Tuesday, December 2, 2008
The Carolina Basketball Museum is so much fun, even if you are not a Tar Heel Fan. The museum features artifacts, videos, photos, statistical and historical panels that highlight the history of the Carolina Basketball program. The museum experience begins with a six-minute theater presentation and includes video tributes to Dean Smith, Roy Williams and the Carolina Family, Phil Ford, Michael Jordan and the history of UNC Basketball. It also includes interactive presentations highlighting Carolina's 16 Final Four appearances and 16 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championships, and many of the greatest games and most exciting finishes in Tar Heel history.
Pictured here is me with several local leaders, including Chapel Hill's Mayor Pro Tem, Jim Ward; Town Manager Roger Stancil and his wife, Carol; and Visitors Bureau Chair, Lee Pavao.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Hillsborough, North Carolina is located in the same county as Chapel Hill-- Orange County-- and about 10 miles up the road. This is where the area began. Founded in 1754, it was first owned, surveyed, and mapped by William Churton, who for all his effort got the main drag through town named after him. The town was named after the Earl of Hillsborough in 1766, the British secretary of state for the colonies. History was made here and history has been preserved. William Hooper, a signer of the Declaration of Independence was laid to rest in the Presbyterian Church cemetery in October 1790. Hillsborough also has a history of American individualism. It’s here the North Carolina Regulators were born, men who fought against laws they felt unjust. And when the Civil War began Hillsborough was reluctant to support Secession. Hillsborough, once the capital of North Carolina, remains a leading voice in the county and the state. It’s the model of a modern village which has been able to maintain its historical roots. Today the town is lined with quaint shops and restaurants. It is home to unique walking tours, holiday events and a spirit that is as big as it is welcoming.
For the last two summers, my daughter, Cara, has attended The Emily Krzyzewski Center in Durham, NC. She is pictured here as Aunty Em in last summer's production of the Wizard of Oz. Cara, has blossomed through this program and I am continually amazed at what a wonderful group of talented teachers, voice coaches, acting coaches and energized staff who work with these young girls and boys.
The late Emily Krzyzewski emigrated with her parents from Poland to the United States and grew up in western Pennsylvania.
Emily Krzyzewski persevered when the family struggled to adjust to a new nation, a new people and a new language, while still providing a nurturing environment for her sons. Emily worked nights as a cleaning lady. Her hopes and dreams inspired her youngest son, Mike, to rise from such a humble beginning to become one of the best coaches in all of basketball. Mike is coach at Duke University in Durham.
He founded the Emily Krzyzewski Center to bring to Durham the opportunities he and his mother experienced years before in Chicago’s North Side for focused student programming that can inspire hopes and dreams and forever transform lives. Today, Coach K and his entire family are as committed to making the Emily Krzyzewski Center a driving force within the Durham-area community as his parents and the North Side community center were committed to him.
Emily Krzyzewski passed away in 1996, but her strong legacy lives on through the work of the Emily Krzyzewski Center.http://www.emilyk.org/about/inspiration.shtml
Carrboro, North Carolina is a neighbor to Chapel Hill and is often compared to the Cambridge area of Boston. It's a whimsical, coffee-house type of town with free spirits, jute bags, tie-dyed shirts and an unwavering commitment to freedom, the arts, pets, social causes, progressive politics and the perfect cup of Java. Carrboro is a walking town and bicycling town. http://www.walkcarrboro.com is a great place to find a road map of how to enjoy this small but mighty municipality. Carrboro has open-space to hang and people-watch, an organic store is its centerpiece and its Mayor, Mark Chilton, can usually be seen on his bike. Carrboro is a town to watch. Carrboro was the first town in North Carolina to elect an openly gay mayor, fight for same sex benefits and civil ceremonies for gay couples, and host a gay pride parade.
Christmas in Chapel Hill is unique in that it's both hyper-focused on community activities like old-fashioned parades, candlelight tours of historic homes, Nutcracker and related performances such as The Little Prince, Holiday Pops with the state Symphony and signs of Santa, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Mother Nature. It's an intellectual town so there's much debate about Santa and tree lighting. But it's also a time when the college semester ends and students scurry home to see their family and friends. As the population grows there is more focus on activities for the locals, including youth and adults. There's exotic restaurant offerings and holiday concoctions; along with parties, ballets and open-house celebrations. There's so much to do in fact that you can't help but notice full page editorials and ads in local papers touting performances on every corner. The weather is mild, the hotels are deeply discounted and more and more people are walking the streets, browsing, sipping, laughing and trying to take advantage of low cost basketball tickets for the Tar Heels collegiate and winning basketball team. Many non-conference games take place at the Dean Smith Center during the holidays. http://www.visitchapelhill.org/ offers great ideas.
When I encourage friends to visit Chapel Hill, North Carolina--my hometown-- they are surprised that there is anything to do in a college town, other than students and sports. But there is more to Chapel Hill than meets the eye. For starters, it's cool. Bikers, runners, coffee shop dwellers, intellectuals, politicians, protestors and new-aged hippies walk hand-in-hand, engrossed in conversation, amid tree-lined streets and historic neighborhoods. Musicians, artists, moms, jocks and the intellectually curious are all welcome in Chapel Hill. Greenways, trails and paths; museums, concerts and nightclubs; kids museums, art museums and concert halls are all part of the picture. Everyday there is a drop-in-lecture taking place on anything from eradicating HIV in Africa to global warming, author chats, tourism and human trafficking and lighter topics such as Carolina wines, barbecue tips and fruit compote seminars. It's a thinker's town. But it's a gorgeous town and it's fun to walk through the first state supported University-- UNC or "Carolina," as it's referred to. The restaurants are regularly touted in epicurean magazines and celebrities, presidential candidates and world leaders call it home. Come visit.