Tag Archives: local

The Farewell Tour & Bean Traders

As I mentioned back in my Tell Me Something Good post earlier this month, Derek is officially in his 4th year of medical school. (Look for a post in the near future about what it’s like to be married to a med student.)


Gotta love the scrubs.

We’ve been talking about Derek’s residency for years, but we’re at the point where it’s no longer an abstraction. Lately it’s started to sink in that we’ll probably be living in a different city in a mere 10 months. Derek will, of course, be applying to UNC and Duke, and we’re not ruling those programs out at all. However, we both feel that it is a great time for us to try something different if he finds a program he loves outside of North Carolina. We’re both adventurous and relatively unattached (no kids, no house), and fortunately I can find medical social work jobs wherever we go.

That being said, I absolutely love the Durham/Chapel Hill area. It will always be home to me, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if we end up back here someday. Because it’s likely that we won’t live here for at least 4 years, I decided that I want to do a sort of “farewell tour” of Durham and Chapel Hill with BNP. I’m starting a new series of posts about my favorite places to eat and play in the area, and I even added a new page to the blog menu called, “Durham & Chapel Hill.” I’ll compile all of my posts on the page. It’s mostly just fun for me, but it could be helpful if you ever visit the area or want to try something new. 

I thought that I’d kick things off with this post by sharing my favorite coffee shop/study spot: Bean Traders!


You’ve seen their coffee on my blog many times already. Bean Traders always has a booth open at the farmers’ market. It’s my treat while I shop around.

iced coffee

Iced coffee, how I love thee.

I usually see this guy parked out front.


I know Bean Traders is at the farmers’ market when I see their trademark van.

Bean Traders is only about a mile from my house in south Durham. It’s inconspicuously located in the middle of a strip mall. (My gym is actually in the same one.)

Bean Traders Coffee

Well hello there you hidden gem.

When you walk in you’re greeted by bright colors, lots of natural light, and friendly baristas.


You can’t tell from this picture, but there’s a drink called a “dirty hippie.” It’s some kind of mix of coffee and tea.

One of the many cool things about Bean Traders is that they partner with many local business for their dairy products, bakery items, nut butters, candies, and desserts.


Candy galore!

They also sell their own coffee beans.


Love that “Drink the Love” sign.

I mean there’s a reason it’s called Bean Traders.


The coffee is strong and delicious.


It smells amazing.

I went here a lot during grad school for group projects or to study solo. There’s lots of space and free Wi-fi. The mismatched chairs in all different colors give it a cool, eclectic vibe.


Bonus points for coffee served in mason jars.

latte almond milk

I got this almond-milk latte last weekend. Nom!

It is the best place to spend a quiet morning enjoying delicious coffee and reading a good book.


The perfect Sunday morning. (P.S. I’m reading The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith AKA JK Rowling. Highly recommend it!)

I ❤ Bean Traders.

Wilmington Weekend Recap

After a week apart, I was so excited to spend the weekend with Derek in Wilmington. My weekends are usually spent relaxing, cleaning the house, and catching up on errands, so it was great to get out of town and do something different. It ended up being an even better weekend than expected. We had such a good time that we considered it a “mini-vacation.”

We typically eat out 2 to 3 times per week since most of the meals I make are healthier and much cheaper, so this was an exceptional weekend. It was totally worth it though. I love exploring new places through food. In fact, I think I’m going to make a restaurants page on the blog for all of the cities I visit.

Right after work on Friday I made the 2 1/2 hour drive and arrived in Wilmington around 8pm. I realized how much I missed Derek as soon as a saw him. It’s a bit corny to say, but everything about my life is brighter with him in it. He gave me a quick tour of the apartment he’s staying in and then we headed out for dinner.  We were both famished!

We went to one of my favorite restaurants in Wilmington. My best friend Jenna went to college at UNCW, and she introduced me to Indochine when I visited her. Indochine has the best Thai curries. The panang curry is the bomb.com. It was past 10pm by the time we finished dinner, and we passed out as soon as we got back.

After a night of blissful sleep, we spent Saturday morning catching up and being lazy. We eventually decided to grab lunch and head to the Carolina Beach, which is only 20 minutes from Derek’s apartment. We picked out a restaurant at random, and boy did it turn out to be a good one. We went to Surf House. Not only was the food fresh and delicious, the restaurant focuses on using local, sustainable foods.


We started with corn bread and honey-bourbon butter. I’m originally from Kentucky, land of bourbon, so we couldn’t resist trying it. Honey + bourbon= always a winner.


Derek got the shrimp BLT. I tried a bite of the sandwich, and the shrimp was much better and more flavorful than anything I get at the grocery store. Surf House also makes their own salt and pepper chips, which were very tasty.


I got the fish tacos with grilled mahi-mahi. The pickled onions and arugula definitely took the tacos to the next level for me. It makes me want to experiment with pickling.


We saw these bikes outside the restaurant. Love the koozie holders!


After the scrumptious lunch, we hit the beach. The weather was gorgeous, and we spent the afternoon swimming, reading books, and going for a walk.


Derek’s light reading includes OBGYN case files, haha!

It was the kind of day that reminds me how lucky I am to live just 2 hours from the beach.


In the late afternoon we headed back to the apartment and got cleaned up for a night out. We went to see the new Planet of the Apes movie. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie. I was in suspense throughout the entire movie. I definitely recommend checking it out. After the movie we got a late dinner at another Wilmington favorite Flaming Amy’s. The rest of the evening was spent goofing off and enjoying our time together. I think we fell asleep before 11pm again. We’re such rowdy 20-somethings. 🙂

On Sunday morning we woke up, made coffee, and watched TV on the couch. It’s the simpler moments like drinking coffee together in the morning that I miss the most when Derek’s gone. I’m thankful for that time this weekend.

Before I headed back to Durham, we got lunch at Chops Deli in downtown Wilmington. I cannot say enough good things about this place. The owner is personable and kind; he goes out of his way to greet and thank every customer for coming in.


Chops Deli also uses local produce and eco-friendly products. The plastic cups we got were made of corn and can be used for compost. Besides the friendly staff and a sustainable/local focus, I ate on of the BEST sandwiches I’ve ever had. I’m not exaggerating. It was amazing. I got the Marseille, which comes includes the following components: maple glazed chicken, french brie, spring mix, tomatoes and cajun remoulade, on a French baguette.


SO GOOD. You need to try it.

I packed up and headed back to Durham after lunch. I was sad to leave, but I’m looking forward to Derek coming to Durham this weekend. It’s been a busy week thus far, and I know it will go by fast!

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