Mini vacations to take to avoid studying for exams

Take a reckless reading day

We all love living in Chapel Hill — how could you not. But these first few weeks in December are daunting. You’ve been here for a few months and things are getting old. Exams are stressing you out and a little break from our little town seems necessary. Here are a few ideas of where to go and what to do for a mini vacation.

Chapel Hill

Want an easy escape from the intensity on campus? Take a walk on the Bolin Creek Trail.

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If you live on or near campus, it’s a short ride on the NU, T or NS down to the corner of Hillsborough and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Hop off the bus and start the trailhead that’s a little past the gas station. It’s a 1.5 mile walk to a lovely park with a playground and rose garden. The walk is quite relaxing with murals of the type of leaves/trees surround it. If you get a bit tired on the way back, stop at Café Driade. There is a small detour off the trail (with helpful signs) that will take you to the back entrance of one of the most secluded cafés in the area. They have tons of options and a lovely back patio with ~fairy lights~.

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Do you need to get out of town but want to stay close? Durham is a perfect option. If you don’t have a car on campus, take the Robertson Bus (leaves every hour from Morehead Planetarium). It's $6 round trip or $3 one way. The bus drops you off at the Duke Chapel bus stop, which is conveniently near many Durham delights. The bus heads back to Chapel Hill every half hour. You can walk around Duke’s campus and think about how much you can’t wait to destroy them this season and enjoy the “pretty okay” architecture.

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Not far from the bus stop is an entrance to the Sarah P. Duke Gardens (just Google it on your phone, don’t bother asking a dookie for directions). I swear, the gardens are beautiful year-round. If you’d like to Uber to grab a bite to eat or drink, I highly suggest Dame’s Chicken and Waffles, though you may need to make a reservation for the downtown location, Lilly’s Pizza or Joe Van Gogh Café.

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Piedmont Area

Okay, for this adventure you will definitely need a car. If you don’t have one or one to borrow from a friend, take a ZipCar, a system where you can reserve cars for hours or days. Pilot Mountain is a little less than two hours away and has a variety of trails from two to five to 13 miles. Pilot Mountain has been one of my favorite places to go since childhood and you can’t beat that view.

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On the way back, take a break at Maxie B’s Bakery in Greensboro, NC. This place has outstanding cakes and cupcakes with flavors such as Mocha Buttercream or Banana Pudding cake (thank you Gwen Stefani for teaching me how to spell b-a-n-a-n-a-s). You can buy by the slice, a half or full cake. If you are 21+, then I suggest ditching the cake and stopping at the Red Oak Brewery instead. They offer brewery tours on Fridays at 3 p.m. It is $15 and CASH ONLY. You receive an adorable tour, unlimited beer tastings, a pint glass, key chain and more. Just make sure you have a DD if you take part in the fun of unlimited beer samples.

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Happy travels!