Raleigh Weekend

Matt, Riese, and I spent the weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina visiting family!

It was fun to head back to North Carolina – I miss that gorgeous Carolina Blue sky so much. For newer readers: Matt and I lived in Chapel Hill, NC for a couple years (2010-2012) while I was getting my Masters of Public Health in Nutrition at UNC. We loved it there!

Sadly we didn’t get the chance to pop by Chapel Hill this weekend, but seeing the Carolina Blue sky again was excellent. ;)

blue jay point lake trail raleigh

We were in Raleigh to visit Matt’s older brother Chris, his wife Jess, and their 3 boys (one of whom was born in September, so this was our first time meeting him)! Matt’s younger brother Drew and his wife Morgana also came down from NYC, so we had a big crew!

We arrived on Friday in time for dinner, and had a low key night at their home with some yummy enchiladas and tacos. 

homemade enchiladas

I went back for one more hard shell taco after the below pic. As you can see in the background, Riese was at the kid’s table with her cousins – she had THE best time with them this weekend! So fun that she’s old enough to play with them a bit more now. 

On Saturday morning, we had a chill morning at home with some almond butter toast, fruit, and hard boiled eggs. 

simple toast and boiled eggs breakfast

Then we headed out for an adventure! We all went to Shelley Lake Trail and walked the 2 mile lake loop, then hit the playground for a bit, too. Riese mostly walked/ran, but she also borrowed her cousin’s cool pushable bike and had fun getting a ride with us pushing!

It was gray out on Saturday but still warmer than DC. ;)

shelley lake trail raleigh

Lunch was at a really delicious fast casual Lebanese spot called Sassool. I forgot to take a picture because we were running up on nap time and things were pretty chaotic, but Matt, Riese and I shared a whole bunch of their prepared salads, hummus, and a couple pita sandwiches. 

The gang watched a movie while Riese napped, and I got some work done (perpetually behind!). After she was up and had a snack, Matt stayed back with Riese and I went out for a quick jog before dinner.

As a social runner, I’m always really proud when I make it out for a run on my own without the accountability of someone else! I did a big loop around Chris and Jess’s neighborhood and it was perfect – ideal temperature, I felt good, not too long, not too short. 

short jog in north raleigh

On Saturday night, we had a big treat: a dinner out at Brewery Bhavana in downtown Raleigh! It’s an Asian dim sum restaurant that was actually voted the #10 best new restaurant in America by Bon Appetit magazine in 2017! Whoa. 

dinner out in raleigh

I loved it from the moment we walked in – super cool vibe, and really unique in that it had a big brewery/bar area, a trendy restaurant area, AND a bookstore and a flower shop. There was a lot going on but it weirdly really worked. 

brewery bhavana raleigh

And more importantly, the food was phenomenal! Seriously one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

We basically just ordered half the menu and shared it all, which was perfect because we all got to try a bit of everything. 

brewery bhavana dinner review

brewery bhavana dinner review

brewery bhavana dinner review

For dessert, we all shared the fried ice cream (!!) and an unpictured key lime pie, which was from a local bakery and also phenomenal. I’m not normally a huge cake person (I find it too sweet), but it was soooo good. Really great texture!

fried ice cream brewery bhavana

Such a great night out. And in case you’re wondering, the kids were not with us – Jess’s family that lives in the area very kindly babysat!

On Sunday, we had a little birthday breakfast for Chris with some delicious almond croissants (from Trader Joe’s). 

trader joes almond croissants

And then we all headed out to another great trail/playground area – Blue Jay Point County Park.

It was sooo nice out on Sunday – such a treat! Something I really miss about living in North Carolina is not only the gorgeous winters (lots of random 60 degree and sunny February/March days), but also the access to lots of trails/lakes/wooded areas! 

blue jay point hike

It was so pretty, and the kids had a blast exploring and running around the trails. The first photo in this post was from this hike, too – the trail was a short loop that took you down to beautiful views of the water.

blue jay point trail raleigh

We came back and had some leftovers at the house before hitting the road back to DC. It was so hard to leave with such beautiful weather – wish we could have stayed and played longer! Such a fun weekend.

