One of my favorite parts about living in North Carolina are all the warm and wonderful small towns to visit. I thought I had seen the best of the Triangle but...I had missed a GEM. A few weeks ago hubby and I indulged in our weekend wandering around the Triangle and ended up in downtown Mebane, NC.
This place. Honestly, it was magical. It wasn't just that the shops were so interesting and diverse (who would have thought you could make an entire store out of olive oil??) but the people were so incredibly friendly. I'm pretty introverted. I don't just start talking to anyone I meet. (I know you're thinking "What?? Aren't you a Realtor? Yes, it's true...there are introverted Realtors.) Anyway, it seemed like every store owner was up for conversation. I almost wanted to pull up a chair and stay for a visit.
So here's a quick recap of the places I visited and the people I met in downtown Mebane, NC.
Big Oak Restoration is a company in downtown Mebane, NC that restores beautiful antique outdoor furniture. I met John and Wendy, the owners, while I was visiting and you could just see their pride of workmanship. And for good reason. John does all the restorations and the finished product is stunning. He uses high quality fabrics rated for boats and each piece is "dipped" to give it a very clean, strong finish without brush lines.
In addition to their restored pieces, the store is filled with all kinds of antique decor.
John and Wendy Batten, owners of Big Oak Restoration. Before we left, they made sure my husband and I took a seat on the uber-comfortable rocker they're seated on here.
Gourmet Grove is a really cool place to visit. And if you like to cook, you'll be in heaven. They sell gourmet infused olive oils and vinegars, as well as gourmet pastas, seasoning mixes, sauces and bread mixes. With 55 flavors to choose from, they offer some really unique combinations such as Green Limonato, Red Cayenne, Rosemary, Cilantro Roasted Onion and Chipotle.
They keep little tasting cups next to each flask of oil & vinegar so you can taste test.
Urban Homestead Supply is a cool little shop in Downtown Mebane. If you keep chickens or do a lot of scratch cooking, fermenting (hello, beer?) or gardening, you'll love this little place. Tracey, the owner, gave me the inside scoop on the great mix of people and cultures in this funky little town.
Inside the store is a series of booths. Each one reflects the owners personality. In some there are mismatched collections of stuff...books, knick knacks, memorobilia. In others there is a specific type of collection, such as in the pottery booth below.
There were quite a few booths with boutique style clothing.
This booth contained hand crafted housewares and decorative items, mostly designed by the craftsman.
This booth hosts a large pottery collection.
There were several interesting looking restaurants downtown, several with outdoor seating. The Mebane Downtown Table, Dick and Janes Tapas and Martini Bar (below) and Martinho's Bakery and Deli were favorites of the locals I spoke with in Mebane. Martinho's doesn't actually open on the weekends. I was told he does such a strong business Mon-Fri that this family owned shop can close it's doors for much-needed rest on the weekends. If you want to enjoy their amazing subs on house-made bread, make sure you visit on a weekday.
I would be doing Mebane a disservice if I didn't give a shout out to the two fantastic coffee shops in downtown Mebane. It's actually surprising that two coffee shops in a small town can thrive, especially since they are next door neighbors! When I visited they were both packed!! So much so that I found it difficult to get pictures, and unfortunately I didn't get any, but you can see more on each shop's Facebook page.
Reeds Coffee and Art is a combination coffee shop and art gallery. Locally produced art is displayed and for sale throughout the shop. It's got a funky, lighthearted vibe. Art work and pottery displayed throughout the store are all for sale. In addition to coffees and teas, Reeds serves light pastries and limited lunch items.
Right next door is Filament Coffee and Tea is a gathering place for locals with a environmental and community focus. Their tasteful decor is made from upcycled materials and they use reusable containers, stirrers, filters, etc. Their organic pastries are sourced from local artisan bakers.
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Ellen is the founder of Harmony Realty, a socially conscious realty company. Ellen believes in empowering her clients through education and open communication. Ellen is a number-cruncher at heart and takes great pleasure in following and analyzing the trends of the housing industry. She loves communicating the big picture to her clients and helping them to understand how the market affects their sale or purchase. Her honest and down-to-earth approach allows her clients to make informed and intelligent decisions to get the most out of their offers and negotiations.