A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Featured Image: Set out solo or with a guide for a paddling adventure with Haw River Canoe & Kayak Co. The drive to Saxapahaw winds along curving country roads lined

Madison County Championship Rodeo

Featured Image: Set out solo or with a guide for a paddling adventure with Haw River Canoe & Kayak Co. The drive to Saxapahaw winds along curving country roads lined

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Featured Image: Set out solo or with a guide for a paddling adventure with Haw River Canoe & Kayak Co. The drive to Saxapahaw winds along curving country roads lined

Downtown: Saxapahaw

Featured Image: Set out solo or with a guide for a paddling adventure with Haw River Canoe & Kayak Co.


The drive to Saxapahaw winds along curving country roads lined with tall grass and not much else. Roll down your windows to hear the hum of cicadas, to smell the sweetness of wisteria. You’ll soon understand that this little riverside town isn’t in the middle of nowhere. It’s the kind of somewhere you could stay awhile.

The former cotton mill, now called the Rivermill, is the center of activity here, just as it was for its 146 years of operation. But despite its tiny size, Saxapahaw has all the makings of a perfect day.

Here, you can choose your own adventure: Pull up a chair at the legendary Saxapahaw General Store for a BLT and a root beer, or pop in to pick up picnic provisions for an afternoon kayak trip. Grab an iced coffee from Cup 22 and stroll the trails that run along the Haw, or sit in the shade and read a good book with a cold craft brew. The red-brick mill once defined this town. Today, the town is redefining the mill.

Fuel up with a barbecue sandwich served on a homemade English muffin at the Saxapahaw General Store and sip on a craft beer from Haw River Farmhouse Ales. photographs by Anagram Photo


Snack on North Carolina trout cakes with a side of sunset at the Eddy Pub. On the second floor of the old cotton mill, the restaurant’s deck offers a sweeping view of the Haw River. photograph by Anagram Photo


Saxapahaw may be small, but its culinary scene is mighty. Clockwise from left: Charcuterie from Left Bank Butchery is served at the neighboring Eddy Pub, where you can also find lemon honey chicken breast, a selection of North Carolina craft brews on tap, and baskets of freshly made challah, sourdough, and other breads from the in-house bakery, the Village Bakehouse. photographs by Anagram Photo


Saturdays in Saxapahaw are full of festivities that inspire wonder among children and adults alike: In the summer, a spirited weekly farmers market and live music series combine to create a perfect evening by the river. There’s never been a better excuse to pack a picnic. photograph by Anagram Photo

This story was published on Jun 25, 2018

Katie Schanze

Katie Schanze

Katie Schanze is the assistant editor and digital editor of Our State.