photograph by Anagram Photo

Feature Image: Main Street is lined with colorful shops, music venues, and restaurants.

It happens in the blink of an eye: You’re driving down Franklin Street, when suddenly the road curves around a bend, Crook’s Corner in the rearview, and spits you out in a different place entirely. Carrboro unfurls itself quickly, colorfully — a slice of small town just when you need it.

In 1882, Chapel Hill officials decided to build a new train station. They picked a spot directly to the west, just one mile from the University of North Carolina, far enough away that the noise wouldn’t disturb those on campus. The area known as West End soon carved out its own identity as a mill town, and academia spilled over the railroad tracks, bringing new growth.

Although the neighboring towns share a common collegiate thread, today their personalities diverge. If Chapel Hill is your classy, argyle sweater-wearing professor, Carrboro is your coolest, quirkiest friend wearing a band T-shirt. Here, live music venues attract national acts and award-winning restaurants entice out-of-town foodies.

Carrboro is certainly an old Southern town — but it’s one that’s just as hip as it is homey.


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Katie Schanze is the assistant editor and digital editor of Our State.