Dog’s Day Out in Raleigh, NC
Late afternoon is the best time to visit The Busy Bee Cafe with your dog. The outdoor tables are conveniently shaded by surrounding buildings by then and you can sample one of the locally brewed libations on tap. Dog owners buzz outside the café and tethered dogs socialize with each other. Water bowls are also provided. One of the more interesting menu choices to sample is the grilled chicken sandwich. It’s prepared with slices of pear and drizzled with local honey (hence, the bees are busy). The Queen Bee is a fruity cocktail of pineapple and honey.
Just two hours west of the Triangle area is a hiking paradise for dogs. Park at the far end of the parking lot by the visitor center and take the .4 mile trail to Hidden Falls, a small natural waterfall. The real treat is if you continue on for another .1 of a mile to Window Falls. This waterfall is larger and has a wider pool below. Plus, the rock formations act as nature-made picnic areas. Hiking with your dog to these spots is best on a very hot summer day. You can walk underneath the falls, splash around in the natural pools and explore behind the falls as well. Pack a picnic of doggie biscuits and enjoy.
If your dog didn’t attend formal training and you’re more of a home school puppy parent, then it may be time to expose your four-legged friend to a little culture: art. The walking trail at the North Carolina Museum of Art is conveniently paved and is lined with statues and sculptures, some over 50 feet tall. You’ll see cyclists with leashed dogs trotting beside them and inline skaters doing the same. The unpaved trails do not permit dogs, but there are still plenty of sculptures to enjoy on the pasture-like fields by the museum’s entrance on Blue Ridge Road.
Vic's is located just south of Moore Square in the quaint pocket of City Market. The serving sizes here are reminiscent of an authentic Italian family—eat, eat, eat! There’s plenty to take in a doggie bag (or as the south likes to say a go box). The eggplant parmigiana is a delight with a pasta side dish topped with sweet, thick marinara. The absolute best time to visit is April through October on Friday—First Friday. During these months live free outdoor concerts take place on the cobbled streets of historic City Market, less than 30 feet from the outdoor tables at Vic’s. Contemporary rock, oldies and Americana tunes can be enjoyed, plus alternative local bands perform.
During warm months the City Market live music concert series takes place on First Fridays. Pack a picnic for you and your pup and rock on into the evening. Live music begins at 7PM and tapers off around 9PM. If you have someone to chaperone your dog, step inside one of the surrounding art galleries like Visual Art Exchange and Artspace and grab a complimentary glass of wine and snacks. On First Fridays all of the downtown galleries offer free beverages and treats.