Congratulations to this year's winners and finalists!
And thank you to all of our readers who voted in this year's poll.
Special thanks to: David Lorimer, Renée McDonald and Sarah Hagar, who assisted with this project.
Search our database: Browse the Indy's Locations Guide for current and previous Best of the Triangle winners.
The story behind the crown: Above is a crown created exclusively for the Indy by Raleigh designer Ashley Carter of Goldbug Studio. Ashley worked at the Indy for 10 years before leaving to focus on Goldbug Studio fulltime. Her products are sold in Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Anthropologie and Disney. The collection is inspired by fairy tales, old Hollywood glamour, her New Orleans roots and a bit of pop art. She has become known for her elaborate, one-of-a-kind headgear: Fairy Crowns and Slightly Self Absorbed Party Hats. Ashley told us that someone recently asked her what you're supposed to do with one of her crowns. After a long, stunned silence, she answered, "Honey, I always thought the point of wearing a crown is not what you do with it but what it does for you." This is a powerful piece of headgear. At the very least, you will be the most interesting and glamorous person in the room. Ashley claims the crowns instantly cure depression or those suffering from a lack of imagination. "It's all about attitude," she said. "It's impossible to be in a bad mood when you're wearing mushrooms, glitter, candy or playing cards on your head!" —Gloria Mock
For this year's Best of the Triangle issue, we asked six local residents whom we often see out and about—Raleigh-based Ladye Jane Vickers, Durham-based Jeff Johnson, Chapel Hill/ Carrboro-based Zach Ward, Chapel Hill-based Ruby Sinreich, Cary-based Jarrett Campbell and Durham-based Keval Kaur Khalsa—to track their explorations for a week. During that time, we wanted to learn where they went—and why—in hopes of uncovering other "bests" in the Triangle that could supplement the readers' poll.
"The social life of the honeybee colony ... is crucial for each bee's survival, because an individual bee cannot exist on its own." —Associative Learning and Memory Processing in Bees by Randolf Menzel
We humans are becoming more like bees. Extinct? Yes, eventually, but that's unlikely to happen before you finish reading this issue.
From hive (or home) to flower (or bar), we can trace our flight patterns using Foursquare, Gowalla and Whrrrl: location-based apps that satisfy our instinct to connect. We cannot exist on our own.
Bees leaving the hive mentally map their colony's location relative to landmarks in their sun compass system. Instead, we set our GPS or click on Google maps on our smartphones.
Then, when a bee discovers a nectar- or pollen-producing flower, it quickly learns to associate nearby sights and smells with the reward. For us, it's the aroma of the area's best barbeque, the sharp whiff of an India Pale Ale served by our favorite bartender, the scent of sunblock before plunging into the Triangle's coldest swimming hole.
For the finalists and winners in the Best of the Triangle, the reward comes with the recognition. For the readers, the reward is the exploration, the unearthing—and the connection with the rest of the hive. —Lisa Sorg