Forest City brings southern charm and historic preservation together with modern innovation. Located in Rutherford County (near Rutherfordton), their historic downtown is has a variety of boutiques, antique shops and local eateries. Every winter, the Forest City’s Hometown Holidays celebration lights up Main Street with more than one million lights, an annual tradition since 1930. Classics like soda fountains, vintage cars and summer baseball round out the small town American experience. The Main Street Program is part of the National Main Street Center at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In 2010, Forest City was selected as the location for a new $450 million data center for Facebook (not open to public). Here are our favorite things to do here:
Bennett Classics Antique Auto Museum (241 Vance Street) has been named “Best Museum in the Nation” by the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA). Brothers Buddy and Joe Bennett have collected 70+ vehicles representing decades of history. Their pristine collection of antique and modern cars ranges in age from a 1913 Model T to the newest late model classics, including many rare vehicles, motorcycles and even a fire truck. Read more!
At the Rutherford County Farm Museum (240 Depot Street): See artifacts reflecting life on the farm and in textile mills in late 18th and early 19th century Rutherford County. In addition, 200 feet of murals depict the cycle of cotton production and textiles in the county.
What could be more American than a small-town baseball game? And Forest City happens to be home to a two-time league champion collegiate baseball summer team, ranked in the top 10 in attendance two years in a row! The Forest City Owls Baseball team is a member of the Coastal Plain League, a collegiate summer baseball league, featuring top notched college players from throughout the nation. The Owls play at McNair Field, a state of the art baseball park with intimate stadium-style seating with inflatables for the kids and a beer garden for the adults.
Return to simpler times and enjoy an old fashion soda or milkshake at The Fountain at Smith’s Drugs (139 East Main Street). They are famous for their grilled pimento cheese sandwich!
At the Twisted Pear and the Southern Quarter (106 East Main Street), find an eclectic mix of home decor, a large selection of his and her gifts, affordable fashion accessories and jewelry, as well as a huge selection of craft beer and wine. Shop local art items or take home your favorite selection of local craft beer and wine bottles. Stay for a while on Thursdays and enjoy the music scene of Southern Quarter located next door.
July 4th Freedom Festival
Celebrate 4th in the small town friendly way at the Forest City Owls stadium, McNair Field, with parades, kids activities, baseball game and fireworks! Join in the pie eating contest, hotdog eating contest, sack races, and other games. Arts and crafts vendors 10 AM -8 PM. Live music 11 AM-3 PM. Game 7:15 PM.
Bostic and Golden Valley
Drive the scenic Cherry Bounce Trail through the rolling green hills to the tiny hamlet of Bostic. Continuing the county’s theme of early American history, the Bostic Lincoln Center preserves and exhibits key accounts and facts that support the theory that President Abraham Lincoln was born here! The scenic drive in Golden Valley is visually stunning, showcasing the backdrop of the South Mountains.
Step back in time at Washburn’s General Store (2425 Bostic Sunshine Hwy, Bostic) as you visit the oldest, continually run family-owned and operated business in North Carolina. Evoke childhood memories as you enjoy snack time with an old-fashioned RC Cola and Moonpie. And bring your holiday shopping list as you might just find the perfect gift! Closed on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Becky’s Country Store and Grille (2259 N.C. Hwy. 226, Bostic) is known for the best burgers in town. Inside this country store built inside an old gas station, come back in the evenings to listen to local artists and bluegrass entertainment.
Tour the Blue Ridge Distilling Company (228 Redbud Lane, Bostic) in Golden Valley. This state-of-the-art distillery, hidden away on a farm tucked in a valley, produces the award-winning Defiant Whisky. See their custom-built German still and learn how they use four of the finest ingredients (barley, yeast, purified water and toasted oak spirals) to create their American single-malt leaving whisky connoisseurs in high spirits. Read more about them.