Holiday in Hillsborough
Historical Hillsborough, North Carolina, is the ideal holiday weekend escape.
Nestled between the Triangle and Triad areas of central North Carolina, the small town of Hillsborough is a historical gem in the heart of Orange County. Founded in 1754, the town was home to many Revolutionary and Civil War tensions, as well as the Occaneechi and Eno Indian tribes. There’s no doubt Hillsborough is a small town with a big history that really comes alive during Christmastime, as historic homes, authors, writers, museums and other local establishments get in the spirit.
The most historic and charming option for lodging is the Inn at Teardrops, located on King Street in the downtown area. The old-fashioned bed and breakfast has been intermittently used as a private residence, but was permanently converted for overnight visitors by the J.W. Richmond family in the mid 1900s. Since then, the inn’s antique-filled rooms have provided a cozy retreat for those wanting to explore the town and nearby Chapel Hill.
If you’re looking for a high-class meal, Panciuto is the perfect fit. With a menu that changes daily, this farm-to-table restaurant offers courses featuring goat cheese tortellini and pan-seared striped bass. Another favorite among locals is Radius Pizzeria and Pub, with menu items such as fresh Caprese salad, pimento cheese pizza and house-made gnocchi.
Rich with culture and creativity, the Hillsborough area is a haven for writers and artists, including authors Frances Mayes, Michael Malone, Lee Smith and Hal Crowther. Works by these writers and many more — great gift ideas for readers — can be found at the quaint Purple Crow Books in the downtown area, where owner Sharon Wheeler shares her love for literature with the community.
Coming off the heels of its opening celebration, the Hillsborough Riverwalk is the perfect setting for an afternoon walk along the Eno River. Stretching 1.8 miles, the urban greenway is part of the statewide N.C. Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which runs from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. Hillsborough’s portion is the only section of the trail located in Orange County and not to be missed.
Specifically during the holidays, events ramp up in Hillsborough with the Hillsborough Holiday Parade and Lighting of the Town Tree Ceremony happening December 6. Both events would make for a festive night out on the town. End the evening with a delectable tiramisu from Antonia’s, and you’ve got yourself a perfect date in historic Hillsborough.
Photo credits, from top: Downtown shopping courtesy of Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau, pizza from Radius Pizzeria & Pub’s Facebook page and Hillsborough Riverwalk courtesy of Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau.