WALTER Magazine - December 2016

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It’s It’sfoxhunt foxhunttime time

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78 STORY OF A HOUSE UNC President Margaret Spellings by Liza Roberts photographs by Catherine Nguyen

WALTER PROFILE The Odyssey: Lou Moshakos’s restaurant empire by Mimi Montgomery photographs by Christoper T. Martin



STORY OF A HUNT Tally Ho! by P. Gaye Tapp photographs by Geoff Wood

RALEIGHITES Countdown: Putting on the North Carolina Governor’s Inaugural Ball by Samantha Hatem


AT THE TABLE Inspired by the hunt: Brunch by Jesma Reynolds photographs by Keith Isaacs





ARTIST’S SPOTLIGHT Eric McRay by Tina Haver Currin photographs by Christopher T. Martin



H A P P Y H O L I D AY S 919.876.7411 | 3200 Wake Forest Road | Raleigh, NC 27609 | Each Office Is Independently Owned and Operated.




Our Town

Off Duty: Salvation Army Bell Ringer Shop Local: Whisk The Usual: SkillPop Game Plan: Moore Square Christmas by Jessie Ammons, Mimi Montgomery photographs by Jillian Clark

Our Town Spotlight

Upper Neuse Riverkeeper by Jessie Ammons photograph by Ray Black III


Our Town Spotlight



Sunday Supper by Liza Roberts photographs by Juli Leonard Nose so bright by Mimi Montgomery photographs by Missy McLamb

110 Gigs

Just look up by Mimi Montgomery photographs by Ray Black III



106 59 114 Givers

Party with a purpose by Settle Monroe photograph by Annie Cockrill

116 Reflections

Coming together by Laurie Geer

119 The Whirl

Parties and fundraisers

130 Snapchat

with Gabriela Miu Kropaczek by Mimi Montgomery photograph by Ray Black III

In Every Issue 14 Letter from the Editor 18 Contributors 20 Your Feedback 22 The Mosh 24 Raleigh Now 38 Triangle Now

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ne recent fall weekend crystallized the mission of this magazine for me. The extraordinary opportunity we have in this city, the purpose of our work here, and the need to do it well has never been clearer. It happened in the course of a single day – a single, spectacularly beautiful day – when I had the chance to visit three entirely different local worlds, all meaningful parts and reflections of the life and soul of this place. First, I entered the heart of academia and the life of a vibrant, influential newcomer when I interviewed new UNC President Margaret Spellings in her gorgeous historic home. From there, I witnessed 1,000 Raleighites come together with generous hearts just five days after a turbulent election to help others in need, sharing a Sunday Supper to benefit flood victims in Eastern North Carolina. More than 300 people volunteered to make it all happen – one of them was WALTER’S own creative director, Jesma Reynolds (above), who came with her family to lend a hand. Just the day before, she had been up at dawn for the stunning foxhunt story on page 78. Then I walked over to CAM, the Contemporary Art Museum, where my daughters, mother-in-law and I sat down among Thomas

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Sayre’s earthcasts and between the canvases that comprise his stunning White Gold installation (see the spotlight about the work in our October issue) to hear a riveting performance of new original music by New Music Raleigh. The work, composed by D. J. Sparr, was evocative of Sayre’s piece, and also a response to it. And so, in the course of just a few hours, I found myself in three very different universes, all right here, all part of this wonderful city. Jesma had been to a fourth. From higher education, to grassroots philanthropy, to the storied sport of foxhunting, to a place where creativity begets creativity. The experience was wonderful, but it wasn’t unusual. This is the kind of place we live. These are the kinds of people who are in it, and these are the things they do. That’s why this month, we couldn’t decide on just one cover. For the first time, we decided to publish two. Which one did you get? Margaret Spellings in her doorway with her new puppy Davie, or Drew Daly of the Red Mountain Hounds astride his horse? Let us know which one gets your vote this month. And if you’ve had a day that showcases the best of our city, please share it with us.

Liza Roberts Editor & General Manager

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Volume V, Issue IV



Advertising Vice President GARY SMITH Advertising Director DENISE WALKER

Advertising Account Executive CRISTINA BAKER

Unique Shopping for Discerning Guests


Event and Account Coordinator KAIT GORMAN has everything locals need to keep visiting company happy, like smart tips for holiday shopping. It’s all about finding uniquely Raleigh gifts such as the colorful purses, wallets and cases that line Holly Aiken’s downtown design studio. Enchanting locals and visitors alike, Raleigh’s many “makers” will entertain your guests this season.


Learn more at

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DECEMBER/JANUARY 2016-17 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. © The News & Observer. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the copyright owner.

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Imagine a Home MAKEOVER in the New Year



GEOFF WOOD / P H O T O G R A P H E R There’s too much adventure out there and too many incredible people to work with. So Wood’s plan is to dive headfirst into life behind the lens, using 10 years of design experience to compose the shot. He’s hanging off the side of the boat, pouring metal filings into old cameras to see what happens, and, whenever possible, taking the whole thing underwater. “Horses, hounds, cocktails... it was a very British way to spend a morning,” he says of his work on the fox hunt story. “And I throughly enjoyed it.”

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SAMANTHA THOMPSON HATEM / W R I T E R Samantha Thompson Hatem is a freelance writer and an obsessive multitasker, whose skills are being put the test as a co-chair of the 2017 N.C. Governor’s Inaugural Ball, the Junior League of Raleigh’s largest fundraiser that takes more than two years to plan. “I can’t tell you how rewarding it has been to see so many women pull together and work so hard to make an event a success,” she says, “all because they believe in the mission of the Junior League of Raleigh.”


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P. Gaye Tapp has been an interior designer for more than 30 years and explores the original in design, fashion, and history on her blog Little Augury. Her book How They Decorated will be published by Rizzoli April 2017. On her piece in this issue, she says, “The Red Mountain Hounds foxhunting club’s opening meet provided this month’s Walter edition with all the beauties of autumn, the colors of Christmas, and the good will of a dynamic collection of riders, horses, and hounds – lots of hounds!”

CHRISTOPHER T. MARTIN / P H O T O G R A P H E R Christopher T. Martin recently returned to the Triangle after starting his career in Atlanta and working there for close to 15 years. His specialty is in portraiture and he works nationally with editorial, commercial, advertising, and entertainment clients. This month, he photographed the Lou Moshakos and Eric McRay stories. “These were my first assignments for Walter,” he says. “Being newly relocated to the Triangle, I was excited to get out and explore Raleigh again. It was great to be introduced to the growing arts scene and meet an important entrepreneur in the city.”



@WALTERMAGAZINE Great write up in @WalterMagazine about the artist + #TheDalekExhibit in @VisitNorthHills #publicart #Raleigh #raleighneedsmorepublicart –@raleighwhatsup (November, p. 60) Looks like #VR in the Triangle is booming! Great article on local VR startups by @WalterMagazine. –@RTPVR (November, p. 66) Thanks to @WalterMagazine for the great article featuring us @HorizonVP along with @RTPVR @levr and Lucid Dreams. –@jasonmcguiganVR (November, p. 66) ICYMI here’s a great story about #Raleigh talent on #Broadway @WalterMagazine @TheatreNC –@RLT1936 (November, p. 87) Cool @WalterMagazine feature on pals @CarrMcLamb and @hcneese who dominate Raleigh youth basketball coaching circuit –@WillBrinson (November, p. 110) This is great. Autumn is the absolute best. –@runologie (November, p. 130) Love her greenway works...have 3 prints of the areas near me. –@daveraleigh (November, p. 130)

DECEMBER 9–24, 2016 We want to hear from you! @WalterMagazine

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“The woods are lovely, dark and deep / But I have promises to keep / And miles to go before I sleep / And miles to go before I sleep.” –Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”



I’M DREAMING OF A GREEN CHRISTMAS Getting your house ship-shape for the holidays can be a hassle. Logan’s One Stop Garden Shop is one place to look for help. Pick a tree at Logan’s and they’ll deliver it to your house and set it up; while you’re there, you can also order custom greenery, wreaths, floral arrangements, and centerpieces. Tis the season! Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.; 707 Semart Drive;

Lucky New Year’s dishes may seem like an old wive’s tale, but why not start 2017 with all the help you can get? Cultures around the world rely on certain edibles to bring good fortune. Others avoid lobster or chicken: Since lobsters move backwards and chickens scratch backwards, it is said their consumption could cause setbacks in life. On the good list:

• • • • • • • •

Greens Pork Fish Noodles Black-eyed peas Lentils Cake Round fruits

Watching old holiday classics, like It’s a Wonderful Life or White Christmas...Breaking out the ultra-cozy flannel sheets...Serving a Moravian Sugar Cake from Dewey’s bakery...Staying in on New Year’s Eve... Celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Cary’s Dreamfest Celebration Jan. 14 - 16...Taking the crew ice skating on City Plaza…A polar plunge jump into Johnson Lake...Viewing the Presidential Inauguration Jan. 20...Indulging in a much-needed facial at The Umstead Spa for dry winter skin… Visiting the Reid’s Fine Foods pop-up shop in Cameron Village...

SEASONAL SIPS Warm things up with a take on the traditional hot toddy. ½ lemon, juiced 3-4 tablespoons spiced maple simple syrup* 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) bourbon Hot water to fill *Spiced cinnamon maple simple syrup 1 cup maple syrup 1 cup water 1 dried red chili pepper ½ teaspoon red pepper flake 2 cinnamon sticks


To make 1 toddy, add lemon juice, homemade simple syrup, and bourbon to a mug. Top with hot water. Garnish with a lemon wedge and cinnamon stick. *Add maple syrup, water, cinnamon sticks, chili, and red pepper flakes to a small saucepan and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes - 1 hour (or longer). Strain and pour into glass jar for serving.

WOOD YA BELIEVE THAT? Check out Raleigh-based Van Duyn Woodwork for handcrafted treasures; the wooden bowls work as serving dishes, an artful urn can be considered a piece of sculpture and a unique gift. All pieces are made by N.C. State graduate Jason Van Duyn, whose family has been in woodworking since 1649, and are influenced by his N.C. roots, local history, and natural beauty.

KWANZAA Keep the festivities rolling: Dec. 30, Durham hosts its annual Kwanzaa Celebration. Food, family activities, and African music performances will all honor the seven basic principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Kwanzaa lasts through Jan. 1, so even if you can’t make it to the event, there’s plenty of time to celebrate. Dec. 30; Holton Career and Resource Center, 401 N. Driver St.;

courtesy Logan Trading Co. (GREEN CHRISTMAS); Thinkstock (SIPS, NEW YEAR); courtesy Van Duyn Woodwoork (WOOD); courtesy Reid’s Fine Foods (RUMINATIONS); Liz Condo/News & Observer (RUMINATIONS); Corey Lowenstein/News & Observer (KWANZAA)


THE DATEJUST 41 The new generation of the essential classic, with a new movement and design that keep it at the forefront of watchmaking. It doesn’t just tell time. It tells history.



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Anthony Ulinski, Barns in Winter, Amherst VA #1.


espite from winter’s busy pace can be found at the Upfront Gallery at Artspace, where a monthlong exhibition showcases two local artists’ paintings inspired by the season. Kiki Farish and Anthony Ulinski are familiar names to Raleigh art buffs, but Hush, Hush is the first time they’ve shown their work together. With different characteristic styles, the two used similar colors to create oil paintings that explore notions of winter. The unifying palette is one of muted tones, but the works are peaceful rather than dreary. For the exhibition, Ulinski, who has a background in furnituremaking and has most recently produced a series of landscapes and farmscapes as



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Kiki Farish, Rooting, oil on panel, 22.5x14 inches, 2016

seen in eastern North Carolina, painted pastoral scenes capturing the pale light of cold mornings and the almost-monochromatic effect of a recent snowfall. In contrast, Farish, who often teaches workshops locally and has a studio in Artspace, uses loose brushstrokes to depict intricate, layered close-ups of wilting flowers. Together, the exhibit invites contemplation about the season’s solitude and renewal. Time to schedule an afternoon art break. –Jessie Ammons Dec. 2 - 31; free but donations suggested, and a portion of donations support programming at Artspace; 201 E. Davie St.;

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Snow is never a guarantee here, but outdoor ice skating is. A patch of astroturf in City Plaza downtown becomes an ice skating rink from November through Jan. 29. Admission includes skate rental, although you’re free to bring your own. Hours vary, closed Mondays; $10; 400 Fayetteville St.;

all month


Do you know where Market and Exchange plazas are downtown? They’re both pedestrian thruways between Wilmington and Fayetteville streets, gathering areas that you’ve likely not given much thought to. To change that, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance holds weekly events in one of the two spaces. Every Wednesday from 5 - 8 p.m., the plazas host vendor craft markets, live art installations, music and dance performances, and even the occasional yoga or CrossFit class. Refreshments from nearby eateries are usually on-hand, too. 5 - 8 p.m. every Wednesday; free; block of 219 Fayetteville St.; godowntownraleigh. com/event/pop-program-our-plazas

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Carolyn Scott Photography (WINTER); Flyboy Aerial Photography (PLAZA)

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Two beloved annual shows return to local stages this year. Raleigh Little Theatre’s Cinderella isn’t overtly holiday-themed, but the musical comedy’s whimsical numbers and sparkly costumes have become a festive tradition nonetheless. It runs Thursdays - Sundays Dec. 2 - 18. And Ira David Wood III’s legendary rendition of A Christmas Carol is a laugh-out-loud performance of classic scenes infused with pop culture savvy. Also a musical comedy, this one is akin to enjoying a cup of spiked holiday cider, and it runs Wednesdays - Sundays Dec. 7 - 11. Cinderella showtimes vary between 1 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., and A Christmas Carol showtimes vary between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; $30 and up; Raleigh Little Theatre: 301 Pogue St., Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts: 2 E. South St.; and

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Ugly Christmas sweaters, hot chocolate, and fresh air make for a fun time at the annual Jingle Bell Run Dec. 3. The 5K at Saint Mary’s School encourages participants to wear festive gear – candy-cane striped onesie pajamas are just the ticket. The run/walk concludes with hot chocolate and faux snow at the finish line, and all proceeds benefit the Arthritis Foundation. 9 - 11:45 a.m.; $30 or $25 for 1-mile course; 900 Hillsborough St.;


Each year, the Salvation Army collects gently used winter coat donations to give away to community members in need. Volunteers can sign up to hand out coats – donations are predominantly for children, but no coat or person is turned down – on Dec. 3, or sign up to sort new donations on Jan. 7. Volunteers of every age are welcomed, so this is an activity for the whole family to consider. 9:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.; free; 902 Wake Forest Road; activategood. org/opportunity/2890

Carolina Snapshot (RUN); courtesy Salvation Army (COATS)

Raleigh now

Henry Greene (TRADITIONAL); Corey Lowenstein (CLIMB)



The Triangle Jewish Chorale learns and performs classic Jewish melodies, including folk and composed music, and tunes written in Hebrew, Ladino, and Yiddish. Their concerts are for music appreciators of all kinds. At their winter performance at the N.C. Museum of Art Dec. 4, the chorale will perform two original pieces commissioned by the group and written by North Carolina Composers: Allan Friedman’s Kabbalat Shabbat Variations (world premiere) and Alejandro Rutty’s Down Home: The Cantata. 3 p.m.; free; 2110 Blue Ridge Road;



Get out of the house for a beginners’ climbing class at Triangle Rock Club Dec. 6. Sponsored by REI, you’ll spend two-and-a-half hours learning the basics of rock climbing, from gear to techniques. The class size is small to keep the atmosphere friendly and relaxed, and also to allow plenty of time for everyone to practice on an indoor climbing wall. 6:30 - 9 p.m.; $50; 102 Pheasant Wood Court, Morrisville;

TAKE A SEAT. The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina is building a solution to hunger, feeding thousands in our community and bringing people of all walks together, to one table, to fight hunger. Help us build your Food Bank. Visit to learn more or donate. Take a seat, so all may eat.

