About 7.5 miles east of downtown Morganton is the charming Main Street of Valdese, founded on the traditions of 19th century Waldensian settlers and their historic journey from the hills of Italy to this area of Burke County. Stop by the Visitor Center in the historic Rock School for many ideas for things to do, including Waldensian Museum, Trail of Faith, Old Rock School Art Galleries, and the Piedmont and Western Railroad Club's model train museum.
Downtown has several great local restaurants, including Myra's 50s style diner and host of Friday night cruise-ins in April-October.
The Trail of Faith (401 Church Street NW) is a collection of 15 scaled buildings and monuments are dedicated to preserving the courageous history of the Waldensian people. Take a self-guided or guided tour. During the Christmas season, the Trail of Faith comes alive each evening with many scenes and thousands of Christmas lights. Also see the annual Valdese Christmas Parade on December 4, 2021 from 10 AM - 12 PM, rain or shine.
The Old Rock School Auditorium is the home to the Bluegrass at the Rock Concert Series, plays by the local community theater Old Colony Players, and many other events. Each summer, watch the outdoor drama "From This Day Forward."
About 10 miles east is the ghost town of Henry River to explore.
Directions from Asheville: Located about 63 miles east via I-40. Take exit 111. Downtown Valdese is about 1.5 miles north.
Read about more things to do in Morganton and Burke County.