The Southern Foothills Area Of The Piedmont
You can be excused for thinking that Charlotte is all there is to the southern foothills area of the Piedmont. Dominating the region like the hub of a gigantic wheel, the Queen City offers visitors everything from attractions to shopping, and the international business community helps insure that there are plenty of top restaurants and nightclubs to satisfy the most discriminating appetite. However, look around the southern foothills area and you’ll find lots of places of interest outside the Charlotte city limits.
Start with furniture shopping in Hickory at the Catawba Furniture Mall or Hickory Furniture Mart with acres of top brand names to choose from. When you’ve finished shopping, stop in at the interactive Catawba Science Center, which features both permanent and visiting exhibits as well as the state-of-the-art Millholland Planetarium. In historic Statesville, visit Fort Dobbs State Historic Site, once a lonely outpost that served as the state’s only protection during the French and Indian War, or explore the more than 1,000 acres of hardwood forest and farmland of Allison Woods, a nature and cultural heritage preserve.
Although long gone, Civil War enthusiasts can still visit the site of the notorious Salisbury Confederate Prison and the National Cemetery where more than 11,000 Union soldiers are buried. Downtown Salisbury itself offers a vibrant historic district as well as shops, galleries, museums and walking tours. If you just can’t get enough of trains, planes and automobiles, don’t miss the North Carolina Transportation Museum in nearby Spencer.
Lazy 5 Ranch
Gaston County and the city of Gastonia west of Charlotte offer breathtaking views from Crowder’s Mountain State Park to the nearby Catawba River. Here you’ll find outdoor adventures galore, from whitewater rafting and kayaking to rock climbing, mountain biking and Eco Caching at the US National Whitewater Center.
A short distance from the Center will find you in downtown Charlotte where a different kind of adventure awaits you; the urban adventure. Catch a Checkers hockey game or root the Carolina Panthers to victory. Find premier shopping in stores like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Crate & Barrel at SouthPark Mall and explore unique attractions like Discovery Place, the Levine Museum of the New South, the Mint Museum of Art and the Billy Graham Library. Be sure to leave the evenings free for dining, dancing and some of the best nightlife in the South.
If racing around the southern foothills region leaves you breathless, you can always relax for a few hours at one of the region’s local wineries or stroll through the lush foliage of the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens. Whatever you choose to do, you’re sure to want more, which is good, because even after all this, there’s still a lot more here.
For more information, contact the Charlotte Visitors Bureau, the Gaston County Department of Tourism, the Statesville Convention & Visitors Bureau or the Salisbury-Rowan County Visitors Bureau.
By Pam Watson
By Pam Watson
added: December 31, 2008
updated: August 19, 2010