Raleigh now



courtesy Holderness Family



inter weather means a lot of family time indoors – and too often, a whole lot of screen time, too. Raleigh’s well-known Holderness family is putting their zany energy into an alternative activity they hope will get people off of their phones. The crew famous for their catchy, silly YouTube videos is launching Family Showdown, a board game they’re funding with a Kickstarter campaign. “We are board game people and we love playing games with our family,” says Kim Holderness. “(But) our kids are at the age where just sitting down for 20 minutes is taxing for them.” The fun, physical game is based on the silly activities the family does around the dinner table, and aims to grasp the attention of players of all ages. In order to move markers through the spaces, players must complete a series of challenges. Being loud and goofy is encouraged: Categories include charades, a scavenger hunt, mental challenges, and singing famous songs only using the word “blah.” One of the best parts of the game? Locking everyone’s smartphones in the “Phone Jail.” If you look at your phone during the game, you move back 10 spaces – a sure way to set aside

social media and text messages, if only for a bit. Plus, the board game is aesthetically pleasing. Local pop artist Paul Friedrich created the art for the game, and fans will recognize his creatures and whimsical colors from his Onion Head Monster and Man v. Liver cartoons. The Holdernesses say they’re huge fans of Friedrich’s work, too, and knew they wanted to work with him to create a board game that was fun, but didn’t feel totally childish. “We wanted it to be something that if you left it out on your dining room table, it looked like a piece of art,” says Kim. “It’s a cool conversation piece … (Paul is) so different and so creative from anything else out there.” The game is coming to a table near you in January 2017. As with all things Holderness, it’s really all about togetherness and family. “Everything that we’ve created, including this game, has been based around conversations that we have at our house, just like the videos we make,” says Penn Holderness. “It’s all just about being a family and wanting to embrace that. And I think that’s what this game is about.” –Mimi Montgomery

To order, search “Family Showdown” on



9, 14

Courtesy of the North Carolina Symphony (TOP); Chris Sweda (BOTTOM)


There’s no shortage of concerts at this time of year. On Dec. 9 and 10, the N.C. Symphony hosts cocktail jazz band Pink Martini for a classicaljazz-global-pop seasonal concert. And on Dec. 14, the well-known rock-opera group Trans-Siberian Orchestra comes to the PNC arena. The group’s winter program, The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, tells the tale of a runaway teenager who breaks into an abandoned theater on Christmas Eve. The narrative is set to the tune of hits including O Come All Ye Faithful and Music Box Blues. 8 p.m. Pink Martini and 7:30 p.m. Trans-Siberian Orchestra; $30$95 symphony and $45-$75 Orchestra; Meymandi Hall: 2 E. South St., PNC Arena: 1400 Edwards Mill Road; and

Cocktail jazz band, Pink Martini

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

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This year’s performance of Carolina Ballet’s The Nutcracker marks the production’s 15th anniversary. The show is presented in all of its classic grace, with extra sparkle thanks to magician Rick Thomas. Thomas’s input means dancers can apparently levitate, disappear, and reappear – a bit of Christmas magic! Showtimes vary; $25 and up; 2 E. South St.;


The Justice Theater Project’s Black Nativity runs Dec. 17 - 19. The Langston Hughes play retells the birth of Jesus according to St. Luke, and this rendition features an African American cast portraying Mary, Joseph, Wise Men, and more. The multicultural performance includes an accompanying chorus of local singers. 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 7 p.m. Monday; $27; Stewart Theatre in Talley Student Union at N.C. State: 2610 Cates Ave.;

Tickets at or (919) 715-5923 East Building, Level B, Meymandi Exhibition Gallery

1936 Peugeot 402 Darl’mat Coupe, Jim Patterson/The Patterson Collection; Photo © 2016 Michael Furman

Organized by the North Carolina Museum of Art. This 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. p r e s e n t i n g s p o n so r s u p p o rt i n g s p o n so r Quintiles m e d i a s p o n so r Capitol Broadcasting Company

Chris Seward (CHILDCARE); courtesy Carolina Ballet (NUTCRACKER)

Raleigh now


all month



When post-holiday restlessness strikes and schools are still on break, SkyZone trampoline park does a number on cabin fever. Wall-to-wall trampolines are the grown-up version of a bouncehouse, and there’s also a massive foam pit and a trampolinefloored basketball court. Buy tickets in advance for a jump session most anytime, or schedule a group event for an afternoon. Or, try one of the weekly workout sessions or Friday night blacklight “glow” jumps, set to tunes spun by a DJ. 3 - 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3 - 9 p.m. Wednesdays, 12 noon - 10 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. Saturdays, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sundays; $11 for 30 minutes, $15 for an hour, $19 for 90 minutes, and $23 for two hours; 2101 Westinghouse Blvd.;

Tom Wolf (SOUL); Sky Zone Raleigh (CABIN)


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Local nonprofit Families Together helps Wake County families transition from homelessness to stable homes through mentoring, housing support, and community resources. There are monthly evening empowerment meetings for adults, complete with childcare for parents. Sign up for a two-and-a-half hour shift Dec. 8 or Jan. 26, where you’ll work alongside Families Together staff to provide age-appropriate activities to and with kids. 5:45 - 8 p.m.; free; 908-101 Plainview Drive;

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Play a round of visionary miniature golf during art putt in Market Hall at City Market from 2 - 9 p.m. Each of the course’s nine holes are created by local artists. Paperhand Puppet Intervention brings handmade and larger-than-life puppets and masks to Edenton Street at 3:30 and 6 p.m. Check out the interactive art installation on the 200 block of Fayetteville Street, a giant rendition of the retro LiteBrite light-box-and-plastic toys. On display from 5 - 11 p.m.


F YOU PLAN TO VENTURE OUT FOR NEW YEAR’S EVE, A variety of events going on throughout town will get your 2017 off to a stylish start. The N.C. Symphony’s annual New Year’s in Vienna concert begins at 8 p.m., when the N.C. Jazz Repertory Orchestra joins forces with the symphony to perform a set of Viennese-waltz-inspired numbers. If dressy shindigs are your thing, two Raleigh standard-bearers are throwing big bashes: The Angus Barn hosts a New Year’s Eve social and dinner in the wine cellar at 9 p.m., where a five-course meal includes wine pairings; while the Umstead Hotel and Spa serves cocktails and champagne to complement hors d’oeuvres, small plates, and a dessert buffet, along with live music, in the ballroom at 9:30 p.m. For less formal merriment, First Night Raleigh takes over downtown with performances, activities, and ultimately the storied acorn drop at midnight – which will take place not in Moore Square, but at the acorn’s new location on South Salisbury Street in front of the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.


Escape the crowds for an Andy Griffith movie marathon in the auditorium of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, where No Time for Sergents will play from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. and A Face in the Crowd will play from 8 - 10 p.m. The African American Dance Ensemble, based in Durham, performs energetic, soulful, and traditional dances at 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m., and 10:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall of First Presbyterian Church. Uplifting gospel music sets are a change of pace at First Baptist Church on Wilmington Street. Performances are at 7:30 p.m., 8:15 p.m., and 9 p.m. There’s also a family-friendly early countdown and concert at 7 p.m. in City Plaza. Symphony tickets are $50 - $85 and available at; Angus Barn tickets are $130 and available at; Umstead Hotel and Spa tickets are $200 and available at events/new-years-eve-celebration; First Night Raleigh is free and a full schedule is available at

courtesy of Artsplosure

Keep your eye out for a few other unique offerings:


27, 28

Jay Goldsmith (PATSY); Jordan Haywood (BIRTHDAY)


In an unlikely dream-come-true, a Houston housewife named Louise Seger became good friends with her idol and country music singer, Patsy Cline. Seger arrived early to a Cline concert in 1961 and happened to meet the singer, and they kept in touch over the years, gradually developing a friendship via phone calls and visits. The touching story inspired a musical called Always... Patsy Cline, which N.C. Theatre will present Jan. 20 - 29. Humor and good-ole country music help tell the tale of a powerful female bond. Show times vary; $29 and up; A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater, 2 E. South St.;


Mozart’s birthday is Jan. 27. In honor of the legendary composer’s 261st, the North Carolina Symphony will perform a program of his music. The lineup includes the overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio, “Basta, vincesti–Ah, non lasciarmi,” Rondo in A Major for Piano and Orchestra, “Ch’io mi scordi di te–Non temer, amato bene,” “Exsultate, jubilate,” Symphony No. 39, and “Un moto di gioia” from Marriage of Figaro: Un moto di gioia. 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; $15 - $80; 2 E. South St.;

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(from the oven)


ith five bakeries in the downtown area alone, most of them less than a handful of years old, Raleigh has quickly become a destination for the gourmet baked good lover. Come holiday time, there’s something for everyone. An assortment of treats from Boulted Bread slivered into bite-sized portions would make a perfect cocktail pairing … a weekend morning stroll through the State Farmers Market would be sweeter with one of Annelore’s German Bakery’s spicy gingerbread cookies … a sticky toffee pudding-flavored macaron at Lucettegrace could turn an afternoon coffee break into a mini celebration … a crusty loaf of bread from any of these spots would make a perfect complement to a warm winter stew. Besides stopping in and stocking up, most local bakehouses have seasonal specials, too. Here’s what to plan ahead for. Boulted Bread provides rustic, hearty favorites. Last year’s


WISHES spiced date levain was a hit and will be back; and there’s also old-fashioned apple and cranberry pies; crusty-sweetcroissant-y kouign-amann; and soft gingerbread. Order online or in-store between Dec. 2 and Dec. 18; 614 W. South St.; Dewey’s Bakery is a seasonal taste of history. Many North Carolinians know the Winston-Salem outpost as the source of annual tins of Moravian sugar cookies; each year lately, the store opens a pop-up shop in Cameron Village from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. Alongside those wafer-thin sugar cookies are boxes of cinnamon-bun-esque Moravian sugar cake, pies and cakes, and Lovefeast buns, sweet yeast rolls with nutmeg, orange, and lemon. 421 Daniels St.; La Farm Bakery and its breads are featured in this month’s “Favorite Things” issue of O: The Oprah Magazine. Among their celebrated goods are dark chocolate babka, the tradi-

courtesy La Farm Bakery

LI LIght ght

DECEMBER tional Jewish dessert; stollen German holiday bread; linzer-inspired challah: challah bread filled with raspberries and cream; and fig-polenta-walnut bread. Just in time for winter orders, the popular Cary spot opens its second production bakery downtown on West Chatham Street this month, and a new cafe adjacent to it is under construction to open come spring. Order by Dec. 21; 4248 N.W. Cary Parkway; lafarmbakery. com

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Lucettegrace is for the elegant dessert lover. This year, the pastry shop is increasing its in-store packaged treats, including fudge and sweet granolas, for hostess gifts and stocking stuffers. There are also three bûche de noël French Christmas cake flavors to choose from and pre-order: Red velvet rolled with cream cheese mousse with raspberry jam; chocolate cake rolled in pecan pie mousse, set in chocolate mousse, and resting on chocolate brownie cake; and gingerbread cake rolled with lemon cream, set in chai mousse, and resting on more gingerbread. Order to pick up on Dec. 23 and 24; 235 S. Salisbury St.; Night Kitchen is where to find unexpected treats. Last year’s order-ahead, pre-wrapped assortment of homemade holiday cookies was popular and will again be an option; as well as linzertorte, an Austrian spiced nut pastry shell filled with raspberry and red currant jam; and panettone, an Italian celebratory cake studded with dried fruit. Order in-person or by phone by Dec. 20; 984-232-8907; 10 W. Franklin St., Ste. 140; Yellow Dog Bread offers baked goods with familiar Southern influences. Rosemary, cheddar, and pumpkin seed boule; yeast rolls; pumpkin walnut bread; and other treats are all available throughout the winter. For the holidays, the orderahead selection includes salted pecan pie, cranberry apple pie, and sweet potato cheesecake. Order in-person or by phone by Dec. 21; 984-232-0291; 219 E. Franklin St.

Home for the Holida ys

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To usher in the holiday season, the Hillsborough Gallery of Art’s latest exhibition features gift-worthy art by member artists. From jewelry to paintings, the artist-owned gallery speaks to the local art lover. The Art of Giving runs through Jan. 2. Gallery open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday - Thursday, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sunday; free admission; 121 N. Churton St., Hillsborough;

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Next time you head to DPAC, check out the Christmas trees on the lawn heading toward American Tobacco Campus. They’re part of the Triangle Christmas Tree Challenge, an annual friendly competition between nonprofits: Organizations team together to decorate a tree, and the public votes on their favorite. Winners receive prizes from $500 - $5,000. As for the DPAC lineup, it includes The Piano Guys Dec. 6, Carolina Ballet’s The Nutcracker Dec. 9 - 11, Ira David Wood III’s A Christmas Carol Dec. 15 - Dec. 18, An American in Paris Jan. 3 - 8, and The Beach Boys Jan. 22. Trees displayed through Jan. 3; learn more at; find DPAC show information at

Pringle Teetor (PRESENT); Brian Mullins Photography (TRIANGLE)

all month



Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 FRI/SAT, JAN 67 | 8PM


Schreker: Intermezzo Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 Brahms: Symphony No. 1


Take the family to Cary Arts Center when the Cary Players community theatre troupe presents The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. The comedy depicts a church Christmas pageant run amok by mischievous children. Based on a best-selling young adult book, the Griswold-esque plot will be a delight for audiences of every age. 7:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. weekend matinees; $20; 101 Dry Ave., Cary;

Debra Grannan (KOOKY); Courtesy Duke Homestead (CANDLELIGHT); courtesy Town of Wake Forest (BEDECKED)




Washington Duke, whose name can be found all over Durham, lived on a homestead with a farm and tobacco factory from 1852 to 1874. The site is today restored as an historic area and museum open to visitors. Visit Dec. 2 and 9 for candlelit tours by costumed staff members. The house will be bedecked with traditional 19th-century decorations, and as you move through the home, you’ll walk through rooms of storytelling, hymn singing, dancing, and more. The step back in time concludes with hot cider, cookies, and a roaring hearth fire. Tours depart every 15 minutes from 6:45 - 9:15 p.m.; $6, $3 ages 10 and under; 2828 Duke Homestead Road, Durham; christmas-by-candlelight

A Star Trek Spectacular FRI, JAN 20 | 8PM SAT, JAN 21 | 3PM & 8PM

Weekend Sponsor: Celito Communications, Inc.

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek as the Symphony plays the music of Star Trek, Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey, E.T., and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Mozart’s Birthday

FRI/SAT, JAN 2728 | 8PM

Weekend Sponsor: Duke Health January 28 Concert Sponsor: Galloway Ridge at Fearrington

Celebrate Mozart’s birthday with his magnificent Symphony No. 39, Rondo for Piano in A, and his greatest concert arias for soprano and orchestra.


Every other year, homes and properties in Wake Forest’s historic district put on their holiday best and open their doors to the public. Rain or shine, visitors can stroll through the tree-lined main drag on a self-guided Christmas historic home tour. Many stops include holiday music and seasonal treats; and leave time to explore nearby downtown’s quaint gift shops and antique purveyors. 1 - 7 p.m.; $18 in advance, $24 day-of; North Main Street, North Avenue, Front Street, and South Avenue, Wake Forest;

Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade FRI/SAT, FEB 1011 | 8PM

It beguiles and seduces, sensuous and exotic…the North Carolina Symphony performs Rimsky-Korsakov’s spectacular showpiece live!

