Poet's Walk at Ayr Mount
When a friend of mine found out that I was living in Hillsborough temporarily, she immediately recommended Poet's Walk. And since I trust my friends, I went to try it out. It was a great recommendation; Poet's Walk is beautiful.
Ayr Mount itself is a large old house in Hillsborough. Now if you know anything about Hillsborough, you know that this town loves it some historical markers and historical homes. So Ayr Mount fits right in. This house was built in 1815 and was home to generations of Kirklands. The house is fully restored and offers tours. Admission is $10, which gets you a guided tour. Check out their website (see below) for hours and other special information.
To be honest, I didn't think that C could handle a tour through a preserved home with many breakable objects of antiquity. So we skipped that. And instead we hit the Poet's Walk trail which circles the grounds of Ayr Mount. (Still not sure why it is named Poet's Walk. My best guesses are: a) they want you to feel inspired to write poetry or b) Ayr Mount has Scottish ties through the Kirklands, and Burns is quoted on a sign at the beginning of the walk, therefore it is Poet's Walk??)
Poet's Walk is a very easy walk. It is a 1 mile loop, and the trail is mulch or flattened dirt. In general this is not a tough trail in the least. Kids could do this if they wanted. I took the jogging stroller which worked well since I would just plow right over the tree roots and through the mulch no problems at all. There is one area towards the middle of the loop that has a steep incline with a bunch of tree roots. That was stroller-dicey for me, but it was such a short section (took me 5 minutes and I went very slow), that it didn't matter too much. And at the top of that section there is a bench to rest and a water cooler with cups.
This walk is very scenic, too. You see meadows, woods, the Eno River, old tavern ruins, and the big brick house at different points of the trail. Rest easy, too, since you would actually have to work very hard to get lost as the trail is very well marked. There are plenty of benches and resting spots along Poet's Walk, where you can sit and write your poetry (or if you are like me, watch your toddler throw mulch around).
There is one other thing about my trip that got me excited. As I mentioned in my Gold Park blogpost, Hillsborough is trying to make a riverwalk trail that goes along the Eno and through town. I read that the hope is to connect all the way to Ayr Mount and Poet's Walk. How great would that be?! Of course, I probably won't be living in Hillsborough when that happens, but I will gladly come visit to take advantage of that beautiful walk!
Ayr Mount has a lot of picnic benches with shade next to open fields. This would be a great place to picnic (provided you can stand the mid-day summer heat).
Poet's Walk is free and open daily to the public at 9 am.
Another thing: Ayr Mount is located very close to downtown Hillsborough. Might be worth a stop at Matthew's Chocolates for some Locopops after that stroll!
All parking at Ayr Mount is free.
376 St. Mary's Road
Hillsborough, North Carolina 27278