Gastonia Travel Guide

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Gastonia, which is directly East of Charlotte, NC, is a fast growing area in Gaston County.

The first inhabitants to the area were Catawba Indians.  German and Scotch-Irish settlers first began building their settlements along the Catawba and South Fork Rivers in the late 1700's.

Nearby, the battle of Kings Mountain, which was a turning point in the Revolutionary War was fought about 20 miles from Gastonia by these settlers.

Gaston County was formed December 21, 1846 and named for Associate Supreme Court Justice William Gaston. The county seat was located north of Gastonia in Dallas, NC, where the old courthouse now serves as the hub for the Dallas Police dept when the courthouse was moved to Gastonia in 1911.  Near the courthouse square is the historic County jail and the Gaston County Museum of Art and History is nearby. 

Gastonia first began with farmers and later was also was known for it's liquor making.  By 1848, textile manufacturing became the big business and Gaston County became one of the bigest textile manufacturing areas in the United States.

Don't Miss: Ice Cream at Tony's Ice Cream, 604 E. Franklin. The restaurant looks much as it did during the 1940's!  Eat at one of the numerous 'Fish Camps" around Gaston County, including Graham's, Stowe's, North Star, Captain's Cap and others that serve modest prices with large portions of fried fish, fries, and hushpuppies.

Restaurants: Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Ruby Tuesdays, On the Border, Chili's, Applebee's, Cracker Barrel, IHOP, Texas Roadhouse, O'Charley's, Red Lobster, Longhorn Steak, Golden Corral, Panera Bread and Ryan's are among others that are national chains. Local good eats can be found also at RO's Barbecue, Carolina Country Barbecue, Woodshed Restaurant in Stanley, Milano's Italian Restaurant, Hillbilly's Barbecue, Azteca Mexican, Oshii and Shogun Japanese restaurants. Jackson's cafeteria at Gaston Mall is a small but good family run place to eat cafeteria-style food.

Visitor Attractions:

American Military Museum of Gastonia 109 W Second Ave, contains uniforms and artifacts from every war since the Civil War. Call 704-866-6068 for museum hours.

Belmont Abbey College  has walking tours of it's historic campus and church which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The church was once the  only abbey cathedral in the nation and has been named a Minor Basilica. It's stained-glass windows won a gold prize at the Columbian Exposition in 1893.

C. Grier Beam Truck Museum in nearby Cherryville, in Gaston County, offers a tribute to the history of the truck with trucks displayed dating back to 1927. It's one of only three truck museums in the nation. Call 704-435-3072 for museum hours.

Dallas Historic District is located 3.5 miles north of Gastonia located in downtown Dallas. The district is a remarkable group of houses and commercial structures built during the latter half of the 19th century and surrounds the former courthouse. The old courthouse is an 1848 Greek Revival building that was rebuilt in 1875 following a fire. It currently houses the Dallas town offices and other depts. Although most of the buildings are occupied, the area retains it's pre-industrial charm. Walking tours are available by request from the Gaston County Museum of Art & History.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 S. New Hope Rd, is located on acres of rolling meadows and woodlands on the banks of Lake Wylie. The gardens are being developed over a 40-year period. The first phase features 13,500 square-foot Visitor Pavillion and 110-acres of garden, pavillions and woodlands. There are also numerous flower beds with perennials, annuals, daylillies, and herbs, and a dozen sparkling fountains.  A gift shop is also on site. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden has been named one of the nation's "20 Great Gardens" by HGTV.

Schiele Museum of Natural History and Planetarium. 1500 E. Garrison Blvd. Each year more than 125,000 people visit the Schiele, the Lynn Planetarium, and it's living nature trail with Catawba Indian Village and 18th-century Backcountry farm.  Hands on exhibits, research and public programs interpret over 400 years of Piedmont history.  The Schiele is also in association with the Smithsonian Institute.

Kings Mountain State Park is in nearby Blacksburg, SC. The park as 6141 acres of scenic drives, nature, and hiking trails. There is a living history farm, two lakes for swimming, fishing and boating, a bridle trail, carpet golf, picnic areas, playgrounds, and a store and interpretative center. Camping is available. 803-222-3209.

Kings Mountain National Military Park, 15 miles from Gastonia off SC Hwy 216, near Blacksburg.  On these 3950 rugged acres, a fierce attack by Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia mountain frontiersmen broke up Britian's souther campaign on October 7, 1780. Near the center of the park is the battlefield ridge with several monuments. The visitor center has exhibits and films.  A self-guided trail leads to the chief features of the battlefield.

Lake Wylie was created in 1904 when Duke Power dammed the Catawba River.  It has 327 miles of shoreline in Gaston, Mecklenburg, and York, (S.C.) counties. Fishing, swimming, water-skiing, and a marina are available. 8 miles southeast of Gastonia.

Christmas Town, USA is in nearby McAdenville, just two exits east of Gastonia on Interstate 85. Millions of twinkling lights turn this small mill town into a spectacular holiday display. The sights and sounds of Christmas fill the town most of December. The annual event runs from December 1st through December 26th.

Crowders Mountain State Park is six miles southwest of Gastonia off Hwy 74. This park is a registered North Carolina Natural Heritage Area and includes a 5091-acre park with rugged peaks, jutting 800 feet above the surrounding landscape.  Facilities available for backpack camping, fishing, canoeing, hiking, repelling, picnicking, and bird watching. An 8-mile stretch leading to the area from Interstate 85 has been designated by the state as a scenic byway. The Visitor Center features a museum with natural history exhibits.


July 18, 2006 new by cindy b. (4 points)

July 19, 2006 change by giorgio

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