SIGHTS & BITES Explore All That Virginia & North Carolina has to Offer
PAGES ON LOCAL WINERIES & BREWERIES
8 BEST HIKING TRAILS IN THE SOUTHSIDE
WATER ACTIVITIES TO ENJOY AT SML INSIDE SCOOP TO ALL THE LOCAL
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TO DINE
Welcome Drive-ins, daycations and drives through the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway are just a few hallmarks of beautiful Southern Virginia and Upstate North Carolina. Explore the quaint countryside between Raleigh and Richmond to find hidden wonders to satisfy the need for adventure even in the most inconvenient of times.
Whether it’s waterfront dining at Mango’s in Moneta or picking peanuts harvested here in Virginia, the “Womack Region” offers regional cuisine with abundant outside seating to beckon in the warm southern sun and the crisp fall breezes. Mountains, lakes, beaches and sprawling botanical gardens are never more than an afternoon’s drive away. Southern Virginia and North Carolina welcome you to a unique region of the East Coast where adventure and leisure are always one step around the corner.
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04. MEBANE TRAIN DISPLAY 08. ON THE HOUSE: BEERS OF ALL KIND FLOW THROUGHOUT THE REGION 12. 8 BEST HIKING TRAILS IN THE AREA 16. FIVE WAYS TO FEAST AT LAKE GASTON 18. SML HOME TO MANY WATER ACTIVITIES 20. SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE STATE PARK 24. MEDOC MOUNTAIN 28. SML IS KNOWN FOR ITS WINE 34. SENDING LOVE FROM THE VALENTINES POST OFFICE 36. FOREST FARMERS’ MARKET 40. CASWELL FARMERS’ MARKET 42. HILLSBOROUGH: WHERE HISTORY, CULTURE, COCKTAILS MEET
A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS PRESIDENT Chad B. Harrison GROUP PUBLISHER Richard I. Ingram DEPUTY DIR. OF OPERATIONS Mary Beth Wellborn ART DIRECTOR | MAGAZINE DESIGN Jess Ingram ASST. MARKETING DIRECTOR Rachel Nanney
GRAPHIC DESIGN Jasmaine Motley, Susan Lambert, Amanda Meadows SALES Emilie Bennett, Tim Griffin EDITORIAL Dale Edwards, Jami Snead, C.E. Adams, William Seidel, Luci Weldon, Sylvia Allen, Dylan Phillips, Debra Ferrell, Laurie Paolicelli
REGIONAL SALES MANAGER Heather Abbott 2021 SIGHTS & BITES 3
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There’s a lot going on at
The Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History
Come join us! Listen, Learn, Participate, Share For current schedules, workshops, classes, exhibits and membership information, go to danvillemuseum.org or call 434-793-5644 or email email@example.com
Visit our Gift Shop with Local Artisan’s Work 4 SIGHTS & BITES 2021
Article & photos by Dylan Phillips
Mebane Train Display W
hen visiting the City of Mebane, North Carolina, you’ll find many ways to fill the time - whether in a downtown coffee shop or shopping at the outlet. There’s plenty to do in this vibrant, upand-coming city. But Mebane has a quaintness to it that can’t be found everywhere and this is exemplified in its unique downtown. Downtown Mebane has a character, it has kept a quality of the past that has faded in most cities and towns its size. Mebane has a rich history, especially its downtown. In a lot of that history, Mebane is intertwined with the railroad that runs directly through to this day. Years back, the railway and its proximity to Mebane made the town a hub. Today, the railroad still runs through Mebane as, multiple times a day, buildings near the tracks will shake as the train rumbles by. But it no longer has the importance it once did, and someone just visiting might not understand the significance of the railroad to the City of Mebane. That’s why, perhaps, one of the best ways to explore Mebane is by paying a visit to the Mebane Train Display, as it gives one the opportunity to see a lot of the city, its past and its present all under one roof. The Mebane Train Display, located 209 W. Jackson Street, gives visitors a bird’s eye view of the city. The display is a miniature replica of Mebane with a train running through, and around, it. There is also a museum of sorts on site, which features innumerable, unique toy trains. A nonprofit, the Mebane Train Display is an all-volunteer operation. The small group of volunteers keep the display running because they love it and because people love it. 2021 SIGHTS & BITES 5
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Each year, folks flock from all over to see the display in person. Although the Mebane shown at the train display isn’t modern Mebane, the streets and the buildings are laid out the same way. Recently, a Christmas section was added to the display. The display also features televisions up it which allow wheelchair users to view the display. Viewing the Mebane Train Display will take you back in time and, before your very eyes, bring out the Mebane of old. In a way, this train display depicts small towns across America during the mid-20th century.
For adults, this display can be nostalgic as it takes them back to childhood; for children, it can be magical as the watch the train circle round and round a miniature city. One thing is for sure, the Mebane Train Display will capture the attention of anyone who visits, which certainly makes it worth visiting. The display will also give anyone who visits it a better grasp on Mebane - its culture, its history, its progress. The Mebane Train Display perfectly captures the essence of Mebane’s uniqueness.• 2021 SIGHTS & BITES 7
By Dale Edwards
ON THE HOUSE
BEERS OF ALL KIND FLOW THROUGHOUT THE REGION
t’s hard to believe, but there once was a time when you could ask a bartender “what do you have on tap?” and he or she could get through the list in a single
breath. Craft breweries started sprouting in the region, and then took off like Kudzu. Establishments sought to differentiate themselves from other bars by offering wide-ranging — and sometimes wildly named — beers, events, and other amenities to attract crowds. From southern Virginia, to the central part of North Carolina, here’s a collection of some of the best places
Joymongers Brewing Co. Greensboro, N.C.
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Little Brother Brewing Greensboro, N.C.
