Hidden Gems – Ayr Mount

Ayr Mount map by Joe Liles

About Ayr Mount

Ayr Mount is a Federal-era plantation house built in 1815 as the home of William Kirkland and his family. Located just outside the center of Hillsborough on the Eno River, Kirkland named the estate to honor his birthplace of Ayr, Scotland.

For 170 years, the house was passed down within the Kirkland family until it was sold to Richard Jenrette in 1985. Jenerette restored the house, and in 1993, he donated it and much of the surrounding property to the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust, a foundation he established to preserve outstanding architecture and gardens on the East Coast.

Ayr Mount was originally a 503-acre plantation of which half was used for farming cotton and wheat. Today, the Trust has managed to preserve nearly 300 acres of land on both sides of the Eno, and maintains the house along with 60 acres of gardens, woodlands, pastures and the Kirkland family cemetery. Poet’s Walk, a one-mile trail loop, is open daily from 9 am to sunset, free of charge. It passes through fields and along the river and features a dramatic, undisturbed section of the Indian Trading Path, an early transportation route from Georgia to central Virginia.

Visit the Classical American Homes Website for more information: https://classicalamericanhomes.org/ayr-mount/

Photo by Jim Wallace

Guided tours of the Ayr Mount house are available to the public from March 15 through December 15 for a reasonable admission fee. The house is furnished with many original pieces from the Kirkland family, plus museum-quality pieces from cabinet-makers and artists of the 1800s.


The Poet’s Walk is a one-mile walking trail that meanders through the woodlands and pastures  surrounding Ayr Mount historic house. It sweeps alongside the banks of the Eno River, creating serene riverside lookouts, and features views of the Kirkland family cemetery, the old tavern foundation, and Hillsborough’s Old Indian Trading Path. A walk, run or stroll on the trail is perfect for history buffs, dog walkers (on leash and bring poop bags) and nature enthusiasts alike

How to get there:



376 St. Mary’s Road
Hillsborough, NC 27278

 Ayr Mount is open to the public every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. All guests are required to purchase tickets in advance. Each ticket costs $10 per person. Children under six (6) years of age are free. Vist Classic Americans Homes for tickets!

House Tours are scheduled:
Thursday & Friday: 1:00pm & 2:30pm
Saturday: 11:00am, 1:00pm, & 2:30pm


Car parking is available.

*Site may be closed without notice for repairs, weather, holidays, or special events

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