By TMoM Team Member Felicity Lewis
There’s nothing quite like spending a day in the southern part of heaven, as Chapel Hill is affectionately nicknamed. Being roughly an hour away from the Triad, it is the perfect day trip. The best time to visit is in the fall or spring because there is so much to do outside and the town is buzzing with activity, although visiting in the summer offers a different, and frequently more convenient, experience since students are away.
Whenever I go to Chapel Hill, I make sure I have enough time to stop by Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen. It is a one-room shack of a drive-thru with a line so long it backs up traffic on the road, but it is SO worth the wait. Our whole family gets excited about the idea of grabbing a few biscuits from there. The restaurant is even featured in the movie “Bad Grandpa” and you can still order the crazy biscuit ordered in that movie! Now I am not sure the kids should view the movie, but the biscuit is on point!
After filling our bellies, we head just around the corner to University Mall, which has two great stops, one for the kids and one for the parents! Kidzu, a children’s exploration center, offers children an opportunity to actively engage and play with all kinds of things. Kidzu is best for kids that can walk and climb. They have great dress up opportunities plus some really cool art stations that generate such creativity. For my son, who is an avid reader, the cozy book area was his favorite. He was able to read and relax!
Once my son was worn out from climbing, reading and building, we strolled inside the mall to Southern Season. This is heaven for me. It offers the best of local North Carolina items and has knickknacks galore. They often host cooking classes, wine tastings, and more. Beware that there is a candy section… and the toddler may have talked me into a lot of candy! You can find anything from yummy wines to funny napkins to give as hostess gifts.
For a late lunch, there are several outstanding options to pick from that we like to bounce between. Merritts Grill, Al’s Burger Shack, and Sutton’s Drug Store. Merritt’s Grill is famous for BLTs. You cannot go wrong with a Merritts BLT, but that is about all on the menu, so if you have a picky eater then head to the other choices. Al’s Burger Shack features what’s been described as the “Best Burger in America.” However, this trip we decided to stop into Sutton’s, an old time pharmacy with a lunch counter. Sutton’s makes you feel right at home every time you visit, and you’ll surely see some UNC celebrities. Parking can be difficult so be prepared!
If you are a sports fan, you can also drive over to the UNC basketball museum for a free tour. There, you can see national championship trophies and even a letter from Mike Krzyzewski to Michael Jordan expressing disappointment that MJ wasn’t going to attend Duke.
If you happen to be in Chapel Hill on a Friday afternoon, you don’t want to miss Fridays on the Front Porch at the Carolina Inn. This is another free event where the historic Carolina Inn brings in bluegrass musicians who put on performances on the front lawn. They have snacks, beer (from Chapel Hill’s popular local breweries like Top of the Hill and Carolina Brewery), and wine for sale, and the little ones love to dance and play in the grass.
For more Day Trip ideas, click HERE!
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