A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

It’s easy to get lost in a county that spans more than 400 square miles and includes charming small towns, wide open spaces, three major river basins, and the Uwharries

Madison County Championship Rodeo

It’s easy to get lost in a county that spans more than 400 square miles and includes charming small towns, wide open spaces, three major river basins, and the Uwharries

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

It’s easy to get lost in a county that spans more than 400 square miles and includes charming small towns, wide open spaces, three major river basins, and the Uwharries

A Day Trip to Person County

It’s easy to get lost in a county that spans more than 400 square miles and includes charming small towns, wide open spaces, three major river basins, and the Uwharries — an ancient mountain range. But don’t worry — we’ll be your guide!

Located about an hour north of the Triangle, Person County is close enough for a quick trip and just far enough to feel like an escape. Spend a day exploring historic downtown Roxboro, traversing the network of hiking trails — and disc-golf courses — in local parks, paddling or fishing at beautiful Hyco or Mayo Lake, sipping local wines, and viewing the holiday lights during a North Carolina day trip.



Enjoy small town charm

Historic downtown Roxboro — which locals call Uptown — features a mile-long stretch of buildings boasting some of the best small businesses around.

Lynda Clayton, director of the Uptown Roxboro Group, recommends local shops like Green’s Jewelers, The Exchange, Russell’s Ltd., and Make Mine Homemade for unique items. Uptown is also home to architectural gems like the retro Kirby Theater.

If you work up an appetite shopping along Main Street, stop into La Piazza for a pizza or pull up a stool to the original soda fountain at Thomas and Oakley Drug Store or Cole’s Pharmacy and order an orangeade and a hot dog.

Explore a mile-long stretch of small businesses in historic downtown, or Uptown as the locals call it, Roxboro. photograph by Person County Tourism Development Authority

 

Soak up the scenery with a glass of wine

The newest addition to Person County is also one of the prettiest: Tunnel Creek Vineyards, nestled among 400 acres of rolling hills.

“The view feels like it goes on forever,” Clayton says.

Sample a glass of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Traminette, Merlot, Petit Verdot or Sauvignon Blanc in the bran-new tasting room, or head outside and cozy up in front of the firepit to watch the sun set over the vineyard (with a glass of wine, of course).

 

Step back in time

The grounds of the Person County Museum of History are set up like a historic village. Each of the buildings, which include a general store, tobacco barn, Methodist parsonage, and bell tower, feature curated exhibits that tell the stories of the people, places, and industries that shaped the county.

The log cabin that once housed the Van Hook Subscription School — where students paid $5 per session to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic — is the oldest school still standing in Person County.

The grounds of the Person County Museum of History are set up like a historic village. photograph by Person County Tourism Development Authority

 

Bag a birdie

Try your hand at tossing a frisbee into a basket on one of the local disc-golf courses. The county has three courses — Kraken at Hyco Lake, Sasquatch at Mayo Park, and Rockness Monster at Piedmont Community College — each located in a picturesque park setting.

“Disc-golf is very popular because anyone can play,” says John Hill, director of Person County Recreation, Arts, and Parks. “We’ve had people come from across the country to play our courses.”

The nine-hole professional courses are free and open to the public; the park offices even loan out equipment.

Person County has three disc golf courses, each located in a picturesque park setting. photograph by Person County Tourism Development Authority

 

Explore the countryside

The Person County Barn Quilt Trail is a popular scenic drive through the countryside to view the collection of colorful quilt squares hanging on barns across the county. Local artists painted the barn quilts and many of the squares were painted to resemble squares in family heirloom quilts.

“Some people travel all over going to the quilt trails in different parts of the country,” says Marley Spencer, director of the Person County Tourism Development Authority. “They love the historical and arts aspects of the trail.”

Stop at the tourism office for a map of the barn quilt trail, which also includes recommendations for additional stops along the route.

Local artists painted the barn quilts along the Person County Barn Quilt Trail. photograph by Person County Tourism Development Authority

 

Cure cabin fever

A hike along the five miles of trails at Mayo Lake Park is the perfect way to have a socially distant adventure.

The almost two-mile Red Tail Hawk Trail follows the serene shoreline of the reservoir and winds past cabins and campgrounds — a great place to stay the night, if you’re feeling especially outdoorsy. Watch for interpretive signs that offer information about the flora and fauna found throughout the park. And for a family-friendly outdoor adventure, explore the Story Walk at Mayo Lake Park: Staff from the Person County Library install new stories, page by page, along the trail each month.

“It’s so serene on the trails,” Hill says.

Or grab a paddle! The park also has public canoe and kayak docks and a boat ramp, which mean you can easily explore the area on the water. The park office also participates in the Fishing Tackle Loaner Program, which allows you to borrow a fishing rod and reels for free to cast a line from the pier.

 

Discover the holiday spirit

In December, set out on a merry adventure to find the best and brightest holiday light displays. Light Up Person County is a brand new self-guided driving tour past homes and businesses decked out for the holidays. The Recreation, Arts, and Parks department created a digital map of all of the participants.

“It’s a way for people to jump in the car with their families and enjoy the spirit of Christmas,” says Jennifer Dunkley, assistant director of Person County Recreation, Arts, and Parks.

Start (or end) the evening at Huck Sansbury Park with a lighted story walk that features ’Twas The Night Before Christmas.

This story was published on Dec 14, 2020

Jodi Helmer

Jodi Helmer

North Carolina-based journalist Jodi Helmer writes about food, farming, and the environment.