Understanding Chapel Hill, UNC, and the Southern Part of Heaven

Walking Tour. Photo Courtesy of News & Observer


By Laurie Paolicelli

“Heart of the Hill” walking tours in Chapel Hill — registration for spring tours starts February 15th.

Longtime residents, neighbors, friends, families, newcomers, visitors from around the globe, students and alumni, and sightseers from other planets are encouraged to join us on tour as we honor, preserve and celebrate our unique college town – home of the first public university in America.

This program is organized by Missy Julian-Fox and a group of knowledgeable volunteer tour leaders. Each tour is personalized by the group leaders, but all of them share pieces of our collective story and town spirit through history, lore, and experience. Tours last 60-90 minutes and are FREE — although they enthusiastically accept and encourage donations!

Missy Julian Fox, a Chapel Hill native and educator who literally grew up on Franklin Street in her parents’ clothing store, Julian’s.

Friday, March 13 @ 3:30 pm
March Madness: Sports on the Hill with Jon Brunner
The University of North Carolina has a storied history of athletic success. Join John Brunner, Associate Director of Athletics, as he takes you to the courts and fields where Tar Heel legends played, enthralling Tar Heel fans for generations.

Saturday, March 21 @ 10:30 am
Chapel Hill, Six Feet Under: A Walking Tour of the Historic Cemetery
Tim Kuhn will lead you through our historic town cemetery for facts, fun and hard truths of Chapel Hill’s former citizens.

Saturday, March 28, 10:30 am
Midway with Danita Mason-Hogans

Friday, April 17 @ 3:30 pm
Beneath Our Feet: An Archeological Look at Chapel Hill’s Earliest Days
Over the past 70 years, virtually all of the major discoveries in understanding North Carolina’s distant past can be attributed to the Research Labs of Archeology (RLA). Steve Davis, associate director of RLA and professor of archeology, will lead you to several former archaeological sites nearby and share artifacts of the people here from the early days of Chapel Hill – and before.

Saturday, April 18 @ 10:30
Over the course of ninety minutes you’ll walk up one side of Franklin Street and down the other in Chapel Hill’s first historic district. Learn about the history of the old village through the stories, impact and influence of the people who lived along this famous street. Stephen and Sandra Rich are seasoned tour guides for Preservation Chapel Hill and active volunteers around town.

Saturday, April 25 @ 10:30 am
Campus Architecture
UNC campus is a virtual, illustrated history book of architecture with its various styles, features and flourishes – all working in concert to bring character, substance, and beauty to our built environment. Guided by JJ Bauer, UNC Professor of Art and Art History, it’s a celebration of a revised edition of John Allcott’s The Campus at Chapel Hill, published this fall by the Chapel Hill Historical Society.

Saturday, May 2 @ 10:30 am
Heart of the Hill KIDS EDITION!
Susan Worley moved to Chapel Hill when she was six – and has been a devoted fan ever since! With both undergrad and graduate degrees from Carolina, Susan has been the Executive Director of Volunteers for Youth since 1988 – and a tour guide for Estes Hills third graders. Susan will lead you all on a tour of downtown & campus to learn more about this town we call home. Great fun for grandchildren and grandparents, too!

Friday, May 8 @ 3:30 pm
The Noble Grove: A Walking Tour of Trees
Chapel Hill has always had a love affair with its trees. “As I saw Franklin Street in 1912, it was a dusty red avenue cut through a forest of magnificent trees…It is no wonder that Chapel Hillians are ardent tree worshipers and the symbol of the place is Davie Poplar,” said Robert B. House, Chancellor of the University of North Carolina from 1945-1957. Explore the history, care-taking and future of our iconic trees, in town and on campus, with UNC Arborist Tom Bythell.

Saturday, May 16 @ 10:30 am
A Walking Tour of Carrboro with Richard Ellington
Carrboro is Chapel Hill’s sister town – it’s funky, artistic, and fun-loving sister. It also a fascinating history as a mill town. In 2005, Carrboro was voted one of the 100 best art towns in the nation, and since then it’s only gotten more artful. A beautiful, diverse and fascinating community.

For more information about Heart of the Hill Tours, visit: https://heartofthehilltours.com

Walking Tour

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

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