Back to School Supplies in Chapel Hill: INSIDER GUIDE

It’s Back to School time in Chapel Hill & Durham, NC, and time for the School Supply treasure hunt! Over the years it seems like there have been several items for which we have had to drive all over town (until we learned the ropes!) In order to help you find those sometimes hard-to-find school supplies, we have compiled the CHillKids GUIDE to School Supplies in Chapel Hill / Carrboro / Durham, NC.

Best Overall Selection & Shopping Experience: Office Supplies & More (Chapel Hill’s INDEPENDENT Discount School & Office Supply Store)
One of our Back-to-School favorites, Office Supplies & More, is located in the Timberlyne Shopping Center (near the Post Office) at 1129 Weaver Dairy Rd., Chapel Hill, NC. Office Supplies & More is an independent discount office supply store and back-to-school supply store, also specializing in just about every kind of pen (some of their pens that are like works of art!), gifts and toys, and fine paper supplies and stationery.

We have learned through experience over the years that Office Supplies & More has just about the best selection of EVERYTHING for Back to School supplies (and office supplies, paper and pens year round), with competitive prices, and excellent & friendly staff assistance.

Office Supplies & More can save you a BUNDLE of time! You can literally get in and out quickly, and find the quality products you need at great prices. Office Supplies & More advertises some of the lowest prices on most pens in the USA; they always offer Teachers 10% off their low prices; and they offer SPECIAL BACK TO SCHOOL HOURS.

The online reviews for Office Supplies & More are excellent (just about all of them that we read were 5 stars.) One reviewer commented that Office Supplies & More is the best office supply store in the NC Triangle, hands down, and we couldn’t agree more! We especially appreciate that this is an INDEPENDENT store. (The store was originally founded in New Haven, CT in 1976, and later moved to Chapel Hill.)

You can make it a fun shopping experience with your kids! The friendly Staff usually have offered our kids a free treat or little gift (choice of a Silly Bandz, etc.) – a fun time for everyone. Also, Orangeleaf is just around the corner near the Post Office, and it’s fun to treat the kids to a special frozen yogurt treat.

More Back to School Supplies in Chapel Hill / Durham / Carrboro, NC

In no particular order:

1. Target: Target often sell out of key, basic supplies early on, so shop early to avoid the frustration and hassle of spending HOURS trying to find 2 or 3 simple items.

The Super Target on 15-501 has a Back to School area at the back of the store, but you may find even more of what you need in the FRONT of the Super Target in the Office Supplies section (near the greeting cards). We usually end up looking in both places – but it’s good to know about the alternate location for school supplies within the store.

The Super Target on Renaissance Parkway (near Southpoint Mall in Durham, NC) often seems to be better stocked for school supplies (also for Halloween costumes, etc.) than the one on 15-501. One year we couldn’t find a particular set of Crayola crayons anywhere, but they had them at the Renaissance Parkway Super Target in the office products area toward the front of the store. (This was before we had discovered Office Supplies & More – they probably had what we needed!) The Renaissance Parkway Target also has a Back to School supplies area in the back, and a separate office supplies area toward the front. Quite often you find more of what you need in the office supplies area (especially if you are shopping late and the Back to School area looks like locusts have descended, leaving barren shelves with a few packs of erasers here and there).

2. Office Depot (New Hope Commons, Durham, NC – shopping center located at 15-501 and Mt. Moriah Rd.) across from Barnes & Noble and Walmart. Office Depot sometimes sends 20% off coupons in the mail, and throughout the Back to School season they often offer a few key items for ONE PENNY, for $1 or $2. See current Home Depot offers.

Sometimes it seems like we end up spending too much time when we shop at Office Depot; we have had a hard time finding each of the things we need. However, in our experience the Office Depot Staff have been very helpful. Just ask if you need help finding something and they will help you find it, if they have what you need.

3. Staples – Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC (around the corner from Whole Foods). Staples quite often offers discounts on back to school supplies. Convenient to downtown Chapel Hill; lots of parking.

4. Walmart – Chapel Hill & Durham NC locations – Standard back to school supplies; however it is sometimes hard to find the specific items/brands on the school supply list.

