Outdoor living spaces are popular upgrades

12aA recent survey of home renovation industry professionals conducted by Fixr.com found that creating outdoor living spaces was homeowners’ biggest priority regarding renovations. The survey found that 62% of renovation-minded homeowners said outdoor dining areas are their most sought-after living space.

Certain features were especially popular, none more so than comfortable outdoor furniture. Firepits, outdoor fireplaces, swimming pools, hot tubs, and outdoor connectivity were some additional popular features among homeowners.

The role of nature in home design

Outdoor living spaces were prioritized during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when public gatherings were greatly limited and individuals were urged to stay home as much as possible. Such demands have had a ripple effect on various industries, including home design.

According to a survey conducted by the New Home Trends Institute in collaboration with Pro Builder, 58% of the more than 300 residential architects, designers and design-minded builders who participated, said connection to the outdoors/nature will be an important influence on their design choices in the years to come. About half of respondents indicated increased attention will be afforded to outdoor entertaining spaces.

So, what might the outdoor spaces of homes built in the not-so-distant future look like? Respondents to the survey anticipated a growing demand for various built-in outdoor features, including firepits or fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, gazebos or pergolas, pools, and spas or hot tubs.

Though trends and consumer demands are ever-shifting, architects and designers are anticipating that future homeowners will want more developed outdoor living spaces and greater access to nature, which is something current homeowners can keep in mind when renovating their properties.

Turn a backyard into your own relaxing respite

Backyards have long been places to unwind and enjoy some peace and quiet surrounded by nature. Thanks in part to financial instability brought on by rising inflation and measures to tame it, homeowners may decide to forgo traditional vacations in favor of staying home this summer.12b

There’s no better time to invest in a home, particularly outdoor spaces, to make them welcoming respites. The following are some ways to accomplish that goal.
Incorporate a water feature The sound of trickling or bubbling water can make surroundings more serene. A low-maintenance water feature can help to create a calming ambiance. A fountain that does not require a collection pond will reduce the chance it becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Locating the fountain out of the sun can keep algae growth at a minimum.

Add lights for ambiance

Outdoor lighting options include professionally installed, hardwired lights on the home itself or accent lighting that draws attention to trees or architectural structures on the property. It also may include twinkling lights, which some consider a must-have for any outdoor retreat. Lights come in all types and price points. Hang them on porches, pergolas or cement posts inside decorative planters and then string lights between the posts. This way the lighting can be moved around as desired.

Lounging spots

A comfortable outdoor loveseat or chairs may be a focal point of the yard, but build in some additional cozy spots specifically for lounging around. Nestle a hammock in a quiet corner of the yard, or enhance a chaise lounge with throw pillows and a large umbrella for napping poolside.

Add lushness with plants

Plants can transform any space. Use a combination of planted varieties around the yard, then enhance certain areas with potted plants as needed. Plants can make an area more warm and inviting, plus they give butterflies, bees and hummingbirds places to stop by and visit. Consider the help of a professional landscaper to bring a vision of a lush, plant-filled retreat to life.
Blend in the pool or spa

With some unique landscape architecture, the pool or hot tub can be built right into the landscape, making it a cohesive part of the design. This can make the yard seem even more like an oasis, especially when the pool is flanked by a waterfall or bubbling fountain.

Add some music

Thanks to wireless speakers that rely on Bluetooth technology, it’s easy to have music piped right into the backyard. Set up a wireless speaker in an inconspicuous spot, such as inside a planter or in the rafters of a gazebo.

Turning a backyard into an oasis can provide the respite many people look for on their properties.

Garden Gathering celebrates nature’s beauty at CFBG

16The Cape Fear Botanical Garden’s upcoming event, A Garden Gathering, Farm-to-Table Dinner, will raise awareness and support for Cape Fear Botanical Garden’s mission. The event is scheduled for May 17, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

The Cape Fear Botanical Garden’s mission is to transform people’s relationship with plants and the natural world. Further, according to the Garden, their vision is to create and sustain a national caliber institution with gardens and programs of exceptional quality.

Cape Fear Botanical Garden is a premier destination in the region for people to connect with nature and to expand their horizons through educational and cultural programs.

The Garden Gathering is presented by Mercedes-Benz of Fayetteville, and all proceeds from this event go towards sustaining the gardens and the various programs at Cape Fear Botanical Garden.
The Garden Gathering, Farm-to-Table Dinner event starts at 5:30 p.m. with the Floating Cocktail Hour in the garden, followed by opening remarks at 6:45 p.m.

