Y’all… when I tell you a girls trip is good for the soul, IT IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL. 🧳I went to Raleigh for a long weekend with some of my best girlfriends and it was such a fun trip. I hadn’t ever really had Raleigh on my bucket list to travel to but just given where my friends and I are all located right now, it seemed like a good trip choice. We truly just wanted a new city to explore all together and Raleigh (known as the “city inside a park”) was just that. Y’all know I always do extensive research and plan out trips well in advance. Between the craziness of the past couple of months, I looked up a few things to do but didn’t plan extensively which also made it fun when we could just pick what we wanted to do given the time of day it was without any pressure. We travelled down to North Carolina on a Friday and then left midday on Monday which gave us almost 3 full days to explore. I’m going to break down each day in this blog post so that it is clearly laid out in a chronological order.
Day 1: Friday
I came from Northern Virginia which meant Friday was largely spent in the car. Thankfully, my friend and I made the journey together so it wasn’t a lonely ride. It took us about 6 hours to arrive to our destination with a few stops here and there. One important thing to note is that we drove to meet our friend who already resides in North Carolina so we didn’t go straight to Raleigh right away. We caught up with our friend and got to explore where she now lives. The nice thing about heading down a day early was that we didn’t have to rush to Raleigh on Saturday and waste a day on travel, as soon as we arrived we could just begin exploring. If you are flying into Raleigh or if it is a farther drive, I highly recommend trying to make the most out of the travel day to make sure you can fit everything in.
Day 2: Saturday
Our official first day in Raleigh! We weren’t too far away from downtown so we stopped at Starbucks in the early morning and then hit the road to head over to the Airbnb. Like I mentioned previously, you can either drive into Raleigh or if it’s easier/quicker, you can also fly directly into the Raleigh airport which is what one of my friends ended up doing. It is not far from downtown at all either. Since our Airbnb was unable to be checked into until later in the day, we decided to grab a quick bite in the morning to hold us over until a full lunch. We had heard that Raleigh is known for their food halls so we decided to make our way over to one that was walkable from the Airbnb. Transfer Co. Food Hall was our first stop but since it was still early in the day, there was only one vendor that was open for us to get a breakfast bite from. No complaints though because Benchwarmer Bagels was so so good! Any bagel-lover’s heaven for sure, you can pick any type of bagel and they have an assortment of spreads, butters, and fillings all with a fully functioning cafe so you can enjoy a coffee or tea with your bagel. Somehow I forgot to take a picture of my bagel but I split one with my friend since they were massive and I’m not much of a breakfast person. It was an everything bagel and (When in Raleigh…) I ordered a honey bacon butter spread and ohhhhh my goodness it was heavenly. While we were enjoying our bagels, it started to sprinkle…. then pour down rain. When traveling, I usually bring layers so that in the event that I have to quickly change for the weather it would work. So this time, I had brought my raincoat but didn’t have closed-toed shoes… can’t have it all though. Since the rain was only supposed to last for a short period of time, we needed to find an indoor activity that would help pass the time. Indoor mini golf it was! We went to ParTee Shack Mini Golf is where we went and we had the best time all laughing together playing around. They had very unique courses to try which made it way more enjoyable, so if you need a rainy day activity, indoor mini golf is fun! Thankfully, the rain lifted and we were finally able to check into our beautifully appointed cottage of an Airbnb. I will leave the link for the rental we used below at the bottom of this post. We headed out for lunch and decided to explore the city by walking through downtown. We stumbled upon our lunch place just by fluke but we were so glad we made the stop because it was such good food and the right amount of portions for us all, plus a good margarita choice too. The Mexican restaurant we went to was El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant right in the middle of downtown. I ordered a lovely house margarita and the yummiest carne asada street tacos. After enjoying lots of chips and salsa, we walked through the streets to look around local shops. There are some great small business shops sprinkled throughout the downtown area. We ended up making our way to the North Carolina State Capitol which was wonderful to see. It is a beautiful capitol nestled in between grassy grounds and large trees which provided many patches of shades to easily take a rest under. I really enjoyed that we got to see several pieces of history on this trip. After taking a few hours to explore downtown, we all freshened up for dinner at the Rye Bar & Southern Kitchen (located inside of the Marriott hotel) which was definitely one of the best restaurants we went to on the trip. Gin & tonics all around the table made for such a fun night as well. I ordered the steak salad with a side of french fries, topping it all of with the table desserts of a chocolate torte and a Kentucky chocolate bourbon pie. We spent quite a few hours at this restaurant but we wanted to make sure that we still go to end the night at a speakeasy we researched. The Merchant is located on a quiet street and since we went around 11:30pm, there weren’t clear markers that people were coming in and out. The drinks there were spectacularly creative and very instagram-able including the drink I ordered, Femme Fatale.
