On behalf of all of us in Orange County, North Carolina, including the towns of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough, we welcome you to our communities this holiday season.

It is during this time of year that our tree-rich campus remains golden, soft beneath a carpet of falling leaves. Our neighborhoods and the farms that surround us seem to glow orange and red and yellow and purple and ochre. Our poplars and maples and oaks, some here long before any of us were, stand tall against the sharp blue of the Carolina sky. It reminds us why Orange County was chosen as the site for the nation’s first public university. Beauty does not distract us; it sustains us. 

In Carrboro, students are jogging through the streets, playing disc golf, and strolling past the mill houses. They smile, they wave. You might hear the occasional “Go Heels!”. A beautiful sentiment, made more beautiful in the chilling air.

Even during this pandemic, which we do not take lightly around here, our creative community has found a way to dot the streets with illustrations, new murals, and paintings reminding folks that all are welcome here.

On Saturdays both the Carrboro and Chapel Hill Farmer’s markets are brimming with residents who, masks donned, buy their seasonal produce and flowers.  Squash soup, apple pie, charred Brussels sprouts, eggplant, and pork chops – they are still to be found in our restaurants, which are open for outdoor and limited indoor seating as well. Sitting outside on an autumn evening, with someone you love, the stars like the crystals in a snow globe glowing above you – what beats that?

On a country drive, 10 miles down the way to Hillsborough, the Riverwalk is a glorious procession of life – couples, families, and the solitary travelers slowly walking through the browning leaves, the air as cool as the other side of the pillow, feeling the distant warmth of the sun. And in Hillsborough, locals and visitors can hardly contain their excitement at the grand reopening of the Colonial Inn.

We want visitors here all year round – they are always invited – but now, especially now, this is where they should be, just to experience this brilliant season, to be with family and friends. 

Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau


Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, NC