Drive to a new place to get outside - all very close to our wonderful Queen City. Some of these places you have been to, while most you keep saying you will go. The goal is to just get out and take a few hours away from home, away from the tube and together with the ones you want to be with. And if the weather is right, roll the windows down!

1) Belmont, NC

Nestled in between Lake Wylie and the Catawba River, you’ll wonder why you have only driven through this town. Tired of Beer? Try Muddy River Distillery and get your RUM ON! Of course, you can also relax at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens – which changes all the time so if you’ve been there, go again and see the beauty with their upcoming Fairy Fest and of course the lights during the holiday season. 

*photo courtesy of Muddy River website

2) Gold Hill, NC

Gold Hill close to Cabarrus County, is rich in history and Gold Mines! Head to Gold Hill Mines Historic Park, reportedly the richest mining properties East of the Mississippi and home of the first Gold Rush. Swing by Sacred Grove Retreat Center to pick up a brochure and learn about your next weekend overnight stay which could be for meditation, yoga and girls get-aways.

3) Lexington, NC

Have you ever been here? Home of Childress Winery where their “Fine Swine Wine” Checker Pig was developed for the 2018 Barbecue Festival. Don’t let that fool you, there are more wines then just for BBQ… However speaking of BBQ, you haven’t seen so many places to try then in Lexington. Check out their BBQ Tour that can be one afternoon or 3 full days of BBQ tasting – you choose! TOUR

*photo courtesy of Childress Winery website

4) Mooresville, NC

Also known as RaceCityUSA, Mooresville is at the Northern top of Lake Norman with a place that offers a new driving experience for the whole family, GoPro Motorplex is not to be missed. Drive into gear and get a thrill, then stop off at Queens Landing for some good eats and lake views. Plenty more to do in this great town both old and new things to see.   

5) Salisbury, NC

Historic Salisbury has allot to offer in ways of shopping and site seeing. And yes, this is the birthplace of CheerwineThe original Cheerwine building is on 300 East Council Street and great for a photo opp.  Also, The North Carolina Transportation Museum is out that way. You don't have to be Thomas the Tank Engine fan to enjoy these old relics and a nice ride. For more on Salisbury, visit their page and plan your trip.


Billy Barnes tells the story of this popular Salisbury-based soft drink. Produced by Our State magazine and UNC-TV, with generous support from BB&T. Segment originally aired on 4/1/10.