4 Ultra-Healthy Ways to Enjoy Chatham County This November

November is usually the final warm month in North Carolina before the temperatures dip down into the 30s and 40s for most of the winter. This provides some of the last opportunities to truly enjoy the outdoors (because after all, if you’re running outside in 30-degree weather, is that really enjoyable?).

Use the warm weather to set yourself up for success during the holiday season. While it’s a little early to be thinking about New Year’s Resolutions, we all know that “To be more healthy” is likely to find itself on our lists. Why not get a head start?

From outdoor races to nutritious food to community, here are three ultra-healthy ways you can enjoy this November in Chatham County.

1. Challenge Yourself With Fitness:

The Haw River is a major feature in Chatham County, and several roads pass over the river, especially in Saxapahaw. For 110 miles, until it empties into Jordan Lake, the Haw is encompassed by trails, beautiful landscapes, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.

This November, the Haw River Trail Partnership is providing Chatham County residents two ways to challenge themselves: The second Haw River Trailathon and a Haw River Hustle 5K. Both events take place on the Haw River Trail and are intended to show off the Trail’s beauty.

The Trailathon: A unique take on “Triathlon,” the Haw River Trailathon is in its second year, and consists of a two-mile round trip paddle on Saxapahaw Lake, followed by a seven-mile rolling countryside bike ride, finishing with a hilly 5K trail run. This race is not timed; instead it is intended to draw appreciation for the Haw River Trail, the Haw River, and surrounding communities. Thus, there are no winners or losers; so there’s no reason you shouldn’t participate!

All proceeds support the Haw River Trail’s new Saxapahaw Island Park. Registration is open online (see below). For more information please visit the HRT website or call (336) 229-2380.

  • When: Saturday, November 7, 2015, at 9 a.m. Come out at 8:30 a.m. for a pre-race yoga session!
  • Where: Check in behind Haw River Canoe & Kayak (6079 Swepsonville-Saxapahaw Rd, Graham, NC 27253).
  • Price: $35/adult and $15/child (12 & under) OR $50 walk-up (subject to availability)
  • Register: Get more details and register for the race here!

The Haw River Hustle: The day after taking on the Trailathon, challenge yourself once more by racing the Haw River Hustle 5K Run/Walk. I say “race” because this event is timed, and top finishers will win fun prizes!

Don’t let the competition scare you off though. This race is open to all ages and paces, and you’re encouraged to run, walk or even hike the course. The race will start on blacktop as runners pass through Glencoe Village. The course then transitions to the Haw River Trail which consists of some gravel and grass, but mostly dirt single track trail. There are a few challenging hills, but along the Haw, the trail is mostly flat with scenic views of the river.

For more information about the trail, check out the www.thehaw.org or call (336) 222-5135. All proceeds will benefit the Haw River Trail.

  • When: Sunday, November 8, 2015, at 8 a.m.
  • Where: Glencoe Mill Village (2378 River Road, Burlington, NC)
  • Price: $25 entry fee. Walk-up registrations will be accepted, but register by October 25 to guarantee a race t-shirt.
  • Register: Get more details and register for the race here!

2. Ride Through the Fresh Air

Mountain bike enthusiasts will get their fix on Briar Chapel’s competitive mountain bike trail, developed in partnership with Triangle Off-Road Road Cyclists. Spanning 6 miles in and around the community, the sustainable 18-inch wide single-track mountain bike trail will keep you occupied for hours. (I can personally vouch for this one, as I’ve been enjoying the crisp air these past few weeks on a bike!)

The trails are mostly novice skill level without much climbing, but there are multiple sections of intermediate skill level and several rock gardens which will be difficult for just about anyone if you want to really challenge yourself.

To get the details on the trails, click here. Or, check out this video!

3. Replenish With Healthy, Local Food:

After all the exercise you will have done for the races, it will be time to replenish those calories with some healthy, delicious, locally-sourced food. My absolute favorite option for this kind of meal is a Chatham County Farmers’ Market. I recently blogged about the Farmers’ Market scene in Chatham County, which you can check out here. It has all the details you need for a great shopping spree!

November is often a period of change for the Farmers’ Markets, as old, late-summer crops rotate out and new fall and early-winter crops roll in. Pay attention to these changes in the local farmers’ market scene as you head out to buy your produce:

Fearrington Farmers’ Market: Open from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Tuesday until Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving, you’ll have to wait until April 2016. More info here.

Chatham Mills Farmers’ Market: Beginning in November, the Farmers’ Market will change its schedule so that it is only open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. (Currently, it’s open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) More info here.

While you’re planning for Chatham Mills, mark your calendars for these great events!

  • November 21st: Thanksgiving Tasting! Farmers will bring free samples of delicious dishes prepared with seasonal produce and offer recipes to add to your Thanksgiving menu!
  • November 25th: Pre-Thanksgiving Market! For Thanksgiving week, Chatham Mills move its Saturday market to the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Come and get the produce you need for your Thanksgiving dinner! Market is from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Carrboro Farmers’ Market: Beginning in November, the Farmers’ Market will change its schedule so that it’s only open from 9 a.m. to noon. (Currently, it’s open from 7 a.m. to noon.) Also, after November 18, there will be no more pop-up markets on Wednesdays. (Until then, enjoy the market from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.) More info here.

Be sure to note this yummy event!

  • November 25th: Pre-Thanksgiving Market! Just like Chatham Mills, make sure you get your Thanksgiving produce the day before. Head to the market between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

4. Celebrate Community with Friends and Family:

You’ve moved your body. You’ve replenished yourself with nutritious food. Now it’s time to enjoy each other’s company as the holiday season officially arrives, and I’ve got the perfect way to do just that! Late in November, the Pittsboro Business Association will be hosting Pittsboro Holly Days, a festival to promote historic downtown Pittsboro this Christmas shopping season.

Pittsboro Holly Days 2015 logo

On November 22 from 4-8 p.m., Hillsboro Street will make way for an old fashioned Christmas celebration featuring school choirs, carolers, Santa Al, hot cocoa, shopping and more. The festivities will culminate with the lighting of a 15-foot Christmas tree in front of the historic Chatham County Courthouse.

This is the first event of a month-long holiday celebration. For the full list of events, go here.

  • When: November 22, 2015, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Where: The parade will take place on Hillsboro Street in downtown Pittsboro
  • Price: FREE!