We had just enjoyed our friends’ wedding in New London, NH, but where should we head next? Let’s see where we could take a direct flight; Durham, NC, was the winner and by chance Neil had a cousin who lives there too!
Since this was our first time in Durham, we recorded a bunch of notes about our impressions. Lets begin with the people here. There are lots of races, religions, sexual orientation and income levels, one of the most diverse places we’ve ever visited. Also we didn’t see many smokers which is a big plus for us! The people here like Durham and want to tell you the cool things to do. We think that comes from the fact that a lot of people have lived here for multiple generations. There’s a huge sense of hometown pride!
After hearing about all the things to do we had to start exploring. We found gardens, museums, events, festivals, and farm dinners. Most weeks we made our way to the local farmer’s market that carried tons of artisan goods, cheeses, fresh vegetables and seafood. It was hard not to buy everything in sight with all these options! We loved seeing all the same vendors week after week, too, and came up with a standard list of things to pick up. There were so many restaurants to try also. They all had delicious foods with plenty of outdoor seating. The only thing that was missing was the main library which was closed and unfortunately there were no branches near us. (It has since reopened after completing a major renovation.)
As we made our way around the city, we enjoyed the easy pedestrian access and all the sidewalks everywhere. The architecture of the homes was quite varied with plantations, bungalows, and brick buildings, so many styles. There were both Northern and Southern landscape plants and trees that we really enjoyed watching bloom during one of our first times experiencing Spring in a very long time. And although we could hear the trains tooting on their way through the city a few times a day, it was really quiet and peaceful here.
There is a good amount of technology in the tri-city area referring to Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham. We heard about universities, biotechnology companies in Research Triangle Park, maker labs, start ups and the use of Google Fiber. This made for an easy time working since our internet was good and pretty consistent.
Another important part of any place we travel is transportation. We could walk to the nearby grocery stores and then arrange for a Lyft to help us get it all home. There were multiple train routes that we took advantage of a few times and it was pretty cool that we could hear them from our apartment. There were also buses that weren’t exactly on time but they worked out pretty well and you could go a good distance for only $1.00 per person. We had a local bus that came to our neighborhood twice an hour so there were plenty of routes too.
Something else we made note of were the options for shopping. Downtown Durham has lots of hip, one of a kind stores and barely any chain stores around. There were also so many wine shops, terrific for Neil and I! We weren’t all that impressed with the coffee shops though. We visited almost half a dozen of them during our trip and really only liked the coffee in one of them. Oh well, you can’t win them all.
Finally we had our observations about the weather here. Since we arrived at the very end of March, it was pretty cool for us, only starting around 40 degrees each morning. We didn’t go out of our way to head anywhere until it warmed up. We were here for three months though so by the end of our trip it was HOT but also there was lots of rain. It was a strange rollercoaster of unpredictable weather. We never really noticed much of a breeze either. Another thing that seemed kind of strange to us was the fact that the late afternoon around 5pm was the hottest part of the day and then it was hot throughout the evening. We’re guessing all these weather changes and oddities affected us as well with our skin drying out and our fingernails and hair growing faster than in other places we’ve traveled.
As we already mentioned we stayed in Durham for 3 full months and in that time we were in two rentals. The first place we stayed was an apartment in the community named Duke Tower (well, that was the previous name but people still referred to it that way).
This place was designed for ease and comfort. The bed was king sized and had a Tempurpedic mattress which we missed from when we had our own bed back in Florida. The couch was comfortable and there were plenty of throw pillows. There was a dishwasher which is a huge plus and even a coatrack right next to the door. We had a tv with tons of channels and fast internet. All the things that make for smooth sailing during a trip
Both the bedroom and bathroom had closets and plenty of storage space in order to unpack completely! There was a desk in the living room so there was a separate place to work. And Neil will tell you that he was happy there were a bunch of lamps, too. Another crucial thing for him when it comes to comfort!
No there wasn’t laundry in the unit but there was in the community and it was only about $2.50 total to wash and dry. The community was even located right across from a walking trail, which we visited quite a few times. We were so happy to have found a place with so many of the things we look for when we travel.
The second place we stayed was an attic apartment in an historic neighborhood. Since it was a little older, there weren’t a lot of upgrades like a dishwasher, oven or exhaust fan in the bathroom but it was so cozy which made up for it.
We had a claw foot tub in the bathroom as well as a stand-up shower, a mural, lots of towels, hooks and shelves. In the living room we had a comfortable couch, a tv with a door to close it off and plenty of room to do yoga.
The bedroom had a desk so we still had a workspace but we also had a window seat, a big walk-in closet and deck access where there was a hammock and a dining table. It was great being able to see the bird feeder outside the window and watching the kids fold the flag at the school across the street. It felt so homey being in a neighborhood.
The location was perfect too with us being so close to Duke (East campus), Whole Foods and the Ninth St shopping plaza. Wouldn’t you know it, Duke had a walking trail too. So although we kept eating all the artisan and farm-fresh treats, we were able to exercise quite a bit too.
And before we close about how nice it was spending 3 months in Durham, you may be curious about some of the wine entries we created while we were there. We did tell you there were so many wine shops around. 🙂
Coming up with a new wine theme after having access to so many wines!
Maria attending a tasting at a local shop: https://wineandcheesefriday.com/eastern-european-102-wine-tasting-class-at-bar-brunello-durham-nc/
We also tried out a new type of wine packaging simply called the Vinebox:
Either before or after seeing all this wine stuff, I’m sure you’ve figured out that Durham ended up being a place that we really enjoyed. And we ended up getting to spend a good amount of time getting to know Neil’s cousin which was an added bonus. What a great find, considering it all started with where we could take a direct flight from New Hampshire!