Schedule of Tours

Please email heartofthehilltours@gmail.com to be added to our mailing list for the fall schedule of tours. And, in the meantime, you may wish to join us on a Hometown Ambassadors Local History Tour, offered on select Friday afternoons from July 1 – September 23. Hometown Ambassadors is a new collaboration this summer with the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau.

Ready to fall in love with Chapel Hill – perhaps all over again? Are you willing to explore the mystery, history, quirks, characters, failures, foibles and delights of our town? Want to learn our traditions, legends, myths and truths about this storied town and campus?

In-person walking tours are typically 60 – 90 minutes in length. Advance registration is requested, available on this site. Tours are free. We heartily encourage you to make a donation to our organizations, or, even better, become a member with us! chapel hill historical society and/or https://www.preservationchapelhill.org/membership.

Tours Completed SPRING 2022

Campus Architecture. Guided by JJ Bauer, UNC Professor of Art and Art History.  Our UNC campus is like an illustrated history book of architecture with its various styles, features and flourishes – all working in concert to bring character, substance and beauty to our built environment. Professor Bauer wrote the addendum to the revised edition of John Allcott’s “The Campus at Chapel Hill,” published by the Chapel Hill Historical Society, available for sale at the Historical Society’s website and at local bookstores.  

Chapel Hill 101 for Newcomers, Families & Kids. Tour guide Susan Worley moved to Chapel Hill when she was six and has been a devoted fan ever since! With both undergrad and graduate degrees from Carolina, Susan has been the Executive Director of Volunteers for Youth since 1988.  She has also been the tour guide for Estes Hills third graders. Susan will lead you all on a tour of downtown & campus to learn more about this town we call Home.

Walk This Way! with Stephen and Sandra Rich. In ninety minutes you will walk up one side of Franklin Street and down the other in Chapel Hill’s first historic district. Learn about the history of the old village and America’s first public university through the stories, impact and influence of the people that lived along the street. Stephen and Sandra Rich are seasoned tour guides for Preservation Chapel Hill and active volunteers around town and campus since their return in 2003. 

The Noble Grove : A Walking Tour of Trees. Chapel Hill has always had a love affair with trees! “As I saw Franklin Street in 1912, it was a dusty red avenue cut through a forest of magnificent trees… My first impression of Chapel Hill was trees; my last impression is trees… It is no wonder that Chapel Hillians are ardent tree worshippers and the symbol of the place is Davie Poplar,” said Robert B. House, Chancellor of the University of North Carolina from 1945-1957, in 1964. (Source: Robert B. House. The Light that Shines, Chapel Hill, 1912-1916. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1964.) Explore the history, care-taking and future of our iconic and heritage trees, in town and on campus, with UNC Arborist Tom Bythell.

A Walking Tour of Carrboro with Richard Ellington. Carrboro has changed from its blue-collar, working-class background to a hip little town, where the business district is now filled with trendy bistros and purveyors of craft beer and foodie fusion menus. Walk around the block with one of Carrboro’s Own, exploring its roots and history, the people and influential players that have given the town its unique culture and flavor.

Parallel Lives with Missy Julian-Fox and Chris Faison. A tour for our times to explore the history of Chapel Hill from both a Black and White perspective. We visit familiar sites and places on campus and in town…which may jog a memory, refresh or alter your understanding, or expand your knowledge of the myths, the facts and the realities of our town. Some stories may be well-known, others brand new.  By joining with us on this tour, you are helping to build a factual, collective memory bank of  town history — vital to racial equity, justice, understanding and policy-making. As we know, the past is directly connected to the present…and the wondrous possibilities in our future. Together.