast to our previous destination, this is much more of a dive where they served beer and mixed drinks. The casual atmosphere here is ideal for a night out with friends, where you can sit and play games and listen to music or dance.

For breakfast we were taken to a venue that is known for their morning grub. After a long wait (this place is apparently pretty popular) we were treated with an indulgent breakfast with some really great biscuits. Honestly, we don't remember much about our respective orders, but the biscuits were great.

Kaili is really into oddity stores and we try to get to any we can find when traveling. They are few and far between so we really had to check this one out. This one was not in the downtown area but on an off street in the suburbs. You really would have to know this was here or else it can be easily missed. This is definitely a great stop for anyone interested in oddities! They had a really great selection with some very reasonable prices.

Another local stop in Raleigh located close to NCSU was a used book store. We really enjoy used book stores and try to find any hidden treasures or books on our GoodReads lists. Never able to resist browsing, we stopped by here and managed to find a few books we had been searching for. Prices are great, and while any used book store is in some state of chaos - it was fairly easy to find our way around this one.

Tylers is the kind of restaurant you go to if you wanna watch a sporting event or have some beers and eat BBQ. This is a great stop for a good meal and a drink.

Overall, we had a great time in Raleigh and tried to see as much as we could within our limited time! If you have a favorite spot, comment below.

You can read our other entries about North Carolina here.

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