The 8 Best Dog Parks in North Carolina


Via Dr. Alan Lipkin/Shutterstock

It’s important your dog has a great space to run around and the freedom a dog deserves, and sometimes your backyard just isn’t enough. No matter where you live in the state of North Carolina, there is a dog park near you. Here are some of our favorites. Let us know if you agree with our list of the 8 Best Dog Parks in North Carolina. 

1. Happy Hounds, Winston-Salem

This park is highly regarded as one of the best in the Winston-Salem area. It’s known for its cleanliness and openness, and it also has areas to separate the big dogs from the smaller dogs. No dogs are getting bullied around here!

2. Barkingham Park, Charlotte

This off-leash park has plenty of space for your dog to run free and play with other dogs. In a busy city like Charlotte, this is a great space for your dog to feel like a dog.

3. Wilmington Dog Park, Wilmington

With water stations and pet waste stations, dogs that visit Wilmington Dog Park will never want to leave. This park is completely fenced off and has space for the big dogs and the little dogs to be separate from each other.

4. William Davies Park, Charlotte

Two separate sides make up this park, the two sides split the big dogs from the small dogs. This fenced off area has plenty of space for dogs to run around and benches for owners to sit and relax as their dog roam freely.

5. Fetching Meadow, Charlotte

This park isn’t as large as the other parks on this list, but it is a great fenced off area in which dogs don’t have to worry about being restricted with their movement by being on a leash.

6. Southwest Park, Greensboro

There is plenty of space for your dog to run around at this park, as well as fresh water and treats for your pet. Unlike the other parks on this list, you’ll need to bring your wallet with you, there are a few fees for this park.

7. Chapel Hill Southern Dog Park, Chapel Hill

This park is a large area with many benches for owners to sit down and watch their dog run around, as well as many trees to provide shade for the dogs. Trees are also great for a game of tag as the dogs mark their territory.

8. Oakwood Dog Park, Raleigh

Every type of dog is welcome at this park as there is an area for elderly, small, and even shy dogs. There are plenty of toys and plenty of fresh water here, your dog might never want to go home.

What is your favorite dog park to go to? Let us know in the comments below!


The 5 Best Places in Winston-Salem to Grab a Cup of Coffee


Via racorn / Shutterstock

Via racorn / Shutterstock

If you’re in Winston-Salem and looking for a pick me up, you may want to stop in at one of these five coffee shops. We love ’em, and you will too! If we missed a local favorite, make sure to add it to the comments section, because we’re always up to try a cup of joe somewhere new.

5. Ardmore Coffee

They say good things come in small packages, and Ardmore is a testament to that. Ardmore has a great atmosphere and delicious coffee.

4. Peppermill Coffee Shop

One of the great things about Pepper Mill Coffee, is that it’s different. If you’re looking for a Starbucks feel, this isn’t the place for you. It’s quiet and relaxed, and a great place to crack open a new book!

3. Twin City Hive

Twin City Hive is a great place for coffee, tea, and donuts. It’s got very comfortable couches, so get cozy and grab a cup.

2. Camino Bakery

Camino is the ‘go-to’ coffee shop for all those in Winston-Salem. If you’re looking for a change up from coffee, we recommend the earl gray latte.

1. Krankies

Krankies roasts their own beans on site, a great warehouse venue and an art gallery to peruse while you enjoy some delicious coffee. Krankies coffee is so good, a bunch of places above actually use their beans to brew!

 


5 Best Places to Retire in North Carolina


We work our entire lives to one day have the opportunity to retire in a place of our choosing. North Carolina has become a retirement hotspot over the past 20 years, and for good reason. The state offers the perks of big cities like Charlotte and Raleigh, alongside great skiing destinations like Sugar Mountain, and of course, beaches alongside the east side of the state. North Carolina really does have it all when it comes to picking the perfect place to retire. With so many options, where should you start looking to retire? Well, we wanted to make it easier for you. We’ve examined a niche.com report on the best places to retire and narrowed it down to the top five in North Carolina.

