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Chapel Hill

April 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Old Well, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

This is it, my final post from our trip to North Carolina. I’ve written about our Tuesday outing to Durham, our Wednesday outing to Greensboro, and our Thursday outing to Raleigh. But what of our base itself, Chapel Hill? All I’ve mentioned so far are our dinners at Lantern and Crook’s Corner. Surely we did more.

Well, not much more, what with setting out after breakfast each morning for another city. Here are a few notes on what I left out.

1. Tuesday, we came back from Durham in mid-afternoon, after our visits to the Duke Homestead and the Nasher Museum of Art. This was our chance to wander around town and campus. On crossing over toward the heart of campus from the Carolina Inn, we came immediately upon the building housing the UNC School of Education. I couldn’t resist dropping in, since the dean is an old friend whom I used to work with here at the university. Fortunately, he was in and had a moment, so we chatted a bit. A day later, I would have missed him, as he was heading here to Seattle.

Next we walked up to Franklin Street to the Carolina Coffee Shop for Gail, but they only had table service. They recommended Jack Sprat Café across the street, which met her needs. From there, we could walk south through the main axis of campus, leading to the Old Well. I suppose you’d have to have UNC in your veins to appreciate the well’s importance. It was once the school’s lone water source.

Today, passers-by can drink from a marble water fountain supplying city water that sits in the center of the Old Well. Campus tradition dictates that a drink from the Old Well on the first day of classes will bring good luck (or straight A’s).

The Old Well is recognized as a National Landmark for Outstanding Landscape Architecture by the American Society of Landscape Architects. The Old Well is also used on the official stamp of all apparel licensed by the university.

There was a crowd around it, with people taking turns drinking while friends or parents photographed them. I couldn’t resist taking my own turn, and Gail couldn’t resist taking the photo, which I’ll omit. More interesting is the layout of adjacent buildings, Old East Hall, Old West Hall, and South Hall. Old East is the original campus building, with construction begun in 1793 when the university (the oldest state university in the country) was established. It has since been expanded, and of course renovated, and continues to function as a dorm.

Later in our walk south, we would arrive at the university’s main library, the Wilson Library, which contains The North Carolina Collection Gallery. Joel had suggested the day before that we may find this of interest, so we took his advice and found it. There we learned of the Masonic history of the university, and in particular, the Masonic tradition that dictated the layout of the well and the three buildings. This was part of a special exhibit on the history of the campus, with some wonderful old photos.

Also in the collection are the Sir Walter Raleigh Rooms; an exhibit about the original Siamese twins Eng and Chang, who lived the final decades of their lives in North Carolina; Audobon prints; some rooms from early Carolina houses; and much more. It was a good detour.

South of the library, across a street, is the bell tower, and below that, the football stadium — Kenan Stadium. The campus drops down a hill at this point, with the stadium following this drop, so that on the north side it fits quite nicely into the surroundings. A gate was open on the north, so we wandered in and looked down on the playing field, well below us. Ringing the outside are exhibits of famous Tarheel players, such as the greatest of them all, below:

Kenan Stadium, UNC

It was approaching dinner time, so we concluded our campus tour at this point and returned to the inn.

2. Dinner with Joel that night was at Mint, a surprisingly good Indian restaurant on Franklin Street a few blocks west of campus, out towards Carrboro. Gail and Joel had eaten there in July. I’m glad they thought to return, because dinner was excellent.

3. Thursday was our Raleigh day. When we got back to Chapel Hill, we conferred with Joel and discovered that we were too late to get in to a restaurant in Durham he thought worth trying. Instead, we headed over to Provence, a small restaurant in Carrboro not far from Joel. As it name suggests, it bills itself as serving regional French and Mediterranean cuisine.

Provence

Joel started with the escargots, Gail the lobster bisque, and me, well, gosh, I don’t remember what I had. Nothing that I see on the online menu. I must have had their soup of the day, some cream of something. I should have taken notes. I remember my main course, the lemon sole almandine. Gail had Beef Wellington and Joel some sort of noodle dish that again isn’t listed online. In any case, I was quite happy with my meal. But Gail’s beef was horribly burned on one side. She kept wondering what flavoring was used, until she turned it over and caught on to what had happened. We should have sent it back. It was really a disaster. Other than that, the restaurant was most pleasant.

