One of the perks of living in the Lake Norman area is the proximity to a host of charming North Carolina destinations, each with its own distinct personality. In this series, we will explore nearby towns just a short drive away (usually less than three hours) full of explorations, historical sights, good eats, and unique accommodations.
Our first stop is the town of Hickory, about an hour northwest of Lake Norman in western Catawba County. Hickory sprung up in the 1850s and became one of the nation’s great furniture hubs and still maintains one of the oldest operational furniture manufacturers. Home to a wealth of craft and design, the town boasts a vibrant center for arts, culture, food, and history.
Built inside the former Hollar Hosiery Mill, one of only two preserved hosiery mills in Hickory, Highland Avenue is a breathtaking space serving seasonal cuisine, sourced locally by Chef Kyle McKnight. Open Monday through Saturday, www.highlandavenuerestaurant.com
Bunker Hill Covered Bridge
Visit one of only two remaining covered bridges in North Carolina and the only remaining example in wood of the Improved Lattice Truss designed by General Herman Haupt. www.catawbahistory.org/bunker_hill_covered_bridge.php
Hickory Furniture Mart Established in 1960, the Hickory Furniture Mart opened to the public in 1985 and attracts throngs of visitors each year to its four levels of retail showrooms and 100 factory outlets and stores. www.hickoryfurniture.com
Hickory Farmer's Market
Local food lovers can rejoice at the abundantly good farmer’s market in Hickory. A wealth of vendors from around the region gather three times a week to sell fresh produce, artisan cheese, and handmade crafts, among other goods. www.hickoryfarmersmarket.com
The Inn at Hickory
This four-room bed and breakfast is set inside a historic home built in 1908. The Inn at Hickory is a Georgia Colonial style home located close to all Hickory attractions. This destination includes made to order breakfast and furnishings provided by some of the area’s best furniture makers. www.theinnathickory.com
Experience history through a living testament to the Victorian South. The Harper House, built in 1887, housed seven generations of family and features exquisite architecture and a window to Hickory’s rich past. www.catawbahistory.org/harper_house_hickory_history_center.php
The Catawba Science Center
An experience for the whole family, the Catawba Science Center offers a hands-on experience to the world, from the sea to the stars. Explore the permanent sea exhibits and the state of the art Millholland Planetarium. www.catawbascience.org/features.html