WALTER Magazine - May 2016

Page 1

Wilmington for foodies

WALTER’s favorite new destinations

Leon Capetanos Launches act II

MAY 2016 $4.95



Raleighites out in the world

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80 104 STYLE Willie Kay’s Carolina couture by Mimi Montgomery photographs by Jillian Clark

60 ARTIST’S SPOTLIGHT Keeping the music alive


by Mimi Montgomery photographs by Jillian Clark

64 STORY OF A HOUSE Mountain living redefined

WALTER PROFILE Leon Capetanos, Act II

THROUGH THE LENS Travel photo contest winners

by Jesma Reynolds photographs by Catherine Nguyen

by Jessie Ammons photographs by Nick Pironio

photographs by WALTER readers



AT THE TABLE Wilmington: A culinary tale of two cities text and photographs by Dean McCord

RALEIGHITES Doctors who travel to do good



by Liza Roberts


104 LETTER FROM THE ART WORLD Childe Hassam’s island inspirations by J. Michael Welton


COVER ILLUSTRATION: Thinkstock; THIS PAGE: clockwise from left, Vansana Nolintha (Berlin, Germany); Dean McCord (Dixie Grill, Wilmington, N.C.); Cristina Kalampukattussery (Kerala, India)

VOL 4, ISSUE 8 May 2016




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116 In Every Issue

48 Our Town Shop Local: Maupin Travel The Usual: Carson Efird and Joe Westlund Game Plan: Richie Shaffer Off Duty: Sean and Lizzie Fowler by Jessie Ammons and Mimi Montgomery photographs by Travis Long


Style Historic homes inspire by Jesma Reynolds and P. Gaye Tapp photographs by Catherine Nguyen



Drink Person Street community by Jessie Ammons photographs by Nick Pironio

112 Outdoors Home on the water by CC Parker

114 Outdoors Stalking the hoary bittercress by Mimi Montgomery illustration by Addie McElwee


116 Givers Reggie Edwards by Settle Monroe photograph by Nick Pironio

118 *Ů*(9.438 1944 Sanitorium by June Spence

120 The Whirl Parties and fundraisers

130 Tribute Remembering Nancy Olson by Sarah Goddin



Letter from the Editor




Your Feedback


The Mosh


Raleigh Now


Triangle Now

“The key to a woman’s heart is an unexpected gift at an unexpected time.” By Sean Connery from “Finding Forrester”

An array of platinum and 18k yellow gold diamond rings and platinum diamond bands.

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THIS MAY MARKS OUR THIRD TRAVEL ISSUE. EVERY YEAR, PUTTING IT TOGETHER MAKES all of us at WALTER itchy for adventure. We’ve drawn on our own experiences and asked around to come up with nearby destinations not found on the usual Raleigh radar screen, ranging from the country pursuits of Primland in Virginia, the rustic mountain surroundings of Swag near Asheville, and the windswept waters of Waves in Hatteras. Dean McCord does the same thing with his food story this month, spending one of his extraordinary gustatory weekends in Wilmington to come up with a list of places to eat and drink that range from haute to homey – with a little bit of grease thrown in. The always funny CC Parker takes us along for a family-intense houseboating escapade that’s all too easy to picture as a movie starring Chevy Chase, and our own Mimi Montgomery brings her madcap sensibility to an urban foraging expedition that proves that adventure is where you find it – even in a furry patch of weeds under a power line in Mordecai. On a more exalted note, we venture to Tryon Palace and the Biltmore estate for style inspiration, and to Asheville to tour a mid-century modern marvel of a mountain home owned by a Raleigh family. We also tag along with J. Michael Welton to the beautiful shores of the Isles of Shoals to witness the inspiration for Childe Hassam’s landscapes and seascapes currently on exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Also inspiring are the many beautiful pictures from around the world – some near, some far – that came across the transom for our first travel photo contest. We tried our best to make sure they didn’t get too repetitive, so if yours didn’t make it, please try again next year! Continuing with the theme of travel, we meet incredible Raleigh doctors who travel the world to bring their care and expertise to patients and to fellow doctors who don’t have adequate access to medical resources, and we live vicariously through the extraordinary life and travels of Hollywood screenwriter Leon Capetanos, a Raleigh native who’s come home to embark on his newest chapter as a novelist. All of it sums up the best of travel: The desire to explore, to broaden and break free of the everyday, to learn and grow. I hope you enjoy it.

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Advertising Vice President GARY SMITH Advertising Director DENISE WALKER

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Advertising Design and Production


The Cameron Club Smoked brisket and honey ham with swiss cheese, applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, red onions, herb aioli, and red wine vinaigrette on whole wheat toast.


Administration CINDY HINKLE CHARLES MACHALICKY Published 10 times a year by The News & Observer Publishing Co. A McClatchy Company, 215 S. McDowell St., Raleigh NC 27601

MAY 2016 Walter is distributed without charge to select Wake County households and available by paid subscriptions at $24.99 a year in the United States, as well as for purchase at Quail Ridge Books and other retail locations. For customer service inquiries, please email us at or call 919-836-5661. Address all correspondence to Walter Magazine, 215 S. McDowell St., Raleigh NC 27601. Walter does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Please contact editor and general manager Liza Roberts at for freelance guidelines.

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Extend your weekend FUN with live music, cold drinks, and food trucks as you relax on the lawn in Midtown Park on Sunday afternoons in the spring!

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Benefiting: Adventurers for Special Needs

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DEAN MCCORD is a Raleigh-based attorney and father of four who dabbles in food writing from time to time. A member of the board of directors of the Southern Foodways Alliance out of the University of Mississippi, Dean is always on the lookout for great food to eat, whether it’s a greasy burger, smoky barbecue, or the perfect doughnut (it can be found in Richmond, Va.). Dean’s recent survey of the Wilmington food scene caught him by surprise: “I really had no idea that Wilmington had become such a great spot to eat and drink. It’s a great town for both tourists and residents alike.”

MAY 2016

CATHERINE NGUYEN holds a BFA in Advertising and Commercial Photography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Her work has been published in Urban Home Magazine, California Home & Design, San Francisco Magazine, The News & Observer, and Hills & Lagoons Magazine, to name a few. “When asked to photograph an Asheville home described as mid-century modern, I knew it was meant to be,” she says. “I’ve always been a fan of this design aesthetic, and the house did not disappoint.”

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JUNE SPENCE is a Raleigh native and the author of two books, Missing Women and Others and Change Baby. She lives in Five Points, within spitting distance of the former tuberculosis sanitorium, with her husband (author and WALTER contributor Scott Huler) and two sons. “My grandmother’s time in the sanitorium, separated from her children, affected her deeply, and she spoke of it years later as if it were a recent occurrence,” she says. “Now that I have my own children, I begin to understand how the entire rest of her life might have felt like the aftermath of that rupture.”

NICK PIRONIO is a documentary photographer with a studio located in downtown Raleigh, and is a frequent contribtuor to WALTER. In addition to pursuing personal projects, Nick photographs for commercial and editorial clients along the East Coast. “During my assignment to photograph Leon Capitanos for this months issue of WALTER,” he says, “I ended up at Leon’s house discussing our mutual passion for photography and looking over his private collection of photography that he has collected over the years, which has now switched to collecting photography books.”

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Channel your inner Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan with an update on the classic gin rickey. While this version is inspired by the original cocktail sipped throughout The Great Gatsby, its addition of rosemary simple syrup instantly brings it into the 21st century. One (or a few) down the hatch, and you’ll be dancing the Charleston with the best of them.

ROSEMARY GIN RICKEY 1 ounce lime juice 1 ounce rosemary simple syrup* 1.5 ounces gin Ice Club soda Rosemary sprigs for garnish Fill a collins glass with ice, then pour in the lime juice, simple syrup, and gin. Top with club soda and insert a sprig of rosemary as a garnish.

ROSEMARY SIMPLE SYRUP 1 cup water 1 cup sugar 4 sprigs fresh rosemary Over medium-high heat, mix together the water and sugar in a saucepan and place rosemary sprigs in the mixture. Bring to a boil and boil for about 1 minute or until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain the mixture and place in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

ruminations... A hot dog at a N.C. State or Durham Bulls baseball game...Taking a little road trip to Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre in Henderson...Postspawn bass fishing in Falls Lake... The season opener of North Carolina Museum of Art’s Summer Concert Series May 1...A spring-like photograph of a pitbull with flowers from artist Sophie Gamand...The playlist at Raleigh Raw...Cinco de Mayo margaritas at Gonzo’s Tacos y Tequila...Skipping town for Memorial Day weekend... Celebrating CAM Raleigh at Arthouse May 6...A pair of rose-colored glasses... Flowers for Mom...Afternoon tea and a walk around the grounds at the Umstead Hotel & Spa... Graduation...

EASY AS 1-2-3 Raleigh local and design-world darling Jamie Meares of Furbish Studio always has her finger on the pulse. One of her latest endeavors: an online interior design class. You can find it on Brit + Co, a website community that offers online classes, creative articles, and DIY kits to inspire women to tackle projects of all shapes and sizes. It lends advice and courses on everything from home decor to cooking to technology to art – you just have to purchase a class to watch it online.; $29. Download Jamie’s to learn her tricks of the trade.

Borrowed from

LIGHT IT UP MY GRASS IS BLUE Nothin’ like a little banjo pickin’ on a Monday night! At 7 p.m. on May 9 and 23, Busy Bee Cafe hosts its PineCone Bluegrass Jam, sponsored by Terrapin Brewing Company. For every pint of Terrapin Rye Pale Ale sold that evening, the group will donate $1 to PineCone. You don’t have to be an experienced bluegrass-er to participate – all levels of musicianship are welcome, or you can simply swing by and listen to the jams with a beer. 7 p.m. May 9 and 23; 225 S. Wilmington St.


Pam Blondin at Deco Raleigh has a knack for unlikely gifts with a sense of humor. For your friends with spring birthdays, bring them a candle dedicated to their favorite cultural icon, philosopher, artist, or musician. The Unemployed Philosopher’s Secular Saints candles are patron saint candles with a twist – if your friend’s patron saint is Frida Kahlo, Albert Einstein, Kurt Vonnegut, or Sigmund Freud, you’re in business.; Deco Raleigh: 19 W. Hargett St.

FLOWER POWER Spring is filled with parties, weddings, and outdoor celebrations of all kinds. We’re used to floral centerpieces and bouquets, but what about flowers for the top of your head? Step outside the box with a stunning flower crown from Wylde, a floral design studio here in town that specializes in organic, free-form creations. Wear one of owner Nikelle Orellana-Reyes’ designs, and you’ll be the springtime bell of the ball.

Thinkstock (GIN RICKEY); Thinkstock (BLUEGRASS); Ehtan Hyman (BASEBALL); Mimi Montgomery (CANDLES); Lissa Gotwals (1-2-3); Courtesy Wylde (FLOWER)

“The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.” - Edwin Way Teale

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VERYONE KNOWS A BAG CAN MAKE OR BREAK AN OUTFIT. Raleighite Marcia Spencer has the solution: a fashionable, fun, and affordable Keechii clutch. Made of printed fabrics, calf hair, and layered, fringed, and tasselled leather, Spencer makes them each by hand.


When Spencer saw a void in the fashion market for fun clutches and purses that were fashionable, well-made, and still affordable, she started making them herself in 2014. “Women buy a lot of accessories,” she says, “so I wanted to make them really nice but not break the bank.” Her bags sell in the $50 - $100 range, and her philosophy is to create things that look good and make women feel good, too. One thing that makes Spencer feel good is family: The name Keechii is a nod to her parents’ Native American heritage, and is a blend of the names of the Cherokee and Occaneechi tribes from which they are descended. She likes to keep that personal emphasis in her products: “I created Keechii and

they created me,” she says. Spencer has always loved fashion. The N.C. State grad never had formal design training, but learned how to sew from her mother as a little girl and made her own clothes through high school and college. When she had her son in 2005, she started making bibs and clothes for him. That eventually expanded into a children’s clothing line called Small Beans in 2007, when her daughter was born. As much as Spencer loved creating kids’ fashion, she says, as her children got older, she wanted to focus on creating pieces she could use herself. Spencer’s unique, creative touch is evident in all her products, which include bags, totes, pouches, and coin purses. Take

a glance at Spencer’s Instagram and outfit pictures, and it’s obvious this is a woman who knows her style – she says she’s often inspired by the 1970s disco era and its glamorous and funky vibe. And while her bags are avant garde, she’s careful to never dive too deeply into trends. Spencer says she wants her customers to be able to carry her bags season after season. Or continue adding to their collection. “I always have ideas,” Spencer says. “It’s just fun.” Keechii bags are available online on Spencer’s website and on Etsy, or locally at Nofo @ The Pig and Dogwood Collective. -Mimi Montgomery





AY IS ONE OF THE PRETTIEST MONTHS OF THE year to visit Pinehurst. If you’re a golfer or an equestrian, you know that already. And if you’re a shopper, walker, reader, or musiclover, you’ve also got a lot to look forward to. Make the hour’s drive for one of these upcoming events: May 6 Dressage in the Sandhills takes place all day at the Harness Track on Beulah Hill Road in Pinehurst. May 12 Jim Dodson, local author and PineStraw editor, will speak about his new book: Range Bucket List and Other Adventures in Golf. 3:30 p.m. at Given Memorial Library; 7 p.m. at Given Outpost; May 13 A free ’80s-themed concert under the stars takes place at Tufts Park. 5 - 9 p.m.;


May 13-15 Check out carriage driving at the Carriage Classic in the Pines, presented by the Moore County Driving Club at the Pinehurst Harness Track. May 19 As many as 400 golfers will gather for the Carolinas Wireless Association’s 11th annual charity golf tournament. For the sixth year, the group will raise money for Victory Junction, a camp that works with children with serious illnesses and their families. The association hopes to bring its total contribution to the organization to more than $100,000 this year. May 28-29 The Pinehurst Harness Track hosts Carolina Polocrosse each day from 9 a.m - 3 p.m. The sport resembles lacrosse – played astride a horse. -Samantha Berlin

courtesy Pinehurst Resort



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MUSIC ALFRESCO The summer concert season at North Carolina Museum of Art is one to look forward to: an eclectic lineup of performances from local jazz musicians to chart-toppers. Food, drinks, beer, and wine are for sale, and you can also bring in picnic food. Don’t forget your blanket and chairs! This month kicks off the series, which continues until early October. Hear the jazz-funk sounds of the musical collective Snarky Puppy on May 1, and indie folk troupe Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on May 27. 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.; $24 and $32; amphitheatre at NCMA, 2110 Blue Ridge Road;

Courtesy North Carolina Museum of Art (MUSIC); Courtesy JC Raulston Arboretum (GALA)


GALA IN THE GARDEN This year marks the 40th birthday of the JC Raulston Arboretum on N.C. State’s campus. Celebrate at the annual fundraising gala on May 1, where all money raised goes directly to the garden’s daily operational expenses. Although the program isn’t until 6 p.m., refreshments begin in the afternoon, leaving you plenty of time to stroll around. 3:30 - 7 p.m.; $100; 4415 Beryl Road;


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1-8 BIKE FEST Whether you’re a casual biker or serious cyclist, meet likeminded riders at the fourth annual Oaks and Spokes festival. Sponsored by the nonprofit, the event spans a full week. Catch a bike-in movie on May 2, participate in the Raleigh Roots Ride on May 3, try your hand at bike polo on May 5, and check out the bike rodeo on May 7. Enjoy downtime with comrades during an organized “fiesta siesta” in the midst of the festival on May 5, and check out the women’s-only CycloFemme ride on May 8. The main events are peppered with bike-themed art shows and other meet-ups throughout the week. Times, prices, and locations vary;

5, 12, 19, 26

SHAG TIME It’s that time of year again: Dust off your dancing shoes for North Hills’ beach music series. This month, the lineup includes Catalinas, Band of Oz, Too Much Sylvia, and Steve Owens and the Summertime Band. The free concerts continue weekly on Thursdays until August 11. 6 - 9 p.m.; free; The Commons at North Hills, 4158 Main at North Hills St.; visitnorthhills. com/event/midtown-beach-music-series-8

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Courtesy Oaks and Spokes (BIKE); Courtesy North Hills (SHAG)

8540 Colonnade Center Dr., Ste. 101 Raleigh, NC 27615

6 7, 14 POP OF COLOR


MA Allen Interiors, a residential and commercial interior design firm, will host an art show on May 6. Meet artist Britt Bass Turner, an Atlanta-based painter whose abstracts are colorful and cheery. Her work – including paper prints and iPhone cases – will be for sale during and following the show. 6 - 9 p.m.; free; 1020 Glenwood Ave.;

Open Daily Mon-Sat 11-6, Sun 1-6

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This month, there are two Carolina RailHawks home matches: Their face-offs against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on May 7 and Miami FC on May 14 are perfect family outings. 7:30 p.m.; $11-$30; WakeMed Soccer Park, 201 Soccer Park Drive, Cary;

Cap ita lB lvd


Glenwood Ave.

Fruitie, mixed media on canvas, by Britt Bass Turner (COLOR); Courtesy Carolina RailHawks (FUTBOL)


Edenton St.




courtesy Ashley Webb



PRINGTIME IN THE SOUTH MEANS HATS. ABOUT NOW, THEY start making appearances at Kentucky Derby parties, church services, and garden get-togethers. If you’re going to don some artful headwear this season, why not pick a topper with some history? Local artisan Ashley Webb, 28, was thinking just that five years ago when she started her business Poppycock! Vintage, an online Etsy shop that specializes in vintage accessories. She’d always been interested in vintage fashion, specifically hats, and once she started buying and selling some of her finds, the business snowballed. Since then, she’s become something of an expert on the subject, scouring vintage advertisements and reference books to



learn about hats made from the early 1900s through the 1970s. She knows which milliners are known for their high-end hats, the architectural styles associated with each fashion house, and the materials frequently used by each designer. “It’s a lot of self-teaching,” she says. It has paid off – Webb now runs Poppycock! Vintage full-time, selling her vintage accessories online out of her Raleigh home and sending them off to places as far as the West Coast, Australia, Great Britain, and Norway. She says her home office is literally packed floor-to-ceiling with hats, scarves, purses, and shoes. “It’s like playing Tetris stacking everything,” she says laughing.

