The college town of Chapel Hill has long been known as “The Southern Part of Heaven,” something author William Meade Prince used as the title for his volume that reminisced about the time he spent growing up here. It’s actually believed to have originated when a minister told merchant owner Dr. Kluttz on his deathbed that he believed heaven “must be a lot like Chapel Hill in the spring.”
If you recently moved to the Chapel Hill Apartments or are planning a visit and want to find out why he felt this way, consider touring it this weekend – it won’t take you long to understand why.
Wander Down Franklin Street
In 1894, Dr. Kluttz purchased the Sam Phillips house on East Franklin Street, operating a boarding house there. Today, historic Franklin Street is one of the most vibrant parts of town, stretching for three miles and divided between West and East Franklin streets.
Just east of the UNC campus is the Sam PHillips House along with the President’s House, Widow Puckett House, Spencer House, Kennette House, Hooper-Kyser House, Archibald-Henderson House, and the Presbyterian Manse. You’ll also find many shops, boutiques, bars, restaurants, and music venues that make it popular among locals, visitors, and college students alike.
Take a Bite Out of America’s Best Burger
TripAdvisor has called the burgers at Al’s Burger Shack the best in the entire country. A local favorite, it’s rare that there isn’t a line stretching well outside the door. Everything is made with local ingredients with the high-quality burgers cooked medium and served with a side of sweet potato or rosemary-seasoned fries.
Improve Your Luck at the Old Well
Legend has it, if you sip from the Old Well on the UNC campus, it will bring good luck (and good grades for students). Originally built in the 1790s, in those early years it served as the water supply for the Old West and East dorms. But it became a focal point in 1897 when it was transformed into the neoclassical rotunda at the southern end of McCorkle Place that you’ll see today.
It’s a vision of beauty, modeled after the Temple of Love in the Gardens of Versailles. You’ll get a better idea of why Chapel Hill was referred to as heaven when the flowering trees and flower beds around it are in bloom, bringing vibrant reds, pinks, and whites.
Stroll Through the North Carolina Botanical Garden
A stroll through this botanical garden at UNC is sure to make you feel as if you’ve entered a heaven-like paradise. There’s a theater, nature trails, preserves, and natural areas, but the display garden is what most are referring to when discussing the North Carolina Botanical Garden.
It includes sections focused on various North Carolina ecosystems like the Mountain Habitat, Coastal Plain Habitat, and Piedmont Habitat, along with an impressive carnivorous plant collection. There are herb gardens, water gardens, a Native American garden, and more. If you’ve got kids with you, don’t miss the Children’s Wonder Garden. The little ones can build things with blocks, dig, and search for butterflies among other fun activities.