In Sway Guides

Moore County is full of history in its many towns, but chances are you don’t know much about all of them. This, the first of The Sway’s series on small towns, highlights Carthage.

The Story of Buggy Town

Chances are, you’ve made a visit to Buggy Town Coffee. And, chances are, you’ve wondered “What’s up with these buggies?”

Carthage gets the name Buggy Town because it was home to the Tyson & Jones Buggy Company in the late 1800s, one of the premier cart-and-buggy makers before motors were a thing.

Local legend is that Henry Ford once tried to buy out the closed plant from the owners to make it into an assembly line for his Model-T’s, but the owners refused. The story follows that Ford then moved to Detroit, making it the capital of auto-manufacturing. Like most local legends, that story isn’t ironclad.

Today, Carthage celebrates the impact of Tyson & Jones Buggy Company with “The Buggy Festival” every spring around the Old Court House (minus this year, thanks to ‘Rona). You can see old buggies from Tyson & Jones on display, as well as old tractors and crafts from local artisans.

Odell Hussey (sitting) says hello to a friend in this photo from the 2018 Carthage Buggy Fest.


Modern Carthage is also home to many murals, all created by Scott Nurkin. The most recent came as a part of the “Carthage Mural Project” which consisted of three new murals based on the history of Carthage: The Tyson Buggy Company, James Rogers McConnell who flew for France in the Lafayette Escadrille during World War I, before the United States joined the war, and tobacco farms.

See all of them, plus a map to all the county’s murals, here.

Bryant House and McLendon Cabin

In addition to several historic homes, Carthage is also home to the Bryant House and the McLendon Cabin.

James Bryant was given the land of the McLendon place, already home to the cabin, by his father in the early 19th century. He built the nearby manor house in about 1820. Flossie Bryant Davis, the great-granddaughter of James Bryant, gave the house and 3.4 acres of land to the Moore County Historical Association in 1969.

There are events at the property a few times a year. Follow the Facebook page for updates.

Where to Eat & Drink

If you’re a fan of soul food, burgers or Carolina style BBQ, you and Carthage need to be friends.

Photo via Pik N Pig on Facebook.
  • Pik N Pig is one of the most famed BBQ places in Moore County, known for its location next to an airfield and mother-daughter operating duo. Pop in for lunch or watch your diet fly out the window.
    • Location: 194 Gilliam McConnell Road, Carthage, NC 28327
    • Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Susa Hibachi Grill: From sushi and chicken hibachi, to Thai Noodles Pad Thai, Susa covers all the hibachi bases. Always ask for extra white sauce.
    • Location: 105 McReynold’s Street
    • Hours: Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Pete’s Restaurant is one of those places with a homey feel that will remind you of the diner you went to as a kid. The food will keep you coming back.
    • Location:  4088 US Hwy 15 501 Carthage, North Carolina 28327
    • Hours:  Monday – Sunday: 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Buggy Town Coffee is the perfect lunch spot, with delicious sandwiches and great coffee. If you need a midday pick me up, a splash of iced coffee and a sandwich from Buggy Town is the answer to your work week woes.
    • Location: 201 S. McNeill St., Carthage, NC 28327  
    • Hours: Monday – Saturday: 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Ronnie of the famous Chuckwagon in Carthage makes a Carolina Hot Dog.
  • Ronnie’s Chuckwagon is a Carthage staple with down home, quick, American food, but it’s not really in a wagon. The Chuckwagon is best known for its burgers, and rib-eye sandwiches. If you’ve saved room for dessert, try the sweet potato fried pie — your tastebuds will thank us.
    • Location: 306 Monroe Street
    • Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Black Rock Vineyard: Black Rock offers a variety of sweet and dry red and white wines, all of which are fermented in a “wine cave.” Each wine is also from locally-grown fruit. You can find a patio outside to sit and sip, as well as an indoor tasting room.
    • Location: 6652 US-15, Carthage
    • Hours: Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 1-6 p.m.
Photo via Time Out Sports Grill on Facebook.
  • Time Out Sports Grill: Word on the street is that the best wings are found here. From quesadillas to burgers, get your bar food fix at Time Out.
    • Location: 1005 Monroe Street
    • Hours: Wednesday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Steve’s Pizza & Hot Subs: You can’t go wrong with the homemade pizzas or subs. Choose from specialty items like the cuban or go with a classic meatball sub or pepperoni pizza.
    • Location: 506 Monroe Street
    • Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday, 10:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m., Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • The Soup Company: From Tuscan to Chicken Poblano and White Chicken Chili, you’ll find every soup under the sun here.
    • Location: 104 N McNeill Street
    • Hours: Open 10-4, Monday through Friday.

Where to Farm

  • Olde Carthage Farm is the only USDA-certified organic farm in the area. Pick up some fresh and organic strawberries to enjoy on a summer picnic or with your morning coffee.
    • Location: 2270 US-15, Carthage, NC 28327
    • Hours: Vary, see website
  • Karefree Produce: Karefree offers fresh produce, as well as take and bake meals.
    • Location: 4680 US 15-501, Carthage
    • Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Highlanders Farm: You can find produce and homemade ice cream at this area staple.
    • Location: 5784 NC Highway 22, Carthage
    • Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Green Haven Plant Farm: Stroll through the nursery and find annuals, shrubs, trees, vegetable plants and more.
    • Location: 246 Green Haven Lane
    • Hours: Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Happy Goat Ranch: Pick out all the produce your heart desires and pet a goat while you’re at it. It’s a win-win.
    • Location: 1508 US 15-501, Carthage
    • Hours: Monday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Where to Shop

  • The Vintage Barn: The Vintage Barn truly has everything. From funky cowboy boots to vintage clothes and decor — everything is one-of-a-kind.
    • Location: 108 McReynolds Street
    • Hours: Thursday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 12-4 p.m.
  • Down to Earth Pottery is one of the many great pottery spots in northern Moore County. Down to Earth is family operated in Carthage since 1991 by Jim and Mary Havner along with their children, Nick and Jaime Havner, and grandchildren, Christopher and Gitana Havner.
    • Location: 11792 NC 24/27 Highway, Carthage
    • Hours: Monday, Friday & Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Lisa’s Boutique is the perfect stop in Carthage for a fresh, new look. Lisa has worked in fashion for over 25 years, so she’s the perfect shopping resource when you feel like you’ve worn the same shirt for 5 months.
    • Location: 111 McReynolds St, Carthage, North Carolina
    • Hours: Monday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Tuesday-Friday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Where to Learn

  • The Carthage Museum: The Carthage Museum houses buggies, farming equipment and other artifacts that reflect the history and heritage of the town of Carthage. They’re closed right now, but you can follow along with virtual exhibit tours on their Facebook page.
    • Location: 202 Rockingham Street
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