After exploring the mountain bike trails of Lake Crabtree outside of Raleigh we made the call to head back towards High Point for a late afternoon lunch. As usual, we were dirty, sweaty, hungry, and very, very thirsty! A cold beer is always the best recovery drink.
Scrolling through Instagram I noticed a post from my friend Leigh. The photo was from the tasting room of New River Farmhouse Ales located in Saxapahaw. Boy did those frosty beers make my mouth water. But--where the heck is Saxapahaw? We quickly googled, loaded up maps and headed off to find our friends. Little did we know that we would stumble upon, a quaint rural community where a lofty vision has paid off.
The restored Saxapahaw Rivermill, which is nestled on the banks of the Haw River is the perfect anchor for what was already a charming community built around organic farming and sustainable living and a short drive to Chapel Hill, Hillsborough and Durham.
We found our friends who were shocked beyond belief that we would be in Saxapahaw! We confessed that we had seen the Instagram post and this was not a random meeting. We quickly trotted off to New River Farmhouse Ales tasting room and we were not disappointed. New River Farmhouse Ales prides itself on Belgian style brewed beer with a country twist, using fresh local ingredients lending the brew a distinct character.
There are lots of gems at the Rivermill including the Saxapahaw General Store known for it's gourmet food and specialty items and has been featured in the New York Times and Gourmet magazine. If that's not enough there is the Left Bank Butchery, Cup 22 Coffee House, The Eddy Pub, and the Haw River Ballroom.
The back side of the Rivermill has been converted to loft condominiums. We called the listing agent and made a trip back to Saxapahaw the following Saturday to tour the lofts and enjoy the Saxapahaw Farmers Market and Music Series later in the day.
The lofts offered a modern surprise within the reinterpreted mill structure. The two level dwellings offer an open and flexible plan while keeping many of the structural elements of the original rustic building. The model is finished with well appointed amenities and finishes.
After being wowed by the lofts we ate a quick bite at Eddy's Pub where simple food is amplified by local ingredients. We grabbed a growler from New River farmhouse and headed across the street to the Saxapahaw Farmers Market and Music Series. The stage is positioned at the bottom of the hill which serves as a natural bowl for an amphitheatre. The music series runs every Saturday from May till the end of August usually bringing hundreds of people. The event is free, however, there is the iconic swan that is passed around for donations. The crowd is diverse and the music was delightful.
If you looking for a fun excursion I would highly recommend Saxapahaw. With the Haw River as your playground and the Saxapahaw Rivermill providing a great place to spend an afternoon with great food, beverages, checking out some cool crafts, and listening to great music. Contented, refreshed, our appetites and senses sated, Saxapahaw's scene delivers on all counts...because they get it...design matters. --AF