So I just realized that I never talked about my parents’ visit last weekend! They drove down from Long Island on Friday, Sept. 14. They made great timing, considering they had a slight setback when their tire blew out just outside of Baltimore on Rt. 95. Thank goodness my dad knew what to do and got him and my mom off the road safely. My dad brought a growler of beer from a local LI brewery, which made me happy! …Except he, Jay, and I drank it all within the first 30 minutes they were there, haha. Oops. They were tired from driving, so that night, we went out to eat at one of my and Jay’s favorite restaurants in Raleigh, Bella Monica. Luckily, this was Italian food that was met with full on parental approval! Even luckier was that we had leftovers. Yay.
On Saturday, we hit the road running. We went to Cameron Village (the Downtown Raleigh version of North Hills) for lunch and then walked around the shops there for a while. While we were in one of the boutique clothing stores, Jay found this super awesome phone headset that attached to your cell phone so you could hear out of it instead of your regular headset speaker. I’m not even kidding when I say that I want it. Not even kidding. We headed to Downtown Raleigh when we were finished at Cameron Village. SparkCon was going on that weekend, so we walked around there as we made our way to the Museum of Natural Sciences. We spent hours in there. I have to say that the highlight of the entire trip was something we almost missed. We decided to go into the living conservatory, which had butterflies, turtles, and a sloth! The turtles were neat, the butterflies were absolutely GORGEOUS, but the real fun came when the sloth decided to put on a show. The woman keeping an eye on it said that because sloths are nocturnal, this one really only moved around once during the daytime and it had already done so that morning. Lucky for us, it decided it was hungry because it woke up, crawled down its tree branch, and ate a sweet potato in front of us. It was so cool.
After we left the Museum of Natural Sciences, we spent another hour walking around SparkCon, this time looking at my favorite part of it – all of the street drawings. I’m not sure if there are any specific criteria, but during SparkCon, people have a squared-off space to draw whatever they want in colored pavement chalk. Some of the things I’ve seen in the years I’ve gone down there are AWESOME. I can’t tell you how amazed I am at the talent those artists have to make such detailed drawings out of chalk. We were hungry and tired after our full day of walking around, so we decided to head to my favorite downtown joint: The Raleigh Times. We sat outside, drank beer, and ate dinner while people watching. The guy at the table next to us was a part of SparkCon in some fashion because he was practicing magic tricks with a deck of cards and even performed one for us. The whole day was just a lot of fun.
On Sunday, I had plans to take Jay and my parents to the lake behind my new office building. I’ve posted some pictures of it on Instagram before. It’s 6 miles around, but I was only planning on taking them on a walk for about an hour to an hour-and-a-half. Sadly, it was pouring rain on Sunday! We went to mass at 9:30am, then went back home to wait out the rain to see if the day wasn’t totally lost. It cleared up enough for me to take them on a very abbreviated tour of the lake trail and some of my newly discovered walking routes. They also got to at least see the building where I work, which was nice.
Our next stop was North Hills. We hit up Target (because really, you never need an excuse to go to Target), then Keva Juice so I could make my dad try wheatgrass (he actually liked it, ew.), then over to lululemon to try to entice my mom to join the cult of shopping there (no dice), and finally to Total Wine (we made purchases). Upon leaving North Hills, we headed home for the evening. My mom put me in charge of dinner, which was tuna casserole, garlic bread, and salad. Naturally, I ate lots of casserole and lots of garlic bread, but not a bite of the salad, haha. I also had my first ever Skinnygirl cosmo. I mentioned earlier that my dad brought me beer. Well, my mom brought me the cosmo. It was much better than I thought the Skinnygirl stuff was. I think I may try the margarita in the future. I just am not a big fan of “flavored” liquors, but this cranberry flavored one was good. The evening was capped off by football and Psych.
My parents left at 5:00am on Monday, Sept. 17 and made it back to Long Island in a ridiculously good amount of time. Why doesn’t it ever take me under 10 hours to travel back and forth?! Damn. All in all, it was a great weekend. I love when my family comes to visit me in Raleigh. I wish more of them did so and they did it more often!