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Triangle Area Activities & Restaurants for Valentines Day

by AH for Masha Halpern

While Valentines Day has historically been celebrated as a day of romance since the 14th century, it’s modern spin has come to incorporate all types of love.

Whether you’re lucky in romantic love, bursting with rich friendships, or want to indulge in some self-love, spend the week of Valentine’s celebrating the power of love. Here are some of the Triangle area offerings that will put a little love in your heart.

The Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill’s show Carolina Skies offer several showings of a special Valentines edition and even an Anti-Valentine edition. Show dates & times are located on their website.

Check out this list of Valentine themed events in Durham. Offerings include chocolate tasting, cooking classes, speed-dating, Senior Luncheon, The Office Valentine Episodes Trivia night, arts & crafts classes, and much more!


Keep celebrating all week long with this list of Valentines activities for anyone - with or without a date!

The Open Table website has put together a Valentine’s Dinner list that includes 90 restaurants in Durham, Chapel Hill & Raleigh. Open Table even allows you to make reservations with just a click from their website or app.

And let’s not forget your home...if you don’t love your home, maybe it’s time for a new one. Realtors are matchmakers - introducing people to homes until they fall in love with one.



2018 Local Holiday Events in the Triangle NC Area

by AH for Masha Halpern

Every year the holiday season seems to start earlier and earlier- there’s so much to see and do!  We’ve compiled this list of local celebrations, concerts & events for 2018. Join in the holiday cheer with these events happening right here in the Triangle…


Levin JCC Hanukkah Festival | More Info

Dec 2, 2-4pm

Handmade Hanukkah Market | More Info

Dec 2, 10am-3pm

Durham Kwanzaa Celebration | More Info

Dates TBD

Town of Cary Kwanzaa Celebration | More Info

Dec 28, 11am

Chapel Hill - Carrboro Parade | More Info

Dec 8, 10am

Durham Holiday Parade & Fun Fest | More Info

Dec 8

Hillsborough Parade | More Info

Dec 2, 4:15pm

Chatham Parade | More Info

Dec 9, 3pm

Alternative Gift Market & Concert | More Info

Nov 16-17

NC Symphony | Website

The Merry Elf Concert - Nov 21

Holiday Pops Extravaganza Concert - Nov 23-24

DPAC Hip Hop Nutcracker | More Info

Dec 20, 7:30pm

Triangle Youth Ballet Nutcracker | More Info

Carolina Ballet Nutcracker | More Info

Let us know of your favorite holiday events and if you try any of these!


Family Friendly Fall Events to Enjoy in the Triangle

by AH for Masha Halpern

The fall chill is in the air and October beckons us to enjoy its crisp colors and fun activities. Keep reading for some ideas on how to celebrate the fall season with family if you're in the Triangle area!

NC State Fair

October 12-21 - 10 days of fabulous fun and entertainment awaits you at the NC State Fair! Located in Raleigh at the state fairgrounds, the NC State Fair offers a variety of traditional fair food, rides galore, concerts, contests, exhibitions and more. Buy tickets here!

Pumpkin Patch Express Train Ride, Museum of Life & Science

Bring the kiddos any weekend in October to the Museum of Life & Science for the Pumpkin Patch Express, where you will journey to the museum's special pumpkin patch to pick your pumpkin, decorate and take home with you! Don't forget to take part in the crafts and carnival games before making the train trip back. It's the perfect way to celebrate fall with young children! More details here!

Fearrington Pumpkin Fest

October 30 - Come out to see the expert creativity of Fearrington's superb chefs and gardeners as they display 80+ jack o' lanterns! Take a leisurely walk through the Village Center where pumpkins will be located throughout the beautiful gardens with live music, food & spooky brew stations set up throughout. The Roost will offer its delicious pizza and local craft beers, and The Belted Goat will be open as well.. Enjoy the evening's musical guest, Chatham Rabbits! Find lots more details here!



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Masha Halpern and The Smart Move Team is your ultimate real estate resource for Chapel Hill, Durham, Carrboro and surrounding areas. Visit my website at for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Masha is a certified member of The Luxury Home Marketing Institute, participates in its annual Leaders in Luxury Conference, and works with The Institute’s thousands of members worldwide to share information about current listings.