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e want the work to evoke a sense of peace. You may have to trek to get to us, but being here allows us to stay in a peaceful mindset,” says Chris Pence (above), co-founder and CEO of Haand, maker of handcrafted ceramics. You may recognize his company’s simple silhouettes from the tables at Ashley Christensen’s downtown restaurant Death & Taxes, or from Provenance in the SkyHouse building. Normally, Haand sells its wares – which Pence describes as “functional farmhouse futuristic” – to the public through its website, but on Dec. 10 and 11, the Saxapahaw-based pottery studio will open its doors for a holiday open house to sell plates, bowls, and mugs in-person. “It’s a rare opportunity to see inside of our studio. We don’t have First Fridays or anything out here.” In a state rooted in a pottery tradition, Haand stands out for its slipcast method, which relies on a mold, not a wheel. It results in clean lines and smooth finishes, which Haand glazes in whites, marbled finishes, and bright colors. “It’s not the round and brown stuff you see at Seagrove,” Pence says. It’s that contrast to tradition, in part, that the Florida native says motivated him to launch the company in 2012 with high school friend Mark Warren. Warren had studied slipcasting at Penland School of Crafts in western North Carolina, and Pence had recently quit his job as a corporate accountant at

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PricewaterhouseCoopers in Florida in search of a more creative pursuit. They decided to focus on ceramics full-time (“I’d spent time in North Carolina visiting Mark and been wanting to find a way to stay there for good,” Pence says of remaining in the state). “We took a vow of poverty for the first two years,” Pence says, and lived in a low-frills farmhouse outside of Durham. Through word of mouth, Haand quickly garnered a fan base that trickled up to brands like the Steven Alan home store in New York City and earned mentions in Garden & Gun and Dwell magazines. “We realized that what we were doing was working, and that it was valid and it was true and we just needed to keep at it.” Four years later, Haand has expanded to a staff of 12 in a warehouse in Saxapahaw, about an hour west of Raleigh. Despite national recognition, the crew remains committed to its local North Carolina community, which includes our capital city. Connecting with a local leader such as Christensen has been key: “She’s very forward-thinking and innovative and allergic to the norm, which is what’s made her so successful. It was a good fit and good timing.” It has also been a way to reach more people than just direct-to-consumer sales. “Think about how many plates are in restaurants. Then, with the advent of social media, think about how many people take pictures of their food. The plate is elevated. People want to share an image – the plate – as part of their story.” Pence says he’s looking forward to inviting customers to tour the studio on Dec. 10; and on Dec. 11, he’s invited Rise and Ramble textiles, Haw River Ales, and nearby Left Bank Butchery to bring their wares to a pop-up shop, as well. –Jessie Ammons Learn more at

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ALL ABOARD Locomotive fans would like a trip to the N.C. Railroad Museum most any time of year, and it’s especially fun in the wintertime. For the weekends of Dec. 3 - 4 and 10 - 11, the trains and rail yard get a dash of holiday decor, and holiday scenes are set up along the tracks. Visitors can purchase tickets to ride in covered, open-air passenger cars for an hour-long holiday trip through the grounds. Santa and his elves ride along, and hot chocolate and treats are available for purchase. Read Polar Express beforehand to truly set the tone. 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. departures; $12 - $17 and $10 - $14 for ages 2 - 12; 3900 Bonsal Road, New Hill;



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6 CROONY CHRISTMAS Despite its name, bluegrass-rock band Chatham County Line is a group of Raleigh natives. The foursome recently released their latest album, Autumn. To celebrate, Big Boss Brewing concocted an “Autumn” beer; the brew was meant to last the winter but barely made it through half of the fall before selling out. Next up for the band is an annual holiday show at The Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw. The stage is usually set with twinkle lights and real fir trees, and the performance includes classic Christmas tunes as well as ones from the band’s seven albums. 8 p.m.; $20-$22; 1711 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road, Saxapahaw;

Patrick C. Tilley (TRAIN); Andy Goodwin (CHATHAM)

3-4, 10-11

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F YOU SPEND YOUR WINTER EVENINGS BUNDLED UP INSIDE watching Netflix, you’ll miss seeing the spectacular shows of a celestial sort taking place right outside your four walls. Stargazing is at its best during the winter: Cold air has less capacity for holding moisture, so the air is drier, the Earth’s atmosphere is less hazy, and conditions are crystalclear for gazing upwards. If you’re looking for a guided experience, Morehead Planetarium hosts free skywatching sessions every month. Planetarium staff, Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society members, and the Raleigh Astronomy Club bring telescopes and help gazers navigate the starry night. Visitors can learn which constellations to look for during which seasons, and hear a few cultural legends about the stars. On Dec. 2, the Morehead crew invites visitors to join them at Little River Regional Park for a viewing of Venus, Mars, and the moon. The next evening, there’ll be a skywatching at Jordan


Lake, where Mercury is supposed to make an appearance. In the new year, there’s another session on Jan. 7 – if conditions are good, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of Mars. Show up for one or all: No two stargazing sessions are ever the same, and sometimes double stars, star clusters, nebulae, and other galaxies are visible, as well. Come layered up with a crew in tow (all ages are welcome), but try to leave your smartphones in the car – you’ll be amazed at how much more you can see with just your night vision. –Mimi Montgomery Dec. 2: 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Little River Regional Park, 301 Little River Park Way, Rougemont; Dec. 3: 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., Jan. 7, 6 - 8 p.m.; Ebenezer Church Recreation Area at Jordan Lake, 2582 Beaver Creek Road, Apex;


Add a dose of nostalgic wanderlust to your new year when An American in Paris comes to DPAC Jan 3. - 8. The musical is a tale of an American World War II veteran who moves to Paris for a fresh start post-war. He endeavors to become a painter and meets a ravishing French lady along the way, but of course it’s never that simple. Based on the 1951 Academy Award-winning film starring Gene Kelly, this stage adaptation has earned quite a few Tony Awards in its own right. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, and weekend matinees; $30 - $135; 123 Vivian St., Durham;

13-14, 20-22 HOCKEY IN THE HOUSE

We’ve got the Carolina Hurricanes, and we’ve also got the Orange County Sportsplex. The Hillsborough center is the home ice rink of UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke, and Elon’s collegiate hockey teams. Make a face-off part of a wintertime day spent exploring: Bone Fide Sandwich Co. just opened downtown with homemade whookie pies – a Whoopie pie-cookie combination – and the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts’ always hosts vibrant exhibitions of local art. As for the hockey games, Elon takes on UNC-Wilmington (who knew about the Dub Hockey Ice Hawks team?!) Jan. 13, UNC-Chapel Hill challenges the Clemson Tigers Jan. 21, and Duke plays James Madison University later that night. Game times vary between 3:45 and 10:15 p.m.; free; 101 Meadowlands Drive, Hillsborough;




For almost two decades, the Town of Cary has honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a weekend-long city-wide festival called Dreamfest. The series of performances, panels, and community service celebrates Dr. King via an annual theme. This year’s Jan. 14 - 16 event explores “Healing Race Relations through Conversation and Participation.” Among the activities are a “tellebration” for children with African-American storytellers Willa Brigham and Donna Washington; a poetry festival; a screening of the first feature documentary about Maya Angelou, And Still I Rise; and volunteer beautification shifts at the Middle Creek Community Center. There’s something for every interest and every age. Times vary; most events free, documentary screening $5; Page-Walker Arts and History Center, The Cary Theater, Cary Arts Center, and Middle Creek Community Center;

courtesy DPAC (PARIS); courtesy ACC Hocky (HOCKEY); Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (DREAMFEST)

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martinturzak (BOWL); Ronald Lockett, American, 1965-1998: Rebirth, 1987; wire, nails, and paint on Masonite, 12 x 18-1/2 inches. Collection of Souls Grown Deep Foundation, L2015.2.3. (EXPLORATORY)




EXPLORATORY PIECES BOWL OF COMFORT One of the best ways to brighten long winter nights is with a hearty bowl of soup. Learn a few recipes from professional chef Katie Coleman, owner of the cooking school Durham Spirits Company. She’s hosting a class at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, inspired by seasonal greens and roots found in the garden. You’ll learn to make four different warm combinations – sampling along the way – and leave with the recipes for all of them. The winter dinner rotation just got souped up. 6 - 8 p.m.; $35; Doris Duke Center, 420 Anderson St., Durham;

The Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill debuts the first retrospective of Alabama artist Ronald Lockett on Jan. 27. Lockett was born in 1965 near Birmingham and, after contracting HIV/AIDS, only lived to 32. Inspired by the community of self-taught African American artists in his Southern rural community, his art reflects his journey to understand various significant events, including the Holocaust, the bombing of Hiroshima, and the Civil Rights movement; later, as his sickness worsened, mortality and salvation became dominant themes. He often incorporated found objects in his work; Fever Within is a groundbreaking look at cultural commentary, and will show in New York and Atlanta following its time in Chapel Hill. Exhibit continues through April 9; free admission; 101 S. Columbia St., Chapel Hill;

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“When I ring the bell I sing Christmas carols the whole time.” –Patrick Sheehan, Salvation Army volunteer

F YOU VISIT THE HARRIS TEETER AT FALLS POINTE IN NORTH Raleigh this December, you might see – and hear – Patrick Sheehan. He’ll be ringing the bell for the Salvation Army’s annual red kettle campaign, and he’ll also be singing holiday songs. Nonstop. “The shifts are four hours this year, so I’m going to be hoarse the next day,” he says with a laugh. For the last two decades, he has sung and collected donations that the nonprofit uses to buy holiday toys for local kids in need, Angel Tree gifts, and cold-weather care packages. Sheehan is jovial about his commitment. “I’m not any kind of noble guy here. I’m just a regular guy trying to help out. Everyone’s smiling when you’re singing Christmas carols. It’s fun.” Sheehan first rang a bell for the Salvation Army in his native Boston about 20 years ago. He signed up for it on a whim after seeing the opportunity in the local paper, and then decided to spruce up his time ringing. “I’m not a singer,” he says, but says something about the holiday spirit led him to perform carols nonetheless. “I’m atrocious!” He chuckles. “People are probably donating to make me stop singing.” When his job as an industrial engineer brought Sheehan and his wife to Raleigh in 2001, he continued the annual red kettle

volunteerism. The Sheehan children, ages 17, 16, and 10, have never known a Christmas without it. “My kids … meet me during the last 20 minutes and we sing songs together. It’s a family tradition.” He even comes prepared with his own bell, an actual red Salvation Army one given to him last year by a local chapter staff member as a thank-you. “The real heroes are those guys who drive the (Salvation Army) vans around” to distribute kettles and bells to volunteers, Sheehan says. “They drive all over Raleigh in those vans, and they’re always so nice. Talk about patience.” As for the songs, Sheehan has fallen into a routine over the years. He begins with kids’ favorites – Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – then does a few traditional ones. “I’ll throw some Bing Crosby in there, some White Christmas.” No matter what, “I always do The Twelve Days of Christmas, because it takes up a lot of time!” He says that while it’s all in good fun, his singing is also effective. “Every year, there are the people who come into the grocery store and they see me singing. They leave, and they still see me singing. They’ll unload their bags into their car, and then they’ll come all the way back across the parking lot and say, ‘If you’re going to sing that long, I’ll give.’” –Jessie Ammons photograph by JILLIAN CLARK


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Our Town



“Our goal in creating this business was to create a local community of cooks.” –Dan Saklad, owner and co-founder of Whisk kitchen store

an Saklad is admittedly not a shopper. “I’ve never really spent time in retail stores,” says the owner of Whisk, a retail kitchenware store in Cary. Nonetheless, when he and his wife Diana moved to Cary 11 years ago – a place he says they picked after Googling “best places to live” – they wanted to launch a business rooted in something they cared deeply about. “Cooking is what we’ve always done,” Saklad says. “I’ve cooked every day of my life since I was 5 years old, and Diana has done the same. It’s always been a passion of ours.” In 2013, the couple translated that love to Whisk, a kitchen emporium with a strong emphasis on cooking classes. Saklad says the experience has been less like a foray into retail and more like an investment in community. “We’re a very different experience.” It’s one focused on doing, they hope, with shopping a happy side effect. “We have 35 to 40 cooking classes here every month, taught by 42 chefs from 15 different countries.” Classes range from themed recipes for beginners, a la “a night in Paris” and “Bollywood, an authentic Indian feast,” to in-depth technical

classes like knife skills and master-level sushi-making. Wall-towall racks of kitchen gadgets and cooking accessories complement the skills being taught and supply specialty items for gourmands of all kinds. “Part of the experience is the personalities we hire,” Saklad says. Rather than look for employees with retail experience, they look for employees who are “engaging and fun, the types of people you’d like to hang out with on a weekend at a party.” The employees’ attitude is contagious: “It’s amazing how the community has embraced us,” Saklad says. Despite receiving offers to franchise and expand, the Saklads say they’re not interested. “The beauty of it is having one location. There’s a certain magic to that.” And this time of year, full of celebratory meals and gatherings, is especially meaningful to the Whisk team. “We love cooking and we love people who love cooking. We’re completely happy being here in Cary doing our thing. This is a place for people who share our same passion for cooking and entertaining.” –Jessie Ammons


photograph by JILLIAN CLARK

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“I’ve always loved learning new things … learning is such a good thing to do in the community and to meet people and bond with people.”


–Haley Bohon, SkillPop founder

hen Haley Bohon graduated from N.C. State in 2012 and moved to Charlotte for a job in mechanical engineering, she missed meeting new friends in college classes. She felt she quickly fell into a rut in Charlotte, going to work, the gym, then home, and eating at the same restaurants with the same people. And she didn’t have any hobbies to fill her downtime: Four busy years studying hard at State had left her with few spare moments to develop them. At the same time, Bohon noticed a rising trend in online learning and meetups for people with similar interests, but nothing directly tied to developing those interests or learning new skills. She knew she learned better in a physical classroom environment, and saw an opportunity to provide classes with a social component. “It made a lot of sense that (learning) should be something still in a community environment even after you graduate from traditional school,” she says. So in the fall of 2015, Bohon took a plunge: She left her job to develop Charlotte SkillPop full-time. “It was something I was really excited about,” she says. “The potential was really

Above: One of SkillPop’s instructors and founder of Sage Paper Co., Alexa Behar, teaches a brush calligraphy class at Loading Dock Raleigh.

huge and the first response was really huge … I knew it would be worth my time.” It was – the Charlotte business has done so well that Bohon opened a Raleigh branch this past August. She is excited to expand her business to her old stomping grounds. “It’s great,” she says. “My hope for Raleigh is that it will feel a little different than the Charlotte (SkillPop). The entrepreneur community is really strong, the design community is really strong, (and) the university presence is big.” Raleighites can now sign up for classes on hand-lettering, photography, graphic design, marketing, gardening, watercolor painting, sewing, and much more. All classes are taught by local experts, and they’re taught in a way that fosters engagement and connection between students. It’s a successful model: Bohon has even started watercolor painting. “We’re excited about it,” she says. “The people I’ve met in Raleigh and that are involved in Raleigh are just really phenomenal people … that others enjoy learning from.” –Mimi Montgomery

To view and sign up for classes, visit


photograph by JILLIAN CLARK

Our Town


“They know that you’re doing it from your heart, and that’s what makes it even better.” –Mary Brown, Moore Square Christmas Day dinner organizer


or Mary Brown, the holidays are about giving, not receiving. On Christmas Day, for the ninth year running, she and a large group of friends and volunteers will serve a feast to the homeless and hungry in Moore Square. The annual event started when Brown, Pam Stocks, Jeff Stocks, Kelly Hollis, and Wil O’Neal decided to serve food to the needy on Thanksgiving. They brought a ham, a turkey, and a few sides to Moore Square; all disappeared quickly. Brown says she’ll never forget the little girl who came for a meal after all the food was gone. Brown took her to a nearby McDonald’s. That day made an impression, and next year, they moved it to Christmas. A lot of groups already give out food for Thanksgiving, Brown realized, and many places are closed Christmas Day. “A lot of people don’t eat on Christmas,” she says. “I got the idea we had to keep doing this.” So did the community: “It started getting bigger and bigger, and now it’s just really big,” Brown says. Over 200 people were fed last year, and around 60 volunteers came to help. This year, she’s expecting even more. “You’ve never seen so many people that are just happy and gracious,” says O’Neal, who is co-owner of Winston’s Grille with Charles Winston Jr., which contributes to the event. “Mary … is a wonderful, wonderful woman.” Brown is quick to thank Winston’s and the other donors who make it all happen: Harris Teeter, Red Lobster, K&W Cafeteria, and food trucks like Ribs by Art donate food; the restaurants Mandolin and Margaux’s lend their kitchens and

coolers to prepare and store food ahead of time. The buffet stretches across the park, and it’s impressive: turkey, ham, biscuits, mac ’n’ cheese, collards, hot dogs, cake, ice cream, and even a whole pig. People are allowed to take as much as they want, and Brown gives any leftovers to local neighborhoods in need. A tin of sandwiches is left at the park, in case anyone hungry comes by in the evening, and Brown makes sure socks, gloves, and toothbrushes are distributed, too. “I don’t do this because I have to, it’s because I want to,” says Brown. “There’s just so much love … it’s really good.” –Mimi Montgomery Christmas Day; 12 noon - 3 p.m.; Moore Square, 200 S. Blount St. photograph by JILLIAN CLARK





here is no murky water under the bridge for Matthew Starr. “My goal is fishable, swimmable, drinkable water, which means my goal is to stop pollution from entering our surface water.” Starr is the Upper Neuse Riverkeeper, a role with the nonprofit Sound Rivers that he describes as “part investigator, part journalist, part enforcement. I wear a bunch of different hats, but at the end of the day it’s all about the voice for the river. I’m the voice for the river, and for the people and the environment in and around the river basin.” Starr grew up in northwest Raleigh and has early memories of playing in the creek behind his home. “I can remember my mom taking me out in summer rain storms to Lake Anne just off of Highway 70,” he says. “Playing as a kid fostered my awareness of public bodies of water. I’ve always been passionate about water.” After college, he entered the N.C. Army National Guard; when he returned from deployment in Iraq, he wanted to find a job with a purpose. He took an internship with the Neuse River Foundation – an organization that’s since become

