Rutherfordton, NC


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.

Rutherford County Visual Arts Center

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.

KidSenses Museum

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, visit

Rutherfordton, NC

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 perfect ride for bicycling and rail-trail enthusiasts alike. The 8 mile ride (partly paved) ranges from expansive fields to hilly gorges, passing behind commercial parking lots and active milling operations.

Rutherfordton Bed and Breakfast
Stay downtown in an historic bed and breakfast in Rutherfordton.

Rutherfordton Festivals

Rutherfordton Christmas Tree
75-foot Christmas tree in front of the Courthouse

Top Events

  • Small Town Christmas, December 1st Saturday, 1-9 PM Many events throughout the day. Shop sidewalk vendors at the Christmas Market from 1-5 PM. Live window displays 2-4 PM. Christmas Parade at 5 PM. Tree lighting at 6:30 PM at Courthouse.
  • MayFest Arts & Crafts Festival - 1st Saturday in May
  • Hilltop Fall Festival - 1st Saturday in October including 5K and bike rides. The big soapbox derby is Friday night before, 7-10 PM.

Spindale NC

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. Our favorite lunch spot is the Spinning Bean Cafe, inside a drug store and gift shop for home and fashion.

The Foundation Performing Arts Center in Spindale 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 nice 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. Also, read more about things to do in Rutherford County. Asheville is about 55 miles away, an easy drive east on I-40 to Marion, then take US 221 South.

Bechtler House
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 one dollar gold coins. Two sites in town tell the story in Rutherford County.
Bennett Classics Antique Auto Museum
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.
Lake Lure Guide
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!
The Foundation Performing Arts and Conference Center
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, dance, comedy, theatre and more.
Rutherford County NC Lodging
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.
Forest City
Forest City
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 Main Street with more than one million lights.
Tryon International Equestrian Center, NC
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.

Unwind at the picturesque vineyards in the Tryon Foothills Wine Country near Columbus and... read more
We love exploring our cool small towns nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina, filled with historic buildings with a mix of longtime family operated stores and restaurants,... read more
Walk across one of the most beautiful highway bridges that you'll ever find! The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge opened in October 2013, transforming a former highway bridge into a gorgeous garden.... read more
Even if you are a not a car nut, you'll love this museum with lots of personality in Forest City and Rutherford County. Named “Best Museum... read more