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Carolina Voices:  Exploring the Tar Heel State through History, Culture & Rejuvenation

Tuesday July 27 – Thursday July 29 | The Colonial Inn | Downtown Hillsborough

Generously sponsored by the North Caroliniana Society

***Please note that this event is currently full. SIGN UP FOR THE WAIT LIST HERE. (If you did not receive a response, check your spam, junk, or promotional folders, or search your e-mail for a message from or ***

Important Information for Registered Participants

Teachers who have been registered for this event should add or to their safe senders list to ensure you receive updates about the event this summer.


Please remember that this retreat, valued at over $900 per teacher, is being provided FREE OF CHARGE by the North Caroliniana Society. There is an extensive waiting list to participate, so if you are registered and find at any point you cannot attend, it is critical you e-mail with a cancellation notice. Failing to cancel and then not showing up will result in extreme financial and resource waste, as well as prevent another teacher from filling the coveted spot. A “no show” charge may be applied to your credit card provided to hold your spot if you do not show up or cancel in a timely fashion. (***Please note that late cancellations related to COVID-19 will not be subject to a charge, but it is imperative notice still be provided so that our staff can plan accordingly.)


Our three day agenda will involve a mixture of content, pedagogy, and teacher appreciation! Click here to see all scheduled events throughout the three days. Click here to see all scheduled events throughout the three days. Please remember that participants must be able to participate in all sessions listed on the agenda, including meals. (Guests will not be able to be accommodated for any events or meals.)

Event Location

Our entire event will be held in the seminar room on the first floor of the Colonial Inn, located at 153 W. King Street, Hillsborough, NC, 27278. Your room at the Inn will be right upstairs and provided free of charge by the North Caroliniana Society!

Parking, Arrival & Check In (Click here for a map.)

  • Our event will kick off on Tues. July 27 with lunch and registration offered between 11:45 – 12:30. Please plan to arrive in Hillsborough no later than 11:30 am, to give yourself time to park and walk to the Colonial Inn.
  • Free parking is available on the top two floors of the parking garage directly behind Weaver Street Market (228 S Churton St, Hillsborough, NC 27278.) The garage is accessible by the side street running along Weaver Street, called Nash-Kollock Street. This parking garage is a .3 mile walk to the Colonial Inn as shown on this map.
  • You will have a break to check into your room at 5:20 pm. You can either bring your luggage with you and leave it to the side of the seminar room, or you can leave your luggage locked in your vehicle’s trunk until our check in break later in the day, when you can return for it. During the check in break, you are welcome to retrieve your vehicle and pull it up to the front of the Inn and unload your items before returning to park, should this be more convenient for managing your overnight items.

Special Accommodations

Our agenda will include several walking tours, as well as the walk from the parking deck to the Colonial Inn. If you have any type of mobility issues or need any kind of special accommodations to make you more comfortable during the retreat, please e-mail Paul Bonnici at

Dress Code/What to Pack

  • The dress code for Tuesday is professional/business casual, though wear comfortable shoes since there is a .3 mile walk from the parking garage to the Colonial Inn. Our day will end with a lovely Teacher Appreciation Dinner and a group photograph. (There will be time to change in your room before dinner should you choose.)
  • On Wednesday and Thursday, you should dress for the weather in comfortable walking shoes, since both of these days start with walking tours. (You will have a break after each walking tour to return to your room and change should you want to.)
  • While July is usually sweltering outside, we recommend packing a sweater or jacket in case the seminar room is chilly.
  • We recommend bringing several masks. Even if you are vaccinated and choose not to wear a mask during the Retreat, many local establishments in the Hillsborough area still request masking upon entry.
  • Check the weather for Hillsborough, NC before your arrival. You may want to bring a rain coat, umbrella and rainproof footwear pending the forecast, since our walking tours will take place rain or shine!


  • Lunch and an afternoon snack will be provided on all three days of the event.
  • A Teacher Appreciation Dinner will be provided on Tuesday night. (Make sure you have chosen your course selections using this form.)
  • Breakfast will be provided Wed. and Thurs. mornings.
  • Your evening is free on Wednesday evening, and there are many dining options throughout Hillsborough and beyond.

Area Information/Things to Do on Your Free Evening

  • Hillsborough’s scenic beauty, relaxing pace and small town charm provides the perfect destination for a retreat. Learn more about downtown Hillsborough here.
  • Minutes away you can also experience Chapel Hill, home of the UNC Tar Heels. Click here for information about things to do in and around Chapel Hill, including a luxury, reserved-seating movie theatre if you are interested in catching a film on your free evening (Wed.)

COVID-19 Guidelines

We know that you all have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic since it began, so it is our top priority to keep you safe while you are with us!

