Shelby, NC

Want to know where to sample the best local barbecue? Or where to ride a century-old carousel? Or, maybe you’re looking for the perfect way place to watch the sun set over the mountains as you tap your toes the sounds of live bluegrass? Well, you are in the right place. This tour is your key to experiencing all the top attractions, tastes, and moments that Cleveland County has to offer. So, buckle up, and head this way for a weekend (or more) designs to help you find your rhythm here.

Medium Activity

3 days | 27 stops

Day 1

STOP 1: Best of Breakfast at the Shelby Café

The Shelby Café is the kind of place where a balanced diet starts with a fork at each end. This local and nationally known favorite has been cooking up Carolina comfort food for close to a century. From fried liver-mush to homemade pimento cheese, every order is the right order. Especially when it is brought to your table with a smile, followed by a "ya'll come back!"

STOP 2: Best of Outdoors at 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 weaves throughout 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 3: Best of Music History at the Earl Scruggs Center

Earl Scruggs was born right here in Cleveland County in the small town of Flint Hill. (Ever heard of the 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.

STOP 4: Best of Lunch at Red Bridges BBQ

Tender, hand-chopped pork painstakingly pit-cooked over a bed of glowing hickory and oak and slathered in red Lexington-style sauce. This is what you can expect from Red Bridges BBQ. Oh, and don't forget the hushpuppies! For three-generations, this is what the Bridges family has been serving up in Cleveland County. The same old-fashioned flavor, perfected in 1946, is exactly what you get today. Just make sure you stock up on extra napkins. If your face and hands don't get messy eating this barbecue, we're pretty sure you're not doing it right!

STOP 5: Best of Historic Places at the Banker's House

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Banker’s House is one of North Carolina’s most beautiful historic homes that’s been converted into a place where guests create history of their own. Visitors are welcome to tour the event venue. The house was built in the 1800s in the Second Empire Style and was a private residence owned by members of Shelby’s banking profession until the late 1970s. It stands as a monument to the heritage of Cleveland County and is thought to be the work of famed architect G.S.H. Appleget.

STOP 6: Best of Afternoon Sips at Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyards

This vineyard is nestled into the rolling hills and farmland that has been in the Baker family for over a century. Inspired by a visit to Napa and Sonoma, the owners planted the first grapes here in 2003. Today the grounds include a historic farmhouse and eight different grape varietals ready to harvest. Venture into the original milking room for a tour of the wine-making operations and a tasting flight that may include chardonnay, merlot, Riesling, scuppernong and more. Raise your glass to a wonderful afternoon. That you may or may not remember.

STOP 7: Best of Live Music at the Don Gibson Theatre

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 8: Best of Dinner at 133 West

Located in historic downtown King's Mountain, 133 West brings a modern and creative approach to Southern Cuisine. The atmosphere is light and relaxing, The menu is always changing with a focus on freshness and seasonality. But there's also a global curiosity to each dish. The dishes are Southern at heart, but you may also find a kick of Greek or Arabic flavor mixed in, just to keep your taste buds on alert. If you're looking for that unbeatable flavor, with a reminder of home, look no further than 133 West.

STOP 9: Best of Glamping at Broad River Campground

If your idea of “Being Outdoors” is enjoying nature through the panoramic window of your temperature-controlled glamping dome, then we have the place for you. Welcome to Broad River Campground. Spanning over 90 secluded acres, this is not your father’s kind of back to nature. The emphasis here is less about roughing it and more about comfort. To say it another way, this place is designed to take the “Mother” out of Nature. Enjoy a lux 400 square foot Glamping Dome – complete with full bed, sofa, mini-fridge, coffee maker and private deck to take in views of the local wildlife.

STOP 10: Best of B&B at Morgan and Wells Bed and Breakfast

Welcome to Morgan and Wells Bed & Breakfast, located in the suburbs of Charlotte, NC in Historic Shelby. Enjoy the quiet comforts of everyday Southern living just minutes away from the attractions of the city. Here at Morgan & Wells, each room is tailored to bring comfort and luxury to our guests in this traditional Craftsman Style home. Built in the early 1900s, the five intimate guest rooms maintain the heritage of the home, with its polished oak and heart pine floors, 12-foot-high ceilings, and guestrooms decorated contemporary- transitional to embrace modern luxury and Old World Charm.

Day 2

STOP 11: Best of Breakfast at Ken & Mary's

Beloved spot for home cookin' and stellar service. Stop in for breakfast or lunch at this Southern diner. You'll find all your favorite staples like egg plates and bacon served with a steaming puddle of creamy grits.

