Southern Culinary Sampler

Southern Culinary Sampler

Southern Season in Chapel Hill is the world’s largest culinary market for Southern foods

Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill form the area known as the Triangle, home to internationally recognized universities and corporations. Here you’ll enjoy shopping, dining and music that will take you from uptown style to down-home fare.

3-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Take a tasting tour of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

Day 2: Sample Southern fare and history in Raleigh.

Day 3: Dine in Durham, the “Tastiest Town in the South.”

Day 1: Southern Season, local fare & 4 Diamond dining

Begin your day in Chapel Hill with breakfast at the Weathervane Restaurant, part of Southern Season. In 1975, Southern Season opened as a tiny coffee roastery. These days, Southern Season has expanded to 60,000 square feet, and the National Association of the Specialty Food Trade selected this store as “2004 Outstanding Retailer of the Year.” After breakfast, take a while to browse the wide selection of gifts and gourmet specialties.

If you’re exploring downtown Chapel Hill, you’re bound to run into Carrboro. The Durham-Greensboro Southern Railway line built its depot here in the late 1800s in an effort to keep noisy trains from bothering the busy academics at the University of North Carolina.

Wander the Weaver Street Market, a cooperative dedicated to supporting local farmers, providing for community needs with plenty of attention to the environment. You can shop at Carr Mill, a restored textile mill listed on the National Register of Historic Places, or drive out to Maple View Farm Country Store, locally owned and operated, to enjoy an ice cream cone on the front porch. You’ll even find sugar-free flavors.

For dinner, you might try one of Chapel Hill’s AAA 4 Diamond Restaurants: Carolina Crossroads in the Carolina Inn, the “front porch” for the University of North Carolina, or Il Palio Ristorante at the Siena Hotel, named for Italy’s famous horse race. And the town also offers plenty of casual options that highlight local produce on their menus such as the Acme Food & Beverage Company.

Nighttime here offers numerous arts events that take place throughout the year at the University of North Carolina or the Carrboro ArtsCenter.

Day 2: A taste of the South, Raleigh Farmers Market & local history

Spend the day in Raleigh, North Carolina’s state capital. Enjoy a narrated, hour-long historic trolley tour. Afterward, stop in at the City Market for lunch at Big Ed’s. This is real Southern fare; don’t forget to try the biscuits, and if you’re here on a Saturday, you might catch a Dixieland band performing among the restaurant’s collection of antique farm implements and political memorabilia. Big Ed says, “If you leave here hungry, it’s your own fault!”

After the down-home feast, you might be in the mood for a little exercise. Stroll through the Raleigh Farmers Market and browse 75 acres of items from across the state. The market hosts special events year-round to spotlight the market’s products, such as chili cook-offs and the North Carolina Battle of the Sauces.

Learn about one of the oldest homes in the area on a narrated tour at the Mordecai Historic Park, site of an antebellum plantation museum. Then visit Wake County’s oldest home, the Joel Lane Museum House, dating from the 1770s. Docents here will provide garden tours that discuss uses of herbs for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

Day 3: Sampling and sights in the home of Bull Durham

Take a day to see some Durham sights such as the campus of Duke University and the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, enjoying fine cuisine along the way. Named the “South’s Tastiest Town” by Southern Living readers in 2012, Durham’s distinctive dining is among the most sophisticated in the state. The area is home to a thriving colony of nationally acclaimed chefs as well as regionally and nationally reviewed and ranked “Celebrated Cuisine” restaurants.

Try lunch at Foster’s Market. Owner Sara Foster honed her culinary skills working on Martha Stewart’s catering team.

Durham offers a variety of food and music options for the afternoon. Attend a highly acclaimed signature annual event such as the Durham Blues Festival, a celebration in the birthplace of the Piedmont Blues.

Visit Historic Durham Athletic Park to see where Bull Durham was filmed. Although the Durham Bulls now play at a park a mile away, the historic park is still home to festivals, special events and amateur baseball games. A stop at the Tuba Exchange allows you to see the only store in the nation dealing exclusively in tubas, euphoniums and sousaphones (more than 200 vintage instruments are on display).

For dinner, try another “Celebrated Cuisine” restaurant, Bullock’s Bar-B-Cue. In North Carolina, barbecue is our passion, so prepare for an unforgettable culinary experience. See some famous faces that have eaten at Bullock’s on the celebrity wall of fame.

Enjoy all this trip idea has to offer by mixing and matching to your particular interest. Be sure to check days and hours of operation for each venue.

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