Sound Rivers, a five-person team focused on preserving the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River watersheds – and never turned back. “I realized I wanted to be the voice of change, not just the voice of ‘Let’s do this because someone’s paying us to do it.’ I’d do this job for free, I feel so strongly about it.” What Starr feels most strongly about is reducing and ultimately eliminating water pollution. His priority is the northern part of the 248-mile-long Neuse River, a stretch that begins in Raleigh at Falls Lake, Raleigh’s main source of drinking water, and extends up to the Leonir-Wayne county line. There’s also the surrounding tributary creeks and streams, about 3,000 square miles of total river basin. Any given day for Starr might include paddling around coal ash ponds, responding to tips about pollution, or walking the shore of a tributary, where he’ll collect water samples and document observations. He turns what he sees into data, which he uses to collaborate with researchers and his Sound Rivers colleagues to advocate for environmental reform. This year, for example, he’s been heavily involved in seeking coal ash cleanup commitments

Learn more at


Ray Black III

Our Town

from Duke Energy, a movement that garnered national attention during the summer. “Everything we do has to get to the public,” Starr explains. “It’s not my water; it belongs to North Carolinians. They have to know about the issues. They have to know what’s going on with their body of water, and they have to be aware of the solutions and how they can help.” Starr backs out of his activistic urgency to reiterate the importance of nonpartisan small-scale reform, too. “This can be as simple as, when you’re walking, pick up trash. Because when it rains, it’s going to go into a storm drain or a local creek. It’s going to come back to you,” he says. Falls Lake, he points out, is Raleigh’s primary drinking water source. His advice resonated during Hurricane Matthew in October. The storm set flood records, causing Starr and his colleagues to “stop everything and focus on that. Documentation is crucial.” They paid close attention to where pollution increased during floods and also how the water flowed when it hit such depths. Now that water levels have subsided, Starr says the real work begins. “During the actual record-breaking flood, you’re not going to stop anything. Now, though, we can start the conversation. We’re seeing these larger storm events more frequently. How should that shift how we approach our floodplains? What do we need to move out of the floodway?” He says community awareness of shared waterways is the key to success, both in times of crisis and everyday, on a large-scale level and on a practical daily basis. “People that drive over the same bridge everyday, or that regularly walk past the same stream on the greenway – they know that body of water. If it doesn’t look right? If it doesn’t smell right? Call me. My job is to listen to you and figure out what your observation means for the long term.” –Jessie Ammons



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Our Town




aleigh gets top ranks for all kinds of things: education, employment, quality of life. Those of us who love it know that our city’s true value may be less measurable, but it’s no less real. It’s a spirit: an optimism, a cooperative yes-we-can attitude. It’s generosity. Nowhere was that more evident than on Fayetteville Street the Sunday after the most divisive election in modern memory, when 1,000 Raleighites, mostly strangers to one another, came together at tables that stretched from Morgan Street to Martin Street to break bread and raise money for Hurricane Matthew flood relief. In a $20-a-head event that came together in the matter of a couple of weeks and sold out in four days, top chefs

photographs by JULI LEONARD


cooked, three bands played, a gospel choir sang, and more than 300 people volunteered. Mayors from five communities affected by flooding came to say thanks, and more than $100,000 was raised for the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund. “I’ll tell you, from a down-Eastern North Carolina perspective, we’re very thankful and humbled for the generosity of the folks here in the Triangle,” said Kinston mayor B.J. Murphy, taking in the scene as it unfolded. At least 1,500 people stood with their hands to their hearts and sang the national anthem as a massive American flag wove from the extended ladder of a fire truck. Tables as long as the eye could see extended down Raleigh’s proudest street with centerpieces made of saplings – oaks and cedars donated by Worthington Farms in Greenville – for Murphy and other mayors to take home and plant. Participants said they were grateful for the opportunity to give back. Chef Jason Smith of 18 Seaboard got the call

Our Town




Our Town just a few days earlier: “We need help feeding 1,000 people on Sunday,” his friend Harris Vaughan told him. Partner at the public relations firm Eckel & Vaughan, Vaughan was working – volunteering – around the clock to put the event’s pieces together. Smith’s answer: Sign me up. “Eastern Carolina has been very good to us,” Smith said. “A lot of our suppliers from Eastern North Carolina were affected … and helping out like this is the kind of stuff we like to do.” He stood in his chef’s whites, ready to deliver 32 gallons of sweet potato slaw to help feed everyone there. He was in good company. More than 60 other local businesses, organizations, and churches also donated their services. They ranged from The Original Q Shack and Lucettegrace, which were among the other contributors to the barbeque supper, to the Lincoln Theatre, which donated the stage,

SPOTLIGHT and Flyboy Aerial Photography, whose founder, Travis Jack, captured it all from the air with a drone he operated (carefully) from the sidewalk. “This is true North Carolina compassion at work,” said Willa Kane, event co-chair and volunteer. “This was a tremendous outpouring of love and support for our neighbors, who need us now more than ever.” Kane, together with Joyce Kohn of the marketing firm Kohn Associates, Harris Vaughan, and Vaughan’s business partner Albert Eckel were the masterminds and maestros of the event. As the Shaw University gospel choir sang and hundreds of people took their seats, John Yates, rector at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, asked everyone to stand and hold hands. As he blessed the meal, the gathering, and the Eastern North Carolinians they were there to support, passers-by spontaneously stopped as well, joined hands with one another, and bowed their heads in prayer. –Liza Roberts



Every Woman Wants a Bailey Box Under the Tree

Raleigh’s Cameron Village and Crabtree Valley Mall Rocky Mount . Greenville


of a house





Spellings was inspired to get an Australian Labradoodle after meeting one owned by Mary Grant, chancellor of UNC-Asheville. The tree was cut down for her in the North Carolina mountains by Jeff Hill, who works for the University, and decorated by Steve Taras of Raleigh’s Watered Garden. She has given her grown daughters Mary and Grace the sterling silver ornaments to commemorate every Christmas. They will all be together at the house for the holidays.







photographs by CATHERINE NGUYEN

A LITTLE OVER A YEAR AGO, NEWLY ELECTED UNC PRESIDENT Margaret Spellings walked for the first time under the monumental portico of the 1907 Neoclassical house on Franklin Street that serves as the President’s home. As then-President Tom Ross and his wife Susan showed Spellings around, she realized she’d been offered a treasure. “I was thrilled to have the opportunity and honor to live in such a beautiful and historic home,” she says. With a dose of her vibrant, informal charm, respect for tradition, and some budget-minded DECEMBER/JANUARY 2016-17 | 67 DECEMBER/JANUARY 2016-17 | 67


In the foyer, a painting by Dallas artist Andrea Rosenberg lends a contemporary flair. Spellings is proud of her growing collection of North Carolina pottery, displayed in part on a living room wall. The vessel at the top is by Ben Owen; below it on the right is a gift from UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt; others were picked up on a visit to Seagrove and at Leland Little auction house. Spellings also has pieces from a summer visit to Penland with UNC Board of Governors chair Lou Bissette and his wife. In the living room, a painting by Joyce Howell hangs above the mantle. The painting of trees is by Jimpsie Ayres.

ingenuity, it has quickly become her own. To be sure, the 18th UNC President has had far more than her house to work on in her first year – she has stepped into a massive job leading the 225,000-student, 16-campus university system, navigating protestors and the controversial HB2 law as she traversed the state to get to know UNC’s students, its leaders, and its needs. She has backed tuition reform and spoken out in favor of access and diversity. Now that some of the dust has settled, Spellings says she’s settling into Chapel Hill. “It’s a small town,” she says. “You see the same people at the farmers market every Saturday … and people are very neighborly. I’ve enjoyed it.” Regular morning walks along Gimghoul Road, meals at restaurants like Lantern, Med Deli, and Acme, and a handful of thoughtful new friends have all conspired to plant her feet in the Tar Heel soil, she says. Needless to say, the house doesn’t hurt. The 8,800-square-foot President’s House, a campus landmark, was designed by Washington architect Frank P. Milburn, who designed a dozen other buildings on campus between 1898 and 1914. Unlike the others, the house was paid for by the state’s escheats fund, not with state-appropriated funds. It is a grand place, designed to showcase the University and the State, and ideal for entertaining. Spellings’ cosmetic changes, which she finished just in time for her October inauguration, have been paid for by the UNC Foundation. Individual donors including the Goodnight 68 | WALTER

and Kenan families also contributed. “We were very careful with our budget,” Spellings says.

At home in Chapel Hill

On a recent early winter morning, Spellings greeted guests to the historic house, freshly decorated for the holidays. Cradling Davie, her eight-week-old Australian Labradoodle (named for University founder William R. Davie), who arrived from a breeder in Greensboro just one day earlier, Spellings walked through gracious rooms that now feature her own furniture among the house’s existing antiques. Her collection of art brightens every room. Gathered over the years in the places she’s lived – including her home state of Texas, where she most recently ran the George W. Bush library; in Washington, D.C., where she served as U.S. Secretary of Education; and on her travels – the collection is comprised largely of female artists. It also now incorporates a beautiful array of North Carolina pottery. In addition to her art, paint and upholstery have lightened up her surroundings; the rearrangement of antiques and other furniture has opened up rooms; the house’s event space has become an off-duty family room, and the kitchen has been reconfigured. Now, “it looks like her,” says her daughter Mary, a Davidson graduate visiting for the weekend from her home in Washington, D.C., where she works at the U.S. Federal Reserve. (A younger daughter, Grace, is in graduate school in Texas.) DECEMBER/JANUARY 2016-17 | 69


This page, clockwise from top: Historic murals commissioned by former UNC President Dick Spangler have new frames to set them off as works of art. Spellings’ art collection includes pieces from her travels, like this portrait from a recent trip to Cuba. A series of portraits of historic University leaders including founder William R. Davie were moved from front rooms to line the hallway to the family room/event space beyond. “It’s an ancestral gallery,” Spellings says with a smile. Opposite, top: A beautiful rug and a Waterford chandelier, both donated by the Kenan family, bring a gracious elegance to the front hall. Raleigh floral designer Steve Taras decorated the tree. The sunroom, which was added to the house in 2012 when Tom Ross was president, serves as an event space. With the addition of lightweight, easily movable furniture, it also serves as a family room. The large rug, a donation from the Goodnight family, anchors the space. The piano was a gift from the Duke family.





This page, above: “This kitchen was changed a lot without a lot of construction,” Spellings says. Dark cabinets were painted, two islands were combined to make one, and a wall was opened to the adjacent family room. “Even the countertops are the same,” Spellings says. Three bowls by North Carolina potter Alexander Matisse, Henri Matisse’s great-grandson, sit on the counter. Opposite top: The kitchen’s adjacent family room features a series of portraits by artist Ellen Heck of Mark Twain, whose birthday Spellings shares. Bottom, right: A newly painted cabinet features more of Spellings’ collection of North Carolina pottery. Bottom, left: “This is my spot right here,” Spellings says of the comfortable study off the house’s wide central hall. “It’s so cozy, and on a scale more like a normal house.” A lithograph by famed Dallas artist David Bates hangs over the fireplace; books by UNC Press fill the bookshelves; a piece of Penland pottery anchors the coffee table.


A fleet of expert Raleighites helped. A runner from Betty Nelson of Eatman’s Carpets now graces the stairs; antiques were reupholstered by Chuck Bullock of Raleigh’s Rainbow Upholstery; curtains in the living room were made by Beth Pierce of Raleigh’s Pierce Designs and installed by Raleigh’s Lewis Midyette; wallpaper was installed by Robert Dubuque; faux finishes on furniture and on frames for the dining room’s historic murals were created by Raleighite Matt Mahler; and flowers and holiday decorations were created by Steve Taras of Raleigh’s Watered Garden. “Lots of locals,” Spellings says. “They all took such pride in working on the house,” adds Gincy Carosi, Spellings’ interior designer, who has also helped Spellings with houses in Washington and Texas. Carosi and Spellings also give special credit to Jeff Hill, who works on TUCKED IN the staff at UNC, for serving as a handsSpellings’ pottery collection extends to on maestro for all of the work. her bedroom’s built-in shelves. Through it all, Spellings says she was careful to honor the history of the house and to do as much as she could with what was in it. Fine antiques – like a valuable Queen Anne highboy, for instance – were moved to new spots. Other pieces were discovered in University storage and brought into the house to serve reconfigured needs. A lantern from an upstairs hall was moved down to a spot where one was needed; a set of charming painted chairs were brought up from the basement; historic murals in the dining room were given new frames to set them off as works of art. “We don’t want anyone thinking we’re coming in and ripping Scarlett O’Hara’s velvet drapes down,” says designer Carosi. “We repurposed almost everything.” Small totems of Spellings’ career are evident throughout the house. In an upstairs sitting room, a “love note from the end of the administration from my former boss,” George W. Bush, reads, in part: “You have left your mark in history … Godspeed, my friend.” “You, yes you” reads a discreet painted sign on a shelf. Framed Texas botanicals from the Bush library line a guest room wall; Bush family Christmas cards from several years decorate a wall on an upstairs landing. “Well behaved women rarely make history,” attests a little sign off the kitchen. It all looks and feels like Spellings. But the house’s history and her predecessors are never far from her mind. She credits the Rosses for overseeing the addition of the indispensible event space at the back of the house, for instance, says she loves entertaining with Meredith Spangler’s Herend china, and is grateful for the other donations over many years that have helped make the house a showplace – as well as a home she is delighted to share with daughters Mary and Grace when they visit. Spellings has already begun to welcome the community in as well, hosting Sunday salon suppers including an evening that featured N.C. Central jazz musicians. Student government groups, faculty Senate leaders, and others are all slated for events in the near future. “I really want to use the house to feature wonderful things about the University,” she says. “I love to entertain. I want to get to know people, and I want them to get to know me.”


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of a hunt


H O!

It’s foxhunting season with the

Red Mountain Hounds



by P. GAYE TAPP photographs by GEOFF WOOD

IT WAS A PERFECT DAY FOR RIDER, HORSE, AND HOUND AT THE OPENING meet of Red Mountain Hounds foxhunting club. Bracing weather and fall colors made a beautiful backdrop as lovers of the sport gathered for the first official day of the season at Quail Roost Farm in Rougemont, north of Durham.

“There’s a saying among experienced fox hunters: Some hunt to ride, some ride to hunt,” says Greg Hoit, an experienced foxhunter and member of the Red Mountain Hounds. Established in 1969, the club began as an offshoot of Triangle Hunt, which in the mid-1960s hunted at Horseshoe Acres at the edge of Umstead Park. Today the club, 60 members strong, hunts in the Rougemont area with PennMarydel foxhounds, which are known for their nose and voice and considered more suited to the dense woodlands of central North Carolina than their English counterpart. Their voice, or “hound music,” is a glorious full cry as they run over field and wood in pursuit of their quarry’s scent. “The fox is still the focus of the sport,” says Hoit, “al-


THE BLESSING The tradition of The Blessing of the Hounds dates to the eighth century’s Saint Hubert, patron saint of hunters. While hunting, he had a vision of a stag with a crucifix lodged in its antlers. This led him to release the stag, and then dedicate his life to the church, establishing a monastery where he bred hounds. ear our humble prayer, O God, for all animals, especially those in whose companionship we find joy and help. We entreat for them Thy mercy and pity, and for those who deal with them, we ask a heart of compassion, gentle hands, and kindly words. Make us all to be true friends of animals and to share the blessing of the merciful, for the sake of Thy Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen. Bless, O Lord, riders and horses that run in the running. Bless and shield these riders from danger to life and limb. May Thy children who ride and Thy creatures who carry come to the close of the day unhurt. Bless those over whose lands we hunt, and grant that no deed of ours may cause their owner hurt or trouble. Bless all creatures who partake in this hunt, and grant that they may find their true destiny under God. Bless these hounds to our use and their lowly part in Thy service. O God, who sanctifieth all things by Thy Word, pour down Thy blessing on their Thy servants and horses, and their hounds; to all who shall take part in this hunt, grant protection of body and soul. Grant that the true sportsmanship may prevail in all we do this day through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Unto God’s gracious mercy and protection we commit you. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. The Lord, lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace, this day and evermore, Amen.


