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About Hillsborough, NC

For those who work in the Research Triangle Park, Durham, Chapel Hill, or Raleigh area, Hillsborough offers a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city life. Many have chosen to call Hillsborough home because of its small-town vibe, sense of community, outdoor beauty, close proximity to work, and last but not least its cultural richness. When you think of a small town, you don’t think about it having a thriving cultural scene, but Hillsborough has got it. It has not always been this way though. Twenty years ago, Hillsborough was just a collection of homes and farmland with a highway running through it. There were only a handful of restaurants back then.

Hillsborough not only has plenty of shopping and dining venues, but also a thriving art district. Not only are visual artists taking part in making Hillsborough an artistic mecca in NC, but it’s also the seat of North Carolina’s literary scene. It’s where many famous North Carolina writers have chosen to call home, including Lee Smith and Jill McCorkle to name a few.

Hillsborough offers fast access to both the Triangle and the Triad with Interstate 85 and Interstate 40.

History and Culture in Hillsborough, NC

Hillsborough has always been a land of many pathways throughout its history. Hillsborough was established in 1754 and was known as the place where the Great Indian Trading Path crossed the Eno River. With such a lengthy past, it’s understandable that the downtown historic district of Hillsborough would be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. To this day, several structures dating back to the late 18th and 19th centuries still stand. You’ll find historic churches, schools (Burwell School), and homes (Ayr Mount) in Hillsborough, most of which you can tour. It’s estimated that there are more than 100 historic structures including mill sites, bridges, dams, and Native American artifacts that date back thousands of years.

Dining, Shopping, and Recreation in Hillsborough, NC

It isn’t any wonder that foodies from all over the state flock to Hillsborough to experience its diverse dining venues from homegrown American fare to Louisiana gumbo to international delicacies. Many visitors to Hillsborough enjoy plates of North Carolina barbeque and craft beers at restaurants like Hillsborough BBQ Company and The Wooden Nickel.

Shoppers will enjoy homemade uniquities of the Hillsborough Farmers Market as well as the ENO Gallery where fine art galleries offer sculptures and paintings for every taste. Boutique shops along with antique stores and gift shops draw many to the shopping district. Also, you’ll find big-box retail stores such as Home Depot and Wal-Mart, so everything you need is within a short drive.

Art lovers will enjoy the many galleries and meet-and-greets with local artists at the Last Fridays Art Walk downtown. In fact, Hillsborough is noted for its vibrant artist community with Hillsborough being the home of the notable Orange County Artists Guild. Don’t miss the Orange County Open Studio Tour each November.

Residents and visitors alike enjoy many events and festivals throughout the year such as the Hillsborough Spirits Tour, McKee’s Corn Maze, and the Hillsborough Garden Tour to name a few.

For outdoor lovers, Hillsborough doesn’t skip a beat. There are several venues for outdoor recreation such as the famous Riverwalk, the Occoneechee Speedway Trail, the Eno River, and the Occoneechee Golf Club. For indoor sports enthusiasts, there’s the popular Orange County Sportsplex with ice skating, sports classes, indoor swimming, and more.

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