Seeing Raleigh Through New Eyes

When you live like a tourist, you see your hometown in a whole new light.
When you live like a tourist, you see your hometown in a whole new light.

I did something this past weekend that I haven’t done in the past 13 years I have lived in Raleigh.

I saw my city in a new light.  I lived like a tourist.

It’s no secret that I love Raleigh.  In my column on TriangleMom2Mom, about this same time last year, I told you how grateful I am to call North Carolina home.  I think our area is special.

My family experiences great activities in the area using my own home as a base, but I’m here to tell you that it is a whole new experience when you check in to a hotel like a tourist would do when visiting Raleigh.

When you are handed that electronic key to your hotel room at the front desk, you leave behind any thoughts of folding laundry, mowing the grass, planning the week’s meals, tidying up the house, running errands, or any other countless items on your constantly evolving “to-do” list.  Yes, I don’t really mow the grass, and my husband would probably tell you that I spend more time at my computer writing then doing anything on a “to-do” list, but you get the idea. You become carefree, your worries are pushed aside, and you are truly living your life to the fullest for 24 hours, just like you would on vacation in a city away from your hometown.

I checked into the new Hyatt House in North Hills with a longtime friend of mine who does not live in Raleigh. Her two girls are close to my daughter’s age. We spent a lot of time in our two-bedroom suite catching up, while our three girls played and nurtured newfound friendships.  We had pink and blue cupcakes in our kitchen, lots of laughs in our pajamas, and a great adventure in the North Hills shopping area once we took a few steps outside of our hotel.

We’re only talking about 24 hours here. But I felt as if I had escaped and transported myself to a new destination.

I soaked up the atmosphere and took the time really to view the architecture around me.  I wasn’t just going to a store to pick up an item as I normally do, then hurrying back to my usual routine at home.   No, I took this time to look around.  We posed for photos at the water fountains.  We ate in not one, but two, restaurants in North Hills with the only criteria that they be child-friendly.  We had a delicious, leisurely complimentary breakfast at our hotel that was included with our room.  We drank really good coffee, in mugs (and you all know I’m a sucker for good coffee in a mug).

We dined at Mia Francesca and Firebirds Wood Fired Grill. I loved them both, but I do have to tell you that the grilled chicken sandwich with pepper jack cheese that I ate for lunch on Sunday at Firebirds is still in my thoughts as I write this column.  I inhaled that sandwich.  Not joking. It was the best grilled chicken sandwich I’ve had in a long time, and the steak fries were cooked to perfection.  Yeah, I blew my eating plan in that one sitting, but I didn’t care.  We only have one life to live, and I intend to live it.

After we said our goodbyes, here’s the real pink icing on the cupcake: I had only a 15-minute drive back to my home.  That was sweet!