It starts happening somewhere in Maryland when you hear “y’all” in a non-sarcastic, non-politically correct kind of way. And there is at first a mistakable accent, maybe it was on TV or you didn’t hear it right. It soon becomes unmistakably a southern twang. You’re still on the east coast, but it is no longer The East Coast. Gas prices start getting lower. Also, it starts feeling south, then southern, then you feel you are undoubtedly are in The South. There are signs for pecans, Bojangles chicken and biscuits, and Virginia. Once you turn off I-95 and head west on Rt. 85, there is no doubt at all, y’all.
We were off to see the Fabulous Family of Malawi fame. Fiercely and I had visited them there, then all the kids and I went to see them when they moved to NC about a year ago. They were settled in Chapel Hill and ready to host us for a glorious long weekend. All together there would be 9 kids, both Drs. Fabulous, a German au pair, and myself. We lucked out with sunny and warm weather, good-natured kids, and thankfully no car trouble despite this being over 2,000 miles the kids + I put on the car in under 3 weeks with this trip and April’s trip to Ohio so close together.
Durham Museum of Life and Science
This place is over 85 acres, and in addition to the main science building includes wolves, bears, a butterfly house, and multiple outdoor play areas. It is kind of like a small zoo and an interactive science museum in a large park. We had been here a few years ago and we’ll likely go again.
The weather was great, the kids were enthusiastic, from preschoolers to the teenagers everyone liked something. There were a lot of things to climb on.
Then there was a misty playground that was a lot of fun.
And the butterfly house!
Chapel Hill Arboretum
This is a part of the college campus in downtown Chapel Hill. It is like a magical oasis of fields and trees, many of which were flowering. The official name is the Coker Arboretum, and it is over 100 years old, started by the first Botany professor at the university, Dr Coker. Mr. and Mrs. Fabulous got engaged here back in the day, grads were taking pictures, there was a little creek and climbing trees…
There’s a little face in the foliage!!
Morgan Creek trail
Evidently, this place has a connection to 70’s singer James Taylor. I know his song about ‘going to Carolina in my mind’ was in my mind during much of the trip, apparently he wrote it after living near Morgan Creek himself. Lucky for us, this Carolina natural area is accessible by a trail behind the Fabulous’s house. It was an easy outing, without the usual two minivans we employed to get around. The kids loved playing with this rope they brought and tied to a tree. Its the simple things!
There were also s’mores and tug-of-war in the backyard, a few minor meltdowns, a sleepover party every night, and a great Mama night out for me + Mrs. F. (thanks Mr F.!!) Thank you Fabulouses, thanks Carolina! We headed back North to our neglected house and poor lonely Mr. Fantastic after being away 11 days in under 3 weeks. Now we are trying to catch up with laundry, grocery shopping, homeschool projects, and… planning the next trip!