It’s a different kind of traveling when you’re going home, and often we visit the familiar to feel familiar. But every time I go back to my high school and college hometowns, I like to seek out the new there. I like to punctuate the familiar with places and faces I haven’t been introduced to yet.
I recently made a trip back to the RDU area in my home state of North Carolina. Having survived the worst winter in Chicago history (*the weatherman’s words, not mine!), I was thrilled to see sweet spring in the Carolinas. I started in downtown Raleigh with a late lunch at the new restaurant The Station enjoying a savory sandwich and a beer on their patio off Person street. I stopped by the most recent addition to downtown Raleigh’s coffee shop scene, Dia de los Muertos, off Hargett Street and headed to every Raleigh local’s haunt, The Raleigh Times. Other highlights of downtown are Capital Club 16 (try the burger and the Sunday brunch!), Neptunes (for dancing in basements on the weekends) and Foundation (for drinking in basements any night of the week). Also nearby is the Oakwood neighborhood and cemetery for a lovely walk on a spring afternoon.
I also spent an afternoon in Durham, NC near my old high school and was thrilled to see so many new spots downtown. Highlights were certainly Rose’s Meat Market and Sweet Shop where you must try the caramel ice cream … and the cream puffs … and the macaroons … and the caramels … and the meat! Also lovely was Mercury Studios’ open studio space and craft gallery and the adjacent patio at Motorco, as well at Cocoa Cinnamon coffee shop around the corner. My favorite spot in downtown Durham is probably Dear Hearts — a recently opened vintage clothing and accessories store where practically all of my favorite clothing items are from. Not to mention all of this is within walking distance of Brightleaf Square, Duke University, a number of great spots on Ninth Street and the Durham Bulls stadium! Definitely a cool area!
It’s always nice to see an area so close to my heart grow and flourish. What about you? How do you spend your time when you visit your hometown?