Natural beauty and brains. A head for business and a flair for the creative. A place for dreamers and for doers. Lenoir is one of the mountain towns in North Carolina that truly has everything going for it. Known as the place ‘Where the High Country Begins’, this adorable small town sits just below Blowing Rock in Caldwell County and boasts a combination of “natural beauty, history, and rich heritage in the arts” without harsh winters.
When describing Lenoir’s landscape, “natural beauty” may be an understatement. It’s said that Mother Nature herself sculpted this area’s deliciously diverse terrain, from the soft rolling hills of historic Happy Valley to the rugged grounds of Pisgah National Forest. And talk about fascinating outdoor adventures. This area offers the steepest elevation change in all of North Carolina, spanning from 900 to 5,964 feet above sea level.
Each vista is more picturesque than the last, and each one gently calls out to nature lovers to come enjoy a day of canoeing, kayaking, trout fishing, hunting, hiking, strolling, mountain biking, or off-road driving. Outdoor enthusiasts will relish their time in this neck of the woods, which includes two of Western North Carolina’s most loved natural attractions in the foothills:
Pisgah, Appalachian & Grandfather Ranger Districts
Pisgah National Forest stretches across some 500,000 acres of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and is home to the first tract of land to create the national parks of the Eastern Divide. No matter which way you turn, you’ll discover a wondrous sight to behold, with Grandfather Mountain to the west, Linville Gorge to the southwest, and Brown Mountain to the east. Established in 1916, this lush forest is populated by rare hardwoods and is considered the birthplace of modern forestry. Keep an eye out for the endangered elktoe mussel and native Appalachian brook trout, which live in the whitewater rivers, creeks, and waterfalls of this lively habitat.
The Wilson Creek Wild & Scenic River Area
Picture this. A 23.3-mile mountain stream surrounded by 49,000 acres of rugged wilderness. The stream starts 100 yards above the Blue Ridge Parkway atop the majestic 5,920-foot high Grandfather Mountain. Twenty miles later, its headwaters rush through the Blue Ridge Mountains and into a 200-foot deep gorge of granite bedrock. This is Wilson Creek, and it’s absolutely spectacular. A tributary of the Johns River, Wilson Creek is a federally designated “Wild and Scenic River” that offers excellent fishing and whitewater rafting. Nearby Brown Mountain Beach has trails for hiking, biking, ATVS, and other four-wheel-drive vehicles.
As visions of Grandfather Mountain and the Johns River fill your mind and feed your soul, you may discover that Lenoir’s natural beauty has you dreaming of your own mountain hideaway. When that happens, you’re ready to start exploring Caldwell County real estate. And that’s the perfect time to take a drive to Lenoir’s Johns Ridge Parkway where you’ll find The Coves Mountain River Club.
Of all the Carolina mountain properties in Lenoir, we know The Coves is a true standout. Our mountain community has a rare combination of mountains and a scenic river, and all of their natural glory awaits you just outside your front door. If you’re hungry for even more, take a stroll to the summit of The Coves neighborhood, and you’ll be treated to some spectacular panoramic views of Grandfather Mountain and the Blue Ridge Mountains from our Pisgah Mountain Lodge.
From this vantage point, you can see all the natural wonders that provide Lenoir’s gorgeous backdrop. And when you live at The Coves, you’re conveniently located just a few miles away from the streetscape of historic Downtown Lenoir. This little town is alive with history and “a rich heritage in the arts.” Why not take a weekend to soak it all in?
The settlers of this vibrant town must have taken their cue from Mother Nature. Just as she sculpted Lenoir’s pristine landscape, so did the craftsmen of Caldwell County carve out a town that is both aesthetically beautiful and economically robust. And it’s abundant with art of all kinds.
Downtown art walks are a Lenoir specialty, with the Sculpture Walking Tour topping our list of favorites. Art galleries are plentiful in and around the Downtown Lenoir area. And in this art-loving region – inhabited by artists, musicians, actors, dancers, craftspeople, and furniture makers – art comes in many different varieties, including visual arts, performing arts, and even arts served with barbecue (yes, barbecue)! Here are just a few attractions for you to consider when planning your visit to the town of Lenoir:
Sculpture Walking Tour (Downtown Lenoir)
It’s an art-themed scavenger hunt! Explore Downtown Lenoir with your sculpture walking tour guide (provided by the Caldwell Arts Council or Visitor Information Center), and be on the lookout for the many eye-catching sculptures placed around town for your viewing pleasure.
Tucker’s Streetscape Gallery (801 West Avenue, Lenoir)
Named for the first settlement in Lenoir (Tucker’s Barn), this is an ever-changing sculpture gallery that features the work of prominent regional sculptors, with art on display in an outdoor setting among downtown shops, restaurants, and craft stores.