Then, at 7 p.m. is the Cape Fear Eye Associates Stroll followed by an al fresco casual Farm-to-Table dinner prepared by Elliot’s on Linden featuring locally sourced ingredients and sustainably grown cuisine served on the Snow's Pond Lawn. The event will also feature live music, raffles, an auction, and more.

The Cape Fear Botanical Garden is a nonprofit founded in 1989 and situated on 80 acres. It was founded with the dual purpose of providing a learning environment for the horticulture students at Fayetteville Technical Community College and offering a resource for the local horticulturists. It is a conservation and exhibition site for plant species and communities native to the Cape Fear River basin.

The garden features diverse landscapes, including nature trails, a natural amphitheater, steep ravines showcasing unique plant life, and more. Additionally, Cape Fear Botanical Garden hosts a range of events, such as weddings, military balls, ceremonies and business gatherings.

This event is sure to delight and inspire. Explore Cape Fear Botanical Garden and learn about the diverse plant life that thrives there while enjoying their commitment to local culture and environmental sustainability.

There are a number of ticket options. One ticket is $150, including dinner, open seating and non-valet parking.

The 4-ticket package is $690, including a Household Garden Membership (valued at $90), reserved seating for 4, dinner and valet parking for the ticket holders. The 8-ticket package is $1,450, including a Patron Garden Membership (valued at $250), reserved seating for 8, dinner, and valet parking for the ticket holders. The valet parking will be provided courtesy of Valley Auto World.

Cape Fear Botanical Garden is located at 536 N. Eastern Boulevard in Fayetteville. For more information visit www.capefearbg.org/.

FSO finishes season with a Fayetteville Celebration

14aAs another successful season comes to an end, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra welcomes the community to their final concert of the 2022-23 season — a Fayetteville Celebration.

The family-friendly concert will be held at Huff Concert Hall on Methodist University’s campus on Saturday, May 13. Featuring Fayetteville’s beloved symphony orchestra and several gifted collaborators, the Fayetteville Celebration will be a night of amazing talent and beautiful music.

“We’re closing this season with my personal favorite,” said Meghan Woolbright, Marketing and Office Manager for the FSO. “Our mission is to educate, entertain and inspire our community. No matter where you come from or who you are — we want you to come and enjoy symphonic music.”14d

Including their seven concerts this past season, the FSO has made good on their “music for everyone” initiative with their popular Symphony Movie Nights and free community concerts throughout the year.

Educational programs such as their upcoming summer camps and youth orchestras keep the symphony connected to the community while building the next generation of musicians in Fayetteville.
The community-oriented nature of the organization makes this last concert especially profound, as it’s a collaborative effort between the FSO and others who strongly uphold the arts in Fayetteville.

The Cape Fear Regional Theatre, along with trumpeter Kris Vargas, Ukrainian opera singer Alina Cherkasova, and the Con Fiero Vocal Experience, are all scheduled to14b perform.
Selected pieces for the Fayetteville Celebration include “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” by Astor Piazzolla featuring Concertmaster Fabián Lopez on violin, Jose Moncayo’s “Huapango,” and “An Orkney Wedding” by Peter Maxwell Davies, to name a few.

14c“There will be so many different types of music,” Woolbright shared. “There will be some gospel from Con Fiero and a little bit of jazz from Kris Vargas. This is such a diverse group of collaborators — we’re really excited.”

The Fayetteville Celebration begins at 7:30 p.m. and will run about 90 minutes long. For those looking to make a night of it with dinner and drinks downtown, a trolley service departing from 310 Green St. at 6:30 p.m. will drop off concertgoers at Huff Concert Hall free of charge, no reservation necessary.

Tickets are available on the symphony’s website or at the door on the night of the concert. Children under six years of age may attend for free. Tickets for those 6-18 are $5. Discounted tickets for seniors, veterans, Cumberland County School employees, and Methodist University faculty are $25. Tickets for college students are $8, and adult general admission tickets cost $32.

The FSO is already planning the 2023-24 season, and full-season tickets will be available for purchase at the Fayetteville Celebration concert.

“We’ve got a really exciting season lined up for next year,” Woolbright said.

To purchase tickets or learn more about the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, visit www.fayettevillesymphony.org/.

Gilbert announces milestone 30th season

15The Gilbert Theater has been a cultural fixture of Fayetteville since its humble beginnings. In 1994 Lynn Pryer founded the Gilbert Theater in the basement of his home. Eventually, it settled into its current location on the second floor of Fascinate-U Children’s Museum on Green Street, in the heart of historic downtown Fayetteville where it continues to captivate audiences.

After three decades of producing numerous plays and musicals, the theater is proud to announce its 30th Season.

