Gone to Carolina in My Mind

Sunday, April 12, 2009

If you haven't ever experienced a springtime in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, then you're missing what I consider to be a truly beautiful experience. If I could bottle the intoxicating feeling that permeates the air -- the life and activity, the swirl of excited emotions as eager seniors dream of tossing their cap into the Carolina blue sky, the smiles of couples walking hand in hand among the shaded boughs of Coker Arboretum and the laughter of pink-cheeked children walking down Franklin Street with ice cream cones in hand -- let's just say that I'd be quite comfortable living off the spoils because I would have succeeded in capturing simple, sugary sweet joy in the purest form.

The Old Well, pictured here during springtime, is one of the most 
famous representations of Chapel Hill and the university. 
Photo Source: Wunder Blog

Each year it's the same scene that unfolds. The Old Well dons her throne of pink azaelas in full flush and a sea of students don cotton candy colored clothing. As Chapel Hill-bound hopefuls tour the campus with Mom and Dad, the student population busies themselves with classes, papers and preparation for finals while catching sunbeams in the Quad at any given chance. 

This only skims the surface of the dozens of reasons why I love Chapel Hill. But being a witness to this mesmerizing tradition isn't the only reason to visit this fine Southern town. No, there are many, many more! From a delightful array of dining options to sell-out performances shows at local venue Memorial Hall, outdoor theatrical experiences in the Forest Theatre and a variety of nightlife options on Franklin Street, there is a lot to see and do in Chapel Hill. 

While I could write a book on this, I'll boil it down to a few fun upcoming events in the area, and a list of my top Triangle dining favorites (coming soon)! 

Durham Bulls First Home Game of the Season - April 15
Not only are the tickets for Durham Bulls' games inexpensive, they're just plain fun for all ages! Whether you grab a lawn seat with local college students or bench or club seating, there isn't a bad seat in the house. Check out their 2009 season schedule for more details.  

Great Grapes Wine, Arts & Food Festival - April 18
A first-time Great Grapes attendee last year, I had a blast at this fun festival. It was a great way to sample wine from all different regions of the state to see what vineyards to add to my roadtrip list. Some of my favorites picks from last year included Old North State Winery (try the 38 Vines Autumn Leaf Gold), RagApple Lassie Vineyards and Lumina Winery (ask for the Green Apple Riesling). Great Grapes is also held annually in Charlotte among other locations across the Southeast. Check out their site for a full list of venues.

Fridays on the Front Porch - April 24 
This year's series of the Carolina Inn's Fridays on the Front Porch kicks off at the end of April with a weekly TGIF celebration of live bluegrass music and a knock-out buffet lineup of Southern delicacies. Fridays on the Front Porch will be held every Friday from April 24 through mid-October. 

The Carolina Inn is a must-see for anyone traveling to Chapel Hill. 
Make an appointment for teatime or enjoy their 
award-winning cuisine.
Photo Source: WeddingMapper.com

North Carolina Symphony at Memorial Hall - May 7
The North Carolina Symphony is an incredible group of performers that continue to amaze me each time I see them play! From pop to classical to a knock-out Beatles themed-show I saw a couple summers ago, they play a variety of styles. Check them out at Memorial Hall before their Summerfest series kicks off at the end of May. They'll be playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons, so I'm sure that it will be an excellent show!

Shows at Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill are often sell-outs,
so be sure to buy your tickets in advance!
Photo Source: NCArts.org

Now that you're all ready to pack your bags to visit Chapel Hill and the surrounding areas, be on the lookout for an upcoming post where I'll share my favorite dining spots around the Triangle! Until then, I'll leave you with words from Class of 1920 UNC graduate Thomas Wolfe who wrote the following words for the yearbook his senior year:
" ... But sometimes when the springtime comes,
And the sifting moonlight falls --
They'll think again of this night here
And of these old brown walls,
Of while old well, and of old South
With bell's deep booming tone,
They'll think again of Chapel Hill and --
Thinking -- come back home."
-Thomas Wolfe, Class of 1920


Kris said...

Don't forget lunch at Los Potrillos followed by a lazy afternoon at Pantana Bob's!

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

I am not a Carolina girl (since I'm from Cincinnati as you know!) but my husband grew up in Winston-Salem. These photos are gorgeous! :)

Zach said...

This is what binds us to this place like no other

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