Raleigh-Durham International Airport

Fresh food & drink options at Raleigh-Durham and St. Louis airports

NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. has teamed up with HMSHost to open the Whisky River restaurant and bar at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

The menu looks suitably honky-tonkyish, with Spicy Beef Chili, Beer Can Chicken, Texas Tequila Bacon Cheddar Burger and (for breakfast) Peaches & Cream Pancakes and Carolina Biscuits.

But what really makes this spot a nominee for airport amenity of the week is the fact that there’s a wall covered in belt buckles, live music six days week and a ‘made-for-selfies’ stationary bull that passengers may sit on.

Meanwhile, Three Kings Public House has opened in Terminal 2 (by Gate E33) in St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL).

The popular St. Louis-based pub honors three kings – Elvis, Henry VIII and King Kong – has three locations in town and at this fourth ‘streamlined’ airport branch will be serving pub food, house-made infused liquors, local craft brews and an extensive list of specialty beers including the Three Kings Dry Hopped Blonde Ale, made by 4 Hands just for these pubs.

Enjoy!

A rare and much-loved amenity at Raleigh=Durham International Airport is closing this week after serving passengers for almost 34 years.

2nd ed. Booksellers – a used bookstore located post-security at RDU – is closing it doors on December 31 after 33 and half years at the airport.

“It is quite sad to see it go, but it is time to retire as I have arthritis issues that strongly recommend that I stop lifting and toting boxes of books,” owner Walter High, who operates the store with his wife Karen, wrote on the store’s Facebook page. “We will miss our faithful customers and RDU will lose one of its most unique aspects. A used bookstore behind security at the airport doesn’t happen anywhere else in the US that we know of.Thank you all for your support over the years!”

RDU’s used bookshop was a favorite with travelers and a rarity at an airport. Two other airports have bookstores (that I know of) that also sell used books: Renaissance Book Shop at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport and a branch of Powell’s Books (selling new and used books) at Portland International Airport.” But these are pre-security.

Terminal 2 at RDU

Terminal 2 Raleigh Durham Airport

When Continental Airlines and US Airways begin operating from Concourse D on Sunday, January 23rd, Raleigh-Durham International Airport will have completed the construction of Terminal 2.

Concourse C opened in October, 2008 and now everyone gets to move freely through a lovely new one million square foot building that has 40 shops and restaurants, 36 gates and eight works of art and architecture.

New venues include Carolina Vintages, a wine bar offering North Carolina wines and produce,  Jason’s Deli, Five Guys Burgers & Fries and Flavours, a gourmet market.

New shops include Brighton Collectibles, PGA Tour Shop, Hudson News and 2nd Ed. Booksellers, a locally-based used bookstore.

The eight works of art include Robert Kushner’s Welcome, installed along the arrivals corridor;

Lydia Rubio’s Gate of Air, the companion pieces to Gate of Earth, which was installed in 2008;

RDU_Lydia Rubio's Gate of Earth

Gate of Earth, by Lydia Rubio

Mei-ling Hom’s Cloudscape and Ed Carpenter’s Triplet.

Carpenters Triplet is the large sculpture with wood masts and dichroic glass and LED lighting suspended from stainless steel cables in the atrium.

Fresh art at Raleigh-Durham Airport

Terminal 2 RDU Ed Carpenter Triplet

There’s fresh art at Raleigh-Durham International Airport: Triplet, by Ed Carpenter, was just unveiled as the centerpiece of the Terminal 2 central atrium.

“The piece captures the two themes behind the design of the terminal: handmade and mind made. It also incorporates glass, wood and steel, which are the three major components of the building…. Wood masts, tipped with dichroic glass and LED lighting, are suspended from stainless steel cables. The sculpture creates triangular forms on the ceiling and floor that suggest the Research Triangle Region.”

The first phase of the RDU’s Terminal 2 opened at the end of October. When completed, in January 2011, the terminal have eight pieces of art, 36 boarding gates, 10 security checkpoint lanes and be home to seven of the airport’s 10 major airlines.

RDU is no stranger to great art. Here’s a link to some of RDU’s great pieces – some dating back to 2002 – that have been installed elsewhere in the airport.

Great spots for plane-spotting

I recently put together a USATODAY.com column highlighting some of the observation decks at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI), and other North American airports.

Minneapolis - Observation deck - wide

Today I’ve got a column about plane-spotting sites outside airport terminals.

The sites listed range from Millbrae, California’s Bayfront Park, which offers great views of take-offs and landings at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), to Gravelly Point near Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport (DCA), and a few unusual but, we’re assured, legal spots nearby Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

For a photo-gallery and a list of other highly-recommended plane-spotting sites  around the country, please see the full column on USATODAY.com.

RDU Observ Park  - courtesy RDU Airport

(Raleigh-Durham International Airport’s Observation Park)

And of course, please share your favorite plane-spotting sites.