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Sept. 15, 2023, 7 p.m.

Nebo, NC Weekend Exploration Guide

Lake James Rainbow.jpg

The small town of Nebo, NC with a population of 1,790 residents is named for a small Methodist campground that existed before the Civil War. When the Western North Carolina Railroad came through in the late 1800s, they took the name Nebo for its train depot.

The Nebo community sits along the shoreline of Lake James and offers access to plenty of outdoor adventure. When planning your weekend adventure, here are some things you'll want to explore.

Lake James Couple

Day 1: Livermush, Lake James, and South Creek Winery

Begin your weekend itinerary with a hearty breakfast. Unpretentious and affordable, Elliots Diner is the perfect spot to fuel up for a day of exploration. Try the local favorite - Livermush biscuit with a side of grits.

Then set out for a day at the famous Lake James State Park. In the warmer weather, the lake comes alive with swimming, boating, paddle-boarding, sunbathing, and fishing. As the weather turns cooler, choose a trail on the 26.5-mile trail system to hike through the glorious changing colors of fall.

A good option for a family hike is the 0.7-mile Homestead Trail on the Paddy’s Creek side of the park. This hike is considered easy and suitable for all ages. For a longer, more strenuous hike, try the 2.25-mile Fox Den Loop Trail on the Catawba River side of the park. The trek is known to be spectacular for its stunning foliage alive with autumn colors.

For an afternoon of relaxation and reward, there’s no better place than South Creek Vineyards and Winery. Reminiscent of an intimate Sonoma Valley winery with its 1906 farmhouse, South Creek offers world-class wines. Pull up an Adirondack chair and sip on an old-world wine crafted in the style of Bordeaux France, surrounded by vineyards, lush pastures with grazing horses, and a spring-fed pond. Check their winter hours before going.

South Creek Winery group

Day 2: Sip, Shop, and Linville Gorge

Grab some snacks and fill a cooler with a surprisingly good selection of craft beer and decent wine at the Lake James Neighborhood Store, also home to Lake James Boat Rentals. Then set out for a day on the water on any one of numerous vessels. Select from a 150-hp motorboat, a more relaxing pontoon boat, or even an air-conditioned houseboat with a grill and awesome music system to rock your playlist.

In the afternoon, meander through the Lake James Antique Mall, a huge warehouse filled with waiting-to-be-discovered treasures. Shop for collectibles like toys, glassware, tools, and jewelry, all lovingly curated by owner Dixie Matthews. Explore an impressive collection of vinyl records, vintage dishware like Fiestaware, and antique furniture.

Open to the public, Slices Bistro at the Marion Lake Country Club in Nebo is the perfect ending to the perfect weekend. Try the Cuban Panini with in-house-roasted herbed pork loin, black oak ham, dill pickle and Swiss cheese or the Bleu Chicken Wrap made with Country Club chicken salad, bleu cheese, bacon, and baby greens. Don’t miss out on their homemade kettle chips – they alone are worth the visit!

From the Country Club drive north on NC-126 to NC-105 and you'll drive straight into the heart of the gorgeous Linville Gorge. Multiple hiking trails can be found in this wilderness area. A popular spot is Wisemans's View, which is an easy, paved path to a stunning overlook. Other hikes along the way are Pinnacle Trail, and then the much more challenging Pinch-In Trail, Rock Jock Trail, and Conley Cove hikes. Those last three require supplies, solid shoes, and are more suited for the experienced hiker.

When you're done, grab a pint and a snack at Mica Town Brewing, named to honor the heritage of Appalachian mining.