For those of you looking for your own haute headpiece, Webb insists that a hat is but the icing on a whole elaborate cake. You can’t just wear one with any old T-shirt and a pair of jeans. “A hat is a statement … the rest of you has to match it,” she says. “It’s a whole look that goes with a hat … you have to build an outfit around (it).” Webb has you covered. -Mimi Montgomery

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8 Violets Boutique

Whisk Quality Kitchenware

GreenPea Baby

Gigiʼs Boutique


PAY IT FORWARD This month of celebrating mothers is a fitting time to support nonprofits like InterAct of Wake County, which provides safety, support, and awareness to victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. It operates the Pass It On, Too thrift store on Oberlin Road, and the store is always in need of volunteer cashiers and sorters. For more in-depth opportunities, including serving as an on-site counselor, a victim advocate, or a hospital responder, you must attend an hour-long information session and training. The next session is June 1.

12 Finleyʼs Boutique


Color Me Mine | CinéBistro | Elegant Stitches | Enrigo Italian Bistro Esteem Me | Finley’s Boutique | Fresca Café | Gigi’s Cupcakes Gigi’s Boutique | GreenPea Baby & Child | Hand & Stone | Menchie’s My Salon Suite | Pure Body | Red Hot & Blue | Taziki’s Cafe TFTC Martial Arts | Toast Café | The Joint Chiropractic Triangle Wine Company | Tre Nail Spa | V’s Barbershop Violets Boutique | Vom Fass Oils & Spices | Waverly Artists Group Whisk Quality Kitchenware | Whole Foods

At the intersection of Tryon and Kildaire Farm Road |

The Rotary Club of Morrisville’s annual fundraiser on May 12 offfers ample hors d’oeuvres and culinary samples to pair with wine from a variety of different countries. There will be live music and a silent auction. To fuel your wanderlust, the evening takes place in the General Aviation Terminal of RDU International Airport. 6 - 8:30 p.m.; $35 in advance, $40 at the door; 1750 E. International Drive;

Courtesy InterAct foundation (PAY); Ed Shearin (WINES)

Enrigo Italian Bistro



GIRLS’ DAY ABOUT TOWN South Carolina author Mary Alice Monroe’s latest novel, A Lowcountry Wedding, is a tale of romance and family with an element of environmental consciousness. It’s an unlikely mix that the author considers characteristic of her lowcountry roots. Meet the author and chat about her conservation work during a luncheon sponsored by the Raleigh Professional Women’s Forum in Raleigh on May 12. That night, follow her to McIntyre’s Books at Fearrington Village in Pittsboro, where a lighthearted evening features signature beverages from the book. 11:45 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.; $45 and free; The Glenwood Club, 3300 Woman’s Club Drive, and 220 Market St., Pittsboro;

Courtesy Mary Alice Monroe (TOWN); Courtesy Armes Photography (DREAMY)

A PERFECT UNION: McDonald York Building Company + Union Bank

It’s no surprise that McDonald York Building Company has been around for more than a century. That’s what happens when a company is dedicated to a higher standard—in construction or in any line of work. In


Union Bank, they found a partner who’s as thoughtful and dedicated as they are.

DREAMY SHOW The Carolina Ballet completes its Shakespeare Festival with a production of the beloved classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Bard’s romantic comedy is interpreted with movement to music written especially for the play by Felix Mendelssohn. 8 p.m. Thurs. - Sun. and 2 p.m. weekend matinees; $30-$73; 2 E. South St.; Member FDIC





875 US Highway 70 W. Garner, NC 27529 919.772.3757

6310 Plantation Center Dr. Raleigh, NC 27616 919.747.2662


1505 Werrington Drive Holly Springs, NC 27540 919.747.2656

Known for large-scale, interactive art installations, student exhibits, and vendors galore, Artsplosure has become a Raleigh institution. This year’s street art festival will take place May 20-22 at Moore Square. Live jazz, blues, and alternative rock music set the tune for both perusing and participating in art of all kinds. Keep an eye out for Kidsplosure, which caters to the younger set, too. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Fri. and Sat., 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sun.; free; Moore Square;

Thinkstock (HIKE); Courtesy Artsplosure (ART)

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The GetBackpacking program eases hikers of all levels into backpacking with three training sessions that culminate in a weekend-long trip to the mountains. At the first meeting on May 15, they’ll demonstrate how to pack a backpack and take it for a hike. At the next meeting, there’s a 4-mile long hike with a pitstop to set-up and break-down camp. At the final training meeting, they’ll lead a 6-mile hike with stops to learn how to prepare a camp meal. The graduation hike is a three-day, two-night trip to South Mountains State Park. By the end of the 4-week program, you’ll be a wilderness pro. 9 a.m.; $85 for four-week program; training meeting places rotate, first one is at Umstead State Park, 8801 Glenwood Ave.;


It takes a

21 Blue Grotto by Bob Rankin, 36x36 acrylic on canvas (SALE); Courtesy Falls Lake State Recreation Area (FISH)


Clark’s Promise is a volunteer organization that serves the chronically homeless by providing long-term funding. That funding goes toward professional engagement specialists who help folks obtain healthcare and other life resources. Support the group at an intimate art show at the home of Linda and Bob Grew. Admission to the fundraising gathering is free, and there will also be a raffle for a 16-person Angus Barn dinner. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; free, $20 raffle tickets; 2740 St. Mary’s St.;

21 Decorating Your Home Your Style,Your Way and within Your Budget


Calling all fishermen and wanna-be-fishermen: Falls Lake will host a youth fishing tournament on May 21. Open to anybody ages 5 to 13, regardless of experience, the day will include information booths, friendly competitions, and prizes for both effort and achievement. Fishing gear is provided, although you are welcome to bring your own. Be sure to pre-register. 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.; free; Beaverdam Shelter 23, 13304 Creedmoor Road; register at 919-676-1027

Fabrics, Trims, Furniture, Bedding, Window Treatments, Rugs, Accessories, Outdoor Furniture and a staff of talented designers to help make decorating your home easy. Pine Cone Hill I Dash & Albert I Matouk Company C I Brown Jordan

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UTHOR HENRY MILLER ONCE WROTE THAT, IN MATTERS OF TRAVEL, “ONE’S destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.” To change your perspective, you need not go far: Primland, for one example, is a mere three-hour drive away. The luxury mountain resort made a name for itself with its Highland golf course, designed by architect Donald Steel to showcase views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A main lodge hotel soon followed, mainly to host golf crowds seeking an upscale retreat. In the decade since then, Primland has evolved to become a destination for fishers, riders, hunters, tennis players, and hikers, as well. And it has attacted national attention: Last year’s Conde Nast Traveler readers’ choice awards listed Primland as the 11th best resort in the U.S. and the 31st best hotel in the world. Plush and sophisticated, the estate comprises 12,000 acres just over the Virginia line. Guests can stay in the chalet-inspired main lodge, luxe-rustic one-to-seven-bedroom mountain homes, cozy cottages, or one of three clifftop tree-houses. There’s a swimming pool, fitness center, library, and movie theater.



LIght LIght

MAY This month, Primland is bustling – particularly over Memorial Day weekend. A family-themed lineup celebrates the tradition of the Native Americans who once inhabited the resort’s land with cultural presentations and dance performances. Surrey rides, bluegrass music, and guided nature walks weave in current mountain culture as well. Other resort activities include off-road ATV tours, horseback riding, fishing and fly-fishing, hunting and clay-shooting, archery, GPS-guided outdoor treasure hunting known as geocaching, tennis, kayaking, disc golf, and good old-fashioned hiking. Like any luxury resort worth its salt, Primland has a swoon-worthy spa. With design inspired by Native American culture, the space is minimal and natural. Perhaps the coolest part of Primland, though, is the skywatching. A silo-esque observatory dome houses a high-powered telescope where you can see stars, planets, and beyond into other galaxies. Nightly starwalks last 45 minutes and give you an overview of the telescope and major celestial objects. Ask one of the astronomy staff members for more detailed insight – it’s not uncommon to see a quasar two billion light years away. It’s fitting that Primland is eco-friendly: There are energy-and-water-efficient fixtures, certified green buildings, and wildlife management practices vetted by the nearby College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech.

Ready to go? You can plan your trip in advance, and organize or schedule activities while there, via the Primland app for any type of smartphone. How’s that for a stately, savvy roadtrip? -Jessie Ammons




2, 5, 9, 12, 14 GET INVOLVED A few times a week, the nonprofit Crayons2Calculators provides free school supplies to public school teachers. Educators are invited to “shop” at the organization’s warehouse near downtown Durham, where they can choose from an array of donated materials. They always need cashier volunteers; during your three-hour shift you’ll process orders and help keep the showroom tidy. 3:45 - 6 p.m.; May 14: 9 a.m. - 12 noon; free; 1005 Holloway St., Durham;

Courtesy (SHARK); Courtesy Crayons2Calculators (INVOLVED)

Before you head to the beach for a getaway, check out the OCEARCH online shark tracker. The site shares real-time data on the status of “tagged” sharks: The OCEARCH team frequently goes on expeditions to carefully capture mature sharks and tag them with a data tracker. Every time the tagged sharks’ dorsal fins surface, an alert is sent to the online map. You can click on any region in the world to see the status of nearby sharks. Sunscreen? Check. Bathing suit? Check. Predator prevention? Check.


Travel to Maine through the eyes of “America’s Monet”

6-8, 9-12, 19-22, 30, 31 PLAY BALL Mark your calendar for the Durham Bulls’ home games this month – there are a lot of them! The minor league baseball team plays Norfolk May 6 - 8, Buffalo May 9 - 12, Rochester May 19 - 22, and Scranton May 30 - 31. The stadium has recently ramped up its local offerings: Look for Triangle beers, local franchise Rise Biscuits and Donuts, and Tobacco Road Sports Cafe for game-watching fuel. 11:05 a.m., 5:05, 6:35, or 7:05 p.m. game times; $7.99 and up; 409 Blackwell St., Durham;

6, 13, 20, 26 Courtesy Durham Bulls (PLAY); Courtesy 140 West Franklin Plaza (LIVE)

M A R C H 1 9 –J U N E 1 9 , 2 0 1 6

LIVE AND LOCAL If you find yourself in Chapel Hill one weekend this month, stop by the plaza at 140 West Franklin. Every Friday night, there’s a featured local performance. In May, you’ll see (in order) the East Chapel Hill High School ukulele orchestra, the local folk band Hudson & Haw, and an aerial acrobatic troupe. On Thursday May 26, see country singer Kasey Tyndall. Plenty of restaurants are within walking-distance, so you can have a fun family night out. 6 - 9 p.m.; free; 140 West Franklin St., Chapel Hill;

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2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh Childe Hassam, From the Doorway, 1892, watercolor on paper, 21 ¼ × 17 ¼ in., Private collection, North Carolina American Impressionist organized by the North Carolina Museum of Art and the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts. The exhibition is made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions. Research for this exhibition was made possible by Ann and Jim Goodnight/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fund for Curatorial and Conservation Research and Travel.





THIRD TIME’S A CHARM It’s festival season. Art of Cool stands out among them in its specific purpose: to present, promote, and preserve jazz and jazz-influenced music. A nonprofit organization works yearround to plan the festival, now in its third year and happening May 6 - 8 in Durham. More than 20 concerts happen in five venues during the weekend. It’s swanky, sophisticated, and a lot of fun. Times and locations vary; $50 and up;


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Fuquay-Varina Downtown’s annual fundraising event is Dinner on Depot on May 14. The elegant evening features dinner and dancing outside on, you guessed it, Depot Street in the town’s historic downtown shopping district. Partake in the festivities – or, since the downtown association is a nonprofit, lend a hand – the group needs volunteers to help with set-up and take-down before and after the event. Or, who says you can’t do both? 6 - 11 p.m.; $75 for an event ticket; 146 S. Main St., Fuquay-Varina;

Frank Myers (THIRD); Jebb Graff (DINE)

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MOOGFEST Hear good music, check out innovative art, and explore new technological ideas at Moogfest May 19 - 22. The conference presents panels, talks, and discussions for creative and technology enthusiasts during the day. To unwind, nighttime concerts focus on electronic, pop, and experimental music. Dr. Bob Moog, the festival’s namesake, founded the Moog synthesizer that is often featured in modern electronic tunes. Times and locations vary; festival passes begin at $249;

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CULTURAL TRIFECTA At 46 years old, the Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival is one of the oldest celebrations of music, art, and dance in the area. With a focus on African and African-American history and traditions, festival-goers enjoy concerts, ethnic food, arts and crafts, and community vendors. This year’s May 21 event features ’90s R&B group 112. 12 noon - 8 p.m.; free; Rock Quarry Park, 701 Stadium Drive, Durham;

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Mountain SWAGGER A WEEKEND TRIP TO THE MOUNTAINS IS ONE way to excape the swelter. The Swag bed-and-breakfast is a secluded, luxuriously rustic boutique getaway in Waynesville, cozied right up to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Four of North Carolina’s six highest mountain ranges – the Great Smokies, the Plott Balsams, the Richland Balsams, and the Black Mountains – are visible from the Swag. The inn has a network of trails for rambling and exploring, and offers guided hikes, too. There’s plenty to do indoors, as well – the lodge has a sauna, massage therapy room, racquetball court, and extensive library. It’s also an easy drive to Asheville or the Blue Ridge Parkway. The best part? The food. The Swag is all-inclusive, which is particularly great when you’re excited to dig in: The award-win-


Courtesy Jumping Rocks


MAY MAY EVENTS Songs from the Hearth May 1 - 7 Join hiking enthusiast and singersongwriter Doug Peters and his wife Kathy for a week of trail-hiking and original song-playing. Birding & Wildflowers May 8 - 12 Dr. Bob Collier, a nature columnist for his local newspaper, will take guests out for full-day nature hikes focusing on birding and discovering wildflowers. The Swag’s Cooking School May 22 - 24 Executive chef Ernest Bledsoe leads a series of hands-on cooking lessons covering a wide range of foods – plus, participants receive a complimentary Swag chef apron! Walk and Talk May 23 - 29 Renowned North Carolinian storyteller Donald Davis shares his knowledge of local wildlife and mountain folklore as he leads guests on hikes through the surrounding grounds.

ning restaurant puts on a daily breakfast buffet and dinners with seasonallyinspired menus featuring fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs from its gardens. The kitchen will pack a picnic lunch for you every day, and often hosts outdoor barbecues, too. The Swag only has 14 guest rooms, so it pays to make reservations well ahead of time. You won’t want to miss out on these digs – the perfect blend of refined

and rustic, many of the rooms have wood-burning fireplaces and private balconies overlooking the mountains, and some even have outdoor soaking tubs and showers. The Swag opened for its 35th season last month, and will stay open through November 26. Check it out this summer, and you may develop a sudden interest in foliage this fall. -Mimi Montgomery 2300 Swag Road, Waynesville;


Ryan Osmond/REAL Watersports





N 2001, TRIP FORMAN AND MATT NUZZO TURNED THEIR love of watersports into a career. With $100 apiece, they set up shop in Forman’s garage and began teaching kiteboarding and surfing on the shallow, sandy-bottomed waters of Cape Hatteras. Fifteen years later, Kiteboarding magazine calls Forman and Nuzzo two of the top 10 most influential people in the sport, and their REAL Watersports in the town of Waves is considered one of the country’s leading kiteboarding shops and lesson destinations. It’s also situated in what many say is the best kiteboarding location in the world. Cape Hatteras National Seashore – 30 miles east of the mainland, 70 miles long, and at its widest just one mile wide, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pamlico Sound to the west


– is close to the Gulf Stream current, which allows for warm weather, great bursts of winds, and large waves. Ideal kiteboarding conditions. More than 42,000 people have learned the ropes there from REAL Watersports since it opened. The outfit also teaches surfing and stand-up paddleboarding, and operates a massive store, a rental shop, 14 waterfront condominiums, and a bar and grill, and live music. This June 4 - 10, REAL will host the 2016 Wind Voyager Triple-S Invitational, considered one of the most radical kiteboarding competitions in the world, including some of the best kiteboarders from 13 different countries. -Samantha Berlin REAL Watersports: 25706 Highway 12, Waves;

Courtesy Longleaf Forest (LAND); Red Vase by Garry Childs, photo by Jason Dowdle (ART)


21 LAND OF THE PINE Harris Lake County Park includes a 60-acre longleaf pine forest. At the Longleaf Festival on May 21, take a wagon ride through the forest and participate in educational hands-on exhibits about the trees. For a more active celebration, you can also take the Longleaf Express wagon to the edge of the forest for a short guided hike. Bring snacks and plan to enjoy the afternoon at the park. 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.; free; 2112 County Park Drive, New Hill;

27 ART IN THE HILLS During Hillsborough’s Last Friday art walk on May 27, the artist-owned Hillsborough Gallery of Arts will debut its latest exhibit. Earth, Wind, and Fire includes carved wood by Larry Favorite and paintings by Jude Lobe, both of whom live nearby. Work is for sale and the show runs until June 19. 6 - 9 p.m. opening reception; free; 121 N. Churton St., Hillsborough;

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Last year’s Freedom Balloon Fest was a buoyant success. The weekend-long event returns this Memorial Day weekend, with more than 30 hot air balloon pilots and teams taking to the sky in celebration and remembrance of military personnel. Friday through Sunday, a mass ascension takes place in the late afternoon; the balloons light up for an organized “glow” just after sunset. Competition balloon flights continue throughout the weekend and spectators are welcome. Save an appetite for food vendors and trucks a-la the N.C. State Fair. Times vary; free; 503 Fleming Loop Road, Fuquay-Varina;

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You may be familiar with Pinecone, the Raleigh-based organization dedicated to preserving traditional music throughout the Piedmont. What you may not know is that traditional music doesn’t just mean bluegrass. This month, Pinecone presents a concert by local reggae band Jamrock in Wake Forest. The band formed 20 years ago by a group of Triangle-based Jamaicans seeking to hear and create the authentic reggae music they grew up with. Hear for yourself on May 29. 5 p.m.; free; E. Carroll Joyner Park, 701 Harris Road, Wake Forest;

Floyd Coleman (FLIGHT); Courtesy Jamrock (ROCK)


IN MEMORIUM TJ DONOVAN, 1975-2016 WALTER was saddened to hear of the passing of awardwinning chef TJ Donovan, 41, co-owner of the popular local catering business Donovan’s Dish. Known for its Southerninfluenced cooking, Donovan’s Dish began in 2011 as a small operation working out of the commissary at The Cookery in Durham, and grew into a thriving business with a team of chefs and a storefront in Apex. Opening the store two months ago was “a shining moment,” says Melissa Shahady, catering sales manager for the company. Donovan loved to cook. “Sitting at a desk was not for me,” he said. “I need to stand in front of a stove.” He prided himself on using fresh and local ingredients, and on “the creativity and artwork” of inventing new dishes. Donovan died unexpectedly on March 28. He was born and raised in Wilson, and learned the business of food from his father, who ran several restaurants. When TJ Donovan launched Donovan’s Dish, he did it with his wife Jill, a seasoned entrepreneur. Jill Donovan will continue running the business, honoring her late husband’s example, Shahady says. “We are still going strong. We have his family recipes and chefs that have worked alongside him for years. He was

the fearless leader and the head of a team, and we plan to continue in his memory.” Donovan is also survived by three young daughters, Jillian, Pressley, and Cameron. Donovan’s Dish’s new storefront, at 800 W. Williams St. in Apex, sells its most popular dishes, including chicken and dumplings, bourbon meatballs, shrimp-and-grits, and stuffed chicken. For catering, go to or call 919-651-8309.


