I just got home from a quick work retreat visiting Ashlee in Durham, NC and I’m returning with all the ideas and plans! Ashlee moved to North Carolina last summer after getting married and we’ve been working with me on the ground in LA and her doing every single thing she can remotely from there. We planned this few days to get together face to face for a bit of a “state of the union” and brainstorming session. It was much needed and I feel like we made all the plans!
Obviously, it was also a chance to get to hang out with my friend that I miss terribly. We used to spend soooo much time together and I’ve certainly missed having her around every day. She got to show me around the area and take me to some of her favorite places and I thought I’d save that here in case any of you are headed to the area soon.
We spent a good bit of time working from coffee shops and my favorite was probably People’s Coffee, if for no other reason than how fab that painted wall is! Go there, get coffee, and take pics in front of that wall. You’ll thank me later. Next time we’ll dress prepared for pics, haha. I also loved this place because the staff was phenomenal! They were so kind, so upbeat, and so dedicated to their jobs! As a business owner who used to own a retail store, it means SO MUCH to me when people take pride in their work. They were never perched up on their phones or avoiding tasks. We were there for several hours and they were happily making things happen the entire time! 5 star review from me! We also went to Coco Bean Cafe in Chapel Hill and the vibe there was pretty cool also.
To be honest, I could do an entire post on the food we ate. Everything was insta worthy and yummy.
We did a good bit of walking, which helped me justify all the food I ate. That’s how that works right? We made the two hour drive to Wilmington and walked around its cool downtown area. It had the coolest shops in old buildings and I really enjoyed seeing it all. If you like vintage, there was an awesome vintage store called The Wonder Shop. For all you One Tree Hill fans, this is where that show (and several others) were filmed. I loved the Riverwalk along the water and I wish there had been time to eat at all the local restaurants. We ate at PT’s Burger on the way back which is rumored to be the best burger in the area. I approve.
From there, we spent a bit of time at Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach. It was rather chilly for a late April afternoon and we kept chill bumps despite the sun beaming down on us. If I had to choose, I’d pick Wrightsville Beach to visit again. It seemed a little less touristy and I loved seeing all the houses leading up to and along the beach. There was one big, beautiful house on the beach that was painted black, instead of the usual beach colors, and I think it spoke to my soul!
We also spent some time exploring 9th Street and Downtown Durham. My favorite store there was Hometown Apparel, which was a great spot for grabbing some t-shirts and souvenirs. Sadly, we missed Chet Miller and I could tell from peeping in the windows that this store was all things Pamela! Ashlee was right, it looked like exactly a spot I’d love! Maybe I’ll be able to catch it open next time.
If you need a treat downtown (and of course you do), check out The Parlour. Their ice cream is handmade and so yummy! It’s next to a little park area so you could easily grab a treat and then sit outside and people watch — my favorite. I’d also suggest checking out The Durham. It’s a cool hotel downtown and they have a swanky rooftop bar. Ash and I took a break with Moscow Mules and it was so nice up there! The breeze was fantastic and you get great views of the city.
We also walked through the American Tobacco Campus. It’s home to the tower you see on a lot of the Durham advertising. The campus itself has restaurants, office space, and such. Ashlee said it’s decorated at Christmas and I bet that’s so beautiful! I didn’t know previously that Durham was such a big tobacco producing area. This campus is a former tobacco production facility. I love how they’ve used it for something new instead of letting it fall to ruins.
Just outside of the campus is the Durham Bulls stadium. Zach and I had just watched Bull Durham a few months ago on Netflix so I felt like a regular! I didn’t see Kevin Costner or Susan Sarandon gearing up for a game, though I’m sure they were there somewhere!
Of course, I couldn’t make the trip to Durham without Ash showing me around the Duke campus. I was truly blown away at the architecture there and my favorite part of the campus was probably the gardens. I didn’t even get to see the entire thing and I was blown away! For Monroe-West Monroe locals, I’d say it’s similar to the Biedenharn Gardens, just on a larger scale. It was so well-maintained and full of beautiful landscaping and green spaces to sit and relax. I loved it! We also got to visit the Pop America exhibit at the art museum on campus which was fun.
All in all, it was a great trip! We got plenty of work down while also getting to just spend some time together. I will forever believe that breaks of this nature are vital in business. We needed a chance to step outside our regular routines and search for inspiration, while also evaluating our progress. Now that I’m back in town, who wants to buy or sell a house??