photograph by Sara Wilson Coffin

1. Get out on the water with the help of The Haw River Canoe & Kayak Company. In addition to kayak and canoe rentals, the company offers themed group excursions that range from full moon paddles to paddle dinners. Once severely polluted, the Haw River has become a haven for wildlife and an economic and recreational driver for Alamance County.

2. Tired arms from all that paddling call for sustenance. You’ll find it at Saxapahaw General Store. Billed as “your local five-star gas station,” the restaurant portion of the building offers unexpected gourmet fare ranging from smoky cheddar pesto sandwiches to duck fat fries.

3. Saxapahaw might be an unincorporated hamlet, but it functions like any self-contained town and boasts two unexpected treasures: a butchery and a brewery, both focused on sustainability and located within steps of each other. As far as breweries go, the 3,000-square-foot Haw River Farmhouse Ales is small but mighty, pouring Belgian-style beers that feature ingredients like figs and honey. Walk around the corner to Left Bank Butchery, where you’ll find top-notch cuts of meat. Bring a cooler and pack a few pork chops over ice to prepare at home.

4. The Eddy Pub is the popular local haunt that studied abroad. Farm-to-table menu offerings feature influences from the United Kingdom to Thailand. Enjoy a leisurely-paced dinner by springing for the well-rounded cheese and charcuterie board before the main course.

5. Enjoy a performance at The Haw River Ballroom, one of area music lovers’ best-kept secrets. Housed within what was once the dye house of Saxapahaw’s historic cotton mill, the venue is gorgeous and plays host to indie and folk acts ranging from Sufjan Stevens to Chapel Hill-based Mandolin Orange.

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Quine is a digital marketing coordinator for the Grand Ole Opry and the former digital editor of Our State. She freelances from Nashville, Tennessee.