10+ Phrases & Places You Must Know Before You Call Yourself a Local

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Bynum Front porch on a summer nightAunt Bee’s House When she died in 1989, Frances Bavier funneled most of her $700,000 estate into an annuity that, to this day, pays out a yearly Christmas bonus to every Siler City police officer. But her true legacy began gestating not long after she was laid to rest at Oakwood Cemetery. When her home was donated to a local hospital, Frances’ feral cats scampered out to the countryside, causing a population explosion that is only now, a quarter century later, beginning to subside. Ask any Chatham County veterinarian. They are all too familiar with someone bringing in “one of Aunt Bee’s cats.”
Bynum This small former cotton mill town on the banks of the Haw River is known for the Bynum Front Porch Music Series that takes place at the Bynum General Store every Friday night from May to August.
Bynum Bridge The pedestrian bridge that crosses the Haw in Chatham County. It is home to Bynum Bridge Fest, a one-day market with more than 40 local artists and a Halloween celebration. The community brings carved pumpkins down to the bridge and lights them, inviting people from all over to stroll and admire the illuminated designs.
Chatham Park A development beginning to grow just outside downtown Pittsboro. Plans indicate it will be built over the next 30 years and will have more than 20,000 homes, schools, parks and trails over its 7,000 acres. The first homes are scheduled to be finished in 2020.
The Circle/The Courthouse The traffic circle in the heart of Pittsboro that marks the center of town and which winds around the historic Chatham County Courthouse. When you ask locals for directions, you’ll hear both, as in “Go two blocks past the circle” or “Turn right at the courthouse.”
Clyde’s Critters If you stop at the Bynum General Store, you will see a large painting of penguins on the wall. But you cannot miss the Critter Crossing when you finally get to it – the tin roof is painted with sea creatures, penguins march across the walls, and the yard is filled with critters of all shapes and sizes. Clyde Jones is often on his front porch in Bynum with a chainsaw, carving and assembling a new creation. He embellishes the critters with paint, glitter, fake flowers, spots, dots, bottle-caps or baseballs, and anything else on hand that will bring out the personality of each wooden animal in his menagerie. And Clyde isn’t just locally famous – his critters are in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution and have visited the Great Wall of China. Additionally, don’t miss ClydeFEST at the old Bynum Ball Park.
Devil’s Tramping Grounds A barren circle of ground located in a forest near the Harpers Crossroads area in Bear Creek in Chatham County. It has been the subject of persistent local lore, which alleges that the Devil “tramps” and haunts the nearly 40-foot circle.
The Haw This river runs through Chatham County and can be accessed at Lower Haw River State Natural Area just south of Bynum.
Jordan Lake A manmade lake in Chatham County, with boating, beaches, camping and other outdoor activities.
The Marketplace Started as a business idea proposed by a mom at a children’s playgroup, Chatham Marketplace opened on May 18, 2006, after several years of community outreach and fundraising. The Marketplace has grown into a bustling community hub with more than 2,800 member-owners.
North Chatham The catchall term for the northeast area of the county where development has been more rapid in the last decade, including Fearrington Village, Briar Chapel, Governors Village and Governors Club. Homes in these neighborhoods (other than Fearrington) have Chapel Hill mailing addresses, but are not within the boundaries of the town of Chapel Hill or Orange County, and children in the neighborhoods attend Chatham County Schools.
Pittsboro Chatham’s largest town, about 15 miles south of Chapel Hill. Pittsboro retains a true small-town feel, with a historic downtown of shops and restaurants, its old county courthouse and various street fairs and farmers markets. Once off the radar, Pittsboro has a growing restaurant and arts scene.
Treats at Southern Supreme
Photo by Briana Brough

Southern Supreme The most loathed holiday dessert has a dedicated fan base in Berta Lou Scott, who started her business nearly 30 years ago in the unincorporated community of Bear Creek in Chatham County. A signpost south of Siler City indicates the factory’s whereabouts: “Fruitcake, 6½ miles.” After traveling the rural, two-lane road that takes you there, it’s obvious that more than a few folks have followed those directions. A gravel parking area overflows with cars; buses from several retirement communities and churches have a separate lot.

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