Lincolnton is 45 minutes outside of Charlotte, and it’s super cute.
It’s best known for its early fall Apple Festival, but I prefer it when there aren’t 10,000 people cramming the streets.
Have you been binge watching the Gilmore Girls?
Are you wishing for your own Stars Hollow moment?
Well, you should pay Lincolnton a visit! Seriously. This place has whimsy on lock.
Here are 10 things I think you should do:
(1) Go to Main Street and take a selfie with a face jug.
Almost all the best stuff in Lincolnton is located in its historic downtown (with a couple major exceptions). Main Street is lined with face jugs made in the Catawba Valley tradition.
They are ugly-beautiful and demand that you love them.
(2) Have breakfast at Zippers.
If you’re looking for a full-on small-town breakfast experience, I suggest going to Zippers.
There, you’ll find mugs with advertisements on them, patrons with the average age of 60 and a breakfast menu full of saturated fat and processed cheese. Who doesn’t love processed cheese? (I mean, I sure do love processed cheese.)
Warning: If you go to Zippers at night, it turns into a karaoke bar. This is also a memorable, if slightly unsettling, experience.
(3) Eat lunch Harvest Moon Grille.
Remember Harvest Moon Grille that was located in uptown’s Dunhill Hotel? Well, the fabulous farm-to-table restaurant moved to Main Street in Lincolnton, and it alone is worth the drive to the small town.
Menu items include sweet potato burgers, chicken burritos, pizzas and breakfast all day.
(4) Browse in North State Books.
You know how in movies, main characters sometimes wander into little, cramped shops full of haphazardly stacked books, and the proprietor is kind of a wacky professor/ wizened old wizard sort of fellow? Well that shop also exists in real life, and it’s called North State Books.
(5) Celebrate Christmas downtown.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, Lincolnton hosts carriage and wagon rides through downtown. Main Street is lined with lights, and a huge Christmas tree sits outside of the courthouse.
Also located at the Courthouse is Santa Claus himself! Santa is available Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. until Dec. 23. Carriage rides ($10) and wagon rides ($5) are 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday until Dec. 23.
(6) Get a caffeinated beverage at Fausto Coffee.
Enjoy it despite being the parent of a toddler. Fausto’s on Main Street has good coffee. I should make sure you know that. But my favorite thing about this coffeeshop is that it has a corner dedicated to toys for kids. My two-year-old was totally chill playing while I drank an entire cup of coffee. This is a miracle. Want to witness a miracle? Go to Fausto Coffee in Lincolnton.
(7) Go antique shopping.
Do you like old stuff other people used to own? Then Lincolnton’s Main Street is the perfect place to go shopping! The antique shops are also filled with handmade items and art. If your Christmas-shopping list includes a bicycle built for two, iconic Disney glassware or grandfather clocks, you should hit up shops like Treasures on Main and Just Around the Corner.
(8) Walk the Rail Trail.
Through and around downtown Lincolnton is a paved trail where railroad tracks used to be. It’s a great place to get some exercise or sit on a bench and watch other people getting some exercise. There’s also a great train mural for the two-year-old train obsessive in your life.
(9) Visit the pirate’s grave in St. Luke’s Cemetery.
Okay. Fine. Visit the alleged pirate’s grave at St. Luke’s Cemetery (it’s the one near the back that looks like a table). This cemetery dates back to the 1800s, and it and the church it belongs to are so, so beautiful.
If history is your thing, then Lincolnton is a great place to visit. St. Luke’s is just off Main Street, and the surrounding area is full of beautiful, historic houses. Go. Daydream about living in them. Don’t think too hard about what the heating and air bill would be.
(10) Check out the art at Gallery 27.
This gallery isn’t on Main Street, but it’s close, and it’s fabulous.
Gallery 27 has fantastic art, gorgeous homemade jewelry, delicious-smelling soap, pottery, prints and more… all at small town prices. Think of it as Lark and Key on a budget. For serious. There is plenty of original art for under $200 (and even under $100).
Want to be an art collector, but have the salary of a schoolteacher? Get thee to Lincolnton!
(11) Eat tacos and drink tequila at Taco and Tequila.
Taco and Tequila is my favorite Mexican restaurant in the world. In fact, it might be my favorite restaurant in the world. One of my greatest regrets is it didn’t cater my wedding. For real.
It’s in a strip mall, and it’s menu is pretty typical, but it is just so good. Despite it’s name, I actually suggest you drink sangria and get the arroz con pollo. Unlike my wedding catering, you will not regret it.