to enjoy a brew. First on the list is Joymongers Brewing Co., which is owned and operated by Greensboro, N.C., natives. Situated along the city’s new greenway, and just a block from the Greensboro Grasshoppers baseball stadium in downtown, Joymongers is all about small batch brewing, which enables it to provide customers with up to 17 of its finely crafted brews. The owners say they’re not interested in packaging or distributing, and don’t aspire to get big and be bought out by national giants, although it does have a second location — Joymongers Barrel Hall — in nearby Winston-Salem. Joymongers pledges to be a “neighborhood gathering spot,” and it’s surely upholding that quest. When the weather is fine, the place is packed. Large garage doors raise to open the indoor seating area to gentle breezes. There is plenty of outdoor seating and a lovely small park area in front of the
Ballad Brewing Danville, VA
building. Food is not served at Joymongers, but a food truck is almost always present. A few blocks away is Little Brother Brewing, a small boutique brewery that also has a barrel and bottle shop about 30 minutes away in Graham. The setting is intimate, but always welcoming. It’s flagship is on the corner at the center of downtown Greensboro, where there’s always something going on. Little Brother Brewing brews its beer on-site, using a four-barrel system that emphasizes experimentation and creative usage of ingredients. As a means of endearing itself to its community, Little Brother features a one-of-its-kind “Resident Brewer” program that gives homebrewers a way to showcase and share their craft with beer lovers in the community. The brewery builds on its fanbase by sponsoring events, like the “sustainability focused music festival” Scrap Fest; and promoting the Little Brother Brewing Running Club, which meets every Tuesday. One of the more established beer destinations in the area is Foothills Brewing in Winston-Salem, which features a downtown brewpub and a tasting room where the beer is made. Foothills is one of the largest regional craft breweries
in the Southeast, and can be purchased at grocery stores and ballparks all around. But getting a taste of any of the company’s core, seasonal, and limited release brands is always best at its brewpub or tasting room. Food and outdoor seating is available at the downtown brewpub, where regulars and newbies file in to try Foothills’ IPAs, pilsners, and its famous Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout, an award-winner that is a limited release. Check out the Foothills Taproom and get a look at how the beer is made and readied for distribution, and then enjoy delicious brews outdoors and away from the downtown lights and sounds. Set in a 19-century tobacco warehouse in the historic River District of Danville, Ballad Brewing might take you back in time and into the future all at once. Ballad’s brewers are like scientists, using the most modern brewing technology, and breaking down to the tiniest detail the craft of making beer. The taproom is spacious and family-friendly, with plenty of places for casual conversation, and table seating for raucous board games. Visitors can enjoy Ballad’s original beers, including Fast Mail, an award-winning mild ale; Just Pressed, a sour ale; or Pilsner, its award-winning Bohemian pilsner. A large outdoor seating 2021 SIGHTS & BITES 9
area features fire pits, tables, and a pull-in for food trucks. The River District in Danville offers many places to eat within walking distance of Ballad Brewing. More toward the central part of North Carolina, in downtown Mebane, is Bright Penny Brewing. The name comes from a term that goes back to World War I, when soldiers were holed up in trenches for long periods of time, some would make home brews. When someone made a particularly good batch, it was given the code name “Bright Penny,” as in “I’ve got a bright penny, and you don’t.” The bar, brewery, and restaurant is in the historic former Rice Feed Mill that once served the areas farmers. Now, though, a wide variety of hand-crafted brews are served up at the family-owned establishment. Among the more popular offerings are the Give A Mouse A Cookie Milk Stout that has toasted chocolate and coffee flavor notes; Faded Corduroy, a wheat beer; and the Bright Penny Pub Ale, an award-winning beer made in the English tradition. The brewery’s pizza and
Bright Penny Brewing Mebane, N.C.
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comfort foods are also top-notch. Bright Penny’s owners will soon open a second location at the Tanger Outlet Center, near the interstate in Mebane. Not far from Mebane, in the town of Carrboro, is Vencino Brewing Co., which features on-site brews, a selection of guest beers, and a selection of delicious food offerings. The beer selection at Vencino runs from light beers, such as its Strawberry Lager; to pale ales and IPAs, like Asch Paradigm. If you’re a fan of malty and/or dark brews, you’ll want to try Das Funkeldunkel and/or the Pasqua Rosee. For those looking for something lighter, and with a tart taste, try Vencino’s Proven, which features notes of lemon, lime, and other tropical fruits. Live music is a regular thing at Vencino, with an always welcoming and sometimes quirky atmosphere. Mebane has a rich history, especially its downtown. In a lot of that history, Mebane is intertwined with the railroad that runs directly through to this day. Years back, the railway and its proximity to Mebane made the town a hub.•
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8 By Jami Snead
best hiking trails in the Southside AREA 1. THE TOBACCO HERITAGE TRAIL BOYDTON SECTION There are trailheads on either end of the Boydton section of the Tobacco Heritage Trail, with one being located on Washington Street and the other on Prison Road. The Washington Street trailhead is the larger of the two and can better accommodate those pulling trailers. This one-mile trail is a relatively easy hike as the overhead tree canopy shades most of the trail. Be sure to visit The Boyd Tavern, a National Historic Landmark, while in town. It is a very short walk from the trailhead on Washington Street.
2. THE TOBACCO HERITAGE TRAIL CHASE CITY TO SOUTH HILL This on-road section of Mecklenburg’s Tobacco Heritage Trail is ideal for experienced cyclists. Park at MacCallum More Museum and Gardens in Chase City to start your adventure. This site is listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Historic Register. Be sure to schedule time to browse the museum and gift shop or wander through the gardens and capture photos of sculptures and native wildflowers. Other historical sites around Chase City are Shadow Lawn, a 19th century house which is considered Chase City’s “key landmark structure” and St. James Episcopal Church, a woodframed church at 338 E. Fourth Street. Travel on bicycle east towards South Hill along Route 47. This route has been designated a Virginia Scenic Byway. Along this route, cyclists will get to experience the natural scenic landscapes of Southern Virginia rural life. Large expanses of farmland dotted with bales of hay, historic homes good for front porch sitting, and tall shade trees display a sense of the Virginian way of life. You will enter South Hill by way of Plank Road. Trail users may want to visit the Chase City Chamber of Commerce lead by Executive Director Tina Wood and located a short distance away at 201 S. Mecklenburg Avenue. This old train depot building features a Train Museum and a genuine antique red caboose. Long distance cyclists may continue on Goodes Ferry Rd to the town of La Crosse where the trail stretches east to Brunswick County. 12 SIGHTS & BITES 2021
providing a barrier for Union and Confederate soldiers to clash over at the Staunton River Battlefield. Throughout its course, the river hosts wildlife in profusion. Along its route are numerous small parks and convenient boat landings that facilitate canoe access to the river.
6. BEAVER POND CREEK HIKING TRAIL This trail offers free access to a local wilderness area with several miles of hardened surfaces for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Lakefront views are abundant and rare elevated hills offer great views of Buggs Island Lake, the largest lake in Virginia. *Please note: Trails are clear but unmarked - please take a GPS device or map with you.
3. LIBERTY HILL HIKING TRAIL This interpretive 1.25-mile trail near the John H. Kerr dam offers views of the dam and often bald eagles and osprey. A self-guided interpretive trail offers much information about early settlers to the area. This is a moderate to easy trail with a mild elevation change. Liberty Hill offers great views of John H. Kerr dam, 4th largest dam in the United States.