Masha is also a certified member of Keller Williams Luxury International and is Chapel Hill & Durham's EXCLUSIVE  member of Cyber Stars International – Top Realtors Using Technology – a group dedicated to taking the best and latest technological advances and applying them to real estate advertising and marketing for her clients in all price points. Masha Halpern can be contacted for a private consultation by calling 919-414-0337 or by visiting

For over 100 years, the tobacco industry reigned supreme, spurring growth throughout the city of Durham. Thus, when large cigarette manufacturers like Lucky Strike and Bull Durham closed the doors of the American Tobacco factory in 1987, it triggered a wave of economic decline. With the goal of preserving the rich history and revitalizing Durham, Capitol Broadcasting Company, the owner of the Durham Bulls, purchased the 16-acre American Tobacco Campus in 2002. After investing $200 million in design and renovation, the historic area re-opened in 2004, catalyzing the Durham Renaissance.

Now, the American Tobacco Historic District includes office, residential, and commercial spaces, a barber shop, salon, spa, and numerous art centers. Deemed “The Startup Hub of the South,” the American Tobacco Campus houses the American Underground, an area for entrepreneurs on the cutting edge of technology to build progressive companies while paying homage to the entrepreneurial success stories of the past. However, the American Tobacco Campus isn’t all business, networking, and conferences. Between broadway shows at DPAC, baseball games at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, and the Full Frame Theater, the American Tobacco Campus focuses on creating spaces for artists to thrive and the public to enjoy.

American Tobacco Music hosts On the Lawn, an outdoor concert series celebrating North Carolina’s unique music heritage. Sponsored by WUNC (91.5), the concert is free and open to the public. The grammy-nominated Americana band Yarn and The Road Band will perform in the next show on Thursday, August 23 at 6:00 pm. You’re encouraged to bring your own lawn chairs and picnic blankets, but you can always grab a seat at nearby restaurants like Cuban Revolution or Tyler’s Restaurant and Taproom. Also, keep an eye out for upcoming concerts in the nearby area. The On the Lawn concert series has expanded to the outfield section of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and the Down Under Patio near Saladelia. Bring your dog and kids, relax by the stunning water feature, and enjoy the best of what Durham has to offer at the American Tobacco Campus!

For more information on the concert series click here!

Maple View Farms Celebrates National Ice Cream Day!

by EM & AH for Masha Halpern

Located in the Hillsborough countryside, Maple View Farms serves scenic views alongside their freshly churned Southern ice cream. Before Maple View Farms opened their doors on New Year's Day in 2001, they were selling bottled milk to faithful customers in the community. After finding success with their high-quality milk, Robert Nutter, the founder of Maple View Farms, and his daughter Muffin, decided the community might enjoy their handcrafted ice cream as well. So, they made their dream a reality and began with 12 simple flavors. Since then, Maple View Farms has developed hundreds of more flavors, won countless awards, expanded to new locations around the Triangle, and brought their delicious products to grocery stores near you!

Community is very important to Maple View Farms. That’s why they designed the Maple View Agricultural Center, a non-profit educational facility open to people of all ages to learn about sustainable agriculture and farm life. The AG Center is open year-round for field trips, birthday parties, and events like family reunions and wedding receptions. In the warmer months, the AG Center offers classroom lessons on the dairy process, insects, and plants along with guided barnyard animal tours and hayrides at affordable prices. Check out the Maple View AG Center today!


Mark your calendars everyone! National Ice Cream Day falls on July 15th and Maple View Farms is holding an event to celebrate. Join the crowd of ice cream lovers and aficionados for live music by the Mason Lovette Band and Back Porch Orchestra, face painting, lawn games, ice cream specials, visit with a calf, and more. A percentage of all sales will go to Sam’s Wish Foundation at Kid’s Path of Hospice & Angels Among Us Benefiting the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke. See you there!

You can also join in with us on social media regardless of where you choose to celebrate the day. Upload a photo of yourself, friends & family enjoying ice cream, to twitter, facebook or instagram with the tag @MashaHalpern, and you’ll be entered to win a $15 gift certificate to Maple View Farms Store.


Here’s a shot of our team enjoying our cool treats. Now let’s see yours!

Who do you know who wants to buy, sell or invest in real estate? Let us know by clicking here!

We’d love to provide them with Genuine Support, Qualified Experience & Personalized Service.

The Duke Lemur Center

by EM for Masha Halpern
Looking for adventure this summer, but unable to travel to exotic lands? Then look no further than the Duke Lemur Center - the experience of Madagascar in our very own Durham!