Day 3: Sunday
A sunny Sunday was exactly what we were looking forward to on this trip. Of course, we had to have a lovely brunch all together in the morning just like old times. We settled on Big Ed’s Restaurant which had the most amazing buttermilk biscuits I have had in awhile. I couldn’t recommend them more. They had an extensive menu where everyone had plenty of options to choose from. We arrived at the restaurant around 10:30am and while it was still full, there wasn’t a wait at all. However, once we left at 11:30am, there was a line wrapped around the corner to get a table and with the warmer months coming, I highly recommend trying to get in as early as you can on the weekends. After brunch, we decided to take the day by storm by eating/drinking some of the best things…. chocolate and wine! First was the Videri Chocolate Factory a few blocks from our Airbnb cottage that we walked to. They had a self-guided tour available through the factory showing the process from bean to pure chocolate. I brought back some chocolate as souvenirs for my friends and family too. Since it was a hot day we all decided to get soft serve from the chocolate factory, my order was a swirl soft serve with a solid chocolate cowboy hat… yes you heard that right and it was the most adorable cup of ice-cream I’ve ever had. Right after the chocolate factory, we walked right over to the newest location of the Raleigh Wine Shop which worked out perfectly as it was just down the street from our cottage. We settled on doing several wine tastings and then went on to look through the aisles of wine to see which bottles were going to come home with us. I settled on two bottles of white, a red, and a rose. If you are interested in the specific international labels, let me know and I will send the names. After several wonderful afternoon hours at the wine shop, we decided to get freshened up before dinner. One of the musts that I wanted to do on this trip was to visit a rooftop bar, turns out Sunday night was the right night for it. The spot we landed on was The Willard Rooftop Bar & Lounge and it was absolutely perfect for our last night in Raleigh. They had great seasonal cocktails on the bar menu so I would definitely recommend trying whichever best suits your taste. I also recommend ordering small plates with the drinks because they were such a good pairing. At this rooftop bar, we received excellent service and enjoyed all of menu items we tried. It also gave beautiful panoramic views of downtown Raleigh, a city my friends and I all enjoyed exploring. I loved that we chose to do this rooftop the last night of our trip because it gave us the opportunity to recap and appreciate our much-needed trip away from reality.
Day 4: Monday
Our last day in Raleigh, we decided to get a yummy breakfast all together before we headed out our separate ways towards home. Before going to bed Sunday night, we agreed that we all wanted to try the restaurant The Flying Biscuit Cafe. Right when we woke up, we got packed up, left the cottage, and made our way over to the cafe all together. It was such good food and of course, the biscuits deserved to be in the title as they were so warm and fluffy. It was a great send off meal for us all in Raleigh. We had a bit of time left before we all had to hit the road so we decided to do the one activity that we didn’t have time to do over the the weekend, boutique shopping!! Going inside different local boutiques, trying on different items, laughing together piecing outfits together, it was an absolute blast. Plus we all got to leave the boutiques with a little something we all found and loved. Two of the boutiques I chose items from were Madison and The Impeccable Pig all in the village of Raleigh. After our little shopping sprees, we said our goodbyes which of course was bittersweet since we had the best weekend all together.
I couldn’t have asked for a better girls trip weekend away. It truly just meant the world that we were all able to schedule time out of our busy lives to make sure we nurtured our friendships and made the most out of the limited time we have together now. From living together as roommates our senior year of college to all embarking on our individual adult lives, our love for each other has only grown but as we all have different things going on, we always make the effort to spend time with each other. It’s so important to have friends you can trust and depend on no matter what season of life you are in. I know I am so thankful for all of my dear friends💗 I hope y’all enjoy the travel guides, I’ll keep them coming if you do like them.
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