Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Harvest Chapel Hill's Bounty

The stars have aligned over North Carolina to match fall weather with fall’s arrival—a rare occurrence in this part of the country. Crisp temps, school bus sightings and wafts of pumpkin spice herald the season’s onset, as college students trek across the beautiful University of North Carolina campus to attend class and meet up with friends. No doubt, there’s plenty of autumn bounty to harvest in Chapel Hill this fall.

Harvest Outdoor Experiences

One way—perhaps the best way—to enjoy fall in this region is on horseback. “The ponies and horses really enjoy meeting new faces and going different places,” says Cindy McWilliams, Equestrian and Facility Manager at Bright Horse Farm and Art Studio in Pittsboro. “We use the whole farm as a riding lesson venue. Trail rides across the 30-acre farm are regularly included in lessons.”

On the art front, Bright Horse Farm and Art Studio has added Mary Scroggs Elementary in Chapel Hill to its after school art program, and the Chapel Hill YMCA art program kicked off with 26 students—including at least 40 percent who returned from last year or from one of the summer programs. The Pittsboro YMCA, Woods Charter School and Horton Elementary will also join the locations where Bright Horse Farm and Art Studio’s Art Director Kim Greene will offer her unique brand of guided art lessons.

School field trips to the farm are being scheduled, and Bright Horse now offers teacher workday and school holiday camps for all local public and private schools. Visit www.thebrighthorse.com for dates and themes being offered during the 2008-2009 school year. “We're planning a very special camp series for Chatham County and Chapel Hill/Carrboro schools, who have a winter break Jan. 19, 20 and 21,”Cindy says.

Harvest Humanity

“The life of a man consists not in seeing visions and in dreaming dreams, but in active charity and in willing service.” As the holidays approach, Chapel Hill’s University Mall takes this Henry Wadsworth Longfellow quote to heart. “It’s All About Giving,” on Nov. 15 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., offers the entire community an opportunity to give to local charities and non-profits while receiving big store discounts and winning door prizes. During this event, charities and non-profits will sell $5 tickets that entitle ticket holders to great offers from University Mall stores. For more information, visit www.universitymallnc.com or call (919) 967-6934.

Other upcoming events at University Mall include the Chapel Hill Service League’s Giving Tree Kick Off on Nov. 5 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. You can also meet UNC Women’s Basketball Coach Sylvia Hatchell and the Chapel Hill Service League’s dedicated volunteers during this event.

On Nov. 22 at 9 a.m., enjoy Breakfast With Santa at University Mall. Santa will arrive via the Chapel Hill Fire Department’s Carolina Blue Fire Engine.

And on Dec. 4 from 5 to 8 p.m., The Arc of Orange County’s Festival of Trees Gala will take place in Storehouse at University Mall. This fundraiser features a wintry wonderland of 30 holiday trees that have been custom decorated by local designers. Those who attend will meander through a magical forest of enchantment and enjoy wine, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment. Proceeds from a silent auction of all displays will benefit The Arc, and the exhibit will be open throughout the weekend. Bidding begins at $500 for the trees and $100 for the wreaths, and winners will be notified Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. Learn more at www.arcoforange.org.

Cub Scout Pack 820 in Chapel Hill recently gave back to their community by participating in the statewide “NC Clean Sweep” Sept. 20, which officially takes place Oct. 4. The pack participated a few weeks early because they will be camping at Singletary Lake the weekend of Oct. 4. Singletary Lake is located near White Lake in Elizabethtown. During this trip, parents and cubs will stay in cabins and prepare their meals in the dining hall. If your son is interested in joining, visit www.pack820.org or contact Tom Proctor, owner of Chapel Hill’s Vacuum Cleaner Hospital, at tom@vacuumhospital.com.

Triangle TRACKS recently added a Charity TRACKS page at www.triangletracks.com/notes/Charity_TRACKS. On this page, you’ll find plenty of ways your family, company or organization can get involved with a number of local charities. Just visit Triangle TRACKS and click on the Charity TRACKS link, then on the various organizations to learn more. While you’re there, check out the other links and consider joining Triangle TRACKS' social network so you can post forum topics and blog entries.

Triangle TRACKS was recently spotlighted on the Ning Blog. Ning, the platform used by Triangle TRACKS, periodically highlights popular websites using the Ning platform.

Harvest Nature’s Beauty

Turning Point Gallery celebrates nature in a one-man show Oct. 10 with Sculptor Jason Ramsay Clark’s “Rhythms in Nature” series. Inspired by the rhythms and forms Clark observes in nature, this series consists of 28 abstract organic pieces that marry natural hardwoods and industrial steel. This engages the viewer to contemplate what happens when two disparate elements work together toward a greater good. Learn more about Clark and his sculptures here.

Harvest Good Health

Pete Bikas, owner of New Resident Solutions member Bikas Building of North Carolina LLC in Durham, believes spas, workout facilities and other types of wellness centers must offer a look and feel that will bring clients back again and again. His company’s extensive experience building out or retrofitting these spaces gives the facility owner a distinct advantage in the market. Go to the Turnkey Wellness page on his website at http://bikasbuilding.com/turnkeywellnessf.html

Bikas Building of North Carolina just finished a Jenny Craig at the Renaissance Center in Durham that will open Sept. 29, and the company will start construction on a Massage Envy at Beaver Creek in Apex at end of this month.

Harvest Home Improvement

Carolina Closets Plus in Chapel Hill has expanded to Raleigh. Mike Hoffer, co-founder and president of the company, has opened a beautiful new showroom at 5215 Capital Blvd. in Raleigh about one mile south of I-540. With the addition of this new showroom, Carolina Closets Plus is now able to offer structured wiring, home security, beam central vacuum, home audio/video and whole house HEPA air purification.

Hoffer has also announced a new partnership with Murphy Beds Of America, the original manufacturer of the wall bed system. Check out this space-saving horizontal wall bed in both showrooms, and learn more about the Carolina Closets Plus expansion at www.carolinaclosetsplus.com.

Both Carolina Closets Plus and Vacuum Cleaner Hospital will exhibit at the Southern Ideal Home Show in Raleigh Sept. 26-28. Vacuum Cleaner Hospital will be in the Exposition Center at the State Fairgrounds. The company will display the Silentmaster Power Units from MD Manufacturing; the VacPan, a popular 'electric' dustpan; and the new Bona hardwood mop, which dispenses cleaning solution directly from the mop with the pull of a trigger on the handle to make hardwood cleaning a breeze. Learn more at www.vacuumhospital.com.

As you settle into your new home this fall, take time to explore the Chapel Hill community and all it has to offer. Order a pumpkin spice latte from one of the local coffee shops and stroll through the town’s beautiful fall colors. New Resident Solutions of Chapel Hill will continue to update this blog to keep you informed of what’s going on, so you can continue to connect with your community.