Locals share their favorite aspects of living in their community, including favorite restaurants and other spots
*Responses edited for length and clarity; photography submitted by residents
Cheryl Davis and Lane Davis
Moved from Chapel Hill in 1982
Background living and working in Carrboro
Our business was McLean Building Company, and my husband, Lane, and I were partners with Scott McLean [for 35 years]. Our last office was the old Carrboro post office. Scott died in 2014; we retired as of last year.
The best part of living here
We loved it from the beginning because it was affordable at that point, and we had a young family. We have three children; they will all tell you we lived in Carrboro before it was cool. We live right in downtown Carrboro – a wonderful draw because our kids could walk to school. It was very comfortable. It’s a very vibrant neighborhood. There’s a big mix of young families and grad students, singles and young couples – and a lot of dogs, which we love. We walk out and we see people we know everywhere. And it’s not so homogenous.
We’ve always loved Brian Toomey, the bartender at Acme. We’ve been friends with [Acme chef and owner] Kevin Callaghan, and we actually did that [build and remodel]. We used to go to Acme every Friday night to have dinner at the bar. We probably will do that again [after the pandemic]. Akai Hana, Pizzeria Mercato, Napoli, Glasshalfull – those are our continuing favorites. Scott Murray, the manager at Mercato, is also a favorite. We dealt with [Fitch Lumber and Hardware] forever, and Wilkinson Supply Co. was always our go-to. Southeastern Camera … has been wonderful over the years. Southern States is wonderful for all of our gardening and pet needs. We shop in Carrboro as much as possible.
Moved from rural Orange County in 1999, now lives on Fidelity Street
Why downtown Carrboro
[My family was] living in the country and looking for a house to buy. I wanted to stay in the country or move to town – I didn’t want to live in a subdivision. It was a different Carrboro then than it is now; much smaller and quieter, a little kookier. [The area’s best features then were] the attractions people still mention today: the walkability and the general vibe attracted us.
Favorite thing about living here
I don’t drive much more than 3,000 miles a year. I established my office within walking distance of my house … I wanted a place where I could [live] a medieval-style life. I planned it that way … and I’ve done everything I can to maintain it. It’s a three-minute walk to work, and Weaver Street Market’s another five minutes away. I take advantage of [the ability to walk around] a lot. I’m fortunate, but it’s taken a lot of planning to get there. It’s a pleasant scale to live at.
I’m an architect; my job involves me with portions of the community, and I do like that, whether it’s town staff, or I’m working on a project for Club Nova, as well as just having done work for a lot of my neighbors’ houses additions, etc. So I can walk and see a lot of projects I’ve done in my hometown – and I do think of Carrboro as my hometown at this point. [Also] it’s great that there’s a lot of green around Carrboro, and there’s woods within walking distance.
Moved to East Poplar Street from Chapel Hill four years ago
Favorite thing about living here
I love the [ability to walk or bike everywhere]. I work at UNC [Gillings] School of Public Health, and I am a commuter on my bike – it takes me about 15 to 20 minutes to get to campus. I purposefully moved here because of the small feel of Carrboro, and the community feel is what really attracted me to it. The streets are open in a way that encourages people to mesh from all over – it just encourages you to get to know your neighbor more. It’s very inviting. One of the very best things is that my sister, her husband and four kids live in a lot kitty-cornered behind me.
Activities in the neighborhood
PORCH Chapel Hill-Carrboro is a nonprofit offering relief for [food-insecure] homes. … There’s a lot of food insecurity all over North Carolina, but people don’t realize it’s really an issue in the broader Chapel Hill-Carrboro area. I’m the PORCH [neighborhood] captain so I get to know people that way. I go to Wilson Park; I like to play pickleball there. I also just like to walk in the area, and I’m outdoors all the time.
The best of Carrboro
I love my homebuilder, Layton Wheeler – he’s the salt of the earth. I’m a Weaver Street Market junkie; that’s basically where I do my grocery shopping. I love the [Carrboro Farmers Market]. I love Tom Robinson’s Seafood – that’s where I buy my fish. I love Balloons and Tunes. I try as much as I can not have Amazon at my door. I love Steel String Brewery – we like to go out there and have a beer. Venable’s got a great burger, too. I go to The Clean Machine when I need bike stuff.
Carrboro resident for more than 50 years, former Carrboro Alderman and member of Carrboro’s Planning Board
What you enjoy about living here
The neighborhood, mostly. I know the town very well. Rebecca Clark got me started in voter registration, so I knew all the little nooks and crannies in town. I [moved here] intentionally because a lot of my friends were [part of] a northern migration. I just decided to put my roots here, and what we need to do here to make this place better – I’ll be part of that.
I go to O2 Fitness Carrboro. And Cliff’s Meat Market is always a favorite spot of ours. People have been going to Cliff’s for years. We used to go to Elmo’s Diner all the time – when I heard it was closing I just said, “Booo!” You have [Gates of Beauty] auto shop … that attracts people. That’s Black-owned, and [Mama Dip’s Kitchen], that’s Black-owned. … It’s a tightknit little community.