Archive for Durham

Durham – Destination for 2011

By Mariana Byrd

This weekend the travel section of the New York Times published an article titled “The 41 Places to Go in 2011”.  The 41 places tend to be exotic, including Santiago, Chile, Koh Samui, Thailand, Iceland, Milan, London, Loreto, Mexico, Oahu, Melbourne, Australia, Durham, North Carolina, Singapore,….wait, was that Durham, NC?  Our very own Durham in the top 41 places to go in 2011 as named by the New York Times?  Right there, with places like Oahu, Singapore, and Egypt?

Yes, that’s right, Durham, NC is #35 on the list of the top 41 places to visit this year.  I know how much I love this town so it is great to see others acknowledge it as well.  What’s even better is that the NY Times is touting it as a destination, somewhere that you *need* to visit.  Great news for Durham as a whole.

Here is the full list of cities and the write up from the NY Times article on Durham:

1. Santiago, Chile
Undaunted by an earthquake, a city embraces modern culture

2. San Juan Islands, Wash.
Bold-face restaurateurs vie with unspoiled nature. Nature wins

3. Koh Samui, Thailand
A toned-down version of Phuket, heavy on wellness and food.

4. Iceland
Where a country’s hardships are a visitor’s gain.

5. Milan
A reborn cathedral joins fashion-forward galleries and hotels.

6. Republic of Georgia
A rustic ski wonderland on the verge of discovery

7. London
Anticipating the 2012 Olympics, a slew of new hotels and restaurants.

8. Loreto, Mexico
A beach hideaway with sport fishing gets a luxury resort.

9. Park City, Utah
Beyond the film festival, a growing group of top-tier resorts.

10. Cali, Colombia
Cafe culture is on the rise while salsa fuels the night life.

11. The Danube
From Budapest to the Black Sea, new cruises on a storied river.

12. Niseko, Japan
An Aspen emerges in Asia, with luxury to spare.

13. Oahu
Hawaii’s most developed island adds resorts and attractions.

14. Antwerp, Belgium
A new breed of boutiques have made it a fashionista’s paradise.

15. Melbourne, Australia
New hotels plus big-name chefs put Sydney on notice.

16. Tlemcen, Algeria
An ancient Islamic city dresses up for a gala year.

17. Sopot and Gdansk, Poland
Poland’s Baltic coast welcomes party hoppers and soccer fans.

18. Erzurum, Turkey
Skiing in Turkey? A winter sports capital emerges in Anatolia.

19. Hyderabad, India
Dynastic grandeur in the heart of modern India.

20. Manchester, England
An industrial city reinvents its famed musical past.

21. Tallinn, Estonia
The beautiful capital city aims to shed its stag-party past.

22. Fogo Island, Newfoundland
An art colony blooms on remote and rugged shores.

23. Singapore
With new resorts and casinos, the city lets its hair down.

24. Port Ghalib, Egypt
A low-key beach escape with clear water and sea creatures.

25. Whistler, British Columbia
The Olympians are gone. Now it’s your turn.

26. Guimarães, Portugal
A city of youth is fired up by its art scene.

27. Olympic Park, Wash.
Bad weather is good for skiers and storm-watchers.

28. Dresden, Germany
A new museum leads the way to a historic city’s future.

29. Oualidia, Morocco
On a Moroccan lagoon, oysters, flamingoes and no crowds.

30. Zanzibar
On an African isle, luxury lures the après safari set.

31. Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
The ranches beyond a historic village offer a dose of rural chic.

32. Tozeur, Tunisia
Camel racing, souks and eco-lodging in a Saharan oasis.

33. Hangzhou, China
An hour from Shanghai, a historic jewel goes five-star.

34. Iraqi Kurdistan
Safety, history and a warm welcome in a stable corner of Iraq.

35. Durham, N.C.
A downtown turnaround means food worth a trip.

A decade ago, downtown Durham was a place best avoided after sundown. But as revitalization has transformed abandoned tobacco factories and former textile mills into bustling mixed-use properties, the city has been injected with much-needed life. In the heart of downtown, a crop of standout restaurants and cafes has recently sprouted around West Main Street, where low rents have allowed chefs and other entrepreneurs to pursue an ethos that skews local, seasonal and delicious.

