Small Town Charm

If you love a small-town vibe, dis­cover the ir­re­sistible ap­peal of these road-trip wor­thy North Carolina des­ti­na­tions.

Where Charlotte - - CONTENTS - BY MYRA WRIGHT

Four quiet North Carolina towns that of­fer big road­trip ap­peal. BY MYRA WRIGHT

NEW BERN

His­toric New Bern is an al­lur­ing South­ern town along the Trent and Neuse rivers and is the birth­place of Pepsi-Cola. It boasts a lively down­town con­sist­ing of shops, restau­rants and river­front at­trac­tions. Check out Tryon Palace, a liv­ing his­tory site of­fer­ing char­ac­ter in­ter­pre­ta­tion, tours and pro­grams. The Croatan Na­tional For­est of­fers 159,000 acres for re­cre­ational pur­suits.

BLOW­ING ROCK

Blow­ing Rock is known as “the Crown of the Blue Ridge,” is lo­cated along the Blue Ridge Park­way and is named for an enor­mous cliff high above the Johns River Gorge. Fish or hike at Moses Cone Memo­rial Park, ride the rails at Tweet­sie Rail­road, launch an aerial ex­cur­sion at High Grav­ity Ad­ven­tures, or ex­plore a nat­u­ral grav­i­ta­tional anom­aly at Mys­tery Hill.

HOT SPRINGS

The charm­ing moun­tain town of Hot Springs, 40 miles north of Asheville, is named for nat­u­ral hot springs that have trans­formed the area into a re­sort des­ti­na­tion. The nat­u­ral springs were thought by Na­tive Amer­i­cans to have heal­ing pow­ers. To­day, you can re­lax in mod­ern Jacuzzi tubs out­side on the banks of Spring Creek and the French Broad River at the Hot Springs Re­sort and Spa. Or, hike a por­tion of the Ap­palachian Trail, tube, swim, raft, kayak or fish, shop lo­cal ar­ti­san crafts, and dine at one of many lo­cally owned restau­rants. Soar through the for­est at nearby French Broad Raft­ing & Zi­plines, or make a day trip to Bilt­more Es­tate or Chim­ney Rock State Park.

SAL­IS­BURY

Sal­is­bury is 45 miles from Char­lotte and the home of Cheer­wine, the iconic cherry-fla­vored soda brand es­tab­lished in 1917. Sal­is­bury and Rowan County’s coun­try­side and ur­ban vibe speaks to its unique char­ac­ter. Easily spend a day with fam­ily at Dan Nicholas Park, which has pad­dle­boats, gem min­ing, a carousel, mini golf, an aquar­ium, a barn­yard and a wa­ter plaza/ splash pad. Sa­vor the sounds of na­ture at 200acre Ea­gle Point Na­ture Pre­serve with hik­ing trails and ca­noe and fish­ing ac­cess. Nearby at­trac­tions in­clude the North Carolina Trans­porta­tion Mu­seum, Lazy 5 Ranch, and Pat­ter­son Farm. Tiger World, a non­profit wildlife pre­serve for ex­otic an­i­mals in Rock­well, is a 20-minute drive.

Cheer­wine calls Sal­is­bury, North Carolina, home. Be­low, Tryon Palace in New Bern

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