Clockwise from left: Huntsman Andrew Daly jumps with his horse Duchess and the hounds; PennMarydel hound Reckless; Doug Davis leads The Blessing of the Hounds before the hunt.

though in our area and much of the United States, the coyotes are displacing the foxes. So many times it’s a coyote we’re chasing.” On opening day of the season (which runs from November to March), the club’s members wear formal riding attire and perform The Blessing of the Hounds. Indeed, the traditions of the hunt are longstanding, and Red Mountain Hounds is steeped in these protocols, set forth by the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America. Most members wear black boots and hunt coats, while Masters, Huntsman, and a few esteemed members wear scarlet coats. All can wear the Red Mountain Hounds’ colors on the collar and lapel, which are scarlet with hunter green piping, if awarded those colors by the club; otherwise their coats must be black and their riding breeches must be buff. Riders with scarlet coats, for their part, wear white breeches and brown-topped black boots. A white shirt is worn under all hunt coats, as is a white stock tie with a gold pin. “It’s not haute couture, it’s functional,” says Hoit. “Along with the pin, the stock tie



ORIGINS AND TERMS Tally Ho! (quoted from the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America) “The halloo when anyone sees the quarry, and only then; if desirable to halloa it loudly. Field members do not use tally ho or halloa when riding the field. They report the sighting to the Masters.” Colors (quoted from the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America) “Every hunt has their particular color. This color is worn on their collar and lapel when wearing scarlet. When hunting in formal attire, riders have either scarlet or black coats, but the colors on their collar are always the same. Only members who have been awarded colors can wear that color on their coats. Members without colors must wear a plain black coat. When a member has been awarded their colors, it is considered an honor acknowledging them as full status members of the hunt. Once awarded colors, they must wear hunt buttons on any coat with colors.” Pinks (quoted from the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America) “A term used to describe the red or scarlet hunt coat. Originated from a fable of a tailor whose last name was Mr. Pinque, who supposedly made the first red hunt coats. People started calling red coats pinks after the tailor and it caught on. Maybe this came about because some red coats bleach out to pink after enough use, or it was a name-dropping trend for those in the know. The correct term is red or scarlet.”

Top row from left: Horses’ manes are braided nice and neat; Hounds await the sound of the Huntsman’s voice, but leave time for their adoring fans; Gabrielle Engel tacks up her horse; Steve Long adjusts Jim Hayward’s stock tie. Second row from left: Riders set off on the hunt; RMH Hunstman Drew Daly; Richard Moore and Marianne Chulay host guests on the Tally Ho wagon. Bottom row from left: Greg Hoit, an experienced foxhunter from Wake Forest, and new member Justin Boyle of Apex; A stirrup cup of Port is served to riders before the hunt begins; Riders stop at the Tally Ho wagon for refreshments. DECEMBER/JANUARY 2016-17 | 83


Above: Huntsman Drew can be used a bandage or sling if rider or horse is Daly leads the hounds into injured.” Safety helmets are covered in velvet. the hunt territory along Overseeing it all is the club’s Huntsman, Drew with four assistants called Whipper-Ins, who help keep Daly, who began his career with Red Mountain Hounds as Kennelman. As Huntsman, he must care the pack together. Below: The barns of Quail Roost for and train the hounds, and lead them in the field Farm. with the assistance of his Whipper-Ins, who help direct the hounds and act as scouts during the hunt. While there are also several Joint Masters of Foxhounds who oversee the hunt, it’s the Huntsman who carries the hunting horn that communicates with the pack and riders. It’s all makes for a beautiful spectacle. The club invites spectators to attend the opening meet, which typically lasts two to three hours and offers a Tally Ho wagon that provides refreshments and a front-row seat. The wagon is also a fundraiser for the club, says Raleighite Richard Moore, a member since 2001 who enjoys the sport’s camaraderie and exhilaration. The club makes a point of reaching out to new members. Justin Boyle of Apex began his second season foxhunting this fall. After taking part in the club’s Hunter Paces, which are competitive rides on trails designed to imitate the exhilaration of an actual foxhunt, he decided to participate in a hunt and found his horse, Cowboy, to be a natural at the sport. After a morning’s hunt, the Red Mountain members gather for a hearty breakfast. Always referred to as breakfast no matter the time of day, the meal allows the riders to relax, relive the day’s hunt, or reminisce about their exploits from past hunts. Whether they are Cubbing, which is the term for hunting prior to the season’s opening; holding Hunter Pace competitions; or dancing at the club’s formal Hunt Ball, all involved say that camaraderie is the real draw. Red Mountain Hounds has that in abundance.

at the





THE MENU The tradition of brunch after a hunt, no matter the time of day, is as old as the hunt itself.

Sweet potato biscuits with country ham Pimento cheese and bacon jam with toasted French bread rounds Bacon and Gruyere crustless quiche squares Upside-down French toast casserole Shrimp and grits pie Asparagus, cherry tomato, and feta salad

Brunch. it's a tradition most food historians agree is as old as the 19th-century English field sport of foxhunting. Today, brunch is a hearty midday meal perfect for gathering friends and family to linger and enjoy each other's company. Inspired by the grand breakfasts that followed the hunt, Walter visited the elegant home of John Hardy and Del Hannah, owners of antiques and interiors shop Trends 'n Traditions, to gather a sumptuous feast of sweet and savory dishes. With contributions from Houston Loper of HL Catering Company, Tudi Jackson of Ladyfingers, and local chef Lee Fleming, a menu came together featuring several make-ahead dishes, all sure to prove useful over the holidays as out-of-town guests arrive hungry and ready to celebrate.



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roksanda rosie assoulin self-Portrait the woods fine jewelry ulla johnson


3 sweet potatoes, roasted then peeled and mashed, or 3 cups of canned, mashed sweet potatoes 3 packages dry yeast ¾ cup warm water 7 ½ cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 tablespoon salt 1 ½ cups sugar 1 ½ cups shortening 1 stick butter 1 cup packed brown sugar 1-2 pounds shaved country ham Combine yeast and warm water in a small bowl, stir to dissolve yeast, then let stand for 5 minutes. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the mixing bowl for a standing mixer. Using the pastry hook attachment to standing mixer, cut in the shortening to the dry ingredients. Add the sweet potatoes and yeast mixture, then mix on low until all the ingredients are combined. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight. On a lightly floured surface, roll out refrigerated dough to ½-inch thick, then cut with 1- or 2-inch round cutter, depending on biscuit size preference. Place on ungreased baking sheets, cover, and let rise in warm place until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake risen dough rounds for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting in half. In a saucepan, melt together butter and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved. Spread mixture on both cut sides of the biscuits, then fill each biscuit with country ham. Wrap biscuits by the dozen in aluminum foil and freeze until day of use. To serve, preheat oven to 350 degrees, then bake inside the aluminum foil for 20 minutes or until hot all the way through. Serve warm.

9 1 9 .7 8 7. 9 7 8 0

1 loaf Italian bread, cut into 1-inch thick slices 1 cup packed brown sugar 1 stick butter 2 tablespoons light corn syrup 5 eggs 1 ½ cups milk 1 teaspoon vanilla Grease a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. In a saucepan, melt together brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup, then pour into baking dish. Arrange slices of bread on top of brown sugar mixture so that the bread fits tightly. Beat together eggs, milk, and vanilla, then evenly pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake refrigerated dish for 30 minutes. To serve, cut out slices and invert individual servings onto plates, so

the side with the sugar is up. HL CATERING PIMENTO CHEESE AND BACON JAM WITH TOASTED FRENCH BREAD ROUNDS For pimento cheese: 4 cups cheddar cheese, finely shredded 8 ounces cream cheese, softened ¾ cup mayonnaise 4-ounce jar diced pimentos, drained 1 tablespoon Sriracha 1 teaspoon granulated garlic Salt and pepper to taste Make pimento cheese: With an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese, then add cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos, and spices, and mix until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks. For bacon jam: 1 package regular cut bacon, diced 1 large sweet onion, diced ½ cup packed brown sugar ½ can Coca-Cola Salt, pepper, and granulated garlic to taste 1 loaf French bread, thinly sliced Olive oil, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic to taste (for toast) Make bacon jam: In a sauté pan, cook bacon over medium heat until thoroughly cooked and crispy, being careful not to overcook. Remove the bacon and set aside, then drain the bacon grease. In the same pan, cook down the onions until caramelized, stirring frequently, for about 5-8 minutes until translucent. Deglaze the pan of onions with the Coca-Cola and add brown sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add the cooked bacon, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until mixture thickens to a jam consistency. This can be served room temperature or warm, and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. In a bowl, drizzle slices of French bread with olive oil. Add salt, pepper, and granulated garlic to taste, and toss until evenly coated. Lay on sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees until crisp, about 10 minutes. These should be made no more than the day before serving. To serve all three together: The pimento cheese and bacon jam can be displayed in separate serving dishes, or as a layered dip, or as a cheese ball with the pimento cheese as the base and topped with the bacon jam. Serve with the French bread rounds. LEE FLEMING'S ASPARAGUS, CHERRY TOMATO, AND FETA SALAD 2 pounds of asparagus 10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved 8-ounce block of feta, crumbled Snap asparagus in two and discard tough bottom ends. Dice asparagus into three or four one-and-a-half-inch pieces. Cook in salted, slow-boiling water for about 90 seconds until

crisp -tender. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Toss asparagus and tomatoes with homemade balsamic dressing in a bowl, and let marinate for 6 hours or longer. Right before serving, mix in crumbled feta, leaving a little to garnish on top. For dressing: 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper ⅔ cup olive oil In a jar, combine mustard and balsamic vinegar and shake well. Add salt, pepper, and olive oil and shake well again. LEE FLEMING’S BACON AND GRUYERE CRUSTLESS QUICHE SQUARES ½ cup melted butter 10 eggs ½ cup flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper 10 slices of crisply cooked bacon, roughly chopped 1 pound shredded Gruyere 2 cups small curd cottage cheese Melt butter and allow to cool. Meanwhile, whisk

eggs in a large bowl. Add the melted butter that has been cooled for a couple of minutes. Mix in remaining ingredients and pour into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish coated with nonstick spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 15 - 20 more minutes, until middle is firm and set and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 15 -20 minutes before cutting into 12 serving-size squares. This is good warm and also at room temperature. It can also be cooked the day before and slowly reheated for serving the next day. LADYFINGERS SHRIMP AND GRITS PIE 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 1 tablespoon bacon drippings 4 tablespoons scallions, chopped 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon dry white wine ¼ cup grits 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 3 slices bacon, crumbled ¾ pound sliced mushrooms 2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 tablespoon Texas Pete hot sauce Salt and pepper, to taste ½ cup sour cream One pie crust Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sauté shrimp in bacon drippings with salt and pepper, half of the lemon juice, half of the Texas Pete, and 1 tablespoon of the garlic for 1 minute. Set aside. Sauté mushrooms in leftover bacon drippings and add salt and pepper to taste, then add remaining garlic and wine. When wine has cooked off, add remaining Texas Pete and lemon juice. Set aside. Boil 1 cup water with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in grits and slowly bring to a boil, remove from heat, and stir for 10-15 minutes. Stir in sour cream and ¾ cup of the cheese. Pour grits into aerated pie crust. Top with shrimp, mushrooms, remaining cheese, bacon crumbles, and chopped scallions. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or freeze for up to a month. For more information: HL Catering Ladyfingers Lee Fleming Trends 'n Traditions


Nose so BRIGHT



Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Who hasn’t empathized with that fabled creature of holiday lore at one point or another? Whether you were teased by the Dashers and Dancers of the playground or weren’t allowed to join in any reindeer games, we’ve all had moments of feeling a little different from the herd.

But the good thing about Rudolph’s story – and the holidays in general – is that it’s all about celebration. Celebrating our good fortune, celebrating our gifts, and celebrating the people and environments that love us and make us who we are. At this time of year, that spirit is alive and well at Raleigh’s beloved Angus Barn. Towering evergreens glow with thousands of lights, wreaths and garlands hang from every eave, rows of Nutcrackers stand at attention, and all of Raleigh lines up to join in. Amidst the festive interior, it feels like everyone is part of one big, cozy family. The restaurant’s Wild Turkey Lounge is where the grownups come together. It’s a festive nook for dinner or drinks, or a spot for a cocktail while waiting for a table. With the


photographs by MISSY MCLAMB

world’s largest private collection of Wild Turkey decanters, it’s a worth a visit. This winter, there’s even more incentive to stop by: The lounge’s bartenders crafted a holiday cocktail just for Walter readers. Aptly named (you guessed it) “The Rudolph,” the drink is an homage to our spirited four-legged friend. Crown Royal apple whisky and ginger cola make up the body of the drink, and a maraschino cherry is the perfect red-nosed garnish. Sure, we’re not hauling around a mythical man from the North Pole or landing on roofs at midnight, but I think we could all learn a little something from old Rudolph. Polish those red noses and let ’em glow, people – the holidays are a time to celebrate and spread cheer, no matter what color your nose.

It’s the time of year when everyone’s having a Conniption.

9401 Glenwood Ave.;; for reservations call 919-781-2444

Bartender Christian Ulrich

THE RUDOLPH From the Wild Turkey Lounge at The Angus Barn Copper mug Crushed ice Dash of Angostura bitters Dash of mint-infused simple syrup 1 ¼ ounces Crown Royal Regal Apple Whisky Pepsi 1893 Ginger Cola Maraschino cherries Fill copper mug with crushed ice. Add dash of Angostura bitters and mint-infused simple syrup, then add Crown Royal whisky. Top with Pepsi 1893 Ginger Cola and stir. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and serve.

Decorated with nine international awards, Conniption is the world’s top-rated Navy Strength gin and the pride of Durham Distillery, recently named as USA Today’s No. 2 Gin Distillery. Conniption gins offer a botanical twist on traditional distillation methods for a balance of art and science. Shake up your holiday with the Conniption of your choice: Navy Strength or American Dry. For details and recipes, visit

WALTER profile



ODYSSEY Lou Moshakos’s restaurant empire



photographs by CHRISTOPHER T. MARTIN

On an unusually warm autumn day, Lou Moshakos is inspecting tomatoes. A shipment has just arrived at Taverna Agora, his Greek restaurant on Hillsborough Street, and he wants to make sure they’re up to par. Moshakos flips them over in his hand while chefs, waiters, and hostesses orbit in the pre-lunch frenzy. He sets the tomatoes down – they’re not good enough. He tells his kitchen crew to order a better batch before serving guests. “Small things are so important,” Moshakos says.