Niche broke down the communities mentioned below on several factors, like accessibility to golf, access to restaurants, monthly housing cost, etc. For this article we’ve decided to include the key factors from the report:

  • % of residents 65 and over
  • Weather Grade
  • Monthly Housing Cost
  • Crime and Safety Guide

5. Mount Airy

Via Wikipedia Creative Commons

Via Wikipedia Creative Commons

Located in Surry County, with a population of just over 10,000, Mount Airy comes in at 5th place on our list of best places to retire in North Carolina. Once you get into town, drop your bags and head for Pilot Mountain. The views are breathtaking.

% of residents 65 and over: 22.3%

Weather Grade: B

Monthly Housing Cost: $614

Crime & Safety Guide: C+

4. Brevard

Brevard comes in at 4th on the list of places to retire in NC. With over one in four residents being over the age of 65 and great access to affordable housing and restaurants, it’s a great place to retire.

% of residents 65 and over: 26%

Weather Grade: B

Monthly Housing Cost: $625

Crime & Safety Guide: B

3. Morehead City

Via Google Maps

Via Google Maps

Morehead City scored really well in some major categories, receiving A’s in accessibility to Golf, Doctors, and Restaurants. However, it did score pretty poorly (C-) when it comes to Crime and Safety.

% of residents 65 and over: 19.7%

Weather Grade: B+

Monthly Housing Cost: $714

Crime & Safety Guide: C-

2. Southern Pines

Via Wikipedia Creative Commons

Via Wikipedia Creative Commons

Southern Pines is a golfer’s paradise. It is ranked A+ on Niche with accessibility to golf courses. It also received an A rating for recreational facilities.

% of residents 65 and over: 26.8%

Weather Grade: B+

Monthly Housing Cost: $794

Crime & Safety Guide: D+

1. Pinehurst

Pinehurst is most known for it’s unreal golf courses. It comes with a slightly higher average monthly housing cost, but like they say, “you get what you pay for!”

% of residents 65 and over: 35%

Weather Grade: B+

Monthly Housing Cost: $1,181

Crime & Safety Guide: B+


8 Pizza Places in Charlotte You Need to Try ASAP


Pizza Lover

Cheese, tomato sauce and dough. It’s so simple but so good. Though, the difference between a good slice and a bad slice can be huge. So here are our favorite places to get pizza in Charlotte. Let us know in the comments if you have any personal favorites you would like to add!

Luisa’s Brick Oven

If you’re looking for a slice of pizza with some of that ‘dark-around-the-edges’ deliciousness then Luisa’s is a great choice. They cook their pizza in a brick oven and have selections like the Fiorentina which includes fresh spinach, garlic, fontina, parmigiana and mozzarella. Thin crust pizza like this is hard to come by and Luisa’s nails it.

Due Amici Pizza

Ordering the large is either for the bold or the very hungry. These pizzas don’t mess around. They have some of the freshest ingredients and offer a pizza with a crunch that melts in your mouth. Is that a contradiction? Yes. But a very tasty contradiction that you have to try for yourself.

Intermezzo’s Pizzeria & Cafe

A Serbian pizza place? You bet. Intermezzo’s serves plenty of Serbian dishes but also serves up a great slice of pizza. They have unique slices such as the Wood Grilled Fungi and the Chicken Florentine. Stop in for a try and you won’t regret it.

Luigi’s Pizza

Luigi’s is a fantastic place to stop in for a New York styled slice. Their menu offers much more than just pizza too, but their giant sized pies are guaranteed to have you coming back in for more. Lunch time, dinner time, any time is always the right time for Luigi’s.

 

Benny Pennello’s

With some of the biggest slices of pizza on the east coast, Benny Pennello’s is a great place to stop and enjoy a slice. Their pizza is fluffy and crunchy all in one bite and is guaranteed to get you full. Want something to wash that delicious ‘Za down with? Well they have a massive selection of beverages to choose from including unique sodas, beers and more.