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“The internet changes the way people engage with the travel industry, but it doesn’t take away the need for service … Travel is pretty personal, and that’s an important experience for people.” – Trevor Smith, president and manager, Maupin Travel


REVOR SMITH, 35, AND HIS WIFE JORDAN, 33, ALWAYS knew they wanted to settle down in the Triangle – Jordan attended UNC and both have family in the area. The South Carolina natives knew the time was right when they met Tony Maupin of Raleigh’s Maupin Travel in 2014. After 30 years, Maupin was ready to move on from the company he’d launched in 1979. The Smiths jumped on the opportunity. Today, Trevor is president of the company, and Jordan manages much of the day-to-day. Maupin still contributes his guidance. The Smiths’ plan is to expand on Maupin’s legacy, and they’ve already made strides. The company, a branch of Tzell Travel group, opened a new headquarters in Durham last July, which rounded out its presence in all three of the main Triangle cities. Smith says that his company’s services, including its work securing the best rates for its clients, are increasingly valuable in an age of information overload. “It’s hard to trust all the

information on the Internet,” says Smith. “When a customer works with one of our agents, they’re likely getting a better deal … they wouldn’t get on their own.” Plus, when you’re planning a big vacation for your family or sending employees across the country, he says, it’s nice to have a voice you know and can count on just a phone call away. Some trips Smith is most excited about booking for his clients include riverboat cruises in Vietnam, Russia, and Germany; African safaris; and multi-generational trips with itineraries crafted for grandparents, adult children, and grandchildren. Of course, he looks forward to doing some travel of his own, too. He and his wife are homeschooling their children so they’ll have more time for future trips. But with a six-year-old, fouryear-old, two-year-old, and a newborn, that might be a ways off. “There’s an inverse relationship between the number of kids (you have) and amount of travel (you do),” he says, laughing. –Mimi Montgomery

Raleigh: 510 Daniels St.; Durham: 404 Hunt St., Suite 140; Chapel Hill: 604 Meadowmont Village Circle;


photograph by TRAVIS LONG

We understand that families come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. With miles of walking paths, petfriendly hotels and a walkable downtown where you’ll discover more than 100 restaurants nestled along Main Street, our goal is to put a wag in your tail and a smile on your face. Whether your family takes life on two legs or four, you’re welcome here. To learn more, call 800.717.0023.

OUR Town



“There’s something about shaking off the Newtonian mechanical man-made time – minutes, seconds, days – that allows you to let go of tension and stress and the need to be perfect, or something other than who you already are.” –Carson Efird, yoga program director and teacher at EVOLVE Movement


STUDENT SAID TO ME ONCE, ‘I FEEL LIKE I JUST had a vacation in the middle of my week,’” says yoga teacher Carson Efird. The student had just finished a Wednesday evening class at EVOLVE Movement, which Carson typically teaches to the accompaniment of her drummer husband Joe Westerlund. She credits the class’s unique structure for the feeling. “When we align with our natural rhythms, whether it’s the rhythm of our heart or our breath – or the organic rhythm that a drum puts into space – we get back in touch with what I call our authentic groove.” Efird and Westerlund know that same feeling. “We met for the first time at an improvisation for dancers and musicians class,” Efird says. “I was dancing and Joe was drumming, and that was really the foundation that our whole relationship was built on.” They eventually married, moved from Vermont to North Carolina for Westerlund’s music, and opened a yoga studio in Five Points. On Saturday mornings, the couple offered a flow class to the tune of improvised drums. “It became a way

of us spending time together and having a creative practice together,” Efird says. A decade later – after a stint in Los Angeles, and the evolution of Efird’s yoga studio into EVOLVE Movement near Cameron Village – the couple have reintroduced the yogaand-live-music sessions. On Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings, “both of our professions come together and the spark of what brought us together shines through,” Efird says. This summer, they’re trekking to Westerlund’s native Eau Claire, Wis. to perform at a music festival. Along the way, they’ve scheduled yoga-and-drum class stops. The tour isn’t their first: They frequently travel nationally and internationally to teach, play, and study. Westerlund says the invitation for “everyone to follow their own tempo” appeals to yogis of every level. Whether you work up a sweat or enjoy long and leisurely stretches, all are welcome to breathe and listen. “It’s not like we’re counting off like in a dance class. We tap into a biological type of rhythm, a universal pulse.” –Jessie Ammons photograph by TRAVIS LONG


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OUR Town



“It’s awesome. I love the Carolinas in general … This is a good place to be.” –Richie Shaffer, Durham Bulls baseball player


ALEIGHITE RICHIE SHAFFER, 25, IS HAPPY TO BE BACK for a second season with the Durham Bulls. Last season, he split his time between the Tampa Bay Rays, the Bulls, and the Montgomery Biscuits (both Rays affiliates). This spring, expect to see Shaffer playing first and third base for the Bulls, plus some outfield. A good number of the guys he played with last year are coming back for another season, too, and Shaffer is glad to see them again in the dugout. “You play every day together, and you get really close,” he says. “It’s sort of like a mini frat house experience. It’s a lot of fun.” The Charlotte native played baseball at Clemson University before heading to upstate New York, Florida, and Alabama, so he’s glad to make his way back to North Carolina. When the Bulls play the Charlotte Knights, he sees his parents and brother.

He also loves Raleigh, where he and Danielle, his wife of four months, have made their home. But he doesn’t stay put for long. After their January wedding and honeymoon, Shaffer was off to spring training, and now that the season is in full swing, the team plays all but two days of the month. To Shaffer, it sure beats 9-to-5. “Basically, the way I look at it, normal people work Monday through Friday and have weekends off,” he says, “and we basically go from Valentine’s Day until end of October every day, and then have five months off.” In the meantime, Shaffer looks forward to exploring his new hometown – and maybe even finding some time to relax. “If the weather gets nice in May, maybe (we’ll) go out to Jordan Lake and just hang out a bit,” he says. “We’re so busy during the season that we usually just like to … relax a little bit” when there’s downtime. Hopefully he’ll find some of that. –Mimi Montgomery photograph by JUSTIN COOK


OUR Town



“The restaurant is fast-paced and high-stress. When I’m out in the garden, I have to slow down and be in tune to the natural world. … It’s meditation, a relief.” – Sean Fowler, chef and owner of Mandolin restaurant


EAN FOWLER KNOWS THE CHEF-FARMER CONCEPT IS NOT A novel one. “It definitely goes hand-in-hand with what I do,” says the owner of Mandolin restaurant in Hayes Barton. But his time spent growing vegetables, herbs, and flowers in the 5,000-square-foot plot at his parents’ home in North Raleigh goes beyond producing fresh ingredients. “Doing the manual labor, the planting and the harvesting and the weeding and moving dirt – there’s a physical outlet that fills a void for me.” It’s also Fowler’s way of returning to his roots. The land he tills on Durant Road was a horse field when he was a child. “It’s a pretty big chunk of land for that area, so it made sense,” Fowler says. “It’s where I grew up. We used to have a garden when I was young. At the time I hated it; the last thing I wanted to do was weed a garden. But my dad said one day I’d thank him. Fast forward 20 years and here I am, thanking him.” Fowler’s Southern-inspired menus have always emphasized local and seasonal crops, and now his garden provides a “small but noteworthy” portion of the restaurant’s produce. It also provides an important dose of beauty: A large part of the Fowler

farm is now dedicated to flowers. These are Lizzy Fowler’s doing. When Mandolin opened in 2011, Sean’s wife Lizzy began making arrangements for the restaurant’s tables. Soon, customers were asking her to create arrangements for their homes, too. The word-of-mouth business she generated turned flowers into a thriving side project. Today, Lizzy has stepped back from arranging to focus on their 7-month-old twin daughters, Clementine and Grace, but she still grows flowers for the restaurant year-round. “There is a 3-4 month period in the summer where we rarely order flowers from other providers,” Sean Fowler says. “Lizzy and our team grow and cut what we need.” This year, the couple added a chicken coop to the mix. By the end of the year, they expect to fully supply both the restaurant and their household with eggs. He hopes the future holds goats and even more vegetables. Regardless, Fowler’s biggest priority is raising his twin daughters in the garden right where he grew up. “Being on this land – things come full circle. We can’t wait to involve them in that.” –Jessie Ammons photograph by TRAVIS LONG


We’re Expanding!


Coming Soon PHASE II

The Cypress of Raleigh Expanding on a tradition of unique Villa homes Nestled on 44 beautifully landscaped and gated acres, The Cypress of Raleigh is recognized as the area’s premier Senior Living Community. Slated for completion in 2018, our fourth Villa building with 57 brand new residences offers you the opportunity to take ownership of your future and live the life of your dreams.

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TRYON PALACE, NEW BERN Marine toiles, nautical motifs, and breezy fashion evoke the rich American history of Tryon Palace in New Bern. The city, founded in 1710 at the convergence of the Neuse and Trent rivers near the mouth of the Pamlico Sound, is named for Bern, Switzerland. Royal Governor William Tryon built the Georgian-style Tryon Palace there in 1770 as a residence for his wife, Margaret Wake Tryon (for whom Wake County is named) and their children. A noted 19th century cultural hub and strategic river port, New Bern was known as “The Athens of North Carolina.” The palace was destroyed by fire in 1798 and restored to its colonial splendor 160 years later. The house and its surrounding gardens are well worth a visit today. –P. Gaye Tapp


photographs by CATHERINE NGUYEN

Styling: Jesma Reynolds and P. Gaye Tapp; Nili Lotan Tangier Galabia caftan (VERMILLION); Jo Malone candle (SAKS FIFTH AVENUE); Tryon Palace book (AMAZON); fabrics (KAREN SAKS to the trade); Haand Cloudware bowls (SOUTHERN SEASON); Coral shells mounted on acrylic, white porcelain bowl, small curio glass table, Designer’s Guild blue throw, blue and white garden stool (GREENFRONT); Tie dye pillow, Van Collier gingko side table, ship painting, abstract rug, Chinese tea trunk/chest (EATMANS CARPETS & INTERIORS); Boho Beads Stella necklace (BOHO BEADS); Blue and white pitchers, George I style armchair (DT&Co)


Lela Rose dress (VERMILLION); Creed Spring Flower (SAKS FIFTH AVENUE); Lady on the Hill (AMAZON); fabrics (KAREN SAKS to the trade); Large Rose Herbarium, wood pedestal (GREENFRONT); Cowhide rug, mahogany wine cooler/plant stand (EATMANS CARPETS & INTERIORS); Boho Beads Blake necklace (BOHO BEADS); English mahogany hall chair with Prince of Wales plume, American gilt bronze inkwell, set of 3 lattice floral compotes (DT&Co)


BILTMORE ESTATE, ASHEVILLE Flora and fauna, woodland touches, and elegant accessories set the tone at Biltmore House and Gardens. A brief trip to Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1888 inspired George Vanderbilt’s dream for a 250-room French Renaissance chateau surrounded by breathtaking views and filled with all of the luxuries of the turn of the century. With a 10,000-volume library, world-class art, an indoor pool, and a bowling alley, Biltmore Estates still houses the vast collections George and Edith Vanderbilt amassed in their lifetime. Noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed the gardens of Biltmore Estate, and Richard Morris Hunt designed the Conservatory. It’s still aweinspiring nearly 130 years later. –P. Gaye Tapp




Contact Todd Williams at 704.405.5165

Only accredited investors may invest in the fund, which for natural persons are investors who meet certain minimum annual income or net worth thresholds. This investment opportunity is being offered in reliance on an exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act of 1933 and, as such, is not required to comply with specific disclosure requirements that apply to registered offerings. The offered securities are also not subject to the protections of the Investment Company Act of 1940. The SEC has not passed upon the merits of, or given its approval to, the securities, the terms of this offering, or the accuracy or completeness of any offering materials. The securities are subject to legal restrictions on transfer and resale, and investors should not assume they will be able to resell their securities. Investing in such securities involves risk, and investors should be able to bear the risk of the loss of their investment. This is not an offer to sell nor a solicitation of an offer to purchase interests in the fund. Such an offer may only be made by means of a Confidential Private Placement Memorandum which describes the terms of any such investment.







African-American Raleigh designer Willie Otey Kay created custom gowns for women all over North Carolina for more than 60 years. Many of her dresses are currently on exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History.

CUSTOM, ONE-OF-A-KIND DRESSES ARE TYPICALLY ASSOCIATED WITH haute couture – the glamorous reserve of New York and Paris fashion shows. That wasn’t always the case. There was a time when custommade gowns weren’t just found in the pages of Vogue or in highend bridal shops, but in the closets of everyday people, created by local artisans who made everything by hand. Willie Otey Kay, an African-American Raleigh designer and seamstress who created dresses for more than 60 years for women all over the state, was one such artisan. Along with her sisters, Kay made debutante and wedding dresses and evening gowns from the


photographs by CATHERINE NGUYEN

late 1920s until the 1980s. Her talents spread by word-of-mouth until her clients contained a who’s-who of North Carolina society and beyond. Kay’s legacy lives on in Raleigh with an exhibition of her skilled craftsmanship at the North Carolina Museum of His-

to make fabric roses by hand and taking breaks for beautiful lunches at her Great-Aunt Willie’s, served on her finest china. “Sewing was just part of my life,” Lewis says today. “I feel like that’s something in the genes.” She still sews and beads, carrying on a family tradition that she says is simply innate: “not taught,

Willie Otey Kay in 1981 Raleigh Times photograph (by John Rottet)

COUTURE tory. Some of Kay’s dresses had been in the museum’s archives for years, but this is the first time the museum has created an show devoted to Kay alone. “It seemed like an ideal exhibit opportunity to show off some of our collection, to tell her amazing story, and to really get the community involved too, since so many people … remember her and have dresses made by her,” says curator Diana Bell-Kite. The community has certainly gotten involved: The exhibit opened January 16, but the response to loan dresses made by Kay was so great, the museum has had to add four rotating exhibits in an extra room to showcase all of the the borrowed creations. “It was really incredible,” says Bell-Kite. “We were just overwhelmed with people’s interest.”

just digested.” Mildred Campbell Christmas, Kay’s granddaughter, agrees that the family’s creativity and skill were inherent. Kay made Christmas’ wedding gown (which incorporated lace from the dress she’d worn for her debut, which itself was made by Mildred Otey Taylor), as well as dresses for all of her bridesmaids. “She did it with such ease,” Christmas says. “She never seemed to be stressed or pressed.” A mere glance at a designer dress hanging in a store was all Kay needed to sketch and create an identical dress for a fraction of the price, Christmas says, which had some Raleigh department going so far as to try to keep Kay from coming in to shop. Kay eventually moved into her own house on New Bern Av-

What she did best With a story as long – and creations as beloved – as Kay’s, it’s no wonder folks are interested. Born in Raleigh in 1894, Kay grew up one of eight children on downtown’s Cabarrus Street. Her father Henry Otey was a prosperous African-American businessman who owned a barbershop inside the Yarborough House hotel on Fayetteville Street. He sent Kay to Shaw University, where she met and married medical student John Kay, and graduated in 1912 with a degree in home economics. The couple then moved to Wilmington, where Dr. Kay co-founded a hospital for African-Americans. When her husband passed away in 1927, Kay returned to Raleigh. Back in her parents’ home on Cabarrus Street, Kay, now widowed with five children (two had passed away), looked to her innate talents to support her family doing what she did best – sewing. Her work quickly took off. With the help of her sisters, Mildred Otey Taylor and Chloe Otey Jervay Laws, both talented seamstresses, and Elizabeth Otey Constant, who created beautiful and intricate beadwork, Willie Otey Kay provided some of the most coveted dresses of the era. Indeed, Kay’s family was a talented one, and they played an important part in her life and her business, two aspects which were constantly intertwined. Kay’s great niece, Elizabeth Constant Lewis, recalls travelling with Kay and Elizabeth Otey Constant (Lewis’s grandmother) and the Otey sisters to deliver dresses to houses on Glenwood Avenue, then largely undeveloped. She remembers sitting down with her great-aunts to learn MAY 2016 | 61

enue, where she had a sewing room off her living room. Clients would come to the house for their fittings. Kay kept a stack of magazines that brides and debutantes could flip through for inspiration, and once they had an idea of their ideal gown’s design, she would sketch it for them. Many customers recall only having one fitting, and Kay didn’t work with pre-made patterns – it was all expertise and intuition. News of her skill with a needle and cloth quickly spread beyond Raleigh: When Dr. Synthia Teele Roberson was planning her 1961 debutante ball in Tallahassee, Fla., her aunt, who was also Kay’s neighbor, told her she had no choice but to make the trip to Raleigh to have her dress made by Kay. Roberson liked it so much she came back in 1969 to have Kay make her wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses. Roberson only had one fitting for her wed 62 | WALTER

MASTER OF DETAIL This page: The exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History highlights Willie Kay Otey’s exquisite and extensive work. Opposite page, top left: Louise Talley stands with a custom gown made for her North Carolina Debutante weekend on loan for the exhibit. Top right: Kay created a baptismal gown and cap for Elizabeth Constant Lewis. Below right: Church vestments for Kay’s church, St. Ambrose Episcopal.

ding gown, and her bridesmaids never even stepped foot in Kay’s sewing room. But “they were perfect,” Roberson says. “We didn’t have to do any adjustments.”