4. You may recall that two months ago, when I first started thinking about what we might do in North Carolina, I wrote a post about an imagined day trip to Greensboro and Saxapahaw. Wednesday was our Greensboro day. Saxapahaw is a few miles off the main highway between Chapel Hill and Graham, the town where one gets on I-40 to head straight west to Greensboro. And the attraction of Saxapahaw is the Saxapahaw General Store, which had been written up in a short note in the Sunday NYT travel section in January. To quote from that article again, as I did in February:

I was polishing off a steaming bowl of coconut curry soup when a server appeared bearing a plate of plump pan-seared diver scallops atop creamy applewood-bacon succotash and braised asparagus. The food was befitting a candlelit restaurant, but I had a view of gas pumps outside and, a few steps from my table, fluorescent-lighted aisles packed with workaday necessities — toilet paper, motor oil, sauerkraut juice (aids digestion, according to the label).

This jarring contrast of farm-fresh food and service-station atmosphere is part of the appeal of the place where I was dining: the Saxapahaw General Store (1735 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road; 336-376-5332; saxgenstore.com), a no-frills convenience store and restaurant that has sparked a revival in the former mill town of Saxapahaw in central North Carolina.

On our way up to Greensboro, we didn’t want to detour, but we did on our return. The road to Saxapahaw was narrow and winding, perhaps our only drive in our time in North Carolina on which we got off main roads and got a glimpse of what backcountry North Carolina might look like. Not that this was so backcountry, just 10 miles out from Chapel Hill. We arrived at a small strip mall, with the gas pumps and store as described. As we walked in, there was a counter to the left running from the doorway to the back, with the cashier immediately to the left, then food cases, and behind was the cooking area. Running from straight ahead to the right were the store aisles, and far to the right, beyond them, were a few tables for dining. Pretty basic. But it was fun to work our way around the aisles and see what was for sale.

There was a small wine section up front by the windows, with shelves marked for French, Italian, California etc. Just to the right of that, on the top of a counter, was an array of North Carolina wines. We chose one to bring home.

I hadn’t mentioned, but over by that main counter to the left of the store is a big blackboard. Oh, you can see it in the article that headed the NYT article. Here it is, below:

Saxapahaw General Store

[David P. Williams, NYT, January 22, 2012 edition]

When we walked in, a young woman had just begun to fill the board with the list of dinner specials. It took a while for us to figure out what was going on as far as menu offerings. The deal is that there’s an all-day menu, with menus available on the counter, but I had missed them initially. One can order sandwiches, salads, and so on. In addition, there are lunch and dinner hours, something like 11 to 2 and 5:30 to 8:00, during which one can also order the specials listed on the board. We had arrived at 4:45. Waiting for dinner wasn’t an option, since our plan was to get back to Chapel Hill for dinner with Joel. It would have been different if we were in Chapel Hill already and could have headed out with him.

We arrived as the woman was writing the first special, pan-seared diver scallops with applewood-bacon succotash — the very one featured in the NYT. She would proceed to write each main dish, then turn to the scruffy looking guy behind the cash register, announcing what she had just written. He would look upwards for a moment for inspiration, then tell her what the accompaniments would be. It became apparent that he wasn’t merely the cashier. Indeed, he was probably the chef. As the listings got added, staying became more and more tempting. We’ll have to come back next time we visit, now that we know the schedule.

That’s it for North Carolina. We had a great trip.

Crook’s Corner

April 15, 2012 Leave a comment

A few days ago, while still in Chapel Hill, I wrote about our dinner with Joel at Lantern. (Boy was it good!) Crook’s Corner Cafe and Bar is another famous Chapel Hill restaurant. After our day in Greensboro — during which we visited the three museums described in the preceding posts but failed to eat lunch — we picked up Joel and arrived at Crook’s Corner for an early dinner.

It’s a pretty low-key place, with a pig on the roof. According to the quotes on the website homepage, “Crook’s continues to live up to its national reputation as a temple of Southern cuisine” (Raleigh News & Observer) and is “sacred ground for Southern foodies” (NYT). I don’t have much of a baseline. This was more a chance to learn what one eats at a temple of southern cuisine than to judge.

