by David Klein
Burning Tree Drive to the west; Little Creek to the north and east; Raleigh Road/NC 54 to the south
1,254 total homes, apartments and The Cedars dwellings
Colonial Revivals and Cape Cods to ranch houses, with a mix of cottages and condos, brownstones and bungalows, apartments, townhomes, row houses and other options.
Median Home Sale Price
On an impeccably landscaped, gently rolling expanse at the eastern end of Meadowmont, one tree stands high above the rest. Known as Momma, this 85-year-old shagbark hickory tree serves as an apt symbol for a community formed in 1999 on 435 acres at Chapel Hill’s eastern edge. It’s also fitting for a place that’s as family-oriented as Meadowmont, where one of the defining sights is the lively parade of school-bound kids, caregivers, parents and pets making their way to Rashkis Elementary on weekday mornings.
“We love the feel of the neighborhood, just in terms of being family-friendly and having a ton of kids around, knowing your neighbors,” says Stephanie Minter, a Meadowmont resident and former family specialist who is now a full-time mom of daughter, Elorie, 7, and son, Jamie, 4. “That I’d rank among the top three benefits of living in the neighborhood: being able to walk to school, surrounded by neighbors. It really is a throwback to a different era.”
As with all of Chapel Hill, Meadowmont tends to attract people from all walks of life and all parts of the country. But if one thing unites the folks who live here, it’s an appreciation for the community’s self-contained quality. There’s a lot to be said for not having to get into the car to grab a coffee, shop for groceries, get a haircut or take a yoga class; for many residents, that freedom amounts to an incalculable lifestyle boost.
“We love waking up on weekend mornings and walking or biking to Starbucks or going to Harris Teeter and grabbing doughnuts with the family,” says Stephanie.
Along its narrow, carefully landscaped streets, Meadowmont offers a notable variety of dwellings. Homes range in style from Colonial Revivals and Cape Cods to ranch houses, with a mix of cottages and condos, brownstones and bungalows, apartments, townhomes, row houses and other options.
At the center of town is Meadowmont Village, the area’s retail hub featuring more than two dozen businesses, from a nail salon and cleaners to mail services and an ABC store. With popular eateries like Cafe Carolina and Bakery, Brixx Wood Fired Pizza and Chronic Tacos, as well as newer offerings like Fusion Fish, the Village is a lively social destination for Meadowmonters.
The showpiece of the area is the DuBose House, a 20,000-square-foot Georgian Revival-style house that’s listed in the National Register of Historic Places – and not just because it was one of the first homes in America with central air conditioning. Donated to UNC in 1988 by David St. Pierre DuBose and his wife, Valinda Hill DuBose – who gave the name Meadowmont to the vast acreage – it’s a grand setting with its wood-paneled rooms, Persian rugs and air of old-world charm. The grounds also house the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Rizzo Center with 183 boutique hotel rooms, a fitness center and spaces for seminars and conferences.
You see a lot of people when you’re out and about, and everybody’s so friendly. And I wanted a neighborhood that had that feeling and sentiment.
Situated along Raleigh Road/NC 54, a few miles from Interstate 40, Meadowmont’s proximity to major thoroughfares makes for unparalleled access to UNC, the airport and the rest of the Triangle. This was an important factor for Marcie Groller and her husband, Ray, who moved from Boston to Chapel Hill with their toddler-age son, Jackson, so Ray could begin his residency at Duke University School of Medicine. Having grown accustomed to getting around on foot, they valued Meadowmont’s walkability highly, especially with a second child, daughter Hadley, born shortly after the move.
“I’ve met a couple of my really good friends just from walking outside,” says Marcie. “You see a lot of people when you’re out and about, and everybody’s so friendly. And I wanted a neighborhood that had that feeling and sentiment.”
While Meadowmont’s population continues to expand, the community keeps a modest profile when it comes to special events. The semiannual music series usually draws a single food truck and a few hundred attendees who bring blankets and beverages. “Just kick it back, relax for a couple of hours, go home,” says Bill Ferrell, who has led the Meadowmont Community Association for 10 years. “Nobody wants a big, big event in Meadowmont. They want the ability to talk to their neighbors, get to know who lives in and around here. The key vibe is just a comfortable, no-expectations community.”
Julie Dickson, a longtime resident who has a blended family of six high school- and college-age kids, agrees that Meadowmont is that kind of place. “My kids grew up [here], and to this day their best friends live on our street,” she says.
Plots of land tend to be on the smaller side, but Julie says it’s not a problem. “We don’t need a yard. Everyone just plays out at the park, they go to the street, they go to the pool, they go down to Rashkis, to a playground. No one misses not having a yard in Meadowmont at all,” she says.
“I love Meadowmont,” she says. “We’re just really happy here. I sometimes feel like there’s no other neighborhood like this.”
Photography by Briana Brough