They’re a big part of his success. LM Restaurants, Inc., the Raleigh-based company Moshakos founded with a Florida seafood restaurant in 1978, today boasts 35 restaurants and 2,000 employees throughout the Southeast. They include his popular Carolina Ale House chain and the Wilmington-area restaurants Bluewater Grill, Oceanic, Henry’s Restaurant and Bar, and Hops Supply Co. He also has an import business, Flying Olive Farms, which brings in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustards, wines, and Mastiqua water from Greece, which can be found in local Whole Foods, Wegmans, Southern Season, and more. Moshakos, a Greek immigrant who moved to Raleigh in 1992, will tell you that attention to detail is responsible for his success. His peers agree. “You can get away so quickly from keeping the main things the main things, but Lou Moshakos never forgets that,” says his friend and fellow restaurateur Steve Thanhauser, co-owner of The Angus Barn. “He’s great for our industry and our community, and he’s the real deal.” Moshakos says hard work and family have also been vital to his success. His wife, Joy, works beside him, keeping track of the details that make his vision real. Their daughter, Amber, is the company’s vice president, their daughter Chantal works in corporate affairs, and another daughter, Crystal, works with the imports. Amber’s husband recently joined the guest relations team, and Crystal’s husband assists with construction. Three grandchildren round out the formidable group. Nothing could make Moshakos prouder. Over a plate piled full of calamari, fresh pita, tzatziki, spicy feta spread, and hummus at Taverna Agora, the man friends call Papa Lou is at home. He mentions working and celebrating as if they’re one and the same: “In Greece, all we do is eat, drink, and party,” says the native. 94 | WALTER

STAYING TRUE TO HIS ROOTS Above: Lou Moshakos and wife, Joy, ring the bell from the original Seafood Shanty; below: Moshakos visits children at the employee daycare in the LM Restaurants headquarters; opposite, clockwise from top: Moshakos surveys Vidrio construction; consulting with daughter and LM Restaurants Vice President Amber; Vidrio will have 50 wines on tap and offer Mediterranean-style shared plates.

“We are very hospitable people … I come from a smaller village (where) everybody knows everybody.” The village he lives in now includes his company headquarters on Chapel Hill Road and his many local restaurants in and around Raleigh. It’s a remarkable place to land after a life lived between three countries, with multiple businesses, steep learning curves, and hardships along the way. But as he settles into a chair on Taverna Agora’s upstairs patio, Moshakos says it’s all been worth it.


Elbows on the table, his blues eyes scrunch up over his saltand-pepper mustache as he thinks, talks, and shares. A pair of silver-and-gold fountain pens stick out of his button-down’s front pocket, where the outline of his ever-present Tic Tac box is visible. “I (have done) a lot in my life,” he says thoughtfully. “I’ve not realized how much I’ve done.”

Big dreams

Moshakos was born in Lykovrysi, a small Greek village, to parents who were farmers. His family was “middle-poor,” he says, and as a young child his father was away fighting in the Greek civil war, for which he was awarded a medal.

ly), you missed the spot,” Moshakos says. Craving adventure and better opportunities, at age 18 Moshakos moved to live with a cousin in Montreal. He’d never left home, never been on an airplane, and couldn’t speak a word of English or French. He landed Dec. 1, 1964, and “I didn’t know where the hell I was going,” he says. “I didn’t have heavy clothes … we unload, and the damn cold was so cold – I couldn’t even explain how cold it was.” Moshakos started washing dishes in his cousins’ barbecue restaurant, making $17 a week and working 12-15 hour days, six days a week. At first, the homesickness was unbearable – he just

Moshakos credits the success to his core ethics: “It was nothing but quality, value, and service.” It’s a line he repeats often, and it’s clearly sacred scripture within the LM Restaurants community. Moshakos walked to school every day until sixth grade, at which point students graduated from the local school. There wasn’t enough money to send Moshakos to another village to continue his schooling, so at 13 he left school to work alongside his parents at the farm. Several times a week, the industrious young Moshakos would load a mule and horse with the produce they’d grown and leave the village by 1 a.m., walking through the mountains to set up a market stall in another village by 4 a.m. “If you weren’t there (ear-

wanted to make enough money to buy a ticket back to Greece. “It hit me like a brick,” he says. “You don’t speak the language, total different culture – it was tough. But, you know, you get up and you say, ‘OK, tough day today, start tomorrow fresh.’ So you keep on pushing and you keep on going.” It got better: Moshakos was promoted to working in the kitchen, then waiting tables. He began learning French (“I was hanging out with French girls,” he says with a laugh), and eventu-

The attractively designed square and linear shapes of the Svevo sofa have been created by architects Manzoni and Tapinassi. Svevo is inspired by typical 50’s proportions, but designed in a light and dynamic model.


ally English. And he was still as entrepreneurial as ever. Moshakos knew folks in the commercial cleaning business and decided to open a similar company of his own. The Royal Bank of Canada lent him money for a station wagon, a vacuum cleaner, and a mop bucket. The cleaning company Moshakos founded with that modest investment went on to become the second-largest cleaning company in Montreal, employing 465 people cleaning high-rise office buildings. “(I) worked very hard to get there … worked seven days a week,” he says. “I was out working continuously and partying all the time.” During this time, Moshakos’s first marriage ended in divorce. But in 1975, he met his wife Joy at a Montreal nightclub, and they were married two years later. Upon returning from their Hawaiian honeymoon, Moshakos discovered his business partner had stolen everything from him. Devastated, he started another cleaning company, but it just wasn’t the same. So after 14 years in Montreal, he and Joy decided it was time to relocate. They figured it might as well be somewhere warm. Greece was out of the question, so in 1978, they landed in Boca Raton, Fla. “After we spent a day there, we said this is it. No need to go anywhere else.” A lack of high-rises in the area, though, meant a cleaning business was out. But a call from a broker informing him that a Deerfield Beach seafood restaurant was for sale intrigued him. He checked it out, but the numbers seemed too good to be true. So he rented a car from Hertz, sat outside the restaurant, and recorded each person who went in – two lines for a couple, a short line for a kid. At the end of the day, he went inside, grabbed a menu, and

multiplied the number of customers by the average meal price. The numbers seemed right, so Moshakos decided to go for it. The Seafood Shanty opened for business under Moshakos’s ownership in 1978, with Joy in the kitchen and Moshakos up front shucking clams and oysters. In 90 days, the place was so busy people were waiting in line to get in. Moshakos credits the success to his core ethics: “It was nothing but quality, value, and service.” It’s a line he repeats often, and it’s clearly sacred scripture within the LM Restaurants community. “I still believe in that … those are the three things you have to have.” Moshakos’s commitment to honest, excellent service is renowned among his peers. “He’s one of the few people on this earth (where) if he gives you his word, his word is as good as anything on the planet,” says Thanhauser. “If he shakes your hand on something, it will happen.” And his business continued to grow: In 1981 the Moshakoses opened a second Seafood Shanty location, and in 1984 a third (later renamed Amber’s Seafood after their first daughter). A fine dining restaurant, Rose Garden, followed in 1987. He eventually sold them all, and the family went on a 90-day vacation to Greece. “(It was) the only time in my life I had nothing to do,” Moshakos says. “I went crazy. I really went crazy.” Moshakos realized he had to work. So he became a partner in a string of fast-casual restaurants, Miami Subs. They all did so well that his business partner asked him to expand the chain further north. And so Moshakos did just that.

A home in Raleigh

After the family made several scouting trips throughout the

The Junior League of Raleigh invites you to


JANUARY 5-7, 2017



January 5

January 6

January 7

January 7

ROCK THE BALL l i n c o l n t h e At r e


GALA PRESENTATION n.c. stAte university reynolds coliseum

N.C. GOVERNOR’S INAUGURAL BALL n.c. stAte university tAlley student union


event proceeds benefit the

Junior leAgue



And its community progrAms










Tryon & Kildaire Farm Road in Cary

Southeast for new locations, they settled on Raleigh. It just felt right. “This is a place that is so friendly,” Moshakos says. “People are really true people here.” Moshakos takes in the open air and music drifting through the Taverna Agora patio. Sitting in his expansive Greek restaurant, life for Moshakos has come full circle. It may look idyllic, but getting here wasn’t easy. In 1992, when he first arrived in Raleigh, Moshakos opened a Miami Subs on Western Boulevard. More soon followed. Within four years, he owned 10 Miami Subs from Raleigh to Wake Forest to Greenville. But when the company changed executive ownership, he decided it was time to develop projects of his own again. Inspiration struck at London’s Gatwick airport, on a layover to Greece. Joy took the girls to a McDonald’s in the terminal, while Moshakos went to the Shakespeare Ale House. He sat down, had a couple beers, and by the time he met back with the girls, he knew he wanted to open a Raleigh ale house. His first Carolina Ale House opened in 1999 in a former Creekside Drive Chinese restaurant. At first, things did not

Raleigh just felt right. “This is a place that is so friendly,” Moshakos says. “People are really true people here.” go as planned. The location wasn’t right, and people were unfamiliar with the concept of an ale house – was it a bar or a restaurant? Moshakos wasn’t deterred: He worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week to make it work. They still lost close to half a million dollars the first year. But he refused to give up. Slowly but surely, the numbers started to improve. He opened a Cary location in 2002, and one in North Raleigh in 2003. Today there are 30 Carolina Ale Houses in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas. Moshakos is the first to say that he hasn’t done it alone. When his daughter Amber graduated from N.C. State and decided to apply to medical school, Moshakos convinced her to work for him for a year; if she hated it, he told her, she could become a doctor. She stayed, working four years with her father before heading to Cornell for a masters in hospitality. Today, she is vice president of LM Restaurants. Her father isn’t surprised. Amber was practically born in a restaurant, Moshakos points out. She used to drink virgin strawberry daiquiris in front of the live bands, and for her 5th birthday party at the restaurant, instead of a clown, Moshakos put lobsters to sleep in front of her friends. Restaurants got to her early, but business did, too. “I am very entrepreneurial in my blood,” Amber says. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Contributing to their community and to education also runs in the family. “You’ve got to give something back, you can’t always take,” Moshakos says. The family is involved with the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, the YMCA, and various local Greek festivals; Joy and Amber give

out four annual scholarships to N.C. State College of Education. And at work, Moshakos ensures his employees have the educational opportunities he didn’t have. Student servers are told to prioritize class schedules over work schedules, and many of his servers have become doctors, lobbyists, and attorneys. All this leads to a very busy schedule. When asked what Moshakos does in his spare time, he laughs. What spare time? He gets a deadpan look on his face when asked if he’ll ever retire: “When I die,” he says, “inside of a restaurant.”

The next step

With all the ups and downs of the restaurant business, why does Moshakos continue to do it? ”A lot of people ask me that,” he says. “I love what I do. I love people, I love excitement, I love to create.” His daughter agrees. “If I had to boil it down to one word, he’s incredibly passionate,” Amber says. “He loves his work, so it’s not work. It’s just his life, and it’s our family’s life.” That spark, grit, and gratitude got Moshakos here. He became a U.S. citizen some 20 years ago, and he’ll never forget how hard he worked for it all. When he left Greece, “He came as a new immigrant with his eyes open and saw opportunity everywhere,” says wife Joy. “He looks at everything still like that … Every day is an opportunity for him.” Taking nothing for granted means Moshakos is able to zero in on a project with precision. When he steps into the construction space of his new Mediterranean restaurant, Vidrio, slated to open this month in Glenwood South, he’s hyper-focused. The place is modern and sophisticated – Greek wood adorns bars, 30-foot ceilings boast rope chandeliers, and Greek tiles line multiple stories – but Moshakos is fixated on what needs fixing. He feels the sides of kitchen appliances, inspecting – a counter needs to be rearranged for extra grill space; some kitchen knobs aren’t installed correctly. He speaks rapidly in Greek, making suggestions and gesticulating wildly. Moshakos thrives on these details, and soon, there will be many more. In 2018, he’s opening two huge, multimillion-dollar restaurants in Florida. They’re both under development, but at least one will seat around 500 people and include huge outdoor patios, rooftop decks, and ocean views. Moshakos will be so busy with them, in fact, that he’ll decamp to Florida full-time until they’re complete. That’s all right with him – he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done correctly. And it’s just another reminder of where he’s been and what he’s accomplished. “They say life moves in circles,” he says. “I’m going back to my roots (in Florida)!” But this time, he’s returning with a business empire – one built on patience, faith, and hard work.

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Putting on the North Carolina Governor’s Inaugural Ball: A CO-CHAIR’S DIARY

Robert Willett


The 1985 gubernatorial ball for Gov. Jim Martin, shown here with wife Dorothy, was the last held in Reynolds Coliseum at N.C. State University.


It’s early November 2016, days before the gubernatorial election – which nobody yet knows will be contested even after election day – and Jennie Hayman, fellow Junior League of Raleigh member and unofficial keeper of all things N.C. Governor’s Inaugural Ball, doesn’t mince words when she tells me what’s ahead. “You’ll never work as hard in your life as you will from the day after the election until the ball,” she says. My stomach churns. “I shouldn’t be telling you that,” she confides. “But it’s the truth.” I’m not all that surprised. I’ve been working toward this moment for more than two years. The fact that the election’s results will be contested

(and still unresolved by press time) will be just one more massive, time-sensitive hurdle to navigate. We’ll end up having to come up with a plan A, plan B, and – gulp – a plan C. Because we know there will be a Ball, no matter what. August 23, 2014

Over coffee, Kathryn West, the then-incoming Junior League of Raleigh president, sets this journey in motion. Will you be a co-chair of the Inaugural Ball? Me? Yes, you. I think you can do this. In the Junior League world, chairing the Inaugural Ball, the Junior League of Raleigh’s biggest community fundraiser and oldest tradition, is a true honor. The League has hosted nearly every governor’s Inaugural Ball since 1933, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to do amazing work, including creating the child-abuse prevention agency SAFEchild and helping the Boys & Girls Clubs grow. An honor, indeed. But the price? Untold hours planning up to DECEMBER/JANUARY 2016-17 | 101

Ray Black III

Co-chairs Samantha Hatem, Melissa Hayes, Whitney von Haam, and Astra Ball outside of Reynolds Coliseum at N.C. State. Opposite: Catherine Williams, 1985 Inaugural Ball decorations co-chair, arranges flowers.

seven distinct Inaugural Ball events, managing up to 400 volunteers and navigating roadblocks, hurt feelings, leadership changes, and political uncertainties. Think it over, West says.

organized, resourceful women who soon become “volunteer wives,” confidants on anything from raising children to career paths. We quickly gel, take charge of our respective areas, and become serial group texters.

Nov. 14, 2014

Dec. 16, 2014

I reach out to one of the 2013 ball chairs, Liza Roney. Any advice? I’m thinking about doing this. She doesn’t sugarcoat it. “My work suffered. My family suffered. I questioned whether the two-year commitment was worth it.” It wasn’t until she got off the stage at the gala presentation that night of the Inaugural Ball that she realized what an amazing sense of accomplishment it was. You’ll hear it frequently from Junior League members who have accepted daunting leadership roles. They didn’t realize what they were capable of until the Junior League pushed them. At its core, the League is a training organization. In my ten League years, I’ve had opportunities I never got in my job as a newspaper reporter. Ask for donations, run a silent auction, create budgets, speak in front of 300 people, execute social media strategies, edit a website, manage a BackPack Buddies program, lead training sessions, publish a magazine, write press releases, manage an event space. I know the League had trained me for this new challenge. I tell West I’m in.

Nov. 19, 2014

Thankfully, my three other co-chairs are in, too: Astra Ball, Whitney von Haam, and Melissa Hayes, three ridiculously smart, 102 | WALTER

It’s not easy finding space for a 5,000-person fundraiser in the Triangle. We learn that the hard way when we find out that we can’t have the ball at the Raleigh Convention Center, where the balls have been held since 1989, back when the Convention Center was the Civic Center. It turns out the Convention Center is already booked for Jan. 7, 2017. Over lunch, we fret as we tick off possible alternatives. PNC Arena? James B. Hunt Library? DPAC? The answer, though, is right there in our history. Before the ball moved to the Raleigh Civic Center, it was held at Reynolds Coliseum and Talley Student Union at N.C. State. We’re talking spectacular Inaugural Balls, like the one in 1977 for Gov. Jim Hunt, where some say a whopping 11,000 guests showed up. In 1985, nearly 8,000 people toasted newly elected Gov. Jim Martin. About 6,000 attendees showed in 1965 at the first ball at Reynolds celebrating Gov. Dan K. Moore.

Jan. 21, 2015

During a hard-hat tour of Reynolds and Talley, then in full renovation mode, we know it is time to go back to our roots. In truth, the League never wanted to leave N.C. State to begin with.

everyone thought Bowles would win and the League wouldn’t be throwing a ball that year. But when Flo Winston, co-chair of the ’73 ball, woke the next morning to news that Holshouser had won, she and co-chair Jane Rogers, in a state of shock, scrambled to put one together in just six weeks. “It took everybody we knew helping,” Winston recalls. “Even our kids pitched in. It was fantastic how many people asked us how they could help. It was crazy, but it was fun.”

