"Downtown" Durham

Greetings! We’re slowly finding our way around our area. We thought for sure we would want to settle in Chapel Hill, the little town by UNC, full of “progressive politics” and some walkable areas. We do like Chapel Hill…but so do a lot of people so rents and house prices are a bit steep in comparison to Durham. And honestly, Durham is shaping up to be an interesting city and we’re looking into houses around the fringe of the downtown that would allow us to walk and bike around the “city” and the Duke Campus. Traditionally these houses have been left to neglect as people fled to the suburbs but it reminds me a little of maybe a Strathcona neighborhood in Vancouver, with a lot of potential. Where else could you find a house for $40,000 anyway?

I went to the Durham Farmers Market on Saturday morning to check out the local food and the people too – so involved in people watching was I, that I forgot to take pictures. At this moment, tomatoes are king in NC. Huge, delicious and in many different varieties and colors – pinks and yellows and reds and greens. We also got some sweet corn, eggplant and baby potatoes. Beans are big here – broad, butter, dozens of varities that I’ve never seen before, that I don’t know what to do with. I was busy selecting some butter beans when a woman sidled up to me and whispered “The beans are better at the stall next door”. I took her advice and dropped the beans…but got distracted by cinnamon croissants and forgot to pick up some more. Fruit-wise, melons are the main event right now – giant cantaloupe and watermelon of course. I’m curious to
plant some berries here next summer and see how they grow. We have our first plant on the balcony, a very healthy basil plant to supplement all our tomatoes. Let’s see if my black thumb has followed me to NC…

I then walked through downtown Durham to meet Sergio – here is where we see a lot of potential. Many of the old buildings, like these in the picture have been left alone for years and are just ripe for new businesses to move in. I wish I had a business-like bone in my body because I would be snapping up one of these storefronts. Hopefully, somebody will.

Here is the complex where Sergio works – the American Tobacco Campus, so named because Durham used to be based around tobacco companies and warehouses. And now the city is
renovating these old empty brick warehouses into businesses and homes. It’s a little more picturesque than your typical office park and right next door to the Durham Bulls baseball park (where the movie Bull Durham was filmed, of course) where we have been trying to catch a game – our latest attempt foiled by a dramatic thunderstorm that rolled in Friday night and caused everyone to flee in panic. Maybe next time.

Sunday we walked around the Duke Campus, visiting the Nasher Art Museum which had an exciting exhibit of new artists using cities as their material and then down the street to the Botanical Gardens. Beautiful gardens that go on forever, it was hard to believe we were still on a university campus. And in response to a request from my sister Glenna, in the gardens I posed for some pictures showing our latest project in development – Baby Sweet-Chavez.
Yipes. This is at 19/20 weeks so it looks like we’re shaping up for another record size Sweet pregnancy. Awesome.