4. PANHANDLE TRAIL OCCONEECHEE STATE PARK The Panhandle Multi-Use Trail located in Occoneechee State Park is a 15-mile round-trip trail, with an additional 1-mile spur trail located approximately 3/4 of a mile into the hike. This very secluded hike is along a long peninsula jutting into Kerr Lake, and is very lightly traveled. There are many opportunities for wildlife viewing and bird watching. Hunting is allowed in-season with a VA hunting license, and fishing allowed year-round with either a VA or NC fishing license.
5. VIRGINIA BIRD & WILDLIFE TRAIL STAUNTON RIVER LOOP This multi-county trail begins in Mecklenburg and meanders into Halifax County with five of the 10 sites on this loop. This great river has played its part in Virginia’s history, providing inspiring views to Patrick Henry from his home in Red Hill, and 2021 SIGHTS & BITES 13
7. TOBACCO HERITAGE TRAIL SOUTH HILL TO LA CROSSE This 5-mile connection between South Hill and La Crosse is winding and hilly. There is beautiful countryside filled with trees and pastures to enjoy, but this on-road route is best for experienced cyclists. Even though there is not an official trailhead for the town of South Hill, there is plenty to see and experience. If you want to begin your trail journey in South Hill, you are welcome to park in the downtown Market Square parking lot on South Mecklenburg Avenue, Sunday-Friday. Saturdays, the Market Square is home to the Farmers Market and parking is available across the street at the public library. Then travel on Goodes Ferry Rd towards the town of La Crosse. The Farmers Market is one of those experiences worth checking out. Some of the things you may see is seasonal produce, home baked goods, gourd art, hand-sewn items, and even a local beekeeper and his honey. While in South Hill make sure to visit the Tobacco Farm Life Museum of Virginia on 306 W. Main Street / (434) 447-2551. Open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 AM – 4PM. They have an interesting film depicting tobacco farming history
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and modern technology and two floors of farming equipment, artifacts and photographs, as well as a tobacco barn that visitors may tour on the outside of the museum. Trail users may also want to visit the Chamber of Commerce building located a short distance away at 201 S. Mecklenburg Avenue. This old train depot building features the Doll & Train Museums and an antique red caboose!
8. TOBACCO HERITAGE TRAIL BRUNSWICK COUNTY TRAILHEAD You don’t need a passport to enjoy an excursion on the Tobacco Heritage Trail in Brunswick County. Surrounded by unspoiled woods, tobacco farms that have been passed from one generation to the next, and friendly little towns, the Tobacco Heritage Trail is the path to your outdoor recreation and relaxation. Explore the natural environment found on this Southern Virginia rail-trail on foot, bicycle, or horse and journey back to the history and culture of a simpler time. This trail is your trail; come on in and make yourself at home. Source: visitmeckva.org and tobaccoheritagetrail.org
“Ifyou you haven’t haven’t played Caswell P ines latelylately, , “If played Caswell Pines you haven’t played Caswell Pines” you haven’t played Caswell P ines”
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Monday Monday--Saturday, Friday a8 am - - 2 pm
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Wish you were here... ith ore than iles o shoreline, ith o ntain ake is the per ect road trip destination with any on and o water
experiences along the way. Visitors will find parks, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and picnicking in green open spaces. When the sun hits the shore, be the seeker. www.VisitSmithMountainLake.com
Five ways to feast at Lake Gaston
Locate in what is sti a re ative y sparse y pop ate area the inin options aro n a e aston are not ab n ant b t that on y a es the options that are avai ab e even ore revere by oca s an re ar visitors ti there is an assort ent of noteworthy options whether yo re stoppin by boat in yo r boar shorts or ressin to the nines for a ni ht o t Here are five of the best ways to experience inin in the a e aston area
S’more cupcakes from Jenny Cakes at the Lake Bakery. Photo courtesy of Jenny Cakes at the Lake Bakery.
1 HOME SWEET HOME Off the beaten path in La Crosse, Va., J.B. Jones Company and Bakery has been a longtime local favorite for confections. J.B. Jones has been at its current site for 35 years but operating as a grocery store since the 1930s. Here, you can find homemade cakes, pies, rolls, soups, salads, chocolates, and their famous country ham rolls. In fall 2021, Lake Gaston will welcome Jenny Cakes at the Lake Bakery to the mix. Located near Lizard Creek, Jenny Cakes will feature grab-and-go breakfast items like croissants, scones, muffins, bagels, and doughnuts along with artisan bread (baguettes, sourdough) - and of course, cupcakes. And more.
2 EBONY GENERAL STORE If you find yourself cruising between Bracey and the Littleton zip code, Ebony 16 SIGHTS & BITES 2021
General is the perfect place to grab a quick bite for lunch. Its green color scheme painted onto the old country store-style structure makes it a-can’t miss at the Highway 903 intersection. Yeah, it’s a gas station. But there are a number of homemade food options, from meat loaf to macaroni and cheese. And it’s the hot dogs, perhaps best enjoyed slathered in chili that keeps folks coming back.
3 BY BOAT A good restaurant can be found in any town. But how many places can you drive your boat to? There are several options for docking and dining at Lake Gaston. On the main lake, on opposite sides of Eaton Ferry Bridge, The Pointe and WatersView have become iconic fixtures. The Pointe is known for live music and as a
Pictured above, The Pointe offers both outside and inside seating to enjoy live music and an appetizing meal with friends. Photo courtesy of The Pointe.
Blue Jay Bistro opened in downtown Littleton in August of 2021. Photo courtesy of Blue Jay Bistro.
Virginia flounder, Wagyu (steak) strip, and mushroom barbacoa tostadas. And there are a number of specialty options for cocktails, beer (bottles, cans and on tap) and wine including a pair of draft beers: an amber from Tobacco Wood Brewing in Oxford and a pale ale from Durham’s Fullsteam Brewery.
5 HOWEVER YOU SLICE IT
(From left) Kerry Huff, owner Pete Richardson and Jeremiah “Jam” Johnson comprise the brass of Lake Gaston Pizza & More. Huff, the general manager, and Johnson, the kitchen manager, are recent hires. Photo by Kellen Holtzman.
nighttime hangout spot while WatersView offers a more upscale dining experience with some of the best views on the lake from its deck/outdoor dining area. In Bracey, the open-air Shady Shack Bar and Grill is conveniently situated beside Poplar Pointe. Shady Shack boasts 14 boat slips and they usually fill up quickly on days with busy boat traffic. For quicker and more casual stops, sample the grills at Holly Grove Marina in Bracey and Washburn’s Marina in Henrico.
