The Franklin-Rosemary area is also one of Chapel Hill's three historic districts. Built in the 1800s and sitting on over two acres of majestic grounds along Franklin is the Horace-Williams House, headquarters for the preservation society; it's also used as a gallery and is available for special functions. Other homes along the street vary between private residents and university owned homes; several are fraternity and sorority houses. Cameron-McCauley and Gimghoul make up Chapel Hill's other two historic districts. Gimghoul is a little different from the southern charm and grandeur of the other neighborhoods because it's home to a castle. Gimghoul Castle is not a residence but a true castle steeped in legend and ghost stories and complete with a secret society dating back to 1889.
While many have turned their attention to restoring older homes, the incredible growth has required lots of new housing for everyone moving in. In the last decade many of Chapel Hill's newer neighborhoods have worked hard not to lose that feeling of a small southern town. In neighborhoods like Governor's Village, Meadowmont, and Southern Village entire communities have been created with their own little shopping districts that mimic a bygone era and homes blending the best of old styles with modern amenities, all on inviting tree lined streets. These neighborhoods remain close to Franklin Street and the University, but if you venture a little outside of town you will come upon Fearrington Village; located on an 18th century dairy farm, primarily a retirement community, they boast a Country Inn with a 5 star rating, specialty shops, lush gardens, and some very rare and special "oreo" cows. Whatever neighborhood fits your needs and price range life in Chapel Hill is good. The University has over the years greatly benefited all the residents by bringing a wealth of cultural and sports activities for all to enjoy. Lucky sports fans may find themselves in The Dean Dome which was named for legendary Coach Dean Smith. Smith coached the Tar Heels from 1961 to 1997 and retired as the winningest coach in Division I men's basketball. He led UNC to 11 Final Fours and two national championships.The Dean Dome is home to the Tarheels, UNC's basketball team, winner of numerous NCAA and ACC titles . Fans of the Arts have theatre, museums, visiting and local artist, and musicians in an endless list of choices in which you may participate.
Chapel Hill surely has everything you may want for a night out, but for those wanting a little quiet enjoyment there is no shortage of outdoor pastimes. You might try the nature trails that are part of the 600-acre botanical gardens or a little fishing on University Lake. UNC alumni and author, Thomas Wolfe spoke of his days on campus in "Look Homeward, Angel" and probably wished he were back in Chapel Hill when he wrote, "You Can't Go Home Again." Recognized by many in their lists for Best Of, the reasons that make this a great place to be are more than economic, location, and weather. If you come to Chapel Hill you will find out why the atmosphere of this town makes residents believe the sky is Carolina blue.