I returned home from North Carolina a week ago today and am excited to be back writing on this blog again with a cup of coffee and a fall candle burning on the mantle. While I am still processing all that was covered at Making Things Happen, I want to share the bits of my trip to Chapel Hill (and nearby Pittsboro) that I experienced in the hours around the Intensive.
I arrived at the airport before the sun came up on Sunday morning and was greeted by a band of bagpipes there for Honor Flight. My parents and I attended a send-off for the organization three years ago, so I was excited to find out that the World War II veterans would be on my flight to Baltimore. Everyone on the flight clapped for them and acknowledged their service to our country, making for a cheerful start to the day.
I made productive use of my short layover in Baltimore when I saw that one of the terminals had a Benefit Cosmetics ‘vending machine’. I didn’t know such a thing existed! I had been wanting to buy a replacement concealer and was pleased to discover that I could check an errand off my list between flights.
The flight to RDU was quick, and I gushed to a Raleigh local about how she lived in the best place on earth. When I landed, my sweet friend Carrie Grace picked me and her conference roommate up and brought us to the Carolina Inn. I was so excited to be on North Carolina ground again and thankful for the warm weather.
After we checked our bags at the Inn, Carrie Grace let me pick where we would go to lunch and I chose the Belted Goat at Fearrington Village, a charming little place that my mom and I visited on our trip two years ago. I bought a replacement mug for the one I’ve worn in quite a bit and we both ordered the cobb salad with pulled chicken and egg. It was probably the most delicious salad I’ve ever had. We caught up on life happenings and walked around the village for a little while before returning back to the Inn. At one point, I took a little cotton boll off a bush and tucked it away as a sweet little Southern souvenir.
When we arrived back to the Inn, I finally got to hug my roommate and get settled into our room. We have been Instagram friends for the past three years and it was really sweet to get to actually see her in person and get acquainted before kicking off the MTH festivities. She had placed a few treats from her home state of Oregon on my bed, which made for a very warm welcome. MTH had also left a little surprise at the front desk, which set a warm and welcoming tone for what was to come.
After we talked for a little while, we went to dinner at Spanky’s with a decent-sized group of ladies who would also be attending MTH. I ordered Carolina BBQ with a side of mac and cheese, wasting no time to dig into true Southern fare.
As I got to know some of the ladies at dinner, I shared with them that my one culinary goal of the week was to eat pimento cheese. Little did I know how many opportunities I would have to do so! After dinner we went out for frozen yogurt and more mingling.
When I arrived back to my room that evening, there was a plate of pimento cheese, okra, and candied pecans there to greet me. That is Southern hospitality, y’all. I enjoyed the lovely snack and then took a walk outside and enjoyed the smell of fresh Carolina blooms and mild weather while catching up with Dillon on the phone about my day.
On Monday morning I woke up early to grab coffee at Pittsboro Street Provisions and to start the day off with quiet time in the beautiful lobby. Every corner of the Carolina Inn was filled with design inspiration and an impeccable attention to detail. That morning kicked off the Making Things Happen Intensive and began a full day of hard work without our phones, so I don’t have photos to share from Monday or Tuesday during the day, except this one I snapped of the gorgeous Carolina Inn hallway.
On Monday evening, we went to Top of the Hill restaurant and I ordered the farm burger because it was topped with pimento cheese, fried green tomato, and bacon. I like to eat locally when I travel so I was quite thankful that the menus at each restaurant we visited were not short on Southern food options. Tuesday came upon us with a similar measure of hard work without our phones, but we did get them back at the end of the day and I got to take some sweet pictures that I will save for a later post. A group of us had dinner at the restaurant in the Inn, which served biscuits with honey butter as the appetizer. Y’all, yum. Enough said.
On Wednesday morning I enjoyed the luxury of sleeping in and then enjoyed a hummus and falafel pita at Med Deli for lunch. It was the last eatery I had on my wishlist for the trip (aside from Parker and Otis which was an expensive Uber ride away) so I was thankful to get to experience it.
I took advantage of the sunny day to walk around the UNC Chapel Hill campus (which was beautiful!) and sit on the front porch of the Inn before leaving for the airport. While the main purpose of the trip was to attend the conference, I’m really thankful I got to visit Fearrington and have an abundance of Southern food during my visit too!