photo credit Saxapahaw, NC (saxapahawnc.com)
What is Saxapahaw, North Carolina? Is it a town? Is it a commercial district? A school? An event center? An old mill? How about all of the above! Located in the South East part of Alamance County you can find the region of Saxapahaw surrounding the Haw River. Just 25 minutes to Chapel Hill, this area is blazing a trail in lifestyle, agriculture, art & history, food, and more! In this article we cover the history of Saxapahaw, NC, what is happening in the area now along with some great community events that are going on, and unique communities nearby that are all within minutes to the Triangle!
What’s in a name? Saxapahaw, NC
As with much of North Carolina, Saxapahaw has strong ties to its southern history and the native American tribes who first settled in the area. The Sissipahaw Native American tribe were the first to enjoy the benefits of the area's location near the Haw River. It is noted that contact with the Saxapahaw, also known as the Sissipahaw tribe, was made first by Europeans in the 16th century, though little is known about the tribe after the Tuscarora War (1713-1715) and Yamasee War (1715-1716).
As the years progressed so did Saxapahaw, and its location on the Haw River gave way for it to become a mill town. In 1844 John Newlin’s Saxapahaw Cotton Mill began construction. The mill ran for nearly 150 years with large expansions and owners, and waterpower turned to hydrological power overtime which still operates and creates clean energy today!
Since the mill's closure, Saxapahaw had a beautiful regrowth into a modern renaissance and is a town of nearly 2,000 residents, home to green energy, farmland, schools, businesses, and at the top of nationally acclaimed restaurants along with art and architecture.
A Modern Renaissance: Local Favorites!
Food and Drink along with history are always industries that help a town become a popular destination, and this is no different for Saxapahaw.
The Eddy Pub is a local hotspot which features its own style of ‘Pub Food’ that is both southern comfortable mixed with European flair. Eddy’s Pub is a truly local food joint, using as much product as possible from local farms, nonGMO and organic, and using sustainably and humanely treated protein and fish. Check out the Eddy Pub’s menu HERE and don’t forget to make a reservation!
Another unique location is the Saxapahaw General Store. A welcoming neighborhood feeling welcomes you into the general store, which is a sit-down restaurant, deli/butcher/ gas station, and indeed a General Store with shelves of general convenience needs! The menu as well as groceries for sale are sourced as local as possible with a menu that features food such as pizza, breakfast, even mussels and steak! CLICK HERE to see their full menu.
The Saxapahaw General Store prides itself on being a place where friends and family gather with a common connection to community. From local brews and foods to art and culture, you can find it all at the General Store.
Looking for a local brew while in town? Make sure to stop by Haw River Farmhouse Ales. Another local small business that is supporting its neighbors through locally sourced organic products. Haw River Farmhouse brews with a southern style highlighting French and Belgian style ales. You can find Haw River Ales throughout the Triangle area as well as enjoy their featured can release event at local bars or in their Tasting Room located in the Old Mill near the famous Haw River Ballroom.
One of the highlights of the Saxapahaw rebirth was the creation of the Haw River Ballroom. This riverside music venue is one of a kind and features events all year long. It is a celebration of local artists and architecture as well as the community that makes Saxapahaw unique.
The following is featured text on the Haw River Ballroom’s about us page and covers so much for what they are to the area: “ With highly engineered acoustics, and state of the art sound and lighting systems, three floors, a riverside deck and courtyard, gorgeous architectural detail, vintage furnishings, solar and geothermal power, climate control, and an idyllic rural river setting just minutes from Chapel Hill—there is just no other place quite like it.
Opening in 2012 after years of deconstruction and renovations, Haw River Ballroom has become one of North Carolina’s destination venues for national and international artists, events, conferences, weddings and more.
Shows have included Big Thief, St. Vincent, Iron & Wine, Tank and the Bangas, Sharon Van Etten, Sufjan Stevens, Sylvan Esso, Phantogram, Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, Jeff Tweedy, Ben Gibbard, Jason Isbell, Tallest Man on Earth, The Mountain Goats, Mountain Man, Drive by Truckers, Angel Olsen, War on Drugs, Kurt Vile, Son Volt, Margo Price, Ibeyi, Beach House, and Shovels and Rope among many others” (ABOUT — Haw River Ballroom).
Saturday’s in Saxapahaw is a summer long event at the Haw River Ballroom which welcomes all to local bands, farmers markets, food trucks, and artists! It is really the place to be to feel the overall welcoming southern charm of Saxapahaw and enjoy all it has to offer.
Inside the Ballroom itself features a local favorite coffee spot called Cup 22. They have items from coffee to baked goods that are perfect to pick up before you take a stroll around the mill or enjoy an espresso overlooking the river!
There are at least 14 local family owned and operated farms in the area that food and source much food for the restaurants and people of Saxapahaw. CLICK HERE to read more about these local farmers and their specialties.
Living in Saxapahaw
If Saxapahaw sounds like a great place to live you are right! Not only are the food and event scenes the place to be, so are some of the local places to live in Saxapahaw. The Saxapahaw Rivermill features Cottages as well as Apartments and Townhomes that are in the heart of the town.
The Mill Village Cottages of the Rivermill are the original homes built from the 1800s-1940 that were used for the mill workers and families. They have all been renovated to feature welcoming front porches, hardwood floors, decks, fireplaces, new kitchens, fully insulted and energy efficient, and even have community gardens. From one bedroom to five bedroom these pet friendly Cottages are available to rent!
Also a part of the Rivermill are the Apartments and Townhomes. “Located right on the bank of the Haw River with breathtaking views from every angle, Saxapahaw Rivermill Apartments feature soaring ceilings, historic detail, huge windows, beautiful views, original hardwood floors, and split-level living spaces that provide a modern architectural feel in a beautifully historic space. Exposed brick, wooden beams, steel beams and unique architectural details can be found throughout the spaces” (Cottages & Apartments — Saxapahaw Rivermill (rivermillvillage.com).
These Apartments and Townhomes range from one to three bedrooms and 600 to 1,600 Sq. Ft.. All units are unique in architecture design, energy efficient, and feature 10-foot living room ceilings. You can find features such as the original restored maple floor, wooden beams, steel structures, exposed brick, and other original mill highlights in the units. CLICK HERE to learn more about the Rivermill Cottages, Townhomes, and Apartments!
Another community in the area are the Sissipahaw Lofts located in the Saxapahaw Cotton Mill and Dye House. These modern luxury lofts come in two styles, blank canvas where the renter can choose the home details from counters to fixtures, creating their own work of art, and the upfit condos which are professionally designed down to each last detail. The people of the Sissipahaw Lofts really want you to love where you live, which is why they give you the two options!
“Recognized for its environmental stewardship, this redevelopment project was awarded a Gold Stewardship Development Award from the Greater Triangle Stewardship Development Awards Program, the program’s highest-level award” (Floor Plans — Sissipahaw Lofts).
CLICK HERE to read and learn more about the Sissipahaw Lofts!
Saxapahaw: Love Where You Live!
If you are looking for a community that has a welcoming southern feel while also being ahead of the curve in the art, music, and food industry then Saxapahaw is for you! It is a neighborhood where you celebrate the history of the area while taking strides toward the future through clean energy and local farming. Saxapahaw offers all of this while being only minutes from the Triangle of North Carolina.
CLICK HERE to read about Carrboro, NC. This is another Triangle hot spot that offers a unique way of life mixing history with new!