Tag Archives: duke gardens

Adam in Durham

Today was an excellent day.  Daniel and I had a little picnic lunch in Duke Gardens this afternoon.  After wandering around and chatting, we walked over to Ninth Street for some sodas at Ox & Rabbit.  Because a trip to Durham is not complete without some Ox & Rabbit.

I realized that our friend Adam is here in Durham doing his graduate schooling at Duke.  So I texted him this afternoon, and we went to pick him up to go get drinks downtown at James Joyce.  He has been in Durham for less than a week, so he is still getting settled.  It’s always great to see familiar faces in an unfamiliar place.  It was awesome to catch up with him.  We haven’t seen him since just after commencement in Rochester.  He gave me some good book recommendations, we told him some good places to check out around Durham.  It was a wonderful exchange.  Afterward, I got a little sad thinking about how just 4 years ago I was meeting Adam as his D’Lion during my sophomore year.

Me and Adam during his freshman year.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Although by the time this is actually posted, it will technically be Friday, EST, and no longer St. Patrick’s Day.  I am going to confess now that I forgot to wear green.  I overslept this morning, so I was in a hurry when I left.  Not only that, but I had a presentation in my first class.  This presentation was a 15-minute presentation in ASL, so I was pretty nervous.  It is the longest presentation I have given so far in a “foreign” language.  Crazy!

For dinner, Daniel made the requisite corned beef and cabbage, despite the fact that we had it for our last dinner at his house, on Friday.  Growing up, we never made it in my house for St. Patrick’s day, even though we are very obviously from Irish descent (my father is a ginger).

We had some guests for dinner, Mark and Kate.  Kate works at the comic store, Mark is her boyfriend.  I was surprised they agreed to come to dinner tonight, since it is Magic Night at the comic store, and they both play.  It was a pleasure to have them, and we got to play Apples to Apples, which is a rare treat since it requires a large group of people.

It was a great way to end my week, and a nice way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

I really need to start taking more photos. I've almost exhausted my pictures from Durham.

Brazilian Dance Fighting

The consensus seems to be that Capoeira…is really silly.  Based on recent research things I have found both online and in television, it is just a completely unacceptable dance form.  Even the name is ridiculous.  I don’t want any part of this “dance fighting,” nor do I encourage it.  It does my heart well to see that the rest of the world seems to be calling Capoeira out for what it is, and what it is is ridiculous.

It’s not okay.  This bizarre series of movements was also recently featured on an episode of Bob’s Burgers in an episode called “Sexy Dance Fighting“.  Watch it on Hulu.

On a side note, Daniel and I made some fantastic chocolate chip cookies tonight.  This is the first time we have baked cookies in the apartment, and we are both distressed by this.


A Lenten Rose from Duke Gardens

Spring Break Day 7

Today was my last day here in Durham.  To celebrate, Daniel and I bought Jimmy John’s and Ox & Rabbit for lunch, and met his mom at her office.  We decided to eat in the gardens.  It was a good way to end my week.  Also, there was some delicious corned beef and cabbage for an Irish Shabbat dinner.  With the requisite beer (instead of wine), of course.


Find Your Cool

Tomorrow we head back north.  It’s been a great week.

Spring Break Day 3

I was able to visit Duke Gardens this morning, which was number 8 on my list of Top 10 Favorite Things to Do in Durham.  The weather was perfect, if not a little chilly for my taste.  Daniel and I decided we would walk over to the gardens and then meet his mom at her office for lunch.  Her office is actually just southeast of the bottom edge of the gardens.  So we wandered around, all the while snapping shots of the few plants that were in bloom.  We only got to explore 1/2 of the gardens before we ran out of time and had to meet his mother at Admissions, at which point she drove us back to their house and we proceeded to chow down on grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.  I hope on Thursday, when it is supposed to be even warmer, we can finish walking through the other 1/2 of the gardens.  I think we are planning to walk through American Tobacco tomorrow.

I was thrilled to be able to go for a short bike ride today.  I think mostly we just wanted to get a couple of the bikes out of the shed, pump up the tires, and test out the bikes.  I hope later this week we will go on a more serious bike ride around Durham.

Until then, here are some shots taken today, in Duke Gardens.

We took a lot of these "macro" shots of flowers.


This photo looks amazing enlarged. You can see droplets of liquid that have accumulated in the flower.

I have to give credit to Daniel for the above photo.  I think it might be my favorite in the bunch.


A cool little bridge in the gardens.


Another cool bridge.




Top 10 Favorite Things to Do in Durham, NC

As I began to anticipate spring break 2011, I thought to myself, “What are my favorite things to do in Durham?”  Whenever I travel to Durham, there are certain places I must go, certain things I must eat or drink, in order for it to feel like a successful trip.  It also feels vindicating to know that I’m not the only person that thinks it’s an amazing city to visit.  The New York Times recently named Durham one of the top 41 places to visit in 2011.  On a list containing mostly exotic places all around the world, Durham doesn’t really seem to fit in at number 35.  But they recognize that its strongest points lay with its restaurants, many of them set in former tobacco factories, giving them uniquely industrial, artsy, and urban vibes.  So, I will start at number 10 with a food that I don’t necessarily need, but will usually eat at some point during my stay in Durham.