From the website again, I find that in 1982,

Bill Neal and Gene Hamer thought this the perfect venue to pursue Southern cuisine. Neal wrote several acclaimed cookbooks, including Bill Neal’s Southern Cooking and Biscuits, Spoonbread and Sweet Potato Pie and placed Crook’s on the culinary map. Crook’s has the reputation for being “the birthplace of Shrimp and Grits.” The often copied dish became famous after Craig Claiborne wrote about it in The New York Times. It’s still wildly popular and Crook’s has served it in the late chef’s style now for more than 25 years.

You may wish to have a look at the menu, here.

To start, we shared three dishes: the cheddar hushpuppies with cocktail sauce; the gumbo z’herbes: green gumbo made with Caw Caw Creek country ham; and the Crook’s house salad: mixed greens with mustard vinaigrette. The initial idea was that Gail and Joel would share the hushpuppies while I ate the salad, but I couldn’t stop tasting those hushpuppies. Plus, there was plenty of salad to go around. So we all had a little of everything.

For dinner, I couldn’t decide between the Cajun ribeye, served with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables, and the Cajun red snapper with creole vegetables and baked cheese grits. Neither could Gail. When I chose the ribeye, she chose the snapper. Joel had the famous shrimp and grits: shrimp sautéed with bacon, mushrooms and scallions and served over cheese grits. I intended to taste Gail’s snapper, but it was gone before I knew it. I was happy with mine. I never did get Joel’s verdict on the shrimp and grits.

For dessert, we all shared the Mt. Airy chocolate soufflé cake with fresh whipped cream. Very rich, plenty for three.

My verdict? As I said, I wasn’t there to judge. I’m still learning. I sure liked those hushpuppies though.

Categories: Restaurants

Lantern Restaurant

April 9, 2012 Leave a comment

I just wrote about our arrival in Chapel Hill late this afternoon. After getting settled in The Carolina Inn, we headed off to dinner at Lantern, the place Joel suggested we try. Our walk took us past a few fraternities, then on to Franklin Street, Chapel Hill’s main drag, along which we passed a representative sample of America’s finest fast food restaurants before arriving.

From Lantern’s website, we learn that

Lantern was opened in January 2002 by brother-sister team Andrea and Brendan Reusing, along with help from many friends including Silvia Pahola, Ric Palao and David Doernberg, who is responsible for our striking design and warm glow.

The menu at Lantern is a marriage of Asian flavors and North Carolina ingredients sourced mainly from local farms and fisheries. It has been named one of “America’s Top 50 Restaurants” and “best farm-to-table restaurants” by Gourmet Magazine … .

We own Andrea Reusing’s cookbook, Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes, which came out a year ago. We were eager to try Lantern.

For appetizers, we decided to share Lantern local pasture-raised pork and chive dumplings, Lantern spring pickle plate, and chat: crispy chickpeas and potatoes with cauliflower, pickled red onions and mint chutney. I loved the dumplings and the chaat. The pickle plate had beets, turnips, cauliflower, tomato, radishes. Maybe one other. It was fun to try them, but Gail and Joel seemed to enjoy them more than I did.

It was tough to choose from the main courses. Gail had the steamed Arctic char with house-pickled ginger, lemongrass, red onion, spicy cucumber-mint salad and coconut jasmine rice, which she was very happy with. I wanted either the lemongrass-grilled Chapel Hill Creamery pork chop with a fried farm egg, spicy green papaya salad, steamed jasmine rice and chile-lime sauce; the fried whole North Carolina fish [flounder tonight] with chiles, garlic, tamarind, fresh lime leaf, carrot salad and jasmine rice; or the shaking beef: seared Niman Ranch flat iron steak with black pepper, sweet caramelized red onions, watercress salad and soy-vinegar pan sauce. Joel proposed I choose two and we share them. I chose fish and pork chop. In the end, I ate most of the fish, Joel most of the pork chop, both of which were excellent.

For dessert, Joel and I shared fresh coconut panna cotta with White Dove Farm passionfruit caramel and crunchy macaroon, while also tasting Gail’s roasted banana ice cream with caramel, soft cream and NC peanut brittle. The best part of both may have been the complementary items: the crunchy macaroon and the peanut brittle. They were perfect.

Our North Carolina journey is off to a good start.

Categories: Restaurants

Grand Forks Olive Garden

March 11, 2012 Leave a comment

The mystery of Olive Garden is a recurring topic here at Ron’s View. I wrote about it most recently just before Christmas, discussing a WSJ article about the efforts by national casual-dining chains to upgrade their offerings while maintaining their appeal to a broad demographic. Olive Garden was the primary example, with their president explaining that they “don’t use the word authentic” to describe the Olive Garden experience, preferring “Italian inspired.” I expressed my concern at the end that I was “trapped between demographic groups, condemned never to find my proper home.”

