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There is a certain generosity of spirit that spreads easily in a community which knows it’s got something good going. Such is the case in the magical little hamlet of Saxapahaw, tucked sweetly in Alamance County, North Carolina. Warmth and openness are de rigueur here. While the town’s hub consists of a narrow cluster of buildings surrounding the former cotton mill, this Haw River town has plenty to draw in hip-seeking explorers. Spend the day on the river, nosh on some five-star grub from Saxapahaw General Store, and take in a show at the amazing Haw River Ballroom. Gather the bounty of nearby farms and makers, then cop a squat on the hill and enjoy live music during Saturdays at Saxapahaw, a seasonable celebration May through August. Just leave room in the cooler for house-made sausage and sustainable meats from Left Bank Butchery, and a growler or two from Haw River Farmhouse Ales. We imagine your only problem might be in leaving.

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Saxapahaw General Store  With a tagline of “your local five-star gas station,” you know you are about to experience something memorable. Indeed, Garden & Gun touted their Eggs Catalan and named Sax Gen Store one of the Best Southern Breakfast Joints. Indeed, their breakfast and brunch menu might inspire you to roll out of bed early, but even if you’re a late riser, Sax Gen has plenty to keep your belly happy. A little piece of heaven like the Duck Jam Burger or Fried Green Tomato BLT with Applewood Bacon will teach you to keep a sharp eye on the specials board. Dinner includes options like Local Braised Beef Short Ribs with Greens Du Jour and Roast Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Saxapahaw General Store has a passion for supporting the community, from feeding Haw River Ranch chickens with table scraps to sourcing ingredients within the Piedmont whenever possible. You’ll find groceries and provisions on their shelves highlighting local providers. They have an excellent selection of craft beer in the coolers, and if you’ve got a sweet tooth, Amelia bakes some rockin’ tarts. 1735 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Rd. (E)

Saxapahaw Bike Exchange  Directly behind the Saxapahaw General Store patio, you’ll find a rack filled with wheeled transportation from a sun-faded Big Wheel to a well-used woman’s road bike. If you borrow, return it in better condition than you found it, just like your momma raised you. (D)

Saxapahaw Sharing Basket  Known as the “take it or leave it shelves” on the sidewalk outside Saxapahaw General Store, Sxphw Sharing Basket encompasses the pervading “we’re in this together” attitude of the folks who live here. You get the feeling the quote from The Big Orange Splot is more than just words sprawling on the brick wall: “Our village is us, and we are it. Our village is where we want to be, and it looks like all our dreams.” (D)

Shift Work is a new co-working space on the main drag in Sxphw. Shift Work offers half or full day options for “drop-in” working as well as personal offices, well-equipped desks and community meeting spaces. Collaborate away, my friend! 1735 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Rd. Suite H (D)

Stay tuned for Shift Work’s sister co-working space, Art Lab–a creative place to be shared by emerging and established artists alike. The ability to pool resources “allows art to stay a vital and active element to the Saxapahaw community.” The space will function as both a working studio and gallery, with the public invited in on weekends to interact with the artists and purchase new works. Art Lab will also host quarterly gallery shows with member artists.   

Left Bank Butchery believes in real food, particularly in good meat that is sustainably-raised and expertly butchered. Once you have tasted their meat, you’ll be a lifelong convert. Try their Belgian Beer Sausage house-made with Haw River Farmhouse Ale’s Regent’s Rye Tripel and Cane Creek Farm pork. Not only is Left Bank a whole animal butchery and charcuterie, they also smoke fish and prepare a kick-ass bone broth for your convenience. Their fresh seafood is caught off the islands of North Carolina, and you’ll always find the case amply stocked with Cornucopia Cheese Co. goodness. While you’re on your Village Bakehouse bread run, pick up some flowers from Bushy Tail Farms (their supplier of “poulet-rouge” chickens) to brighten your place, too! Left Bank Butchery is open Tuesday-Friday 11-7; 10-7 on Saturday, and Sunday 11-4. 1729 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Rd. (S)

The Eddy Restaurant and Pub  Whether you are watching the sunset on the patio with a glass of sangria, or hunkering down over on a Braeburn Farm Burger with NC Mango Chutney and Hoop Cheddar, you’ll find The Eddy a relaxing place to spend your evening. Join them for monthly beer dinners when Chef Isaiah pairs his local, ingredient driven food with beers from your favorite North Carolina craft breweries around the Triangle. Wednesdays are Trivia Nights–bring your encyclopedic knowledge by 7:30. Tuesdays are half-priced wine bottles and Mahalo Jazz. Don’t miss Food Network celebrity and travel writer Simon Majumdar when he spends “A Day in Saxapahaw” May 17th for a book signing and VIP Dinner Date at The Eddy. Check the event page for more details. 1715 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Rd. (E)

Village Bakehouse  These mad bakers run operations from The Eddy’s kitchen and supply some uncommonly toothsome loaves and pastries about town. Stop in Left Bank Butchery and pick up Village Bakehouse’s Saxy Sourdough or their Mustard Pretzel Braids baked with spent grain from Haw River Farmhouse Ales. We hollah for the Challah, available Fridays. Village Bakehouse began a CSB (Community Supported Bread) program this year; take advantage of beautiful artisans loaves on the regular. Should you drop in Cup 22, and we suggest you do, you’ll be hard pressed to decide between VB’s scrumptious doughnuts and their Saxapahaw Pop Tart. For us, it’s the pop tart–no contest. (E)