4 ‘BLUE JAY WAY’ August 2021 saw an addition to the Lake Gaston area like no other before it when Blue Jay Bistro opened in downtown Littleton. Blue Jay Bistro offers a fine dining experience, more akin to what is accustomed in a metro area, with dazzling dishes composed by an acclaimed chef amid an ornate setting. The entrees include short rib, pork chop,
Can’t decide what to eat? You can’t go wrong with pizza. Around Lake Gaston, two options stand out: Lake Gaston Pizza and More and Casa Mia’s. Lake Gaston Pizza and More is located in the Food Lion shopping center on Eaton Ferry Road and Casa Mia’s in downtown Littleton. If a thin, need-to-fold-it-up, New Yorkstyle pie is your thing, Casa Mia’s might be the place for you. The pizza pies of Lake Gaston Pizza, on the other hand, don’t necessarily fit a certain genre - it’s just good pizza, made daily with fresh bread and fresh toppings. And as the name would indicate, Lake Gaston Pizza and More features a number of other options including its signature wings and rotating comfort food specials.•
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FLYBOARDING This is a relatively new activity introduced to SML in 2014 in which you are propelled in the air by water.
By C.E. Adams Photos by Jeff Reid * Shown are various watercrafts and activities on Smith Mountain Lake.
WAKESURFING/WAKEBOARDING Surf the waves created by a wake boat, but be careful not to get too close to the shoreline. Wakes can cause damage to the land and docks, so it’s illegal to wake within 50 feet of property.
home to many water activities Smith Mountain Lake has more than 20,000 acres of water with a shoreline of 500 miles — plenty of space for water activities. Here is a list water activities you can do at the lake, followed by marinas you can embark from.
SAILING If you are new to sailing, Smith Mountain Lake Sailing School offers courses, or you can charter with a captain.
Water activities PADDLEBOARDING Make sure you have a life jacket on and paddleboard leash to keep you connected to the board in case you go overboard.
JETSKIING Jet skis are popular on the lake. Bring your own or rent one at various locations. You may come across the jet-ski-riding She Doos group, recognized by their lime green shirts. POWERBOATING Traverse the lake with your motorboat or rent one to use for numerous water activities. Remember that there’s a new state law that requires the boat operator to have an engine-cutoff lanyard.
WATERSKIING Want the best spot for waterskiing? There’s a public course maintained by Smith Mountain Lake Water Ski Club at the cove formed by Bull Run Creek.
PARASAILING Take to the skies and enjoy a birds-eye view of the lake as you are attached to a parachute and towed by a boat.
KITEBOARDING/WINDSURFING Check local wind forecasts to find the best days, time and directions for these windbased sports.
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KAYAKING/CANOEING This can be a relaxing or exhausting activity. For a number of years, a few local women kayak the whole shoreline as a fundraiser for the Southern Virginia Child Advocacy Center.
FISHING This can be a relaxing or exhausting activity. For a number of years, a few local women kayak the whole shoreline as a fundraiser for the Southern Virginia Child Advocacy Center. SWIMMING Two places to go swimming are at Smith Mountain Lake State Park’s beach and at Smith Mountain Lake Community Park. SCUBA DIVING There is a local legend that a town called Monroe was submerged under water when the lake was created in the 1960s. Although the rumors are unfounded, it brings a number of curious divers to the lake. Scuba diving can be dangerous, however, due to low visibility and the possibility of entanglement in underwater trees.•
MARINAS If you are looking for marinas to embark from, below is a list of public marinas at Smith Mountain Lake and phone numbers for each: OPEN YEARROUND: • Bay Roc........................................................................540-890-2194 • Bayside.....................................................................540-721-3664 • Bridgewater..............................................................540-721-1639 • Craddock Creek........................................................540-297-7325 • Crystal Shores............................................................540-297-1888 • Indian Pointe...............................................................540-719-2427 • Parkway.................................................................540-297-4412 • Virginia Dare..............................................................540-297-7100 • Waterwheel.........................................................540-721-5668 • Webster............................................................540-297-5228 • Mariners Landing......................................................540-297-9393 OPEN ON SEASONAL BASIS: • Blue Ridge Campgrounds & Marina..........540-721-FUNN (3866) • Captain’s Quarters....................................................540-721-1175 • Crazy Horse..............................................................540-719-0620 • Gills Creek..................................................................540-721-2451 • Lake Haven................................................................540-297-7347 • Lakeside...........................................................434-927-5380 • Lumpkin’s......................................................434-927-5150 • Mitchell’s Point.........................................................540-484-3980 • Palmer’s................................................................540-576-3651 • Smith Mountain Dock & Lodge............................540-565-0222
2021 SIGHTS & BITES 19
Article & photos by William Seidel
Smith Mountain Lake State Park a popular destination for outdoor activities!
he Smith Mountain Lake State Park normally brings in more than 400,000 visitors a
year and saw close to half a million this past year. With all that the state park offers, it’s not hard to understand why it brings out so many people. Brian Heft, who is the park’s lead ranger and has been there since 1992, has seen facilities added and
20 SIGHTS & BITES 2021
have made the park into a popular destination around SML. “Some of the facilities that we have include 20 vacation cabins that people can rent so they can stay here overnight when they come,” Heft said. The park also has a campground with 50 sites that campers can chose from to park their campers or RVs, with 24 of the sites having water and electricity. The other 26 locations
are primitive, which are more for tents. Also available is a bathhouse with showers. Heft said they have kept busy in that section of the park because of the COVID-19 pandemic, since campers can easily spread out in their campers or tents and social distance while enjoying outdoor activities. It was one of many reasons why the park has seen lots of traffic.
“We’ve just been really busy the last couple of years. We’ve seen more visitors than ever,” he said. Other areas of the state park that are favorites are the beach and hiking trails. The Turtle Island Trail is the most popular trail, and it even says so on the state park’s trail guide brochure. “By far the most popular trail in our system, this winding loop takes the hiker through the amazing story of forest succession,” states the brochure relating to Turtle Island. “Interpretive signs tell how the forest changes and adapts throughout time. Halfway through the journey, you find 2021 SIGHTS & BITES 21
yourself standing on the bridge to Turtle Island, named for the aerial view of this land mass resembling a turtle.” Speaking of favorite areas, Heft said his favorite spot in the park is the Discovery Center. He takes his dog for a walk there, and he said the views are spectacular and provide an easy reminder of how beautiful Smith Mountain Lake is to live. If you want to bring your boat, the state park has a parking lot that can accommodate 80 to 100 vehicles with boat trailers. There also is a boat ramp in the same area that has two lanes for boats to launch. Other areas of interest around the state park include the amphitheater and campfire amphitheater, fishing pier and the gift shop. There also are playgrounds for children. More information about the state park may be found at their visitor center, where they have brochures detailing the campgrounds, cabins, hiking trail and more.• 22 SIGHTS & BITES 2021
Los Bandidos Restaurant 7331 Highway Fifty Eight Clarksville, VA 23927
Hours Monday - Saturday 11am to 10pm
Los Bandidos Restaurant Los Bandidos Restaurant
Los Bandidos Restaurant Los Bandidos Restaurant
Los Bandidos Restaurant Los Bandidos Restaurant
Los Bandidos Restaurant Los Bandidos Restaurant
By Luci Weldon
Remains of ancient mountains exist at Medoc Mountain State Park
ou may not believe that the remains of an ancient mountain range exist where the Piedmont meets the Coastal Plain in North Carolina, but they do at Medoc Mountain State Park in the community of Hollister. Today, the mountain has eroded to 325 feet in elevation, and the surrounding wooded area make its summit difficult to see. However, 350 million years ago, during the Paleozoic Age, volcanic 24 SIGHTS & BITES 2021
activity formed an impressive range of mountains there. Park Superintendent Kelley King said that today’s mountain is the highest point in North Carolina east of Interstate 85. “It is a volcanic bubble or ‘belly’ that never burst, resulting in a granite and quartz mountain,” she said. “We have several plants that would normally be found further west, such as mountain laurel and wild ginger.”