Our last Olive Garden outing was in mid-July, when I solved the problem of how to choose from three OG classics — lasagna, fettucini alfredo, and chicken parmigiana, by having them all, thanks to a menu special called the Tour of Italy. I commented at the time that “putting quality aside for a moment, it’s way too much. And an absurd mix. No side vegetable for one. What was I thinking? How did Gail allow me to do it, and then follow suit?” But I did enjoy the separate items.

Which brings me to last Wednesday’s now-viral review of Olive Garden by Marilyn Hagerty in North Dakota’s Grand Forks Herald. When I saw a link to it on Facebook, via one of Gail’s cousin’s sons (who has inside knowledge as an OG waitstaff veteran), I instantly clicked on it. In these parts, one doesn’t expect to see a review of Olive Garden or its peers, so I was curious to see what a restaurant reviewer would make of it.

I thought Ms. Hagerty did a good job of explaining its appeal. Here’s a sample.

After a lengthy wait for Olive Garden to open in Grand Forks, the lines were long in February. The novelty is slowly wearing off, but the steady following attests the warm welcome.

My first visit to Olive Garden was during midafternoon, so I could be sure to get in. After a late breakfast, I figured a late lunch would be fashionable.

The place is impressive. It’s fashioned in Tuscan farmhouse style with a welcoming entryway. There is seating for those who are waiting.

[snip]

At length, I asked my server what she would recommend. She suggested chicken Alfredo, and I went with that. Instead of the raspberry lemonade she suggested, I drank water.

She first brought me the familiar Olive Garden salad bowl with crisp greens, peppers, onion rings and yes — several black olives. Along with it came a plate with two long, warm breadsticks.

The chicken Alfredo ($10.95) was warm and comforting on a cold day. The portion was generous. My server was ready with Parmesan cheese.

As I ate, I noticed the vases and planters with permanent flower displays on the ledges. There are several dining areas with arched doorways. And there is a fireplace that adds warmth to the decor.

[snip]

All in all, it is the largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating in Grand Forks. It attracts visitors from out of town as well as people who live here.

Well, you can imagine the wave of snark attacks that ensued, prompting a second wave of spirited defenses. Ms. Hagerty is now a celebrity, and an admirable one at that. It turns out that she retired in the 1970s, is 85 years old, but still writes five columns a week. Thursday, The Village Voice included an interview with her. Yesterday, she appeared on CBS This Morning: Saturday with co-hosts Rebecca Jarvis and James Brown.

Hagerty’s own Grand Forks Herald had a piece Friday on her new-found fame, with follow-up coverage yesterday by publisher, Mike Jacobs. Trying to make sense of why the review elicited such a response, Jacobs concluded that

Marilyn’s modesty stood in sharp contrast to pretension that characterizes lots of critical writing in the United States, not just restaurant reviews. Her “aw shucks” attitude helped, too. So did her age.

Probably, so did her home town, a small city in a state that much of America has ridiculed — until oil made us rich and good government made us famous.

So, it was a kind of perfect storm.

Marilyn went viral, and her fame reflects on the Herald and Grand Forks.

We’re hoping to extend this by sending Marilyn to New York. Haven’t all of us always wondered what it would be like to dine at one of Gotham’s toniest restaurants?

Marilyn’s going to tell us.

There was a time when Gail’s brother lived in the small (really small, on the order of 200 people) town of Grygla in northwest Minnesota, 90 miles east-northeast from Grand Forks. In the summer of 1986, we visited him and his family, flying into Grand Forks, where they picked us up. I have to say, if I lived in Grygla, or any of the hundreds of other small towns in a 90-mile radius, I would find it pretty darn cool to have an Olive Garden open up within reach. A day trip to the city for shopping, a movie, and an Olive Garden dinner — that would be real special. I would spend my days dreaming about that Tour of Italy.

Categories: Journalism, Restaurants

Happy Birthday (to me)

March 1, 2012 Leave a comment

I celebrated my 15th birthday yesterday. It was a special day, with a fabulous dinner party at Rover’s, the local French restaurant I have written about many times. Perhaps I’ll have more to say another time. For now, I’ll let the menu tell the story. Oh, I should at least mention that Gail and I made arrangements to bring the perfect dinner host up from Eugene, Oregon, the 1993 Eugene Slug Queen herself, Queen Bananita Sluginsky. (She was the subject of Ron’s View’s fourth post, in September 2008.)

