Our first stop in North Carolina was the capital city of Raleigh (pics). In keeping with our practice of visiting state Capitol buildings we encounter, we began our tour of Raleigh at the North Carolina State Capitol. Completed in 1840 and built in a Greek Revival style, this Capitol has become mostly ceremonial and historical in nature. While the Governor’s office remains here, in the early 1960’s the legislature moved to a newly constructed State Legislative Building.
The rotunda has a curious statue of George Washington by the Italian artist Antonio Canova. He depicts Washington in the uniform of a Roman general, with a tunic, body armor and a short cape. He’s shown writing in Italian on a tablet the first words of his farewell address as president. The statue was originally fashioned in 1820 but was destroyed by fire in 1831. In 1970 another Italian artist used Canova’s working model to make the copy now displayed.
In the area near the Capitol there is the North Carolina Museum of History and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Both of these museums are quite large and have extensive exhibits. The Natural Sciences museum has live animal exhibits and detailed dioramas as well as skeletons of Wright, humpback and blue whales.
In order to maintain our commitment to sampling regional cuisine during our trip, we dined at The Pit restaurant. The Pit has attracted attention from the Travel Channel, Zagat and the Food Network for their BBQ. We were able to sample their Carolina style chopped BBQ and their traditional BBQ ribs along with black eyed peas, collard greens and coleslaw. The BBQ and the sides were all excellent.