Thursday, April 26, 2012

Weekend in Chapel Hill

One of the best things about running the Tar Heel 10 Miler was getting to spend a weekend in Chapel Hill!  I lived there for 3 years while in law school and I miss it so much.  Chapel Hill has all the things I love about big cities (lots of things to do, great restaurants, excellent shopping, parks, safe places to run) but it still has that small town feel.  There are no skyscrapers in Chapel Hill, and "downtown" is Franklin Street, which literally opens up onto the oldest part of UNC's campus.  I could go on and on about the wonders of Chapel Hill, but I'll try to contain myself!

I was so happy that we were able to book a pet-friendly hotel so our baby girl could come along.  She always stares at me with this broken-hearted face when she doesn't get to come along for a ride, so I was happy to grant her wish this time!  When I first got Honey, I bought a little bag to carry her around in.  She doesn't often go out in the bag, but she sure does love it.  It stays in our coat closet but whenever I bring it out she flips out and immediately jumps in!  We decided to record her excitement this time, but it wasn't quite as cute as usual (I know, it's already so cute).  Usually she jumps right in the front of the bag and then immediately turns around so her head is sticking out the right way!  She's so adorable.

We had a lovely drive up I-85 (I think I've spent half my life on that road) and when we got to Chapel Hill we made a quick stop at University Mall to pick up our race bibs and then headed to the hotel.  Honey enjoyed the ride but was glad to have arrived at our destination!

We took it easy on Friday with our usual pre-race dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and then turned in early.  Saturday it was up bright and early for the race, which you can read the recap of here!

Pete and I knew exactly where our post-race meal would be from the moment we signed up.  I think it might be our favorite restaurant in Chapel Hill - Pepper's Pizza.  Their toppings are always so fresh and they have an enormous variety, combined with the soft doughy crust--not thin crust, but not heavy like chain pizza crusts either--it's pizza perfection!  The only problem is that we usually argue somewhat about what to get.  I'm a big fan of white pizzas and all veggies, while Pete likes to pile on every kind of meat they offer.  You can order by the slice, but we really wanted to get a whole pizza (something about the experience, ya know?) so we compromised.  We selected a pizza piled high with veggies and then added pepperoni.  I think the toppings consisted of broccoli, onions, black olives, artichoke harts, bell peppers, and pepperoni, but I feel like I'm missing a few things!

We didn't bring Honey along to Pepper's so after we ate we headed back to the hotel so we could bring her out for the afternoon.  The thing that got me through the final miles of the race was thoughts of a large waffle cone full of Oreo frozen yogurt at The Yogurt Pump.  This place seriously has the most delicious flavors of yogurt.  Oreo is always there, but they change up the others.  In the past I've had cookie dough, strawberry, and mint chocolate chip, to name a few.  As soon as we got our yogurt it started pouring down rain, so we took cover under a little awning on Franklin Street and lapped up our cones while staying dry.

No trip to Chapel Hill would be complete for us without a walk on campus.  We visited the Old Well and of course had drinks from the water fountain.

Honey also consented to pose for a picture, although she was much more interested in chasing squirrels.

Feels like home...

Tried to capture a family photo in front of Wilson Library, but Pete got a little lost in the mix!

Wilson Library is one of our favorite spots on campus.  When you climb the steps to the top, it's quite easy to walk out onto one of the ledges flanking the steps and sit on the edge.  We almost always go there and sit for awhile because you have a beautiful view of one of the quads, but on several occasions we've sat out there for over an hour just talking and being together.  It's particularly nice on summer nights because you can smell the magnolia trees near the library and everything is quiet and bathed in the soft glow of the street lamps.  We actually had some of our engagement photos taken at our spot at Wilson Library in 2009!

It was too wet to sit at our favorite spot, but we hung out for a bit at the top of the stairs where it was dry.  Honey enjoyed the rest but was ready to go looking for more squirrels!

That night we had dinner at one of our other favorite Chapel Hill spots, Top of the Hill.  Top of the Hill is an awesome restaurant and brewery.  It's one of the first places I ever ate in Chapel Hill and they have a really excellent selection of beers and other drinks.  Unfortunately, I don't drink beer (I've tried but no matter what, I just don't like it) but Pete was very excited to see that they now offer a chocolate stout.  He enjoyed that while I had a yummy glass of Pinot Grigio!

For an appetizer we had our all-time Top of the Hill favorite, Sweet Potato Cheese Fries with cheddar and gorgonzola.  These things are to die for and they didn't last long!

We usually like to order 3 or 4 appetizers and feast on those, but they actually no longer have our other favorite, Hot Crab Dip, on the menu so we were a little stumped as to what to order.  We eventually decided to just each get an entree and I had the grilled cajun salmon on a bed of corn maque choux...

and Pete had the Pork Mac & Cheese!

After we finished eating we decided to go sit at the bar and enjoy another round of drinks.  Pete ordered his standard Top-O beer, Old Well White, and I had a glass of Prosecco.  The drinks were delicious but we were sleepy and so decided to head back to the hotel and crash.

When we woke up Sunday it was cold and rainy, so we decided to just head back home.  What a great weekend!  Can't wait until we head back to Chapel Hill in July for one of Pete's triathlons...

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