I’m heading home soon for a visit and am so excited I can hardly stand it. As the trip draws nearer, I have caught myself wishing, “Couldn’t we just leave right now?”
My last December Sunday in Raleigh, the early winter weather was kind enough to let me walk around with my camera. I wanted to capture the essence of this place—its beautiful, silly, even mundane details.
My dear, sweet friend Anna and I played tourist in our own hometown, an activity I highly recommend, no matter where you live.
We met at Dorothea Dix, the 306-acre property near the center of town that will one day become an urban park. We walked in places neither of us would have dared to go when we were young Raleigh girls, the future park once home to the state’s largest psychiatric hospital.
Dorothea Dix is situated on a number of hills that offer some of the best views of downtown, including its popular shimmer wall.
Downtown Raleigh from one of Dorothea Dix’s hills
From there, we headed downtown for more detailed pictures.
The shimmer wall closer up
Raleigh is known as the City of Oaks and has embraced the moniker in many details of its public spaces.
These leaves and acorns cap a sidewalk light.
Sir Walter Raleigh enjoys lots of attention, getting adorned for a variety of reasons and seasons throughout the year. Here he stands dressed in his Christmas best.
Raleigh’s namesake tolerates a lot from visitors and residents alike.
Anna and I took turns watching for cars so we could capture the long stretch of Fayetteville Street looking toward the Capitol, before heading down to the train tracks to watch a few trains come and go.
Kids: Don’t try this shot at home, but we had fun taking turns getting pictures of this view.
After watching the trains, we needed to warm up and so headed to Videri Chocolate Factory, a recent, welcome addition to Raleigh’s booming local business scene. Best hot chocolate ever, by the way.
Seriously good chocolate
After Anna and I said our goodbyes, I stopped at Bojangles to pick up dinner. For those of you who don’t live near a Bojangles, I don’t expect you to understand. But, oh, how I miss the chicken, the buttermilk biscuits, the spicy fries, the Bo Rounds. Oh, the Bo Rounds. (Those are hash brown rounds, in case you were wondering). They are irreplaceable.
I imagine there could be some weight gain on my upcoming trip. I’ll just have to run extra fast or extra long to counter the biscuits and Bo Rounds.
I hadn’t looked at these pictures since uploading them in December, and seeing them again as I prepared this post struck me with a wave of homesickness I had not anticipated, a feeling more intense than I’ve had at any other point in these past months. Perhaps, it’s a darkest-before-dawn feeling?
Settling into a new life here with new routines and new friends and new writing spaces has kept me busy and distracted—in a good way. But, oh, how I’m ready to see home again.
If you could play tourist in your own hometown, where would you go? What would you do? What pictures would you take to remind you of places and things you love?