Back in February, I started a series of blog posts called "top ten reasons to move to Hillsborough," which I stopped at #2 after getting sidetracked with the challenge to post five things that few people knew about me. This shouldn't be taken as a lack of enthusiasm for Hillsborough, just as a statement of how easily distracted I am.
So, here goes some more items on the list:
#3: Occoneechee Mountain. The photo shown here is from the overlook on Occoneechee Mountain. When I first moved to Hillsborough, I was a little dubious of the claim that it had a mountain, given that I grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, which has real mountains. Occoneechee Mountain is something like 700 feet tall... a runt when measured against the mountains of my childhood. Still, my friend Cheryl took me on a hiking trail to an overlook this week and I was forced to admit, yeah, okay, when you have to walk up the darn thing, it's a mountain, and the view from the overpass is convincingly mountainish. I now have a great deal of respect and affection for our little mountain.
#4: Occoneechee Speedway. Continuing on the theme of great hikes, there's an abandoned speedway here that was last used for stock car racing back in the sixties. Since then, nature has reclaimed it, leaving a set of ruins that make for a pleasant walk. Walking up the concrete bleachers, all covered with vines, and walking past the remains of cinderblock concession stands with trees growing out of them gives the place a vibe that is somewhere between the Colloseum in Rome and some movie set of a post-apocolyptic Earth. The Eno river runs along the edge of the race track, so there are some wonderful views of its winding waters. And, unlike Occoneechee Mountain, this hike is mostly flat, so it makes a good warm up hike if you've spent most of the winter sitting in front of a computer editing a novel.
#5: The sausage sandwich at Sonny's Sandwiches. I can't tell if Sonny's is a purely local restaurant or a franchise. They certainly have a purely local vibe... only their preprinted menus have a franchise feel to them. But, the best thing to eat there isn't on the menu. They'll have a board with a daily special posted, and if you ever see the andouille sausage sandwich on the board, you're in for a treat. This thing is a grilled sausage served on a sub roll with sour kraut, grilled onions, and spicy mustard. It's essentially a giant spicy hotdog, and I happen to be a fan of giant, spicy hotdogs. Also, this place has a cheese sub that I used to buy for Laura. She had a lot of trouble building up an appetite in the final years of her life, but she could tear into their cheese sub. There's a subway in the shopping center about four doors down from Sonny's... the fact that they've held on in the face of their much more hyped competition says something about how good their food is.
#6: 3 Gatos. I actually just discovered this last night. Hillsborough has a street festival the last Friday night of each month and among the local vendors I discovered the 3 Gatos table. They specialize in hot sauces and hot foods. My heart went pitter-pat as I surveyed their wares. Unfortunately, I only had one dollar in my pocket at the time. http://www.3gatosfireandrice.com/page/page/4336020.htm is their website. They say they are opening a retail store in downtown Hillsborough soon, and will be at the Last Friday celebration next month. Next month, I'll go with money and walk away with a can of wasabi pecans and a bottle of Magma. Man, I can hardly wait!