Top Ten Things to do in (or around) Chapel Hill

I can’t believe June is almost over! Here is my top ten list of things to do in or around Chapel Hill with your family:

  1. Rent a boat and go boating on University Lake
  2. Eat ice cream at Maple View Farm Country Store
  3. Visit Carrboro’s Farmers’ Market on a Saturday morning
  4. Find a family-friendly eatery on Franklin Street: Al’s Burger Shack, Buns, Mellow Mushroom, Jasmin, Mediterranean Deli
  5. Visit the Chapel Hill Public Library for movies and reading hours
  6. Mark your calendar for the Paperhand Puppet Intervention puppet shows
  7. Check out Kidzu, an indoor kid’s play museum with a new outdoor learning garden that just opened!
  8. Sign up for swimming lessons through UNC Chapel Hill
  9. Visit the Morehead Planetarium
  10. Visit the rose garden near the Chapel Hill Community Center and walk on a short trail or play on the playground.
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Brunching in Cary

Bread, runny eggs, pastries. Whether you want salty or savory for brunch, La Farm Bakery has them both. This past weekend my husband and I drove to Cary to try this NC Blogger Network recommendation. La Farm is so successful that the line was out the door for most of the morning. My husband ordered the special, crab cake Benedict, and I ordered a croissant and eggs Florentine. The photos will do the talking…our selections were terrific, mine just needed a dash or two more of salt. While our carb-lover son missed out and napped the entire time, my husband and I were able eat at a normal pace and sip our cappuccino and latte like the good ole’ days. I’m not sure this is the best place to take your little one (we were lucky he was asleep in his stroller, which we squeezed between two tables). It’s the perfect place for a date with a friend or partner, and perhaps one or two more friends. Coming here makes me wonder what sitting in a bakery in France feels like…I can still dream, right?

 

Girls Night at Dashi

As I waited for my friend in Dashi’s izakaya, a Japanese pub, I scanned the room and saw that most of the bar stools and seats were taken. My friend, Julie, arrived in the next minute and we had a great time checking out the cocktail menu while strategizing which seats to grab (we’re Northerners, we can’t help but hover). I ordered the ‘Apple Blossom’ drink since it had a little ginger in it and I was still recovering from a cold. Upon first sip I knew it was going to be a good night. After we sat down, our trendy waitress poured some water and handed us the pub menu. We ordered our first round of small plates: tripe stew, pickle dish, and popcorn. After an hour of catching up, we ordered a second round: sashimi and bacon-wrapped mochi. I enjoyed both the company of my friend and the amazing dishes that night, and I have been recommending it to friends every since! Can’t wait to go back!

Drink: Apple Blossom (divine!)

Food: tripe stew (must-try), popcorn, pickle dish, sashimi (probably the least favorite), pickle dish, bacon-wrapped mochi

 

The Rising Tide of Donuts

Prepare yourself for a sugar overload, another donut competitor is gaining a popular fanbase in North Carolina! With the closing of Krispy Kreme donuts on East Franklin Street in 2015, the opening of Rise Biscuits & Donuts in Carrboro will be received with open arms and appetites. If you want to taste this rising tide of calorie-laden confections, you can visit their current locations in Morrisville, Raleigh, and Durham. The two flavors that seem to be popular with folks are Maple Bacon Bar and Apple Fritter. During our last visit before Christmas, there was a large steel bowl of donut holes for customers to munch on while they wait for their orders. My son loved this extra treat while playing with the toy kitchen!

Monuts, which serves donuts, bagels, biscuits, salads, and craft beer, is a trendy donut restaurant shop in Durham. I’ve relished creative flavors like Peach Bourbon and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt.  And they continue to come up with new flavors regularly, like Chai Latte Buttercream or Brown Butter Banana Cardamom! The only small critique of Monuts is that their supply of donuts does not meet the demand. I arrived at 3 PM one day and they told me they were all out! They erase donuts that have been sold out off their blackboard throughout the day. So if you’re planning to drive from Raleigh or Chapel Hill, I recommend you get there in the morning!

 

 

 

The best gift ever

We all know the winter holidays is one of the busiest times of the year, and one of the best gifts you can give your kid is a little extra family time. My friend just posted this Youtube video on what kids really want for Christmas (hard not to shed a tear). Here are a few of activities we’ve done together and I’ve noted an upcoming free activity at Duke Gardens which sounds like a great event to introduce your kid to a myriad of holidays.

  1. Try baking cookies with your kid, let them stir the dough or put the decorations on the cookies. I recently made this M&M cookie recipe using mini M&M’s and let my son top some the cookies with the candies.
  2. Try painting some holiday ornaments. I purchased these wooden ornaments several years ago at an after-Christmas sale at Michael’s (you can’t tell but he’s painting a wooden soldier head). Cloth, construction paper, and newspaper are also good alternatives!
  3.  Go to some ‘free’ holiday events. We brought our son to the 11th Annual American Tobacco Tower Lighting in downtown Durham and he had a blast!

On Saturday, December 12th watch the Chapel Hill-Carrboro holiday parade between 10 am and 12 pm. 

On Saturday, December 19th visit Sarah P. Duke Gardens for a Holiday Celebration: Make & Take Crafts from Around the World.