Jan. 31, 2016

We’ve got wine, chocolate, and a list of 200 League members interested in 47 leadership spots on the Inaugural Ball team. It’s going to be a long Sunday night.

April 28, 2016

A champagne toast at our first full team meeting and a pop quiz: What other Junior League hosts its state’s Inaugural Ball? None! The Raleigh League is the only one crazy, err – talented enough to pull it off! Who else can plan and execute seven events, including a rock concert and a one-hour televised presentation with up to three musical acts, spread over three days, with an army of 400 volunteers, in-between an election and the holiday season? “I’m convinced that there is no other organization that has the woman power, the experience, and the expertise to put on something of this magnitude,” Hayman says.

Robert Willett

Sept. 30, 2016

Among seasoned Junior Leaguers, there’s a well-known story about why we moved to the Convention Center, involving the late N.C. State men’s basketball coach Jim Valvano and Mary Brent Wright, the League president, during the 1989 ball. Just months before the Inaugural Ball was set to happen, Valvano called her to say he didn’t care who it was, “No one would be dancing on his gym floor,” Brent recalls. The ’89 ball date conflicted with a nationally televised basketball game against Temple University. “We had to find somewhere else for the ball,” Brent says. The Convention Center it was. And that wasn’t the first time League volunteers had to hustle to pull off a ball. In 1972, before the election, Democrat Skipper Bowles said he didn’t want to have a ball, but Republican Jim Holshouser did. Since there hadn’t been a Republican governor in decades,

One of the League’s shining moments came in 1993, when proceeds from the ball were used to create the child-abuse prevention agency SAFEchild. During a conference call with SAFEchild’s executive director Cristin DeRonja, we brainstorm ways to share that story at the 2017 ball. It’s an inspiring story. In 1992, League members realized no agency in Wake County was working to prevent child abuse. “When that ’93 ball was so successful, we realized our dream of starting SAFEchild could come true,” Hayman says. Within months, they had a name (SAFEchild: Stop Abuse For Every child), an executive director (Marjorie Menestres, who retired in 2015), and a mission to stamp out child abuse. “Because of the Inaugural Ball funds, they didn’t need to start slowly,” DeRonja said. “They were able to put programs in place and start helping families right away. SAEFchild didn’t have to worry about raising money for several years, which accelerated our impact in the community immediately.” This time, the League is working on a new strategic plan that includes identifying community needs to support. I can’t wait to hear how League leaders decide to use the proceeds from the 2017 ball, assuming, of course, that it is a success.

DECEMBER/JANUARY 2016-17 | 103

Oct. 18, 2016

Lunch with Julia Daniels, one of the League’s biggest cheerleaders and greatest treasures: Daniels has a long Inaugural Ball history, starting in 1961 with the ball for Gov. Terry Sanford. She and her husband Frank Daniels Jr. have been to nearly every Inaugural Ball since then, either as a guest or a host. This ball, they’re the Honorary Chairs. While the lunch is supposed to be about us updating her, her enthusiasm and wisdom gives us a renewed sense of purpose. She reminds us that it takes a village of League members (and significant others!) to pull this off. Our core team of 47 committee chairs, 15 “sustainer” advisors, and 20 team members is full of inspiring, creative, hardworking women. Listening to them, Daniels says, is key. “Our League is full of so many smart and wonderful women I am proud to know,” Daniels says. “I am grateful I can continue learning from them.” And while all eyes these days are on the election, she also reminds us about the ball’s mission as a nonpartisan fundraiser for the League. “Everyone feels good about supporting the League, because no matter your political feelings, the Junior League is supporting all the citizens of North Carolina,” she said.

Nov. 1, 2016

The workload is, as Hayman had warned, staggering. Emails, spreadsheets, meetings, decisions, e-blasts, contracts, letters of intent, sponsorship grids, invitations, signage, volunteer signups, guest lists, Facebook posts, press releases. And the election is still a week away.

Meanwhile, at home, my children are now adept at digging their school clothes out of the pile of unfolded laundry. The stack of unread mail is nearly as big as the laundry pile. And pizza deliveries have hit an all-time high, so high that my husband texts me the Papa John’s promo code from the N.C. State football game. This likely isn’t the life that Mrs. George Ross (Lillian) Pou led when she chaired the League’s first Inaugural Ball in 1933 for Gov. J.C. Ehringhaus (raising $1,800 to help fund a free baby clinic in Southeast Raleigh). There’s no denying the old Junior League stereotype as an invitation-only group of ladies in pearls and gloves. Every year, there’s at least one discussion about doing something to show that stereotype has changed. But then we get busy raising money and helping kids, and we forget about it until the next year. Here’s the truth: Few of today’s Junior League members would have been invited to be a part of that 1933 Inaugural Ball team. Almost all of us work outside the home, part-time or fulltime. We’re well-off, middle-class, and living paycheck-to-paycheck. We’re black and white, Hispanic and Asian. Not all of us, ahem, are junior anymore. Are we as diverse as we’d like to be? It’s always a work in progress. What we do have in common with Lillian Pou, though, is a passion to make our community better. And for our team, the 2017 “volunteer wives,” that begins with a celebration of North Carolina, the Inaugural Ball. “It really is so satisfying to see it come together,” Hayman tells me. “To see these incredible women with their incredible ideas, who are willing to give it everything they’ve got. It’s just an amazing feeling.”

Robert Willett

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Reynolds Coliseum circa 1985.

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photographs by CHRISTOPHER T. MARTIN




The first thing you see when you walk into painter Eric McRay’s studio is a wall populated by small square canvases filled with colorful hearts. Inside each heart, there are emblems of North Carolina iconography, like the Krispy Kreme logo or the N.C. State Belltower, or nods to personal motifs, or pop-culture references, all shrunk to fit into a six-by-six inch canvas. It’s a series he’s produced for five years, and the artist estimates he’s painted hundreds – if not thousands – in that time.

“It’s an excellent way for me to dive into iconography and empty myself of ideas,” he explains. McRay is quick to point out or pull references from his older work, and he moves about his compact studio space with the intimate knowledge that comes from long-term commitment. “I’ll just get on a roll

and produce a huge number for a period of time.” What McRay, 51, calls his “heart wall” is indicative of a larger trend for the artist. He refuses to be defined by a single style; instead, he builds upon the imagery and techniques he’s perfected over three decades to pump out new bodies of work. Creating tirelessly in the studio that he’s held in downtown Raleigh’s Artspace since 1999, McRay has become a fixture of the Triangle arts scene. His work, which also includes mottled North Carolina landscapes, colorful jazz portraits, and collages of bustling cityscapes, hangs in the American Tobacco Campus and the Duke University Medical Center. While vibrant colors and an expressive, playful style are evident in his pieces, the most consistent McRay mark might be the heart that always shines through. “His work has this false simplicity, yet the elegance, sweat, and curiosity that it took to create it is monumental,” says Lee Greene, a collector of McRay’s work who has purchased more than a dozen pieces over the last decade. “It’s deceptive, like an athlete doing something that looks so easy. That effort is years DECEMBER/JANUARY 2016-17 | 107

of unfinished canvases that dot his workspace. McRay considers himself an entrepreneur as much as a painter. In fact, he estimates only a third of his time is actually spent creating the art for which he’s become so well known. Much of his painting occurs after dark, when traditional businesses have closed their doors and most workers have gone home. It’s the only time he doesn’t have to worry about typical business routines, like responding to emails, scheduling exhibitions, and chasing down invoices or bank statements. “We tend to romanticize artists as these monks on mountaintops, like they don’t need gasoline or don’t want children or a quality of life,” McRay says, with a chuckle. Indeed, he holds his cellphone, which buzzes and beeps routinely, close to his chest. “Bottom line, everybody has to work. Last time I checked, there weren’t a ton of job openings that said, ‘Apply here for celebrity artist.’” Rob Marnell (standing far right) in a production at Raleigh Little Theatre

in the making.”

Prolific, entrepreneurial

On November 3, McRay unveiled a new collection at the Clayton Center, a community hub for the performing arts. Shows at Duke Hospital and the Tryon Arts Center will follow in early 2017. Each year, the painter aims to launch a series with a unique focus, and this year is no exception. Throughout 2016, McRay has focused on bold abstract paintings that lack definitive subject matter. Instead, he’s perfected working with solid chunks of acrylic paint to create colorful images that feel at once spontaneous and intensely emotional. “Eric is very committed and very driven, and is also dedicated to teaching young artists about a variety of styles that he’s experimented with over the years,” says Mary Poole, president and CEO of Artspace. She has worked alongside McRay for 15 years. Early in his career, the painter received a piece of advice that eventually led to his massive annual output. After he met with the owner of a small private museum who admired his paintings, the curator asked how many pieces McRay had available for sale. At the time, it was around 30. The curator told McRay that he needed at least 50 pieces to be taken seriously. “That etched itself in my mind,” McRay says. “So, when I create new bodies of work, I’m always aiming to create at least 50 pieces in that vein. It has made me very productive and ambitious. I’ve set goals that aren’t driven strictly by passion, but more so by discipline.” That explains the hundreds of hearts that hang in his studio, but also the scads of monochromatic nudes that he keeps in a file next to his desk, the innumerable portraits of lively saxophonists and trumpet players, and the dozens 108 | WALTER

“He’s a bird”

As his enterprise has expanded, McRay has taken up teaching as a form of both business and artistic outreach. The painter regularly hosts classes, like his “Brilliant Coastal Scenery” workshop at the Cary Arts Center and Jerry’s Artarama for youth and adults alike. He says that working one-on-one with students brings him joy, as he’s able to pass his formal arts education on to others. McRay fondly remembers when he was the promising young student, and how much the encouragement he received from family members and teachers meant to him (though he’s not yet “the bearded elder” either, he’s quick to note).

McRay clearly recalls the moment he discovered his talent, “like Sir Isaac Newton getting struck on the head by an apple.” When his elementary-school teacher asked if anyone would like to contribute to the classroom bulletin board, the 6-yearold jumped at the opportunity to draw his version of Rumpelstiltskin. He was surprised when his teacher exited the classroom – only to return with colleagues in tow. She wanted to show them what he had created. “For me, it was just natural. When a bird jumps out of the window and flies off, he’s not impressed with himself. He’s a bird,” McRay explains, matter-of-factly. “But when I saw that other people had this reaction, I thought, this has real value.” From that day forward, McRay began his journey as an artist, and he’s never looked back. He began doing freelance graphic and mural design as soon as he was old enough to work, and happily owned his delegation as an “arty kid.” While in high school, McRay was awarded a scholarship to the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he received a degree in fine arts. Not long after graduating, at age 23, McRay made his way to North Carolina. He’s been here ever since. And he’s had a front-row seat, from his perch at the corner of Davie and Blount Streets, as the Raleigh arts scene has transformed from a small pocket in a fledgling downtown to a flourishing community, complete with a contemporary art museum and a popular First Friday arts walk. Through the years, he has served as the president of the Artspace Artists Association, in addition to working on Artspace’s board of directors and serv-

ing on its executive committee. “One of the keys to Artspace is our collaborative environment,” Poole explains. “We share ideas and techniques that spark the imagination in a way you may not get working in a private studio. It’s camaraderie.” But McRay can recall a time – not so long ago – when he would only be asked to exhibit his work during Black History Month. As the city has grown, McRay feels that the diversity and inclusion of the arts community has grown with it. He’s never allowed himself to feel limited by what others thought his art “should” be, but McRay is glad that there are new opportunities available for young artists in the city. It’s an obvious step in the right direction, of course, but that growth doesn’t come without its challenges. “It’s amazing for a collector to have so much vibrant choice in Raleigh,” says Greene, the collector. “On the other hand, you really have to differentiate yourself to get attention now. Eric is always asking himself, ‘How can I be a better artist?’ He keeps refining, and I have such a deep respect for that, because that’s what makes people great.” McRay, whose friends jokingly refer to him as “his own hero,” doesn’t seem too concerned by the increased competition. “If I waited for people to come in here and praise me, I’d never get up,” he says. “The support of others is key, but there has to be a fire in your belly. I’m thankful that what I do enriches the community, but I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do. And I’m going to keep doing it. Simple as that.”








Crane operator Kenny Loch by MIMI MONTGOMERY

If you drive past one of the many construction cranes looming over the Raleigh skyline, there’s a chance the tiny speck you see in the cab is tower crane operator Kenny Loch.

Loch is one of the thousands of people transforming the Raleigh skyline, most recently helping to construct the luxury apartment building being built by developer Gordon Grubb and Stiles Residential Group at Oberlin Road and Glenwood Avenue. The number of tower cranes needed for that project and many more is booming: Last spring, U.S. Census Bureau data showed the Raleigh metro area is the 16th fastest-growing in the nation.

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photographs by RAY BLACK III

As you might imagine, Loch is busy keeping up with the area’s rapid expansion. So busy, in fact, he’s been working 10-to-11 hour days, six days a week for the past few years. The Erwin native got into the business when he graduated from high school, moved to Wilmington, and began working in construction while cleaning up hurricane debris along the coast. He started out with loaders and backhoes and began training on tower cranes when he moved back to Raleigh. For six weeks, Loch sat with an operator in a cab learning to maneuver cranes to lift huge materials to build skyscrapers. The cranes themselves are also large; Loch has operated some rising over 300 feet. It’s a demanding, meticulous job, one that requires patience and instinct. “The tower crane is different than any other piece of equipment because everything is swinging, everything is in motion,” says Loch. Timing is everything, he says, and it takes practice to get the movements just right. “A new operator is slow as molasses. (When I started), I was going to pick something up and everyone would take off like an explosion – every man for himself,” he says with a laugh.

Long climb

There are plenty of safety precautions in his line of work. At the beginning of each work day, Loch ascends the crane in

installments, climbing 20-foot ladders interspersed with catwalks. When he has to do safety inspections, he is hooked into a harness as he climbs out of the cab to check the extended crane parts. It’s a lot of effort to get up there, so once Loch is in the cab, he usually stays put for his entire shift – sometimes more than 12 hours. He makes sure he has everything he needs to settle in for the long haul. “I get my cab decked out,” he says. “I have a coffee maker, a refrigerator, a toaster oven, a radio, and a cabinet with snacks in it.” Of course – you have to wonder – what does he do when nature calls? Loch sums it up succinctly: He keeps a bottle handy. Details aside, the view is pretty great. “The tower crane is peaceful,” Loch says of the alone time. “But the burden is that you can’t talk to people – it’s a lot of guesswork.” Of course, he has radios to talk to the construction crew on the ground and other crane operators, but things can still get hairy. When dropping 6,000-pound pieces of equipment, the crane bounces back in response, shaking all over with Loch at the top; during storms, winds can get up to 65 mph, and “it feels like you’re on a ship in the middle of the ocean,” he says. “That’s pretty scary.” The husband and father of five says his wife gets nervous from time to time, but his kids love visiting him on-site and seeing the equipment. Loch says one of the coolest things, though,

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is to watch the tower cranes be assembled. It’s done in increments, and each huge piece is brought to the site on a series of trucks. To start, a smaller crane on the job site assembles a larger crane piece-by-piece. This larger crane in turn assembles the tower crane, which then takes apart the medium crane once it is complete. The same thing happens when it’s time to disassemble the tower crane. The entire process is enjoyable to him; he likes jumping around from project to project, and has worked with a variety of crane companies and area contractors. It’s a lot of work, but the results are worth it: His resume includes Carter-Finley stadium, SkyHouse, Red Hat, Rex Heart and Vascular Center, Hunt Library, Central Prison, the Blue Zone at UNC’s Kenan Stadium, and North Hills. It’s safe to say Loch has left his permanent print on the Triangle landscape: Just look up.

