Boasting much vibrant history, the City of Sanford is an interesting destination for a weekend getaway. The city was once an important railway hub and it also played an important role during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. In addition to taking a walking tour of the well-preserved downtown Historic District, there are other interesting historic attractions to visit including the Ole Gilliam Mill Park and Hawkins Ave, where you can see several buildings dating back to the 1880’s. White Pines Nature Preserve offers good hiking and wildlife observation and San-Lee Park is great for hiking, cycling and fishing. The town also boasts an interesting Antiques Mall, a quaint tea-house, live performing arts and a vibrant brewing company. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.Temple Theatre

Temple Theatre
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The Temple Theatre started off as a 1925 Vaudeville house which attracted travelling theatre troupes en-route from New York City to Florida. After the railroad boom days the theatre gradually declined and finally closed its doors in 1965. Thanks to a huge restoration project which took place in the 1980’s, Temple Theatre once again brings the joy of live theatre to Sanford, as the Central Carolina’s Center for the Performing Arts. The theatre stages a year-round calendar of popular Broadway shows including classics like Driving Miss Daisy and Mamma Mia. Temple Theatre also hosts the Temple Academy where budding young stars come to learn acting, dance and music.

Temple Theatre, 120 Carthage St, Sanford, NC 27330, Phone: 919-774-4512

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2.Ole Gilliam Mill Park, Sanford, North Carolina

Ole Gilliam Mill Park, Sanford, North Carolina
© Ole Gilliam Mill Park

Try and arrange to be in Sanford the weekend after Mother’s Day when Old Gilliam Mill Park hosts their annual Crank Up. This long-anticipated event is a brilliant attraction for all ages, when the Old Gilliam Mill is cranked up and set to work for a day. The present Gilliam Mill is a 1979 reproduction of the original Gilliam Mill which was washed away in a flood in 1928. The mill is operated using genuine vintage parts salvaged from old mills all over the country. On Crank Up day visitors can watch logs being sawed, see a genuine Whiskey Still and a variety of antique engines in operation. At other times of the year visitors are welcome to walk around and admire the permanent exhibits.

Ole Gilliam Mill Park, 4699 Carbonton Road, Sanford, NC 27330, Phone: 919-498-5324

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3.White Pines Nature Preserve, Sanford, NC

White Pines Nature Preserve, Sanford, NC
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Encompassing 275 acres of unspoiled nature, White Pines Nature Preserve is a popular recreational destination in Chatham County. The particular microclimate within the preserve offers excellent cool conditions for summer hiking along a network of trails which will take you through varied habitats chock-full of wildlife. The length of the trails varies between 0.5 and 1.1 miles, making them ideal for families. The preserve is bounded along two sides by the Deep River and the Rocky River and there are launch sites for canoes and kayaks. Birding enthusiasts will enjoy walking along the two rivers where sightings of herons and kingfishers are common. Other wildlife in the preserve includes white-tailed deer, beaver, fox and muskrat.

White Pines Nature Preserve, 548 South Rocky River Rd, Sanford, NC 27330, Phone: 919-908-8809

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4.Hugger Mugger Brewing Company, Sanford, North Carolina

Hugger Mugger Brewing Company, Sanford, North Carolina
© Hugger Mugger Brewing Company

When thirst dictates that a mug of brilliant craft beer is required, Sanford locals and visitors make their way to Hugger Mugger Brewing Company. The name of the brewery is derived from the Shakespearean “hugger mugger”, which means secretive or hidden, a theme which is continued by the use of Masonic symbols on the beer mugs and in the decorative tapestries. Guests are invited to unravel the meanings of these symbols as they enjoy a selection of up to 20 premium artisan brews. There is a large family-friendly beer hall and beer garden where you can relax with friends and food is available from an outside food truck.

Hugger Mugger Brewing Company, 229 Wicker St, Sanford, NC 27330, Phone: 800-551-6949

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5.Historic Railroad House, Sanford, North Carolina

Historic Railroad House, Sanford, North Carolina
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A visit to Sanford’s historic Railroad House is sure to rekindle fond memories of the excitement of a long-distance rail journey. The town of Sanford owes its existence to the arrival of the railroad, and the house was originally built as the home of the first railroad depot agent, Mr. Tucker, whose wife established a school in the building. The house was relocated in the 1960’s, and underwent extensive restoration before re-opening as a museum. Inside you will find a host of interesting photographs, documents and artifacts relating to the early days of the railroad in Sanford. Visitors can also admire a 100 year-old steam locomotive.

Historic Railroad House, 110 Charlotte Ave, Sanford, NC 27330, Phone: 919-776-7419

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6.Mrs. Lacy’s Magnolia House, Sanford, North Carolina

Mrs. Lacy’s Magnolia House, Sanford, North Carolina
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Situated in a charming Victorian house which dates back to 1902, Mrs. Lacy’s Magnolia House Tea Room is named for the owner’s grandmother. Mrs. Lacy Coggins used to love antiques and yard sales, and her granddaughter Faye Schultz has followed in her footsteps by including an art gallery and antique store on the first floor of the restaurant. The restaurant is a popular meeting place for tea or lunch, open from Tuesdays to Saturdays. On the menu you will find a good selection of salads, sandwiches and soups as well as a long list of decadent sweet treats, specialty teas and soft drinks.

Mrs. Lacy’s Magnolia House, 405 Carthage St, Sanford, NC 27330, Phone: 919-777-6787

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6 Best Things to Do in Sanford, North Carolina

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