At Dulce Dessert Boutique, fluffy frosting and moist, sweet cake are a siren's call to everyone who comes inside. It only helps that the shop's glass cases safely stow rows of cupcakes decorated with neon icing, homemade popcorn, and chocolate covered pretzels. But that's just the tip of what the bakers here dream up every day. Of their offerings, cake pops come with bright candy coatings and frosted cookies can be personalized, like with the name "Randy" to reflect the first name you wish you always had. In a departure from the standard cake flavors most bakeries offer, the specialty here is a classic Dominican cake that highlights the flavors of the Caribbean. Custom celebration cakes are also popular, with peanut butter cup and cinnamon crunch flavors in addition to artistic buttercream and fondant decorations to match a theme or style preference.
Real McCoy Paintball sets friend against friend, neighbor against neighbor, and brother against someone's friend and neighbor in a full onslaught in the great outdoors. The play is split into three fields: Hyperball, air ball, and the woods. During games, paintball markers release ammo in rapid fire, leaving opponents a bright, splotchy mess as refs makes sure play is on the level.
After Dustin Canestorp returned home from his tour of duty in Iraq, he and his Marine Corps buddies would gather to play poker and sample the beer Canestorp brewed at home. His dream: to brew beer professionally by opening a microbrewery in eastern North Carolina, a beach-filled haven with a craft-beer desert. That dream came to fruition, though with one additional element: Beer Army would raise funds for local charities and communities. Now, Canestorp holds festivals that introduce revelers to local and regional craft beers while gathering money for those in need. He also runs the brewery, which currently pours four of its own brews, and manages the Beer Army Outpost, a 3,000-square-foot store with a plethora of craft brews for purchase.
As if the big-screen TVs, video games, and WiFi weren’t enough, now Stephen Harrell is on the lookout for a bounce house. It’s all part of his vision to make Nice Dreams Cafe a vibrant, welcoming place for young people to socialize. A lifelong resident of Raleigh, Stephen says he was alarmed by the absence of positive hangouts for kids in town. He hopes to fix that. “We don’t want it to just be grab-and-go here," he says. "We want people to be able to stay here and enjoy themselves.”
In keeping with the kid-friendly ambiance, servers scoop up achingly sweet confections such as Krispy Kreme donut sundaes, cake-batter ice cream, and toppings such as Snickers and gummy worms. Additionally, Stephen wants to further cement his café’s status as a community bastion by hosting frequent kid-friendly events and incorporating local ingredients into the menu. In the meantime, he has his eye on a few bounce houses.
With an experienced, personable staff and diverse selection of jewelry, Main Street Jewelers takes its bling seriously. Disgruntled forty-niners can browse a selection of stunning sterling-silver charms, chains, rings, bracelets, necklaces, jodhpurs, and earrings, as well as Beadle beads ($20–$32) that fit on most brand-name bracelets. The shop also stocks a full line of Concept earrings ($10–$45), designed for those with allergies and sensitive ears, and a display case full of sterling-silver Beadle bracelets ($59) eager to dress up bare wrists. A range of new and estate gold and silver items ($60+) bring dreams of owning Blackbeard’s dog’s golden bicuspid that much closer to reality. The old-fashioned jewelry boutique boasts an on-staff bench jeweler, a goldsmith, and a watchmaker to repair broken treasures, recreate favorite pieces, and clean up tarnished trimmings.
My Girlfriends Place owner Dawn Thompson-Black and her troop of beautifiers combat dowdiness, preserve youthfulness, and annihilate unchecked follicular propagation. The salon’s brow waxing service overhauls eyeball awnings by stripping away fuzzy debris, trimming errant strands, and shaping brows into sleek lines or favorite punctuation marks. Thompson-Black brings a deft touch to all treatments, calling upon two decades of aesthetic experience to ease anxiety, tread lightly around sensitive areas, and soothe skin feeling the sting of separation. Clients take new faces for a spin within the homey comforts of My Girlfriends Place’s new location just beyond the panoramic front porch and pulled pork vending machine of the stately Southern Traditions House.