Shelby, NC

In the Land of Rhythm, there is inspiration everywhere. The spirit of native musicians Don Gibson and Early Scruggs can be found in murals, cultural centers, and theaters where they once played live. The rolling foothills invoke peace whether you’re hiking through them, or strolling with a glass of award-winning wine. Art and soul are around every turn in Cleveland County, so strap on your walking shoes for this two-day tour through some of its most inspiring places.

Medium Activity

2 days | 12 stops

Day 1

STOP 1: Kings Mountain Gateway Trail

Less than 20 minutes from Uptown Shelby, you’ll find the Kings Mountain Gateway Trail. This area has some of the best hiking and biking in the entire region. Choose from four different trails that cover over 8 miles. Each trail connects to the other and weavethroughout the forest and hills. Along the path you may pass the edge of an active quarry, a garden designed for Monarch Butterflies or a scenic overlook of both Kings Mountain and Crowder’s Mountain. It’s time to gear up and head out. May the forest be with you.

STOP 2: Southern Arts Society

Everything about the Southeastern Arts Society is unique. Located in a historic Southern Railway Depot close to downtown Kings Mountain, it’s home to the creative wanderings of more than 80 local artists. Enter the doorways and you’ll find hand-blown glass vases, hammered copper jewelry, pottery that would look perfect on that shelf that always seems like it is missing something. Everything is one of a kind. Find the perfect gift for anyone. Even if that anyone is you.

STOP 3: 133 West

Located in Historic Downtown Kings Mountain, 133 West brings a modern and creative approach to Southern cuisine. The atmosphere is light and relaxing. The menu is always changing. There is a focus on freshness and seasonality. But there's also a global curiosity to the dishes at 133 West. They are definitely Southern at heart. But you may also find a kick of Greek or Arab mixed in to keep your taste buds on high alert. (Ask to sit on the patio. It's the perfect way to enjoy your meal this time of year.)

STOP 4: Arts Council Gallery

This former post office building now houses the Arts Council Gallery. Pop over to take in art exhibits, attend art classes, enjoy performances and more. The gallery features work from local artists and craftsmen. On any given day you may find hand-woven baskets, homemade soaps or not-so-flighty birdhouses. Stop by and take a piece of Cleveland County home with you.

STOP 5: Buffalo Creek Gallery

If you’re anything like me, purchasing art can seem a little intimidating. But that’s not the case at Buffalo Creek Gallery. When you walk in the door, you’re immediately inspired and surrounded by unique, beautiful works of art. This Co-op gallery is filled with paintings in a variety of mediums, jewelry, pottery, furniture, and accessories. It showcases the work of over 50 local and regional artists. Get ready to find lots of gifts for the hard-to-buy-for people in your life and of course a few for yourself!

STOP 6: Newgrass Brewery

Anybody can drink a beer. But it takes intelligence to enjoy it. At least, that’s the thinking at Newgrass Brewery. That’s why they handcraft beer in small batches using only the finest ingredients from local farmers and around the world. Quality ingredients are the start of any great brew. Try a flight and see for yourself. It doesn’t matter if you prefer a pale ale or a stout, this place has the flavors to keep your beer palate at full attention.

Day 2

STOP 7: Earl Scrugg's Center

Earl Scruggs was born right here in Cleveland County in the small town of Flint Hill. (Ever hear Flint Hill Special?) Earl helped to define the voice of the banjo to the world. His three-finger playing style (Scruggs style) didn’t just cross musical boundaries, it created a whole new style of play. He was an innovator. He was a music lover. This Center that bears his name is our way to keep his legacy alive for future generations. You can even try your hand at the banjo in the Banjo Petting Zoo! Toe-tapping and inspiration included with admission. After a trip through the center, stop in the gift shop where you can take home a piece of Scruggs memorabilia. There’s music, of course, along with apparel, kids items, mugs, and more.

STOP 8: Don Gibson Theatre / LP Trail

A visit to Shelby would not be complete without a tip of the hat to native son Don Gibson. This prolific songwriter and country music legend, penned more than 375 songs during his career. The list includes I Can’t Stop Loving You, which has been recorded in several languages and across genres by over 750 artists. As a tribute to this poet of song, Shelby has a walking tour that highlights Don’s work. There are ten stops around Uptown Shelby. Each location has a different LP sculpture designed by a different artist that features information about one of Don’s hit songs. You'll even see a mural of Don along the way. The stroll will take about 45 minutes to see them all. But you’ll be humming the tunes for days after.

STOP 9: Wooden Carousel

A century old wooden Carrousel is a staple at Shelby’s City Park. Volunteers spent thousands of hours restoring this artifact to her original beauty. Today, music fills the park from an authentic Carousel Band Organ as the carousel spins with a blur of color and new life. Twenty-nine original horses and three hand-carved replacements form a ring around hand-painted rounding boards. For a mere fifty cents, kids of all ages can take a ride. Giddy up over and choose your horse.

STOP 10: Pleasant City Wood Fired Grille

If you think your soulmate might be carbs, then this is the place for you. Pleasant City Wood Fired Grille is a lively joint in uptown Shelby offering a wood-fired menu, cold brews & cocktails. It’s been filling the streets of Uptown Shelby with the sounds of good times since 2008. Boasting the only brick oven menu and most beer taps in Cleveland County, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your taste buds.

STOP 11: Veronet Vineyards & Winery

Where the foothills begin to ripple towards the Blue Ridge Mountains you’ll find Veronét Vineyards & Winery. This 70-acre estate includes panoramic views of Crowders Mountain along with six acres under vine. Good soils and a sustainable approach allow for a variety of grapes to grow abundantly. Sample a Chardonnay or Orange Muscat. Pour a glass of Malbec or Sauvignon Blanc. Each wine bearing the Veronet name is chosen, blended and aged with the utmost care and passion.

STOP 12: Johnny Ray's Smokehouse

Johnny Ray's Smokehouse, formerly known as the Honey Hog, is farmer- and pitmaster-owned. They source their meat from their own farm (or local farms) whenever possible. This makes the food fresh which makes it amazing. The ribs come wet or dry with a kick of spice. The fries are hand cut. The mashed potatoes are real, just like grandma's house on Sunday. Show up early and hungry. You will not be disappointed.