TRAVEL: Chapel Hill, NC / by Kelly Golia

A few months ago, my husband Anthony started a new job as an event coordinator for a company that plans conferences, which means that he'll be traveling for work on a monthly basis. AKA the perfect opportunity for us to squeeze in some travel together! His first solo conference was this past weekend in Chapel Hill, NC, and I met him when he was done working for some good ol' southern fun!

Chapel Hill: come for the food, stay for the abundance of southern charm. We stayed at The Carolina Inn, which simply oozed with comfort and coziness and just the right amount of class. We wandered the halls, ogled at each and every detail, devoured the complimentary homemade chocolate chip cookies, and resisted the urge to spend our entire weekend lounging in our giant bed (the most comfortable I've ever slept in!). They even have a daily tea time!

While Anthony worked, I explored. Saturday morning started with a breakfast biscuit at Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen, a small drive-through breakfast joint that makes up for its tiny size with the size of its gigantic (and delicious!) biscuits. Talk about melt in your mouth.

The rest of my morning was spent wandering around the Farmers' Market in neighboring Carrboro. There was no shortage of fresh veggies, artisan breads and pastries, build-your-own-bouquet stands (I was in heaven!), and the crafts of local makers. It was 100% worth it to brave the heat and humidity just to get a taste of the local community represented at the Farmers' Market.

I met Anthony back at the hotel for a little nap time (how could we not nap in a bed so comfy!?) before taking off to explore UNC's campus right next door. As Northeastern alum, we were in awe of how big UNC's campus was and how beautiful all of the buildings were. It almost made us want be college kids again! Almost...

Lunch was at Time-Out across from UNC's campus. More biscuits, this time with fried chicken. When in the south, am I right?

The rest of the afternoon was spent strolling and window-shopping down Franklin Street. Shops and restaurants galore!

For dinner, we ventured out to find Allen & Son BBQ, dubbed the "best BBQ in Chapel Hill" by the security guard that Anthony befriended while working at the hotel. It certainly did not disappoint, but I can definitely confirm that when they say "no frills", they mean it. Straight, to-the-point BBQ sandwiches with some lemonade that Anthony declared was "the best lemonade he'd ever had".

Sunday morning brunch brought us to Crooks Corner. It was tucked into a little corner of an intersection, surrounded by plants and flowers and greenery. It was almost easy to miss! The outdoor patio was perfect despite the heat, and my only regret was that we couldn't stay long enough to try every item on the menu. This New England girl had shrimp and grits for the first time, and OH. MY GOODNESS. They were incredible. Anthony kept it simple with pancakes, but there was nothing simple about how amazing they tasted. If we ever visit Chapel Hill again, there's a good chance that we have every single meal at Crooks Corner. 

Our afternoon was spent exploring the Botanical Gardens. We were greeted with one of Patrick Dougherty's giant stick structures (similar to the one in Springfield, MA!), and couldn't resist letting our inner little kids run through the pathways, hiding from one another. It was so relaxing and fun getting lost throughout the botanical garden, and a perfect way to spend a Sunday if you ask me.

We spent our last few hours in North Carolina getting homemade ice cream at Parlour in Durham and donuts to go at Krispie Kreme (Anthony can never resist a Krispie Kreme...) on our way to the airport. It was a short but sweet trip, and we're still dreaming of our stay at The Carolina Inn!

Until next time, North Carolina!


Next stop: Chicago in September