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A Day in Franklinville, NC

Updated: Apr 19

Franklinville is a small town located centrally in North Carolina as a part of Randolph County. A former textile mill village, the town describes itself as “idyllic,” as it is located on the banks of the Deep River and provides a naturally serene atmosphere. For 140 years, Franklinville was defined by its two textile mills that produced biscuit flour and pajama flannel. After Chinese competition led to the downfall of these mills, the town’s identity–and local economy–took a hit. In recent years, efforts have been made to rejuvenate the town and rebuild its opportunities and growth. Curious as to what Franklinville has to offer, I took a day trip to the small town to get a feel for its community.

After a quick drive–just over an hour long–from my home in Wake County, I entered Franklinville around noon. The first thing I stumbled upon was the StoryWalk trail. Along this trail were panels containing pages from a children’s storybook; to read the book in its entirety, you had to keep walking along the trail, stopping to look at each panel. It was a fun and unique way to encourage children and their families to get both their reading and steps in! The trail itself was wide and open-spaced, overlooking a section of the river. I even spotted three turtles sunbathing on one of the giant river rocks situated above the water.

After exploring this trail for a while, I got back in my car and kept driving along the main road. Before long, I came across one of the main sites of Franklinville: the old mill. It was heavily dilapidated and covered in graffiti, but it was fascinating to imagine what it must have looked like in its prime, and how it functioned in the community.

Directly across from the mill was an entrance to the Deep River State Trail, a part of Riverside Park. Despite it being a clear Saturday afternoon, the park and trail were empty. I walked down a small portion of it and took in more of the river scene before deciding it was time for lunch.

For lunch, I ate at the Franklinville Diner. This little place is a local gem with a loyal following. A quick visit to its Facebook page reveals that it has about 1,700 site followers–that’s more than the population of Franklinville itself, which is about 1,231 (source). I ordered a plain cheeseburger and can confirm that it was delicious. Throughout the restaurant, there were people of all ages enjoying their meals together. It appeared that many of the customers were familiar with the restaurant staff, which created a nice, friendly atmosphere. I would definitely recommend eating here.

Overall, Franklinville provided a warm, small-town community feel that is hard to come by these days. I am excited to see how the town continues to grow, especially with the addition of the NC Textile Museum coming hopefully by next year. Visit Franklinville yourself and be sure to walk some of the trails and stop by the diner to meet some of the friendly locals!


--Ali Butler

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