By Guest Blogger Ashlea Barnett
Alamance County is often described as being somewhere between the Triad and the Triangle. Not exactly part of one or the other, we’re kind of like that country, hippie step-sister that grooves to her own melody. It’s the perfect day trip destination. I like to lovingly refer to Alamance County as the middle of somewhere. However, when you really start to look around, Alamance County has so much to offer. From festivals to farms and music to museums, we have it all. Alamance County is home to some of the best kept secrets around.
Our first stop takes us about 10 minutes south of Graham to Sprout Farm. This little gem of a farm is a women owned and operated educational farm. They offer after-school programs, summer camps, Growga on the farm, family workshop and events. I’m expecting more is to come from them this summer as well.
Once you’ve gotten your fill at the farm, head on over to Saxapahaw and soak up this quaint milltown village. This village packs a lot into a small space. Grab lunch and some local produce at the Saxapahaw General Store, a great cup of coffee at Cup 22 or enjoy a cold ale along the river from Haw River Farmhouse Ales. If you want a table with a view, check out The Eddy Pub, which has a great menu of local farm-to-table selections, trivia nights and live music. Saxapahaw is also home to the Haw River Ballroom, which hosts music events throughout the year, Haw River Canoe and Kayak Co, Paperhand Puppet Intervention and an amazing old school butcher shop, Left Bank Butchery.
On your way home, make a stop between the bridges at Saxapahaw Island Park, or as the locals call it, “the fish park.” There’s a small playground and nice trails that circle the island along the Haw River. Did I mention there’s also a charter school!? Hawbridge is a great charter school that uses its surroundings to their advantage with archery, river walks and canoeing.
Our next stop takes us to into Burlington, to City Park. This 75 acre park is close to downtown; so it’s like Central Park with an Alamance flair! A fully restored Dentzel Carousel is the highlight of the park. It is currently being restored and won’t be operational again until 2021, but don’t let that stop you from coming and enjoying the diesel powered miniature train and other amusement rides that are open seasonally for only a dollar!
As we make our way through downtown Burlington you’ll notice things are changing and new life is beginning to take shape. The old favorites are still here of course, like the May Memorial Library, the Paramount Theatre, which hosts several community plays and events throughout the year, and the Historic Train Depot. You’ll see the newly opened Burlington Beer Works, with great patio seating and you may even see yoga happening on it’s rooftop with Downtown Yoga and Barre. Head next door to Smitty’s Ice Cream for dessert or walk down to the Blend and Co for a coffee and enjoy the outdoor picnic and garden area. The downtown core has many quaint shops including Bella’s House, Main Street Vinyl and Persnickety Books to name a few.
Think that Burlington is all Alamance County has to offer? Think again. We have the cutest towns with some big personality; including Graham, which offers old time charm on the square around the courthouse and fun unique shops, including the famous Graham Cinema as well as the Children’s Museum of Alamance County. Mebane (yes, Mebane is still Alamance County), offers wonderful locally made gifts at its various main street shops, great restaurants and a wonderful new community park. Elon, best known as a college town, has a great restaurant scene, including, The Root, Tangent, and Mediterranean Deli.
Looking for the great outdoors? Enjoy learning experiences as well as modern activities? Spend the day exploring the 500 acres at Cedar Rock Park, including the homestead restored to 1800’s period. With playgrounds, trails, disc golf, canoeing and kayaking, fishing ponds; there’s something for everyone! Also, consider touring the Alamance County Historical Museum, or take in a battle reenactment at the Alamance Battleground.
We may be “the middle of somewhere” here in Alamance County, but that somewhere is really worth getting to know!
See more Day Trip ideas here!
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*Photo Credits: Heather LaGarde from the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, Children’s Museum of Alamance County, and Alamance County Historical Museum