Gastonia, which is directly West of Charlotte, NC, is a fast growing area in Gaston County.
The first inhabitants to the area were Catawba Indians. German and Scotch-Irish settlers first began building their settlements along the Catawba and South Fork Rivers in the late 1700's.
Nearby, the battle of Kings Mountain, which was a turning point in the Revolutionary War was fought about 20 miles from Gastonia by these settlers.
Gaston County was formed December 21, 1846 and named for Associate Supreme Court Justice William Gaston. The county seat was located north of Gastonia in Dallas, NC, where the old courthouse now serves as the hub for the Dallas Police dept when the courthouse was moved to Gastonia in 1911. Near the courthouse square is the historic County jail and the Gaston County Museum of Art and History is nearby.
Gastonia first began with farmers and later was also was known for its liquor making. By 1848, textile manufacturing became the big business and Gaston County became one of the bigest textile manufacturing areas in the United States.
Gastonia is located 15 minutes west of Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Gastonia has a municipal airport for small jets and prop driven aircraft.
Interstate 85 and U.S. Highways 321 and 29/74 provide highway access.
There is an unmanned Amtrak station located in East Gastonia with access to trains on the Crescent line between New York and New Orleans.
A Greyhound station is located just east of downtown.
Although, there is a city bus system and taxis are available, a car is practically necessary for effectively visiting Gastonia.
Gastonia is the county seat and largest city in Gaston County, North Carolina, and the second largest city in the Charlotte metropolitan area with a population of roughly 70,000.
Downtown Gastonia is home to numerous historic buildings from the early 20th century as well as the Gaston County Courthouse and other County and City administrative offices. The downtown area has been the backdrop for several movie and T.V. productions due to its consistent historic look.
McAdenville - "Christmas Town USA" hosts a nationally renown Christmas light display as the entire town is decked out in millions of lights and decorations and visited by thousands every year. This quaint mill town is experiencing dramatic growth and renewal and is on the South Fork river.
Belmont - A city of roughly 10,000 with a very walkable revitalized downtown that is home to numerous shops, bars, and restaurants. Also home to Belmont Abbey College, including a monastery and nunnery designed in the Gothic style. Belmont is also home to the nationally recognized Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens.
Bessemer City - A town of roughly 5,000 people that was originally laid out on a perfect grid system. Home to FMC's 'Lithium' facility that manufactures numerous products derived from lithium including batteries, electronics, and pharmaceuticals.
Mt. Holly - Located on the South Fork River across from the U.S. National Whitewater Center (artificial river with rapids) and convenient to I-485.
Dallas - The oldest incorporated town and the original county seat of Gaston County. Dallas has numerous historic buildings including the Old Jail, Historic Courthouse, Hoffman Hotel, and many buildings on the historic courthouse square. The Hoffman Hotel houses the Gaston County Museum of Art and History.
Cramerton - Home to the exclusive Cramer Mountain Country Club.
Lowell, Ranlo, and Spencer Mountain - Former mill towns that are indicative of small piedmont textile towns.
The Schiele Museum of Natural History includes a planetarium, numerous collections pertaining to natural history and geography, national traveling exhibits, and a Nature Trail including a Backcounty Farm, Grist Mill, and Catawba Indian village with demonstrations of historically applicable crafts and skills.
The Gaston County Museum of Art and History is in adjacent Dallas in the historic Hoffman Hotel and has exhibits on local history, art from around the region, and one of the largest collections of carriages in the country.
Crowders Mountain State Park is in West Gastonia and includes two mountain peaks over 1,500 feet with miles of hiking trails. The summits of both Crowders and Kings Mountain offer breathtaking views of the surrounding region including views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Charlotte skyline. Crowders Mountain has an imposing rock face that is popular with rock climbing buffs. The ruins of the All Healing Springs Resort are located in the park. Campsites and walking tours are also available.
Gastonia is home to numerous local and chain restaurants. Of special note is Milano's for Italian, Tequilas in downtown for Mexican, Rodi for continental, and Shrimp Boat for southern-fried-food.
Fish Camps - Fish Camps are a fried seafood lover's dream. The decor and service are simple, but the food is great.
Livermush - Livermush is similar to sausage and often served with breakfast or on sandwiches. Livermush is available in many local 'dive' style eateries.
Barbeque - BBQ in Gastonia is predominately 'Western NC' style. R.O.'s has become nationally known due to its unique spicy slaw that is the dominant ingredient in R.O.'s style of BBQ.
Tony's Ice Cream - Consistently voted the best ice cream in the Charlotte regions, Tony's makes their own ice cream in a variety of flavors on-site and distributes to numerous retailers in the region.
Gastonia has liquor by the drink, as to most surrounding towns, and numerous restaurants and bars serve liquor, beer, and wine. Outside those establishments, beer and wine are available in grocery stores, gas stations, and other stores, but liquor is only available in state licensed ABC stores.
SunDrop, a highly caffeinated citrus flavored soft drink, originates in St. Louis, Missouri, but is bottled in Gastonia and is a hometown favorite. Sweetened iced tea ("Sweet tea") is another local favorite.
There are a variety of comfortable chain hotels located between the New Hope and Cox Road exits on Interstate 85 and at the intersection with U.S. 321 including a Courtyard by Marriot, Fairfield Inn, Comfort Inn and Suites, Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Ramada Limited, Motel 6, Days Inn, and Micotel Suites.
Numerous additional hotels are located 15-20 minutes away in nearby Charlotte.