21 Things to Get Excited About in 2021


By Laurie Paolicelli

It’s a new day in the Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough communities. Get out and try something new. Thank you for following safety guidelines – wearing a mask and maintaining six feet of physical distance – as we all work to keep our campus and communities safe.

1.  Float in a saltwater hydration tank. Yep. Basketball legend Stephen Curry told ESPN the Magazine last season that he floated for one-hour sessions in a tank to get away from it all. The pod Curry uses is similar to the one at Arete in Carrboro. Areté offers a flotation tank and infrared sauna. The idea behind float therapy is that that body is placed in a fully relaxed state, removed from external noises or distractions. https://www.floatarete.com

2.  You’ll want to walk campus and visit these five favorite spots for a glimpse of life on campus. https://admissions.unc.edu/visit/self-guided-tour-2

3.  An informative, free Guided Walking Tour of Franklin Street, UNC, and Downtown Chapel Hill is currently being offered at 3 pm most Friday, Saturday, and Sundays, with groups gathering in front of Morehead Planetarium. Go to http://www.freewalkingtours chapelhill.com

Online art classes are offered at North Carolina Botanical Garden.

4.  It’s great fun to take a virtual painting class and feel a part of a group community. Especially at North Carolina Botanical Garden. There’s a Virtual Advanced Traditional Watercolor class on Thursday, January 7 at 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm for $210. This is a live three-hour Zoom format class divided into a group session for lecture, demonstrations and group critique with the instructor, followed by one-on-one individual appointments for consultation and problem solving. https://ncbg.unc.edu/calendar

Hillsborough Day Spa offers a full menu of facials and massages.

5.  Get a massage or a facial. It’s a new year and the Hillsborough Day spa is ideal. https://hillsboroughspa.com

Jason at Nugenesis

6.  There’s a bevy of personal trainers available in our communities. New to the Chapel Hill/Carrboro scene is Nugenesis on Graham Street, currently assisting a diverse range of populations; including collegiate athletes, former professional athletes, and all ages and skill levels. https://www.nugenesisfitness.com/about

7.  Eat a BLT. Not just because Merrit’s Grill tops every best sandwich on the planet list but because you’ll talk about it for months.

8.  At Bottle Rev Chapel Hill there’s a rotating tap list of 14 unique craft beers and ciders available in 10 oz. or 16 oz. pours. They also offer a rotating menu of 12 bottled wines available from their wine stations as a 10 oz. or 30 oz. taster of a 6oz pour. Bottle Rev is transitioning from 3130 Environ Way to 1118 Environ Way in the former Tobacco Road restaurant. www.bottlerev.com

9.  If you’ve been to Botanist and Barrel in Cedar Grove then you know they are some of the hardest working cider makers around. No need to wait for blueberry picking season to enjoy their craft ciders. And they ship. www.botanistandbarrel.com

10. Play disc golf. Solo, or with a friend. Hank Anderson Park in Carrboro makes it super easy, as does Southern Village. Disc golf is a real stress buster and it’s getting more national television coverage. https://www.dgcoursereview.com/course.php?id=3288

11. Go to a drive-in movie at Caraway Village and bring the whole family. Wonder Woman 1984 is showing now. Theater is open Wednesday – Saturday. https://carrawayvillagedrivein.com

12. Ackland Art Museum’s virtual conversations. Mark your calendar for February 19, when Ackland is joined by Denise Murrell for a virtual conversation about her exhibition Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today, which was on view at the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University and the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, in 2018 and 2019. https://events.ackland.org/event/posing-modernity

13. Morehead Planetarium and Science Center on the UNC campus, 250 E. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill has reopened. Reserve your 2-hour timed tickets online: https://moreheadplanetarium.org

14. Orange County Historical Museum at 201 N. Tryon Street in downtown Hillsborough is welcoming guests every Friday-Sunday, from 11 am – 5 pm. The current exhibit, Yésah: Journeys of the Occaneechi, through the end of March. visit www.orangehistorync.org

15. The Burwell School invites you to discover the stories of more than 200 girls who came from near and far to study here. And be inspired by the life of Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly, the former Burwell family slave who secured her own liberty in 1855 and became a witness to history as the accomplished and sought-after dressmaker to Mary Todd Lincoln. https://www.burwellschool.org

16. Hiking and Biking. We are a gentle southern climate (most of the time) so take some time to explore these trails.https://www.visitchapelhill.org/blog/post/hiking-and-biking-trails-in-chapel-hill-and-orange-county

17. Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area allows you to climb the tallest point in Orange County and explore three miles of trails that twist and turn through thick forests, quiet ponds, and elevated bluffs. https://www.ncparks.gov/occoneechee-mountain-state-natural-area/home

18. Winter and Ice cream? Winter and frozen custard? Wait, winter and frozen yogurt? Yes, yes, yes. Mapleview, Whitt’s Custard, and YoPo are known throughout the Triangle and you must try a cup of chocolate raspberry cookie crumble delight while you’re in town. https://whitscustard.com/locations/tag/Hillsborough

19. A river runs through Hillsborough so walking the Riverwalk is an option that’s pleasurable and good for you.  

20. Shrimp and Grits were invented here. You haven’t really done Chapel Hill until you’ve tried this locally created dinner favorite. Here’s a full restaurant list.

21. Go Heels. Help cheer-on the Tar Heels in Men’s Basketball. https://goheels.com/sports/mens-basketball

Laurie Paolicelli is the Executive Director of the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau.

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1 Comment on "21 Things to Get Excited About in 2021"

  1. Great list.

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