The farmers’ market favorite Scratch Bakery has a brand-new storefront for its seasonal homemade pies that include chestnut cream pie and buttermilk sweet potato pie. At the cafe-cum-grocery Parker and Otis, the menu features sandwiches made with freshly baked bread from nearby Rue Cler and locally roasted java from Durham’s Counter Culture Coffee. And at the sophisticated Revolution, squash tamales, mascarpone gnocchi, and tuna with wasabi caviar rotate through the seasonal menu.

36. Kosovo
Mountains, medieval architecture and unexpected night life.

37. Pingyao, China
Ming architecture is intact as contemporary culture takes root.

38. Salonika, Greece
Out of the country’s economic woes, a new wave of artists.

39. Okinawa, Japan
A ‘Japanese Amazon’ with some luxury thrown in.

40. Budapest
A scene pops up in abandoned buildings, and glamour rises.

41. Miami
Big-time music arrives in a town known for beaches and art.


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Cleveland-Holloway Home Tour

by Jessica Sadler

Saturday was a great day for Durham with the usual Farmer’s Market, the Troika Festival with its concerts and craft show, and perhaps most inspiring: the Cleveland-Holloway home tour. My husband and I walked over to the tour after a stop at Daisycakes and had a fantastic time. We were able to see the home that B. Wallace designed for Charles Davies. Were peaked in on Adrian & Keith’s progress and saw the beautiful renovation that Ken & Erin Gasch made. We also said hello to Lou Perron as he held open the home that his clients recently bought. From the looks of it the turnout was fantastic and it was great to see all the progress in the neighborhood over the last year. Thanks to the organizers and the great hosts.

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Voting on Street Bond Referendum Today

By: Mariana Byrd

Today, Tuesday, November 2, 2010, is the day to get out and vote.  The 20 million dollar street bond referendum is up for a vote today.  The city of Durham would like to borrow $20 million to repave 150 miles of streets.  The $20 million would come in the form of a property tax increase to a total  0.76 cents per $100 property valuation.

Supporters of the referendum say now is the time to borrow the money as construction costs are lower and the worst streets need to be repaved now before they get in worse shape and cost more money to repair in the future.  In addition, City Hall says that this will be the last time Durham asks to borrow money for street repairs (as published by Jim Wise, staff writer of on 10/2/10).  Only time will tell if that statement is true.

Those who oppose the street bond wonder why the city has to (a) borrow money to fund basic infrastructure, and (b) borrow more money when Durham is already in debt.  Others question whether the 20 million dollars can be better used elsewhere.

If you would like to find out which streets are on the proposed bond before voting check out this link:  There is also more information on the referendum on Durham City’s website.

All of these decisions, ballots, and referendums affect us and the city that we love, so make sure to get out and vote today.

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Is Downsizing Right for You?

By:  Mary Rae Hunter

I recently read an article by Dena Kaye in the Architectural Digest.  Dena’s topic was the complexity of downsizing.  (With an “8,000-plus-square-foot dream house” on her hands, Dena is probably a safe bet for being an expert on the matter!) What motivated Dena to downsize followed on a five-month trip to Europe–with but one suitcase of possessions.  This caused her and her partner to re-think their lives’ priorities.  Comparing a suitcase, quick and light living in small quarters with the space and demands of a massive estate was a form of enlightenment.

Though emotionally difficult–there is an emotional attachment to the memories we have with “things”–they decided to redirect their resources “to traveling and living elsewhere.”  Living in current large quarters was not so much an excess as it was an obligation, an emotional ball and chain that prevented her and her partner from realizing other dreams.  Dena personally realized how much her life needed editing, and she focussed on eliminating many of her personal possessions and moving towards inhabiting a more quaint, comfortable space.

Dean’s insights and perspective came to mind when I attended a party this past Friday night.  A friend mentioned that were she to downsize, she thought a great location would be Weldon Downs.  In addition to Weldon Downs, Downtown Durham offers Minerva, Trinity Lofts, Burlington Warehouse, Parkside at Morris Ridge, and Mangum 506, to cite but a few more examples.  Many bungalows, downtown lofts, and condominiums are on the horizon for completion or are available now.

