Chapel Hill News

Hillsborough vying to be ‘coolest small town’

The town of Hillsborough – with a population of 7,000 residents – is vying for the top spot in Budget Travel’s annual “coolest small towns” contest.

As visitors regularly discover, the oldest town in Piedmont North Carolina, established in 1754, is more than a mere artifact of the past.

The Wall Street Journal recently described Hillsborough as “America’s Little Literary Town,” a community which hosts regular book signings at its locally-owned book seller, Purple Crow, or one of many other venues in town. The town is also home to numerous renowned writers such as Frances Mayes, Lee Smith, Allan Gurganus and Jill McCorkle. Any given night visitors may pass a leading novelist walking around downtown, shopping or having dinner at one the locally-owned restaurants or boutiques along Churton Street, named for the English surveyor who laid out the town in the 1750s.

Our State Magazine has likewise featured articles about Hillsborough in its November 2014 issue, including a photo essay and an article about Frances Mayes, Hillsborough resident and author of Under the Tuscan Sun.

“Hillsborough is a completely unique place,” says Sarah DeGennaro, executive director of the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough. “There is no other town quite like it. It is all at once casual and refined, intellectual and approachable, lively and calm. I love Hillsborough and I love working here.”

You can vote for Hillsborough today, and every day until Dec. 2, at