Regions of Piedmont
While traveling on U.S. Hwy 64 between Mocksville and Asheboro, you’ll be lucky enough to drive straight through the heart of the Barbecue Capital of the World. Lexington, North Carolina is recognized the world over for its excellence in this classic American Cuisine. Travel to Lexington on one of the last two Saturdays in October, and you will be one of many guests at the World Famous Annual Barbecue Festival. This town, with a population of normally 19,000, grows to host over 200,000 barbecue lovers for this one special day.
Settled in 1775, Lexington lies in the western part of North Carolina’s Piedmont region. It is home to the historically treasured Old Davidson County Courthouse, Richard Childress’ Winery and Vineyard, and the nationally acclaimed Bob Timberlake Art Gallery. Lexington is a place full of small-town character whose charm adds to its extraordinary quality of life.
Asheboro, NC is home to over 21,000 people. The town proudly hosts the North Carolina Zoo, which is one of the world’s largest natural habitat zoos with over one thousand animals from North America and Africa. The NC Aviation Museum and American Classic Motorcycle Museum also reside in Asheboro. Further, for my fellow goat cheese lovers out there, be sure to stop into Ginnie Tate’s Goat Lady Dairy which resides in a 200-year-old log house on a worn-out tobacco farm, while the more adventurous ones take a ride on the Richland Creek ZipLine Canopy Tour!
Once a blooming Milltown now seeking to become a tourist hotspot on Highway 64, Franklinville is a quaint site to visit filled to the brim with rich history dating back to 1847 and prior. Its boundaries are now home to over 1,151 people – most of which commute to other nearby towns like Ashboro to work– and to 14 Cultural Heritage Sites; including Island Ford, Faith Rock, George Makepeace House, Curtis-Buie House, Julian House, Hank’s Lodge, Lambert Parks House, Thomas Rice House, D.M Wheaterly House, the Franklinville Roller Mill, the Franklinville Manufacturing Company, the Franklinville Manufacturing Company Store, the “Cotton Row” Houses and the Randolph Manufacturing Company.
Siler City is a community comprised of 7,933 residents located in central North Carolina at the junction of US64 and US421. Siler City has been known as a railroad and farming community ever since it was founded in the 1750’s. Siler City is home of the supposed best burger in North Carolina—Johnson’s Drive-In—which coincides with the meet processors that town was once known for, although they have today faded away. Frances Bevier, the woman who played Aunt Bee on the Andy Griffith Show, is from Siler City—a large aspect of the town’s claim to fame. Further, Terry McInturff who made twenty to thirty-thousand dollar guitars for Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) and Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) has an exclusive studio downtown. If these three aspects aren’t enough encouragement to visit this quaint town, Siler City is worth visiting merely for the kindhearted, friendly residents that the town is known for.
Saxapahaw is a small picturesque town with a population of just under 1,500. The Haw River runs through the town, creating a beautiful backdrop and recreational destination for kayaking and other adventures. Saxapahaw was once a mill town built around the community’s cotton mill, which was first built in 1844. Today, the Saxapahaw Rivermill has taken the old cotton mill’s place. No town better combines historic village life with vibrant and sustainable living. Well-known by locals of all sorts, and also recognized by The New York Time and The Washington Post, Saxapahaw is acclaimed for its food, live music, farmland, lakes and riverside trails. Most notably, Saxapahaw is home to a “5 Star Gas Station” that is a must see! The Saxapahaw General Store blends a convenience store with a locally grown food café where the food is absolutely outstanding and undoubtedly the best and freshest food in the area. Read about our dining experience at the Saxapahaw General Store here: http://www.saxgenstore.com/
Pittsboro is located in the center of Chatham County which is one of the fastest growing counties in North Carolina. Pittsboro inhabits a diverse group of people—from artists and farmers, to merchants and students. Pittsboro is home to four local schools—one elementary school, two middle schools, one high school, as well as Central Carolina Community College, Chatham County Campus. Roughly 3,700 people live in the town. The North Carolina Zen Center—a Zen Buddhist Temple and Buddhist retreat center—is also located in Pittsboro. Pittsboro has moved away from textiles, the world’s largest clothing label mill, and poultry that once fully consumed the town’s economy. Today, commuter income, retail, and a developing business in genetics have taken over.
The town of Apex, just east of Raleigh, has the town motto of “The Peak of Good Living”, Apex was named the 14th Best Place to Live in the USA 5 years ago by Money Magazine. Apex is referred to as the Peak City, as it is located at the highest part of the Chatham Railroad, which once led from Richmond, VA to Jacksonville, FL. This small town is a place that sticks to its’ historic roots, and has made great efforts at preserving its’ historic downtown. After a major renovation, Apex has managed to preserve its beautiful downtown railroad district, noted by the national Register of Historic Places. In this area, certain buildings date back to the 1800s.
As Raleigh is not only the capital of the great state of North Carolina, but was also just recently voted the number one city to live in America by Businessweek, it is a very popular place. As the largest city in North Carolina, with a population of roughly 417,000 over 144 square miles, Raleigh is known to be one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Downtown Raleigh is a bustling place, with restaurants, shops, museums, performing arts centers and government offices and council buildings—and not to mention, the Raleigh court house. The city of Raleigh as a whole has over 12,000 acres of parks, and is also home to the PNC Arena, which houses the NC State basketball team, as well as the Carolina Hurricanes, the state’s professional hockey team, as well many events each year. NC State University is also located in Raleigh, giving the city a college town feel, coupled with it’s small town charm and big city feel, everybody is bound to find something in Raleigh. Raleigh provides Highway 64 a city feel for the NC Highway 64 driver.