Three Hours in the Triangle: White Pines Nature Preserve and Oakleaf

January 10, 2014

triangle land conservancy

Photo courtesy of Oakleaf

Enjoy three hours in the Triangle this weekend with exploring at the White Pines Nature Preserve followed by a delicious lunch at Oakleaf.

10 a.m. Arrive at the White Pines Nature Preserve, 899 Coleman Ridge Rd, Sanford, NC. The first nature preserve established by the Triangle Land Conservancy, the unique topography of White Pines was created when the Deep and Rocky Rivers carved high rocky bluffs, which in turn maintain a microclimate where the average temperature can be as much as 10 degrees cooler than nearby urban areas.

Begin on the half mile White Pines Trail, which will take you to the heart of the nature preserve.

triangle land conservancy

10:15 a.m. From White Pines, veer off onto the River Trail, a one mile loop that will lead you along the Rocky and Deep rivers. Take the extra Schoolkids Trail loop that leads to the Old Cable Bridge, which provided a passage across the Rocky River in the 1920s for people visiting neighbors and children walking to school.

11:00 a.m. Arriving back on the White Pines Trail, return to the parking area on the one mile Gilbert Yager Trail. The White Pines Nature Preserve is featured on the North Carolina Birding Trail, so keep an eye out for the broad-winged hawk, pileated woodpecker, wild turkey, as well as migrating warblers and even the yellow-billed cuckoo. Beavers, muskrat, and gray fox can also be seen along the trails.

11:45 a.m. Drive fifteen minutes to Chatham Mills for brunch at Oakleaf, 480 Hillsboro St, Pittsboro, NC. Oakleaf, open for brunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and dinner from 5:30 – 10 p.m., is “dedicated to providing high quality, affordable cuisine in a comfortable space.”

A farm to table favorite, Oakleaf’s menu changes daily, but can feature challah French toast with vanilla honey butter and maple syrup ($8.50), a grilled gruyere, cheddar cheese, and sage sandwich on sourdough with triple cheese sauce and a farm egg ($9.00), or Nick’s arrowleaf spinach and mushroom frittata with crème fraiche and a green salad ($8.00).

Note: Oakleaf is not open on Sundays, and their website suggests a reservation.

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triangle land conservancy

Photo courtesy of Oakleaf

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