If you adore true southern hospitality, amazing mom and pop restaurants, and a trip through musical history, you’re going to absolutely love Cleveland County, NC. When it comes to having a couple’s getaway in Cleveland County, there are plenty of places to choose. From cool hiking trails to historical mansion, to live concerts, here’s how to have a perfect couples getaway in Shelby and Cleveland County NC.
Disclosure: I was graciously hosted by the fine folks at Visit Cleveland County to give you the scoop on the best things to do for couples. All opinions are my own.
How to Have a Perfect Couples Getaway in Shelby and Cleveland County NC
Shelby & Cleveland County NC – The Story
Cleveland County NC is about 1 1/2 hours east from Asheville and 5 hours west from Onslow County, NC – the home of my new favorite spot to play in the sand, North Topsail Beach. When I visited, I felt that true southern hospitality that I crave.
Its big city, Shelby, is quaint and adorable – so perfect for a couples getaway. So, we packed up the car and made the 8-hour drive from the Pittsburgh area to see what we’ve been missing and what makes the area idea for couples. Here are my suggestions.
Couples Getaway in Shelby and Cleveland County NC – The Banker’s House
Nearly across the street from the Morgan & Wells B&B (more on that below), the Banker’s House was essentially just that: a beautiful mansion owned by several local bankers. Absolutely stunning both inside and out, the property is ideal for weddings and special occasions, but you don’t have to have an invitation to enjoy its beauty.
Mr. Locke and I took a morning tour and, as a lady that loves beautifully decorated historical properties, I was not disappointed in the least. The mansion is decorated with period accurate furniture and decor, and simply walking through its many stories I couldn’t help but think of the mansion and its owners in its heyday.
Couples Getaway in Shelby and Cleveland County NC – Check Out Murals and Art
A visit to Shelby, NC, the main city in Cleveland County, wouldn’t be complete without a leisurely walk around the Uptown Shelby area to check out its many beautiful murals. Designed and created by both local and nationally known artists, each represents the beauty of the city.
If there’s one that’s a must-see, check out Bobby Bell’s colorful one. He’s a Cleveland County native and Football Hall of Famer.
Don Gibson LP Project
While you’re walking around town checking out the murals, keep an eye out for giant Don Gibson LP Art pieces. One of Shelby’s hometown heroes, Mr. Gibson was a well known singer and songwriter. These giant records can be found around the city and depict art that goes along with them.
For additional information at every stop, scan the QR Code to learn all about the song.
Couples Getaway in Shelby and Cleveland County NC – Don Gibson Theatre
If you’re looking for a theater with an old school feel, Don Gibson Theater is a must visit. While still decorated with a vintage theme, the theater offers state of the art sound and screen, and shows everything from popular movies and well known performers.
The feature I found the coolest was the autograph wall. Dawning signatures from Whitney Huston to Lisa Marie Presley and Pam Tillis, the hallway is like a cool yearbook for the venue’s performers.
Earl Scruggs Center
If you’re a fan of bluegrass, you’ll definitely know the name Earl Scruggs. If not, here’s a quick history lesson. Known for essentially being a creator of Bluegrass along with Lester Flatt and Bill Monroe, the new southern style of music was officially named in 1945.
Scruggs was well known for his three finger banjo picking style. As a tribute to the Cleveland County native, the Earl Scruggs Center was created in his honor, and features not only memorabilia from the man himself, but about bluegrass as a whole.
Did I mention that the center also hosts live bands? During our visit, we had the pleasure of checking out Zoe and Cloyd, a band that melds bluegrass and klezmer musical styles seamlessly.
Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyard and Winery
Located about 20 minutes outside of Shelby, Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyard & Winery is a true hidden gem in the county. If you’re familiar with the Hillshire Farm commercials with the big, red barn, don’t forget to check out the one on property- it’s the same one used in the commercials.
Its wine selection is deliciously impressive and offers both dry and sweet styles. If you really want to make it a romantic afternoon, pack some snacks or a picnic lunch, buy a wine flight, and grab a seat under one of its massive, shady trees.
Sidenote: We were invited to its first ever murder mystery party and it was so enjoyable! Centered around a wine theme, the walk around the property, whodunit live story, plus a massive southern dinner was worth every penny for a ticket.
Antique Market of Shelby
If you love antiques, you’ll love all three stories of the Antique Market of Shelby. What I found different as a northern gal is that antiques in the south tend to be very different from what we’re offered up north. Even if you’re not interested in purchasing, walking around the building is like taking a trip back in time.
The Shelby Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber of Commerce in Downtown Shelby is an ideal place to get recommendations on where to eat, what to see, and where to go in Cleveland County.
The Hotel Charles
Directly across the street from the chamber of commerce, Hotel Charles was THE hotel in Cleveland County. Now just an exterior memory of days gone by, I did hear that there are plans to renovate the building completely. If you love architecture, definitely put this stop on your walking tour of Shelby.
Where to Eat in Shelby NC & Cleveland County
If you love southern food with fun spins and affordable prices, you’re going to love the restaurants in and around Shelby NC:
Newgrass Brewing Company
The first place that we dined in Shelby, Newgrass Brewing Company is a brew pub you’ll definitely want to check out, especially if you love craft beer. The dining menu is both creative and hip and includes everything from a signature farm burger to Irish nachos to a twisted falafel sandwich. My recommendation is to grab a beer flight and a sandwich for lunch.
J-Birds Deli is so delicious that we actually ate there twice on our trip. A no frills kind of restaurant, but still very hip. It has both sandwiches and craft beer from local breweries. It has sandwiches panini style, its prices are super affordable, there’s both indoor and outdoor seating, and Mr. Locke loved the brew selection.
Dragonfly Wine Market
Not technically a place to eat, but Dragonfly Wine Market is more of a super adorable shop in downtown to buy wine. If you’re a pet lover, keep an eye out for the store’s in-house furry friend.
Couples Getaway in Shelby and Cleveland County NC – Where to Stay in Shelby NC
One of the most beautiful bed and breakfasts I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying at, Morgan and Wells Bed & Breakfast is a five-star luxury accommodation. Not only is the decor both in each room and the common rooms accurate to the early 1900’s, each of five guest rooms has its own theme and vibe.
I absolutely adored the gorgeous, polished oak, pine floors, massive ceilings, and furnishings to be historic in the most romantic of ways.
Each morning, we had a hearty, southern style breakfast (on the last morning of our stay, a chef was brought in to make us homemade shrimp and grits), and the B&B’s manager, Pam, came in to wish us well. I mean, the Steel City love is strong, after all.
If you really want to up the romance during your stay, make a reservation for an in-room couple’s massage. The masseuses brought everything from slippers to robes to light-blocking eye protection to make us feel like we were in a low lit spa room. Having the ability to simply walk out of one and into our own guest room afterwards was lovely and so convenient.