Bolick and Traditions Pottery (4443 Bolick Road, Lenoir)
Take a tour of this old-timey village any time of year. Or participate in one of their seasonal mountain heritage events, including kiln openings in the late spring and late fall, or live mountain music and dance on summer Sundays.
Brush & Palette Gallery (905 West Ave. NW, Lenoir)
View art exhibits by local painters who use every artistic medium from oil and watercolors to ceramics, collages, and fabric paintings.
Caldwell Arts Council Main Gallery (601 College Ave. SW, Lenoir)
Local artists are featured in this gallery’s exhibit, which changes monthly and celebrates with an opening reception on the first Friday of each month. The Council also hosts an annual five-state sculpture competition, the largest gathering of professional sculptors in the South.
Charlie Frye Art Studio (904 West Avenue, Downtown Lenoir)
Take a look – or take part – in this working studio and gallery that offers workshops, art classes and commissioned pieces. Charlie Frye is The Coves Mountain River Club’s first Artist in Residence.
Foothills Performing Arts (2855 Hickory Blvd., Hudson)
In live performance, anything can happen! So get your theatre geek on and take in a theatrical performance in this art-loving town.
Harper School of Performing Arts (113-B College Avenue, Lenoir)
Is there a musician inside you waiting to come out? This school offers private and group instruction to students of all ages, on all instruments and all styles, including piano, voice and classical organ. Concerts are performed monthly.
J.E. Broyhill Civic Center (1913 Hickory Boulevard, Lenoir)
Enjoy theater, music, and comedy at the Civic Center. Suitable for all ages.
Lenoir Greenway System (beginning on Powell Road, Lenoir)
Near the downtown art walk is one of NC’s coolest features, the Lenoir Greenway, spanning 25 acres including 5.6 miles of smoothly paved trailways, perfect for walking, kiddie stroller-ing, skating, biking, running, and just plain enjoying.
20 Miles of Furniture (U.S. HWY 321)
In this region furniture is more than just furniture – it’s an artistic endeavor. With so many hardwood forests, and with a population made up of many generations of artisans and craftsmen, Lenoir is the place to shop for furniture. Broyhill and Bernhardt both have roots here. And the world renowned “20 Miles of Furniture” is a must! It’s a stretch of highway along U.S. HWY 321 that’s 20 miles of wall-to-wall furniture outlet stores, all of which offer selections from the industry’s best-known furniture retailers at remarkably low prices.
Sim’s Country BBQ (6160 Petra Mill Road, Granite Falls)
What does barbecue have to do with the arts? Sim’s combines food, fun, and square-dancing, toe-tapping entertainment. They call themselves “a cozy little place just off the beaten path” known not only for their amazing barbecue but for being home to one of the best clogging teams in North Carolina. Don’t miss the Annual Molasses Festival on the second Saturday in October.
Some special events to enjoy in Lenoir are the annual Shakespeare monologue festival, poetry recitation competition, movie nights, photo exhibits, culinary arts classes, bourbon tastings, grill & brews, and a whole calendar filled with enriching activities, each with its own artistic flair.
Do you know what tastes great with art in Lenoir? Handcrafted beers. And when you enjoy one of Lenoir’s fresh, crisp local microbrews with a bluegrass music chaser, you’re getting a taste of what NC mountain living is all about. Lenoir has several events throughout the year that combine beer, art, nature, and music. Some even include a charitable giving opportunity to help local nonprofits, such as Hops for Helping Hands and Pints for Pathways.
Nature lovers will want to check out the Ales for Trails Pub Run or a Thirsty Thursday Group Road Ride. And music lovers will absolutely love the weekend jam sessions held every summer. Popular musical events include the Summer Kickoff Festival (2461 Fairgrounds Drive), Happy Valley Old-Time Fiddlers Convention (3590 HWY 268) and the Mountain Music Jammin’ at Bolick Pottery (4443 Bolick Road).
With so much art, so much culturally rich history and heritage, and so many things for visitors to see and do, Lenoir is one of the most vibrant mountain towns in North Carolina. And The Coves Mountain River Club is proud to call Lenoir home. As the finest master planned community in the area with superb amenities (without the high price tag) and five miles of frontage on the Johns River connecting to Wilson Creek, this is prime Caldwell County real estate. But more than that, this is a home to be proud of.
Come and see for yourself. Stop and explore The Coves and see some of the finest in mountain amenities, including hiking trails, two community gardens, four cascading waterfalls, our mountaintop infinity edge saline swimming pool yoga, and more.
If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.