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Home shopping parties, where women invite friends and neighbors over to shop for everything from skin care products to frying pans, are all the rage. In 2011, a small group of Raleigh girlfriends hosted their own “sip and shop” party, but instead of asking guests to open their wallets for a pair of earrings or an onion slicer, they asked them to give their time and resources to charities instead. Surrounded by new and old friends, a vast spread of homemade treats, and the warmth of holiday cheer, guests were introduced to representatives from four local nonprofits, and invited to contribute. The Raleigh Giving Party was born. Christina Woelffer, one of the hosts, attended her first Giv-

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Raleigh giving party co-hosts, from left, Melissa Colantuoni, Christina Woelffer, Natalie Best, Jennifer Venable

ing Party in Chapel Hill in 2007 as a representative of Summit House, a nonprofit that provided an alternative to prison for women with children. Though she expected to find guests dutifully writing checks while making small talk, she experienced a genuine enthusiasm and inspiration among friends. Woelffer knew she wanted to bring the Giving Party to Raleigh. So she did what any smart woman leader does when she needs to give legs to a vision – she called her girlfriends. With the help of Natalie Best and Melissa Colantuoni, she brought the Giving Party to Raleigh. The following year, Jennifer Venable joined as the fourth Raleigh Giving Party host. The women knew the party needed to be full of festivity and fun – not pressure or obligation. To do this, they adopted the motto “Give until it feels good,” and made all financial gifts anonymous. They were admittedly a little nervous the first year, unsure if friends would actually show up or if they could raise any money at all. Their fears were quickly put to rest. Within moments, about

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75 women poured through Woelffer’s home; before they left, they’d raised a staggering $10,000 for four nonprofits.

Group effort

The parties are undoubtedly a group effort, with Woelffer as the chief organizer. Each host prepares food and pitches in for drinks. In past years, local businesses have donated cakes and wine. Throughout the year, the four hosts keep their eyes and ears open for new and promising local nonprofits to support. They naturally gravitate to organizations that connect with their own personal experiences or interests. For example, Colantuoni is a horse lover, so one party showcased Hope Reins, a local organization that provides equine therapy for hurting children. As working mothers, each host understands the overwhelming demands that women carry, particularly during the busy holiday season. They know how the hurried frenzy of gift buying, office parties, and school holiday activities consume time and energy. Woelffer says it is because of their understanding that they intentionally create the parties to feel relaxed, festive, and inspiring. “As women, we are constantly asked to give of our time and money,” she says. “We didn’t want to add just another thing to our friends’ already full loads.” Best nods in agreement: “Instead, the guests come and leave inspired. The women get this nonpressured introduction to new nonprofits that are making a difference in their own communities. They may decide to give from their purse, but they may also decide to give their time.” For Venable, this is the key to her passion for the Raleigh Giving Party. “We don’t think of it as fundraising, but as ‘friendraising.’ And we see our friends getting excited about helping. I

hear guests say, ‘I have found my thing. I’ve been wanting to volunteer and get involved, but I didn’t know how until now.’ That is what I love about the parties.” The anonymous giving adds to the night’s relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. The festive drinks and eggnog bread pudding with peppermint topping don’t hurt either. Colantuoni agrees. “There is a great vibe inside the house. It is fun and warm and really doesn’t feel like a fundraiser at all.” In spite of, or maybe because of, the party’s relaxed atmosphere, the Raleigh Giving Party has been quite successful. Since 2011, it has raised $66,000 for 20 local nonprofits. Equally as important, the Raleigh Giving Party has created an army of volunteers and advocates. Past beneficiaries of the Raleigh Giving Party include BackPack Buddies, the Poe Health Center, InterAct, and many others. And the group has inspired others across the country and even the globe to start their own local Giving Parties. Just nine years after the first Giving Party in Chapel Hill, these events now occur in 12 cities including Charlotte, Cincinnati, Charleston, and London. Altogether, the Giving Parties have contributed to over 74 organizations, hosted almost 2,000, guests, and raised $315,000. This year’s nonprofit beneficiaries are the Autism Society of North Carolina, the Military and Veterans Resource Coalition, the Miracle League of the Triangle, and Carroll’s Kitchen. All women are welcome, and if unable to attend, online gifts are appreciated. The Raleigh Giving Party website has all of the details. Woelffer sums up what makes the Raleigh Giving Party so special. “It’s part girl power, part holiday giddiness, all altruistic, with the potential to transform our community, four nonprofits at a time. We love when a houseful of women get together to kick off the holiday season, checkbooks open. We look forward to continuing to play a small role in building awareness and financial support for as many local organizations as possible. That’s the power of women and of the Raleigh Giving Party!”

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sure how we’d celebrate. We had a handful of acquaintances, but hadn’t made real friends yet as a couple. Because Kent had worked here for seven years before we married, he did have some male friends among his coworkers, so we thought we’d gather those friends and their wives, as well as some neighbors. Although my husband and I are Christians and celebrate Christmas, there was a Jewish couple whom we really liked and also wanted to include. We wanted to be sensitive to their beliefs, celebrate the season together, and make sure everyone felt welcome and included. So we came up with the idea for a nondenominational holiday celebration, and the Red and Green party was born! At the Red and Green party, we decided, the pressure would be off. Everyone would wear red and green clothes, we’d eat red and green foods, and exchange red and green gifts. From the beginning, everyone seemed to be on board with the idea. We had no way of knowing it, but they – and we – would stay on board. The event would become (and remains) one of our most beloved annual traditions, a rotating-house, 32-year-strong gathering of folks who have become dear, lifelong friends. Over more than three decades, we have been through the births of our children and their graduations and marriages; retirements; the births of our grandchildren. We have also sadly lost many of our parents and even one of our children. We have faced tough illnesses, and currently have one who is living mightily while battling a debilitating disease.




The Red and Green party by LAURIE GEER

BACK IN THE SUMMER OF 1984, I WAS NEWLY MARried, newly relocated, newly jobless, newly far from family and friends, and newly transplanted from Atlanta, Ga., to Raleigh, N.C. As the holidays rolled around, my husband Kent and I weren’t

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all photographs courtesy Laurie Geer


As we go through these hard times, as well as the happy times, we are together and we are stronger. While the party is but once a year, the friendships are constant. We have become a family.

Thankfully, we have become more refined over the years. There’s a lot less food coloring, for one thing. We have graduated to things like shrimp and asparagus appetizers; beef tenderloin stuffed with green herbs and rolled in red and green pepperUgly sweaters, anyone? At the beginning, the fact that it was corns; raspberry, walnut, and spinach sala “theme” party made it fun to figure out ads; standing rib roast served with a red what to wear. “Santa” did attend the par- sauce; and rack of lamb served with green ty in one of our early years, as one of our mint jelly. For desserts, we have had key guests felt that was a perfect red costume. lime pies, cherry cheesecakes, grasshopper But the party being what it was, Christ- pies, and all kinds of strawberry desserts. mas wasn’t the only theme. We also had a In fact, if you’re ever in need of a red and red and green Snow White ballerina one green recipe, seek us out! Years of searchyear, and a red Minnie Mouse the next. ing out dishes that fit the bill (and years of We have also had the ugly red and green helpful suggestions from children, other sweater years (although we didn’t realize friends, and relatives) means we have quite they were ugly sweaters till a few years the red and green recipe collection. We used to play games that had a red down the road!). and green theme, but as the years went on, The red and green we dropped the games. theme also made the We no longer need that The Red and Green party gift-giving lighthearted. charter members: icebreaker – plus, we just In the early years, most talk too much now. Beth and Andy Betts of the red and green gifts But far more significant were gag gifts – red and Laurie and Kent Geer than any changes in style green mini trash cans, red Kathy and Joe Hart or taste over the years is and green ketchup and the growth in the deep Dale and Debra Jenkins mustard set, red flashand abiding friendships lights, green tools, etc. Jean and Steve Stephano we have developed and Now we have become a Sona and Bob Thorburn maintained. Thirty-two little more refined, with years ago, when I was Kathy and Will Warren sets of red-stemmed wine scrambling to figure out glasses, personalized emhow to celebrate the holbroidered throws, cashmere scarves. Evidays in a city I barely knew, I secretly ery once in awhile, one of the fad items hoped that we would get transferred back of the year will make an appearance, like a to Atlanta where my family is. But over green Chia Pet or a red Snuggie. One year, these years, I have found Raleigh and the the host and hostess gave lovely monopeople here become home to me. My chilgrammed red and green aprons to the dren have grown up here and been educatwomen – and ridiculous red reindeer anted at our superior schools. I have watched lers to the men. Whether fad or fabulous, the city that embraced me from the start we’ve always had a lot of fun. grow and prosper around us. The other aspect of the event we’ve alAnd I can definitely say that I have ways enjoyed is the red and green food we now fully embraced Raleigh right back. prepare. I will say our menu the first year So whether you have lived here all your was made up of rather basic dishes: homelife or are new to town, I encourage you made pizzas with red sauce and green to gather your acquaintances, regardless peppers; salads with cherry tomatoes; red of religion, background, or interests, and velvet cake with green cream cheese icing; start your own Red and Green party. Who Red Zinger tea. (Yes, Red Zinger tea!) One knows, 32 years later, they might just beyear we had a Raleigh bakery create and come your family, too. bake us a red and green braided Challah bread. That was something to remember.

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The North Carolina Museum of Art hosted a brunch Nov. 6 honoring Ann and Jim Goodnight for their commitment to the museum’s park, now known as the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park. The event was held in the Parterre Gardens, where guests enjoyed food and a jazz performance by Al Strong and Friends. Proceeds benefitted the Art in the Environment Fund, which brings public art and programming to the local area.

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2016 KIDZNOTES LAUNCH CONCERT The 2016 Kidznotes Launch Concert was held Oct. 7 at Meymandi Concert Hall; it was also the kickoff event for the North Carolina Symphony’s first annual Education Partners Month. Kidznotes students performed with symphony members, conducted by Maestro Grant Llewellyn. It was the first time most of the students’ families had been to Meymandi Concert Hall. Kaci Torres

RAY PRICE CAPITAL CITY BIKEFEST Capital City Bikefest was held Sept. 23 in downtown Raleigh. It was started in 2005 in partnership with the City of Raleigh and is N.C.’s first downtown motorcycle rally. Charity beneficiaries of the event included USO of North Carolina and the U.S. Veterans Corps.

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CHAMPIONS GALA The inaugural Easterseals UCP Champions Gala was held October 14 at Bay 7 in the Durham American Tobacco Campus. The evening honored Charlie Gaddy, WRAL-TV news anchorman, and Jim Goodmon, Capitol Broadcasting Company CEO and president, for their impact on Easterseals UCP. Guests enjoyed dinner and dancing to music by The Black & Blue Experience.

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ALLEN TATE TRIANGLE FUNDAY 2016 Allen Tate realtors, employees, and guests gathered at the N.C. State Dorothy and Roy Park Alumni Center Oct. 6 to raise money for public education in Allen Tate communities across the Carolinas. The annual event raised more than $22,000 to benefit the Poe Center for Health Education, Wake Education Partnership, Communities In Schools-Wake County, and Communities In Schools-Durham County.

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NORTH CAROLINA AQUARIUM SOCIETY – UNDER THE SEA Edythe Poyner and Steve Williams hosted the N.C. Aquarium Society Under the Sea oyster roast Oct. 20 at their home. Sixty guests attended to raise funds for the nonprofit, which provides support to three N.C. aquariums. The Society has been recognized by Charity Navigator four years in a row as one of the nation’s top zoo and aquarium nonprofits.

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DERECK WHITTENBURG FOUNDATION CELEBRATE EDUCATION FUNDRAISER November 2, the Dereck Whittenburg Foundation hosted a fundraising event at the historic Merrimon-Wynne house. Funds from the event supported the foundation’s aim of financially assisting college students in order to earn their degrees. Guests enjoyed food, cocktails, and remarks by local leaders in education, including Tashni-Ann Dubroy, president of Shaw University.




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17TH ANNUAL SAFECHILD LUNCHEON More than 600 guests gathered Oct. 27 at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley to support SAFEchild’s mission to eliminate child abuse and neglect in Wake County. Attendees enjoyed lunch while listening to talks from SAFEchild participants, and the event raised over $170,000.

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HARGETT PLACE At a Nov. 4 First Friday event, Raleighites decorated frames of the first rowhome to be constructed at Hargett Place near Moore Square. Executive Director of the Office of Raleigh Arts, Sara Powers, helped coordinate the colorful piece of public art. Hargett Place is a new neighborhood of 19 rowhomes under construction downtown on East Hargett Street.

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Snap CHAT You hold a doctorate in physics and had a totally different career path before becoming a chocolatier. How do your past experiences help you in your current business? Developing new recipes involves a lot of trial and error – that’s where the scientist in me gets her kick. Working with chocolate demands a lot of concentration, precision, and rigor, not to mention consistency, in a way that’s very analogous with the way a scientist works: Just like my scientist years, I keep a log for my recipe development to ensure I don’t make the same mistake twice.




he holidays are a time to indulge. Local chocolatier Gabriela Miu Kropaczek counts on it. Her company, Avenue des Chocolats, specializes in European-style bonbons with ganache centers that Kropaczek makes by hand. Born in Romania and raised in Sweden, the former physicist and consultant was bit by the joie de vivre bug when she moved to Paris, where she was inspired to make cooking and food her full-time occupation. After marrying her husband, she moved to Wilmington, N.C., where Avenue des Chocolats was born. Her company’s French name is a nod to her time in Paris, and she hopes each bite of her chocolate transports customers abroad to the city’s famed chic avenues. Now based in Raleigh, Kropaczek and her decadent line of goods aim to make the City of Oaks all the sweeter. –Mimi Montgomery

Walk us through the process of making a bonbon. It’s a three-step, three-day process. Step one is ganache making: This requires mixing chocolate couverture and cream, adding flavoring, then pouring it into a pan and letting it cool. Then the ganache is cut into centers for the bonbons, and I handcoat each ganache with tempered chocolate. I then decorate each bonbon with nuts, sea salt, etc., and place them in a wine cooler for storage. As a chocolate-maker, how do you find inspiration and create new bonbon recipes? I try to keep an open mind and find that most things inspire me. Besides the obvious inspiration from the works of other chocolatiers, bakers, and chefs, I also find inspiration in more unexpected places; the idea for my A la rose de chine chocolate bonbons came in the shower while reading the ingredients of my shower gel. Out of the bonbons you make, which is your favorite to eat? At the moment, it is one of the bonbons from my fall collection, Au sirop d’érable (milk chocolate ganache with cinnamon, maple syrup, and Crown Royal Maple Finished Canadian Whisky); it’s also a best-seller with my customers. If you aren’t making bonbons, what is your favorite food to cook and eat? I love baking. I have an obsession with fresh yeast (the kind I grew up baking with in Sweden, which is very hard to find in the U.S.); I love the lukewarm, organic feeling and texture when I knead the dough. And I love the results, such as cinnamon rolls (a classic Swedish recipe) or my latest obsession: croissants. I keep making them, tweaking the recipe,

and re-making them, and I won’t stop until the day I create my perfect croissant. What are some of your favorite things about Raleigh? I immediately felt at home (here). I love that it’s so cosmopolitan, so open-minded, so full of culture, a city on a growing path. This dynamic is contagious in the best sense of the word. Where do you go for a sweet treat? I love going to small, authentic bakeries, such as La Farm Bakery or Boulted Bread, and trying classics like croissants. And just a few days ago, I had the most amazing ginger ice cream at David’s Dumpling and Noodle Bar. I might not know much about Raleigh yet, but I know enough about its food scene to know I am only at the beginner’s stage when it comes to exploring. There is a lot of chocolate consumed around the holidays. What are some of your favorite seasonal recipes? I love mousse au chocolat (chocolate mousse), a favorite French dessert. I love exploring different variations: with or without cream, with or without eggs, with or without flavorings. My absolute favorite, however, is chocolat chaud (hot chocolate), and by that I mean real hot chocolate prepared with actual chocolate (not cacao powder) and milk or cream (though some purists prefer just water) – basically a ganache in liquid form. Rich and absolutely delicious! If you weren’t a chocolatier, what other job would you want to have? I love what I do, as well as the freedom and flexibility of having my own business. But will I be doing it until I retire? I don’t know. I am of a curious nature; I love learning new things, and I feel slightly underutilized as a chocolatier (just take the fact that I speak four languages). Let’s just say I have a long list of eclectic interests which range from international relations to fashion. So it’s not impossible to imagine that next time we speak, you will find me pursuing a totally different career. Order bonbons by contacting Kropaczek at or 910-262-3650;

photographs by RAY BLACK III

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