Today we spent much of the day in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, which along with Raleigh and Durham makes up the “Research Triangle”. This area is called that due to the high number of universities (Duke, University of North Carolina, North Carolina State, several others) and the highest number of people with Ph.D’s per capita in the United States. Unfortunately, unlike yesterday which was a beautiful day, today was raining the entire day and quite cold (high of 45 and a low of 32).
Regardless, it was a fun day. Chapel Hill is supposed to be more upscale than either Raleigh and Durham, though superficially it did not look vastly different to me. I love the style of homes out here–unlike the homes out in the west, where the prominent exterior feature is usually an ugly garage sticking out in front, the homes here look more traditional and homely, even the new ones. They also are a bit more spread apart.
Politically, the Research Triangle seems about as liberal as the San Francisco Bay Area! Check out these photos. Admittedly, however, this impression might have been skewed a little bit by hanging out with Dan. E.g., in the morning one of the first things he did was call Senator Libby Dole’s office to voice his displeasure to her support of the “nuclear option” (he also was trying to get me to call Senator Feinstein but no staffers were available for the call; oh darn.) Then when we went to MetroSport to play racquetball, he gave the woman behind the counter a flier that asked her not “to let Bush ‘go nuclear’ on the Supreme Court”. The woman, one of the many very friendly people here, was keen to listen and even sympathetic to Dan’s cause.
We then went to Fosters’ for lunch in Chapel Hill and Tupelos in Hillsborogh. So far every place we have eaten at has been really excellent, with super friendly people and great food with reasonable prices (esp. with Dan’s Entertainment card). There seemed to be lots of beautiful, smiling people here everywhere we went.
One last thing–in my two days here, I have not met a single person with a southern accent. I no longer even think of the Research Triangle as part of “the South” anymore.
Tomorrow is off to Asheville, where it will be snowing. I hope the drive isn’t too bad as it’s about 250 miles from here. I will be returning to the Research Triangle at the end of next week so maybe I will have additional impressions then.