Cabarrus

Summer boredom set in? Ride to Gold Hill

By my reckoning, we're a little past halfway through the summer vacation from school: in other words, the days when complaints of boredom and "nothing to do" begin to surface.

Here's a suggestion for a day trip to make everyone happy: Historic Gold Hill.

Tucked away just past the eastern edge of Cabarrus County, Historic Gold Hill is a 19th-century mining village, preserved for us to enjoy today.

The E.H. Montgomery General Store is in the heart of the village and probably should be the first place you stop to visit in Gold Hill. That's the place to see photographs from the past, pick up history brochures, arrange for guided tours and enjoy a refreshing beverage like birch beer or sarsaparilla soda.

Vivian Hopkins will likely be your tour guide, and her enthusiasm for Gold Hill and its history is abundant and obvious.

Hopkins moved here with her family more than 40 years ago. As a student, she was interested in geology, earth science and history. Growing up in Rockwell, she kept hearing about the old mine.

She was fascinated to learn about the history of gold mining in this area and began to collect as much information as she could about Gold Hill. In 1993 she was part of a group of local citizens who, after many years of hard work, succeeded in forming a historic foundation to preserve Gold Hill and its history.

Hopkins gives fascinating walking tours of Historic Gold Hill and, for the less ambulatory among us, she has created a Powerpoint history, which she will also take to civic groups interested in learning more about Gold Hill.

There's more than history to discover at Gold Hill and Hopkins was eager to share about all the things going on there. The village includes unique and wonderful shops with names like Mauney's 1840 Store, Southern Grace, J.J.'s Produce, Jane's Thangs and Gold Miner's Daughter. You can find antiques, quilts, pottery, flowers, artwork, collectibles, sweet treats, home décor and more.

At the E.H. Montgomery Store, you can sit back and enjoy live bluegrass music at 7 p.m. every Friday. This coming Friday, you can also stroll down to the Indigo Tea Market and meet local author Nancy Brewer, who will be appearing as a character from her books set in the 19th century.

Beyond the village and its shops, the Gold Hill Mines Historic Park provides a beautiful place for families to picnic and play. Vivian Hopkins said thanks to the hard work and dedication of local volunteers, including Boy Scouts, the park is beautifully and lovingly maintained. There are places to hike and play, and plenty of peace and quiet to enjoy as you relax and reminisce about days gone by.

For directions, tour reservations and details about Gold Hill, go to www.HistoricGoldHill.com.

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