Friday Finds: Springtime in Durham

Happy Friday, everyone!  This week my kids have been on spring break and since we just got a new puppy, we’ve been enjoying a “stay-cation.”  Luckily, the weather has been glorious all week — perfect spring weather to enjoy all that Durham has to offer.  Let me tell you, Durham has A LOT to offer in the spring.  It’s such a great town all year round, but especially during late March and early April when everything is in bloom and it’s not yet 95 degrees and humid.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite springtime spots in Durham…

  1.  The Duke Gardens— The gardens are a gem and right now, everything is in full bloom.  It’s jaw-dropping beautiful.  You don’t have to know a lot about botanicals to enjoy this special place.  It’s perfect for any age, although kids in particular love feeding the ducks, climbing the large magnolia trees and running around the open grassy areas.  Pack a picnic and head over there soon — before all the blooms fade!
The Duke Gardens in full bloom.

The Duke Gardens in full bloom.

A spring offering...

A spring offering…

2.  American Tobacco Campus — The ATC has so much to offer: great restaurants, an open air pavilion and a grassy knoll perfect for a picnic blanket.  This week we had lunch at the Mellow Mushroom then just walked around and took in the great campus.  Check out all that the ATC has to offer, including a calendar of events and list of restaurants:  https://americantobaccocampus.com.

Sunning at the American Tobacco Campus enjoying spring.

Sunning at the American Tobacco Campus enjoying spring.

3.  The Parlour — Just a quick walk down from the American Tobacco Campus lies heaven in the form of handmade ice cream.  The Parlour offers amazing flavors of freshly made ice cream like Salted Butter Caramel, Apple Pie and Rose Chai.  They even have vegan flavors made with coconut milk, including my favorite, Vegan Mocha.  Check their site for daily flavors, hours, etc.: https://theparlour.co.

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Heaven in a cone available @ The Parlour. 117 Market Street, Durham.

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Old Fashioned goodness… Even the menu is inviting.

4.  ENO River State Park — After you’ve eaten your way through downtown, burn off those calories hiking one of the many trails along the Eno River.  Pack a bathing suit, towel and your water bottle for a day of hiking, swimming, sunning and exploration.  On the day we hiked, we saw water snakes, water spiders, a turtle, fish and several birds.  It’s really peaceful to hike along the river in the spring when various flowers are in bloom and it’s not yet very buggy or muggy.  For a complete guide and map of the park, check out their site.  You can download a printable map, read detailed trail descriptions, apply for a camping permit, and more!  http://www.ncparks.gov/eno-river-state-park/trails

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A hike along the Eno…

5.  Delicious Dinners — End your day at one of my favorite dinner spots.  There are so many excellent restaurants in Durham but my top three are, Gocciolina, Pizzeria Toro and Vin Rouge.

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Located in North Durham in an inconspicuous little strip mall, Gocciolina serves up some of the best pasta and Italian dishes in Durham.

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Pizza from Pizzeria Toro is cooked to perfection in a wood-burning oven.  I also love the kale salad and their tiramisu.

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Enjoy the spring weather, everyone!  I hope this has inspired some of you to get to Durham this weekend.

xo ~Maria