A whirlwind trip, but definitely worth it! Let’s go!!
Soft, yellow lighting on large cool grey tiles and same color dark grey tables. Art of all kinds – a crocodile, and concentric orange circles that bear a remarkable resemblance to an iris of an eye and entitled contentment/obsession hangs over my table. People come in and can count on an accidental meeting of an old friend. The baristas joke that caffeinating people is free – want extra shots of espresso in that latte? As I rip of swathes of chocolate croissant , chocolate that is melted in spots, and chewy in others , still in its once-upon-a-time square form and sip a large latte (two shots!) out of the same Aqua Anthro bowl I have at home, I’m thinking about how this is my element – coffee, cafe, music I’m not really listening to, and something to write on. Rain inspires me – especially that lovely period just after it rains when the air is clean and a bit wet, but doesn’t bear the scent of things that have been soaking for a while.
It’s the perfect place to record the whirlwind of a day in North Carolina – my visit visit south – that was yesterday.
I flew in late on Tuesday night, and B had purchased four delectable cupcakes that we haven’t tucked into yet. Half off on Tuesdays! We really only need two, but he calculated it out – such the accountant, right? In any case, we have a mimosa cupcake – passion fruit mousse with blood orange center – the most exciting one. Vanilla with Carolina blue colors, caramel, and dark chocolate raspberry.
I happened to be wearing Carolina colors, actually, wholly on accident.
The cupcakes were accompanied by a small glass of Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon which I so appreciated, after a largely stressful cleaning and travel day. On the flight I read an entire magazine cover to cover and enjoyed a pretty good cup of chili from Potbelly.
On Wednesday, I wasted no extra time catching up on sleep. I was up by 6 am to go meet a new friend in Raleigh to chat about her experience at the UNC School of Public Health over a large southern breakfast. Grits (third time in my life, and better than the worst one and not quite as good as the best one), peach compote on oatmeal pancakes (the peaches were good – wasn’t a fan of pancakes), eggs two ways, and biscuits with apple butter (great!) with a vanilla latte. I barely finished half, but enjoyed the friendly waitress very much.
The plaza was very empty and quiet – I sat for a spell and enjoyed the new rays of sun.
None of the boutiques were open yet, but I wanted to check out the North Carolina Museum of Art so I headed there soon after.
The museum itself has a small collection, but large grounds and four hiking trails speckled with large outdoor sculptural installations throughout. I saw the Italian and Dutch collections, Egyptian, Greek, African , and Rodin sculptures.
He has the crushing weight of the world on him. But he isn’t crushed.
A little hiking….
I went back to Chapel Hill and met up with a new friend at UNC who gave me a wonderful insider tour of the campus and answered all of my questions. I had a great time! We went to lunch at the classic spot – Top of the Hill and I enjoyed the well-priced fried chicken sandwich with pickles and beer battered fries.
She took me to the Carolina Inn, a historical place where visiting speakers stay. It’s supposedly haunted by a friendly ghost, a professor who locks people out. I don’t know how that’s friendly! In any case, the decor is special.
I visited an old friend who I didn’t know was still living here, and then went to The Pit in Durham for terrific Carolina ribs and sides. I had such a great time eating out on the patio. Summer is here!
Next stop: Duke.
I was floored by how immense, grand, and beautiful the area is around Duke in Durham. I couldn’t take pictures of all of them, but here is a sampling. They’re tremendous.
I love the Orange, slate, blue, brown in the bricks.
Last stop: Maple View Creamery in Hillsborough.
The drive up was through farmland. I saw a deer cross the road and lightning bugs. The night was lit up with stars, and one could see the outline of the moon although only a crescent was showing. We arrived just as they were closing, in the nick of time.
We tried toasted almond and cookie dough in a waffle cone bowl. It was unique and delicious ice cream – you could taste the milk from the farm.
I’m only here for another few hours, but it was a full visit and I’m happy I came. North Carolina: thanks for having me! See you later 🙂