Made for you Kay’s easygoing demeanor and professionalism extended beyond the borders of her at-home sewing studio, those who recall her say. The middle of the 20th century was a difficult period for African-American-run businesses in the South. But during a time of segregation and racial tension in Raleigh, Kay worked with both African-American and white clients, making an equal number of dresses for the predominately African-American Alpha Kappa Alpha debutante ball and the predominantly white North Carolina Debutante Ball. Each season, girls would vie for a coveted appointment at Kay’s house, where she was sure to keep all her dresses tucked away in a cedar closet so no one knew what another’s dress looked like. After their debut, many girls kept their dresses to use when they later got married. Kay would advise them on how much extra fabric to purchase and save for a train, and dresses were often passed

down from mother to daughter, aunt to niece, each with the special sewn-in tag “Made especially for you by Willie Kay.” Louise Wooten Talley remembers girls coveting those dresses with Kay’s tags when she left her hometown of Goldsboro to attend St. Mary’s School in the 1950s. When she was invited to participate in the 1954 North Carolina Debutante Ball, Talley went shopping for dresses, and “not only were they expensive, I didn’t think any of them were as pretty as Willie Kay’s,” she says. Luckily for her, she was able to schedule a meeting with Kay, who made both her debutante gown and the evening gown she wore to the second-night party after the ball. Talley provided her own sketch for the evening gown to Kay, who created the lace bertha collar Talley wanted, and even dyed the fabric green to match. “She was very good with young girls,” Talley says. Her daughters even went back to Kay for alterations when they wore Talley’s original debutante gown for their own debuts. “She knew just what to say to make a young girl feel special … She was like everybody’s ideal grandmother.” Kay sewed well into great-grandmotherhood and her 90s, making gowns as well as christening outfits; beaded handkerchiefs; a glove bag for the Links organization (of which she was a member); and the vestments for her church, St. Ambrose Episcopal. She was featured in McCall’s magazine in 1935, and one of her debutante gowns was on a 1951 cover of Life magazine. Most importantly, her living relatives say, Kay was able to send all five of her children to college with the proceeds from her work. They, in turn, left their own imprints on history. Her youngest daughter, June Kay Campbell, was honored by the N.C. General Assembly for her role in the civil rights movement, and

went on to raise two sons who were both prominent politicians: Bill Campbell, mayor of Atlanta from 19942002, and Ralph Campbell Jr., State Auditor from 19932004 and the first AfricanAmerican to hold elected executive office in North Carolina. A walk through the Willie Otey Kay exhibit is more than a fashion exhibition. It is a step through North Carolina and Raleigh history, spanning multiple decades, rippling out far beyond her sewing studio. It’s a story preserved in lace and silk, in time and stitches, in family and memories – each a fold of a greater fabric that will be passed hand-to-hand for generations to come. Made Especially for You by Willie Kay runs through September 5; Additional dresses on display June 2 - 16 and August 22 - September 5; free; North Carolina Museum of History, 5 E. Edenton St.;

MAY 2016 | 63

ARTIST’S spotlight

WARMING UP The Powell GT chorus rehearses before its performance in Meymandi Concert Hall on April 5. The fourth-and fifth-graders had practiced for months, coming in to rehearse at 8 a.m. before their school day began.




ALIVE Raleigh Fine Art Society’s Choral Celebration by MIMI MONTGOMERY photographs by JILLIAN CLARK


IT’S A TUESDAY EVENING IN APRIL, AND MEYMANDI CONCERT HALL IS PACKED. IN A FEW SHORT minutes, Powell GT elementary school’s chorus will take the stage, and the kids are shushing each other as they wait in the wings for their cue. Their fourth- and fifth-grade faces are bathed in the blue light of backstage bulbs as they whisper last-minute notes and bits of advice to each other under the din of the audience outside and the sounds of the accompanists warming up. They’ve been counting down the months to this night. Their moment is finally here. On the other side of the curtain, it’s not the usual symphony crowd anticipating a night of classical music – it’s kids like them, all of whom will also have their own chance to perform. This is the first night of an annual two-night Raleigh Fine Arts Society Choral Celebration, bringing Wake County elementary school choruses to the capital city’s finest stage to perform for their parents, friends, and the public. The kids are all dressed in their best, some in white button-downs and dress pants, and others in black dresses and bows. MAY 2016 | 65

As the audience goes quiet, the Powell students fidget anxiously and giggle; at the last minute, their teacher, Terri Gervais, confiscates phones from two of them. The kids stand up straight. It’s time to go on. “I’m so ready,” Damarian King, 11, mouths, a grin on his face.

Leaving a legacy Powell is one of dozens of schools that have participated over the last 17 years in this annual concert, held each spring. Created in 1999 by RFAS founding member Martha Zaytoun, the event added music to the group’s lineup of programs designed to promote literature and the visual arts. The event rose in prominence in 2001 when it moved to Meymandi, and so many schools wanted to participate that RFAS had to add an extra evening to accommodate them all. Its popularity has only grown. This year’s Celebration included a record 16 schools and nearly 1,000 children singing. From the beginning, the event has showcased fourthand fifth-grade choruses from Wake County schools, and has aimed to help improve their music as well as showcase it. The choruses are reviewed by an adjudicator, who provides notes and comments ahead of the performance, in which each school performs two songs individually and sings three all together. Because young children’s voices have their own special quality, working with them is different than conducting teenagers or 66 | WALTER

adults, and requires experienced conductors trained in elementary music. The Celebration’s advisors (Ann LeGarde, Kenya Snider, and Ann Goldfinch) are all former or current teachers certified to teach music to children; they help structure the flow of the performance and help each participating school’s conductor select music that will showcase their children’s voices in the best way. This year, RFAS also assigned a choral clinician to each

READY TO SING Clockwise from top left: The chorus stands at attention during one of their early morning practices; Clinician Anne Mormon-Smith works with the children; scanning the music.

ly a memory that lasts a lifetime. It’s just beautiful. It’s really beautiful.”

Going the extra distance school who attended two rehearsals, and not only worked with the children on their selected music pieces, but provided feedback to their teachers, too. In addition, RFAS invited all of the schools’ choral teachers to a workshop with Dr. Frances Page, a professor of music at Meredith College and the conductor of the Capital City Girls Choir. Teachers filled out professional development forms before and after their school’s performances, as well, to chart their own growth and reflect on their students’ improvements. “This is something else we can do where we’re giving back,” says Dena Silver, chair of the Choral Celebration. “This is something where kids learn, where teachers learn. So, over time, you’re building on all that.” Silver says that’s important, because lower school choirs are at risk. “A lot of teachers and school administrators don’t feel that they’re necessary. So, we felt we needed to continue to improve the profile of those schools and elementary choral programs, and if we did that, they would maybe have a longer life.” Celebration advisor and Farmington Woods teacher Ann LeGarde says it’s working. “They gain so much confidence from that opportunity. When you finally see them on stage and hear them … their faces are lit up by the beautiful lights and they’re so excited and so proud of themselves,” she says. “It’s definite-

Of the 16 schools participating in the Choral Celebration, Powell is one of four newcomers. A Raleigh magnet school, it is a diverse, arts-based elementary school near the Oakwood area focused on play and ingenuity. The children in its fourthand fifth-grade chorus love to perform and go to great lengths to do so, arriving at 8 a.m. to rehearse before the school day begins. One March morning, some are sleepy, dragging their backpacks into the colorful room, but most seem excited. There’s a palpable buzz in the air – today their RFAS-assigned choral clinician, Anne Mormon-Smith, is there to listen to the group rehearse the two pieces they’ll sing in the Celebration. It’s clear that Gervais, Powell’s general music and chorus teacher, has set expectations for her students: They perch on the edge of their seats with rail-straight backs. In Gervais’ book, learning the correct way to carry a note or breathe from their stomachs is just as important as learning professionalism, responsibility, and cooperation. The group prepares to launch into a version of their favorite song, The Moon. “What is the feeling in The Moon?” Gervais calls out to her class. “Calm!” one child shouts out. “Soothing,” says another. “It makes me feel inspired and hopeful,” pipes up a voice from the back. She implores the group to use that imagery to infuse the piece with emotion. Gervais employs a variety of techniques MAY 2016 | 67

THE BIG NIGHT Choral teacher Terri Gervais conducts the Powell GT chorus as they perform on the stage at Meymandi Concert Hall.

We seek to understand your story

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to communicate what could be complicated musical terms to a group of elementary schoolers. She asks the kids to “color” the music with their voices to create emotion and movement in the music, and uses visuals like pulling an imaginary ribbon through the air to have them carry out a note and build a crescendo. “The kids that are coming really, really love to sing,” says Gervais. “They just have a natural ability.” After a rousing rendition of their second song, the classic Simple Gifts, and some helpful feedback from Smith, it’s time for the first class of the day. Everyone’s in a good mood after a morning of singing. Fourth-grader Elexis Creech, 10, says she can’t wait to perform at Meymandi. Her brother has seen the auditorium, and “he said that it was humongous and that it’s pretty. So, I’m really excited.” And more than a little ready to belt out the tunes. “I honestly think I was born to be in the spotlight,” she adds. That zest for performing runs through the group. Timmy Richardson, a 10-yearold fifth-grader, says he’s “just a little bit nervous,” but that he loves “to be in front of an audience.” The excitement is well-earned, Gervais says. The kids have taken it seriously, and it’s going to pay off. It’s an important lesson in working diligently towards achieving a goal. “It is hard work,” she says. “I tell them all the time – it’s hard work, but it’s fun. That’s what everything worthwhile is.” Gervais knows all about that. “She’s gone above and beyond,” says Curtis Brower, Powell’s principal; he credits the chorus’ success to Gervais’ dedication, offering early rehearsals and ensuring that students who want to participate will be able to do so. Interest in what she’s doing has been so high she’s recently added a third-grade chorus, too, and many of her students have gone on to audition for outside groups like the Raleigh Boychoir. When she told her students they were headed to Meymandi April 5, they couldn’t contain themselves. “They were jumping up and down,” she says. It’s a first-time experience for many of the children in her group. The opportunity to perform in a real auditorium on a professional stage with excellent acoustics is a rare one. “This is a blending of backgrounds of kids,” says Gervais. “Some kids have probably gone to see things at the theater itself or the concert hall … (but) a lot of the other kids were

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never exposed to that. … So this is really a big thing for them to be able to sing on that stage.”

Keep singing On performance night, it all comes together. The kids beam as all 500 of them come together to sing the last communal song of the evening, Stars, a piece commissioned by RFAS to honor Zaytoun. The sound of so many earnest voices rising up and into the ceiling of the auditorium is the pinnacle of an already memorable evening, and the students rush out to meet their waiting parents with grins on their faces. Teachers hand out cookies and hugs, and the kids highfive each other. They did it. It’s RFAS’ hope that many of the participants will continue singing long after this evening and help to preserve this celebration of music in Wake County. As everyone begins to leave, many of the students keep carrying the tunes even as they exit Meymandi with their families, humming the familiar melodies as they go their opposite directions into the night. Some are headed off to middle school next year; some have another year in the chorus. But one thing’s pretty clear: They will all keep singing.

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of a house



A bubble chair provides prime viewing of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Opposite page: To the right of the front entrance, a sculpture by Raleigh sculptor Paris Alexander welcomes visitors.





WHEN A RALEIGH COUPLE WENT LOOKING FOR THEIR IDEAL VACATION home in Asheville, they imagined a log cabin deep in the woods. What they found instead was a mid-century modern five minutes from downtown with spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The wife, a noted decorator and shop owner, was quick to grasp the exceptional qualities of the contemporary house, situated on a beautifully flat three-plus-acre lot and designed by the late Bert King, one of Asheville’s most prolific and prominent mid-century architects. MAY 2016 | 71



Top left: In the entry hall, a Murano glass sculpture commands attention. The paneled wall is stained to mimic Danish teak. Bottom: A modern textured wallpaper grounds an entry wall, where the circular pattern is echoed on the lamp base, pair of poufs, and area rug. “It wasn’t intentional to begin with, but when I started putting art up, my girlfriend came over and said ‘So, you’re doing circles,’ I said, ‘Oh, I guess I am.’” Top right: The stone fireplace, ceiling beams, and connection to the outdoors are signature elements of architect Bert King. A pottery bowl by Marsha Owen on the dining table came from the Mahler Gallery in Raleigh. The encaustic paintings above the sectional sofa is by Asheville artist Constance Williams.

“I can walk into a house in Asheville and immediately recognize it’s by him,” she says. Theirs is a prime example. King “was a classic modernist who tended to design mid-size houses, taking advantage of the great views,” says George Smart, founder and executive director of Durham-based North Carolina Modernist Houses. Clean lines, an intention to bring the outdoors in, and natural materials of wood and stone are all hallmarks of a King residence. A 1949 graduate of N.C. State’s School of Design, King and his firm were widely known

for commercial projects including the award-winning design of Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church and College Chapel in Swannanoa, built in 1964. And even though he designed houses more for his own enjoyment than for the income they generated, King’s 40-plus-year career resulted in forward-thinking homes all over Asheville that bear his signature style. It’s a style the owners were eager to embrace. Most of the changes they’ve made since purchasing the house in 2008 have aimed to honor the archiMAY 2016 | 73

tect’s original vision. “Everything is oriented to the view,” says the wife. “This man was a genius.” From hefty stained ceiling beams embedded in a soaring A-frame ceiling to streamlined flat-front kitchen cabinets, almost everything is original. All of the walls have been painted a bright gallery white to allow the architecture and the art (mostly local) to take center stage. In a prominent corner of the largest room – a combined dining and living space that opens to a deck and pool – a bank of floor-toceiling windows has replaced an obtrusive bar and tiny windows that the wife guesses must have been added by previous owners. Views of the ridgeline now intermingle with the room, connecting the interiors to the natural beauty outside. For the wife, who had no prior decorating experience with mid-century interiors, the house became a laboratory for learning about that particular style and movement: “I thought, I’m going for it. I’m going to immerse myself in this. And because I was dealing a little bit in antiques up there, I would talk to dealers who are my friends.” She was committed to featuring vintage pieces as a way to honor the house’s style and because “re-use is the name of the game.” Her aim was to create warm, modern interiors without being too much of a purist. Com74 | WALTER

pleted in the later part of King’s career in 1979, the house’s impeccable design made her job easy, she says. And Asheville itself helped – the city’s thriving arts-and-crafts scene became the owner’s trove for colorful paintings, fiber works, works on paper, and pottery. Her approach was to choose art for specific spaces, not unlike King’s careful placement of houses within a landscape. She also tapped Asheville’s mid-century dealers to locate key objects. In the kitchen, pieces of vintage aqua-green pottery rest atop open stainless shelves where they also get a fair share of use. “We entertain a lot up there, so I’m whipping that stuff out. It’s not just for pretty.” To accommodate “all the bodies” that her three older children bring along as houseguests, there are modern sofa beds in the study and downstairs guest quarters, as well as a pair of beanbag chairs in the boys’ room that contain full-size mattresses that flip out and lay flat. It is functionality at its finest. On the back of the house, a covered porch and sweeping deck are the connectors to the pool, an original feature that had been covered up. From there, one of many paths winds down to a labyrinth garden that encircles a metal sculpture by Raleighite Matt McConnell. It’s one of several works

VIEW FINDER Top left: The kitchen, dining, and living spaces merge seamlessly to function as one spacious room. Pocket doors to the left of the kitchen reveal a study that can also function as additional sleeping quarters. Top center: A sweeping deck off the back of the house affords views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Top right: A whimsical Rebecca Kinkead painting hangs above a collection of vintage, aqua-green pottery that makes for a pretty arrangement and easy access when entertating. The orientation of the bar and stools faces views of the ridgeline. Bottom: “I always wanted a black and white room with a shot of red,” says the homeowner. She found the vintage slingchair for the study from a mid-century dealer locally. On the walls are a depiction of a waterfall by Asheville painter Mitchell Lonas and an abstract painting by Santa Fe-based artist Peter Burega.

MAY 2016 | 75

by Raleigh artists the couple have installed. A striking female sculpture by Raleigh sculptor Paris Alexander welcomes visitors by the front door, and a 17-foot earth-cast gyre, completed last summer by Thomas Sayre, emerges organically from the ground at the side of the house. “It’s tall enough to be seen from inside without taking away from the house,” the wife notes. Through the process of working on the residence, the wife developed a passion for modernism and has since traveled on tours with North Carolina Modernist Houses to Los Angeles and Palm Springs to see more examples of that particular architectural style. Last month, she and her husband hosted a dinner for a group of 35 Mod Squad enthusiasts from NCMH who traveled to Asheville to tour some of its modernist homes. Through the lens of the couple’s King-designed house, guests enjoyed views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the thoughtful restoration of the residence. “We kept his spirit,” she says. SIMPLE RESPITE Top left: Raleigh artist Thomas Sayre installed an earthcast gyre last summer on the grounds. Top center: The boys’ bedroom was originally a master bathroom. “I think King would have understood our need to change the configuration. We were a young family when we bought it,” says the wife. Top right: The wife opened up a closet in the master bedroom to create an office nook that looks out on Sayre’s sculpture. Middle right: A guest room blends cozy quilts, a pair of Robert Patierno woodcuts, and mid-century furniture. The metal birds are by Raleigh artist Bill Hickman. Bottom right: A sculpture by Raleigh metalworker Matt McConnell is the focal point of the labyrinth garden. Bottom left: In the master bedroom, a landscape painting by June Ball hangs above the bed; a watercolor from a hiking trip to England lends color on the opposite wall.



