Monday, June 21, 2010

The Long Way To Saxapahaw!

The ride on Sunday turned out to be more like 150 miles than the 100 miles anticipated. Bob Pickard led the way and the caboose on a cool three wheeler with three of us staggered between.

The ride cut north on country “two-laners” from Durham through Orange and Person counties to Hyco Lake, then south and west through Caswell and Alamance counties to Mebane and south. The highlight for me was seeing Saxapahaw, NC in what locals call UCLA for Upper Chatham, Lower Alamance Counties.saxsign

In North Carolinian, you say the first part Saxa very quickly then put the emphasis on “paw” as in paaawww with the “h” silent.”

Saxapahaw is probably 25 miles due west from my house if I stay on country roads and avoid Chapel Hill and Carrboro. The old mill on the Haw river there has been renovated like those in Durham to apartments, lofts and townhomes etc. The owners have also restored “mill houses” around the mill.

Although either the owners or the the webmaster must have a ‘tude about Durham, the website readily notes proximity to Research Triangle Park in SE Durham and Chapel Hill while managing to never mention Durham by name.

This is typically an intentional slight perpetuated by Raleigh/Wake County real estate agents and developers. Too bad for this little town that they weren’t inoculated from that crap…Durham is the readiest source of a quarter of a million visitors for Saxapahaw business, festivals and farmers market… and by the way Durham is also one of the most highly ranked communities in the nation and the state.

The Haw runs to Jordon Lake, named for Senator B. Everett Jordan, a massive reservoir that starts in South Durham and submerges a vast chunk of Chatham County. Senator Jordan lived in Saxapahaw, owned the mill and his family bought it back after it closed and voila!

The centerpiece for me though and the reason it is a great ride just to have breakfast is the Saxapahaw General Store or as they liken it on t-shirts there, just your “local Five Star gas station.”

It includes a gourmet grill, general store and kind of a miniature of Durham’s Wellspring, now Whole Foods market.

Beautiful day, great ride, highlighted by a cool little place with a great sense of place.

Here is an article in Our State Magazine with more on Saxapahaw posted on the mill site.

1 comment:

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