Love exploring fun places, water adventures and ... hot dogs? We’ve got you covered.

Happy birthday weekend to my lovely wife, who deserves an extra hug for having her own News & Observer subscription.

She’s reading this paragraph now and silently exclaiming AND wincing “OHHHH!” — with a mix of surprise and horror — because she didn’t expect this and is wondering what possibly he will write about.

No worries, sweetheart. I’m not about to expose any of your personality pluses — such as watering every plant, feeding every bird and saying hello to every human — for the sake of gentle laughs.

But your constant curiosity has inspired this week’s column.

Call it “What Did The N&O Write About?” a short quiz meant to spark the type of giggly road-trip conversations that are more enjoyable than finding a clean bathroom experience on the way to the Outer Banks.

Because you love exploring fun places …

Which offbeat North Carolina museum catches your attention?

  1. The Cryptozoology & Paranormal Museum in Littleton (70 miles from downtown Raleigh)

  2. Country Doctor Museum in Bailey (36 miles away)

  3. Missiles and More Museum on Topsail Island (138 miles)

The answer is 4. All of the above. The N&O’s Martha Quillin has some gems on her list of quirky museums to visit. Martha’s story can be found on sites or by searching for Uniquely NC, which is a News & Observer subscriber collection of moments, landmarks and personalities that define the uniqueness (and pride) of why we live in the Triangle and North Carolina.

Visitors take in the exhibits at the Country Doctor Museum in Bailey.
Visitors take in the exhibits at the Country Doctor Museum in Bailey.

(Best bet: My wife will want to visit the appointment-only N.C. State University Insect Museum with its collection of 1.9 million specimens. As a child, she was constantly told to “put the bug down.” At home, I’m asked not to swat any bugs, especially with my Louisville Slugger. Instead, my wife captures each bug and releases it to the wild.)

Because you don’t mind a good hot dog …

Which Triangle grocery story has the best price for an eight-count pack of Nathan’s skinless beef franks?

  1. Harris Teeter

  2. Walmart

  3. Why aren’t we grilling Carolina Bright Leaf?

The answer is 4. Read The N&O’s latest — and smartest — Price Check series titled “We checked prices at 16 Raleigh grocery stores to find the best values. Our 2024 results.” The project by Kimberly Catuadella Tutuska, Renee Umsted and David Raynor is deep in data visualizations and wide in everyday practicality of grocery store prices in Raleigh during the first week of June 2024. For something fun, read Renee’s seven picks in the “Aisle of Shame” at ALDI and Lidl.

(Best bet: We’re happy with our grocery shopping options, and the story affirms our decision to shop at two stores. My wife leans heavily toward fresh produce, but grilling hot dogs recycles fond memories of her wonderful dad, who cooked everything to charred-on-charred taste.)

Because every adventure must include water …

What can we expect weather-wise in the coming week?

  1. It’s going to be hot.

  2. You’re going to need to hydrate.

  3. It’s SUMMER, says my wife, in her sweet attempt to be sarcastic.

The answer is 4. Because, yes, it’s SUMMER. The N&O’s Adam Wagner reports how the heat index — a measure of temperature and humidity impact on the body — could exceed 100 in the coming days. If you’re thinking about the beach, read Martha’s story with the smart headline “Crazy heat, wild surf? The weather to expect in Raleigh + NC beaches this weekend.”

(Best bet: No matter the temperature, my wife goes through a processional of filling water bottles for the SUV that’s more elaborate than getting crowned as king. No matter if it’s a four-hour trip to Western NC or a 15-minute drive to our favorite grocery store.)

Happy birthday to my favorite subscriber.

Now, stay hydrated, everyone.

Bill Church is executive editor of The News & Observer. He loves hot summers.