Quaint Piedmont Towns: Hendersonville, Flat Rock, Shelby & more
Hendersonville and Flat Rock – www.historichendersonville.org, 1-800-828-4244
In these two quaint towns, visit the Western North Carolina Air Museum, The Mineral & Lapidary Museum, Henderson County Heritage Museum, Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site and St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church. Top off your day with dinner at a group-friendly restaurant in downtown historic Hendersonville followed by a lively performance at Flat Rock Playhouse, the official North Carolina State Theatre.
Shelby – www.tourclevelandcounty.com, 1-866-305-9973
Continue east on US 74 to Shelby. The Court Square in Uptown Shelby offers lots of quaint shopping and dining experiences in addition to art galleries and museums. Be sure to take the challenge of the Shelby Corn Maze. Shelby City Park features a restored 1920s Herschell-Spillman carousel. And you cannot leave Shelby without tasting liver mush, known as “poor man’s pate.” There is even a Liver Mush Expo every October.
Kings Mountain – www.tourclevelandcounty.com, 1-866-305-9973
Ten miles east on US 74 is Kings Mountain, home to North Carolina’s only gin distillery, Southern Artisan Spirits, Kings Mountain Revolutionary War Battlefield and Kings Mountain Historical Fire Museum featuring antique fire trucks and fire-fighting equipment.
Gastonia – www.visitgaston.org, 1-800-849-9994
Another ten miles further east on US 74, visit Gastonia's Schiele Museum of Natural History featuring the largest collection of land mammal specimens in the Southeast, from common raccoons to huge buffalo. It has five permanent galleries with vivid natural history exhibits, plus outdoor recreations of an Indian Village and an 18th century farm.