North Carolina June 02, 2017
3 North Carolina Foothill Towns You Must Explore This Summer
While many North Carolinians head straight to the sandy shore or towering peaks for summer vacation, there’s plenty of beauty and places to discover hiding in-between. As the land starts to rise and peaks dot the horizon, foothill towns are often bypassed for their taller counterpart, yet North Carolina’s foothills towns are brimming with culture and things to do.
1. Chimney Rock Village
Just before the entrance to Chimney Rock park, the quaint Chimney Rock village is a beacon for tourists and travelers to relax and explore before adventuring. With Rocky Broad River running parallel to Main Street, many businesses and restaurants hone in on the scenic beauty.
While Main Street is brimming with the residual stores and attractions, one you must stop by is Gale's Shop. Since 1947 the store has been a town centerpiece with now-owner, Steve Gale, growing up in his parent's store and today knowing all the ins-and-outs. A trip here is part wondrous and part nostalgia, the collection of unique items adds to the draw.
If you're looking for a bite to eat Medina's is a great place to fill up on a hearty breakfast. If you're seeking river views restaurants like Like Old Rock Cafe, Genny's (pictured above), and RiverWatch offer stunning views and a hearty meal.
If you're looking to plan a whole day at both Chimney Rock Village and the gorgeous Chimney Rock State Park, we've already planned it all for you!
For a guide to Chimney Rock Village,
While you might be tempted to spend the entire day at Chimney Rock Village, make sure to reserve a few hours for the amazing
Chimney Rock State Park
From a world class equestrian center, award-winning distillery, a quirky general store, 'minted' past and plenty of scenic adventure nearby, Rutherfordton is a quiet small town just waiting to be explored. While many know of the nearby Tryon Equestrian Center, 'Saturday Night Lights' welcomes the entire community to learn the art of equestrian.
Saturday Night Lights showcases competitive jumping while offering plenty of free fun, like carousel rides and face painting, for the entire family. If your interests are less equestrian more, strong beverages, you're in luck. Not far from Rutherfordton is the award-winning Defiant Whisky located in Bostic.
From tours to tastings, whisky and bourbon lovers will find nothing but the finest at Defiant. Even for the novice in the group, it's a fascinating inside peek.
One of Rutherfordton's 'claims to fame' is that it's the site of the first minted coin in the U.S. In 1832, Christopher Bechtler minted the country's first one dollar gold coin. The Bechtlers minted over $2.24 million in gold coins during the mid-1800s. Today visitors can take a tour of the Bechtler Museum and also get to see the Bechtler rifle.
If you're looking for a more relaxing escape, the gorgeous Cleghorn Golf and Country Club offers Blue Ridge Views, great golf courses, and also a historic plantation house. Wanting to grab a bite after all the fun? Mimi's Dairy-O Pizza and Grill has a bit of everything from hand-tossed pizza, hot dogs, juicy burgers and sweet treats.
With so much to see and do (lets also not forget nearby Lake Lure!), we've already determined Rutherfordton is worth a two-day trip;
read our full itinerary here
3. Mount Airy
Andy Griffith fans get the true treat here in modern-day 'Mayberry.' From taking a squad car tour of Mount Airy to visiting places mentioned in the show, it's an Andy and Barney lover's dream. While Mount Airy's claim to fame is the Andy Griffith show, it's also so much more than that. For one, it's a place you'll want to bring your appetite to.
For starters, the famous pork chop sandwich from Snappy Lunch is well worth the reputation and four bucks. So much more than a sandwich though, Snappy Lunch is a place filled with nostalgia, small town vibes, and friendly faces who never make you feel like a stranger. It's 60% atmosphere and 40% amazing food.
Don't just fill up on hearty options, though - leave room for dessert! From the heavenly 'Miss Angel's Heavenly Pies' to the native dessert of 'sonker.' Keep room in your belly for the sonker trail. Spanning throughout Surry County and the region, the cobbler-like dessert is prepared a variety of ways, usually dependent on whose grandma passed it down to who. Some is made on the stovetop, other fried, other baked. It's served with a fruit cobbler, sometimes featuring seasonal berries, and a smidgen of ice cream or whipped cream. If you find yourself in Mount Airy (or Pilot Mountain or Elkin) order the sonker!
These small foothills towns each posses their own culture and beauty. You must explore them this summer!
While you’re in the area, don’t forget to check out this
remote and scenic vineyard.