Memorial Day weekend in North Carolina usually means beach or lake for a lot of people. P and I tend to shy away from the crowds and the traditional.When we go to the beach, it is not the 4th of July, Memorial Day, or Labor Day weekends. While other people are sitting in traffic, we are typically sitting on the porch. These types of weekends are the prefect time to explore your own town, without the crowds. This Memorial Day we decided to do a little tour of our own backyard, and headed over to Saxapahaw and Hillsborough. It’s about an hour drive from Raleigh.
Saxapahaw has been on our list now for a while to visit and it was recently featured in the New York Times, so we thought this would be the perfect weekend to try to see the area before the crowds start showing up.
We started the day at Saxapahaw General Store, which we have heard great things about, and we were not disappointed. I tried the reuben with house-made pastrami and P opted for a twist on eggs benedict with a tomato basil hollandaise. They have a very large menu and it was SO hard to make a selection. It was all VERY tasty. They also offer house-made sodas, and we sampled a few of the flavors. After enjoying our lunch, we strolled around the store, while not expansive, it did have some interesting local finds, and I came away with lip balm, chocolates, crackers, and soap.
It was a gorgeous day, so we decided to take advantage of the lovely outdoor area offered by The Eddy, and enjoyed some sunshine, the view, and a few drinks. Saxapahaw is not big, so don’t expect too many choices in terms of activities. There is a farmers market along with live music on Saturday’s starting at 4:00pm, which sounded fun but we had other sights to see.
Next, we headed over to Hillsborough for a little more exploring. First stop, was Mystery Brewing. They have a wide variety of drafts, including some guest taps. Mystery has a very laid back feel with regulars and visitors alike, keeping them busy.
Upon leaving Mystery we headed up to the main street of Hillsbourgh that is a bit more populated compared to Saxapahaw. We checked out our options, and stopped in at LaPlace for a little snack. LaPlace offers 4 varieties of house-made sausages, so we could not pass up the sausage sampler for our snack. I wasn’t overly impressed and did not care for the texture, but P liked it. Following our snack, we took a lap around Weaver Street Market, a local co-op grocery, where I might have bought some more chocolate and a few other items that caught my eye. 😉 After, depositing my finds back at the car, we took a stroll through the residential area, admiring the many houses built in the 1800 & 1900’s.
As 5:30 rolled around we made a beeline to Panciuto. The chef of Panciuto was nominated for a 2014 James Beard for “Best Chef in the Southeast” and boasts a 95% local menu. I strongly recommend reservations; there was a line of people waiting for the doors to open at 5:30, most already having reservations. The drinks and food were excellent. I went with squid-ink spaghetti with smoked clams and crab meat, the flavors were quite good but the spaghetti had a bit of a tough texture. Our appetizer of beef carpaccio was my favorite dish but P’s “chicken-fried” steak was also pretty amazing. I would have loved to try dessert but did not want to be stuffed for the car ride home.
Do you ever make an effort to explore your own backyard? What’s on your list to explore?