Valdese: This small community with a unique cultural history tells the story of the Waldensians, a religious sect that immigrated from Italy to escape persecution. Learn their story at the Waldensian Heritage Museum and stay to enjoy music every Friday during the summer at the Family Friday Nights.
Morganton: This small city is home of Senator Sam Ervin, Jr. who was notable during both the Joseph McCarthy and the Watergate hearings. Visit the Sam J. Ervin Jr. Library & Museum for a trip into our political past. But for a trip into the really long past, visit the outdoor Joara exhibit located in Catawba Meadows Park. There you will find a replica village house of the Mississippian culture chiefdom of Joara, occupied by Native Americans from 1400 AD to 1600 AD. Joara was also the site of Fort San Juan, built in 1567 by a Spanish expedition – the first European settlement in the interior of North America (40 years before the English settlement of Jamestown, Virginia). Around the Fourth of July, hear great traditional music in the park at the Red, White & Bluegrass Festival.
Fort Defiance: This historic site is 1792 home of Revolutionary War hero General William Lenoir.
Lenoir: The small city of Lenoir is home of the largest collection of permanent public outdoor sculpture of any county of its population in the United States. Seventy-eight works of public art grace the city streets, including an installation by world renowned artist Thomas Sayre. The annual Indoor/Outdoor Sculpture Celebration is held the second Saturday in September.