Saturday in Saxapahaw


Saxapahaw has recently been written up in Chapel Hill Magazine, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. The little town is bursting with art, music, a lovely general store, and a distinct community feel – all operating at the perfect small town pace. Their “Saturdays in Saxapahaw” (May – August) offer an evening farmers market, free live music, a homemade slip ‘n slide, and a rolling hill perfect for that red checkered picnic basket and over-sized blanket. What more could you ask for on a summer night?

All that separates Chapel Hill from Saxapahaw is a peaceful, beautiful 30-minute drive across the Alamance county line, over rolling hills, and through sprawling green pastures. Just a few miles outside of Chapel Hill, my friends and I found a small escape from the familiar and routine. Just find a parking spot down the road and join the crowds licking homemade ice cream while strolling through the small farmers market. Stalls offer everything from local jewelry to local beef.  Weave through brightly colored blankets, dodge blurs of kids whizzing by, venture onto the grass, and grab a spot between people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. A small wooden stage boasts middle aged men living the dream and belting out blue grass.  The impressive homemade slip ‘n slide draws crowds of munchkins, while the adults lounge around coolers and sip on cold beers. You can find the hill colored with a rainbow of folks, sporting a spectrum of tattoos to Jack Rogers.

After catching the sights and sounds of the market and music, you can meander over to the water to get a good view of the Haw River that runs right through the town. The Haw River Ballroom and coffee shop are begging me to come back, listen to live music in the historic ball room, and sit on the balcony with a rich local cup o’ Joe.


While in the area, stroll over to the general store. You can find everything from local produce and crafts to NC beers and Cheetos. Baskets of books, magazine, and trinkets are posted outside, displaying the “take a penny, leave a penny” mentality of the town. The grill was sizzling and we got in line. Sitting at a table on the porch as the sun went down, we sipped soda from paper cups, swatted flies, and shared stories. My Avocadomater hit the spot with avocado, tomato, cucumber and sprouts slathered with cream cheese and aioli, stuffed on grilled whole grain bread. MmmMmm. I’d go back for that sandwich.


We pulled out of town as the sun dipped behind the Saxapahaw water tower, with the windows rolled down, Alabama‘s “Song of the South” filling the summer night, and complete satisfaction with such a quality evening.

Written by Elizabeth Kraemer