Ellerbe is a postage stamp town in rural North Carolina that I probably would never have visited if my friends did not live there. I was therefore surprised to find both a country store and museum that have been featured in national media as well as learning that the town was the final homestead of none other than Andre the Giant! (2020, 2021, 2022)
A typical small Southern downtown is what greets you in Ellerbe’s center
The area is also full of chicken farms like this one, a signature industry of the region
I was quite surprised to find a well-stocked museum of archaeology and culture in the middle of this rather unremarkable little North Carolina town. It turns out it was the private collection of a once prominent doctor now curated as a museum of both Southern artifacts and Native American history and biological specimens. It’s a hodgepodge with a little outdated views, but an enjoyable visit nonetheless.
It’s not unlike many other roadside country stores in the south but The Berry Patch–with it’s homemade ice cream and strawberry shaped building–has somehow gotten notice in many national magazines as well as a joking reference on Jon Stewart!
Heading out of Ellerbe towards Mt. Gilead is another surprising find, a North Carolina State Historic site called Town Creek Mound, an ancient ceremonial gathering spot and burying ground for the Pee Dee native culture. In addition to recreated sites and pallisade, it houses a free small museum holding some of the artifacts excavated there including the human effigy below.