|Chapel Hill seen from the deck of Top of the Hill.|
Situated as the southwestern base of the isosceles triangle that is completed by Durham and Raleigh, Chapel Hill is home to the University of North Carolina, one of the America's three oldest public universities, and Southern Season, one of the country's best gourmet markets and cooking schools.
The Carolina Inn and The Siena Hotel, a Marriott boutique property, both with restaurants to write home about, and you have a delicious destination.
Begin with a bit of history and education. UNC at Chapel Hill is full of both. The downtown campus is beautiful, dotted with huge trees and mature plantings, plus a few must-see sites.
|The Davie poplar, battered but still standing.|
No legend, the popular journalist and UNC alum Charles Kuralt is buried at the School of Media and Journalism which also houses his former New York office.
Appetite whetted? On to restaurants.
Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery. It is as casual as its entrance isn't, an elevator in a tall office-type building. The food and beer, which is brewed there, are good and the upstairs deck provides a great spot from which to watch downtown Chapel Hill. You might try a USDA certified organic vodka, gin or the only fully organic NC grown 100 percent wheat whiskey. They make those in the Top of the Hill Distillery nearby.
Crook's Corner Cafe and Bar has been a hot, literally and figuratively, spot for years and was named an American Classic Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation in 2011. Chef Bill Smith, semi-finalist for the Beard "Best Chef in the Southeast" in 2010, cooks up an impressive array of choices with a distinct palate and personality. Inside, surroundings are cafe casual; outside is a tropically decorated covered patio. The spicy Shrimp and Grits talks and sometimes shouts to your mouth, the cornbread is tastefully sugar free and ice tea is sweetened with simple syrup. Each Wednesday barbecue from a different North Carolina restaurant is brought in.
|Bad photo but to-die-for banana pudding.|
|Dessert tasted as good as it looked.|
|Shrimp and grits.|
|Crispy NC oysters.|
Weathervane, in University Mall. Suffice to say what a way to start the day. Would love to return for lunch or dinner; the space has a good feel to it from bar to patio to mezzanine.
|A small part of the candy section.|
|Southern Season cooking school.|
Felt the same way about Chapel Hill. #SATWchapelhill #satwraleigh