A graphic designer by training and the current curator of Raleigh City Museum by trade, Ladye Jane Vickers lived in a number of larger cities before landing in Raleigh. The Atlanta native attended school in Memphis, Tenn., and spent several years in Columbus, Ohio. Vickers, 33, has embraced and advocated Raleigh, though, launching interesting art shows and a successful series celebrating the city's emergent scene of people who brew their own beer at home. She also writes frequently about the arts for the blog New Raleigh, where she chronicles glimpses of the past in a recurring feature called Olde Raleigh.
Vickers lives in Raleigh's Oakwood neighborhood and works downtown. She checked in for five days about her adventures during and apart from that short commute.
Friday, May 21
9 a.m. Morning Times, 10 E. Hargett St., Raleigh
I go the Morning Times every single workday for my coffee and sometimes a bagel. I wouldn't even think of going anywhere else. It's kind of like a morning version of Cheers. They see me walk in and already have it fixed by the time I get to the register. I don't even have to ask for skim milk in my coffee anymore.
9:30 p.m. Milltown, 307 E. Main St., Carrboro
I am a huge fan of hanging out in Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Durham because they feel like mini-vacations away from Raleigh. So when we decided to go to see Superchunk at Cat's Cradle, we decided to make a night of it and do dinner at Milltown first. We split the mussels, which, mixed with the outdoor bulb lights and music, made it feel just like being at the beach. Almost a little too much, though: We enjoyed our dinner and beers so much that we missed 90 percent of Superchunk.
11:30 p.m. Whiskey, 347 W. Main St., Durham
While the prices are steep by local standards, the cocktails here are wonderful, especially the pear martini. This night we had a blast when a fortune-telling psychic crashed our table to tell us I am 100 years ahead of my time.
12:30 a.m. Bull McCabes, 427 W. Main St., Durham
I like going here for dinner because even though most of their menu consists of traditional Irish fare, they have a really good black bean quesadilla that I much prefer to bangers 'n' mash, etc.
Monday, May 24
1:15 p.m. Manhattan Cafe, 320 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh
One of my favorite lunch spots because of their salad options. Not a lot of people know about it because it's tucked in the back of a building on Wilmington Street, but it's the cheapest place downtown where you can pick your own salad ingredients. My salad of choice is a mixed green salad with grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, romano cheese, egg whites, black beans, roasted red peppers, carrots, sprouts and sunflower seeds with fat-free sesame ginger dressing.
7 p.m. Pullen Park, off Hillsborough Street, Raleigh
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the month of May, I did "30 Days of Christmas," which is a workout boot camp with Christmas Abbott. Boot camp and I have a love/ hate relationship. I used to think that every time I went to the gym that I was working out. This boot camp made me realize my workouts were completely lame and were doing nothing to push my body.
We meet at Pullen Park rain or shine, and do backbreaking combos of running, sit-ups, lunges, jump rope, push-ups, planks, "sexy backs" and these awful little things called "burpees," which have made two people puke so far. Even though it sounds kind of awful, the group of about eight laughs the whole time and encourages each other.
Tuesday, May 25
1:15 p.m. The Raleigh Times, 14 E. Hargett St., Raleigh
Today, I was feeling like a sandwich at Sosta, and my friend Tim wanted a burger. The Times was a perfect compromise. Since they took the salmon off the menu, my favorite item is the BBQ sandwich made with meat from the pit. From what I gather, it's actually different than the BBQ you get at The Pit, because it actually mixes the shoulder/ whole hog BBQ, which The Pit doesn't do.
2:15 p.m. Starbucks, in the Downtown Marriott, 500 Fayetteville St., Raleigh
Shhhhh, don't tell The Morning Times: I only go there because my siblings essentially gave me a never-ending gift card to Starbucks that I have been drinking off of for almost a year now. When it's a two-coffee day, I don't really care where it comes from.
5:15 p.m. Peace Camera, 421 W. Peace St., Raleigh
Went here for two reasons; to replace the lens cap I lost at the bar The Jackpot and to try out some wide-angle lenses for my camera. There are two places I go to for all things photography. For all processing and printing, I go to American Film and Print, which does the best printing of anywhere in Raleigh. For my camera, though, I only go to Peace. The staff there is so great with helping you figure out what is the best equipment for your needs. A lot of people prefer to buy expensive stuff like camera equipment on the Internet, but you cannot replace the customer experience of actually going in, talking to the staff and trying it out.
6:15 p.m. Rite Aid, in Cameron Village, Raleigh
The cheapest place in the area to get a passport photo. They're less than half of what it costs to get it at the post office.
6:45 p.m. Seaboard Fitness, 802 Semart, Seaboard Station, Raleigh
I love this place not only because it is so close to my house, but because I have never, ever had to wait for a piece of equipment there. My old gym actually had a sign-up for the elliptical machine, with a wait time that often lasted an hour.
8:45 p.m. Humble Pie Tiki Bar, 317 S. Harrington St., Raleigh
During the summer last year, I missed Wednesday nights at the tiki bar at Humble Pie only once or twice. With a parachute billowing overhead like someone just dropped out of nowhere for a cocktail, the relaxed, twinkle-light atmosphere of the bamboo bar is definitely hard to beat on a pretty night. Wednesdays are $5 special nights at the Tiki, so we don't normally stop in on a Tuesday, but my friend Staci and I were in the mood for her namesake of a drink, the Staci Starlight.
Wednesday, May 26
12:30 p.m. Spize Café, 121 Fayetteville St., Raleigh
I used to think this was one of the most underrated restaurants downtown, but judging by the line that ran out the door today, I think the news has gotten around. My favorite is their cumin chicken with veggies and rice that seems to be on permanent special.
3:30 p.m. Old Hat Records, 417 S. Dawson St., Raleigh
Marshall Wyatt is one of the coolest people I know in Raleigh. His record label rereleases North Carolina bluegrass, blues, and folk music from the '20s and '30s, and has even been nominated for Grammys for their packaging and liner notes. I refer to his Old Hat space as "the other Raleigh City Museum" because it is head-to-toe cool with old Raleigh memorabilia.
Thursday, May 27
12:30 p.m. Sosta Café, 130 E. Davie St., Raleigh
I am not a huge sandwich person, but I find myself craving the Leah (a sliced turkey with provolone, roasted red peppers and mustard) at least once a week. All sandwiches come with a side of couscous and one of a chickpea mix, so for a sandwich and two well-portioned sides for under $9, it's a lunch deal that's hard to beat. Plus, they have Illy espresso, which is my caffeine splurge.
6:30 p.m. Personal Defense & Handgun Center, 301 Tryon Road, Raleigh
For the past three weeks, I've had an e-mail chain in my inbox called "Gun Updates" from a group of six ladies trying to figure out a date that works for us to go shoot some guns at the range. The guys that work here are super nice and were all serious about the guns until one of them started popping bubble wrap and I asked, "A little gun range humor?"
7:30 p.m. Poole's, 426 S. McDowell St., Raleigh
Nothing says, "I just got done shooting guns" like dinner at Shoney's. We opted for the exact opposite, then—Poole's in downtown Raleigh. We sat at the bar so we could talk with Luke Buchanan, one of the many awesome staff members there, and sipped on a beer while we figured out what to order: North Carolina soft shell crab with rancho gordo, good mother stallard beans and piquillo aioli plus fennel and citrus-cured rooster sausage, local spinach and coarse-ground grits. Not to mention the Tribeca baguette, which was without a doubt the best bread I have ever eaten, with homemade butter to boot.