What is Ayr Mount?
Ayr Mount is a Federal-style plantation house built in 1815 just in Hillsborough, North Carolina. The house was strategically built by William Kirkland (of Ayr, Scotland) along the beautiful Eno River and historic Old Indian Trading Path. William Kirkland was a well-known merchant in Hillsborough whose wealth was certainly visible from the grandeur of the house and expansive grounds.
Today, the home is owned and operated by Classical American Homes Preservation Trust and is open to the public with docent-led tours Wednesday – Sunday. The meticulously-kept grounds at Ayr Mount – as well as the Poet’s Walk, and the trails at the adjacent Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail and James M. Johnston Nature Preserve, also owned by CAHPT— are open for your enjoyment every day of the week.
Who owns Ayr Mount?
Ayr Mount historic house and its associated properties are owned and operated by Classical American Homes Preservation Trust. Ayr Mount was first purchased by Richard H. Jenrette in 1985 and was given to the Trust in 1993. Over time the Trust’s efforts to preserve and protect the site from future development have resulted in smaller purchases of adjacent properties. Today the Trust owns a total of 287 acres of land including the grounds around Ayr Mount historic site and the adjacent acreage across the Eno River. It has been made available to the public for their enjoyment.
Is Ayr Mount a public park?
Ayr Mount is a historic house and site owned and operated by a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Classical American Homes Preservation Trust. It does not receive governmental funding and is supported by private donors. Its grounds and trails are part of a private cultural park open to the public for their enjoyment.
Where is Ayr Mount?
376 St. Marys Road
Hillsborough, North Carolina 27278
(919) 732-4524 – fax
Only eight miles from Duke University campus and ten miles from the University of North Carolina campus at Chapel Hill, Ayr Mount is in the Hillsborough, North Carolina. Hillsborough itself is one of the oldest communities in North Carolina and was an important center of trade at the time of the American Revolution, serving briefly as the state capital when the then-capital of New Bern was held by the British. Hillsborough is full of charming old colonial houses, but Ayr Mount is the crown jewel and well worth a visit.
From Greensboro, NC: Take I-85 North to Hillsborough exit 164. Turn left onto Churton Street heading North into downtown. Turn right onto East King Street then follow brown signs to Ayr Mount.
From Raleigh, NC: Take I-40 West to Hillsborough exit 261. Turn right and head North onto Churton Street. Turn right onto East King Street then follow brown historical markers to Ayr Mount.
From Richmond, VA: Take I-95 South to I-85 South to exit 170. Follow US 70 Bypass West to signal light at St. Marys Road intersection. Turn left heading into town, Ayr Mount entrance ½ mile on Left.
What are Ayr Mount’s hours?
Ayr Mount historic house is open to the public with docent-led tours Wednesday through Sunday at the following times*. Public tours are held March 16 – December 15. Group tours are available year-round by appointment.
Thurs., Fri., Sat. 11am and 2pm
Sun. 2 pm
*Tours are available Mondays and Tuesdays by appointment only.
The Poet’s Walk at Ayr Mount (376 St. Marys Road, Hillsborough, NC), the Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail, and the James M. Johnston Nature Preserve (both entrances at 320 Elizabeth Brady Road, Hillsbrough, NC) are open to the public at the following times:
Jan., Feb., Nov., Dec. 9 am – 5 pm
March and October 9 am – 6 pm
Apr., May., Aug., Sep. 9 am – 7 pm
June and July 9 am – 8 pm
What are Ayr Mount’s admission prices?
Admission to a tour of Ayr Mount costs $12 per person. Cash and credit cards are accepted.
The public may enjoy the Poet’s Walk and grounds at Ayr Mount—as well as adjacent properties—at no charge.
Is photography permitted?
No interior photography is allowed, except by special permission. However, books are available for purchase. A fee is required for all photography and videography on Ayr Mount’s grounds. An application needs to be completed before we can enter the session date on our calendar. Click here to submit the online form.
How do I arrange for a group visit?
We welcome large groups year-round by appointment only. Please complete the Group Tour Request Form found here in order to reserve a group tour at Ayr Mount. Please call (919) 732-6886 or email us using our Contact Form in order to arrange for group use of the grounds.
Is a tour of Ayr Mount appropriate for children?
A tour of Ayr Mount features discussions of history, architecture, decorative arts and more. Visitors of all ages are welcome, however tour content may be of more interest to older children.
How can I support Ayr Mount?
We hope you will join us in preserving, protecting and helping to open Ayr Mount and the other CAHPT properties for generations to come.
All donations will go directly towards Ayr Mount and may be made online here. Donations may also be sent by mail to:
376 St. Mary’s Road
Hillsborough, North Carolina 27278
If sending a contribution by mail, please also enclose the donation form found here. Checks should be made payable to Classical American Homes Preservation Trust.
Please contact Chris Smith using our Contact Form if you have any questions.
Thank you so much for your support.
How can I inquire about renting Ayr Mount for a private function?
Every year Ayr Mount hosts private events on its grounds. Please call (919) 732-6886 or email us using our Contact Form to learn more about hosting your next function at Ayr Mount.
For groups of 7 or more who wish to picnic on the grounds at Ayr Mount, a rental fee and advanced permission are required.
Is there a mailing list for goings-on at Ayr Mount?
Classical American Homes has a mailing and email list to keep supporters and friends up-to-date on the latest happenings at all six properties. While there is no Ayr Mount-specific mailing list, you will receive all information related to events and news at Ayr Mount by joining our mailing and/or email list here.
No smoking, alcohol or drugs
No fishing or swimming
No bicycles/motorized vehicles
No climbing trees or fences
Please supervise children
Please stay on main trail in wooded areas
Please do not litter
Pets must remain on a leash at all times
Please leave artifacts in place – take home only what you bring!