When asked what he attributed Gilbert’s staying power to, Lawrence Carlisle III, Artistic Director of the Gilbert Theater, commented with “Tenacity. Creative honesty. Love. These are a couple of the reasons for the Gilbert’s staying power. I took over three months before the pandemic started and decided then that this would not be the thing that brought down the theater. That tenacity in the face of so much uncertainty is a testament to the Gilbert’s strength as an arts entity in this town.”

The Gilbert Theater’s 30th season is set to be an exciting one, with four productions from the past being revisited and one brand new play being performed on the Gilbert stage for the first time.

The four classic productions will include “The Rocky Horror Show,” “A Christmas Carol,” “In the Blood” and “Assassins.”

Alongside these classics, the theater will be showcasing a brand new work, “Ivories,” from up-and-coming playwright Riley Elton McCarthy.
Whether you’re a long-time fan or a newcomer, the 30th season of the Gilbert Theater is sure to be one to remember!

“For the 30th I wanted to reproduce four shows from our past, and I didn’t really have any specific criteria beyond that,” said Carlisle. “I tried to pick things with wide appeal, and name recognition. I wanted to choose pieces that, hopefully, the audience would remember the Gilbert’s previous production of and that they would be excited to come back and experience it again.”

Here is the 2023-2024 30th Season line-up:

“The Rocky Horror Show” (Oct. 6 to 22) is a cult classic for sure and the perfect show for the October slot. “The Rocky Horror Show” is a must-see! This musical pays homage to classic sci-fi and horror B movies and takes the audiences on a journey with newly-engaged couple Janet and Brad, seeking shelter from the rain. What they find is a world of madness and chaos led by the eccentric Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Don’t miss the chance to dress up and “participate” in this cultural phenomenon.15a

“A Christmas Carol” (November 24 to Dec. 17), an adaptation from Charles Dickens’ most beloved story, “The Christmas Carol,” is a holiday favorite. Ebenezer Scrooge, with the help of three spirits, is compelled to acknowledge his mistakes and reevaluate his outlook on life. By Christmas morning, Scrooge is filled with gratitude and ready to spend the day with those he holds dear. Let this uplifting classic help you celebrate the joy of family around the holidays.

“In the Blood” (Feb. 2 to 18, 2024) is inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel, “The Scarlet Letter.” “In the Blood” is a modern-day narrative of a woman seeking to improve her children’s lives while being condemned by her peers. Drawing on many of the same motifs as Hawthorne’s book, such as sexuality, social guilt, and a female’s endeavor to outrun her past, “In the Blood” additionally deals with motherhood, race and poverty. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, the production of “In the Blood” will most likely trigger many powerful dialogues well after the curtain falls.

“Assassins” (March 8 to 24, 2024) is a Tony-winning musical written by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman. It will captivate its audience with its exploration of the lives of nine individuals who attempted to, or succeeded in, assassinating one of the Presidents of the United States. Captivating and haunting, “Assassins” is considered the most controversial musical to ever exist. Expect to be shocked and enthralled in equal measure with original, daring and humorous content.

“Ivories” (April 26 to May 12, 2024) follows Sloane, a playwright, who has gone back to her hometown with her spouse to look after her grandma, who appears to be inflicted with dementia. The longer she stays, and with each passing day, more of her childhood trauma and mysteries begin to surface. Is there something far more diabolical lurking underneath?

So, looking ahead to the next 30 years, what can we expect to come? Carlisle and the staff at the Gilbert Theater hope to see the theater become an outlet for those looking to express their creativity and take risks.

“I hope the Gilbert will continue to be a safe space for the more off-beat shows,” said Carlisle. “I hope the Gilbert remains a relaxed atmosphere, conducive to collaborations. And lastly, I hope the Gilbert inspires people to go after their dreams, fight the good fight, and realize that their creative expression matters.”

We all look forward to more quality productions from the Gilbert Theater for the next 30 years. We celebrate the theater’s dedication to keeping theater in downtown Fayetteville alive and thriving.
The Gilbert Theater is located at 116 Green Street in Fayetteville.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.gilberttheater.com.

All photos by Jonathan Hornby.

First Baptist Church invites community to inaugural Revive All event

13Three years ago, the world came to an unexpected halt with the onset of COVID-19 and the subsequent efforts to stop its spread.

Three years later, the world has come back to life — but at a cost — or so it seems to Pastor Robert James of First Baptist Church and other worship leaders in the Fayetteville community.

“We haven’t really come back,” James explained. “The world is not the same. There’s still a dark cloud — a need to come together and call God for help. We need to be revived.”

