Triangle best
July 29, 2015 8:29 AM   Subscribe

I'm moving away from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. What should I be sure to do before I leave?

I've lived here for six years and really love it here. I've spent most of my time in Carrboro but have been to Durham (9th street area) many times. I did my graduate studies here so most or my time was spent on campus, Weaver Street market, or in the Chapel Hill public library. I'm looking for hidden gems that I shouldn't miss before I go (like Straw Valley, one of my favorite little places here). Things I can do alone and that aren't expensive are preferable. I can take a day trip somewhere and have a car. Assume that I haven't been to even obvious places (Carrburritos is on my list, for example). I leave in mid-August.
posted by k8lin to Travel & Transportation around Chapel Hill, NC (20 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Carolina Theatre in Durham is a must.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:36 AM on July 29, 2015

Duke Lemur center - not very many lemur centers in other cities.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:37 AM on July 29, 2015 [5 favorites]

Some Raleighwood-centric things:
- NC Museum of Art is really nice and has an awesome sculpture garden
- NC State Farmer's Market is a great place to shop for produce and other NC food products
- If you like libraries, the new Hunt Library at NCSU is really cool
- Umstead State Park is great for hiking
posted by Rock Steady at 8:40 AM on July 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you'll be around through August 15, this small, volunteer-run music festival is fantastic.

The Forest Theater on campus is beautiful.

Eat at Lantern. Have a Locopop.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:45 AM on July 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Unique-est restaurants in Raleigh:
- The Pit for upscale barbecue
- Oak City Meatball Shoppe
- Calavera empanadas
- Poole's Diner upscale comfort food
- Fiction Kitchen excellent vegetarian
- Guasaca Venezuelan arepas
- Piebird's pie-based cuisine

And three upscale cocktail lounges
- C. Grace has live jazz every night and luxurious velvety seating areas
- Fox Liquor Bar
- The Green Light is a speakeasy hidden behind a bookcase within The Architect
posted by Rock Steady at 8:47 AM on July 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

- Go have a picnic in Kenan Stadium, it's open all the time
- If you haven't been, hit up Merritt Mill Store for their BLT. Best in world.
- Check out Pittsboro, get lost in country roads over there
-Hit up some Mexican in North Durham
posted by sandmanwv at 8:50 AM on July 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Tir Na Nog Sunday brunch. Mmmmmm!
posted by PJMoore at 8:57 AM on July 29, 2015

Former SILS here too! If I were still in the area I'd eat nothing but ham biscuits from Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen and barbeque and particularly hushpuppies from anywhere I could find them. Oh and sweet tea.

If you're moving somewhere that beaches / mountains are hard to access, do some day trips to Wrightsville Beach near Wilmington and the Blue Ridge near Boone/Blowing Rock. Both would be about 3 hours from Chapel Hill.
posted by travertina at 8:58 AM on July 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

If I still lived in North Carolina, I would get enormously fat eating nothing but pupusas from El Cuscatleco.
posted by chainsofreedom at 9:01 AM on July 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Shrimp and Grits at Crook's Corner
posted by achrise at 9:19 AM on July 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you make your way down to ILM/WB before ya leave, hit me up and I'll give you a run down of the swell spots to hit down here.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 10:02 AM on July 29, 2015

I lived in CH/Carrboro for 9 years and have been gone for 6 years now, living in New York (which I only mention because a lot of what I miss are things that an urban area doesn't provide, which may or may not apply to you).

I miss: Carrburritos, Sunrise Biscuits, OCSC's back patio, Duke Gardens, the rock quarry in Durham, Pittsboro antiquing and vintage shopping, back country road driving, apartment complex pools, listening to the cicadas and crickets, sitting on porches, driving out to Maple View Farm for ice cream, Carrboro Farmer's market, shows at the Cradle, walking around the old part of campus. Check out Ayr Mount and the surrounding trails in Hillsboro--it's kinda neat.

I regret never experiencing: Duke Lemur center, Carolina Tiger Rescue, exploring the Chapel Hill Greenways, more of the Eno River offerings, the cool stuff in Saxapahaw (the Rivermill complex opened after I left). If you haven't taken a weekend trip to Asheville, you should definitely do that before you go (assuming you are leaving the region).
posted by greta simone at 11:09 AM on July 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Go to A Southern Season and order a Soprano sandwich.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:09 AM on July 29, 2015

Sunrise on the little patio behind Gimghoul Castle
Chicken and cheese biscuit at Time Out
Foosball and beer at Chapel Hill Underground
Durham Bulls game
A good, long, open-jawed gawk at sorority pledge week (not sure if you will be there long enough)
A step show (ditto)
Steak at Fearrington Farm

This is not necessarily the "best" of the area....more like "enjoyable experiences that are difficult to reproduce elsewhere."
posted by apparently at 11:10 AM on July 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Ahoy SILS person! I was once in your shoes, leaving Carrboro after years of occupancy and SILS attendance. I've been gone 10+ years, but here is what I miss:

Allen & Sons BBQ
Cosmic Cantina Nachos
Duke Gardens
Southern Season
walking on the campus between Davis library and the Davie poplar
Drink from the Old Well

Enjoy your time! There is life after, I promise.

(i wonder how many SILS types are on Metafilter...)
posted by griffey at 11:50 AM on July 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I left Durham 4 years ago and am still sometimes homesick.

Allen and Sons BBQ (I miss it so damn much)
Maple View Ice Cream
Elmo's with people you love
Hot and Fresh Krispy Kremes in the middle of the night

Swim in the Eno State Park quarry (but be safe, obviously)
Duke Lemur Center
The Butterfly House at the Museum of Life and Science (and everything else there, too. Tell the leafcutter ants I said hey)
Durham Bulls Game

Farther afield, the North Carolina Zoo in Ashboro and Sea Grove to look at pottery

(you just missed Festival for the Eno, and the State Fair is in October. I hope you did both in the past)
posted by hydropsyche at 1:08 PM on July 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just discovered the Honeysuckle Tea House in the boonies outside Chapel Hill. It's sort of perfectly Triangle-ish: little hippie; little hipster; a gorgeous drive in the countryside; occasional live music; you can bring your dog and your baby, but you'll have a great time without either (I have neither)....definitely worth spending an evening if it's not too hot.

Also re: the Forest Theater, the Paperhand Puppet Intervention show starts there on August 7th. Gorgeous giant art puppets, beautiful setting, great community feel (the show always has a super crunchy message)...Absolutely my favorite part of summer in NC!!!
posted by kickingthecrap at 6:22 PM on July 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

One of my favorite places is the Conservators Center!
posted by corn_bread at 1:03 AM on July 30, 2015

Response by poster: So many great ideas here! I will try to do as many as possible - I leave in a week for New Jersey.

And hello to my fellow SILS-ters! Did anyone else catch Jessamyn's talk here a few years back? It may have been a secret meetup.
posted by k8lin at 5:38 AM on July 30, 2015

Another SILSter says hello!
posted by GrammarMoses at 7:33 PM on September 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

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