Just two miles outside of Duke University’s campus, over 50 years of lemur research and conservation has occurred at the Duke Lemur Center. With help from the Duke University School of Medicine and the National Science Foundation, biologists John Buettner-Janusch and Peter Klopfer founded the Duke Lemur Center (previously known as the Duke University Primate Center) in 1966. Together, they established an internationally acclaimed facility to study health, behavior, genomics, and more in lemurs and their close relatives non-invasively. Today, the Duke Lemur Center houses the largest living collection of endangered primates in the world (both in population size and range of species) within 80 wooded acres of Durham.

For millions of years, lemurs flourished on the island of Madagascar where they had few natural predators, large swaths of land to call home, and plenty of lush vegetation for food. When humans began settling on the island about 2,000 years ago this began to change. Since humans first arrived on Madagascar, one third of all lemur species have become extinct and many more are endangered. To combat this issue, the Duke Lemur Center partnered with a number of other accredited institutions to design sustainable conservation breeding programs called Species Survival Plans (SSPs) in the hopes of creating a “genetic safety net” for rare and endangered species like the aye-aye, sifika, and blue-eyed black lemurs. Since the founding of the Duke Lemur Center, the facility has birthed over 3,285 animals and has celebrated three more births this year!

The first lemur birthed this season was Ranomasina, a blue-eyed black lemur who become one of only 34 located in North America and now belongs to one of the most endangered primate groups in the world. Ranomasina, whose name means “sea,” is also exceptional because she was delivered via cesarean section, which has only happened 15 times since the founding and is the offspring of lemurs from Madagascar making her “genetically valuable.” Bobby Schopler, a veterinarian who has worked at the Duke Lemur Center since 2005, called it “the most important birth in the 13 years I’ve worked here.” The Duke Lemur Center welcomed its second birth of the year on March 14 when Gellar, whose named after the actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, was born to parents Wiig and Hiddleston. Just eight days later, the Lemur Center welcomed baby Mark Hamill into the world. Honored to have a lemur named after himself, Mark Hamill tweeted the Duke Lemur Center back upon hearing the news! Gellar and Hamill spent their first few days like most at the Duke Lemur Center- in an independent “baby suite” with their mothers. This is done to increase infant mortality rates, which are significantly higher when the mother and infant are separated from other members until the infant is stronger and less vulnerable. Around the beginning of April, Gellar and Hamill were both reintroduced to their families and are doing wonderfully!


The Duke Lemur Center is a public facility that welcomes over 25,000 visitors every year to learn about lemurs, science, and conservation. It’s open 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m year-round and offers a variety of options for all ages and budgets. Touring requires a reservation as they typically book around 2 weeks beforehand, but last-minute appointments are sometimes available so calling is always welcomed. Reservations can be made via the phone at (919) 401-7240 or with an online reservation request form. Check out Ranomasina, Gellar, Hamill, and the rest of the rare and amazing animals today!

Triangle Area Fourth of July Firework Celebrations

by EM for Masha Halpern

It’s almost America’s birthday!  Get in on the fun with these local celebrations. Our list includes fireworks & non-fireworks events - there’s so many ways to join in the fun!

Fireworks Events

Kenan Stadium- Chapel Hill

Gates open at 7 p.m. and the firework display begins at 9:30 p.m. This event is hosted by comedians from the PITT Comedy Theater with music from the Matt Stratford Band. The watermelon eating contest, face painting area, glowsticks, a digital photobooth, and spin art stations are also offered but make sure to get there early to participate! There is a suggested donation of $1 per person or $5 per family. Travel & Leisure Magazine ranked Chapel Hill as one of America’s Top 10 Best Towns for a July Fourth Celebration! Get more information here!

Durham Bulls Athletic Park- Durham

The USA vs. Japan game begins at 6:05 p.m. with tickets starting at $12 and gates will open for the public at the end of the 7th inning for free.Entrance is based on availability, so if you want to guarantee a seat for the display, consider purchasing a ticket to the game. Viewing areas outside the park include the grassy area behind Diamond View 3, the Tobacco Road Sports Cafe, Ponysaurus, and outside of the North Deck by Burt’s Bees. Get more information here!

Koka Booth Amphitheater- Cary

Gates open at 3 p.m. for people to lay down blankets, lawn chairs, and picnic baskets and the fireworks show begins at 9 p.m.Enjoy the ferris wheel ride with a stunning view of Symphony Lake, lively music, ice cream eating contests, scavenger hunts, and more. General lawn admission tickets are free but tickets for special reserved seating must be purchased. Get more information here!

North Carolina State Fairgrounds- Raleigh

The City of Raleigh has moved it’s annual Fourth of July celebration from Downtown Raleigh to the North Carolina State Fairgrounds and PNC Arena area. Gates will open at 6 p.m. and the fireworks will begin at 9:30. This event is free and open to the public. Get more information here!

