he economy and cultural traditions of counties along
the lower I-85 corridor is often linked to engines,
motors and speed! During the heyday of the steam
the town of Spencer was home to one of
Southern Railway’s important service facilities. The
Spencer Shops outfitted and repaired big steam engines
that hauled Southern's passenger and freight trains.
Today, Spencer Shops is the site of the North Carolina
Transportation Museum, where visitors can see a train
depot, antique automobiles, and a fully restored
roundhouse that includes twenty-five vintage steam
newer transportation tradition has made the region the
heart of the largest spectator sport in America. Stock
car racing has its roots in Prohibition, when country
boys used souped up cars to deliver moonshine whiskey to
towns and cities. Competition to prove who had the
fastest car led to weekend races at tracks laid out in
cow pastures and corn fields. In recent decades, the
sport grew to venues like the Charlotte Motor Speedway
and fans embraced drivers like Cabarrus County’s Dale
Earnhardt. To understand this devotion, immerse oneself
in stock car culture by visiting sites along the
Trail in Kannapolis and end up in a gallery of motorsports art.
you want a change of pace from traveling the interstate
highways running through the region, consider taking
side roads to experience rural and small town life. Farms offer fun in a corn maze or a pumpkin patch and
vineyards and farmers’ markets await the adventurous
visitor. Those who are excited by steam engines and
vintage stock cars may choose to take in an antique
tractor show and view the machines used to cultivate
piedmont fields in past generations.
Other arts and cultural opportunities abound on this
trail. You’ll find the first gold rush in America
documented at Reed Gold Mine State Historic State.
Sample nationally renowned Lexington barbecue or attend
the annual Barbecue Festival, which attracts visitors
from around the Southeast. Salisbury in Rowan County
African American Heritage Trail and several
Civil War sites.
Music lovers can hear bluegrass and country music
performed in the intimate setting of Oakboro Music Hall.
Visit Cannon Village, one of the largest and most intact
mill villages in the world. The village now houses
furniture showrooms as well as the
Fieldcrest Cannon Textile Museum.
Plan your trip using the drop down list of towns and the
map at the right, or by the category links on the left.