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A culinary

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THERE WAS A TIME NOT SO LONG AGO THAT WILMINGTON WAS considered a coastal afterthought by some Triangle residents. It wasn’t a destination like Wrightsville Beach or Carolina Beach, and it lacked the storied history of Southern coastal cities like Charleston or Savannah. Its gastronomy has typically not been as well known, either. That’s about to change. Because this town, surrounded by the Cape Fear River to the west and the Intracoastal Waterway to the east, has become one of the South’s up-and-coming dining destinations.


tale of two cities It’s a culinary culture much like the city itself: There’s the old and the new, the rustic and the upscale. The river side and the beach side, including Wrightsville Beach. In many ways, Wilmington’s story is a tale of two cities. Turn to the right off of I-40, and you head toward downtown, near the Cape Fear River. People in this historic area enjoy a vital, semi-urban life. Streets, laid out in a traditional grid, are lined with early-20th-century homes. Lots of bars, restaurants, breweries, and more are there for those who love the nightlife, who love to boogie (apologies to Alicia Bridges). Turn to the left from I-40, and you head toward the beach, where life is a bit slower, the houses are newer and larger, and the restaurants and shopping are often found in strip malls. The people on this side of town don’t get downtown all that much, and they like it that way. Same thing goes the other way. Despite this apparent lack of cohesion, Wilmington has a fierce and unified sense of pride. The residents don’t consider their city a less-worthy cousin of other, more famous coastal towns. Frankly, my dears, they don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks, because the food here is rock solid, and the charm is endless. People want to be here, and they offer no excuses. And about that food, well, it really is delicious. Let’s start with the downtown spots.

included a jacuzzi tub, plush robes, and a semi-private balcony. And they always have cookies available! A local institution known for its breakfast is The Dixie Grill. Yes, they serve lunch and dinner, too, but if you want a hearty morning meal that varies just a touch from the usual, this is your joint. The Dixie Grill is a Wilmington staple – it’s apparently been around for over 110 years – but it has changed with the times. Today, the waitstaff is usually

Downtown Wilmington There are a number of places to get coffee downtown, including the ubiquitous Port City Java; but the place that made me the most comfortable on a recent visit was 24 South Coffee House. This hole-in-the wall uses 100-percent fair trade beans that are not over-roasted, resulting in a smooth cup of joe. And they open earlier than the other places, which may never be an issue for late risers, but for me, it was a blessing. For breakfast, I can certainly vouch for the quiche at a delightful bed-and-breakfast, the Front Street Inn, at the south end of downtown. Run by two of the most charming individuals you’ll ever encounter, Richard and Polly Salinetti, this inn is located in the former home of the Salvation Army. My room MAY 2016 | 81

Pig ears at Rx Rx’s entrance

Fork ’n’ Cork’s Kyle Style burger

Nicoise salad at Brasserie du Soleil

tatooed, and the music has an indie vibe. The food is rock solid. Dixie Grill’s version of huevos rancheros is unlike anything I’ve had, served with beef tips, peppers, onions, beans, and, of course, eggs and salsa. It’s very filling, but it’s also easy to finish. Want a burger? One of the best ones I’ve had in quite some time is at Fork ’n’ Cork, a tiny place that started out as a food truck and is now in a 30-seat jewel box on Market Street. I had intelligence that its burgers and smoked brisket were both outstanding, and I was having trouble deciding between the two. What to do? Simple, order a Kyle Style burger, where smoked beef meets ground beef. Yup, brisket on the burger. Paired with some outstanding thick-cut fries, this is one fantastic burger. If you like brunch, you’re in the right place. Wilmington is a brunch town – nearly every place serves some form of brunch on the weekends. If you want something a bit different, head a few blocks south and east of the main downtown strip to Rx Restaurant & Bar and chef James Doss’ fare. Rx is housed in an 82 | WALTER

old pharmacy and the place fills quickly for brunch. They serve both sweet and savory. On the sweet side, the cinnamon rolls, from Doss’ grandmother’s recipe, are divine. At the other end of the spectrum are the crispy buffalo pig ears – don’t think twice about how that sounds, because they are fabulous and highly addictive. How about a drink? You have several options. For a cocktail in a dimly-lit room with a speakeasy vibe, head down a spooky alley, up a few stairs, and knock on the door of Blind Elephant. The doorman will open a slot, peer through, and let you in. It’s a private club, like all liquor bars in North Carolina, but membership is free. Cocktails, with an emphasis on bourbon, are first rate. The music is perfect for the setting, and you’ll get so comfortable that you’ll not want to leave. But you should, because beer awaits. Wilmington has embraced the craft beer scene, and one good choice, just a couple of blocks off the main drag downtown in the Brooklyn Arts District, is Flytrap Brewing, named after the carnivorous plant indigenous to the area. And the place is not a typical dark, cavernous warehouse. The walls are filled with local art, the vibe is lively, and the beer is great. The

The bar at Manna

brewery is small, with only a few taps available each day, but the Rye Pale Ale I tasted on a recent visit will get me back soon. But hands down, the best libation in town is found at Manna, which is also one of finest restaurants in the area (more on that later). Its bartenders aren’t afraid to tell you that they’re the best, either – they don’t lack confidence or skills. I guess when you’re that good and you’re telling the truth, it ain’t bragging. These guys make their own tinctures, bitters, shrub syrups, and oleo saccharum. If you don’t know what these things are, just understand that they help to make an outstanding cocktail. Head bartender Ian Murray is a mad genius, and I’m not sure whether to emphasize the mad or genius point, but I know this: If I ever want a cocktail in Wilmington, you will find me at Manna. I sat at the bar at Manna for my dinner. The dining room itself is warm and soothing, but I had developed a rapport with the bartenders the previous night, so what the heck, I thought I’d let them take care of me again. Good choice. The food was exemplary, beginning with lobster mousse-filled pasta with a bouillabaisse broth. But the true star of the meal was a beef dish – something I rarely order at restaurants – this time in the form of a hunk of pan-roasted tenderloin served on a bed of white beans with charred broccolini and a wild mushroom sauce. I was stuffed when I started to dig into this dish, and, yes, I can’t believe I ate the whole thing. Oh, and those bartenders? They had perfect wine pairings for every dish (and the owner of the

place even treated me with a glass of Chateau d’Yquem!). The new kid on the dining block is PinPoint, and if there were to be one restaurant where I’d return week after week, this would be it. First, the room is spacious, comfortable, and filled with local art. More importantly, the chef, Dean Neff, has mad skills. He’s worked with some of the top chefs in the South, and he decided to open his first restaurant in Wilmington after years at Hugh Acheson’s 5&10 in Athens, Ga. Neff is a guy who is committed to the locavore movement, but not to the detriment of the menu when local goods aren’t available (try the brandade; it’s amazing). He makes his own charcuterie and pickles, gets all of his greens and seafood from local sources, and really has a delicate touch with Southern food. Plus,

The Blind Elephant

MAY 2016 | 83


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his pastry chef, Lydia Clopton (who just happens to be his fiancée), puts together as pretty and tasty a dessert plate as I’ve had. Another great thing about Dean Neff and Lydia Clopton is that they are great hosts: They took us to my favorite beer bar in Wilmington, the Satellite Bar and Lounge. Live music, lots of craft beer, and great indoor and outdoor space make for a bar where you can have the type of night you want to have. You can chill in a chair, warm up by an outside heater, play cornhole, and, of course, drink beer. And dogs are welcome, too!

The beach side The east side of Wilmington is just a little sleepier and a little bit 24 South Coffee House more casual. OK, maybe a lot more casual. But there’s plenty of good food to be had. Like donuts. Yes, I’m always on the lookout for great donuts, and there’s a little place in a business park that’s worth a visit: Donut Inn. It specializes in old-school donuts, particularly of the cake variety. Crunchy on the outside with a light and tender interior. Perfect for dunking. There are two breakfast places that typically have a line out the door. The Causeway Cafe is actually in the town of Wrightsville Beach, but I consider this popular place to be the Greek diner of the area. And I don’t mean that they serve Greek food – they serve nearly everything under the sun for breakfast and lunch, with great daily specials. It’s a bit of a dive, but come on, who wants an upscale diner? The other place for your morning meal is the Sweet n Savory Cafe. Sure, they serve lunch and dinner – I’m sure those meals are outstanding, because the breakfast is top-notch. Fresh-baked breads and pastries, eggs benedict, breakfast bowls, and omelettes are available – not a wimpy three-egg omelette; they use four. I particularly like the breakfast sandwiches, including the California Dixie: country ham, avocado, scrambled eggs, Havarti, and pico de gallo on grilled three-cheese bread. This part of town also has a couple of solid lunch options. I had some of the best sandwiches in the state at Chops Deli, a small chain with three locations in the Wilmington area. The Constantinople is a Dagwood of a sandwich, with corned beef, pastrami, turkey, Swiss, cheddar, onion, roasted red peppers, remoulade, and cranberry relish. The Plymouth is simpler, but equally delicious: smoked turkey, Havarti, Granny Smith apples, and cranberry relish. All this heavy eating makes one yearn for something lighter. Like a salad, made exactly the way you want it. You can do that at Brasserie du Soleil, located in the Lumina Station shopping center. You get to choose your greens and 30 different toppings. I had

them make a Nicoise salad and paired it with a glass of Sancerre. It wouldn’t have been any tastier had I been in France. Finally, there’s Lagerheads Tavern. It’s in Wrightsville Beach, and it is the quintessential beach bar. Populated mostly by locals, Lagerheads is the type of place to hang out with a cheap beer, talking to the guy next to you while a classic rock song plays on the jukebox. It’s dark. It’s a bit raunchy. And it’s absolutely perfect. To me, Wilmington (and yes, with apologies to those from Wrightsville Beach, I’m including your town as part of Wilmington) is a strolling town. You can idly saunter along the river, watching the sun set over the USS North Carolina battleship, slowly making your way to a great bar or restaurant. Or you can walk on the beach, listen to the waves, perhaps going nowhere, knowing that there’s no rush at all. Sure, it may be two entirely different experiences; but in the end, it’s really the same, because in Wilmington, folks know how to relax.



24 S. Front St., Wilmington (910) 815-3480

114 Market St., Wilmington (910) 769-2972



215 S. Front St., Wilmington (910) 762-6442

THE DIXIE GRILL 116 Market St., Wilmington (910) 762-7280

FORK ’N’ CORK 122 Market St., Wilmington (910) 228-5247

RX RESTAURANT & BAR 421 Castle St., Wilmington (910) 399-3080

BLIND ELEPHANT 21 N. Front St., Wilmington (910) 833-7175

FLYTRAP BREWING 319 Walnut St., Wilmington (910) 769-2881

MANNA 123 Princess St., Wilmington (910) 763-5252

120 Greenfield St., Wilmington (910) 399-2796

DONUT INN 1427 Military Cutoff Road, Wilmington (910) 679-8420

CAUSEWAY CAFÉ 114 Causeway Drive, Wrightsville Beach (910) 256-3730

SWEET N SAVORY CAFÉ 1611 Pavilion Place, Wilmington (910) 256-0115

CHOPS DELI 130 N. Front St., Suite 101, Wilmington (910) 399-6503

BRASSERIE DU SOLEIL 1908 Eastwood Road, Wilmington (910) 256-2226

LAGERHEADS TAVERN 35 N. Lumina Ave., Wrightsville Beach (910) 256-0171


AT THE table





PERSON STREET BAR IS ABOUT COMMUNITY. “THE cocktails are a consequence of spending time with people,” says co-owner and founder Jeff Clarke, above. He and his partners, all close friends, live in Oakwood, walking distance from the watering hole on North Person Street. “I’m not saying we’re the first neighborhood bar,” says Clarke, “but I do think we’re a unique neighborhood bar. It’s a little more Type B, a little slower paced. We spin records. It’s a nice place.”


photographs by NICK PIRONIO

It was during a particularly crowded night downtown about three years ago when Clarke, attorney Justin Pasfield, and IBM employees Joseph Maxey and Walker Bradham found themselves unable to get another round of drinks. The men envisioned a Cheers-like alternative to the late-night crush, and Clarke, who had learned the ropes of hospitality at hipster haunts like Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill and Kings in downtown Raleigh, had been looking for an opportunity to open a spot of his own. “I’d written a business plan for a bar and a coffee shop and was sitting on them.” The time had come: The foursome decided to go in on it together. It took a year and the help of still more friends – some from high school and college days – to transform the warehouse into an open space with black panelled walls, a stained wood bar, and lush back patio. The craftsmen they hired were local. The builders were local. The art they chose was local, and now rotates often. When possible, drink ingredients are also local. “People are the reason a place like this happens,” Clarke says. “Get the most creative people and give them a platform. We’re lucky to have so many wonderfully talented friends.” Today, it’s the gathering place the friends had envisioned. The team behind the bar – a close-knit crew drawn from Clarke’s deep network – keeps it welcoming. “Our staff has driven most of our success,” says Bradham. “They’re well-liked and they brought their own crowds in, too.” Clarke and his partners are quick to say that Person Street Bar is not a rejection of the downtown scene as much as a refreshing complement, and a reflection of their Oakwood/ Mordecai community. It “really needed a hub,” says Bradham, “a place for the community to come and be social and talk about ideas and politics and sports. People walk, they can bring their kids and their dogs.” Person Street Bar has a logo on the front door, but no sign. Instead, block letters spell out “Peden Steel Co.,” a nod to the space’s former tenant that jibes

with its current mid-century-modern-meets-industrial aesthetic. On any given day, at least one of the bar’s owners is there, alongside longtime neighbors catching up, cyclists refueling from a ride, the suited after-work crowd, creative types brainstorming, and everybody in between. “The foundation of everything we’ve done is focused on the neighborhood, the customers, the staff, and the atmosphere of welcoming community,” says Pasfield. “We started from there, we still start there, and then it takes on its own life.”

PERSON STREET NO. 6 Drinks at Person Street Bar lack titles. “When you seasonally rotate a cocktail menu, and we do, that’s a lot of names,” explains Clarke. For simplicity’s sake – and to keep the focus on the drinks’ quality ingredients – they’re numbered instead of named. 12 blueberries 6 blackberries 2 mint sprigs 2 ounces Redemption rye whiskey dash Agnostura bitters 1 ounce Blenheim’s ginger ale In a cocktail shaker, muddle 10 blueberries, 5 blackberries, and a small fresh mint sprig. Add whiskey, bitters, and ice, and shake. Double strain over new ice in a rocks glass and add ginger ale. Garnish with 2 blueberries, 1 blackberry, and 1 smacked mint sprig. (Smack the mint by placing it in between your hands and clapping them together. This helps release the herb’s flavor.)

WALTER profile


CAPETANOS A Triangle-based Hollywood screenwriter launches Act II MAY 2016 | 89



SCENE CHANGE Raleigh native Leon Capetanos grew up visiting family in Greece, opposite below, and inherited the block of Hillsborough Street that houses Cup A Joe, where he still goes most mornings (seen above). A creative writing scholarship, opposite above, foreshadowed his career as a screenwriter and novelist.

IN 1965, LEON CAPETANOS, A UNC GRADUATE FROM RALEIGH WITH A poetry degree, answered a call to make a difference in the world. He embarked on a year of building welfare, education, and health programs in poor, rural North Carolina communities. When the organization he was working with posted him outside New Bern, racial tensions were high and locals, he says, tried to shoot some of his black colleagues. Appalled by the turmoil, then-20-something Capetanos jumped at the chance to answer a very different kind of call, this one from Universal Studios. The studio, where he had interned as a graduate student, wanted to hire him in the screenwriting department. “It was an answer from heaven. I said I’d be there as soon as I could pack up my car and drive to California. And that’s how I got to Hollywood.”


all photos this page courtesy Leon Capetanos

Decades later, with a screenplay resume that includes Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Fletch Lives, Greased Lightning, and Moscow on the Hudson, Capetanos’ name is familiar to movie buffs. Now, the Raleigh native has returned home to add another feather to his writers’ cap: novelist. His young adult novel, The Time Box, was published last year, and he’s at work on another. In some ways, Capetanos’ path has taken him far from his poetic beginnings; in other ways, it hasn’t at all. He recalls the story of his unlikely move from North Carolina to Hollywood amiably, complete with a reenactment of the archetypal small-town sheriff who investigated the shooting incident. Capetanos tends to observe others as characters, even in the heaviest of circumstances. “People always surprise me. The more people you know, the more fun you’re going to have.” Tall and in his 70s, Capetanos can usually be found wearing sneakers, a thin scarf, and an L.A. Dodgers hat – a combination of California cool and young-at-heart. Prone to launch into stories ripe with dramatic pauses and pithy punchlines, he clearly retains the spirit that took him to California 50 years ago. He wasn’t there to realize a boyhood dream of success, he says, he wanted more interesting human experiences, and hoped the creative route might help him make an impact. Screenwriting’s rhythms came to him naturally. “I didn’t want to write prose; I was only interested in poetry. But a good movie, to me, is a poem. It’s a series of images that are connected.”

Scene change At first, Capetanos considered the job at Universal Studios just another fun voyage. “I never thought I was going to go out there for very long. I thought I’d go, work on this contract I had, and see how it worked. Then I’d leave … Nobody unpacks there,” he says. “You’re always ready to go somewhere else.” When he inherited his childhood home in Five Points, he’d “come back to write,” he says. “I always had a life here. I kept escaping and coming back.” He also regularly visited Munich and Paris and New York – sometimes for projects or small-budget films, and often for romance, which he calls his “total weakness.” And he never unpacked at any of those places, either. Buoyed by travels and girlfriends, he learned the ropes of filmmaking in the lavish and “surreal” atmosphere of 1970s Hollywood. He remembers comedian Jack Benny arriving to the studio in a Rolls-Royce every day, and once heard Don Knotts singing Ava Maria in the office bathroom. “Two years went by; three years went by; four years went by – eventually you’re just there. You’re a fixture.” He was lucky, sure. But poetics and romantics aside, Capetanos says he found success through hard work and compromise. “If you have talent, that helps. But a lot of people have talent. If you’re not there driving all the time, then you don’t have much of a chance.” He learned that screenwriting is a constant give-andtake. On a good day, it’s a collaborative effort between a director and a writer; on a bad day, it’s the role of patchwork/repairman/ wordsmith. “I understand editing in the sense of making something better,” Capetanos says, “but when somebody tells you, ‘Let’s not say that in a scene, just because I don’t want to?’ That wears on you. Either you bend or you get fired.”

