I couldn’t be more thrilled. A few short months ago, I was worried about the postseason prospects of the Tar Heels. If you would have told me then that there would be a regional hosted in Chapel Hill, I would’ve first asked how you knew, but once satisfied I’d have been ecstatic. I would’ve been over the moon to know that the Heels had won the regional and advanced to a super regional. Now, as I sit here watching the Arkansas Razorbacks celebrate their regional win, I’m nearly beside myself.
I get excited for extra innings—free baseball is free baseball, and free baseball is something to be celebrated. But another weekend of baseball? Postseason baseball, at that? That’s a very, very good thing. This past weekend was a beautiful thing; we can only hope that next weekend will be every bit as lovely. I’m not here to write a breakdown of the opponent the Heels face in a hot Arkansas squad; there are far better writers than me who lend their voice to this blog and will do it more justice than I could hope to.
No, I’m here for a different purpose altogether. I imagine there are travel plans being made frantically in Fayetteville this evening, and one of my favorite things is showing my hometown off to folks from elsewhere. If I can make even one Hog’s stay in Chapel Hill a positive one, I would consider this post a rousing success.
I should begin by saying I have never set foot in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I’m sure it’s a lovely place, but I’ve never had occasion to travel out that way. I have, however, been known to let rip a Woo Pig or two when I am idly watching an SEC football game in which I have no rooting interest. My peripheral interactions with Arkansas fans on the internet have by and large been positive, and I think the mascot is a lot of fun as a born, bred, and (someday) dead fan of another school fond of cheering for livestock.
Let’s talk about Boshamer Stadium, as this will doubtless be the crux of your stay with us here in Chapel Hill. There aren’t really bad seats; the further you get from home plate the harder it is to see pitch placement, of course, but you get the added excitement of possible foul balls. The netting stretches past both third and first bases, so the closer to home your seat is, the more attention you can divert to your drinks or meal. The sun sets down behind Avery Residence Hall on the first base side, so the sections down the first base line are the first ones to be granted a reprieve from the summer sun in these evening games, but also means that the third base side offers a much better view of the sunset for those who can withstand the sun. There is a gate to enter the stadium from down the first base line as well as the one right behind home plate; for any fans hungry after the 15+ hour drive from Arkansas, this will put you into Boshamer right next to the larger concession stand.
Speaking of concessions, I’d be remiss not to recommend the Bojangle’s Supremes to anyone from out of town. A cursory Google search told me that the closest Bojangle’s to Fayetteville is in Blytheville which, by the look of it, is practically Tennessee. It breaks my North Carolina heart to think that there may be folks coming to this weekend’s games who have never had Bojangle’s before, and while a ballpark concession stand may not be the pinnacle of chicken and biscuit service that Bojangle’s can offer on its best days, it’ll at least give you the gist.
When you’re not enjoying the hospitality of Boshamer, there are a number of restaurants and bars close to the stadium, reachable via a quick jaunt through North Carolina’s beautiful campus or an even quicker car ride down to Franklin Street. Linda’s Bar and Grill is my number one recommendation for food and drinks, and probably my most frequented haunt. If you find yourself there, tell them I sent you. They won’t have any clue who you mean and will definitely charge you full price for your drink, but if I happen to be in there at the same time I’ll get a kick out of it and will happily buy your next one. For lunch, I’d recommend Sutton’s, a drug store with a flat top grill that seems to me to have been on Franklin Street for a small eternity. Pictures of Tar Heels past and present adorn the walls, so one could enjoy a burger and an orangeade while soaking up a bit of the Carolina history that lives between those walls. After all, you’ve come all this way, right?
I’ve missed a million other spots, of course. For post-game celebrations or sorrow-drowning, a blue cup from He’s Not Here is generally the cure for what ails. The BLT at Merritt’s Grill is rightfully legendary, and it’s hard to wrong with a burger from either Al’s Burger Shack or Buns. Mediterranean Deli is a staple, as is Breadman’s, although the latter is a bit further from campus than it used to be. There are too many more to list here without starting a new chapter, unfortunately. Locals or former locals, please feel free to sound off in the comments with other places to
funnel Razorback money enjoy the best that Chapel Hill has to offer.
I’m so excited to be hosting a super regional, and thrilled to have a fan base in Chapel Hill for the first time in a long time, if not ever. Postseason baseball is fun, and it’s meant to be. Let’s enjoy it while it’s here, because all too soon we enter the college sports wilderness that is these summer months.
Whichever way this series goes, this will be the last weekend of baseball in Chapel Hill for the year. I plan to soak in as much of it as I can, and I hope our Razorback guests will do the same.
It’s a good day to be in Chapel Hill, and it’s a great day to be a Tar Heel.