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checking out Chapel Hill..where to visit?

353 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  lizabird
Hi ladies,
at long last, my husband is going to visit Chapel Hill. we've been hemming and hawing for too long and now our lease is about to run out (in NYC). A bunch of you answered my questions about the area months ago and now I wanted to ask you for a mini-road map of places to see to get a real picture and sense of living in CH. My 2-yr-old and I are going to let my husband take the first trip. So where should he wander to see/hear/experience the good/bad and hopefully beautiful? he will be there for two full days next week. Any neighborhoods in particular he should visit? We will be renting at first as we don't have jobs yet. we want a funky family neighborhood (ie. not too suburban potluck dinner-ish) but also one that is quiet (ie. no partying students). i so hope he loves it as we don't know where else to go in this strange country! thanks for all your thoughts...
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I just moved to Chapel Hill in June so I'm somewhat of a newbie. We go out exploring nearly everyday and still there is so much to see and do. Tonight we're going to see a show at the Moorehead Planetarium and then to Franklin St. for pizza! There are lots of great parks and trails in the area, there is the Botanical Gardens, a cool library, good restaurants, an EarthFare, a WholeFoods...gosh where to begin? Closeby Chapel Hill is Carrboro~ a small, funky town w/ lots of community. Folks hang out for music every Thursday in front of Weaver St. Market...there are tons of families there just hanging out. There is also a really awesome Farmer's Market there on Saturdays that runs through December. What else? Durham is close-by as well. A lot of your more commercial type places are there. Everything seems so close here...we are really loving it so far.

Sorry I can't be of more help but I'm still learning the area myself.
when is he coming? i second weaver street market in carrboro ( and i can come back with more recommendations later on today, but just wondering when he's going to come so i don't post too late.
We just moved here in June also (we should get together, birthdancedoula!) and are really enjoying the area so far. Feel free to PM me and I'd be happy to share what I've learned so far as a newcomer and/or get together to explore when you're in town. Everyone's suggestions so far seem right on target.

Good luck!
We have lived in CH for 7 years and love it here. We did not know many people when we moved here. Please PM me if you have any questions.

Some places that he may want to check out are Weaver St as others have mentioned. While there, cross the street and have some ice cream at the Maple View Farms store. There is also another store west of Carrboro that is open year round. The one in Carrboro will close for the winter and open at the beginning of next summer. Maple View is a local farm that sells milk, ice cream, etc and I have been told it is all hormone and antibiotic free. It is also available to buy in the grocery store. Also he may want to stop an look through Carr Mill Mall(next to Weaver Street). There are some cute shops and a couple of neat restaurants-Panzanella(uses whole foods from Weaver Street) and Elmo's diner(neat diner that kids love).

University Mall is also a somewhere he may want to check out. One of the stores there is A Southern Season which has gormet food, flowers, wine, and chocolate. If nothing else it is a neat place to walk through. They also a restaurant, Weathervane, there which is good. Other restaurants that are good in University Mall are Spice Street and Alfredo's pizza(which IMNSHO is the best pizza in CH aside from Peppers on Franklin St). If he would like to check out parks across estes from University mall is Communty Center park. There are several parks in CH/Carrboro but this is a nice one nearby the mall.

Franklin St would also be a great place to check out. The University opens soon so there may be traffic as students come back to school. The children's musuem, KIdzu, is on E. Franklin. There is an art Museum on the corner of Franklin and Columbia and the planetarium is down E. Franklin. Some restaurants that are good are Peppers pizza, Top of the Hill, Spanky's, Elaine's etc. There are probably ones that I am forgetting but there are a lot of nice restaurants. Pretty much, if there is a type of food you like, there is somewhere that has it. There are also ice cream shops on Franklin st- Ben and Jerry's, Cold Stone Creamery and the Yogurt pump. Sorry for all the ice cream info but my 5 year old LOVES ice cream.

I would also recommend checking out S. Elliott Rd. Whole Foods is there and Harvest bread. Harvest make the bread daily and will offer slices of bread to try when you walk in. It is very good.

One more restaurant- Margaret's Cantina. It is in the Tmberlyne shopping center and has southwest food but is not the typical mexican food.

As for neighborhoods he may want to check out- Lake Forest/ Coker Hills(north of Franklin St either north on Estes or Elliott), Briarcliff/Ridgefield Park(south of 15-501, go south on Ephesus Church), and downtown Carrboro(there are areas where students live so you may need to check carefully).

Hope this helps. Good luck.
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coco_w, i've been pondering your question. i really do think weaver st mkt is a definite just 'cause it's such a gathering spot for folks. it's really the heart of carrboro, plus your dh can grab a bite to eat in the deli or something to sip on.

i think it would help me if you could tell me a little more about what you're looking for in the area. i know you said funky neighborhoods and i would definitely recommend checking out the mill houses of carrboro that the previous poster mentioned. is one of my favorite sites to recommend to newbies to the area. i love chapel hill and carrboro, but coming from NYC might be quite a shock depending on what you're looking for. CH/C are very small towns. everything is on a much more intimate kitchen-table scale. there are some very beautiful buildings on UNC's campus and that's definitely worth a drive around, but everything is smaller and closer to the earth and homier than in a big city. that's not to say we don't have our share of really excellent artists and musicians and other culcha in town, but part of the charm is the small town intimacy so as far as "don't miss sights" they're not necessarily going to empire state bldg AWE inspiring, but more awwwww... well, maybe. check out that site i mentioned and post back his travel dates and your interests and i'll wrack my brain for some can't miss destinations.
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If you want a sense of living in CH, I would suggest at least driving around to see where Weaver Street Mkt is, Whole Foods, and/or other stores you think you might frequent. Check out a church/religious community if you have one, and if you'll be here on a weekend to see what it's like. Visit the playground at the Chapel Hill Community Center (off Estes Dr) if you want to get out and play somewhere. Drive from one end of Franklin Street to the other (that'll take you through campustown, and very very close to both Weaver Street and Whole Foods). If you're looking at real estate while you're here, get a feel of some neighborhoods with houses/rentals (I have no idea what you're in the market for) that suit your needs/affordability/etc. My favorite real estate site is

ENjoy your visit!

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