Rainy Day Sunshine
Mother Nature doesn't always cooperate with travel plans. Let's face it, sometimes even the best planned journeys encounter rainy days, and unless you're seriously in touch with your inner puddle-jumping small child, most of us don't view the rain as a vacation bonus. Fortunately, rainy days in Rutherford County, North Carolina aren't a total washout!
Did you know that Rutherfordton's own Christopher Bechtler minted the United States' first $1.00 gold coin in 1832, about 17 years before the U.S. mint created one? The famous North Carolina Gold Trail runs straight through Rutherfordton and includes stops at the Bechtler House Heritage Center, the Bechtler Mint and Historic Park, the Thermal City Gold Mine, and even a commemorative trail through the shops & boutiques of downtown Rutherfordton known as The Gold Mile. Take a tour of the Heritage Center or Mint to learn more fascinating facts about Christopher Bechtler and his mark on American history. Experience panning for gold and learn about prospecting at the Thermal City Gold Mine, or even just immerse yourself in an artistically golden shopping journey through the variety of merchant boutiques in Rutherfordton's downtown. Speaking of shopping, you can even get the kids involved! The Kidsenses Children's Interactive Museum's Little Family Dollar exhibit is a grocery store run for kids by kids that teaches them about money and entrepreneurship. With all of these indoor options, even rainy days are sure to sparkle!
History and Artistry
Forest City plays host to some of the coolest museums and shops in the North Carolina foothills. From agricultural to artistic, this town definitely has the options for a fascinatingly fun day of indoor sightseeing. The Rutherford County Farm Museum is a treasure trove of artifacts from the late 18th and early 19th centuries relating to the area's farming and textile mill communities. Banfield Pottery is a beautifully quaint art gallery in downtown Forest City full of pieces from local artists that span the visual art disciplines from paintings to pottery; and The African American Heritage Museum is a wonderful location that provides a captivating journey through local Afro-American cultural history via its inspiring collection of artifacts, crafts, and artwork. Tours of the museum are by appointment only, so be sure to call in advance. Anyone into antiquing shouldn't miss an opportunity to visit Dovetails and Rusty Nails. It's a gem of a shop so chock full of vintage finds, that you'll swear you've been transported back in time. To finish out a perfect indoor day, no trip to Forest City is complete without experiencing the Bennett Classics Antique Auto Museum. From incredibly restored automobiles to a few unrestored originals such as Model T's and retired fire trucks, it's the ultimate destination for anyone who appreciates automotive ingenuity. No matter what your historical or artistic preferences are, the activity options in Forest City will turn any rainy day shiny and bright!
The Scenic Indoors
Tourism isn't just about the great outdoors in Lake Lure and Chimney Rock Village. Take a shopping trip down memory lane at The Hickory Nut. From Native American folklore to kitschy gifts and antiques, this charming place has something for everyone. Experience southern hometown hospitality with a trip to Bubba O'Leary's General Store. Featuring everything from local homemade jams and candies, to regional artisan treasures, this store is an unparalleled shopping treat. Speaking of treats, you can easily treat yourself to a relaxing spa day at The Esmeralda Inn or Rumbling Bald Resort, then hang out and enjoy either place's award-winning dining options that include incredible views, no matter what the weather. Finally, don't miss an opportunity to visit the Right Track Toy Train Museum. Visitors, no matter how young or young at heart, will enjoy the many tracks of working toy trains; some of which date back to the early 1900s. The museum also offers a cute gift shop that sells everything from archival train memorabilia to vinyl LPs, and the location's nominal entry fees are donated to fund pancreatic cancer research. It just goes to show that, even on vacation, you can have fun and give back, no matter what the weather!
No Umbrellas Required
Don't let Mother Nature dampen your vacation plans! Rutherford County offers a myriad of activities options, no matter what the weather. So grab your friends and family, and head on over. Excursions that are sure to leave you feeling full of sunshine are only a short car ride away.