Charlotte Relocation Guide

VOL1ISS1 2017

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THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — CHARLOTTE | VOLUME 1 — ISSUE 1 30 GASTON COUNTY Gaston County BY LYNNE BRANDON wildflower walk, whitewater wonders, top-shelf cuisine About 10 miles southwest of Gastonia there stands a mountain. It rises 1,625 feet high and its name is Crowders. In 1974 the mountain was preserved as Crowders Mountain State Park. The popular mountain and park has made Gaston County a major outdoor destination. In 2016, more than 797,000 people visited Crowders Mountain State Park (18 percent increase since 2015). Surrounded by trails, mountain peaks, and forests, outdoor enthusiasts can walk, hike or climb to the top of the mountain for a scenic view. Visitors come to hike a trail or rock climb, backpack, camp under the stars and canoe on the lake. Throughout the county branded "Gaston Outside" locals strap on hiking boats, Merrell's, and Birkenstocks to walk or hike on mountains and trails. The Carolina Thread Trail has hundreds of miles of trail in North Carolina. A new section of the trail will soon link Belmont Abby College to downtown Belmont. Gaston County's running scene is strong, with 16 local races throughout the year. Special events during the year include the Dirty Dozen Obstacle Adventure Race (need tolerance for mud) trail marathons, the Spencer Mountain 10-miler (one of the most punishing races in the region) and the festive, McAdenville (Christmastown USA) annual 5K. Cyclists have a place in Gaston and a criterium and other races are eagerly anticipated each year. With everything from mirror-like flat water to Class III rapids, Gaston County has a place to paddle for everyone from novice to expert. The water is wide and calm on the 200-plus mile Catawba River, providing some of Gaston's best opportunities for kayak and SUP lessons, as well as guided trips by the Catawba River Paddle Club. The popular river is the source for some of the best flat water paddling near the Queen City. Gaston County is also the home base of the U.S. National Whitewater Center where a manmade white water river with Class II-IV rapids is the main attraction. "Grabbing a bite" in Gaston means Southern comfort food with barbecue, biscuits and fish camps at the top of everyone's bucket list. High brow cuisine is available but the outdoor easy living crowd is satisfied with a down home mom-pop style. The Northstar Seafood Restaurant (Dallas) aka "fish camp" has been heaping platters full for three decades. Plates are piled high with favorites such as the char-broiled flounder and jumbo fried shrimp. In Cherryville, you can step back into time at Blacks Grill. The little diner sporting checkerboard flooring and bench-style booths serves up tasty chili dogs, crispy fries, and barbecue the way it used to be. Belmont and Gastonia are two popular destinations in Gaston, each with unique attractions. Belmont is the home of historic Belmont Abbey College, Belmont Rowing Center and the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. Belmont's quaint downtown with shops and restaurants is a draw with special events, festivals and outdoor concerts throughout the year. It is the recipient of two North Carolina Main Street awards. Locally owned eateries like the String Bean Café are popular after a long day. Nellie's Southern Kitchen is owned by Kevin Jonas (father of the Jonas Brothers) whose grandmother was a local. Have a "cup of Joe" at Caravan Coffee or get a slice of yummy perfection next door at Brenda's Cake Gallery. To imbibe in adult beverages try York Chester Brewing or Muddy River Distillery, both located at Riverside Marina. Belmont is embracing its manufacturing history by rehabbing historical textile buildings into mixed-use developments. The Chronicle, one a textile mill, will house office, retail and event space with plans for an amphitheater and boutique hotel. Gastonia is home of two big attractions – Crowders Mountain State Park and the Schiele Museum of Natural History & Planetarium.

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