Other Fourth of July Celebrations in the Triangle Area

Children’s Independence Day Parade at Durham Central Park

The decorating of bikes, wagons, and strollers begins at 9:30 with craft supplies from the Scrap Exchange. A parade through the park starts at 10:30 a.m. and DJ Piddipat will provide the tunes. Free popsicles and fire truck tours are available following the parade. Get more information here!

Carrboro Town Hall- Carrboro

This event starts at Weaver Street Market Lawn at 9:30 a.m. and parades to the Town Hall at 10:50 a.m.The Kids Fun Zone and Fun Zone Stage will be back as well as plenty of activities, food, live music, and games. Get more information here!

Independence Day Celebration- Raleigh

This event takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the North Carolina State Capitol. There will be plenty of food, musical performances, carriage rides, quill writing, and other Revolutionary era activities for all ages to enjoy. An outdoor naturalization ceremony for new citizens and a reading of the Declaration of Indepence will also occur! Get more information here!

Olde Fashioned Fourth of July- Apex

This event is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Apex’s historic downtown rain or shine. The morning is filled with fun activities like carnival games, inflatables, ice cream, karoke, a climbing wall and giant slide.At noon, children 12 and under can participate in Uncle Sam’s Parade of Wheels down Salem Street. Get more information here!

Picnic in the Park- Hillsborough

Located at the Eno River Farmers Market Pavilion, this community picnic offers an array of activities for people of all ages. There will be an American Blues and Roots outdoor concert in collaboration with the Music Maker Relief Foundation.Food trucks, games, children’s activities, crafts, and more! This event is free to the public and takes place on Sunday, July 1st from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Get more information here!

Cary’s Independence’s Eve Celebration

This event takes place on Tuesday, July 3rd starting at 6:30 p.m with performances by Applause! Cary Youth Theater and the Cary Town Band.Get more information here!

A Tar Heel Treasure: The Carolina Inn & Fridays on the Front Porch

by EM for Masha Halpern

Located on the western perimeter of the University of North Carolina campus, the Carolina Inn offers 12,500 square feet of pure Southern charm and summer fun. This historic landmark was established in 1924 by UNC alumnus John Sprunt Hill and designed by the award-winning architect, Arthur C. Nash. Together, they created an elegant, Southern haven, drawing inspiration from plantation homes with Georgian and neoclassical features. In 1935, Hill gifted the Inn to UNC on the condition that all profits go towards supporting the university library. Today, the Inn is still owned and maintained by the university and continues to fund the North Carolina Collection at the Wilson Library.

Since its original construction, a series of renovations have taken place to bring more amenities and a modern aesthetic to the Inn. Although modernizations have been made, the Inn’s rich history has remained and the Inn is still considered the “University's living room” to many. At the heart of the hotel, pictures of the campus throughout the years line the walls and just beyond are three ballrooms, a banquet space, and a Mobil four-star winning restaurant. With large spaces that provide flexibility of use, the Carolina Inn frequently hosts weddings, academic conferences, business meetings, and other significant events. The Carolina Inn is undeniably woven into the fabric of Chapel Hill’s community and is a popular destination for UNC families, alumni, and locals.

In 2003, a local bluegrass band composed of Chapel Hill natives and UNC graduates called Big Fat Gap, garnered the attention of Allal Kartaoui, the Director of Food and Beverage at the Carolina Inn. Inspired by the cheering crowd and friendly atmosphere in nearby Fraternity Court, Kartaoui created Fridays on the Front Porch (#FOFP), an outdoor concert series hosted by the Carolina Inn that is now celebrating its 16th season. This popular, end-of-work-week celebration occurs April to October from 5 - 8 p.m. with no reservations required. And did I mention it’s free too? Enjoy live bluegrass music, relax under the shady oaks and magnolias, and maybe even grab a cocktail or two. Whether you spread a blanket for a picnic, treat yourself to food truck fare and refreshing beverages, or wander into the Crossroads Chapel Hill Restaurant for gourmet cuisine with a contemporary Southern flair, you simply cannot go wrong. Join the crowd of music fans, dancing toddlers, alumni, friendly dogs, and locals to experience a piece of the Carolina Inn’s magic for yourself. Check out the 2018 schedule here!

Earth Day 2018 in the Triangle

by AH for Masha Halpern

Each week in the real estate field, we look at many homes. Some are big, some are small, some have large yards while others have that unusual feature that is just right for our buyers. But the one thing they all have in common….they are all on this beautiful Earth of ours - a place we ALL call HOME.