While volcanic activity shaped Medoc Mountain State Park’s ancient past, winemaking and agriculture shaped its more recent history. Sidney Weller, a farmer and educator, brought grape plants from the Médoc region of Bordeaux in France to the area, finding in the soil and climate good conditions for growing grapes and producing wine. King notes that the Médoc district of Bordeaux, with its coastal lagoons,
sand dunes and pine forests, is home to four of the most prestigious wine villages in the world with estates that produce some of the world’s most expensive bottles. It is this region in France that inspired Weller to name the land he cultivated in the area where Warren and Halifax counties meet “Medoc,” which is pronounced today as “Me-doc.” The wine he developed here, Weller’s Halifax, was well received and highly praised. Park information indicates that Weller is credited for developing the American system of grape culture and winemaking, operating an academy for area children and assisting in the development of the first North Carolina state fair in 1853. Weller died in 1854. The land was cultivated for other crops, and a grist mill stood nearby. The 20th century brought a Boy Scout camp on the mountain’s summit. The forest on the summit was later cut for timber. In addition to its role in agriculture and the timber industry, the area has been treasured by area residents for its hunting, horseback riding and hiking opportunities. The area officially became Medoc Mountain State Park in 1972 and will observe the 50th anniversary of this designation in 2022. Visitors to Medoc Mountain State Park can find reminders of the area’s agricultural history in some of the buildings which remain on the park grounds and in artifacts on display at the Visitors Center. The Center is also the home of a corn snake named Charlie. “He’s the best ambassador for snakedom,” King said.
However, it is nature’s beauty which draws visitors to the park. Tranquil streams run through the woods, inviting hikers, bikers and horseback riders to relax and take a break from the daily grind. The park is home to many varieties of plants and trees — in addition to mountain laurel and wild ginger. With ongoing reforestation, the land is regaining more of the characteristics that have attracted people to the area for many years.
Medoc Mountain State Park provides opportunities for people of all ages to enjoy its surroundings year-round. Picnic tables and grills offer places to relax after a hike or to just enjoy a meal with family and friends. Nearby Little Fishing Creek is a popular site for fishing, canoeing and kayaking. The park offers several camping options. Family camping is available in a hardwood forest setting near open fields. 2021 SIGHTS & BITES 25
26 SIGHTS & BITES 2021
For larger groups, campsites with picnic tables and fire circles are available. Horse enthusiasts are not left out. Equestrian campsites are set up at the bridle trail area. Speaking of trails, visitors won’t want to leave the park without taking a walk or longer hike on one — or more — of the trails that lead through the wooded setting. There is something for people of all ages, whether they want to take a short walk through the woods or a longer hike to view what they can of the Medoc Mountain summit. Medoc Mountain State Park offers seven trails that make up a total of more than 10 miles for hiking. Most of the trails are considered to be easy or moderate in difficulty. Among the trail highlights are a footbridge spanning Little Fishing Creek that can be accessed by the Dam Site Loop or Little Fishing Creek Loop. There are also granite outcroppings, an artesian well and miniature rapids. While walking, visitors might see what King described as the park’s “mascot,” the Neuse River Water Dog, a salamander about a foot long that lives in the rivers and creeks that feed the Neuse River. In addition, the park offers 10 miles of bridle trails take horseback riders along part of Little Fishing Creek. King noted that mountain bikers love three trails developed just for cyclists. The Saponi Loop is 3.2 miles, and the Pyrite Loop is 5.3 miles. Beginners can opt for the one-mile Weller Loop. Families will want to explore the Adventure Habitat Trail beside the Visitor Center. Along the trail, which King describes as a nature playground, children and their families will find stations such as a giant “spider web” and “squirrel poles.” There is more to look forward to in the future. In December, Medoc Mountain State Park will open a new playground made possible by a grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. People of all ages can learn more about Medoc Mountain through educational and interpretive programs offered by park rangers. The park offers something for everyone throughout the year. A change of seasons brings a chance to look at its beauty from a different point of view — and to discover something unexpected where a majestic mountain range once stood. Medoc Mountain State Park is at 1541 Medoc State Park Rd., Hollister, off Highway 561. The park is open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. November through February, 8 a.m.8 p.m. March through May, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. June through August, and 8 a.m.-8 p.m. September through October. The park is closed Christmas Day. For more information, call 252-586-6588, email medoc.mountain@ncparks. gov or visit ncparks.gov.
COFFEE | BREAKFAST LUNCH
By C.E. Adams
SML IS KNOWN FOR ITS WINE u Here are five wineries to visit
Smith Mountain Lake is known for its wine. One of the biggest events in the area is the Wine Festival hosted by the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce. Although the three-decades-long annual event has been canceled for two years in a row due to COVID-19, it usually sees dozens of wineries and more than 11,000 people in attendance. But you don’t have to wait until the next Wine Festival to try out local wine. Here are five wineries at Smith Mountain Lake open to visitors (in alphabetical order).
BROOKS MILL WINERY
Photos by Jeff Reid
Brooks Mill Winery is an award-winning winery owned by H.T. and Rhonda Page. For more than 12 years, they made fruit wine as a hobby, and in December 2008, turned their passion into a business, growing blackberries, blueberries, pears, apples, peaches and cherries. The wines vary from dry dinner wines to sweet dessert wines. It’s most popular selection is Blackberry, but it also offers a variety of flavors such as Dry Pear, Black & Blue, Dry Blackberry, Blueberry, Sweet Blackberry, Sweet Blueberry, Cherry, Plum, Peach, Pear and Sangria. The location also hosts music events on occasion. Brooks Mill Winery is located at 6221 Brooks Mill Road in Wirtz. Its summer hours are noon to 5 p.m. from Friday to Monday. Owners H.T. and Rhonda Page may be contacted by calling 540-721-5215 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. More information may be found at brooksmillwine.com.
