Posted: 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013
Starting point: University of Pittsburgh
Ending point: Wallace Wade Stadium
Time: 7 hours, 20 minutes
Distance: 477 miles, or roughly the number of all-purpose yards (converted to miles) Tyler Boyd will finish the season with.
Places to see along the way:
The Mystery Hole, Ansted, WV
The Big Pencil, Wytheville, VA
The Andy Griffith Museum, Mount Airy, NC
The 20-Foot Tall Mission Chair, Martinsville, VA
The Shell-Shaped Shell Gas Station, Winston Salem, NC
Where to stay definitely depends a lot on what you're looking for. The Washington Duke Inn is right on campus and is a two minute walk to the football stadium, and it's absolutely gorgeous. The back of the hotel looks out over Duke Golf Course, and there are several restaurants and bars inside the hotel that are great for pre game and post game. The only problem … it's not really near anything so the only people you'll see are the folks who stay at the hotel. If you don't mind driving to the stadium on game day, stay downtown. Best bet is the Durham Sheraton. You can walk everywhere from there, and taking the (free) Downtown Connector bus line to Duke and walking through campus to Wallace Wade isn't the worst option in the world. If you're feeling adventurous, stay at the King's Daughter's Inn. It's a bed and breakfast, and it's one of the coolest places in the entire Raleigh/Durham area. You might need to make reservations three weeks ago though. For a more traditional hotel experience, pick a spot by SouthPoint Mall. Nowhere near Duke, but there's plenty of mall-type stuff within walking distance. Do not stay in Chapel Hill. That place sucks.
Durham can go toe to toe with any city in the United States in the quality of restaurants, including New York and New Orleans. Yeah, I said it. If you go to a chain restaurant, you've seriously wasted your entire trip. Way too many places to even name, but a few that come to mind are Dame's Chicken and Waffles, Revolution, Rue Cler, Dos Perros, and The Federal. Also, if food is being served out of a truck, it's likely to be incredible. Food trucks down here are like the craft beers of dining. If you're staying near the mall, go to Rise and get a chicken biscuit for breakfast and a donut for breakfast dessert. I said no chains, but if you're looking for a burger at 2AM, go to CookOut. You're welcome. And on the way out of town, drive through Bojangles.
The best thing to do on campus is to just walk around. It's a gorgeous campus. Make sure to check out Duke Chapel, and be sure to walk through Cameron Indoor Stadium. If it's open, which it should be, go see the Duke sports hall of fame. As for nightlife, two places. One, Brightleaf. You'll have Satisfactions, The Federal, James Joyce, Alivia's and Devine's over there, which are all fun bars. For the complete sketchy college experience, go to Shooters late night. If you're over 25, do not go to Shooters late night. The second place is the American Tobacco Campus. Such a cool place. Not as many bars, but the ones there are really nice and there's a ton of outdoor seating. The back porch at Tobacco Road overlooks the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. There will also likely be a concert in the quad at American Tobacco.
Tailgating at Duke is underrated, but it's not a huge part of the culture. "Blue Devil Alley" is right outside of Cameron, and that's usually buzzing during pre-game with vendors, tents, DJs, games, etc. None of this happened before Cutcliffe came to Duke, so the whole pre-game culture is still very young. Duke fans are generally really good hosts, so don't be afraid to go up to someone's tailgate and strike up a conversation. You might get a free beer out of it. But don't be an asshole. Here's the thing … so many teams come to Durham with a certain type of attitude because it's the one road game on their schedule where they get to act like their team is Alabama or something, so Duke fans are beyond touchy about hearing your trash talk. Just have fun and there won't be any problems, but Durham folks don't play. Just don't act like Maryland fans.
Regardless of your feelings towards Duke, or even how foreign of a concept it may seem to be that they actually have a football team, this has all the makings of an amazing road trip. Good food, good people, and most importantly...it's not Storrs and East Hartford, CT.