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Cup 22 is a coffeehouse and box office located inside Haw River Ballroom. With a huge wall of windows overlooking the scenic Haw River, it might be hard to have a bad morning there. Grab a cup of joe or a smoothie to fuel your day and enjoy free wifi while you are gobbling down a tasty baked treat faster than you intended. Cup 22 serves beer and wine in the evenings. 1711 Saxapahaw Bethlehem Church Rd.(E)

Haw River Ballroom  This converted former Dye House is such a beautiful venue, you’ll find wedding parties nearly as often as rock bands commanding the stage.They’ve always got a great lineup of music ranging from bluegrass to pop and everything between. Big names like Jason Isbell and Fitz and the Tantrums have played there, but you could also discover lesser known acts like native Oklahomans, Other Lives. Haw River Ballroom will host the North Carolina premiere of the award winning documentary, The Last Barn Dance May 31st. “This is a rare opportunity to see the film alongside the subjects of the film and participate in an actual square dance with the legendary Doc Brand Band.” Just be sure to look down as you walk across the grate transitioning into the ballroom; there’s a surprise below. Check out their calendar here. 1711 Saxapahaw Bethlehem Church Rd. (D)

Run of the Mill Players  Saxapahaw’s recently-formed theatre troupe has a scintillating line-up for their first official season including Kurt Vonnegut’s “Happy Birthday, Wanda June” opening next month. They have plans to produce an original work from their upcoming New Playwright Showcase to be staged next spring. Plays are held at the Haw River Ballroom. Click here for more information about the current season. (D)

Haw River Farmhouse Ales  Truth be told, we’ve been in love with Haw River Farmhouse Ales the moment we first sipped their Rustic Grisette Ale last Christmas. Our love grows ever stronger. Now we’ve gotten our hands on the Major Arcana Belgian Black Sour, we’re sad we’ve stayed away so long. Don’t make the same mistake we have. Take any opportunity to stop by their tasting room and sweet new patio; fill up your growlers. Haw River Farmhouse Ales is part of the Farmhand Exchange supporting local farmers and growers within 100 miles of the brewery. 1713 Saxapahaw Bethlehem Church Rd.  (E)

The Bridge at Rivermill  Wondering where to get your yoga on? The Bridge at Rivermill offers weekly Shanti or Flow yoga classes, as well as Gyrokinesis and Core Suspension work. Their healing arts practitioners can help you with acupuncture, massage therapy, and herbal consultations. The Bridge has a complete gym so you can stay on top of your weight and cardio routine.1647 Saxapahaw-Bethelhem Church Rd. (D)

The Haw River Canoe and Kayak Company  These guys are your go-to resource for all river recreation. Want to try whitewater? Haw River Canoe and Kayak can set you up. Looking for a gentler afternoon? Sign up for Picnic and Paddle. How about trying Stand-up Paddleboard Yoga this summer? Paddle trips, Summer Adventure Camps and shuttle service are just a few of the offerings. Let Haw River Canoe and Kayak get you on the river more this season. “Reconnect with Nature. Have fun paddling.” 6079 Swepsonville-Saxapahaw Rd. (D)

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Paperhand Puppet Intervention  If you’ve witnessed one of Paperhand’s “pageant-play-spectacles” in the past, you know the incredible giant puppet feats the guys are cooking up in their workshop. Co-directors Donovan Zimmerman and Jan Burger are planning their biggest year yet to mark their 16th Summer Spectacle in Chapel Hill this August. They have interns, yes, but they’ll need all the volunteer hands they can get. Join them for Saturday Community Work/Play Days in June & July to “papier-mâché, paint, sew, lend your creative eye and share your playful spirit.” Plus you’ll earn eternal bragging rights. Performances are held at the Forest Theatre,123 South Boundary St., Chapel Hill. Studio is located at 6079 Swepsonville-Saxapahaw Rd. (D)

River Landing Inn  If you’re a hammock loving, porch-sitting, trail walk by the river type (and who isn’t?), this laid back bed and breakfast is your perfect escape in the woods. 5942 Whitney Rd. (D)

The Inn at Bingham School  This historic bed and breakfast is technically in Mebane, N.C.; but the inn is so lovely, we had to include it. Besides, there’s a treehouse, and the innkeepers are famous for their pies. Enough said. Highway 54 and Mebane Oaks Rd. (D)

Saturdays at Saxapahaw  This Farmers Market and Music Series may become what you look forward to most every Summer. Free concerts on the lawn and an abundance of veggies, pasture-raised meat, and local artisan goods gives you an excellent reason to come and hang with your friends in Sxphw. Remember when the swan bucket gets passed around to give generously to the Haw River Assembly which works tirelessly to keep the Haw River clean and healthy. Ride the Bluebird Biodiesel from Carrboro and back sponsored by the fine folks of Culture Mill. You can park in Carrboro Plaza and ride in for $3 one-way or $5 round-trip. Saturdays through the end of August, 5-8 p.m. Saxapahaw Rivermill is next to The Sellers Building on Jordan Dr. (D)

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