Founded in 1787, visit one of the oldest towns in Western North Carolina. Located just 16 miles east of Lake Lure, Rutherfordton in Rutherford County is a literal gold mine of interesting history. Beautiful historic antebellum homes line Main Street near downtown, along with shops, restaurants and one of the best children's museums in the state. Visit the Bechtler House to learn about a private mint that produced $2+ million in gold coins in the early 1800s, the first dollar gold coin in the nation.
Marvel at and purchase creations by 200 local artists in the Rutherford County Visual Arts Center (160 North Main Street). Month-long exhibits are held for various art forms. Nearby, stop by Small Town Coffee Roasters (116 West Court Street) for java and pastries. And check out the 1925 City Hall and Fire Station (134 North Washington Street) that has been transformed into The Firehouse Inn and the Blue Ridge Design studio. Stop by the Town Hall (129 N Main) to learn more about the local history.
The impressive KidSenses Children's InterACTIVE Museum, located at 172 N. Main Street, features 20 interactive exhibits on two floors. Since opening in October 2004, the museum has welcomed over 300,000 visitors. For more information, go to their website.
Rutherfordton's picturesque Main Street is filled with interesting local businesses to explore. If you want to enjoy the outdoors, the Thermal Belt Rail Trail is a 13.5 paved path for biking, jogging and walking - connecting the towns of Ruth, Rutherfordton, Spindale and Forest City with plenty to see along the way. Read more.
Stay downtown in an historic bed and breakfast in Rutherfordton.
Rutherfordton's Small Town Christmas is the first weekend of December with parade and many events. Throughout the month, see the towering 75-foot Christmas tree in front of the Courthouse.
Just two miles away is downtown Spindale, with an impressive collection of restaurants and live music spots. The B Sharp Music Store draws musicians from miles around. The Foundation Performing Arts Center is a cultural beacon for western North Carolina, presenting major musical performing artists and theatre productions - located on the Isothermal Community College Campus, also home to a collection of walking trails.
Just 12 miles away is the Tryon International Equestrian Center, a mecca for horse lovers with many competition weeks and free events. Located just 6 miles away is Forest City. East about 16 miles is Lake Lure. Asheville is about 55 miles away, an easy drive east on I-40 to Marion, then take US 221 South.
Rutherfordton Things to Do
Have lunch at the soda fountain, see an amazing collection of vintage cars and catch a baseball game in small town American. Every winter, the Forest City’s Hometown Holidays celebration lights up… read more
Rutherford County B&Bs, Cabins & Hotels
Find plenty of unique inns, bed and breakfasts, local boutique hotels, cabins and campgrounds near all the things to do in Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Rutherfordton and Forest City.
Bennett Classics Antique Auto Museum
Named “Best Museum in the Nation” by the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), see a big variety of 70 vehicles representing decades of history. Located in Forest City and Rutherford County… read more
Bechtler House & Gold Mint Site
In 1832, Christopher Bechtler minted the America's first one-dollar gold coin in Rutherfordton, 17 years before the U.S. Mint. During the mid-1800s, the Bechtlers minted more than $2.24 million in… read more
The Foundation Performing Arts
The "big city" 1,300-seat performing arts center is located on the Isothermal Community College Campus in tiny Spindale and features an impressive Mainstage Performing Arts Series featuring music… read more
Lake Lure & Rutherford County Guide
Order a free copy of the award-winning travel guide to the Rutherford County foothills that includes Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Rutherfordton, Forest City and much more!
Tryon International Equestrian Center
Watch horse jumping competitions with the best riders in the country at this amazing new world-class equestrian resort south of Asheville. Free admission to many events.
Hilltop Fall Festival
Much fun in downtown Rutherfordton: Friday night Soapbox Derby for big kids, Saturday morning Overmountain 5K and Tour de Pumpkin 50K & 100K bike rides and festival 9-5 with crafts, music,… read more
FAB Fridays run from April-October featuring the best in local Food, Arts, Brews (FAB) on Central St in Downtown Rutherfordton. Come out for live music, a variety of food trucks, beer, and shop… read more