Lisa's expert framers have been showcasing all manner of memorabilia in creative custom cages for nearly 30 years, and they have the experience to face any framing challenge with a variety of artistic outlines and long-lasting techniques. Immortalize important decisions by framing your humanities degree or showcase your sentimental mementos—such as actual hard copies of your sentiments—in a shadowbox frame. Because every matte-worthy Matisse or frameable Fig Newton is put under glass on-site, you can relax with the knowledge that your keepsakes are kept safe under the watchful gaze of the framers.
Part of the North Carolina Railway Museum, the New Hope Valley Railway shepherds passengers through pine forest aboard vintage diesel and steam-engine trains. Covered cars protect riders from the elements, while a historic open-air caboose allows them to recline in locomotive fashion as they enjoy the shade of the woods, the breeze of the wind, and the harmonious serenade of local wildlife choirs. Trains depart from and return to Bonsal Depot, where a gift shop awaits filled with keepsake merchandise and a display track showcases vintage railroad equipment.
Free to the public, the North Carolina Railway Museum houses historic railway artifacts including vintage trains from builders such as Vulcan Iron Works and General Electric. On select Saturdays and Sundays, the Railway lets passengers take control of diesel-electric or steam-engine trains to experience firsthand life as a conductor.
Ava Gardner was studying to be a secretary at the Atlantic Christian College when 12-year-old Thomas Banks met her while playing at the school's campus in 1940. A year later, the young boy learned his friend had signed a movie contract with MGM to become a movie star. From then on, he collected newspaper clippings and memorabilia tracing her film career, from her breakout role in 1946's The Killers to her lauded work in 1953's Mogambo with Clark Gable. Tom and Ava remained friends over the years, and, at her request, he unveiled his collection—more than 50 years in the making—in 1979 in Smithfield, her birthplace and eventual resting place.
Tom amassed more than 20,000 artifacts from Ava's career and private life, which now, among other pieces, fill the 6,400-square-foot Ava Gardner Museum. Among movie posters and awards stand the silk satin cape that Ava wore in publicity shots for The Barefoot Contessa and the black dress she donned in The Great Sinner. Her personal items include china, jewelry, 40 portraits of her by Bert Pfeiffer, and the engraved watch she gave to her third husband, Frank Sinatra. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum celebrates the starlet with its annual Ava Gardner Festival, which includes screenings of her classic films and heritage tours.
Bob Meyer, who has spent many a tour alongside bands such as Metallica, The Rolling Stones, Phish, and The Allman Brothers, helms Give To Live Guitar Studios, which provides music lessons with a focus on community outreach. He and his staff of experienced, enthusiastic instructors welcome students for lessons in stringed instruments such as guitar, violin, banjo, mandolin, or bass as well as drums, vocals, and keyboards. They teach in all styles, from Bach to rock and roll, and help their students move from basics to live performance, hosting benefit concerts for local charities.
All big movements start small, but many would be surprised to learn that Ten Thousand Villages—a nonprofit and retailer with 70 stores nationwide—began out of a car trunk. In 1946, Edna Ruth Byler started the organization out of her car, taking a name from a quote by Mohandas Gandhi, who said, “India is not to be found in its few cities but in the 700,000 villages.”
Her willpower and determination allowed her vision to grow into a nonprofit that today supports more than 130 artisan groups in 37 developing countries. These artisans' wares go on sale at the organization's nationwide retail outlets, which brim with items including jewelry, stationery, and home decor. Everything is made using environmentally friendly processes, and every artisan is paid a fair wage. The money earned from sales goes directly to the artisans—who might otherwise be unemployed or underemployed—for financial help with education, food, housing, and healthcare.
The organization has risen to such stature that it won the People’s Choice Award for Green Business of the Year in 2005, and has acted as one of the founding members of the World Fair Trade Organization.
When a new exhibit comes to Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh, it transforms the entire space. In warehouse-style rooms, pieces spill out of the traditional boundaries of the wall like marshmallow cereals spill out of rainbows, sprawling over the floor or engulfing visitors totally. The multi-level gallery takes on six exhibitions each year, immersing visitors in an ever-changing landscape of installations, sculptures, and paintings by local and national artists.