Reconnecting with Family on the Riverbend of Gaston County
Your Next Family Adventure Getaway Awaits
With summer vacation right around the corner, my husband and I decided to plan a weekend getaway for our family of four. We searched for destinations within driving distance of our home outside of Atlanta, and we stumbled across GoGastonNC.org. Just 30 minutes away from Charlotte and packed with outdoor activities, Gaston County looked ideal for our family weekend outdoor adventure.
Go for a Hike at Crowders Mountain State Park
After checking into our hotel for the weekend, we were all itching for an outdoor adventure, so we headed straight to Crowders Mountain State Park which we saw from the highway on our way into Gaston County.
Crowders Mountain State Park is a towering mountain or monadnock, offering stunning views from the top. With so much to see and natural beauty, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of wonderful trails to tackle.
After some consideration, we chose the short yet strenuous Backside Trail. This 2-mile hike round trip ascends quickly with 336 steep steps close to the summit making it a fairly strenuous hike, but the kids didn’t seem to mind. By the time we reached its peak, the views were worth every effort. It seemed like we could see all of North Carolina! Someone even pointed out the Charlotte skyline in the distance.
With a full day of hiking behind us, we started thinking about where we could grab some dinner. We decided on Pita Wheel in downtown Gastonia which offered a laid-back vibe that was perfect on the large patio. The Carolina Chipotle pita absolutely hit the spot, and my husband appreciated the extensive selection of craft beer on tap.
Drinks in hand, we could see the lights and hear the excitement from the Gastonia Honey Hunters baseball game down the street and could almost imagine being part of the crowd. We agreed that on our next trip we would make some time to take in a game.
Paddle Along the Catawba River with the Catawba Riverkeeper
On Saturday morning, we started the day at Spruced Goose in McAdenville for some breakfast and coffee. The avocado toast drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with Chef Monica's Kiplon Spice blend was a dream come true, and I paired it with an English Toffee Latte. The kids couldn’t get enough of the Breakfast Banana Split, a Greek Yogurt dish served with fresh berries, granola, and topped with coconut.
This delicious breakfast gave us just the energy we needed for our scheduled paddling on the Catawba River with the Catawba River Keeper.
The Catawba River winds its way between the county line separating Gaston County from the city of Charlotte. There is an abundance of activities that you can do along the Catawba River, including fishing, stand-up paddleboarding, and boating. But we opted to go on a paddling trip with the Catawba Riverkeeper.
Our 5.5-mile adventure took us along the river from Spencer Mountain to McAdenville. We got to see the thriving greenway and breathtaking wildlife. But our favorite part of the paddle experience was the small yet thrilling rapids section! These rapids got our hearts racing, but, at the same time, I knew that my kids were safe in the kayak. Simply put, this three-hour paddle was the perfect way to experience a bit more of Gaston County’s “go outside” way of life.
The excitement of the rapids had us ready for lunch, and we followed up our paddling trip with a stop at Belmont Jekyll and Hyde, an English pub-style restaurant where we not only received excellent food and service but a live band! The atmosphere was just what we needed for an energy boost after a busy morning.
Craving something sweet after lunch, we picked up a treat at Twisted Sugar before some casual shopping along the street. My son was particularly interested in the bikes at South Main Cycles, while I was drawn to the unique shopping experiences available, such as GiGi’s Boutique. We all enjoyed the hidden treasures of the consignment shop, and my daughter even found a cute sun hat to wear for the rest of the trip.
My husband and I were ready to relax a bit after our adventures, so we enjoyed the last of the afternoon sun while the kids hit the playground at Stowe Park. The benches were the perfect rest stop while we rehydrated with drinks we had picked up at Belmont Specialty Foods.
Pick Your Fruit at Lineberger’s Farm
One of our favorite stops with the kids was Lineberger’s Farm.
Lineberger’s Farm is known for its pick-your-own fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Depending on the year, you can pick everything from muscadine grapes to sunflowers to leafy greens. During our visit in June, we got to pick delicious blackberries and strawberries. We snacked on much of them while still at the farm while appreciating the peaceful time away from home.
Spend a Few Hours at the Dallas Lavender Lane Farm
Lineberger’s Farm wasn’t the only farm we visited. We also stopped by Dallas Lavender Lane Farm. This place is a hidden gem! Simply strolling through the little lavender farm made us feel like we were in a fairytale!
Dallas Lavender Lane Farm uses its lavender plants to make lavender products, as noted by their name. And while I anticipated lavender soaps and lip balms, there was so much more! They have everything lavender that you could ever imagine! Lavender lemon slushies, lavender cotton candy, and pick-your-own lavender stems were just the start! Needless to say, we ended up going home with quite a few local gifts.
As if all of the lavender goodies weren’t enough, Dallas Lavender Lane Farm is also home to many adorable animals. It's perfect for younger kids with goats, pigs, donkeys, and ponies. You can even purchase a bit of food to feed these friendly animals for a complete experience.
An Experience to Remember
With countless memories in our pockets, our family had spent an enjoyable weekend taking in all that Gaston County, NC has to offer. We have already begun planning our next trip to test our endurance on more of the trails, visit the beautiful Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden and try whitewater rafting at US National Whitewater. The child in me definitely wants to visit at Christmas for Christmas Town USA, and the kids are already talking about spending a day at the Schiele Museum. With so many wonderful options, I know that our family has found a new nearby favorite vacation spot for years to come.