Tour of NC Museum of Art

I sent an email to Deborah (Savage) last week and asked if she would like to go to the North Carolina Museum of Art (if she hadn’t been before).  She checked with her husband, Russ, and we took a trip up to Raleigh (from Pinehurst) yesterday.  I made it to their home by about 8 am, and then we left for Raleigh, stopping at Carthage to get breakfast at ‘Mac’s Breakfast Anytime’  (a small local chain). *It was “Buggy Day” in Carthage, but that was not to be our focus for this Saturday.

I thought we might sit at a “Big Boy” booth, but we found that even I wasn’t big enough and the table would have been too far away from the seat.  Deb and I had country ham and Russ had bacon, all of us eggs.  I had a really big biscuit, reminiscent of the Geico commercial in which they ask, “Can a 10 lbs. bag of flour make a really big biscuit?”  The biscuit had the texture of a yeast roll, but didn’t smell of yeast, and did look like a really big (tall) biscuit.

We all enjoyed our breakfast and then headed on to Raleigh.  Russ offered me a flossing pic, which surprisingly did a very good job.  (I might buy some of these to keep with me.)

Entrance to the NC Museum of ArtWe turned off onto the Wade Avenue exit and then left under the overpass, and the next exit right (about a quarter mile, or less)  was for the NC Museum of Art.  We parked at the first parking area near the entrance to the museum and walked down the winding path to the new museum buildings.  The old museum buildings are just off to the right of the new facility and are labeled for special events.

The Museum restaurant and gift shop are just to the right of the tall entrance doors.  A little girl was fascinated (as were many of us) with a projected image of a tree with it’s branches swaying in an imaginary breeze.  *Bathrooms just to the right.

The information counter was just to the left of the entrance.  Deb got a museum map and the clerk said that this was the second weekend that the new facility had been open.  She also suggested that we visit the outside Rodin garden, before it got too hot outside.

We went outside and there were several large black statues and a reflecting pool.  I must not be a fan of Rodin.  Perhaps someone that is a fan knows why his women all have big feet and really look more like thick men in grotesquely distorted positions.  Back inside…

Deborah rushes out of the scene.

Deborah managed to rush out of the photo, providing an unintended artistic effect (she is blurry and the other items in focus).

Russ, however, stands still viewing the intricate detail of one of the large landscapes.

Russ viewing a landscape.You can visit my Flickr site for more of the NCMA photos I took.

Near the end of our tour, Russ walked on ahead of us into one of the modern art rooms.  When Deb and I entered the room, some women (6 girlfriends) had asked Russ to take their picture in front of a large painting of Six Girls.

Russ takes a picture of 6 girlfriends.

Russ takes a picture of 6 girlfriends.

Before we left, I headed to the bathroom while Russ and Deb toured the Gift Shop.  After the bathroom, I headed to the Information Counter to ask about an item I had heard about, but had not yet seen.  There was an upside down image of the Mona Lisa, made of colored spools of thread, with a crystal ball on a pedestal in front of it, which turned the image right-side up.  Apparently, it was at the other end of the room just behind me, so I quickly walked the length of the room and found the item.  *Yes, I keep calling it an “item”, because it’s not a painting or a sculpture and I don’t know what category you should post it under.

Russ had bought Deb a gift card of one of the gallery photos of four little shoeshine boys, with tired eyes.  She had liked their eyes which showed how exhausted they were.

After the Museum, we headed back into town via Wade Avenue with the idea of finding a restaurant for lunch.  We passed the Whole Foods grocery and then after several blocks turned in to Cameron Village (shopping center), an old but renovated and vibrant site for commerce.  I first saw a sign for Foster’s (which appeared to be a ‘high-end’ restaurant, and then Village Grill, and a draught house, etc.  We finally turned a corner and found an Italian eatery, Piccola Italia Pizza & Italian Restaurant.  There were no parking spaces and after “circling the block”,  more of a half-circle and then a turn about, Russ found a parking space around the corner.  Deb and I got out of the car before Russ turned into the space (because it would have been difficult for the ‘fat man’ to get out of the car after he was parked).

Piccola OutsideWe all walked down the sidewalk, past a Quiznos, and a wine shop, and finally arrived at Piccola’s .  There were several tables outside, but since it was a hot day, we headed inside.

The restaurant was dark and appeared to be small.  Since we were seated in the first booth and I faced the entrance, I never got a good view of the rest of the restaurant.  It was cool and dark, and on a hot day felt very comfortable.

Our waitress (a young woman, with a button nose, black hair and a dark tan) brought us menus and silverware and asked for our drink orders.  I had sweet tea, Russ had water without ice, and I don’t recall what Deb had.  When the waitress returned with our drinks, bread and a balsamic vinegar & oil dipping sauce,  she asked if we needed a little more time.  We did and she came back a little later.

Deb had a half-order of Italian sausage with penne pasta, and a garden salad.  I don’t recall what Russ ordered, but I had what Deb had, except I had Ranch dressing instead of vinegar & oil.  The bread was good, and later, we asked for more.

The waitress brought our salads.  Mine was simple, with large leaves of various lettuces, one small red button tomato, a slice or two of red onion, and a small steel cup of dressing.  A simple salad, but very, very good!

Piccola Italian sausage & penneOur entrees arrived, mine in a small white bowl, with plenty of penne pasta, a long link of Italian sausage covered in a generous portion of sauce.  *I probably would have ‘turned’ the tomato sauce with a little sugar.  But the bread, sausage, sauce, pasta and salad were all very good.  Our tea was refilled.

After the meal was over, our waitress asked if we wanted dessert.  Russ and Deb had already mentioned getting Tiramisu, but I did not want dessert.  They said, there should be enough if I changed my mind.  The waitress brought three spoons and the dessert had a maraschino cherry on top.

I tried a ‘bite’ and it was very good.  It would have been even better with coffee, but I didn’t want coffee.  We finished the dessert.  Russ ‘picked up the bill’ and tip, and then we walked outside, up the sidewalk and around the corner to the car.

Eventually, we made it back to Pinehurst and I to Fayetteville and then, for me… off to sleep.

It was a good day.  The day before Mother’s Day, 2010.

NCMA Flickr Photostream