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FABLES & FEATHERS
Photos by Jeff Reid
Fables and Feathers is new to Smith Mountain Lake. It’s a family operated winery with four owners: Tom, Pam, Adam and Genny Luedtke. They bought the winery formerly called White Rock and moved here from Illinois, north of Chicago. The location offers outdoor and indoor seating and provides small snacks. Guests are encouraged to bring picnic meals to accompany their wine outside. New wines are Sweet Rose, Dry Rose, Rkatsiteli and Chambourcin. Co-owner Genny Luedtke’s favorite is Rkatsiteli, which is sweet and tastes like peach and honey. White wines include American Riesling, Aesop’s White, Chardonnay, Virginia Riesling and Sadie’s White. The most popular of these is Sadie’s White. Red wines available are Sadie’s Red, Pinot Noir, Aesop’s Red, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Of those, Pinot Noir and Aesop’s Red have been popular. In addition to wine, beers are offered, such as Tom’s Cerveza, Pam’s Radler, Adam’s Kolsch, Evan’s Ale, Andy’s Stout and Genny’s Cider. Fables and Feathers is located at 2117 Bruno Drive in Goodview. Summer hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday to Monday. The business may be called at 540-420-0916 or emailed at email@example.com. More information may be found at fablesandfeatherswinery.com.
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HICKORY HILL VINEYARDS
Photos by Jeff Reid
Hickory Hill Vineyards & Winery has been growing wine grapes for nearly four decades, with two decades serving as a winery, making it the oldest winery at Smith Mountain Lake. It has been around for three generations of the Furrow family, with Roger Furrow as the owner and co-founder, and family members Wendy Furrow-Scott and Donald Furrow-Scott managing. The winery has received more than 80 awards in state, national and international competitions. It has a 1923 farmhouse tasting room with gift shop and picnic area. Although the indoor tasting bar has been closed, the picnic area is open by reservation, and the indoor bar may reopen for reservations in fall 2021. Orders may be placed online, and curbside pickup, local delivery and shipping is available. Traditional wines offered are Full Pond, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The Smith Mountain Lake series of wines consists of Mist, Country Red, Redbud, Sunset and Sweet Red Sail. The winery also offers a series of music events called Sunset Saturday and had started a charitable event called Charity Cheers. Hickory Hill Vineyards is located at 1722 Hickory Cove Lane in Moneta. Summer hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. The company may be called at 540-296-1393 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information may be found at www.SMLwine.com.
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RAMULOSE RIDGE VINEYARDS
Photos by Jeff Reid
Ramulose Ridge Vineyards is an award winning winery that opened in 2013 with an updated facility after Jim and Sandi Ramaker started it in 2004. The indoor tasting room isn’t open, but in the meantime, it has outdoor seating available on a 1,100 square-foot patio and pergola. Guests are welcome to bring chairs or blanket to sit on the lawn. Due to COVID-19, masks are required when ordering, paying and using the restrooms. Parties of seven or more are asked to call 540-314-2696 in advance. They serve wine flights and wine by the glass and bottle. They also offer cigars and have snacks available, such as cookies, brownies, cheese, crackers and even pizzas. White wines consist of Vidal Blanc, Traminette, Viognier and Chardonel. Red wines offered are Malbec, Cab Franc, Chambourcin, Syrah and Robusto. Semisweet wines are Blackwater, Blush, Muscat and Tendril. Cigars offered include Flatbed Cigar Company Truck (Green PA Broadleaf, Azul Cameroon and White Corojo) and Panacea Cigars (Black Maduro and Red Habano). The site has held Yoga events and has offered its 2,200 square-foot event space for various events, including weddings (including 1,100 square-foot indoor space). There also is a 600 square-foot pavilion. Ramulose Ridge Vineyards is located at 3061 Hendricks Store Road in Moneta. Summer hours are 1-6 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and 1-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The company may be called at 630-485-8941 or emailed at email@example.com. More information may be found at ramuloseridgevineyards.com.
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SEVEN DOORS WINERY
Photos courtesy of Seven Doors Winery
Seven Doors Winery offers wines that are organic and biodynamic. It’s unique by offering a spiritual experience with yoga classes, wine meditations and fire celebrations. It has a 2,000-square foot tasting room and an outdoor area with a covered porch, wooded walking trails, etc., that can be booked for events. The winery also serves as a wedding venue, offering a large cedar wedding arbor, organic wines, florals, locally sourced foods and local musicians. Seven Doors Winery is located 5800 Johnson Mountain Road in Huddleston. Its summer hours are noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Dogs are welcomed, and outside food is encouraged. Owner Jen Feazelle may be contacted by calling 540-605-8745 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. More information may be found at sevendoorswinery.com.•
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By Sylvia Allen
Sending love from the Valentines Post Office
alentine cards start arriving in early January at the Valentines Post Office. Cards are sent from all over the United States and from foreign countries to receive a special stamp of love. The post office with its special holiday name applies special postmarks. Typically the Post Office postmarks over 25,000 valentines each year. Each valentine is hand stamped with a heart cachet in the upper left corner and the postmark is shaped like a valentine. Established in 1887, the Valentines, Virginia, Post Office was originally located in the Valentine Family Store, in the southern part of Brunswick County, and named after the first Postmaster, William Henry Valentine, who served in the small rural post office until his death in 1911. His wife, Emma Rawlings Valentine, took over the post from 1911 to 1914, and then was passed to son, Herbert E. Valentine, and then to another son, Lewis Valentine, who carried on the family tradition. In 1924, the post office was moved to Robert J. Clary’s store
a mile down the road from the original location where he served as postmaster. After Mr. Clary’s retirement, William R. Wright became postmaster and designed the special valentines postmark. Through the efforts of Mr. Wright and his wife Frances, the postmark grew in popularity and has brought the community much notoriety. Many newspaper and magazine articles have been written and television news stories have covered the little post office in Valentines and its famous postmark. The 1995 Love Stamp was first issued by the United States Postal Service on February 1, 1995, at the Valentines Post Office. It hosted the official first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony for the stamp and postmarked 75,000 requests for first-day-of-issue postmark cancellations. Over the years, the post office has hosted many weddings and countless other special events. Many local elementary 34 SIGHTS & BITES 2021
school children have visited and mailed their cards directly through the post office. In 2008, the Virginia General Assembly through House Joint Resolution 27 gave special recognition to the post office and community of Valentines, designating February 14, 2008 and each succeeding year, as Valentines, Virginia Day in the Commonwealth. The last line of the resolution sums up best the meaning of the post office to the community: The citizens of Valentines, Virginia, are immensely proud of the role that the Valentines, Virginia, Post Office provides in making Valentine’s Day a special day for countless children, families, romantics, and collectors.