DECEMBER/JANUARY MAY2015 2016| |75 91

all photos courtesy Leon Capetanos


For a time, he bent, and he found the right Above top left: Capetanos on the Munich set collaborators. Chief among them was direc- of Cream, a German dark comedy he directed tor Paul Mazursky, with whom Capetanos in the ’70s. His successful Hollywood career co-wrote a series of quirky ’80s blockbust- went on to include collaborating with director Paul Mazursky on films including Down and ers, including Moon Over Parador, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Moscow on the Hudson, Out in Beverly Hills, and Moscow on the Hudson. and Moon Over Parador. Here he is shown with Together, the duo had “a way of making comedies that are more film editor Richard Halsey, who won an Oscar intelligent and relevant than most of the serious films around,” said for Rocky, at the 2013 dedication of Mazursky’s Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert, when Beverly Hills came Walk of Fame star in Hollywood. out in 1986. Capetanos’ smart, offbeat humor reflected his own keen awareness of the world. “I mean, the only thing that kills you in Hollywood is hope,” he says, “But the weather is great. There’s a tremendous allure to the place, and there are so many days that life is good and easy. The impermanence – the constant transient element to it – fascinates me.” Fascination and the right amount of success kept him there, riding the wave, for the better part of four decades. Finally, he met and married his wife, Lisa, and then, in 2004, Capetanos hit Hollywood overload. “I was at the point where to make a living, I’d have to write crap. And I was tired.” It was time to return home.

New chapter For 12 years now, Capetanos has been happily settled in Cary – his daughter Chloë is now a sophomore at Cary Academy, and son John is a senior at Elon – and on to new 92 | WALTER

Eric Atkinson

ACT II Capetanos’ first novel was published last year. He says publicizing the young adult title is “like starting another career, where I’m the young person, learning how this works.” He hosted a book reading at CAM last fall, where he shared the stage with middle school docents.

things, including fiction. “Movies very seldom satisfied that inner artist for me.” Now, he’s beginning again. When he set out to write The Time Box, he didn’t intend to write a young adult book, he says, but realized it was the right genre for his story. “I think most writers have one or two stories that they need to tell, no matter what, and they tell them different ways,” he says. Capetanos’ story is a romantic one: The book follows a 12-year-old boy as he compiles a time capsule about himself to grapple with the meaning of life and his role in society. Along the way, the boy navigates his first serious crush and subsequent trysts. Capetanos calls the book an “existential love story” that deserved an uncomplicated telling. “Movies can involve you in a way that is direct and dynamic.” So can young adult books. He acknowledges that his chapters read like scenes, often digressing into side-notes and flashbacks. “What’s interesting about what I did is that I wasn’t conscious of it, but it flows like a movie does.” Gab Smith, director of CAM Raleigh, partnered with Capetanos for a book reading at the museum last fall. “He’s a film director and he’s visual, which is how he can connect and engage through his writing,” she says. Instead of the typical meet-and-greet format, the two worked with middle school docents and had them read passages from the book. “He took the middle-schoolers completely seriously,” Smith says. “It was a true collaborative process. He looked for their insight and feedback.” Capetanos’ collaborative style is an eschewal of the Hollywood antics that ultimately drove him home. It’s also evidence of an eternal youthful spirit. “Trying to sell this book is a whole other ball game,” he says. “It’s like starting another career, where I’m the young person, learning how this works. But it’s exciting because it is new and it is interesting.” MAY 2016 | 93


And, like the home he has returned to, worth investing in. He has Capetanos in his Cary home office, skin in the game of the success of this city after inheriting the block where he’s at work on his next book. of Hillsborough Street that houses Cup A Joe and Oak City Tattoo, “I think most writers have one or a stretch of road that has been subject to heated debate: Some view two stories that they need to tell, it as grungy and outdated, others as independent and characteris- no matter what,” he says. He has a mental vault of his stories: His films tic. “He coined the term ‘Funky Town’ for this little area of Hills- represent the silly ones, his novel the borough Street,” says Cup A Joe owner David Sullivan. Sullivan says romantic ones, and next up is likely to Capetanos is an “anti-vanilla” advocate against new condo develop- be a memoir. ment, but ultimately a businessman and a landlord – albeit a funny one with refreshingly lighthearted commentary. Capetanos, who is in most days for a cup of joe, is wary of unrealistic city expectations to develop walker-friendly living and reduce car use. “We need to think in terms that match the actual demographics of the place that we’re in,” Capetanos says. “I’m sensitive to this from the L.A. perspective. This isn’t Amsterdam. It’s Raleigh, and I like it this way.” He plans to keep the Hillsborough Street property as a way to take a stance, but 94 | WALTER

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mainly as a way to float his new career as a novelist. He’s already working on the next title, likely a memoir, and dismisses any notion of retirement. “I don’t care about these things. If I thought about it, I might worry about it. I just want people to read my books and talk to me about it. And then I can write some more. And meet more interesting people. That’s all I want.”

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RALEIGHITES ARE A WORLDLY BUNCH, VENTURING FREQUENTLY TO DISTANT PLACES for work and for pleasure. But the group of travelers we most wanted to profile for this travel issue take themselves far from home in order to do good for others. Because doctors are often on the front lines of this kind of work, we wanted to tell their stories. It wasn’t hard to find them. In fact, the difficulty was in narrowing them down – because the number of Raleigh doctors who volunteer their medical expertise abroad is extraordinary. The doctors profiled here are a small fraction of this exemplary, altruistic population, chosen to represent the local spectrum of doctors who go, and the places where they’re making an impact. We spoke with several who have taken their particular specialties to underserved people in Africa, Central America, Asia, and Eastern Europe. They have performed life-saving operations and fixed congenital deformities. They have pulled teeth, treated malaria, removed cancer, stopped pain. They have brought knowledge, equipment, and training to their fellow doctors, mentored them, and made a lasting difference. They have saved lives and brought hope.

MAY 2016 | 97


r. Robert Littleton has been delivering babies for 30 years at Rex Hospital. “Now I’m delivering babies from the babies I’ve delivered,” he says. When his son and daughter-in-law adopted two children of their own from Uganda, Littleton was inspired to take his medical expertise to Africa to help children who needed it there. Through his church, Hayes Barton United Methodist, the former Rex medical staff president traveled in 2009 to the Misisi Compound, a shanty town of 90,000 near Lusaka, Zambia, considered one of the worst slums in Sub-Saharan Africa. He borrowed a handbook from a colleague to bone up on his pediatrics before he went, and treated hundreds of children – and adults – with ear infections, scalp infections, and malaria. “Just about everyone had malaria,” he says. At an orphanage farther south, he treated children whose medical needs were great, and whose only drinking water came from a polluted creek. It was circumstances like those that inspired his son and daughter-inlaw, Scott and Erin Littleton, to create the Mighty River Project, a nonprofit to help Ugandan mothers support their families so that they’re able to care for and keep


their children. Dr. Littleton says he’s inspired by their example and grateful for the work he did in Zambia. “I felt a calling to do that,” he says. “It was fulfilling to be able to give back to Africa since Africa had given me my first grandkids.” He’d like to go back, he says, to perform vaginal fistula surgery. Fistulas, the result of protracted labor without medical attention, affect as many as 1 million women in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, according to the Fistula Foundation. The + condition creates incontenance and forces women into isolation, but due to lack of resources and expertise, fewer than 20,000 surgeries are performed to correct it every year. “It’s the kind of surgical procedure that can change women’s lives,” Littleton says.

all photos courtesy Robert Littleton


photo courtesy of William Sullivan and Pascal Udekwu

Dr. Sullivan and Dr. Udekwu with eight graduates of the mentorship program in Leon, Nicaragua.



akeMed surgeon Dr. William Sullivan first traveled to Nicaragua in 1992 to share his medical care and knowledge with doctors and patients there. He performed appendectomies and hernia, gall bladder, thyroid, and chest operations, and trained local doctors on the latest techniques. Sullivan saw that the need in Nicaragua was great, but also that the country’s doctors were talented. “They are very well-trained, but the things they have to work with are limited.” And so he was inspired to return – and has biannually ever since – bringing with him not just medical equipment, fellow WakeMed doctors, and knowledge, but years of sustained mentorship. “We’re not just there to do operations and leave them,” says fellow WakeMed surgeon Dr. Pascal Udekwu, who has joined Sullivan on the Nicaragua trips since 1994. “It is a bi-directional educational exchange.” ‘Bi-directional’ not only because Sullivan, Udekwu, and other WakeMed doctors have learned from their Nicaraguan counterparts, but also because under Sullivan’s sponsorship, those same Nicaraguan doctors have traveled in this direction, too. Over the last 24 years, Sullivan has funded the expenses for more than 80 Nicaraguan physicians to travel and stay in Raleigh for a month at a time, learning alongside him and other WakeMed doctors. “Hopefully they develop some ambitions to improve patient care” in their home hospital, Sullivan says. In fact, the program has made such an impact that Udekwu is now working to create a nonprofit to run and fund it in perpetuity.

Sullivan and Udekwu say they’ve also learned important lessons from their Nicaraguan counterparts. “I’ve learned to be less resource-intense,” Udekwu says, pointing to the often-excessive use of narcotic painkillers for post-surgical patients in the U.S. In Nicaragua, he says, patients are typically discharged with over-the-counter painkillers. “There are wide sociocultural variations in the resilience of the people and their ability to function under adverse circumstances,” he says. “We get reminded of how resource-intense our care is here, and how that might not always be necessary.” Sullivan has found the character of the Nicaraguan patients he has treated to be instructive and impressive. “They simply don’t complain,” he says. “They seem to exude happiness.” And their doctors, + he says, are resourceful in ways American doctors don’t have to be. “Materials and instruments are in short supply, and they work around it,” he says. “They figure out a way to get it done.” Learning from their example has fueled his motivation, Sullivan says, to focus on what matters most, which are the things that brought him to the field in the first place. He says his volunteer work “is done on the basis of humanism, which is the reason many people enter medicine.” His religion, too, informs Sullivan’s “injunction to do for our neighbors in need.” Udekwu echoes his mentor, and says that same spirit informs the work both surgeons perform at WakeMed, where he says doctors “with the highest ethical and moral standards” are required to “treat all patients with the highest level of humanism, dignity, and respect” regardless of their ability to pay. MAY 2016 | 99


r. Randy Macon took his first medical mission what he needed to do, and without a lot of equipment. trip to the Dominican Republic with his church, When it came time to pull a tooth, he put a couple of rocks Trinity Baptist, 12 years ago, and has traveled every under the rockers of a rocking chair, tipped the patient year since to bring dental care to people who don’t have back, and had someone point a flashlight (shown above). it in Haiti, Belize, Costa Rica, and Ukraine. “I felt this That and a dose of anesthetic got the job done. One of the biggest challenges, he says, is gettug on my life to share the gifts He has given ting supplies in, especially anesthetic. Withme,” Macon says. “It was a distinct feeling. An out running water or electricity, sanitization audible voice said to me: I’ve given you a lot of a struggle, but not impossible. “We do skills, and it’s time for you to use them. I knew ++ isthealso best we can.” exactly what I was supposed to do.” ++ He does the same thing closer to home, Everywhere Macon has gone in the develtoo. “You don’t have to get on a plane.” About oping world, he says the circumstances are simsix times a year, Macon volunteers on a Bapilar: People don’t have the necessary resources tist church-sponsored dental bus that travels or transportation to get the care they need. “Dental pain is intense. It’s very intense. So if you have an to underserved North Carolina populations, including opportunity to help people with that, it’s very rewarding.” those at the Raleigh Rescue Macon says he treated a minister of music at a church in Mission and the State Fair, Ukraine last year who had had a toothache for seven years, where he treats fair workand hadn’t been able to sing as a result. “We set up our ers. “They’re on the road 10 chair on Saturday morning, and on Sunday morning, he months out of the year, and they say this doesn’t happen was singing.” A practicing orthodontist in Raleigh, Macon hadn’t anywhere else,” he says. “The + performed basic dental care in many years when he took need is huge. And this is his first medical mission trip, but he quickly re-learned what we’re supposed to do.”

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photo courtesy of Randy Macon


photo courtesy of George Edwards

Your 9am is Here.



fter Hurricane Mitch devastated Nicaragua in the last weeks of 1998, international relief workers flooded in, including a group from White Memorial Presbyterian Church. Among them was hand surgeon Dr. George Edwards Jr., co-founder of the Raleigh Hand Center. Since 2000, Edwards has been back to León, Nicaragua every year with a medical group he helped to found that provides ongoing care for patients they’ve come to know well and training for local doctors they’ve mentored. When he first arrived, Edwards was the local hospital’s first hand surgeon. “I was seeing more congenital hand deformities than I’ve ever seen in my life,” he says. Most were children. He was amazed that the limited equipment he brought with him was sufficient to do everything he needed to do to, like re-build tendons and separate fused fingers. “The first few years, it (was) euphoric,” he says, “you’re doing all of these great things, people are so grateful. Then you realize you need to make it more sustainable with the idea of making them more independent. And then you realize it’s about politics.” Cooperative Orthopedics between America and Nicaragua is the group he founded with fellow Raleigh doctors Robert Caudle, Jeff Kobs, and Ralph Gertsch in an effort to make lasting change. The group has helped build a teaching facility

at Rosales Hospital in León; overhauled the hospital’s fracture surgery equipment; and sends a group of 4 to 20 volunteers (most from Raleigh) to treat, teach, and provide non-medical care like carpentry and tutoring every quarter. “Our mission is to train the orthopedic and anesthesia residents and faculty, and to perform complex cases that would otherwise go untreated,” Edwards says. “Our goal is not to march in and march out, but to leave enough basic equipment and to teach the staff to become more and more independent each year.” Because he returns every year, Edwards has developed longterm relationships with many doctors and patients. Several + years ago, he says, an 11-yearold boy named Wilfredo rode a horse and bus for several hours to seek treatment for the fingers on both hands that had been fully webbed from birth. Edwards was able to heal both hands over the course of several operations (above), and Wilfredo, now 18, is able to work and live a full life. “That’s the satisfaction of seeing the long-term impact,” Edwards says. The work he has done to help people like Wilfredo and to train Nicaraguan doctors has been some of the most meaningful work he has ever done, he says. “It certainly gives a different perspective on life and medicine in general,” he says. “It also makes me want to do more for people, not just in Nicaragua but for some of the poor people in this country.”

Mixing Business, Pleasure and the World’s Greatest Game

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nce you go, you just want to go back,” says Dr. Scott Garrison, a Raleigh anesthesiologist affiliated with Rex, Duke Raleigh, and WakeMed hospitals who has traveled to Ulan Bator, Mongolia for two-week medical missions three times in the last eight years. “I think part of it is that the people are just lovely. You develop relationships when you’re there, and you think: I’d truly like to go back and see those people, because I’m pretty sure they’re not coming to North Carolina.” Some of those friends he goes back to see are patients, and some are doctors. + Garrison has lectured to doctors and medical students at the Ulan Bator cancer hospital on cancer pain and anesthetic in diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and has treated scores of patients. “I don’t think of it as unselfish, I think I get more out of it than anyone else.” One particularly memorable patient was the father of an Ulan Bator anesthesiologist, a one-legged goat herder who lived in a yurt an hour outside the capital city. He was suffering from “phantom limb” pain in his amputated leg, and asked Garrison to help. The doctor realized the man needed a sympathetic nerve block, a procedure Garrison hadn’t performed in a dozen years,

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and lacked the proper equipment to execute. But he also knew that he was the man’s best chance for relief – and he was leaving the next day. So he pulled out his phone card and called a colleague in the States, hoping he’d reach him despite the 13-hour time difference – because he needed a refresher. Amazingly, Garrison got through to the colleague, went over the steps, returned to the hospital and foraged for materials, begged his way into a cardiac catheterization lab that had an X-ray machine vaguely similar to the kind he needed, and got to work (above). Instead of the finetuned probes that he would have used in the States to indicate the rise in temperature to show that the sympathetic nerves had been reached, Garrison had his palm. “I’ve got my hand on his caboose,” he says, “and I think, ‘am I feeling his butt warming up, or am I just nervous?’ And he leans over and says (to a nurse) that his leg feels hot. That meant it worked! It was cool … it’s amazing what you’ll do in a country with no malpractice lawyers.” Garrison says he’d love to go back to Ulan Bator for a fourth time, but he might consider a medical mission in Rwanda, a city where his church, Church of the Apostles, has a sister parish.

photo courtesy of Scott Garrison



ld ew ON

all photos courtesy of Fernando Puente


Beautiful Rings to Celebrate Mom



medical mission to Costa Rica with the Lutheran church five years ago helped inspire Raleigh dermatologist Dr. Fernando Puente to join Doctors Without Borders, the international medical relief organization, and it also helped inspire his son Alex, who accompanied him, to study medicine. It wasn’t the first time Puente had contributed to the needs of the developing world. For many years, he and his wife Carol have competed in the Comrades ultramarathon in Durban, South Africa, and have brought donations and medical care to the children of the Ethembeni School for children with disabilitites there. (Fleet Feet, the local running store chain, is also a big supporter of the school.) This month, Puente is headed back to Ethembeni again. Donating his medical care to people who need it “is almost like my calling,” Puente says. “I really need to share my expertise with these people who don’t have a chance.” On the Costa Rica mission, Puente, who grew up in Guatemala and speaks

Spanish, treated skin cancer, ulcers, excema, and other skin conditions. He was particularly moved by the plight of women whose husbands, Puente says, locked them inside their houses when they went to work every day, requiring the women to sneak out and walk miles in order to reach his clinic. “The main thing I got out of this trip is how grateful these patients are,” he says. “It’s such a humbling experience. And it reminded me how close these families are, how nurturing, and how kind.” Puente says he’s eager to donate his medical expertise + to underserved North Carolinians, and also to travel with Doctors Without Borders – so far, he has been constrained by its minimum 6-month commitment, because his busy private practice demands his time. “There is so much we all can do,” he says. “Unfortunately, life gets in the way.” +


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HAVE CAMERA, will travel Angela Salamanca Luang Prabang, Laos By Van Nolintha

Arches National Park, Utah By Katelyn Baker

Steamboat Springs, Colo. By Jillian Schaefer

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WHEN WE ASKED WALTER READERS TO ENTER OUR first travel photo contest, you responded in droves. From far-flung destinations to spots closer to home, more than 30 of you submitted a variety of snapshots that left us at WALTER HQ with a serious case of wanderlust. Here's hoping these winning entries inspire your next trip. And if they do, please save your photos for next year's contest – in the meantime, bon voyage!

