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We discovered bacon (or not), a butchery, a brewery, beauty and more in small town North Carolina

Our local guide Sara (AKA our daughter) picked out a couple of stellar small towns for the Tour to spotlight. But first: Bart had a hankering for vittles from this place in Chapel Hill, which he remembered from a previous "BLT extravaganza visit" several years ago. Unfortunately, the wait for a seat was going to be a LONG one, so we moved on. Maybe the next time?

Onward then to the small town of Saxapaha, NC (population 1,214), a quaint riverside village in the country. As an aside, The New York Times (apparently) discovered this sleepy place long before we did - On another note, who doesn't love a good, old-fashioned general store?

Bart's fantasy has been to live in a neat little college town with a comfortable place to sit, read and sip espresso. Saxapahaw has all that (except for the college).

We spied a "Butchery" a few doors down from the general store and went to check it out. Unfortunately, it was C-L-O-S-E-D. Guess we'll have to wait until the next time to see how it compares to Russell's Market - a butcher shop and dry goods store Bart's grandfather owned way back in the day in Newport, RI.

We walked on and found this gem of a place that called out to us. Say "hi" to The Eddy.

The "whatchamacallit" is testament to the building's previous life as a mill.

The Eddy is a great example of how old structures can be saved and used for several purposes. We walked up a lot of stairs in order to look down on The Eddy's brewing room. The smell of hops was definitely in the air.

We loved The Eddy's mission statement: "The Eddy was created with the intention of providing a comfortable space for community interaction in a central place in the village of Saxapahaw, much like many of the village pubs in England." It was a little early for the lunch crowd, but we could see how this multi-level gathering spot (dining, music performances and more...) would be a really neat place to hang out.

Our next stop was the town of Mebane (pronounced Meh-Bin). Mebane has a really great (and, of course, historic) downtown. We loved its preserved old wall murals, and building signage.

Not all of the town's murals are old. This newer one has great color and draws customers in.

See anything here you might like? NOTE: for those who know her, "Sweet Tooth Rorie" contained herself. It was touch and go but...nada, zilch, nuttin. Honest!

Clay Street in downtown Mebane is lined with many cool shops. We wandered into one called Impulsive Creativity ( Though Bart isn't "crafty" (in the artistic sense of the word), he definitely related to the name of the place. The store's tagline is "Cool stuff from Weird People". Yup, it's Bart's kind of place :-). He's the "cool weird" guy in the mirror taking the picture.

We had a great conversation with the shop's owner Kathryn Mathias, who beamed with pride as she shared her community's story. It turns out that Mebane recently went through the rigors of becoming a certified "Main Street" program, a designation provided by the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Main Street America division.

Bart's consulting firm has partnered with Main Street America on other programs, and his eyes twinkled when he heard that Mebane did all the hard work needed to achieve this valued honor. Mebane has "buzz", and its merchants get big kudos for teaming up to make the place so attractive. Great small businesses, colorful building murals, beautiful floral street plantings and welcoming shop owners are among the key ingredients small towns need to thrive. Mebane gets it!

We took in the sounds, smells, beauty and history of downtown Mebane one last time, and then headed back to our daughter's house in Durham to get/give some goodbye affection from/to our grand dog Ginger, who seems to enjoy checking out her reflection in the glass door).

Next stop: Middle River, MD, on our way to Loveladies, NJ (yep, that's really the town's name) to visit a lady we love. Stay tuned.

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