09 Jan Alamance County, North Carolina
Are you considering moving to North Carolina?
The city of Burlington is one of surprises. Midway between Winston-Salem and Raleigh-Durham along Interstate 40, Burlington is a central location for exploring the state’s attractions in the Triad and Triangle NC regions.
The seemingly quiet small sized burg (population 51,000) is progressive while maintaining its Southern style and roots. Burlington, along with Saxahapaw, Mebane and Graham are attracting businesses and increasing the number of North Carolina jobs in the Alamance County – those who want to do more than make a profit, but also to protect the planet.
Burlington’s Company Shops is the county’s first food co-op. The market sells a full line of organic and sustainably grown produce, grocery, deli and bakery items, artisan breads, meats, cheeses, beer, wine and more. Many products come from local farmers and other producers. Local restaurants are widely supported like family owned and operated, Zack’s, founded in 1928 serving hot dogs and other American favorites.
It’s a new day in manufacturing in the city known for textiles and manufacturing at TS Designs. Founded in 1977, TS Designs began as a small, manual screen printing operation. It lived through tumultuous business times by following the model of “People, Planet, and Profits.” Today, TS Designs sells largely to local, environmentally and socially-conscious businesses and organizations concerned with a better environmental and social impact.
Just a few miles down the road Saxahapaw is truly a build-it-and-they-will-come story described by John Lawson in the 1700s as “the flower of Carolina.” The village town is juxtaposed between the outskirts of Chapel Hill and the edge of Burlington. The movement started a few years ago with the restoration of what was once a gas station with a store attached. The Saxapahaw General Store is widely revered and referred to as a “five star gas station.” An outpouring of press including the New York Times has touted the high caliber cuisine served up under the direction of Jeff Barney who sources local produce and meats for a true farm-to-table experience.
Alamance County’s only waterfront restaurant, The Eddy Pub, is located at the end of a restored mill with a view of Haw River. It sits above the Haw River Ballroom, a former dye house that has new life as an entertainment venue. Lucinda Williams and other national acts have performed in the ballroom to standing room only crowds. Cup 22 Coffeehouse is also housed at the mill as well as the Haw Bridge School, a tuition free charter school. Earlier in 2016, the Saxapahaw Museum opened in a renovated one room schoolhouse.
Rehabbed textile mills are now upscale apartments and town homes. Saxapahaw Rivermill living includes a fitness center and other amenities. A second cotton mill and dye house is now restored as the Sissipahaw Lofts. Or live in a restored mill worker cottage, Saxahapaw Village Cottages.
In December, the child in everyone comes out when Alamance County’s only night time parade, the annual Christmas parade, comes to Mebane. An active downtown association keeps activities humming all year with shopping crawls and “First Thursday” to promote buying local products. Outlets shoppers head to the region’s shopping headquarters at Tanger Outlet Center for specialty and designer brands.
After a day of browsing and shopping stop in at the Winery at Iron Gate Farm for a glass of Chambourcin or Carolina Gold. Try fishing or paddle boating at Lake Michael or hit the links at one of the area golf courses. Mebane has several hiking, biking, and walking trails.
The town of Graham embraces nature based adventure and agribusiness. Featured in North Carolina Magazines, the county seat of Alamance County, Graham is the home of approximately 14,533, as well as the county government, the Graham Courthouse, and the annual “Arts Around the Square.”
Nature calls to get on the Haw River with expert guides from Haw River Kayak and Canoe Company. Or try a glass of locally grown wine at the Benjamin Vineyards and Winery, one of the award-winning wineries on the Haw River Wine Trail. The family owned and operated vineyard is located in the Haw River Valley viticulture region. Situated along the Haw River, the soil and climate is the perfect recipe for growing Muscadine grapes—including Scuppernong, the nation’s first cultivated wine grape and other varietals. The vineyards are open for pick-your-own Muscadines September through October.