When some 30,000 people descend upon downtown morganton September 9 and 10 for the 30th annual Historic Morganton Festival (www.downtownmorganton.com), a whole lot of music, food, and arts are in store. Four stages will showcase regional bands, as well as national country music artists David Nail and Rodney Atkins. Take the opportunity to explore beyond the festival with this list of hot spots.
SHOP Owned by husband and wife, Terry Brown and Francine Schuller, the three-year-old Kala Gallery has dazzling new 3,000-square-foot digs in downtown. From moss-green glazed ceramics by WNC potter Hamilton Williams to woodwork by Canton craftsman Desmond Suarez, all the artwork is American-made and very reasonably priced.
“Our prices range from $1.25 for pewter pocket charms to $600 for a painting,” explains Schuller. (My wish list includes one of Vicki Ray’s dapper fabric handbags: $55 to $100). www.kalagallery.com
EAT The food and drinks at the newly opened Root & Vine are as decadent as the warm and intimate space. “But we don’t want to be seen as fine dining,” says Amiee Perez, who owns the business with her husband, Chef Brian Miller. “We want the restaurant to be approachable and affordable.” Roasted duck crêpes with blackberry gastrique, black bean papusas, blue cheese mashed potatoes, and coffee-rubbed sirloin are just a taste of what’s to enjoy. www.rootandvinerestaurant.com
STAY At Bridgewater Hall B&B, you’ll be greeted at the door by Versace, David Stevenson and Keith Ollis’ adorable Tibetan spaniel. The historic inn dates to 1781, and each of the four guest rooms boasts modern amenities, such as flat-screen TVs, amid period furnishings. The breakfast offerings—grilled salmon Benedict or English scones and fruit—are equally classic. bridgewaterhallbandb.com