STOP 12: Best of Outdoor Markets at the Foothill's Farmers Market

Produce doesn’t get more local than this. Stop by the gorgeous Foothills Farmers' Market for some produce directly from family-owned farms in Cleveland County and the surrounding 50 miles. Grab a watermelon. Stock up on some ears of corn. Check out the nuts, poultry, cheeses and meats. Pick up a homemade pie that you really don’t need. Selections change by the season. But if you can grow it on a farm, chances are you can find it here.

STOP 13: Best of Attractions at the 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 14: Best of Pottery at Ron Philbeck Pottery

The hills of Cleveland County are filled with creative minds. Ron Philbeck is one of our best. He’s a potter whose work is as functional as it is beautiful. He makes pots for daily use as well as pots that serve a more decorative role. To that end, his work can be found in collections and kitchens around the world. His studio is just minutes outside of Uptown Shelby. Studio visits are welcome but call ahead. Be sure to pick up some one-of-a-kind creations as unique as their creator.

STOP 15: Best of Lunch at Bistro 214

Inside this historically renovated building Bistro 214 is serving elegant dishes and a lovely experience. Start with a cheese board and pair it with their excellent wine selection. Chef Byron Carlile creates incredible selections for your main dish, always highlighting fresh ingredients and seasonal flavors.

STOP 16: Best of Afternoon Sips at Veronet 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 17: Best of Racing at Shadyside Dragway

Dubbed the baddest outlaw track–period. Shadyside Dragway features some of the best outlaw racing in the country. The smooth ⅛-mile dragstrip has your fix for fast cars, be they street cars or hot rods. It makes for an exciting family outing with crowds cheering and wheels screeching. Your time there will fly almost as fast as the cars racing around the track.

STOP 18: Best of Dinner at 238 Cherokee Grill

When the menu includes a sandwich called the Pork-a-saurus, you know the meal is going to be a topic of conversation. That’s exactly what you get at 238 Cherokee Grill. Located a few minutes from Gateway Trail, this unpretentious little tavern offers big flavors to satisfy any appetite. The food is American with a Southern kick. Chicken is served smothered. Green beans are breaded and fried. Come hungry and with a belt you can loosen a couple notches.

Day 3

STOP 19: Best of Breakfast at Pfeiffer Café

Pfeiffer Cafe is the perfect breakfast spot. It’s right in the heart of Uptown Shelby, so it’s easy to find. It’s menu offers everything from coffee to pastries, muffins to bagels and more. Even the pickiest eater can find something they like and change their mind a dozen times. Specials change week to week. So there’s always something new to discover.

STOP 20: Best of Shopping at the Antique Market of Shelby

Antique Market of Shelby is four floors of antiques in Uptown Shelby. Owners Bill and Myra have been collecting for over 40 years during travels around the world. These world-class pickers have done the hunting so you don’t have to. A vintage wooden rocking horse, vinyl records, gorgeous antique furniture and homewares in every style from Victorian to mid-century. Antiquers may never leave this gorgeous treasure chest.

STOP 21: Best of Local Art at 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 22: Best of Galleries at Buffalo Creek Art 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 23: Best of Lunch at J-Bird's Deli

Ready for a masterpiece made of premium cold cuts? J-Bird’s Deli is the next stop on your culinary adventure. This local deli specializes in artisanal crafted sandwiches. Try the Captain Fantastic --fresh sourdough piled high with chicken, pimento cheese, jalapeno, and garlic aioli. Order up the Bolognious Monk --sliced ciabatta with bologna, american cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, mayo. Or build your own edible art and pair it with the latest craft brew. We’ll save you a seat.

STOP 24: Best of Afternoon Sips at Newgrass Brewing Company

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.

STOP 25: Best of Mother Nature at the Broad River Greenway

About 3 miles south of Boiling Springs you’ll find the Broad River Greenway. This natural area joins more than 20 miles of trails. It's the perfect place for biking, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, canoeing or perfecting the art of doing nothing as you hang out by the river. The greenway covers 1,500 acres. So bring your outdoor gear and prepare to spend a full day high-fiving Mother Nature.

STOP 26: Best of Dinner at 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.

STOP 27: Best of Desserts at Uptown Sweets & Treats

If your sweet tooth likes a lot of choices, then Uptown Sweets and Treats is your kind of place. Choose from 28 flavors of premium, hand-dipped ice cream, eight flavors of fudge, 25 flavors of gourmet popcorn and homemade cupcakes. Grab your pants with the stretchy waist and head on over. Your sweet tooth demands it.