5+ Great Places to Walk to From BCC
This article originally appeared in our August 2021 newsletter. Back issues of all our newsletters can be read from our BCC Newsletters archives page.
One of the attractions of living in an urban space is walkability.
We love the idea of walking out our front door to get groceries, window-shop, eat, hike, and sight-see. The appeal of that vision is what attracted many of us to Bull City Commons.
Here’s a (very!) brief list of 5+ destinations within easy(ish) walks of our future home that demonstrates some of what we love about our city and our location.
1. The Loco-Cocoa Corner
About 50 steps from our future front door — at the intersection of Trent Drive and Hillsborough Road — is a corner that’s bustling with activity.
Cocoa Cinnamon is the first stop for a morning or afternoon cuppa tea, coffee, latte, matcha, etc. Across the street is local frozen treats purveyor Locopops, with many picnic tables dotting its large backyard — a perfect place to enjoy an ice cream cone or milkshake with friends on a Sunday afternoon.
After dessert, time for vegetables! Or bread. Or meat. Locopops also hosts Sundries, a small gourmet grocery/food outlet hosting locally sourced produce, meats, meals, and — as the name implies — sundries. (Perfect for those nights when you don't know what to make for supper.) Sundries complements the Food Lion, Harris Teeter, and Whole Foods stores that are within a mile’s walk of BCC.
Across Trent Drive from Locopops is Smitten, a specialty shop for women's clothing, jewelry, accessories, footwear, and gifts.
(There’s a rumor that a Lebanese restaurant will open soon on the fourth corner, which is more than OK by us.)
For extra credit and to get a few more steps on your pedometer: Locopops started out just down the block in a small storefront that is now the home of the Quickly Tea House, with a special line in boba/bubble/pearl/tapioca milk tea of Taiwan, among its many other selections. And in the same building is Chaz’s Bull City Records, if browsing for vinyl is your passion.
1. Inside Cocoa Cinnamon, looking out on Hillsborough Road (Credit: PetCoyote.com).
2. Locopop's grand residence, home also to the sundries gourmet grocery (Credit: NCTripping.com).
3. Smitten Boutique.
2. Duke Gardens & Nasher Museum
In the opposite direction, down Anderson Street, are the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. The Gardens re-opened to the public on June 1.
The site was originally a debris-filled ravine on the main road to Duke Chapel before it was transformed into gardens in 1939. Today, the Gardens’ 55 acres feature five miles of allées, walks, and pathways throughout several distinct garden areas: the original Terraces, native plants of the southeastern US, plants of eastern Asia (the photo above is of the Asian Arboretum), and others.
The next block down from the Gardens is the Nasher Museum of Art, with one of the country’s leading collections of contemporary art. Unfortunately, the Museum, store, and cafe remained closed due to COVID concerns. Until it’s open again, you can enjoy its virtual tours.
3. Ninth Street
As Durham has grown over the last two decades, Ninth Street has lost a bit of its small-town charm but it remains an unparalleled venue for window-shopping and shopping-shopping.
While walking from BCC to Ninth Street along Main Street, you’ll pass other restaurants and pubs (Guasaca, Parizade, Local 22). After hitting Ninth Street, there's more to see: the Regulator Bookshop, Blue Corn Cafe, Vaguely Reminiscent, Bull City Fair Trade, Dain's Place, Barne’s Supply Co. (food for your animals and your lawn), and many many more.
4. Old West Durham Neighborhood
BCC joins the Old West Durham neighborhood, an area with a rich history going back to the 1850s before Durham existed as a town. Walking through the neighborhood’s narrow, tree-canopied streets to look at the rich variety of homes is a great way to spend a warm afternoon.
In addition to the homes and the charming Oval Park — a lovely little playground area for neighborhood kids — there are sites of local historical interest, such as Cedar Hill Cemetery.
5. Ellerbee Creek Nature Preserves and 17-Acre Wood
Exit to the right after leaving BCC's building and start walking up Trent Drive into Old West Durham. Trent becomes Oakland Avenue for several blocks and dead-ends at Sprunt.
Jog to the left, go up Albany Street, and in a block or so you reach the Ellerbee Creek Watershed: 450 acres of protected area with five public preserves.Three of the public preserves — 17-Acre Wood, Pearl Mill, and The Rocks — are located along paved, accessible greenways, and four are accessible from public bus stops.
The 17-Acre Wood preserve — a little over a mile from BCC's front door — covers 20 acres of floodplain forest and hosts native plants and wetland gardens.
The web page devoted to the preserve says this: “17-Acre Wood serves as refuge for native plants rescued from development sites elsewhere in the watershed. In addition to resident wildlife like barred owls, beavers, muskrats and box turtles, the preserve provides food and resting place for migrating birds and other wildlife moving up and down the creek. 17-Acre Wood has a reputation among birders as a migratory season ‘hotspot.’ Periodic sightings of wild turkey, great blue heron, deer and fox show that even an urban nature preserve can play an important role in a larger web of life.”