Iconic AAA Four-Diamond Hotel Bordering UNC Campus
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, takes its name from an 18th-century log chapel that stood on a nearby hill when the town was founded. Although the chapel came down, the site remained significant to locals and students at the neighboring University of North Carolina. It was in that same spot in 1924 that UNC alumnus John Sprunt Hill built The Carolina Inn, located just across the street from the university. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the inn has earned AAA's Four Diamond hospitality rating for the past 15 years.
The architecture of The Carolina Inn draws from the antebellum South, namely George Washington's Mount Vernon estate and the 19th-century Louisiana plantation Richland. Guest rooms showcase four-poster beds, handmade armoires, and other decor inspired by the antique South.
Be sure to spend some time exploring the hotel—take in the ballroom gallery with its fresh flower displays, or relax in the open-air Bryan Courtyard. Carolina Crossroads Restaurant, the inn's fine-dining establishment, serves locally sourced, Mediterranean-influenced cuisine that has garnered praise from Wine Spectator and Forbes.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Southern College Town with Lively Main Street
Locals refer to Chapel Hill—home of the University of North Carolina—as "the southern part of heaven.” On a sunny day on Franklin Street, it’s hard to disagree. In addition to coffee shops, cafés, and bookstores, this charming area abounds with green spaces, from the university's grassy quads to the Coker Arboretum. Diehard Tar Heel fans can take a short walk through campus to find the Carolina Basketball Museum where artifacts, photos, and videos detail the program’s illustrious history.
Just a few minutes’ walk down Franklin Street, a more bohemian air takes over as Chapel Hill gives way to the neighboring township of Carrboro. Travelers with access to a car can explore the rolling farmland outside the town limits, perhaps winding up at the Maple View Farm to enjoy an ice-cream cone on the front porch.