  • The seminar room we will use is spacious, with a new air filtration system.
  • Participants will be seated six to an 8-foot table. (If you prefer additional space in our seating plan, please feel free to respond to this e-mail and we will do our best to accommodate you.)
  • TO MASK OR NOT TO MASK? In accordance with current CDC guidelines for events, masking is OPTIONAL but still recommended for vaccinated participants when inside and in close proximity to others, given the size of our group (40) and the fact that we will be coming from over 20 counties across the state. The CDC notes that masking is critical for anyone attending who is not vaccinated.
  • Our seminar room borders a lovely courtyard, so anyone who feels more comfortable having breakfast, lunch, etc. outside can do so.
  • Some local businesses do still request masking before entering, so even if you choose to go unmasked during the Retreat, you may still want to pack a few masks.
  • Please reach out of us if you have any questions of concerns regarding health and safety measures. Your comfort and safety is our priority!
  • If you have any symptoms of illness, have had contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home and e-mail with your cancellation. 
  • Anyone cancelling due to potential COVID-19 symptoms and/or exposure will NOT be charged a late cancellation fee, however providing notice is still very important to help staff plan.


If you have any questions, please contact Paul Bonnici,

Our Generous Donors

This event is hosted by Carolina K-12 at UNC-Chapel Hill, with funding generously provided by the North Caroliniana Society, who seeks to honor William Friday’s commitment to public education and public educators with a high-quality, all-expenses-paid opportunity to learn, feel appreciated, and rejuvenate after an incredibly difficult year.

Retreat Description


To say it has been a challenging year for many of our state’s hardworking K-12 teachers is an understatement – and it’s time to celebrate each of you with a return to an IN-PERSON, all-expenses-paid, engaging, and scholarly RETREAT in beautiful downtown Hillsborough, NC!

Hosted by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina K-12, in partnership with and entirely funded by the North Caroliniana Society, currently practicing K-12 teachers in any school throughout North Carolina are cordially invited to apply for the 2021 Retreat, “Carolina Voices: Exploring the Tar Heel State through History, Culture & Rejuvenation.” Part content knowledge, part pedagogy, and part well earned “stay-cation,” a group of North Carolina teachers will enjoy a snapshot of some of North Carolina’s most captivating events, people, culture, and literature, all while experiencing luxury accommodations at the newly restored and historic Colonial Inn. This widely acclaimed event, expanded this year to three days and an out of town excursion, is designed to educate and equally appreciate North Carolina’s hard-working educators for the valued and critical work you do!

Teachers participating in this FREE retreat and teacher appreciation event will receive:

  • Beautiful, FREE accommodations (Tuesday and Wednesday night) at the newly renovated, historic Colonial Inn, located in the heart of downtown Chapel Hill and adjacent to Carolina’s campus.
    • On your application, please note whether you prefer a single-occupancy room, OR if you would like to sign up with a friend/colleague and share a double Queen room.
    • If requesting single-occupancy and you would like to bring a family member(s), you are welcome to do so. Please just note that your participation is required in all sessions listed on the agenda, however, including meals and the Tuesday evening Teacher Appreciation Dinner. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate your guests in the workshop or for meals.
    • If you want to apply for a double occupancy room (with two Queens), each applicant will need to list their preferred roommate’s name on the application when applying. Please do NOT apply for a double occupancy unless you have confirmed with your preferred roommate first, as they will also need to note this same preference in their application. Selecting double occupancy does provide a slightly higher possibility of being accepted.
  • Teachers who aren’t eligible for accommodations at the Colonial Inn will receive a $75 stipend, which will be sent post event to cover gas & travel snacks!
  • 2.0 CEUs
  • A celebratory Teacher Appreciation Dinner (on Tuesday evening) at the Hillsborough classic Antonia’s, where we will treat you to delicious Italian food and toast each of you into the evening; breakfast & lunch will also be provided each day.
  • Numerous resources & teacher appreciation “treats” throughout the three days!
  • The important chance to meet, share ideas and recharge with other teachers from all over North Carolina!

Registration requirements:

  • This event is open to any currently practicing K-12 teacher in North Carolina schools who teaches or integrates North Carolina history, literature and or humanities into their course (i.e., Social Studies, English/Language Arts, electives courses such as art & theatre, etc.)
  • Teachers must be able to attend ALL HOURS of EACH DAY of the event in order to register. (Conflicts that require leaving early, arriving late, or missing any session, activity or meal cannot be accommodated.) The event will begin on Tuesday, July 27 around noon, and end on Thursday, July 29 by 4 pm.
  • If your application is accepted, you will be asked to provide a credit card number via phone to hold your space. YOUR CARD WILL NOT BE CHARGED to participate in this FREE event as long as you participate or provide notice of cancellation within two weeks of the event start date. Failure to attend or cancel your participation, which results in hotel fees & food waste, and prevents other teachers from attending, can result in a $75 cancellation fee applied to your card. This charge is ONLY applied for a registrant who does not cancel their registration and/or does not show up. We take your privacy very seriously; all credit card information is kept in a locked safe and then shredded after the training date. Please also DO NOT send credit card information via e-mail. If you have any questions, contact Paul Bonnici at or 919.962.1544.

Funding for this event is generously provided by the North Caroliniana Society.