The mural above our office was created by artist Michael Brown to celebrate the communities we serve.
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WHAT MAKES THIS PLACE GREAT
Books are good. Cats are good. Community is good. (photo by Gretchen Mathison Photography)
Carrboro and Chapel Hill aren't the only towns with a history around here. We are surrounded by places with names like Calvander, Bynum, Eli Whitney, White Cross, Silk Hope, Snow Camp, Saxapahaw and more. Each place has a story and if you take the time, you'll come to appreciate this area as much as we do.
There are many artists and musicians that live in the community who enjoy the beauty of rural Orange County yet appreciate the proximity to Chapel Hill and all it offers.
Besides agriculture, the hills of Silk Hope are home to prominent artists and craftspeople, a fine winery and one of the best little music festivals in the South, the Shakori Hills Grassroots Music Festival, held each April and October. Located in Chatham County between Pittsboro and Siler City but less than a half-hour from Chapel Hill, Silk Hope is still the kind of place where people look out for each other and will wave every time they see you.
Ask us some time where the name “Silk Hope” comes from. It’s a good story.
Once the home the home ground of the Sissipahaw Indians, Saxapahaw is an old cottonmill village located in the bend of an S-curve and sliced by the Haw River. For the perfect summer evening, head to the farmers' market and music series, held each Saturday from 5-8 p.m., May until September.
Saxapahaw is also the home of the Saxapahaw General Store, where foodie Chef Jeff Barney attracts patrons far and wide to his fantastic feasts, and the
Paperhand Puppet Theatre, who inhabit and perform in the old gymnasium, and Rock Rest Adventures, which leads guided tours of the river.
Saxapahaw is 10 miles from Chapel Hill, as the crow flies. From points
eastward, take Highway 54 west to Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road. Flanked by untamed woods and rolling pastures, it's a gorgeous drive. Saxapahaw is a tad over the Orange-Alamance County Line.
Chatham County -
Chatham County is the most rural county in the Triangle, the largest in size and one of the most diverse. Beginning just a few miles south of Carrboro, it extends all the way down to the Devil’s Tramping Ground near the sandhills. Chatham is crossed by three beautiful and very unique rivers: the Haw, the Rocky and the Deep. Pittsboro is the county seat: a mecca for artists, musicians and organic farmers. Check out Shakori Hills Music Festival, Central Carolina Community College, Abundance Foundation, White Pines Natural Area, Deep River Canoe Trail, Bynum Front Porch, Chatham Arts!, Chatham County Studio Tour, Silk Hope Winery, Starrlight Meadery, City Tap and more.
Bynum, once a thriving mill town, now boasts an eclectic mix of folks living in the grand estates and the simple millworkers cottages, some working at home and many taking an easy drive to work places throughout the Triangle. The community garden, weekly potlucks, Haw River Assembly headquarters, Clyde Jones and his Smithsonian quality folk art all contribute to the “hang out and visit” ambiance. The closing of the general merchandise store in the center of town marked the end of an important era but a new gathering event took its place. Now folks from all walks of life, counties near and far, tote their lawn chairs and dancing shoes to the Friday night Front Porch Music series on the lawn. It's an outdoor family event not to be missed.
Bynum Road (off 15-501) was once a loop road crossing the mighty Haw River at the mill site. The one lane bridge was saved from demolition by great community efforts and is open for walking, bird study and the 30 year tradition of a magnificent carved pumpkin display at Halloween. The local Ruritan Club fundraisers keep folks fed with fish fries, chicken and dumplins, bbq, layer cakes and pies. But the best barbecue in the South, vinegar based of course, is found at Allen and Son Barbecue, just at the turn into the village. Our mouths water with years of memories.
Walkable Pittsboro is a comfortable town to rest yourself, close enough to big city life but small enough to recognize who’s just visiting. The downtown area is vibrant with antique shops, art galleries, Roy Underhill's Woodwright School and that circle drive around the central courthouse. But thats a story in itself. Recycling and reuse is a habit here as evidenced by the thrift shops, Habitat Restore and our famous Beggars and Choosers. S and T’s Soda shop will take you back in time when you stop in for a cone of ice cream. Lunch is served to one and all each Thursday, a volunteer contribution at St Barts off Rectory Street and just this past December the free annual holiday dinner, Donna at Our Neighborhood School filled the plates of 250 folks.
There is much to celebrate in this little town. Home to the American Livestock Breeder Conservancy, Rural Advancement Foundation Internation, or RAFI as we call it, Carolina Farm Stewardship, the folks that bring us the annual Piedmont Farm Tour and Piedmont Biofuels, good work is happening to protect and inspire. Chatham Marketplace our local food coop and several farmers markets will keep you in local foods from our home grown organic farmers. And of course the Sustainable Farming program at Central Carolina Community College is nationally recognized.