Mini Travel Guide: Chapel Hill, NC

Nothing quite compares to my undergraduate years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Thankfully, I get to revisit those memories quite often given how close the campus is to my home in Raleigh.

This past Saturday, the kids and I went for a quick visit to see my nephew Eshaan, who is now a high school senior and looking at UNC as a possible option for his undergraduate studies. It was 2003 when he first toured the campus however, as a chubby faced 1-year-old who was there to celebrate my graduation. Of course, I’d love to return the favor one day. :)

And since we had some time to kill and it was a beautiful morning, we lingered a bit and revisited some of my favorite spots on and off campus.

First up, The Forest Theatre which is a small outdoor amphitheatre located on campus across from the more famous Playmakers Repertory Company. It’s first ever outdoor drama performance was in 1916; over 100-years-ago. Though it is right off the main road, it is conveniently hidden in the woods giving it a very magical feel. I loved it then and love it still. The kids played hide and seek, built “sand forts” for ants, and played catch. Bonus tip: It’s a great place to impress a grown-up date too. ;)

From there we made our way to Ackland Art Museum located right off Franklin Street. We had about a half hour to kill before the Yogurt Pump opened for the day and I figured it would pass quickly if we were distracted by beautiful pictures and art. The museum admission is free and it has a very family friendly lounge with a rotary phone and a working time punch card machine, which apparently I need to install in my own home because wow, the kids thought it was super cool. We spent our 30-minutes basically just lounging in the lounge.

Then we finally made it to the actual exhibits, where I had a great time hearing Asha and Arjun’s reactions which included very loud comments like “oh, that’s abstract” to “that’s not art”. Then we found some paper and pencils. Arjun chose Albert Gleizes’ Composition as his subject and we all joined in to draw our very own version of it, Ajay included.

After a fun filled hour, we finally made it out of the museum and walked straight to the much awaited Yogurt Pump. Out of habit I checked my purse to make sure I had enough cash because once upon a time they only took cash, but of course credit cards are welcome now, a fact that I have repeatedly forgotten. We enjoyed our yogurt ice-cream cones outside.

We made our final stop at Cosmic Cantina, or as I call it, the cherry on top. I am not sure if I ate anywhere else as much as I ate at Cosmic Cantina while at UNC. It is a quentissential hole in the wall mexican place that is so good and so cheap. It was where one would see all their friends after a night out, because going home without a burrito was just an insane idea. I haven’t quite met another adult who still holds their love for Cosmic as dearly as me (well may be Jay B.). I stuck with my standard order of the last 15 years – a Veggie Delux. All that was left to do now was skip all the way back to the car.

You know, I am going to be 80-years-old one day and still repeat this circuit without any complains. ha! As always, it was fun to reinvent a part of my past with my kids. Even if UNC is not your alma matre, I hope you get to experience the burritos, I mean fun, some day! ;)

3 thoughts on “Mini Travel Guide: Chapel Hill, NC

    1. Do it! :) Thankfully most of my favorites are still there. However there are surprisingly many new high end and nice boutiques on Franklin which seem a bit odd to me. May be students these days have more money than I did back then!

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