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22, 2018, but there are projects & events that take place all month. Are you looking for small ways to get in on the celebration? Wondering what you can do? Check out these 10 ideas for ways to conserve at DoYouYoga’s website.

The  Triangle, NC Area has lots of ways to celebrate Earth Day!  (If you aren’t local, you can search Google with keywords “ Earth Day Celebrations  & YOUR TOWN NAME “).

Durham Earth Day Celebration - Picnic Under the Tower, April 20: 12-1:30pm

This is no ordinary picnic, enjoy a variety of food vendors while enjoying live music and special appearance by Wool E. Bull & Otus the Owl. Event information.

UNC 2018 Earth Day Fair - April 18, 10am-2pm.

Visit Polk Place to engage with vendors, organizations and departments and learn how they work together to make Carolina a more sustainable community. Event information.

Chatham County Earth Day Event - April 21

Offering  “free paper shredding, medication take-back, compost bins for sale, household hazardous waste, raffle prizes, and give-a-ways.” Event Information.


Spring Fever? Enjoy These Local Nature Escapes.

by AH for Masha Halpern

Nothing could be finer than springtime in the Triangle Area!  Blue skies, colorful flowers, budding trees and gentle breezes make spending time outdoors a pleasure. Our part of North Carolina boasts a large number of opportunities to enjoy the natural beauty of this season. Here are a few highlights...

The NC Botanical Gardens located in Chapel Hill has free admission and offers a large variety of native plants, including the venus fly trap. Families can enjoy the education center, giant outdoor chess set, and the original cabin of playwright, Paul Green.

The Botanical Gardens also maintains Coker Arboretum, which is located on campus at UNC-Chapel Hill. This shaded garden with meandering pathways is located near Morehead Planetarium and Franklin Street. It’s a great place for a picnic lunch or a quick game of frisbee while visiting the university.

The Sarah P. Duke Gardens, adjacent to Duke University, is a beautiful place for picnics, special occasion portraits, and wildlife sightings. Terraced flower gardens, arched bridges and open spaces provide for hours of exploration and recreation. The Duke Gardens offers a terrace shop & cafe on site. Find out more about special programs and nature camps here.

Photo courtesy of NCMA.

The NC Museum of Art features a park that “connects art, nature and people.” With miles of recreational trails, visitors can picnic, jog, bike or stroll while enjoying the beauty of nature and art. From March 22-25 this year, the Art in Bloom festival will feature exhibits, presentations, workshops, a walking tour, and a special gift shop & trunk show. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon with your favorite garden enthusiast.


The annual Orange County Garden Expo and Plant Sale in Hillsborough is May 4-5 this year. The show includes both public and private gardens, and features a plant sale. The Hillsborough Gardening Club’s website provides lots of helpful information about area events, native plants & pollinators, and vegetable gardening.


Looking for an escape from urban life? Look no farther than Duke Forest. This serene escape is over 7,000 acres and spans across Durham, Orange & Alamance counties. The forest is used for education, research and recreation. The Pine Cone Pacer is a 5K Run/Walk event that is being held April 14th. Learn more about  recreational opportunities, such as fishing, picnics, horseback riding, by checking out their website.


Roses rule at the Gene Strowd Rose Garden. Located in the heart of Chapel Hill this garden is adjacent to the Chapel Hill Community Center & Park. The labyrinth-style brick pathway winds around 130 different varieties of roses grown in over 350 bushes.  The colors and fragrances will make you “stop and smell the roses”. This small garden is a perfect outing when you are short on time.

Plan an outing to one (or more) of these beautiful sites and enjoy what nature - and our local area- has to offer! And if you find another favorite place that we should feature, let us know.

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Photo of Masha Halpern - Boutique Real Estate Real Estate
Masha Halpern - Boutique Real Estate
Keller Williams Realty
101 Cosgrove Avenue, Suite 200
Chapel Hill NC 27514
Direct 919-951-1780
Toll Free 877-478-4669
Fax: 919-928-9030

Masha Halpern of Keller Williams Realty provides real estate services in the Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina area including real estate services for buyer, sellers and those relocating to the surrounding areas of Apex, Bahama,Cary, Efland, Hillsborough, Holly Springs, Mebane, Raleigh, and Wake Forest. Search for homes in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham or the surrounding communities.  Request a market analysis for your North Carolina property.  I list and sell residential real estate, investment property, vacant land, lots for sale in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina area.

Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina real estate and homes for sale in North Carolina - Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team