Just a short drive east of Greensboro, the timeless train town of Gibsonville earned its nickname in the 1920s. From their seats aboard the train, passengers at Gibson Station glimpsed
Just a short drive east of Greensboro, the timeless train town of Gibsonville earned its nickname in the 1920s. From their seats aboard the train, passengers at Gibson Station glimpsed the grand rose bushes lining the local Minneola Mill’s railroad tracks. Today, this Piedmont town retains much of its rich mill history — and boasts a bustling downtown with a close-knit community.
Sarah Campbell is the owner of Smidgen, a seasoning shop on Lewis Street. A lifelong Gibsonville resident, she loves its small-town feel. “Now I’m lucky enough to own a storefront downtown in the exact same location where a man who babysat me owned a barber shop,” she says. “Gibsonville manages to keep a lot of the same traditions while also keeping up with the growing community.”
When she walks around downtown, Campbell sees familiar faces everywhere she goes. “People know you and support you,” she says. “It’s kind of like a Hallmark town.”
For locals like Campbell — and for visitors who come to Gibsonville to shop, dine, and explore — these traditions are on display around every corner. Read on for the Gibsonville stops you won’t want to miss.
Downtown Gibsonville is filled with unique offerings, curated businesses, historic buildings and a friendly community. Come visit for the day, stroll through our downtown, and find the many hidden gems located in our downtown.
Wanda Small and Maghon Taylor, owners of Just For You and All She Wrote Notes, recently collaborated to create Gibsonville Girl T-shirts for a downtown-wide girls’ night. Soon after the event, they decided the shirt, designed by Taylor, should be a regular staple in Small’s shop.
“We wanted people to be proud that they’re a Gibsonville girl,” Small says. “As a town, probably 80 percent of the businesses are owned by women, and we do work together and try to promote each other’s businesses.”
Originally a grocery store, Just For You is an eclectic cornerstone business that has been going strong for 20 years. You’ll find everything from vintage and homemade items to coffee mugs, flags, and wall decor. This is your spot to pick up monogrammed or Gibsonville-themed gifts.
From school supplies, books, hand-lettering supplies, and stickers to holiday-themed knick-knacks and jewelry, Taylor’s All She Wrote Notes is full of fun finds. If her colorful studio inspires your inner artist, check out monthly calligraphy and hand-lettering classes.
The charming (even at 18,000 square feet) Gibsonville Antiques thrills antiques-seekers with two levels of vintage collectibles. You’ll find even the most obscure treasure among the selection of quilts, Pyrex dishes, vintage cameras, and vinyl records.
From its home on West Main Street, Pink Lola sells colorful and stylish clothes, fun jewelry, gifts, and home décor. Owner Mary Katherine Smith, who has expanded her business and now sells Pink Lola merchandise at three other Triad stores, is known for her passion when it comes to encouraging fellow women entrepreneurs to follow their dreams.
Wades Jewelers has been the place to go since 1947 for engagement and wedding bands, estate jewelry, jewelry repairs, and appraisals. Take a moment to marvel over their extensive collection of diamonds and fine jewelry.
Don’t forget to check out the one-of-a-kind items at Once Upon a Chocolate, Therapy Boutique, and A Quiet Life Handmades, from masterfully made confections and chic accessories to handcrafted jewelry.
When you’re ready for a meal, Gibsonville delivers with restaurants ranging from fine French dining to seafood and Italian.
Located at The Burke Manor Inn & Pavilion, a colonial-style building built in 1906, Saint Jacques will transport you to a charming French cottage for the evening. The fine-dining restaurant offers an authentic South of France menu, Old World wine list, and unforgettable experience.
Chef and owner Lil Lacassagne wants to make a memorable impact on guests, whether they come for lunch, cocktail hour, or dinner. “When you go to a restaurant now, it’s no longer to feed yourself. It’s to try to detach a little bit and enjoy who you are with and make it an important moment in your life,” he says. For Lacassagne, it’s important to create a guest experience at Saint Jacques that evolves into a “lingering, enjoyable memory.”
Unsure of which wine to choose? Chef Lacassagne is partial to the Rhône Valley in the south of France, where he grew up. Try popular appetizers like escargot, French onion soup, tomato pie, and goat cheese salad.
For steak and seafood, pay a visit to the family-owned Kimber’s Steakhouse for a variety of appetizing soups, salads, sandwiches, and entrées. The oyster dish is a local favorite. While you’re there, check out the in-house bakery with elaborate cakes made from scratch daily.
For Italian, head to Reno’s, which offers some of the best pizzas around. Their freshly made, authentic food is affordable and delicious.
Head to the award-winning ice cream shop County Line Creamery for a single scoop or a banana split. If you’re craving something seasonal, get into the autumn spirit with one of their flavors of the month, like pumpkin or maple.
For a bakery snack, pick up cookies or an empanada from Ines’ Bakery, and enjoy it at a table outside.
When it opened its doors in 2020, Toasty Kettlyst thrilled local beer enthusiasts with an array of craft and seasonal beers. Sit on the outdoor patio with a cold pint and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere. Hit up Trivia Tuesdays or music bingo on Thursdays; you can even schedule a taproom brewery tour led by the owner, Prav Karandikar.
“There is a tremendous amount of process flow, even in a nanobrewery like Toasty Kettlyst,” Karandikar says. “You appreciate a beer more when you get a better understanding of the interactions of the various ingredients. My hope is to share this knowledge and appreciation of beers with the brewery tours.”
If Gibsonville’s culinary scene inspires you to take your own cooking skills to the next level, pop into Smidgen — Campbell’s spice shop — for a custom spice blend to elevate your next meal. Located inside what used to be a barbershop in the ’70s and ’80s, with an exposed brick wall and original ceiling, Smidgen offers 21 different blends of spices. Check out their limited-edition pumpkin spice blend or their most popular steak blend. Smidgen also houses a variety of snacks and goods from local vendors, including Sparks Popcorn, often made with Campbell’s spices.
Whether or not you’re visiting Gibsonville with kids in tow, make your last stop the playground train at Gibsonville Garden Railroad. “When they were younger, I would take my boys, now 12 and 13, there to visit and watch the trains run,” Campbell recalls. But you don’t have to be a child to appreciate the miniature trains, which delight passersby every Saturday from April to November.
The mastermind of Bobby Summers, a retired Southern Railroad freight conductor, the trains have been running since 1966 and chug past miniature buildings representing Gibsonville in 1855 and 1922. It’s all part of this town’s rich locomotive history — and just the ticket to end your visit.
This story was published in collaboration with the Alamance County Visitors Bureau.