Calif. Dana Point, Ku By Andy hn Ferry from Port Jeff erson, N.Y. to Stratf ord, Conn. By David Hutchinson Pradeep and Lucy Kalampukattussery Kumarakom, Kerala, India By Cristina Kalampukattussery

Ring of Kerry, Ireland By Tara Hunt McMullen

Costa Rica By Brian Ohlhausen

Iceland By Liz Duke Los Angeles, Calif. By Regan Roberts Cuba mmons Ja By n A

MAY 2016 | 105


Jackson Hole, Wyo. By Kathryn Thompson

Daniel Island, S.C. By Alan Ebeling

Elbow Cay, Bahama s By Ann Janvier

Salt Flats outside of Salt Lake City, Utah By Jennifer Lyerly

Mount Fuji, Japan By Kieran Moreira

Oak Island, N.C. By Katelyn Baker

Capri, Italy By Martha Heath

Crescent Lake, Olympic National Park , Wash. By Andy Kuhn

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, Bali, Indonesia y Forest, Ubud Sacred Monke l By Sonya Yrue

Negev Desert, Israel By Ali Dixon London, England By Tate Garrison

Layla at Boston Common, Boston, Mass. By Molly Lyons-Ihlenfeldt

r Trade Cente One World . .Y N , rk Yo New b By Eric Lam

Girona, Spain By Felicia Gressette

Venice, Italy By Lars Bredahl

Rodeo Drive, Los Angeles, Calif. By Andrew McDonald

MAY 2016 | 107

photos courtesy NCMA



DILIGENCE A curatorial team dives into an

island’s influence on American Impressionist Childe Hassam by J. MICHAEL WELTON

CHILDE HASSAM WAS MORE THAN AMERICA’S FOREMOST IMPRESSIONIST painter. He was a global force, a peripatetic artist who wandered the world to paint Paris, New York, and the West Coast. But he found his muse on the humble and rustic Appledore Island, among the Isles of Shoals off the coast of Maine and New Hampshire. Invited there in the early 1880s by poet and author Celia Thaxter, Hassam returned to paint the island during 24 summers over the next 30 years. Its light, water, and rugged geological features appealed to him immensely, inspiring as many as 300 pastels, watercolors, and oil paintings – or 10 percent of his entire lifetime’s work.

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TRACKING IT DOWN Curators from NCMA and and the Salem Peabody Essex Museum spent multiple summers on Appledore Island locating the sites of several Hassam paintings.

The finest of these works have been assembled by the North Carolina Museum of Art, with help from the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. and New York art historian Kathleen Burnside, for an exhibit on display through June 19. It’s called American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isles of Shoals. Four years in the making, the show got its initial start when John Coffey, NCMA’s deputy director of art, suggested adding three of Hassam’s Appledore paintings to the Goodnight Collection of American Art at the museum. In 2000, the first, Isles of Shoals (1907), was acquired from a New York gallery, followed by The Laurel in the Ledges, Appledore (1905) in 2007, and Morning, Isles of Shoals (1890) in 2010.

Following in Hassam’s Footsteps The acquisition of the paintings over a decade’s time piqued Coffey’s curiosity about the island’s influence on the artist. He sent an email inquiry to the Shoals Marine Laboratory, asking about locations where the three works might have been painted. His request was directed to Hal Weeks, who was then the Lab’s director. Weeks “has a sort of hobby of locating Hassam painting sites,” Coffey says, “He knows Appledore Island like the back of his hand.” Weeks invited Coffey to the island four years ago, and it made an impression. “I was blown away,” Coffey says.

Coffey ended up touring the island six times, starting in 2011. He first visited sites where Weeks pointed out how faithful Hassam had been to the the geology and the personality of Appledore. “He was painting a mosaic portrait of this one very small island,” Coffey says. “It’s constantly changing – it’s fascinating – even though it’s small, it’s broken up geologically.” On their forays into the wild, Weeks carried a notebook

MAY 2016 | 109

of paintings and locations to match, taking Coffey from one corner of the island to another in search of the places where Hassam painted. “I dragged this guy’s butt all over hell’s half-acre on this island,” Weeks says. “He’s a real trouper – we’d schlep around, then stumble and fall – but he did that and kept on going.” The location for one particular painting was extremely difficult to get to; the pair had to carry a ladder, and get their feet wet, but the indefatigable Coffey was up for it all. “He was a lot of fun,” Weeks says. “He has an eye for what Hassam portrayed in his paintings – and the geology – much more so than I did.” Before long, Coffey was taking Austen Barron Bailly, the George Putnam Curator of American Art at Salem’s Peabody

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Essex Museum, along with him. She wanted to understand the way Hassam pushed his Impressionist style and techniques, and how he took license. “In some instances he was looking right at the site of a rock face in a watercolor,” she says. “Geologists today can tell what he was painting and what he was seeing and how he was turning up the volume of the color in those rocks – or manipulating the foreground to make it appear more monumental.” Eventually, Coffey and Bailly brought along the education staffs from NCMA and PEM to join them, along with a professional photographer, videographer, and sound recorder, as well as Coffey’s former curatorial assistant. Together, they experienced an unforgettable exploration of the artist’s intent. Bailly, who travelled to Appledore in 2013, 2014, and 2015, took notes of what the artist had painted there a century ago. “You see the island palette – the colors that became part of his artistic DNA,” she says. “I’ve seen it in all different weathers – the first time, it was socked in and cool, but last summer it was really hot – you felt the intensity of the sun beating down and the lack of shade. The gulls were everywhere – there was the incessant sound of seagull calls.”

An Artist’s Retreat and Respite On their tours of the island, Weeks, Coffey, Bailly, and the rest carried yardsticks to fend off aggressive gulls protecting their nests. But when Hassam was painting there, they weren’t much of a problem at all. Appledore then was an artists’ retreat with a large hotel and cottages built by Celia Thaxter’s father. The hotel could house 300, and attracted wealthy society figures and literati from New England, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, John Greenleaf Whittier, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Hotel owners, sensitive to gulls harassing their well-heeled guests, kept their population down – probably with shotguns. Celia, 30 years Hassam’s senior, kept her own cottage and garden, where she raised flowers – poppies, pansies, pinks, and rose campions among them – for use by the hotel. These blooms would all become some of the first subjects of the artist’s work on the island. He painted seascapes from her porch, and watercolors and oils of the flowers she grew. “In the early 1890s, Hassam appears to have seen Appledore through Celia’s eyes,” Coffey says. His paintings illustrated her book, An Island Garden, published just before her death. “You can almost split up his work

Childe Hassam, The Laurel in the Ledges, Appledore, 1905, oil on canvas, 25 × 30 in., North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, Promised gift of Ann and Jim Goodnight ; Attributed to Karl Thaxter (1852–1912), Childe Hassam painting on the porch of Celia Thaxter’s cottage, 1880–1910,archival photograph, Portsmouth Athenaeum, Isles of Shoals Photograph Collection, P21.095


between the time Celia died in 1894 and his work in the 1890s – particularly oils and watercolors in the book,” says art historian Burnside, who’s been cataloging Hassam’s work for the past 30 years. “The watercolors might be among the finest work of his career – they’re a scrumptious, evocative, and multilayered Impressionism that is spectacular.” A pallbearer at Celia’s funeral, Hassam stayed away from Appledore for five years after her death. But when he did come back, he explored areas farther away from Celia’s cottage, and his work took on a new kind of fervor. “He turned his proverbial back on her garden and spent more time on things more nature-oriented on the north side of the island, rather than her house and garden,” Burnside says.

An Elegy to Celia? Hassam did, however, return to one particular site – a spot where he’d painted a sunrise called Morning, Isles of Shoals in 1890. Ethereal and other-worldly, with a bright sun hovering over the horizon in a pink sky, illuminating ocean and rocks in the foreground, it’s a masterpiece from his early years with Celia. This time – in 1899 – he painted the same rocks, the same ocean, and the same horizon, but with a different orb – the moon – lightly floating in the nighttime sky. Moonrise, Isles of Shoals joined the earlier seascape as the only known pair that Hassam would ever paint. But why? Is there some kind of special meaning to them? Elegy may be the answer, though Coffey says he’s not quite ready to go that far definitively in print. “One dates from 1890, the year of Hassam’s first extended stay on the island,” he says. “The other dates from 1899, the year Hassam returns to Appledore after a long sojourn in France. In between is Celia’s death. So, I think it is possible to interpret this pair with its transit from radiant sunrise to wan moonlight as perhaps a metaphor for the loss of his friend.” It is that unusual combination of scholarship and feeling that Coffey, Bailly, and Burnside have brought to the exhibition, delivering new meaning to the phrase “due diligence.” The show is a tour de force of the artist’s work in a particular place and time, one that guides the viewer from geological explorations of rock formations to palette-knife sunsets and abstracted watercolors that slash through geology and the sea – a travelogue of the island, seen through the eyes of one of America’s most accomplished artists.

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IF YOU GO Those who see the exhibit and would like also to visit Appledore Island are in luck. The Shoals Marine Laboratory sponsors day trips and walking tours of Celia’s restored gardens, two-day retreats for families, and weeklong retreats for drawing, painting, or photography. There’s even an eco-culinary retreat – a weekend on the island with two James Beard-nominated chefs. "Guests forage and cast their nets – and the chefs will cook dinner for them,” says the Lab’s Alexa Ray. But any time spent on Appledore Island will be framed best by the sunsets, seascapes, and rock formations painted first by Childe Hassam, an American original. To contact the Shoals Marine Laboratory, go to or call (603) 862-5346.


HOME ON THE WATER The Parker and Rockwell families at Smith Mountain Lake, Va.



JERRY SEINFELD ONCE SAID, “THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FUN FOR THE whole family.” Most parents know that a family vacation is most often just a relocation: same bickering, same feeding schedule … different venue. Not exactly the restful bonding experience we crave. In spite of this, we persist. We plan those family trips. Maybe this one, we hope, will offer rest and relaxation. Last Labor Day weekend, my family and I capped off the season with a houseboat trip to Smith Mountain Lake, Va. Friends who had floated for a week there gave rave reviews of the lovely, 32-mile-long lake in south central Virginia. A three-hour drive from Raleigh (near Lynchburg), it’s considered the jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I was inspired. So were our other friends, the Rockwells, who agreed to join us. Having another family with children the same ages would definitely be more fun for all. We both booked houseboats at Parrot Cove. Like many adventures, ours began with some uncertainties. For starters, we had never seen a houseboat, much less set foot on one. I had absolutely no idea what to pack. I didn’t know what we’d do there. My husband was unconvinced that three days stuck on a boat together would be an altogether positive experience. On the day of our departure, the forecast predicted a 90-percent chance of rain and lightning.

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Taking note of our nonrefundable cancellation policy, we embarked. The quick trip through the bucolic North Carolina and Virginia countrysides deposited us at the lake just before lunch. The kids were antsy: hungry, thirsty, bored, and underfoot. When we reviewed the three-day, two-night rental contract for the 53-foot houseboat, runabout, tube, and Wave Runner, and realized the cost was equivalent to renting a fairly nice condo at Atlantic Beach for a week, we, too, got a bit antsy. We sent the kids next door to buy worms. Moving along to “Houseboat Row,” I began the monumental task of unloading our packed-to-the-gills Suburban. A dozen floaty noodles, five beds’ worth of sheets and blankets, bags of snacks, Labor Day decorations, our favorite coffee pot (and filters and beans), beach towels, bath towels, beach chairs, groceries, fishing poles, a portable fire pit, cases of water, a movie projector and screen, coolers packed with prepared food, sparklers, twinkly lights, beer, a basil plant, and, of course: a case of wine. Husband: “Why the #%*$# did we need to bring all this stuff?” Children: Nowhere to be seen. We were tense. It was hot. My false bravado was beginning to melt. My husband had stopped speaking altogether. My eldest child snuck back into the sweltering car in the hopes we would change our minds and go home. And I realized that the cooler with the food for our second and third days had never made it into the car. And then: Our daughter and youngest child, who had stealthily bypassed the unloading, snuck onto the dock and

made their way to the roof of the Queen Jane. “IT'S AWESOME!!” they yelled together. “IT HAS A BATHROOM!” yelled my son. “NO, IT HAS TWO BATHROOMS!!” yelled my daughter. “… AND A WATER SLIDE FROM THE TOP DECK!” And, as the entire marina soon learned, a horn to wake the dead. The blast was loud enough to extract the sulky 15-year-old out of the car. Spirits began to rise. A bit. With the wave of a couple of $20s, wagons and dock handlers appeared to help unload. I ran to a nearby grocery to replace the forgotten meals. And we got a tutorial on the grill, the generator, the TV and radio, the toilets. The slide, we learned, was even more fun with a drop of Joy dish detergent. And so, with a farewell horn blast from Queen Jane, our Captain Stubing drove us out into the open water. The Rockwells had already staked their boat on the shore of a charming little cove, and we attached our boat to theirs so we could walk back and forth easily. This turned out to be a great move. We got into the business of water sliding, unpacking, and settling in. Yes, the beer was still cold. And with that, a trip that can only be described as a smashing success had begun. In no time, we’d found a happy routine. The littlest children were up at dawn and happily fishing from the boat. The fathers arose shortly thereafter, brewing coffee and helping unhook fish. The teens slept in, emerging from their staterooms at various times. We moms whipped up breakfasts of bacon, eggs, coffee cake, and fresh fruit. When the littles (and the dads) got antsy at about 10 a.m., they loaded themselves into the runabout and disappeared from the cove to tube in the open water. The moms cleaned up, swapped stories, and yes, jumped from the top deck railing while nobody was watching. It might not have been pretty, but it was fun. When the father-son boat returned for lunch (chicken salad, BLTs, chips, crudités, fresh-sliced baguettes, and homemade chocolate chip brownies), the teens emerged from sleep. The teenaged girls

and older boys kayaked and took turns on the Wave Runner – before handing it off to the fathers, who thoroughly enjoyed a little “alone time” away from the caravan, returning later happy and windswept. The littlest kids begged a ride from anyone willing to take them. Cocktail hour arrived quite early on the lake; dinner arrived late. Baked potatoes, steak, salad, sliced tomatoes with basil, and chocolate brownie sundaes made a perfect meal. After dinner, the kids watched a movie on a makeshift projector screen on one boat; the parents enjoyed good conversation on the porch of the other. We found that what is mundane at home feels special on the water, and everyone is happier than usual to chip in and help. Spontaneous dance parties as well as family fights erupted and, somehow, everyone was able to take it all as it came. After three days packed with action, the boat unload was as quick as it could be expected (with three indolent children), but we had a lot less to transport. After a quick group picture on the dock, 10 tan and smiling faces witnessed a happy memory made. And on the car ride home, everyone was content. And quiet. Should we go for a week next time? I asked my husband. No, he said. Three days and two nights was just right.

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IN THE INTEREST OF JOURNALISTIC TRANSPARENCY, I’LL START THIS article off with a disclaimer: My knowledge of the flora and fauna that populate our local environment is slim. It can be narrowed down to a few identifiers – grass, leaves, a few varieties of common trees, and the occasional pine cone. It’s not enough to say I don’t have a green thumb. I am more akin to a creature without any sort of digital appendages at all, perhaps a sea cucumber, or a snail. I once bought a succulent, forgot where I put it, then found it three months later on the back of a shelf gasping in a pool of dehydrated, hungover misery like a college kid back from Cancun. If the horticultural world had a form of child protective services, it would have been sent knocking on my front door. So when I went to Raleigh City Farm to take a “foraging tour” with the Piedmont Picnic Project in March, I was, needless to say, completely out of my element. Headed by co-founders Elizabeth Weichel and Amanda Matson, the Project focuses on urban

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sustainability and increasing awareness about food history, teaching practices like gardening, foraging, preserving, and fermenting. Its aim is to provide Raleighites with simple ways to eat locally and sustainably. Raleigh City Farm, which also aims to increase accessibility and local awareness, was a fitting spot to embark on our trek. You don’t have to live on a rural farm to know where your food comes from, both groups point out, or to learn the history behind it. They believe anybody can and should be an active participant in finding and growing local, healthy foods. Clearly, I was a prime candidate for this “anybody” demographic. Other than the time I ate all the leaves off one of my illustrations by ADDIE MCELWEE

mother’s house plants (at the tender age of six), my foraging experience has been contained to the produce aisle of Trader Joe’s. I’m definitely more of a Lucille Ball than a Bear Grylls, but I laced up my walking shoes, packed my pockets with enough nasal spray for an antihistamine overdose, and was ready to go. I was joined on the trek by Adrian Fisher, an urban agriculturist from Raleigh’s sister city of Hull, UK and hosted by the Raleigh Sister Cities group; Douglas Johnston, a Sister Cities representative; a crew of Meredith College Kenyan exchange students; Rebekah Beck, general manager of Raleigh City Farm; and a sprinkling of other intrepid foragers. We stood around until someone called out, “Let’s go Cro-Magnon!,” and off we went, heeding the bugle cry into the downtown wilds. Our merry gang of hunter-gatherers first stopped at a patch of grass between the curb and sidewalk outside the parking lot of Yellow Dog Bread Co. and Edge of Urge. What to me looked like a furry patch of weeds under a power line was in fact a gathering of henbit, Matson told us. A member of the mint family, henbit has a square stem with an almost-Elizabethan collar of purple flowers. It’s a common snack for chickens, hence the name. You’ve probably seen smatterings of these across your front yard, but I bet you don’t consume them raw, cooked, or boiled into a tea. Who knew an unassuming patch of sidewalk weeds could yield something with such potential? Clearly, those outside our tribe had no idea, either: Drivers beeped their horns at us as if we had the phrase “Honk if you love foraging!” taped to our backs, although they were probably just baffled to see us congregated animatedly around the base of an electrical pole like wild boars in hiking clothes snuffling for truffles. We plucked some of these newly discovered greens and continued on our way. Our next stop was the front yard of

a beautiful historic home on Mordecai Street. Those were no measly weeds in the front yard, we quickly learned, but actually clumps of chickweed. It’s good to sauté or toss raw in salads, and it gets its name because – you guessed it – chickens like it, too. Naturally, we grabbed a few handfuls. Now you’re probably wondering if this was all on the up-and-up. Matson was quick to let us know that it’s always wise to ask before foraging a plant from someone’s private property. Apparently, foraging without permission can be considered theft, and some public spaces won’t even allow it. I could only imagine the conversations that would ensue if I had to tell my lawyer that I wasn’t being ticketed for speeding or an expired license this time – I was an agricultural outlaw, nabbed for smuggling leafy goods from a neighbor’s yard. Luckily for us, we managed to avoid any run-ins with the fuzz. We continued down the street to the historic Mordecai House, where we wandered through the

With our newfound perspective, the park became a veritable Whole Foods salad bar. We scooped up wild onions; chestnut pods; purple deadnettle (which can be used in salads and boiled as a tea); ground ivy (used as a spice and sometimes as a substitute for hops in breweries); and cleavers, those fuzzy leaves that stick to your clothes – and, it turns out, have seeds that can be ground into a substitute for coffee. Our baskets full of leafy plunder, we headed back to base camp at Raleigh City Farm. We’d worked up an appetite on our urban safari, and we were ready to dig in. Weichel and Matson had prepared snacks made with ingredients they’d found on their own local foraging expeditions, many of which consisted of the same types of plants we had just encountered. So we loaded our plates with a wild salad; honey wheat bread with jellies made from kudzu, muscadines, honeysuckle, and black locust; green pesto with field garlic, black walnuts, hoary bittercress, and purple deadnettle; and shortbread cookies with ground ivy. The spread was topped off with kombucha made of persimmons and rosehip, and a tea of ground ivy, henbit, dandelion flower, and wild shiso seeds. It was wildly delicious. Now that I can proudly add “foraging veteran” to the short list of accolades next to my name, I have a greater appreciation for the sustainability movement that’s happening here in Raleigh, especially in the downtown area. It truly is a simple matter of increasing awareness and knowledge about the topic – once you know what to look for and where to look for it, you find yourself seeing opportunities for fresh, local food wherever you go. Plus, if we are ever submerged into a post-apocalyptic dystopia, we foragers won’t be stuck eating canned beans and Twinkies like the rest of you. Actually, if it comes to that, you can hang with me – I know where we can find a mean patch of hoary bittercress.

