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Welcome to the next installment of our Southern Hospitality feature! Each month, we pick a Southern city and an expert host. Our host shares their favorite items custom to that city that would be perfect packed into a welcome bag for family and friends at a weekend wedding. There’s nothing like Southern hospitality, especially at a destination wedding!

Y’all don’t even KNOW how I have been waiting for the opportunity to put together a Chapel Hill tote as part of this series! Chapel Hill is where I’ve lived the past four years, it’s where The University of North Carolina is located (half of the office’s alma mater), and it’s where our fine office is based (as those of you who went to the yard sale last week know!). And while I could go on and on about things to do or items to include, March in Chapel Hill is really all about two things… gorgeous weather and UNC basketball.

When we decided we were going to focus on Chapel Hill this month, we knew we had to ask our friend and talented photographer, Meredith Perdue, a UNC alumna, who is now based in Maine but often returns for weddings (got all that?), to serve as our guest expert. We hope that you’ll enjoy her picks, and maybe add a few of your own in the comments!

A. Pecan Pralines from A Southern Season. A Southern Season is Chapel Hill’s go-to gourmet & specialty food store, and these pecan pralines are some of their most popular treats in the store! ($16.95 for 10 oz.)

B. The Social Department T-Shirt. T-shirts are a staple in any college town, but this screen-printed take is a great alternative to the usual collegiate lettering. ($25.00)

C. Elaine O’Neil Note Cards. Elaine O’Neil, a local textile collage artist, creates some of the most whimsical Chapel Hill scenes. Her note cards would serve as an inspiring reminder of Chapel Hill’s charm. ($12.00 per pack)

D. Chapel Hill Toffee. These scrumptious, locally-made sweets are sure to satisfy any guest’s sweet tooth during their stay! ($6.99 for 5 oz. box)

E. Crook’s Corner Grits. Crook’s Corner is one of Chapel Hill’s best known restaurants. It has been featured in numerous publications including the New York Times, Bon Appetit, and Travel + Leisure. Their shrimp & grits is a definite favorite among Crook’s patrons! (5 for 2 lb)

F. Mama Dip’s Family Cookbook. Another Chapel Hill favorite, Mama Dip’s serves some of the area’s best traditional country cuisine. If your guests don’t have time to swing by Mama Dip’s while they’re in town, they’d be able to recreate some of the deliciousness with the help of this cookbook! ($12.58)

G. JHill Design Print. I was beyond thrilled when JHill Design released their Chapel Hill print – it perfectly embodies the darling Southern college town I know and love. ($22 for a small print)

H. Carolina Brewery Pint Glasses. Who wouldn’t want a pint glass to commemorate the great beers that are made right on Franklin Street at Carolina Brewery? ($15.00 for 4-pack)

I. Cheerwine. A strictly-North Carolina favorite for years, this cherry soft drink has slowly been spreading its reach to other states in the region, but the glass bottle cane sugar variety is a rarity that can’t be passed up. ($12.00 for original 24-pack)

J. Cackalacky Spice Sauce. Recently featured in the Bon Appetit, ‘Savor of the South’ issue as an editorial favorite, Cackalacky’s zesty sauces can be used as dressings, dips, and marinades, a perfect accompaniment for a variety of food. ($12.98 for 5 oz. 3-pack)

K. Carolina Popcorn Shoppe. Popcorn might just be the perfect welcome bag snack, and this locally-made popcorn from Carolina Popcorn Shoppe comes in a wide variety of flavors! ($15.00-$30.00 for a tin)

L. Tar Heel Cookie Cutter. Recreate that iconic Tarheel footprint with any of your tasty sweets. ($6.99)

M. Dogwood Bloom from BHLDN. Chapel Hill is known for its many lovely blooms, including the Dogwood. These porcelain blooms from BHLDN would be a perfect reminder of Chapel Hill’s natural beauty. ($10.00)

We paired Meredith’s expert picks with a fun tote design from another Chapel Hill fanatic, the fine folks at Old Try. Simply download the design here and take it to your local screenprinter. Thanks, Micah!

From the Chapel Hill area and have additional suggestions to add to our tote? What did you love about Chapel Hill if you’ve visited before? Have a city in mind for future posts? Comment below and let us know!

Check out past totes:
Nashville
Atlanta
Austin
Richmond
Emerald Coast
Charleston

Meredith Perdue is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by Sierra
8 Comments
  1. avatar amanda reply

    Love the feature! Great job Meredith!!! Although my allegiance lies in Raleigh with a pretty shade of Red. :) I love the dogwood pin as a reference to NC! I’d be happy to receive that bag as a guest!

  2. avatar molly stillman reply

    AH! YES! I live and work here in Chapel Hill and LOOOVE it. As far as Chapel Hill staples… I think for t-shirts you shouldn’t forget Johnny T-Shirt on Franklin Street! And for fancy game-day clothes – Julian’s!

  3. avatar Lauren reply

    Oh, I just love Chapel Hill! I’m a Carolina alumna, too (’09), and this post made me so happy! One of my favorite things to see every year was the azaleas blooming around the Old Well, especially on the last day of classes when the Clef Hangers would sing there! And even though spring in Chapel Hill is legendary, I have to admit that I love fall, too. The porch at Top of the Hill during football season is still one of my very favorite places in the whole world.

  4. avatar MacKenzie reply

    I love Mere’s ideas for the Chapel Hill tote! The JHill print is a really awesome addition. Also, I love the pecans from Southern Seasons!

  5. avatar Cary Pennington reply

    Really fun post! Thanks for sharing!

  6. avatar Lauren reply

    I would also include cheese straws and a chocolate tarheel from A Southern Season- we definitely hit up Southern Season when we got married at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill a couple of years ago (and reading this list is making me homesick- we can’t get half of it where we live now!) We also included Cheerwine, of course, and had personalized moon pies as quirky, fun favors- we had a lot of northerners & out of towners at our wedding and we wanted to make sure they had a taste of the best of what the south had to offer.

  7. avatar Caroline reply

    A Go Heels, Go America pin!

  8. avatar kathryn tice reply

    I’d love to help come up with ideas for a Charlottesville, VA tote!!

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