Ribbon cutting in Rutherfordton launches four new trails

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Purple Martin Greenway (Photo by Leniece Lane)

The Purple Martin Greenway (Photo by Leniece Lane)

The public is invited to a ribbon cutting celebration on Thursday, May 5, at 4 p.m. in downtown Rutherfordton. Located in western North Carolina, Rutherfordton is introducing four new trails just in time for spring strolls and family outings.


The four trails include the Gold Mile, Historic Downtown Walking Tour, Kid’s Main Street Safari and Purple Martin Greenway. The public is invited to attend the ribbon cutting to officially launch the trails, in front of KidSenses Children’s InterACTIVE Museum at 172 N. Main Street in downtown Rutherfordton.

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The Gold Mile

Travel this one-mile loop around downtown Rutherfordton while following a path of commemorative Bechtler gold coins. As a tribute to Christopher Bechtler – the man who minted America’s first one dollar gold coin in 1832 – the trail starts and ends at the historic 1837 Bechtler House located at 130 W. 6th Street in Rutherfordton.


Each gold coin replica is handcrafted by local artist Susan Brooks and engraved with a special dedication.


Historic Downtown Walking Tour

Coupled with the Gold Mile is the Historic Downtown Walking Tour of Rutherfordton. Step back in time as you follow engraved plaques around town and scan QR codes to discover the legacy behind several historic buildings.


Cool fact: The Historic Downtown Walking Tour features the largest cluster of antebellum homes and public structures anywhere in the southern foothills of North Carolina.


Kid’s Main Street Safari

Children and adults can team up on the Kid’s Main Street Safari, a Kids In Parks initiative. Search for clues around downtown Rutherfordton and discover a fun and engaging way to teach kids about history and heritage while getting a healthy dose of exercise.


The trail boasts games, tree climbing, gold hunting and a search that leads participants through a Civil War cemetery, just to name a few highlights. As an added bonus, kids can receive prizes for completing the trail and logging their adventures online at kidsinparks.com.


Purple Martin Greenway

Named after the Purple Martin bird that appeared on General Griffith Rutherford’s family crest, the Purple Martin Greenway is Rutherfordton’s first natural trail system. This scenic path is designed for walking and running at any athletic level.


The wooded trail provides an easy stroll alongside a bustling creek and is pet-friendly and handicap accessible. Located just off U.S. Hwy. 221 and south of downtown Rutherfordton, phase one opened in the fall of 2015 and includes an easy one-mile stroll along Cleghorn Creek. Picnic tables and a waterfall offer a welcome break.


Phase two is set to be completed by summer 2016 and will add an additional half-mile to the trail. Both trails will feature creative works from local artists that include interesting facts about the town’s history.


The four new trails are showcased in an easy to follow, fold-out brochure available for pick up at the Rutherfordton Town Hall, the Bechtler House or the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, or for more information call 828-287-6113. The brochure can also be downloaded at rutherfordtontrails.com. For more adventures, visit MyRutherfordton.com.


For a complete list of all trails available in Lake Lure & the Blue Ridge Foothills of Rutherford County, N.C., view our online travel guide at RutherfordTourism.com.


-Submitted by Michelle McConnell Yelton