BREAKFAST: Start the morning right in Chapel Hill at Mama Dip’s ( www.mamadips.com), where Mildred “Mama Dip” Council serves the country food she grew up eating—southern-style meats and eggs, homemade biscuits, and more.
9 A.M.: The Carrboro Farmers’ Market ( www.carrborofarmersmarket.com) is rightfully famous as one of the top farmers markets in the region. It’s open year-round, 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays ( 7 a.m. openings spring-fall), as well as Wednesday afternoons seasonally.
10 A.M.: Depending on your interests (art or plants), head to Ackland Art Museum ( www.ackland.org) on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill or nearby N.C. Botanical Garden ( www.ncbg.unc.edu), including the UNC Herbarium.
LUNCH: Weathervane Restaurant ( www.southernseason.com) is at famed Southern Season (keep reading) in University Mall and features creative contemporary takes on Southern fare.
1 P.M.: No visit to Chapel Hill is complete without visiting Southern Season ( www.southernseason.com), a sprawling “foodie” emporium packed with gourmet foods, wine, cookware and much more.
3 P.M.: Head over to Durham for a visit to Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art ( www.nasher.duke.edu). The museum is dedicated to an innovative approach to art, and it presents collections, exhibitions, publications and programs.
DINNER: Mateo bar de Tapas ( www.mateotapas.com) features traditional tapas and one of the largest sherry menus in the nation. Those with beer on the brain shouldn’t miss Fullsteam Brewery ( www.fullsteam.ag), which is typically hopping until late.
BREAKFAST: It’s all-Raleigh today. Filled with farm implements and political memorabilia, Big Ed’s City Market Restaurant ( www.citymarketraleigh.com) is legendary for huge Southern breakfasts. Established in 1914, Raleigh’s downtown City Market features more dining, plus lots of shopping options.
10 A.M.: The one-hour “Segway Experience Tour” through Triangle Glides ( www.triangleglides.com) is a great way to explore downtown Raleigh, including the State Capitol, the Governor’s Mansion and more. They also offer other longer tours that include more stops.
11:30 A.M.: The Marbles Kids Museum ( www.marbleskidsmuseum.org) focuses on having fun while learning, while the adjacent Wells Fargo IMAX Theatre ( www.imaxraleigh.org) features a 3D-capable giant screen, with films ranging from nature and science programs to select Hollywood blockbusters.
LUNCH: Beasley’s Chicken + Honey ( www.ac-restaurants.com) features Southern-inspired fare from acclaimed chef Ashley Christensen, who also has several other Raleigh-area hotspots for creative food and drink (Poole’s, Chuck’s and Fox Liquor Bar).
1:30 P.M.: The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences ( www.naturalsciences.org) features the natural wonders of the state above and below the surface (think plants and animals and fossils), as well as the new Nature Research Center wing and its three-story multi-media globe.
3 P.M.: Boasting 28 Rodin sculptures and much more, the North Carolina Museum of Art ( www.ncartmuseum.org) is nestled in the country’s largest art park.
DINNER: Zely & Ritz ( www.zelyandritz.com) is known for using lots of organic ingredients from a variety of local farms.
WRAP UP: The pedal-powered Trolley Pub ( www.trolleypub.com) is a great way to check out Raleigh’s thriving craft-brewery scene.
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