Welcome Back.

Franklin Street is the site of many walkers and joggers eager for sunlight and safety.


By Laurie Paolicelli

Welcome Back. Our Pledge is a Shared Commitment with You to Keep Each Other Healthy.

North Carolina has entered Phase 2 of the gradual re-opening of our economy and the resumption, to the degree that it’s possible, of our day-to-day lives. This means that many of Chapel Hill and Orange County’s restaurants are now able to serve dine-in customers (with limited capacity) along with takeout and curbside pickup.

Here’s a link to a list of some of the options available for those who want to sit and dine-in. This list is not comprehensive and we’ll be adding to it regularly so please get in touch with the restaurant you’re interested in visiting to be assured of space and operating hours.

Some other things to take into consideration: Seating will be limited at all restaurants offering dine-in service – so make reservations. Many of these restaurants have organized stringent practices, including QR codes in booths giving you an option to look at the menu online, single-use printed menus, individual salt and pepper packets, as well as ketchup, mustard and condiment packets, open air seating and staff that have safety certification, wear masks and respect distance. While some of these precautions may seem unwieldy, now more than ever we wholeheartedly believe in the dictum, “Better safe than sorry.”

Staff at Carolina Brewery Chapel Hill has completed safety and sanitation certification.

Orange County cares about the residents, workers, and visitors of Chapel Hill/Orange County and has pledged a shared commitment with you to keep each other healthy.

Chapel Hill/Orange County Tourism Industry Pledge Here

Cabin fever is one fever we have the cure for in Orange County. There are a lot of places to go to get out of the house and experience the transcendent beauty of the natural world, which seems more beautiful today than it ever has. Here are some recommended walking and hiking trails.

Just minutes from downtown Chapel Hill, the 300-acre Johnston Mill Nature Preserve contains three-and-a-half miles of great walking and hiking paths.

Want something close to campus? Carolina North Forest is a great option. The well-maintained trails are nestled within 750 acres of woodlands between Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

Morgan Creek Trail, a 10-foot-wide paved trail that runs nearly a mile, crosses through both Chapel Hill and Carrboro and connects directly to the town-owned Merritt’s Pasture open space area.

The George and Julia Brumley Family Nature Preserve consists of more than 600 acres and is located about two miles southeast of Hillsborough, between Old N.C. 10 and New Hope Church Road. It features more than four miles of streams and 20 acres of wetlands. 

Located next to the Eno River in Hillsborough, the Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail is under the care of Classical American Homes Preservation Trust. HOST is a walking trail through natural and cultural history. The original track was a half-mile horse track built by Julian S. Carr for Occoneechee Farms. Later expanded and used by NASCAR, this 44-acre site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in May 2002.

Located on the property of Ayr Mount, a Federal-era plantation house built in 1815 in Hillsborough by William Kirkland, Poet’s Walk is a one-mile walking trail that meanders through woodlands and pastures alongside the banks of the Eno River.

Riverwalk Hillsborough is a paved, ADA accessible, urban greenway along the Eno River that stretches nearly 2 miles from Dimmocks Mill Road/Gold Park through West Hillsborough and Downtown over to the Occoneechee Speedway property trails.

Coker Arboretum, UNC Campus

For those visiting town for a look at the university, this self-guided tour will take you to the important landmarks, dorms and the heart of the campus — the remarkable Quad. This time of year the campus is especially lovely.

Parking is available in the Orange County Visitors Center lot, free, located at 501 W. Franklin Street in the Bentley Building. Many other lots are open and free over the summer months.

Our Edenic outdoor parks and trails still follow social-distancing guidelines. Be sensitive to others and aware of your physical presence in relation to them. These are the greatness kindnesses we can bestow on each other now: protecting ourselves helps protect everybody else. This non-denominational, non-partisan virus can only be kept at bay through measures we bring to it. Let’s find joy in our lives — wandering our lovely trails or eating at one of our many fine restaurants — but let’s do it safely, wisely and lovingly.

Hillsborough Riverwalk

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

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