Be Our Guest: A host’s guide to having visitors in Durham

We have lived in the Raleigh/Durham area for 18 months now. The last 3 months, people started to visit us. I think the first year nobody wanted to disturb us since we were still settling in with hubs being in school and me starting a new job… That’s what I’ll believe 😉

We still feel like we are tourists here even though we live here. We are big foodies and we extend that love to our guests. We also love nature, and North Carolina doesn’t have a shortage in that area!

Things to do in Durham

1. Duke Gardens/ Duke Chapel

The Duke Gardens are 55 acres of beauty. The admission is free and it’s open all year round! My favorite spot is where the red bridge is. We walked through the zig-zag bridge in the Japanese garden to see this bright red bridge.

Red bridge from afar
Red bridge from afar
zig-zag bridge to keep the spirits away
zig-zag bridge to keep the spirits away

The Duke Chapel is magnificent. Duke and his 2 sons are have a tomb inside. The sad thing is, it is under construction until May 2016. We were unable to go inside the chapel, but can still stand in awe of it.

The chapel is magnificent!
The chapel is magnificent!

2. Cameron Indoor Stadium

Cameron Indoor Stadium is the home to the men’s and women’s Duke basketball teams. The Duke Blue Devils are the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball champions! There’s a reason why they call their fans ‘Cameron Crazies’. The fans are passionate about their team and you can hear it! Be sure to check out the Duke Basketball Museum; there’s a lot of fun facts and history there. Also, the retirement jerseys of Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley, and Christian Laettner are hung there.

Duke Basketball Museum
2015 National Champions– Go Duke!
It's a different atmosphere when the Blue Devils are playing!
It’s a different atmosphere when the Blue Devils are playing!

3. American Tobacco District

The American Tobacco District used to be old tobacco warehouses in the 1900’s. As part of a renewal in the city of Durham, it has been transformed into restaurants and shops. You can also find nearby the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, which hosts the Durham Bulls- the best minor league of the south!- and Durham Performing Arts Center, which plays awesome broadway shows including Wicked and the Lion King!

Old tobacco warehouses that were remodeled into restaurants and shops.
Old tobacco warehouses that were remodeled into restaurants and shops.

Places to eat in Durham

1. Monut’s Donuts

Monut’s Donuts is always packed. The line is usually out the door, and it’s worth the wait! This place is unique to the area, and their donuts are so delicious.

Selection of donuts at Monut's
Selection of donuts at Monut’s

2. The Pit

The original pit is in Raleigh, but we tend to go to the Durham location so we can play games at Fullsteam Brewery afterwards. Our guests are from areas where BBQ is prominent. We love to have them try out the BBQ from North Carolina because it has a different taste than Texas (more vinegary).

my cousin and I enjoying North Carolina BBQ
my cousin and I enjoying North Carolina BBQ at The Pit
Playing games with our favorites at Fullsteam Brewery
Playing games with our favorites at Fullsteam Brewery

3. Geer Street Garden

We attend the The Summit church (downtown Durham location) and we are fortunate that our all guests have wanted to check out our church when they are here. After church, we love to eat brunch! One of our favorite places to eat nearby is Geer Street Garden, mainly because of their all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet only on Sundays!

All-you-can-eat breakfast buffet at Geer Street Garden!
All-you-can-eat breakfast buffet at Geer Street Garden!

4. The Parlour

After touring all day under the hot sun, we needed an ice-cream break. The Parlour hit the spot. There was a line out the door, but it gave us some time to think about what flavor(s) we wanted! They have unique flavors like coconut curry stracciatella, lavender vanilla, or vietnamese coffee; they also have vegan options. We didn’t venture out too far, I had the cookies and cream and hubs had the salted butter caramel in a waffle cone.

Line was out the door, but worth it!
Line was out the door, but worth it!

I ask my guests what they would like to see or do here. When my in-laws visited, mawmaw couldn’t walk too far, and was not that interested in seeing the sights. She apologized and I told her that this is about her and what she wanted to do, as long as we were spending quality time together. When my college friends visited, they were interested in seeing the area, so I planned our weekend accordingly. I also researched events going on in the area during their stay. I literally googled ‘Things to do this weekend’.

We have a small apartment, and I made sure it was okay with my guests if they slept in an inflatable mattress in the living room; all my guests were fine with it. We welcomed our guests with a sign; if it was a marker sign when they walked in the door or a hand-painted poster that greeted them off the plane, it’s always hospitable to make your guests feel welcomed immediately. To add to the ‘Welcome’ sign, cupcakes from Gigi’s and a fridge full with local beer also greeted our guests. Knowing your visitors well is a must! I knew that my in-laws do not drink alcohol, but love coffee. I stocked up on our k-cups and bought the creamer that they liked.

Sign that welcomed my in-laws to our home!
Sign that welcomed my in-laws to our home!
Sign that greeted our guests at the airport
Sign that greeted our guests at the airport!
Cupcakes greeted our guests in the our home
Cupcakes greeted our guests in the our home!

It can be stressful to have company over, and have your routine changed, but I wouldn’t trade the memories for it.

“And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for such sacrifices God is pleased.”

– Hebrews 13:16

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