Raleigh, Durham, & Chapel Hill - Triangle Area of North Carolina

Discussion in 'Travel Stories' started by giradman, Nov 21, 2015.

  1. giradman

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    Raleigh, North Carolina (The Capital) & the Umstead Hotel & Spa

    Susan & I just returned from a 2-night trip to Raleigh to see a number of exhibits at several of the North Carolina State Museums - we stayed in one of our two favorite hotels in the state, the Umstead Hotel & Spa, and I noticed that there are no travelogues on the major municipal areas of North Carolina - these include the Triangle, the Triad (Greensboro, High Point, & Winston-Salem, the latter our home town), and Charlotte (see the chart below for the most populous cities in the state). So, this thread will start w/ our recent trip, discuss more of Raleigh and then continue w/ the other Triangle Cities.

    Raleigh is named after Sir Walter Raleigh, who sponsored the first English settlement on Roanoke Island (next to the Outer Banks) in the 1580s - the small town 'disappeared' and is hence known as the Lost Colony - the first capitals of what was to become the state of North Carolina were coastal cities, the last being New Bern (a visit there to Tryon Palace is a MUST if you're on the Carolina coast). The city became the state capital during the presidency of George Washington - quoted below some more facts on Raleigh, its origins, and the Triangle name; also a map showing the relationship of the three cities (others pointed out w/ blue arrows) & the skyline of Raleigh.

    As mentioned and linked above, we stayed at the Umstead Hotel & Spa (yesterday Susan had a spa appointment and I spent an hour in their excellent fitness center), one of our favorite spots in the state - the area has some very nice hotels & inns (more in upcoming posts) and many excellent restaurants, including Herons in the hotel (I left a post in the 'eating thread' about our meal there the first night) - below some pics of the hotel (aerial and grounds views) - we always reserve a room on the back which faces the pool area and the wooded lake which has a short but pretty walking trail (on one of the pics below, a brown circled is about where we were located this time).

    Subsequent posts will discuss our museum visits on this particular short trip and then many of the attractions of the other cities; hopefully, those who may be traveling in North Carolina will be enticed to visit the Triangle Area. Dave :)

    P.S. the 'red pin' on the map is the location of the Umstead Hotel in Cary near Raleigh.

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    #1 giradman, Nov 21, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2015
  2. scifan57

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    This sounds like it will be another excellent thread. I'm sure I'll enjoy learning about the area.
     
  3. giradman

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    Hi Scifan.. - thanks for joining in (yet again!) - we go to the Triangle area 2-3 times/year, usually either to the museums w/ special traveling exhibits or to shows, especially in the downtown Durham area - SO, plenty to follow, but I'll start w/ our recent activities. Dave :)
     
  4. giradman

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    North Carolina Museum of Art - Introduction

    Before checking into the hotel, we first visited the North Carolina Museum of Art, about a 90 minute drive from our house and just 10 minutes or so from the Umstead Hotel (thus, a great location). The complex now consists of the older 'East Building' (where the traveling exhibits are shown on a lower floor - see pic) and a much newer 'West Building' which looks rather boxy & industrial from the outside but just glows w/ ambience when inside the many wings. The purpose of our trip was to see two exhibits in the older building (again pics below) - one on Escher and another on a Leonardo da Vinci manuscript owned by Bill Gates (of Microsoft fame) - each will be separate posts - views shown of portions of both buildings, mainly the newer one including the entrance and outdoor sculpture garden - the Rodin exhibits are outstanding, but the museum includes art from multiple continents and spanning thousands of years.

    We first had lunch at the museum's restaurant Iris described briefly in the quote below - a rather varied and eclectic menu sure to please - both of us ate light w/ the:

    FRUITS DE MER SALAD
    shrimp, scallops, calamari, roasted sunchokes, pumpkin seeds, arugula, Dijon tarragon vinaigrette

    We then look at the Rodin sculptures and visited the small gift shop and headed over to the older building for our 1 PM reserved tickets for the two exhibits describe above - really a lovely day. Dave :)


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  5. giradman

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    Patrick Dougherty

    We've eaten at Iris restaurant at least three times and I've always been astounded by the massive stick sculpture on the wall - well, the artist is Patrick Dougherty (short bio quoted below - Source) - some more of his work also shown below w/ the first image being that on the wall of the restaurant - really a piece that needs to be seen in person - Dave :)

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    #5 giradman, Nov 21, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2015
  6. scifan57

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    That art museum is amazing and those stick sculptures are like nothing I've ever seen before. The Leonardo da Vinci notebook is something I'd certainly want to see. BTW, did you know that the world's largest collection of Leonardo da Vinci drawings and notebooks is in the Royal collection in London; including Leonardo's famous anatomy drawings.
     
    #6 scifan57, Nov 22, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015
  7. giradman

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    About to make a few comments on the da Vinici exhibit, but I've seen many other examples of his drawings and paintings, but don't remember exactly where, may have been in part in London? Dave :)
     
  8. giradman

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    Codex Leicester - Leonardo da Vinci

    Traveling exhibits at the NC Museum of Art are shown in the older East Building on a lower level - there is a larger exhibition area (where the Escher exhibit was located) and a much smaller area which had the da Vinci writings - below a portion of an explanation of the Codex Leicester (Source). There were a dozen or more separate standing units allowing viewing of the pages (as described in the last quoted paragraph) w/ a brief description in English of what is on the page - Leonardo wrote in Italian from right to left (so the pages can be read only by using a mirror, and of course the ability to read the Italian of the time). There were also several computer-like monitors that can translate the pages w/i a scan box - below just a few web images of some of the pages. Dave :)

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  9. giradman

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    M.C. Escher - An Outstanding Exhibit

    The much larger exhibit that day was of the works of M.C. Escher - excellent summary of this life, travels, and periods of his artistic output starting with many landscapes, especially of Italy and progressing to the more abstract brain puzzling prints quoted below (source National Gallery of Art) - follow the link where a few dozen of his works are presented (a number shown below) with descriptions. The exhibit was quite comprehensive with numerous works of art on display, largely prints made in wood using woodcutting or engraving techniques, along with a number of other print and drawing methods; in addition, actual wood blocks and stones were displayed with excellent explanations of the many techniques he used in making his prints - pictures below from the web which were just amazing to see 'in person' - Dave :)

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  10. scifan57

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    Thanks for the excellent coverage of the Escher exhibit. I really enjoyed reading your post.
     

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