With a revival in mind, Pastor James and leaders from Hay Street United Methodist, One Church Covenant Fellowship, First Presbyterian Church, and Luke AME have come together to create the first-ever “Revive All” in Fayetteville. From Sunday, May 14 through Sunday, May 21, First Baptist Church will host a city-wide revival to restore the community’s heart, mind and spirit.

“This is the church’s response to the reality we find ourselves in post-COVID,” James said. “If anyone has a background in hope, resurrection and renewal — it’s Christians. Our entire faith is based on belief in bringing back what has died.”

The event’s name, “Revive All,” is less a clever play on words and more a comment on the scope and objective of the project. While worship, prayer and the ubiquitous revival tent will be present — if a revival has “rules,” then the “Revive All” seeks to break them.

While an annual revival is a typical event in the Christian faith, what Pastor James and his co-sponsors are attempting to do is unique. Five ministers of different churches and denominations will spend each night of the “Revive All” focused on a specific spiritual element in need of revitalization.

“We’ve been forced to retreat into ourselves for so long, people have missed a sense of community … they don't realize how much they need each other,” said James.

“Every night of the ‘Revive All,’ we’re asking God to revive just one thing.”

Starting Sunday, May 14, the “Revive All” will each day revolve around themes such as joy, family, grief, and commitment to bring unbroken focus to the elements of spirituality and worship that really matter. The inclusion of different denominations is an attempt to erase ideological division, which can so often keep people from coming together in faith.

The “Revive All’s” aim is to remind the people of Fayetteville that irrespective of faith-based traditions, “we still need each other. We all need a community of people to care for,” said James.

“At the end of the day, we’re united in our faith,” James continued. “All of our reasons and traditions may differ — but we are the same at the core and root. The needs in our community are larger than one church or denomination.”

Due to the influx of cultures, religions, and beliefs into the area, Fayetteville has been a receptive site for this groundbreaking initiative.

“It seems to be seeped into the ground here,” James said. “It [The Revive All] has not been a hard sell. We’ve gotten amazing contributions … people believe in what we’re trying to do.”
Ultimately, the “Revive All” is a community-wide celebration of things both lost and remembered, a rallying cry for the faithful to take up arms against the chaos and uncertainty of the past few years.

Each night’s thematic focus is the church’s holistic attempt to heal what’s broken by reviving each part of the spiritual body to save the whole.

Schedule of Themes

  • Sunday, May 14: Revival of Joy in Worship at 6 p.m.
  • Monday, May 15: Revival of Faith and Family at 5:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 16: Revival of Community and Church at 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 17: Revival of Grief and Hope at 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 18: Revival of Christian Unity at 6 p.m.
  • Friday, May 19: Revival of Repentance and Commitment at 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 20: Revival of Missions and Service at 8 a.m.
  • Sunday, May 21: Living Revived Lives at 11 a.m.

Each theme has a related activity to bring the community together in worship. A family-oriented service will include hot dogs, snow cones, games, and a bounce house on Monday.
Tuesday, “Revive All” worshippers will hear testimony and a message from guest speaker Bishop John Godbolt, co-pastor of One Church Covenant Fellowship, on the importance of community.

Wednesday, a special memorial service led by Rev. Marvin T. Clowney, chaplain for Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, will be held. Thursday, five worship leaders from different churches and denominations will preach jointly on the question, “Why, Jesus?” Friday, a community-wide Communion service. Saturday, worshippers will go out into the community to spread love through acts of kindness and service.
Sunday, congregants will return to their traditional houses of worship, and all participating pastors will preach the same sermon: “How to Live a Life Revived.”

“This is a chance to not just go to church but be the church,” James said. “I’m consistently scared and excited. God trusts us a lot to put something like this together. I don’t know what will happen — I just know what I hope.”

First Baptist Church is located at 201 Anderson Street in downtown Fayetteville. Except for May 17, when the service will be conducted in the sanctuary of First Baptist, all services will be held in a tent at the rear of the First Baptist building at the corner of Anderson Street and Maiden Lane.

The “Revive All” is intended to be the combined efforts of churches across Fayetteville and surrounding areas. If any pastor or church member would like to join the effort, contact Rev. James at 910-728-6880.

Latest Articles

  • A body of work: Local fighter competes in Carolina Gloves South Boxing Tournament
  • College of Medicine will benefit community
  • Gallery 208: The Ocean World of Ivy Rittenhouse
  • June lineup is ready to rock Campbellton Landing
  • Library summer reading program open to all ages
  • Publisher's Pen: Best of Fayetteville: 26 years and getting better
Up & Coming Weekly Calendar

Advertise Your Event: