Ayr Mount is a Federal-era plantation house built in 1815 in Hillsborough, North Carolina by William Kirkland. Kirkland, named the house in honor of his birthplace, Ayr, Scotland. Unlike the other houses in the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust collection, Ayr Mount looks deceptively simple, even austere on the outside. There are no soaring columns proclaiming its classicism. On the other hand, Ayr Mount is far grander – especially in the interior – than one might expect from a first look at the exterior. The ceiling height of 14 feet is unusual for this period as is the elaborate Federal period woodwork and plasterwork found throughout the house. Ayr Mount also was the first major residence built of brick in this area of predominantly colonial era wood frame houses. At the time of its construction at the end of the War of 1812, Ayr Mount was considered one of the finest residential structures in Piedmont North Carolina. Visit this historic house.
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 historic houses, but Ayr Mount, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the crown jewel and well worth a visit.
What’s Going On at Ayr Mount.
Scottish Connections Exhibit (Ended 10/20/19)
Featuring Scottish artifacts, a variety of 18th century engravings, Scottish curiosities, and more, this exhibit will offered a glimpse into life both in Scotland and early America. Click here for photos from the exhibit and more information.
Outlandish Hillsborough was a fun celebration of Scottish heritage and culture, featuring food, music, dance, and more! Click here for more information.
Ayr Mount, the historic house museum, is open for guided public tours March – December, 2020.
Come tour the house, enjoy the Poet’s Walk along the Eno River, and reserve a spot for a picnic! Click here for more details.
Please note the gates to Ayr Mount close at 5 PM from November through February.
The town of Hillsborough was recently featured in Our State Magazine, with mentions of both Ayr Mount and
the Historic Occooneechee Speedway Trail — read the article here.
The Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail was featured in Due South Magazine.
Click here to read the article and learn more about the racing relic turned modern day walking trail.
Our State Magazine names the Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail (HOST) one of
the “Best Kept Secrets in the Triangle”.
Click here to access their article on the historic racetrack site.
On October 21, 2017 Ayr Mount hosted a Cèilidh to make your heart sing and your kilt swing! Music by Chambless and Muse, Thistledown Tinkers, and Piobadh na Triantan filled the Ayr (pun intended!), plus Scottish dancing on the lawn. Check here for photos from the event.
Chip Callway, garden designer and long-time friend of CAHPT, was recently interviewed by Our State Magazine. Click here to read about Chip’s adventures in gardening and hear about his “big break” designing the gardens at Ayr Mount after graduating with his mater’s degree in landscaping from NCSU.
Click here to watch videos of the performances from The Classical Ideal concert at Ayr Mount!
Hillsborough was listed as one of the 20 Best Small Towns in the Americas You’ve Never Heard Of (But Should) by the travel bloggers Alison Cornford-Matheson and her husband Andrew Matheson, and Ayr Mount was listed as the first spot to check-out!
Announcing a new footbridge spanning the Eno River at Ayr Mount – connecting downtown Hillsborough to the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Click here for details of the ribbon-cutting event that was held on July 22, 2016.
A fun, informative, and hands-on workshop on Fakes Forgeries & Reproductions was offered on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Click here for details from the special day-long seminar.
Read about the archaeological digs that have uncovered new findings about native villages in the area.
We are also delighted to present a downloadable brochure about Ayr Mount — Click here to access the PDF.