5. A.C. Moore – Patterson Place on 15-501 in Durham, NC (Patterson Place is the newer shopping center located across 15-501 from New Hope Commons.) Ah, the AC Moore 40%-off-one-item coupon (delivered weekly to local residents in the Chapel Hill News insert). This is GREAT for some of your special/more expensive school supply items. We used the 40% off coupon for a pricier item: the $20 adult size Fiskar’s scissors on the 6th grade back to school list. Of course we found a bunch of other great stuff too; they sometimes mark 50% off all Crayola items in August — check with the store or visit the A.C. Moore website for updated School Supplies specials and offers.

Happy Back to School shopping!

Farm Dinners at Panzanella in Carrboro, NC

More great things about Carrboro/Chapel Hill, NC: abundant locally grown produce (including produce grown without pesticides or chemicals), and Panzanella Farm Dinners! Panzanella offers special dinners (usually once a month), featuring locally grown farm produce.

Panzanella / Eco Farm Dinner
Featuring Pesticide-Free Locally Grown Produce from Eco Farm
Date: Monday, August 29, 2011
Time: 5:30 – 9pm
Place: Panzanella, Carr Mill Mall, Carrboro NC

On Monday, August 29, 2011 from 5:30 pm, Panzanella Chef Jim Nixon will prepare a delicious menu made with locally grown produce from John and Cindy Soehner of ECO FARM. Eco Farm produce is grown without the use of pesticides or other chemicals. John and Cindy grow arugula, basil, eggplants, pepper, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and lots more DELICIOUS organic veggies, fruit, flowers, and more.

Eco Farm was established in 1995 and sells their produce and goods to local shops and restaurants, at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market, the Fearrington Farmers’ Market, the Southern Village Farmers’ Market, and the Western Wake Farmers’ Market

Take a gander at LAST YEAR’s Panzanella’s Farm Dinner featuring Eco Farm produce: (from the Panzanella website): “Last year’s menu included Pizza e Fichi with figs, prosciutto, mozzarella and goat cheese; Eco Linguine with sauteed shiitake mushrooms, Long Island cheese squash and Italian sausage in white wine cream sauce; Butternut Squash and Late Summer Vegetable Fritters with garlic aioli.” WOW! Yum!

The menu for August 29th will be available closer to the Farm Dinner date, and will be based on the produce available for harvest at that time.

Panzanella is located in downtown Carrboro, NC, in the historic Carr Mill Mall.

Visit Eco Farm online at

Learn more about upcoming Panzanella Farm Dinners.

2011 Panzanella Farm Dinner Schedule
June 27 – Perry-winkle Farm
July 18 – Peregrine Farm
August 29 – Eco Farm
September 26 – Chapel Hill Creamery

Next Up: On September 26, 2011 the Panzanella Farm Dinner will feature food from the Chapel Hill Creamery.

Support School Gardens in the Chapel Hill / Triangle, NC Area! Whole Foods School Garden Grant Program

Whole Foods is seeking donations at checkout to help fund the FoodCorps/Whole Kids Foundation Garden Grant Program, with the goal of offering 1,000 schools, (including some local Chapel Hill / Triangle, NC schools), a $2,000 grant to create and expand school garden programs.

You can add $1 or $5 to your grocery bill at checkout to help fund the cause to make school gardens available to schools that otherwise might not have them.

School gardens are a wonderful way for children to learn about nature, while cultivating healthy eating habits. It is far more exciting for a child (or anyone!) to eat something delicious that a child has helped to grow, water, nourish, and harvest – what a wonderful educational tool and life skill to pass along to our children at school.

Does your local Chapel Hill / Triangle, NC school have a school garden?  If so we would love to hear about your children’s school gardening experience – please post a note about your child’s school garden below!

My own goal is to grow a blueberry farm that local children can visit to pick berries (blueberries, blackberries, maybe raspberries too!)  YUM – what could be more delicious than locally grown, Chapel Hill / Triangle, NC fresh-picked blueberries?  (At the top of the DELICIOUS list along with fresh-picked blueberries are the local springtime crop of pick-your-own strawberries from Chapel Hill, NC area strawberry patches, including Jean’s Berry Patch and Farmer Mark Waller’s strawberries at Waller Farms. YUMMY!)

