Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tour de Chapelboro

This past weekend Team WestEnders sprang into full-on Operation Out of Town Guests mode, as we hosted friends from Maryland. Since t was going to be a fairly short visit, we tried to narrow down the list of possibilities and figure out what we reeeeeallly wanted to show them, for the full Chapel Hill/Carrboro experience. Okay, throw in a little Durham, too, because the first thing on the must-do list was a Bulls minor league baseball game. I mean, what's not to love: a spectacular early-Summer evening, a gorgeous ballpark, a goofy mascot leading the between-innings shenanigans...and an opponent called the Lehigh Valley....Iron Pigs. Yep, that's some bona fide All-American Triple-A entertainment right there, folks.

The next day our travelers were feeling the effects of their journey (which had been hampered by a fatal accident that closed Skyline Drive, forcing them to backtrack and adding time to their trip) and slept in a bit. So once everyone was up and about--and reasonably chipper (coffee being the great motivator that it is)--Husband and I proposed taking them on a walking tour of our little towns. First you park on Main Street in Carrboro and start meandering, until the road becomes Franklin Street as you cross into Chapel Hill. From there you can wander all the way to the university, taking as much time as you like to peruse the shops and restaurants lining either side.

Then of course it's almost required that you take a right turn onto campus and stroll through the shady, cobblestoned paths. I felt almost like an actual Tour Guide as I was able to point out landmarks like the Old Well and the Bell Tower (not that they would have missed it, mind you, but still...). Since they're Penn State fans, we included UNC's football stadium on our loop--even though it's not nearly as impressive....or enormous...as the one in Happy Valley. Alas, one of the planned highlights was disappointingly unavailable to us: the Student Store was closed for inventory. (How dare they! Didn't they know we'd be bringing guests who wanted to gawk at all the outrageous ways Carolina blue and the UNC logo can be plastered onto anything under the sun? Harrumph!)

After all this gallivanting we'd worked up an appetite and earned a nice dinner....cooked by someone else. I'd secured us a table at a local eatery that only I had yet tried (when my interpreter pal came to the area a few months ago). The menu is one of those that features local, in-season ingredients, and while it contains plenty of meat options, it's also vegetarian friendly. Of course, at the moment I'm still restricted to both gluten-free...and vegan, so it turned out there was exactly ONE thing I could order...a salad featuring BEETS. (Um, yeeeaaah...I haven't eaten beets since I was a kid, and I loathed them then, so...I chose it with large amounts of reservation...and trepidation.) The verdict was: still not really a fan--but everyone else seemed to greatly enjoy their selections, so we're calling it a WIN.

It was a fairly exhausting, but entirely fun weekend spent catching up with old friends and showing them the sights. Now can I have another weekend....to recover from this one? Pretty please???

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