Pure Pizza

If you’re looking for a meatier slice of pizza, then stop in at Pure Pizza. Their crust is sensational and their ingredients are fresh. It has a wonderful staff and a great atmosphere. It’s truly a pizza that you’ll have to try for yourself next time you’re in the area.

Pizzeria Omaggio

Maybe you like authentic Italian style pizza? Well, Charlotte has that too. Pizzeria Omaggio is highly considered one of the best places for this kind of pie in town. Swing in for a taste of the old country!

Tony’s Pizza

Spilling out of the box, overloaded with cheese and everything else that you could want in a slice. Tony’s is great for pizza and much more. Give them a visit and you’ll swear that you got transported back to New York.

 

Now get out there and eat some ‘Za!


The 5 Greatest Sports Teams in North Carolina History


With the Carolina Panthers having one of their best seasons to date, we thought it might be appropriate to take a look back on some of the great sports teams in North Carolina history. Take a look at our list below of the top 5 teams in North Carolina history – and since this list is highly debatable – feel free to comment with which team you think is the best!

5. 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes

Finishing first in the Southeast Division and second overall in the Eastern Conference, the 05-06 Carolina Hurricanes were a force to be reckoned with. The team hit their stride mid year, winning 13 out of 14 total games in the month of January. Cam Ward emerged as the starting goaltender, with Eric Staal, Erik Cole, Justin Williams and veteran Rod Brind’Amour leading the team in scoring. They beat the Montreal Canadiens in 7-games to become Stanley Cup Champs.

4. 2003-2004 Carolina Panthers

The most amazing thing about this Super Bowl contender was where they came from. The year prior, the Panthers were the worst team in the league, with a 1-15 record. John Fox took over as head coach in 2003 and signed Jake Delhomme, an undrafted quarterback who had previously played in NFL Europe. Receivers Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammed helped lead the team to its first ever Super Bowl, where the Panthers fell just shy of beating the Patriots, and lost 32-29.

3. 1981-1982 North Carolina Tar Heels Men’s Basketball

The 1981 Tar Heels squad was stacked with talent. Led by James Worthy, Sam Perkins, and a young freshman named Michael Jordan who you may have heard of, the Tar Heels would win the National Championship under coach Dean Smith. Worthy would go on to win the NCAA Basketball Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award, while Jordan would take home ACC Rookie of the Year honors.

2. 1991-1992 Duke Blue Devils Men’s Basketball

Led by All-American Christian Laettner and Grant Hill, Duke was able to capture its 2nd national championship in as many years. The team won its first 17 games in a row, finishing the season with a 25-2 record. In a game against the number 2 seed Kentucky, Laettner hit a last second turnaround jumper to beat Kentucky and head to the Final Four. The Blue Devils went on to defeat Michigan’s Fab Five in the Finals to become the first team in 19 years to repeat as national champs.  

1. 1992 North Carolina Tar Heels, Women’s Soccer

Led by Mia Hamm, the Hermann Trophy recipient for the top female soccer player in both 1992 and 1993, the Tar Heels Women’s Soccer team were literally unstoppable. They went undefeated for a 3-year stretch from ‘91-’93, capturing NCAA championships in all three years. It would be hard to put together a more dominant group of talent in any sport.


Family Activities in Raleigh You Need To Try This Winter


Winter time is here and it’s almost time to celebrate the holidays as everyone gets a few days off from school and from work. The city of Raleigh has plenty of fun activities you and the family can take part in, here are few of them.

First Night Raleigh

Why celebrate New Year’s Eve at home when you can celebrate with the rest of the city. First Night Raleigh is the largest NYE event in North Carolina. It is a great and safe environment to bring your family to celebrate the arrival of the new calendar year. This event runs on what they consider their Four Pillars; Celebration, Community, The New Year, and The Arts. Bring in the new year with some fun and 40,000 others!