10.  Have a Po’ Boy for lunch

Typically one thinks of po’ boys as more of a coastal food.  Wikipedia says they originated in Louisiana.  Like I mentioned, they are not really something I need in order for a trip to be declared a success, but I almost always eat one somewhere while in Durham.  And there are so many places to get a great Po’ Boy.  The last time I was in Durham (over the winter break from college), Daniel and I met his dad at Beyú Caffé for lunch.  They had the most amazing shrimp po’ boy I have ever had.  Daniel got the same thing, and I think he agreed with me.  Off of the top of my head, I can also think of Blu and Watts Grocery.  Daniel and I have met at both locales for lunch, and one of us always orders an oyster po’ boy.  Delicious.  This takes me to number 9.

9.  Eat at Blu Seafood and Bar

I love seafood.  The problem is that I only recently discovered just how much I love seafood.  (Living in rural upstate New York limits your options to Long John Silver’s or The Frozen Food Aisle at your local grocery store.)  I think a large part of that discovery came from Blu.  This is Daniel’s favorite restaurant in Durham, and for good reason.  It doesn’t matter what you decide to eat there, it is all delicious.  Their menu will vary, depending on the season.  It does tend to get a little pricey, which is why Daniel and I try to do lunch there, unless his parents treat us to dinner.  The consensus seems to be that the price is worth it for the food.

8.  Enjoy the Sarah P. Duke Gardens

This is a little bit high on this list only because visiting Duke Gardens is more of a seasonal activity.  Otherwise, it would certainly be in my Top 5.  Occupying 55 acres on Duke University’s West Campus, it features both plants native to the southeastern United States, and plants from all around the world, from Japan to India.  They also have a good variety of wildlife that seem to reside within the gardens.  Regardless of what is blooming, it’s always a pleasure to walk along the paths and see and hear the flora and fauna that make these gardens unique.

7.  See a show at DPAC

Morrissey and The Lion King broadway musical.  Although these are two very different things, we saw them both at the Durham Performing Arts Center.  I will let you guess which one made me cry.

6.  Attend a Duke Men’s Basketball game

This is certainly not something I can do every time I am in Durham, but when the opportunity arises in the future, I will always take it.  The first Duke game I’d ever attended was on Jan. 2 of this year, when they played Miami.  It was quite an experience.  Love them or hate them, they are a great team to watch.

5.  Take a walk through Brightleaf Square

Brightleaf Square occupies what once was a number of warehouses belonging to the American Tobacco Company family.  Now it has become a great place to shop or relax and enjoy a meal.  Brightleaf hosts a huge variety of restaurants, shops, and boutiques.  If you’re looking for a meal, but aren’t sure what you want, take a walk through Brightleaf; something is bound to tickle your fancy.

4.  Stroll through American Tobacco

Architecturally, the American Tobacco Historic District is one of the most interesting places to visit in Durham.  During the summer and fall, they also feature live outdoor music, in addition to other forms of live entertainment.  Daniel only took me through American Tobacco for the first time 2 months ago, but I am very anxious to get back and snap some pictures, because my descriptions just won’t do it justice.

3.  Enjoy the weather and sip a Dr Pepper

I am from upstate New York.  It is cold here.  So it doesn’t matter when I go to Durham, it will always be warmer than Rochester.  Durham is a very walkable city.  But even on the days where I just feel like lazing around Daniel’s house, I can always go sit on a porch or a bench in the nearby park, relax, and just enjoy the weather while sipping my favorite soda.  Also, his family always has Dr Pepper; his mother is completely addicted, so I can always look forward to a stocked fridge.

2.  See the shops on Ninth Street

Daniel grew up only a few blocks away from Ninth Street.  Ninth Street features various restaurants and shops.  I personally can vouch for Elmo’s Diner (because, even in Durham, sometimes you just want diner food) and Dain’s Place.  Dain’s Place is more of a pub or sports bar than anything else, but they have, as Daniel would say, “bangin'” tater tots.

1.  Get a sandwich at Jimmy John’s and pair it with a soda from Ox & Rabbit

The two things that I must absolutely do while in Durham are to walk to Ninth Street to get a sandwich from Jimmy John’s and a soda from Ox & Rabbit.  I.  love.  Jimmy John’s.  I can’t stress that enough.  Jimmy John’s shops are exceedingly rare in the North, so it is always a treat when I go to Durham.  And nothing goes better with Jimmy John’s than a soda or shake from Ox & Rabbit.  I don’t know how to describe Ox & Rabbit, other than a vintage-style soda fountain.  Personally, my favorite flavor is the Cherry Lime, but I’m partial to the Cherry Dr Pepper as well.  Just thinking about them is making my mouth water.  In just a few days, I can satisfy my craving.


Taken on the Duke University campus.


Daniel looks super ’80s, and I look super awkward.  I can’t wait to get back to Durham.

Note:  Some people might ask why I didn’t include attending a Durham Bulls game somewhere on this list.  The simple fact is that I have never been to a Bulls game.  Why?  Well, Daniel doesn’t care for baseball.  But, someday I will make him take me.  Perhaps that will be on a future “Top 10 List of Things I Still Need To Do While in Durham, NC”.