Categories: Life, Restaurants

Shake Shack

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Shake Shack burger

[Evan Sung for The New York Times]

I have yet to eat at a Shake Shack. But I’ve wanted to know more, so I was delighted to see this morning, as I was going through the week’s NYT and about to toss Wednesday’s food section, that Pete Wells devoted his weekly restaurant review to them. Though his findings are mixed, he still finds Shake Shack worthy of a star, which I take to be strong praise. As Wells explains,

It is not every hamburger stand that achieves the prominent spot in the city’s consciousness held by Shake Shack. There are 14 of them now, uptown, downtown and out of town (Miami, Washington, Kuwait City). One respectable writer has spoken of the burger as life-changing.

From its origins as a hot-dog cart that the restaurateur Danny Meyer set up as a kind of art project in 2001, Shake Shack has become one of the most influential restaurants of the last decade, studied and copied around the country. Its legacy can be seen not just in the stampede of good, cheap burgers, but in the growing recognition that certain fine-dining values, like caring service and premium ingredients, can be profitably applied outside fine dining all the way down the scale to the most debased restaurant genre of all, the fast-food outlet.

Yet, Wells finds the burgers inconsistent, and the fries worse:

You can get better fries just about anywhere. Considered as décor, the crinkle-cut fries are exactly right, calling up images of the milkshake-with-two-straws past that is at the core of Shake Shack’s appeal. Considered as food, though, they are pretty awful. Freezing turns them mealy, and no amount of oil or salt can make them taste like the fresh-cut potatoes that are standard issue at some burger joints now.

The eponymous shakes are a different story, “smooth, not crunchy with ice crystals, and drinkable, not so stiff that they fight the straw. And the flavors are true.” And Wells lavishes praise on the hot dogs (from Chicago’s Vienna Beef, whose dogs we have ordered direct on occasion) and the “Bird Dog, a smoked chicken and apple bratwurst from Usinger’s of Milwaukee.”

Read the full review, and be sure to watch the slideshow, where you can see photos of the burgers, shakes, and dogs. Plus, Wells has an accompanying blog post in which he compares burgers from seven other restaurants. The Steak ‘n Shake signature gets the prize.

The first New York location of the Indianapolis-based chain offers an organic “Signature Steakburger,” and it’s fantastic, with a reliably browned surface and a fully rounded flavor. (Off topic but still important: The fries, fresh cut from russet potatoes, beat the pants off the ones at Shake Shack.)

I knew there were no Shake Shacks out this way, but I hadn’t heard of Steak ‘n Shake, so I just looked it up. Alas, no. They aren’t out west either. On the other hand, they’re in North Carolina, the subject of my last post, in which I described possible trip plans for April. Not in Chapel Hill, where we will be based, but Greensboro, the destination of the outing I described. I suppose we could make a detour. Then again, I was kind of looking forward to eating some local southern food, not chain hamburgers, no matter how good they are. It’s not like good burgers are unavailable here. We have Dick’s. We have Red Mill. And this is one case where I do believe there’s no place like home.

As for Shake Shack, Joel, if you do go up to DC next week, you might try it out for us. Pity is, we would have passed right by their upper east side location last September, on 86th between Lex and 3rd. We could have taken out. Next time.

Categories: Restaurants

Saxapahaw-Greensboro Daytrip

February 20, 2012 Leave a comment

The former Woolworth's in Greensboro, North Carolina

Back in early December, I wrote that with Joel in North Carolina, we might take a trip in the spring, timed so that we can see a UNC home lacrosse game against one of its traditional rivals. I had checked periodically through the fall for UNC’s schedule to be posted. When it was, I was delighted to see that they would be playing defending national champion Virginia at home on April 7. Without checking with Joel (and without realizing that that weekend also happens to bring two Passover Seders, Easter, and the Masters), I decided we would be there. Since then, I’ve been thinking about what we’ll do when not at the lacrosse game. I now have a great day trip planned, to Saxapahaw and Greensboro.

