Whew, the final day of our first...Carolina Relocation Recon involved a smorgasbord of activities--neighborhood stalking (I mean "searching"), rival university bashing (um, "sightseeing"), and local pizza-dive testing (yes,"eating"). Since it was pouring in the morning (the nerve! but actually I'm not complaining, as it was still 50*) we set out with a map and an agenda: to motor through one more as-yet-unexplored section of Chapel Hill and get a sense of whether we liked both the houses and the general area. As we meandered up and down streets, peering with a critical eye at the homes, yards, and whatever else we could see from behind the car windows and through the raindrops, Husband at one point commented, "This one doesn't speak to me." Derek immediately howled with laughter from the back seat and shot back, "Geez, Dad, now you're starting to sound just like Mom!" Before I could even gather an outraged breath to defend myself, he continued in a falsely high-pitched, mocking voice, "I don't know, I'm just not feeeeelllling this one..." (What do you think: should I reconsider the brilliant idea of allowing the children to 'help' with this process?) Nevertheless, after we'd scoured the section pretty darn thoroughly, we deemed that our "work" for the day was done, and we could return to Tourist Mode.
In that vein, as threatened--I mean "promised"--we ventured to Durham, to stroll the hallowed...sidewalks...of Duke University. Unlike UNC, which had seemed a bustling hive of energy even on a coed-less day, Duke resembled more of a...ghost town. Very few people looking around, everything shut down, the atmosphere extremely hushed. Of course, that didn't stop us from oohing and aahing (quietly) at all of the stunning architecture. I swear, every building in that place--even the student library--could be a European castle, with soaring stone edifices and stained glass everywhere you turn. Utterly gorgeous. (Derek continues to insist that he'll never, ever go to school there...which is actually a good thing, since Husband and I don't have any desire to shell out the approximately bazillion bucks it would take to pay for his education in Blue-Devil-dom). When we had finished drinking in the academic atmosphere, we decided to check out what downtown Durham had to offer for dinner...sadly, the answer turned out to be "nothing that appealed". Many places were closed--which struck us as odd on a Sunday evening, unless they were shuttered for the holiday week? The only options were, shall we say, "too frou-frou/expensive/formal for us".
But not to worry, by this time we're feeling pretty darned comfortable in "our town" of Chapel Hill, so we simply headed back to regroup and make the all-important meal decision at the hotel. What we ended up picking was a local pizza chain right next to where we were staying, whose menu I'd grabbed the night we arrived, when I was taking a short walk to stretch my legs after being cooped up in the car all day. The restaurant itself is nothing fancy, but the food proved scrumptious (and HUGE)--beyond what we even expected or hoped. So I'd have to say we ended our mini-vacation on a high note...and we're already scheming about when we can come back down...to catch some more fun stuff we didn't have a chance to get around to this weekend, and to take the house hunting to the next level! Until then, we're gonna have to dig out those gloves again for the next few Northern months. Sigh. How soon 'til Spring Break?