Perhaps it is this unique variety of living choices in the midst of our cultural diversity that partially explains why Durham recently was named the best place in the country to invest, and the best place in the country to retire–and might make for a perfect second or third “nest” for the likes of other Dena Kayes to consider!

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Riding the Downtown Durham Range!

By Jessica Sadler

Bill wrote recently about Durham’s new downtown/Duke free bus: The Bull City Connector( The office decided to take our first collective ride this past Tuesday and enjoy a lunch out in place of our weekly meeting. Most of us had used it already on our own but it was nice to give it a ride together. Personally, I had taken the Connector from my house to Locopops ( and my husband had used the service to attend an appointment at Duke. We have found it to be fast, simple, and clean.

The office all hopped on at Corcoran and Main and headed East. The bus stopped right by Golden Belt ( which should make getting to Third Friday ( even easier. We stayed on headed west and pulled the string to get off right in front of the Federal. In order to celebrate the weather we’ve been having we sat outside the Federal (  and enjoyed fried oyster salads, burgers, and grilled cheese.

I hope you’ll give the connector a try this weekend- Durham is becoming less car dependent all the time.

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Invest in Durham’s Food Revolution

By: Courtney James

Grocery stores are one of those not so obvious features that definitely have an impact on real estate property values.  It’s not something that people generally discuss when they are telling me their list of must-haves.  However, it almost always comes up when we are in the car driving from house to house.  It seems that recently people have been more inquisitive about places that might sell locally grown food.  We are lucky in Durham to have a wonderful Farmer’s Market that in the summertime is open on Wednesday afternoons as well as Saturday mornings.  Other than the Farmer’s Market though, there are no strong options for local food.  I am hopeful that this soon will change.

For those of you that do not know, Durham Central Market is a new neighborhood cooperative grocery, aiming to locate in the heart of Durham. Durham Central Market follows the owner/member model of local co-op groceries, like Weaver Street Market in Carrboro and Chatham Marketplace in Pittsboro, but with a distinctively Durham flavor. As of a couple weeks ago they committed to a location at the corner of Mangum and Broadway Streets, two blocks from the fabulous Farmer’s Market.

This month they are asking for all of us to spread the word to get new members.  To date they have 650 members and are hoping to get 1000 by summer’s end.  I bought my share as soon as I learned about the organization.  I strongly suggest you do the same! It’s a one-time $100 share purchase.  Visit their website today and join the Durham food revolution!!

Features of a Cooperative:

  • Co-ops are owner and democratically controlled by their members – the people who use the co-op’s services or buy its goods – not by outside investors.
  • Co-op members elect their board of directors from within their membership.
  • Co-ops return surplus revenues to members proportionate to their use of the cooperative, not proportionate to their investment or number of owner shares.
  • Co-ops are motivated not by profit, but by service – to meet their members’ needs for affordable and high quality goods or services.
  • Co-ops exist to serve their members.

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Happy Trails to You

By: Page Page

I recently received an email from my homeowners association list-serve about the new Durham Bike & Hike map.  What a great resource for the citizens of Durham!  If you like to get out there on your feet or bike, this is the map for you.

For those who like to run or take a leisurely stroll, the map gives you multiple options through the greenways, multi-use trails and hiking/walking paths throughout the county.  Many of these are located in the downtown area!

If you like to hit the roads on your bike, the map provides great route options for every level of cyclist.   For those preferring a leisurely ride away from traffic, you can use the many multi-use paths throughout the city.  For the more adventurous riders, the map highlights road traffic levels as well as the road accommodations for the riders.

In addition to all route information, the map provides a listing of restaurants and arts/cultural sites in downtown Durham.

The map can be viewed on-line at:

Additionally, copies of the maps can be picked up at the following locations:

-Durham City Hall in the Transportation Department (fourth floor)

-Durham bicycle shops (REI, the Bicycle Chain, Durham Bike Co-op)

Happy riding, running, walking and hiking!

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