Thanks, y’all.

I’m fully aware that the recognized season of giving thanks was weeks ago, but a “thanks” seems the only possible way to start this story, a recap of many amazing paths I’ve wandered down the past few months while writing my Positively Raleigh column. Thanks to everyone who’s come along for the journey, providing ideas, interviews, reading and sharing these fun Raleigh stories.

With all due apologies to the Grateful Dead, What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been. How else to explain an experience that started with my decision to be more creative by tweeting one picture each day and ending 45 posts later with an amateur album review about Beck’s most recent incredible work of art?

For some unknown reason, Jordan Rogers started following me on Twitter just after I joined early in 2014, and eventually liked enough of what he saw to invite me to join Raleigh & Company. Pretty cool. I thought I might as well put my journalism degree officially to use for the first time in my life, and started my online writing career with a story about… mushrooms.1

Then it was on to a Hamlet-type decision: To ‘Cue or to Brew, lamenting about conflicting Raleigh festivals.

Connecting with tweeps in real life at HQRaleigh for the New Economy of Purpose event.

Anger with the Raleigh music gods for unconscionably scheduling Beck and Dave Matthews Band on the same July evening.

How Beer Creates Art, the interactive “Before I Die” exhibit at Artsplosure and volunteering to pour beer for Sierra Nevada.

I never knew I needed arepas in my life.

Talkin’ Trash with smart solar trash compactors in downtown Raleigh.

The death of the drive-in and birth of the walk-in.

Civic hacking and camping in the city.

Making room for new friends at the Wander Box.

The immovable feast, the Raleigh Food Corridor vision.

Bow ties are cool, even for eighth graders and when tied by a mom with questionable skills.

Much ado about parking: the raleigh [ ] space parklet and North Hills app.

Coffee, chocolate and if you’re a fan of either why you should care about rainforests.

A Friday Creative Morning, with Happy+Hale’s Rise ‘n Rave and minimalism zen found at Bida Manda.

Raleigh’s overabundance of Twitter parody accounts.

Feeding your food at the Downtown Raleigh Farmers Market and which restaurants compost, listed on RaleighComposts.

Playing #TagURit in Raleigh parks.

If You Wish It They Might Build It, speak now or forever hold your peace on the downtown master plan.

MAINlining Fun, or why no one slept in September.

Falling off the Wagon and in love with balsamic vinegar.

Reading Out Loud, a monthly book club where you can talk trash in celebration of Raleigh’s 25th recycling anniversary.

Chefs working behind the emerald curtain during Downtown Raleigh Restaurant Week.

Elle Luna’s intersection of Should and Must (now soon to be a book!) and an-ti-ci-pa-tion of the Hopscotch Design Festival.

Raleigh: it’s the place to be(er). Enough said.

CANstruction, or how architects build competitive fortresses for fun to benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

Design Matters, on the City of Raleigh’s appearance awards. Sir Walter Raleigh’s pride must be busting at the seams at how good we look.

“An inaugural gathering of thinkers, makers, storytellers, and reinventors who are shaping what’s next right now.”

The search for the best buffalo wings in Raleigh.

Painting Some Sunshine, supporting Activate Good’s 9/11 Day of Service.

Full-length feature on Farm Aid and Raleigh’s growing urban ag movement.

Brewing Good with new brews and talented chefs while building community at the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation’s annual event.

Pouring moonshine on a campfire, or how the International Bluegrass Festival ignited First Friday.

Celebrating the waning days of summer with outdoor community glowga, yoga+glow sticks.

Preserving a Tradition, and why Scowling Scorpion beef jerky won Best of Show at the NC State Fair.

Kindred spirits, passionate about sustainability, mixing and mingling at Sustainable Spirits each month.

NC State researchers’ proof on why you really should listen to Mom.

Summer, fall and winter meet in one weekend for The Blended Season.

“It’s the economy, stupid.”

Yes, it’s a listicle, but it’s written by someone who actually lives in Raleigh. My love letter to Raleighites who are shining on the national stage, and why we should adopt the V for Victory gesture.

Nothing Sweeter than Tupelo Honey, or their local art.

Why aren’t men into yoga?  I found four who are, for varying reasons. Pretty fascinating.

I lobbied for a downtown Raleigh combo cat cafe and bagel shop. Still waiting for someone to pick up and run with the idea. Maybe it should be doughnuts instead.

Raleigh’s 12 Experiences of Christmas. Who knew the 12 Days of Christmas song started on Christmas? Not me. It’s my most popular story yet.

Raleigh & Company’s expose on The Elusive Cheddar Bo had over 10,000+ shares (no joke!), and 1,937 cheddar lovers signed the online petition. It was enough to get Bojangles’ attention with a decision to kick #ItsCheddarBoTime off at locations west of I-95 the week of January 4. Cheese, and the power of social media, wins.

Lauren Brownlow’s story on Florida State haters has been shared more than 1,200 times, and climbing. It’s a story that needed to be told.

And that’s why I’m most thankful. Raleigh & Company is a platform to express authentic viewpoints, stories, and experiences, and we’re just getting started. If you’d like to receive the weekly enewsletter, have a story idea, a story to tell, or have a business or event and want info about getting some exposure, email me by clicking on the envelope next to my name.

It’s been a very merry year, but most importantly, here’s to 2015 and the freedom to continue our long, strange trip around Raleigh and beyond. Hope we never reach the destination.

  1. Told you it was a trip.
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