Commentary

Duke: If You're Going …

Updated: February 11, 2011, 4:06 PM ET
By Doug Ward | Special to ESPN SportsTravel


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Planning on making a future pilgrimage to Durham and the campus of Duke University for a Blue Devils hoops game at Cameron Indoor Stadium?

Here are some suggestions on lodging and dining:

Where to stay

Washington Duke Hotel & Golf Club
3001 Cameron Blvd.
Durham, NC 27705
919-490-0999 | Web site

The Washington Duke Hotel & Golf Club on campus functions a lot like a dorm for alumni and parents of Duke students, albeit with much grander accommodations.

The hotel, named for noted industrialist and philanthropist Washington Duke, can't be beat for convenience; service is courteous and efficient, and rooms are well appointed. The hotel provides two top-notch dining options in Fairview and Vista, while the misnamed Bull Durham Bar, with its golf-course views and clubby feel, is truly a big-league hotel bar.

The hotel's golf course serves as the home of the Duke men's and women's golf teams. The course, originally designed by Robert Trent Jones and recently renovated by his son, Rees Jones, served as host to the 2001 Men's NCAA Championships.

During basketball season, guests rub shoulders with opposing players who stay here, and the Blue Devils even stop by for meetings on the eves of home games.

Where to eat

Satisfaction
905 W. Main St., Suite 37
Durham, NC 27701
919-682-7397 | Web site

This downtown Durham sports bar attracts students and locals. Housed in part of an old tobacco warehouse that has been renovated as a restaurant and entertainment complex, Satisfaction serves up terrific homemade potato chips and pizzas. The walls are covered with televisions, all of which are tuned to college hoops.

Allen & Son
6203 Millhouse Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
919-942-7576

North Carolinians take almost as much pride in their barbecue as they do in their basketball, and no place does "Carolina 'cue" better than Allen & Son, one of the few remaining places that smoke meats over a pit of hickory logs instead of cooking with gas or electricity.

Proprietor Keith Allen begins the process daily at 2 a.m., and the resulting smoky, hickory barbecue is crazy delicious. Accompanying hush puppies are not to be missed. The dining room is small and homey, with green- and white-checkered vinyl tablecloths.

On a recent Saturday afternoon, the crowd was a mix of local families and basketball fans in town for the Duke game. As is the custom in the eastern Carolinas, Allen & Son serves a vinegar-based barbecue sauce as opposed the tomato-based sauce that is most popular in western North Carolina. This 'cue is so flavorful it doesn't even need sauce.

Green Room
1108 Broad St.
Durham, NC 27705
919-286-2359

Ten vintage pool tables provide the green in this room. Blue is represented by the Duke memorabilia displayed throughout this down and dirty place.

An eclectic mix of town and gown patronizes the Green Room, which is a favorite of students at the Duke Law School.

The most important thing to know about the Green Room is that this place does not have a sign out front, so take your Internet directions and keep the faith.

Elmo's Diner
776 Ninth St.
Durham, NC 27705
919-416-3823 | Web site

A classic, small-town cafe located near Duke's east campus, Elmo's has old-timey air and the menu offers up delish diner favorites such as burgers and meat loaf. Because this is the South, biscuits and gravy are served with many of the entrees.

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