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The town of Hillsborough is a wonderful place to live, offering a small-town vibe and plenty of natural beauty, while being centrally located in North Carolina with fast access to the Triad and other Triangle cities. Interstate 85 runs through the town, and Interstate 40 is just south of its limits. Hillsborough’s downtown historic district, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, features homes, churches, schools, and other structures from the late 18th and 19th centuries.
The Town of Hillsborough was established in 1754, two years after the formation of Orange County, where the Great Indian Trading Path crossed the Eno River. For many years, Hillsborough was a leading town in its region of North Carolina and several significant historical events occurred there. There remain more than 100 late 18th and 19th century structures that illustrate this history. In addition, there are numerous secondary buildings, bridges, mill sites, and dams along the Eno River, and Native American relics from thousands of years ago.
DINING AND SHOPPING IN HILLSBOROUGH NC
Foodies will find no shortage of fine dining in Hillsborough. Visit Panciuto and experience delicious farm-to-table dining in a historic building. For authentic Louisiana cooking, visit Laplace Louisiana Cookery, where you will find such delicacies as homemade duck sausage, smoked salmon deviled eggs, and gumbo. It wouldn’t be Hillsborough if there were not barbeque. The Hillsborough BBQ Company offers melt-in-your mouth slow-cooked barbeque, ribs, and turkey as well as a great selection of beers and homemade pies and certainly, you can not miss the Hillsborough Farmers Market.
You will find many unique shopping destinations in Hillsborough, including the ENO Gallery, a unique fine art gallery in the heart of historic Hillsborough, offering paintings, sculpture, and fine crafts. Other boutique-style shops include antiques, clothing, sports, yarn, toys, and pets. Wal-Mart, The Home Depot, and other big-box stores also have a presence.
PARKS, CULTURE, AND RECREATION IN HILLSBOROUGH NC
There is no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy in Hillsborough! Don’t miss the Occoneechee Speedway Trail, a 44-acre site that was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. Four miles of trail take you along the banks of the Eno River where you’ll walk around the only surviving dirt speedway from NASCAR’s inaugural 1949 season. Today, this unique outdoor site allows for a diverse range of activities and is enjoyed by hikers, joggers, and other sports enthusiasts. The Eno River State Park is a beautifully preserved linear park with 2,700 acres (five access areas) and 21 miles of maintained hiking trails. The Occoneechee Golf Club is a gorgeous three-season course available to the public. There is also the Orange County Sportsplex, which offers indoor swimming, ice skating, fitness classes, camps, sports classes, and lessons/league play.
Hillsborough is home to the brand-new Riverwalk, a paved, urban greenway that stretches nearly two miles along the Eno River between Gold Park in western Hillsborough and trails east of town. It is a popular trail for walking, jogging and cycling, and provides pedestrian connections between several neighborhoods. The greenway’s downtown portion is the primary route of the N.C. Mountains-to-Sea Trail, and the first section of the statewide trail system to be constructed in Orange County. Riverwalk also is one of the few sections of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail located in an urban environment, giving users easy access to restrooms, restaurants and shopping.
Hillsborough has a vibrant community of artisans and is home to the Orange County Artists Guild, a non-profit organization of artists supporting artists. The Guild’s mission is to increase the visibility and recognition of area artists and craftspeople. The Guild was founded in 2000 by a group of diverse artists who participated in the Orange County Open Studio Tour, a popular annual event in Hillsborough since 1995. The group is primarily made up of seasoned visual artists, but also embraces emerging artists who want more understanding of what it means to produce and exhibit their work. The Guild does not place any restrictions on its members’ art or craft media, content, or style of work. The Orange County Open Studio Tour is held in Hillsborough each year in November.
LIVING IN HILLSBOROUGH NC
Hillsborough offers a plethora of museums and historic sites, including restored historic homes, churches, and gardens. Enjoy guided or self-led tours open to the public. There are several annual countywide events, such as the Carolina Tarwheels Bikefest, the Hillsborough Garden Tour, Hillsborough Hog Day, Hillsborough Spirits Tour, and McKee’s Cornmaze.
For those craft beer lovers, Mystery Brewing Public House offers seasonal beers at their unique venue that features plenty of outdoor seating, games, and live weekend music.
For the art lover, the Last Fridays Art Walk is not to be missed. This event, held on the last Friday of each month from 6:00 to 9:00 pm, showcases the talents of local artists in participating galleries and businesses throughout downtown. Many galleries host opening receptions and meet-and-greets with the artists, with light hors d’oevres and beverages.
SCHOOLS, TRANSPORT, AND HOSPITALS IN HILLSBOROUGH NC
The Orange County School District is comprised of thirteen schools: seven elementary (including one year-round school), three middle schools, and three high schools. These schools serve approximately 7,500 students. According to the Orange County schools’ Report Card data, 62.2 percent of students rated proficient last year, with just under 60 percent in 2014-15. But just over half of students–53 percent–scored high enough to be considered college and career-ready in 2015-16. Orange County school system’s four-year graduate rate rose to 89.3 percent this year, up from 88 percent in 2014-15.
Of the 115 public school districts in North Carolina, the Orange County School District rose from 36th to 27th in the state rankings this year. “I am very proud of our students and staff for their hard work and dedication, as well as their openness to change,” said Superintendent Todd Wirt. “While we are encouraged by the gains we have made, we are more focused than even on improving academic achievement for all of our students and working toward closing of achievement gaps that have persisted for too long.”
Orange County Public Transportation, operating as the Orange Bus, provides a variety of public transportation services to the citizens of rural Orange County (excluding Chapel Hill/Carrboro city limits). Transit options include public bus routes, pick-up and drop-off for the disabled and elderly, and transportation to senior centers. The Orange Bus provides safe and efficient transportation to locations within and outside Orange County.
UNC Hospital’s Hillsborough campus provides integrated and convenient care for Hillsborough and surrounding area residents. The campus is a brand-new community hospital which is an extension of UNC Medical Center, focusing on many elective surgical programs, such as Joint Replacement, Spine, Ophthalmology, Urology, Benign Gynecology, and General Surgery. The 68-bed facility combines a community hospital culture with the innovative procedures and care for which the UNC Medical Center is known.
If you are thinking about buying a home for sale in Hillsborough NC or selling a home in Hillsborough NC, give us a call at (919) 928-5131 or send us an email to explore your options and to find out when is the best time for you to make a move.