Christmas Tree at NC State Capitol

Take some time during these winter holidays to visit the Christmas Tree at the NC State Capitol building. The historical building hosts a large Christmas tree that features an ornament from over 100 of North Carolina’s counties. For those who want to learn more about the history of North Carolina, the building will be available for open house visits during the holiday season. Get the family together and visit the large, decorated Christmas Tree, all while learning more about your home state.

AT&T Winterfest

We hope you’re ready for ice skating, local entertainers, sledding ramps, ice carving, and of course, the jolly old man, Santa Claus. The AT&T Winterfest offers all of these great things, plus much more great activities you can enjoy with the whole family. For the small price of $8 you gain access to a great event that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

The Nutcracker by Carolina Ballet

Everyone enjoys the Nutcracker play, but once you see the Nutcracker done by the Carolina Ballet you’ll fall in love. With all the great technology that is now available to us, the Nutcracker play you watched as a young child will not be able to rival the production the Carolina Ballet puts together.

A Christmas Carol

What are the holidays without seeing the cold heart of Mr. Scrooge be warmed up to the temperature of a nice cup of coffee. Take the family to see A Christmas Carol as it is put on by Raleigh’s Theater in the Park, it will be a great time for the kids and adults alike. The show takes place at the Progress Energy Center-Raleigh Memorial Auditorium which holds over 30,000 people.


7 Best Coffee Shops in Charlotte


Best Coffee Shops in Charlotte

The season of spiced pumpkin everything is upon us and with the cold fast approaching it is important that you know where the best coffee shops in Charlotte are. Everyone has that one go to spot, their very own ‘Central Perk’ and if you don’t, here are a few suggestions to help you find the best coffee in the area.

1) Not Just Coffee – 224 E 7th St, Charlotte, North Carolina

James and Miracle have been bringing international taste to Charlotte since they opened in 2011. Believing in skilled baristas and innovative brewing techniques, the coffee is as much art as it is a warm beverage. The near perfect review scores tells you everything you need to know about the service and atmosphere.

2) Smelly Cat Coffeehouse & Roastery – 514 E 36th St, Charlotte, North Carolina

Don’t let the name fool you, this place is legit. The fun and inviting atmosphere is punctuated by the inhouse coffee roaster which ensures the freshest cup possible. If you find yourself in the NoDa district of Charlotte, this place is great for a homemade meal. Also, if you are looking to liven up the office check out the office coffee service that brings the java right to your door.

3) Central Coffee Company –  719 Louise Ave, Charlotte, North Carolina

Described as, “Intimate, tasty and quiet” by one yelp reviewer, the staff is always friendly and the coffee’s always fresh. For those with a sweet tooth, you must try some of the traditional Greek desserts they offer.

4) Rush Espresso – 120 Brevard Ct, Charlotte, North Carolina

With two locations in the state, Rush is quickly building a name for itself as a go to spot for premium Italian coffee, as well as it’s delicious and diverse breakfast and lunch menus. One reviewer even described their experience as “Perfection” adding “if I could give this place more than 5 stars I would!!”

5) Amélie’s French Bakery & Café – 2424 N Davidson St, Charlotte, North Carolina

The French inspired bakery handcrafts every cup of java to uphold a classic and condensed beverage, which is specific to a quaint Parisian cafe. They also offer delicious lunches and rich dessert pastries, there is something here for everyone.

6) Julia’s Café & Books – 1133 N Wendover Rd, Charlotte, North Carolina

As part of the fundraising section of Habitat for Humanity Charlotte, the venue offers coffee, light breakfast and lunch options as well as a huge selection of used books. You can enjoy a cup of joe and browse your favorite literature section, all while helping give back to the community. Awesome!

7) FABO Coffee Art Bar – 8428 Park Rd, Charlotte, North Carolina

Coffee shop and bakery by day, art studio by night. The walls are lined with art by local artists, which gives it that real community connection. In the evenings you can attend one of the art lessons taught by artist Marvin Espy, where all supplies are included (even the first glass of wine). FABO provides a very relaxing atmosphere, perfect for escaping the bustle of the city, if only for a few moments.

Tells us about your favorite coffee shops.