If you can’t make it to Valentines, but you’d like the special postmark on your Valentines cards, mail your addressed cards to the Valentines post office in a large envelope. You can put stamps on each of the cards or enclose a check for the price of the stamps. Postmaster Kathy Fajna will handcancel the cards with the Valentines postmark and rubber-stamp each with a special red, heart-shaped seal. Mail your cards to: Postmaster 23 Manning Drive Valentines, VA 23887
Pictured on opposite page, at top, Julius Chavis, 6, and Juliana Chavis, 3, both from Freeman, Virginia were going to mail their Valentines cards from the Valentines Post Office. Photo/ Sylvia Allen. Below, the girls and boys from the Country Mouse School in Lawrenceville visited the Valentines Post Office. Photo/Contributed.
Shown above, at top, visitors to the Valentines Post Office are encouraged to sign the guest book. Photo/Sylvia Allen. Below, the Valentines Post Office draws people from far and near: Joshua Wilshire, left, from Portsmouth, Christ Erbe from Emporia, Eric Thompson from Suffolk and Scott Greenwood from Portsmouth. Photo/Sylvia Allen. 2021 SIGHTS & BITES 35
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Farmer’s Market By Debra Ferrell
armer’s Markets provide a great deal of enjoyment to the public as they stroll the open-air markets, connect with friends, talk to vendors, and just have fun! Not to mention buying fresh food grown by local farmers as well as purchasing merchandise offered by many. Forest Farmer’s Market located in Forest Virginia is a thriving venture that weathered the storms of COVID to continue to function when many have shut the doors. Market Manager Dorothy McIntyre had a dream of opening a fresh food market when she moved here. “I love food! After moving to Virginia from Long Island, NY, I discovered that the area was rich in farmland. What I didn’t know is that there wasn’t an easy access to purchase nutrient dense food locally.” When she moved to Forest in 2009, finding local food was even more of a challenge so she began researching and worked with the local Virginia Tech extension agency to get together enough people to start a market. The market started in 2011 with 11 farmers and has now grown to an average of 35 vendors and showed sales of over $500,000 in the 2020 season. On a recent summer day, the market was packed with customers, many bringing along their pet dogs, out for a stroll. Vendors were set up along a winding road behind the Forest public library. Early on, customers were greeted by vendors like Gary Arthur at the Walnut Winds Farm in Blairs as he sold delicious fresh vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers. On either side of him, Bonnie Giles and Evan Laughin sold lemonade and popcorn at Ice Cold Lemonade and Sherwin Pilley offered tasty treats at Cakes & Pipers Bakery. A variety of vendors of every sort were lined up down the lane ending with Cupid’s BBQ with Bernet “J.R.” Reverly where the popular chef stayed busy cooking racks of ribs and making “piled high” sandwiches. Some of the best tasting barbecue around! Cupid’s BBQ also offers catering! The weekly Saturday markets end the last weekend
in October with vendors staying inside and holding markets once a month on the second Saturday until the new season starts in April. Spare time is hard to come by for McIntyre who enjoys taking care of grandsons and boating and hiking as well as baking in what free time she has. When asked if she raises produce or sells merchandise, she replies, “I do not, I coordinate all the wonderful vendors that are farmers, artisans, and make value added products.” She thinks the greatest benefits to the community and to vendors the market provides is letting the community support local entrepreneurs as well as local small farmers. “Families can purchase local fruits and veggies along with meats that are nutrient dense.” A full season is $300 for 29 weeks or a guest vendor can pay $25 per market. There is an application process, and the vendor must be accepted. If it’s a guest vendor that must be approved for the weekend they want to come, she creates a layout and lets the vendors know where they will be. Full season vendors have the same spot each week. Guest vendors fill in where there are spaces. When asked what is her favorite thing about the market, she answers, “The people, both vendors and customers. It’s fun to watch a new customer come in all “nervous” and by the end of the season they are asking the vendors questions about how things are raised and what variety something is. Same for the vendors, many times they come in with an idea and it’s interesting to watch it develop and grow. I have seen this with farmers, candle makers and potters.” The last year of “COVID” has been challenging for most businesses. The market has managed to avoid that. “I think since we are an open-air market it felt “safer” along with people wanting to know where their food came from. I only had two vendors out of about 40 ask for refunds because they didn’t want to vend last year. We had several vendors with online stores so the customers would order and then just pick up at the market.”• 2021 SIGHTS & BITES 37
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2021 SIGHTS & BITES 39
Farmers’ Market By Debra Ferrell
t seems like the farmers’ market is popular no matter where it’s at…Yanceyville North Carolina is no exception. From April through the first week of September each year, the Caswell Farmers’ Market is one of the busiest places in town as customers pour through the gates to see what the market has each week. Homegrown fruits and vegetables, handcrafted products, jewelry, flowers, potted plants, baked goods, and more provide a boost to the meal table as well as help support local farmers and artisans. Rebecca Page, one of the market’s co-organizers says that total sales for this season are $39,500 (as of August 26, missing the final week’s tally) compared to $37,375 for the same number of weeks in 2020. She says customers spent an average of $13 per visit. Much to everyone’s delight, the market was able to provide many $5 coupons throughout the season to help defray costs for consumers. Of those coupons, $3,450.00 was distributed to clients of Shady Grove UMC and Locust Hill UMC food pantries, County Outreach Ministry, and the Caswell Senior Center. “Caswell Family Medical Center has distributed $1,200 in $25 gift cards. Vendors are reimbursed for all coupons they accept,” says Page. So, if each vendor has five coupons to redeem, it will pay for their $25 booth fee. Adding to the fun, last year at the market, they gave out coupons for people wearing masks and washing their hands with soap and water stations at the market entrance. The total number of visitors/volunteers/vendors in 2021—3,041 beats the last two years’ totals of 2,801 in 2020 and 2,539 in 2019. The average number of vendors per market day was nine. The most vendors on a day totaled 15. The least number was two on a misty, cold day. However, both of those vendors said they had good sales to the customers who came out. The season ends in early September since many of the farmers’ crops have petered out for the year. However, some grow fall crops or raise produce or flowers inside
40 SIGHTS & BITES 2021
