Pittsboro is a town of 4,300 people (2018) near the Haw River in the Research Triangle in North Carolina. The county seat of Chatham County, Pittsboro has a big cat sanctuary as well as a historic district centered around the 19th-century courthouse.
Biking is also possible—Pittsboro is about 20 miles (30 km) from Chapel Hill. The most direct route from Chapel Hill is taking 15-501, but that's just a highway. A more scenic route takes you through rolling hills, green pastures, and quiet forests: Take Smith Level Road south, turn right on Damascus Church Road, then left on Meacham Road, which turns into Polythress Road. When the road ends at a T intersection, turn left to stay on Polythress Road, and take the next right onto Manns Chapel Road. Go left on Hamlets Chapel Road, which will take you to 15-501. Cross the highway to head into Bynum, or turn left to follow the highway for the last few miles to Pittsboro. This route is hilly and there are no bike lanes for most of it (the cars are polite enough to give you a wide berth, though), but the pastoral scenery is lovely. If you're a strong biker it's just feasible to do Pittsboro as a day trip from Chapel Hill by bike.
Chatham Transit's CT Express offers limited bus service to and from Chapel Hill, but it doesn't stop anywhere near downtown Pittsboro or Carolina Tiger Rescue. They also have in-county door-to-door service.
- 1 Carolina Tiger Rescue, 1940 Hanks Chapel Rd, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A big cat sanctuary. Guided tours allow you to see tigers, lions, cougars and other big cats, all rescued from poor treatment and brought to the sanctuary.
- 2 Chatham County Historic Courthouse, 9 Hillsboro St, ☏ . W–F 11AM–4PM and the first Sunday of the month (March–December) noon–4PM. A historic courthouse in the middle of downtown Pittsboro, a cute little area with lots of historic buildings. It was built in 1881 and restored after a fire in 2010. It now houses the Chatham Historical Museum. Free.
- 3 Bynum. A small, artsy town just outside Pittsboro next to the Haw River. Keep your eyes out for street art and wooden animal sculptures.
- 4 Bynum Bridge. This used to be the main bridge before 15-501 was put in. Now it's a pedestrian bridge covered with lots of interesting graffiti. Nearby there are some walking paths and river beaches.
- Chatham County Events, Community Website for all events, parks, and businesses in Chatham County.
Pittsboro is near the Haw River, and the Lower Haw River State Natural Area has swimming, tubing, kayaking, canoeing, birdwatching, and wildlife photography. You might see people fishing, but eating the fish isn't recommended due to pollution.
If you're interested in wildlife, look for animals like river otters, turtles, toads, and herons, and native plants like horsetail, arrowleaf ginger, mountain laurel, and wild azalea.
- 1 Lower Haw River Trail. A 5-mile (8-km) hiking trail through the woods beside the Haw River, with lots of river beaches and other interesting little spots along it. The trailhead is in Bynum.
- 2 Bynum Dam. There's a short hiking trail starting from the Bynum Dam parking lot. It's possible to go kayaking or swimming above the dam, though be careful not to go too close to it. If you swim to the right spot there's a rope swing on a river island. The trail and the river can be muddy after it rains, and watch out for poison ivy.
- 1 Mays Pottery (on 15/501 north of the Haw River Bridge), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. The last of several local pottery shops that used to be located around here. It's still run by the lady who opened it in 1984—she's friendly and chatty, and the pottery is beautiful. It's mostly porcelain, but she also has stonework, onyx, fossils, and soap.
- 1 Elizabeth's Pizza, 180 Hillsboro St, ☏ . Su–Th 11AM–9PM, F Sa 11AM–10PM.
- 2 Pittsboro Roadhouse, 39 West Street, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Th 11AM–9PM, F Sa 11AM–10PM.
- 3 Small B&B Cafe, 219 East St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. W–Sa 7:30AM–2PM, Su 9AM–2PM. Breakfast and lunch restaurant that doubles as a bed-and-breakfast.
- 4 S&T's Soda Shoppe, 85 Hillsboro St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu–Sa 11AM–7:30PM.
- 5 Virlie's Grill, 58 Hillsboro St, ☏ .
- 1 458 West Bed & Breakfast, 458 West Street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- The Fearrington House Inn, 2000 Fearrington Village Center, ☏ . This inn (and complementing village of shops) can run heavy on the wallet, but the luxurious experience is more than worth it. Perfect for a romantic weekend getaway.
- 2 Rosemary House Bed & Breakfast, 76 West Street, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM.
|Routes through Pittsboro|
|Durham ← Chapel Hill ←||N S||→ Sanford → Southern Pines|
|Lexington ← Asheboro ←||W E||→ Apex → Raleigh|