Once we got home and got Riese to bed, Matt watched the Super Bowl, but I decided my time would be better spent taking a nice hot epsom salt bath and then reading in bed. It’s my favorite bedtime routine!

epsom salt bath

Did you watch the Super Bowl?

Have you ever been to North Carolina? 

Please note there are affiliate links in this post.


  1. 1

    I watched the Super Bowl (ads). 😉 I liked the Doritos one. Also Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. The halftime show was good, too. Especially impressive when you think Shakira is 41 and J Lo 50!

  2. 3
    TrackBuddy says

    What a lovely weekend! I too really miss the randomly nice(r) North Carolina winter. Such a fun visit!

  3. 4

    Sounds like a great trip! I’m impressed that Riese did okay getting to sleep with a new location and caregivers! Good for you guys for getting out!

    • 5

      She’s usually pretty adaptable which is nice! She was pretty upset when we left on Saturday night but apparently was fine after like 5 minutes. :)

  4. 6

    Carolina 😭😭 So glad you got to head down there and spend time with the family. I need to get back there, or we plan a reunion in our old stomping/running grounds!!❤️💯

  5. 8
    Roadrunner says

    What a neat weekend! Very nice. And, yup, lived for over four years in the Tarheel State. Loved the winters, as you did, and the springs and falls – but not the summers! But a lot to do there, for sure. Glad you could get back on such a nice weather weekend.

  6. 10

    Looks like such a fun trip! The dim sum restaurant sounds amazing!! I watched enough of the Super Bowl to eat nachos, wings and Shakira… the best part in my opinion ;)

  7. 12

    I liked in Charlotte for a year due to a relocation and while the state was not a good fit for this Midwesterner, I enjoyed the mild winters and LOVED the early spring. Spring in Minnesota kind of sucks – it can snow into April and it just a messy, muddy time. But Spring in NC was beautiful and so warm!

    I watched 3 quarters of the game and then headed to bed to read. I LOVED the half time show – as did our little guy. Halftime was a little before 7:30 so he got to watch the performance before heading up to bed. He loved dancing around. I’ve seen a lot of complaints about the show but we really enjoyed it! If only my hips moved like those ladies!

  8. 13

    Such a fun trip! The food looks in-credible, and the weather was so lovely here too over the weekend! Perfect for a hike, which we enjoyed on Sunday. No Super Bowl for me, but I looked up some of the commercials. Loved the Avocados from Mexico, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia for Alexa, and a few others. I’m not usually a fan of the half time performances to be honest, and I wasn’t wow’d with this year’s either.

    • 14

      I haven’t seen the halftime show from this year, but I usually find them to be so over the top. I feel like the less I pay attention to pop culture, the happier I am at this point in my life!

  9. 15

    Sounds like you enjoyed a great weekend and your little one looked like she had funny playing with the other cousins. We enjoyed the Super Bowl (will not comment on the halftime show) as it was an exciting game. The fourth quarter comeback by Kansas City proved the underdog is never out of the game. Everyone had a great time and football food enhanced the event. I am happy to report the Ground lamb nachos topped with your Spicy Hummus Queso sauce, which I altered, was a big hit. I also prepared the Original Spicy Hummus Queso dip, which everyone loved. Both dishes went well with my Spanish Paella and our guest received copies of all the recipes. We started a tradition for all big events called passing it on- every dish accompanied by the recipe with the source. This does lead to recipe brainstorming of other food adaptations for each recipe. I will say I have found memories of the kid table and loved the photo!

  10. 17

    Aww you guys seem to really fit in there :) Do you ever think about moving back to NC?

    • 18

      Eh, not seriously. We love NC… but we love DC, too. :) And I think what I miss most about NC is the life we had there (when I was in grad school, with all those friends), so it wouldn’t be the same anyway!

  11. 19

    Aww, North Carolina! I don’t know when, but I do hope to get back there someday!

  12. 21

    Looks like you had a great trip! You trip combines the two best things for me-good food and nature. The first picture actually looks like a postcard. Also, did I mention I was almost drooling while going through the meal pictures? lol

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