greenhouses so they can continue farming year round. Several at the market provide an online service where customers can have boxes of produce delivered to their home or pick up at the farm. Honey Bee Hills Farm is one of those…it’s a familyowned, certified organic produce farm located in the rolling hills of Prospect Hill, North Carolina. Owners Rich and Liz Mason had worked all over the world in international development, but wanted to return home full time to put down their roots and contribute to the community’s health. “We would like to think that our experiences abroad have made us better farmers, community members, and entrepreneurs, but who knows,” says Liz Mason. She has worked with designing and managing a multiyear 50,000 subject study of educational achievement across seven regions of Pakistan and has a master’s degree in data science. Since the couple didn’t know what they wanted to raise, they named it Honey Bee Hills Farm after her love of beekeeping and the hilly terrain. They started by growing produce and keeping one beehive on a half-acre of the 130-acre property, but have steadily expanded to over 15 acres of produce and ten beehives as they learn and grow as farmers. “We achieved our organic certification in 2018 and added cut flowers to the farm in 2020,” says Rich Mason. “Like many businesses, COVID-19 forced us to make many adjustments to the way that we get our products from farm to our customers’ kitchens and tables. In March of 2020, we launched online preorders and a home delivery service to help our customers feel as safe as possible in accessing our products. In 2021, we will continue to expand our home delivery offerings as we strive to match our products and services with the needs of our growing service area.”•
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By Laurie Paolicelli Photos by Dale Edwards
HILLSBOROUGH: WHERE HISTORY, CULTURE, COCKTAILS MEET
ith a downtown historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places and more than one hundred buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, Hillsborough has been called a museum without walls – and rightly so. Hillsborough is among the oldest communities in North Carolina — it was founded in 1754 — and the small town retains much of its historic charm today. But it doesn’t take much digging to realize that there’s another world here as well, a world of art, food, literature, craft cocktails and organic food. The past and present live side-by-side and that’s what gives this town its life. On King Street alone, there’s a bar called Yonder, serving as Hillsborough’s unofficial living room where folks gather to enjoy craft cocktails, beer, wine, and the arts. Live music and local rotating artist installations make Yonder a warm and comfortable place for friends to gather and relax. Next door is Cup-A-Joe, a coffee house where the baristas create art you can drink: ah, espresso! They call this “the art of the bean.” Down the street is Nomad, which specializes in traditional ethnic dishes and craft cocktails with a spin, all in a cozy, rustic interior that was once a movie house. It’s modern, hip, and delicious. It’s like a quick trip around the world without ever leaving town. The Colonial Inn is an iconic cornerstone of downtown Historic Hillsborough. After years of waiting, the doors are now open. The food is fourstar and the ambience is, too. There are not many restaurants where you can look up from your 42 SIGHTS & BITES 2021
Pictured below, the Billy Strayhorn mural in downtown Hillsborough, is a tribute to the jazz legend. At right, Hillsborough offers many options for dining and shopping. appetizer and see a happy bride and groom skipping to their limo and driving away into the rest of their lives, or run into one of the many famous local authors who live here. Buy a book at Purple Crow and they’ll sign it. They might even join you for a drink. Downtown Hillsborough is home to several art galleries, including Hillsborough Art Gallery, and nearby Margaret Lane Gallery. On King Street is the Thomas Stevens Gallery. Stevens and his wife Debbie are epicureans. When asked where he and his wife like to dine-out, he shared his list. Stevens says you cannot beat a great burger and fries at the Wooden Nickel Pub. At Antonia’s he raves about the Fettuccine with pork meatballs and truffle sauce. A favorite menu item at Radius Pizza is the Old Reliable S&P Pizza. Tacos Los Altos is a go to for their Chicken Burrito and the amazing breakfast. Other favs include: Hillsborough BBQ on Nash Street, known for their pit-cooked BBQ; and further up King Street is the Village Diner, comfort food in the Southern style. And, also on Nash Street, is Whit’s, of course, for some Almond Joy frozen custard! Stevens reminds Hillsborough visitors that local art thrives outdoors as well. Love Hillsborough Community Art Project was created by the Orange County Arts Commission, with mosaic artist Carlos González García, to celebrate community and love during the pandemic. Community members created more than 150 heart mosaics that were installed in the Eno Parking Deck just off the Hillsborough River Walk. A mural honoring jazz great Billy Strayhorn adorns a building located inside Hillsborough’s Historic District. Max Dowdle, the artist behind the mural, worked with Volume Records co-owner Tony Lopez on the design, which they named “Take the A Train,” one of Strayhorn’s most well-known compositions. You can also snap a selfie in front of the recently-completed Hillsborough mural on the side of the News of Orange County 2021 SIGHTS & BITES 43
building at 109 E. King Street. The holidays are a special time to visit Hillsborough, with a number of unique and festive events, including a parade and tree lighting, the Homes for the Holidays Gingerbread competition in downtown storefronts; and the Hillsborough Arts Council’s Solstice Lantern Walk. Be sure to check out Hillsborough Arts Council’s Gallery & Gift Shop, which represents many artists from Hillsborough and Orange County. You’ll find unique pottery, fabric art, prints, wood, jewelry, and more. Be sure to check their site for special events. (www.hillsboroughartscouncil.org And for those of a more peripatetic bent, take a walk to the centerpiece of this lovely town, a 1.8-mile paved trail that runs alongside the Eno River from Gold Park through the middle of Hillsborough, and is part of the statewide Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Breathe that crisp southern air. Before you leave visit the Cloth Mill at Eno River. The Mill is home to the Orange County Arts Mill Studios as well as other specialty manufacturers and distributors of a wide variety of commercial, craft and artisanal products. There is no other town in North Carolina quite like Hillsborough, quaint and cutting-edge at the very same time. The next time the weather calls for Carolina Blue skies, make it a daytrip. Or better yet, spend the night. Laurie Paolicelli is executive director at Visit Chapel Hill in Orange County, N.C.•
Pictured above, starting at top, The newly remodeled Colonial Inn in downtown Hillsborough, is a central character of the town’s rich history. The Occaneechi Indian Village can be explored along one of the many hiking trails in Hillsborough. The grounds and trails at Ayr Mount offer visitors a picturesque backdrop for a variety of special ocassions . 44 SIGHTS & BITES 2021
HILLSBOROUGH & CARRBORO
WARM THE HEART OF A LOCAL BUSINESS OWNER. Sights,
Instead of staying in tonight, spend an evening under the lights showing your favorite local businesses some love. www.visitchapelhill.org
&bites! CHAPEL HILL, CARRBORO & HILLSBOROUGH
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Travelers are looking for ideas and inspiration when thinking about a vacation. SIGHTS & BITES provides our readers with details on local outdoor recreation, food and drink, culture and heritage, family experiences, regional travel suggestions and local picks.
PICK UP YOURS TODAY! Star-Tribune 28 N Main St. Chatham, VA 434-432-2791
da s a ee for ours as i s ails o le a d e ail ales
Monday-Thursday 11am-7pm Friday 11am-9pm Saturday 1pm-9pm Sunday 12noon-6pm 200 Rock Fish Drive Weldon, NC 27890