You can learn more about the Whole Foods Garden Grant program to support school gardens by visiting or

Happy gardening!



Why We LOVE Blue Skies of Mapleview Summer Horsemanship Camp!

Happy kids at Blue Skies:
Mia & Avery with fellow camper & Ginger

Blue Skies of Mapleview Summer Camp has been the highlight of my children’s summer every year (ever since they were old enough to attend.)   Blue Skies is a jewel tucked away in a beautiful farm setting convenient to Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough: the setting is lovely and the people are wonderful, warm, friendly.  I look forward to the drive every day because the countryside is so pretty – wide-open farm land has become so rare, yet Blue Skies is located convenient to Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough. When we arrive at Blue Skies and walk along the path to camp, we enjoy listening to the birds singing, horses’ tails swishing:  everything feels so peaceful and calm.  Deborah Pearson-Moyers teaches the children how to understand, care for, love and appreciate the horses. (The children first learn how to ride bareback, with no reins, and with time/experience they graduate to using reins and saddle.)

I was trying to put my finger on what it is that makes Blue Skies so wonderful, and figured I should go straight to the source: my two daughters who are currently in summer camp there. “What do you love the most about Blue Skies of Mapleview? Reply: “Everything!”
With a little coaxing we were able to come up with the girls’ top 10 things they love about Blue Skies of Mapleview (in no particular order):

  1. The horses! Favorite horses: Sonny (My girls love his personality – “He’s very sweet and he loves me a lot”); Lucky, Charlie and Peanut are among their favorites, but, as the girls put it, “Well, we love all of the horses at Blue Skies!”
  2. Art: Interesting painting and drawing projects (including drawing horses and drawing in perspective), decoupage and collage projects, beeswax sculpting, Sculpey projects, and more!  (The arts projects change with the different sessions.)
  3. Sarah, Sonja, Miss Deborah, Christina, Samantha and all of the camp counselors – they do a wonderful job gently teaching children how to respect and understand horses.
  4. Earning my reins!
  5. Trail Rides: “We ride through the woods and fields, and stop in a pretty clearing next to a pond and have a watermelon treat, then we give the rinds to the horses.”  (The trail ride path goes from Blue Skies through woods and fields and  farm land across from the Mapleview Ice Cream shop.)
  6. Cleanest Horse Competitions: The kids are divided in teams and clean their assigned horse (after learning all of the fundamentals of horse grooming), and the cleanest horse wins: apples!  The girls have great fun and take great care as they learn to clean and groom the horses.
  7. “Field Trips” with Sarah and Sonja (walking over to the neighboring farms to visit with neighboring horses.)
  8. Getting up early and enjoying the beautiful countryside as we drive to Blue Skies (Blue Skies is located only a few minutes from Chapel Hill neighborhoods Lake Hogan Farms and Wexford, 10 or 15 minutes from Carrboro).
  9. Swimming: The kids enjoy splashing around with their friends in the Blue Skies pool after a fun day of riding.
  10. and one of my favorite things: The craft project each child brings home at the end of each Blue Skies summer camp week. One year our girls made beautiful decoupage wooden trays, with cut-out images of horses and photographs of themselves with Blue Skies horses. Now they use these wooden trays often; they love to bring us breakfast in bed on the weekend, with everything neatly arranged on their beautiful Blue Skies horse tray.

Visit for more information.

Avery (Happy Camper!)

We can’t say enough good things about Blue Skies of Mapleview … next I would love to take Women’s Intuitive Riding classes with Deborah!  (I will write a separate blog about Deborah’s riding classes and Women’s Intuitive course for adult women.)

  • Note: The adorable horse caps the girls are wearing in the photo were a very generous gift to all of the Blue Skies campers one session from a LOCAL Chapel Hill-area business that makes the horse hats. My girls LOVE their horse hats and have gotten great use out of them – protective from the sun’s rays.  You can find these locally-made horse hats at Buy Local! Support local businesses! We’re all in it together 🙂