I was beginning to look at lawns and strips of grass with a different set of eyes – as not just overgrowth idly passed-by, but as all-you-caneat buffets in a wild-grown food court, ripe for the plucking. vegetable garden in the back of the home and stopped to admire a clump of hoary bittercress growing along the picket fence. Apart from sounding like the name of a medieval disease or a potion ingredient from Harry Potter, hoary bittercress is a member of the mustard family and can be consumed cooked or raw for an added peppery taste to dishes. Its tiny white flowers are edible, as well. We added several handfuls to our growing cornucopia. Down the hill from the Mordecai House we mosied into Mordecai Spring Park, a grassy clearing full of foraging potential. I was beginning to look at lawns and strips of grass with a different set of eyes – as not just overgrowth idly passedby, but as all-you-can-eat buffets in a wildgrown food court, ripe for the plucking.

Piedmont Picnic Project: Raleigh City Farm: 800 N. Blount St.;

MAY 2016 | 115

REGGIE EDWARDS Bringing people together, improving lives



FROM HER OFFICE AT BUILDING TOGETHER MINISTRIES IN 2006, Reggie Edwards used to watch mothers walk through the Halifax Court public housing complex to drop their children off for Building Together’s Hope School and youth programs. These mothers, she realized, lacked the kinds of support systems that were benefitting their children. It gnawed at Edwards. How would the kids in the Building Together programs realize and put in place all they were

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Nick Pironio


learning about academics and character development if their mothers didn’t have the same resources? These questions hovered in Edwards’ mind until one day, she decided to open her office window. “Hey! Do you want to meet with me next week? I just want to talk,” she yelled out to a mother who was kissing her son goodbye. The woman shrugged her shoulders, smiled, and accepted Edwards’ boisterous invitation. Anyone who has ever been invited – or “volun-told” – by Edwards to try something knows this: She is not an easy woman to turn down. The two women met, then met again and again over many weeks in Building Together’s community room for what Edwards refers to as “girl talk.” Soon, other women were joining them. It wasn’t long before the community room was packed full of women eager for a place to unwind, connect, and form friendships. “Never underestimate the power of girl talk,” Edwards says with a stern smile. The women brought covered dishes, and Edwards began inviting speakers to address topics of interest ranging from parenting strategies to faith-related practices. When the group grew too large for the space and the conversations, Edwards found women to lead smaller groups. Next, she started summer “camps” for women. This was the beginning of The Encouraging Place, which was officially formed as a nonprofit organization in 2008. Edwards serves as its executive director, and the summer camps are now The Encouraging Place’s main outreach program. Women meet weekly for seven weeks in churches and community centers across Raleigh to share a meal, hear an encouraging message, and experience deep fellowship. Topics discussed at camp range from “Unlikely Friendships” to “Women, Social Security, and Retirement.” At the end of the summer, Ed-

wards hosts a gala to celebrate the work and commitment of the women who have completed the camp. Last summer, The Encouraging Place hosted 20 different camps that reached more than 100 women. She plans to expand its offerings this summer.

‘We share things’ Jameen Gude attended The Encouraging Place’s first summer camp held in the Hope Charter School auditorium in 2006. She was going through a difficult time, she says, and decided to try the camp after seeing a flyer at her church. “I was broken,” she explains. “I went to the camp not really knowing what it was about, but thinking that maybe I would (find) fellowship with some women who might encourage me. Women talk to each other. We share things.” At camp, Edwards saw in her a

Encouraging Place needed to begin bringing people together to address issues of race. “I knew how to gather people. I knew how to plan camps and conferences. But I didn’t know anything about racial reconciliation.” She did have insight, however. Having grown up in Raleigh with segregated schools and neighborhoods, she had firsthand experience of the deep and lasting implications of racism. Although The Encouraging Place has served predominately African-American women, Edwards understood that in order to facilitate authentic and transformative discussions about race, she would need to unite diverse groups. And that, she realized, was her specialty. With a complicated and layered topic like race, Edwards used food and books to attract people to join a diverse discussion group. She began making calls and found many women who cared about racial equality but were unsure of what to do about it. She started with simple instructions: “You bring a covered dish. And read this book. We’ll meet every week in someone’s home to discuss the book and share a meal.” The Encouraging Place’s Safehouse program had been formed. Edwards’ ability to bring people together got the ball rolling, but she says her Christian faith provides the bedrock of her belief in racial equality. She is resolute in her pursuit to break through racial lines. In a Safehouse group, no topic is off the table. Women discuss everything from prejudice in the workplace to hair, and the books simply serve as springboards to further conversation. “People are holding things in their hearts,” she says. “We can’t ‘Kumbaya’ our way through this. We have to break through the middle wall. God is calling us to something greater. He is calling us to family.”

Through the work of Reggie Edwards and The Encouraging Place, women throughout Raleigh are coming together to form friendships, work toward reconciliation, and practice the power of girl talk. strength that Gude could not see in herself. The Encouraging Place helped Gude heal from her personal pain, and she says she is now thriving because of it. For the past 10 years, Gude has been a camp leader and currently serves as summer camp coordinator. It is for women like Gude that Edwards says she is committed to providing places for women to gather, to heal, and to grow. While Edwards has always been a self-described “connector,” a woman who knows how to bring people together, she admits that even she felt slightly intimidated by the enormity of the issue that would become her next focus. In 2014, after attending a seminar with the Greensboro-based Racial Equity Institute, Edwards decided that The

MAY 2016 | 117

1944 Sanitorium by JUNE SPENCE

INSIDE A SMALL WOODEN PICTURE FRAME I HAVE TAKEN TO KEEPING on my desk lately, there is a charming hand-stitched scene of a sortof Spanish villa with arched doorways, turrets, and bougainvillea spilling over the walls, the colors muted by time. The stitching was done by my grandmother, Ruth Spence, and on the back of the frame she has written, “1944 sanitorium,” which was when and where she spent her 26th year, recovering from tuberculosis. The stitching was the kind of makework meant to help keep patients still and while away the idle hours so their lungs could rest – because rest was just about all there was to offer those afflicted with TB before effective drugs were developed. (Streptomycin was just discovered in 1944, and not yet in use.) Those who could afford to might head to Asheville’s more curative climate and mineral waters, perhaps to a private clinic. Ruth was fortunate there was a bed available nearby at the Wake County sanitorium, which filled two oblong buildings next to the county home – the “poorhouse,” which is now the community center – on Whitaker Mill Road. She lived with her husband and two young sons within walking distance in what is sometimes referred to as the Hi-Mount neighborhood, bounded on the south by Whitaker Mill and on the east by Wake Forest Road. She’d held out as long as she could – first because her mother-in-law accused her of malingering and laziness, and then, once she was coughing blood and the truth of her

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condition could not be denied, because her youngest, my father, was just a baby, and she wanted to see him through his first year at least. She knew it would be a long stay at best, and some people never returned from the sanitorium. It wasn’t to be a full-on quarantine; visitors were thought to be good for morale; and anyway, North Carolina lacked the resources to undertake anything approaching real seclusion. Far too many people had TB in the ’40s, and there were far too few beds to accommodate them. A 1944 biennial report by “North Carolina institutes for physical defectives” lauded a drop in the mortality rate from 49 deaths per 100,000 to 40.1, but warned that TB deaths tended to rise during wartime. Sanitoria were designated not only as places of healing but of public heath education – the small fraction of those who were stricken and admitted were expected to learn good hygiene practices and disseminate that knowledge to others. Here’s a catchy little jingle circa 1921 that may not have saved lives, but perhaps would have made public life a smidge more pleasant: You can prevent the spread of disease By shielding your mouth when you cough or sneeze; By never expectorating on the ground, About your home or about the town.

photo by Jessie Ammons


All the state sanitoria had long waiting lists, and the counties could do little to fill the gap. The Society for the Wake Sanitorium had been actively campaigning all the way back in 1919 for a $100,000 bond issue to fund a TB hospital – which was defeated by 189 votes. It took some help from the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) nearly two decades later, in 1938, for the Wake County sanitorium to finally open. The State magazine described it as “a modern institution of 50 beds.”

One of those beds Ruth didn’t feel lucky to have gotten one of those beds, though she knew she was, and luckier still to have walked back out of the place a year later. Plenty who were as young and strong as she was hadn’t. At the time, all she knew was loneliness, boredom, and a deep, abiding grief at the separation from her children. Her older son stayed home with her husband, likely aided by the mother-in-law, which would have been cold comfort. The baby, my father, went with Ruth’s mother to Angier, only about 20 miles away, but it wouldn’t have been easy for them to come often, and it wouldn’t have been encouraged. Children weren’t sufficiently restful, and rest was most of what “taking the cure” comprised. There was also the prevailing attitude that it would be better for mother and children to detach during this time, to prevent emotional upheaval. Frequent visits might be too upsetting. One time her mother brought him in, and she’d cut his hair short, cropped the golden curls that Ruth had let grow – perhaps too long, she admitted; perhaps she had wanted a little girl too much. Ruth wept bitterly at the loss of the curls, at the loss of her agency. Another time they had a visit outdoors, and he threw sand in her eyes. Ruth was always Mother to him; her mother was Mama, and when he got older and quarreled with his father, he went back to Angier to live with her. (Which is where he met my mama.) “I don’t think he ever understood why he had to leave her in the first place,” Ruth told me. Sometime during her stay, doctors purposefully collapsed the more diseased

lung to allow it to more fully rest and heal. The procedure involved an injection of air beneath the shoulder blade, a strange pressure, and even stranger release. Some people had the diseased portion of lung resected, or multiple ribs removed, so she was probably lucky on that count, too. We had to warn her doctors in later years if they ordered an X-ray. The younger ones would have never seen tubercular-scarred lungs. They were alarming to behold – masses! Tumors? Cancer? – if you weren’t expecting it. She was always quick to catch a cold, of course, and for it to go straight to bronchitis or worse, but she lived to 85, a good 60 of them spent in close quarters with a heavy smoker, and took supplemental oxygen only in her final year. She was tough and resilient, outliving many who initially survived TB, and surviving even more calamity, but she carried those ugly scars inside of her, that young mother’s isolation and pain, for all of her days. Today I live with my husband and two sons on the other side of Whitaker Mill Road, almost directly opposite from the site of the sanitorium buildings, which still stand and have served as Mayview Convalescent Home since 1957. Many of its inhabitants, if their memories were still intact, might have recalled its earlier incarnation. Coincidentally, my other grandmother spent the final weeks of her life there, in 2012, after a bad fall, so it was easy to go and see her, but never simple. Like many of the people who got there by accident, she was confused and unhappy and wanted only to go home. It was hard to go, harder still to bring the boys, but worse to imagine her there alone. I didn’t figure out until later that it was the same place Ruth had been all those years before. I turn Ruth’s picture over in my hands, the quaint stitching on the front, its dour provenance on the back, and think of the hours she had to fill, the children she longed for. She didn’t live to see these fine sons of mine, and toward the end she was getting impatient. “When are you going to give a baby?” she demanded of me once. “I can’t wait much longer.”

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Ed Fritsch, JT Fritsch, Tom Bradshaw, Vicki Fritsch

Allan Head, Tony Withers, Lyn Moss

Huth Photo, Ken Huth

Beth Satterfield, Benton Satterfield, Holly Yoest, Kari Stoltz

YMCA OF THE TRIANGLE’S ANNUAL CELEBRATION Almost 350 volunteers gathered March 8 for the YMCA of the Triangle’s Annual Celebration at the Embassy Suites in Cary. Allan Head, executive director of the North Carolina Bar Association, received the YMCA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for more than 36 years of service. YMCA leaders also announced an annual campaign total of more than $7 million.


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Barry Gardner, Pam Gardner, Joe Patterson, Michael Olander, Jr., Kurt Bland, Mike Rhoades, Mark Moeller, Jackie Locklear, Lee Pryor

Emily Kwon, Joe Kwon, Charman Driver, Frank Thompson, Kurt Bland, Meredith Bland

TRIANGLE WINE EXPERIENCE WEEKEND The 23rd Annual Triangle Wine Experience gathered more than 2,000 participants over the weekend of February 4-6. The charitable weekend consisted of a gala, wine tastings, shopping events, and wine dinners. Proceeds will benefit the Frankie Lemmon School and Development Center. Pam Mahle, Pax Mahle, Carla Rzeszewski, Richard Betts

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Rebecca Quinn-Wolf, Larry Robbins, Cameron Robbins CAROLINA BALLET WINTER BALL Carolina Ballet hosted its annual Winter Ball February 27 at the Duke Energy Performing Arts Center. The evening included a cocktail hour, silent and live auctions, a raffle, dinner, an after party, and two pas de deux performed by four of the ballet’s principal dancers. The ball was cochaired by Laura Bayzle, Jennifer Elam, and Linda Grew, and honored patrons and benefactors Susan Garrity and Jeff Basham, Tricia and Stuart Phoenix, and Elisabeth and Lars von Kantzow.

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Maria Acton, Sarah El-Assi, Zaher El-Assi, Allan Acton, Jack Acton, Molly Acton

TRIANGLE HEART BALL The American Heart Association Triangle Heart Ball brought 650 guests to the Raleigh Convention Center February 20. The event raised money to support research and education for heart disease and strokes.

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ARTSOURCE PRESENTS: MODERN NATURE ArtSource Fine Art hosted 150 guests March 10 to celebrate the opening of its exhibit “Modern Nature.” The exhibit featured artists Ben Knight of Kinston and Becky Denmark of Charlotte. It ran through April 9.

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LELA ROSE AND VERMILLION Vermillion hosted a trunk show March 16 for the designer Lela Rose’s fall 2016 collection along with a book signing for Rose’s book Pret-A-Party. Following the trunk show and signing, the 30 guests moved from the store to a dinner hosted at the homes of Molly Mahoney and Molly Painter in honor of the designer.

Guests at dinner hosted by Molly Mahoney and Molly Painter

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ELLIOT ENGEL Fifty guests gathered at Raleigh Moravian Church February 19 to raise money for the Joel Lane Museum House. The event also commemorated author Elliot Engel’s talk on his book The Inimitable Winston Churchill.

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The WALTER Scribo The answers to the following clues are in this issue. Happy reading! ACROSS 5. Triangle-based Hollywood screen writer, director, and novelist. 6. A unique, Raleigh-based handbag line. 7. A bed-and-breakfast perfect for a mountain weekend getaway. 8. An online store for vintage accessories. 9. This American Impressionist is on display at the N.C. Museum of Art. 10. This luxurious, eco-conscious resort is known for its silo-esque observatory dome. DOWN 1. This elementary school sang its heart out in the RFAS Choral Celebration. 2. A haven for water sports in the Outer Banks. 3. This Raleigh restaurant is named after a musical instrument. 4. This May Day cocktail can be found where?

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REMEMBERING NANCY OLSON Adapted from a eulogy by Sarah Goddin, manager of Quail Ridge Books, and Olson’s friend of more than three decades


ANCY OLSON, FOUNDER OF Quail Ridge Books and the owner for 29 years, died on Easter. Her love for literature and music, combined with her warm and expansive personality, inspired and influenced a literary renaissance in the Raleigh community and was felt well beyond it. I was fortunate to know Nancy for over 30 years and to work with her at Quail Ridge Books for almost 20. Like all who knew her, I will always be guided by her passion, integrity, and courage, spiced with a large dose of humor. Nancy was many things: a lover and champion of classic literature who also enjoyed reading mysteries, nonfiction, or even a Georgette Heyer historical romance; a lover of classical music who also enjoyed bluegrass and rock ‘n’ roll; a savvy and successful businesswoman who didn’t believe she was, and someone who was comfortable talking to great writers, former presidents, and rock stars, but just as

130 | WALTER

enthusiastic, perhaps more so, about talking to novice writers and anybody looking for a good book to read. Na n c y was really that lucky person who figured out what she loved to do, had the unique qualifications to do it very, very well, and the commitment to dive into it 100 percent. She was also lucky in marrying Jim Olson, who was a complete partner in the store and a tremendous support to her in every way. Nancy was an acknowledged champion of writers, many of whom will say she jump-started their career. Her passionate beliefs were that the bookstore always had to stand on the side of literature, of good writing that would endure, not commercial writing, even though we carried commercial books and she sometimes enjoyed reading them. And, even though she held strong political views and was very politically active, she believed the store should not take a political stand because she wanted

everyone to feel comfortable in the store and to be able to explore any ideas, regardless of their beliefs. She believed in hosting authors with widely divergent views and respecting that her customers could make up their own minds and do it better if they had an opportunity to hear from many different perspectives. While she lost customers on both sides of the political spectrum for this stance, she stuck to it. Nancy also believed strongly in good old hospitality, greeting everyone who walked in the door and helping them to the fullest extent she could. Another key to Nancy’s success, I believe, is that she was not a team player. She was really a contrarian and a master of unconventional wisdom. She followed her own instincts and was most comfortable going with her gut. And, most of the time, she was right.

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