Regarding Greensboro, let me go back to a trip Gail and I made two springs ago. I had some business in DC, at the end of which Gail flew out to meet me for a little Civil War outing: two-and-a-half days in Harper’s Ferry, Antietam, and Gettysburg. We got back to DC in the late afternoon, checked into our hotel, returned the rental car, and dashed back to the museum closest to our hotel, the National Museum of American History. Our time was limited, so we grabbed a handout at the front desk with a list of highlights that included the one exhibit Gail wanted to see, Julia Child’s kitchen, dashed off to the kitchen, caught our breaths, and spent some time touring it.

After that, we examined the highlight list and selected a few other exhibits to see before the museum closed. (See my post written at the time for a fuller discussion of our visit.) One of our choices was the Woolworth’s lunch counter from Greensboro, North Carolina. As the museum webpage explains:

The landmark object for the 2nd floor east wing will be the Greensboro lunch counter, famous for its significance to the civil rights movement.

Racial segregation was still legal in the United States on February 1, 1960, when four African American college students sat down at this Woolworth counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. Politely asking for service at this “whites only” counter, their request was refused. When asked to leave, they remained in their seats. Their sit-in drew national attention and helped ignite a youth-led movement to challenge inequality throughout the South.

In Greensboro, hundreds of students, civil rights organizations, churches, and members of the community joined in a six-month-long protest. Their commitment ultimately led to the desegregation of the F. W. Woolworth lunch counter on July 25, 1960.

Ezell A. Blair Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), Franklin E. McCain, Joseph A. McNeil, and David L. Richmond were students enrolled at the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College when they began their protest.

Protests such as this led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which finally outlawed racial segregation in public accommodations.

The closing of the Greensboro Woolworth’s in 1993 presented Museum curators with the opportunity to acquire this historic artifact. After extensive negotiations with Woolworth’s executives and representatives of the local community, a small section of the lunch counter was donated to the Smithsonian.

With the memory of that small section of lunch counter in mind, I suggested to Gail two months ago that we seek out the rest of the counter while we’re in North Carolina. Greensboro is only 50 miles away. A short internet search led me to Greensboro’s International Civil Rights Center & Museum. The website explains that it is “devoted to the international struggle for civil and human rights. The Museum celebrates the nonviolent protests of the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins that served as a catalyst in the civil rights movement [and] is located in the historic 1929 F.W. Woolworth building in Greensboro, N.C.” Included in the museum is the “original lunch counter and stools where the Greensboro Four (Ezell Blair, Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond) began their protest on Feb. 1, 1960.”

Perfect!

The next piece of the plan fell into place when I looked at the NYT Sunday travel section four weeks ago. It had a short note with the headline, Saxapahaw, N.C., Middle of Somewhere, Becomes a Draw. I had no idea where Saxapahaw was, but I was intrigued, so I read on.

I was polishing off a steaming bowl of coconut curry soup when a server appeared bearing a plate of plump pan-seared diver scallops atop creamy applewood-bacon succotash and braised asparagus. The food was befitting a candlelit restaurant, but I had a view of gas pumps outside and, a few steps from my table, fluorescent-lighted aisles packed with workaday necessities — toilet paper, motor oil, sauerkraut juice (aids digestion, according to the label).

This jarring contrast of farm-fresh food and service-station atmosphere is part of the appeal of the place where I was dining: the Saxapahaw General Store, a no-frills convenience store and restaurant that has sparked a revival in the former mill town of Saxapahaw in central North Carolina.

Saxapahaw General Store, from their home page

I still had no idea where Saxapahaw was, but this sounded promising. And when I looked it up on the map, I discovered the best possible news: it’s just 16 miles west of Chapel Hill, on the way to Greensboro. We could stop for a late breakfast, or perhaps on our return to Chapel Hill for dinner. The plan was complete.

Further confirmation that the Greensboro museum would be a worthy destination came yesterday. For a brief time, the NYT home page featured at its top an article from today’s paper on civil rights museums. Seeing it, I wondered if the Greensboro museum was mentioned. Sure enough, it’s in the second sentence: “A visitor can peer into the motel room in Memphis where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was staying when he was shot or stand near the lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., where four young men began a sit-in that helped end segregation.” And two of the nine photos in the accompanying slide show highlight it. (See the lunch counter here.)

I’m thinking we have a pretty good day planned. Unless we’d rather just stay in our Chapel Hill hotel room and watch the Masters.

Categories: Museums, Restaurants, Travel