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Treasures in Mt Gilead

Finding Hidden Treasures in Mount Gilead

 

Mount Gilead, NC --  It’s Saturday and you want to do something different, go someplace you’ve never been. You head towards Lake Tillery. Rumor has it some Hollywood movie stars have homes there. But you stumble across a little town called Mount Gilead. The OPEN lights flash a bright red, beckoning you inside.

            You turn a door handle and hear the cuckoo clock. Or is it Big Ben? You walk down a hallway lined with beautiful wood-turned pieces and smell fresh sawdust, but the lure of the hour pulls you down the hall.

            Yes, there are some pretty unusual places in downtown Mount Gilead.

            The Antique Clock & Watch Repair shop has gotten to be a pretty busy place with people dropping off their watches, their Grandmother and Grandfather clocks and just popping in to see what’s there. They too, have heard the hourly chimes. Owner Bob Parry says people come from across the state to bring their prized positions to be cleaned and fixed. “Each one holds a mystery – a story,” he says. “The symptoms are always about the same, ‘My clock won’t run.’” He dons his magnifying glasses and works amid wheel pullers, screws, pendulums, bolts and more.

            Yet, the smell of sawdust permeates the air, still tickling your curiosity.

            You peak around the corner and see a variety of wood-turning machinery and hear the grinding of the saw. “We’re making kaleidoscopes today,” says Jack Reyome. He is teaching a retired school teacher how to turn wood. He and a couple of other local wood-turners use the facility to create their art – their passion – and display it in the lobby. You can either make a purchase or sign up for a class. Mmm. That’s a mental note for later.

            Next door is the Piedmont Center for the Arts. You eyeball a pretty quilt on the inside, some paintings and sculpture. “Is that piece made from race car parts?” you ask. “Yes, it is,” replies the manager. “A local welder works for a race car team and uses their parts in his work.” Now that’s not something you see everyday – particularly in a small town!

            Back on the street, you eyeball Brown’s General Store. Not many of them around anymore. The floor creaks and you feel like you’re walking into a history book.

            This place is packed from the floor to the ceiling with screws, pipes, outdoor gear, cooking supplies – and even eco-friendly Charlie’s Soap. As you mosey towards the back of the store, you hear mumblings. “I’ll tell you what this country needs…” says one person. “Don’t believe anything you hear,” says another. Why, you’ve stumbled across a  group of locals are sitting around the drink box solving the world’s ills.

            “Come join us,” one says.

            You chuckle and continue to meander down the narrow aisles, noting all the old and new gadgets to help you with your chores.

            Back outside, you look and see antique stores in both directions.

            The Vintage looks pretty interesting with front windows overflowing with all kinds of fun goodies. Inside, you find items for the yard, bedroom, kitchen or to wear.           

            There’s nothing better than a pretty new bauble dangling around your neck.

            Now that your taste buds are whet, you itch to see what else is around.

            Next door is The Ford Place Pub & Restaurant. Once the local Ford dealership, the building has been transformed into a fun and charming place to eat. It looks like the booths are made from old car seats. Original bills of sale are displayed under glass at each table. My, cars and repair jobs were pretty inexpensive back then in relationship to today’s prices!

            You fill up with the buffet or a sandwich and you’re ready to continue your journey through town.

            At the opposite end of the street is a Christmas shop.

            Your eyes glisten. You just don’t find those in most small towns.

            It’s another antique store – with a Christmas shop inside. Little wooden soldiers. Sparkling European hand-blown glass balls. Pretty lights. Santa’s left his calling card everywhere.

            Moving into the Mt. Gilead Antique Mall, you see high end items. Chandeliers. Semi-precious jewelry with lapis, turquoise, tourmaline and garnets. Coins. This isn’t your typical antique store.

            You wander up and down the stairs for what seems like hours, feeling just like a kid in a candy store. Around the corner – there’s more.

            So by now it’s around 7 p.m. and you’re stepping outside. Just when you feel like you’ve had a full afternoon, you hear music up the street. Banjo. Fiddle.

            You smile.

            The Mt. Gilead Music Barn is getting revved up for a good night of music, singing and dancing!

            Cars are lined up and down the street and Mount Gilead is hopping! Curiosity seekers, just like you, have found the adorable little town – it’s charms – and are celebrating the weekend. Good food. Good music. New friends.

            Mount Gilead is located at the intersection of NC highways 109 and 73, about 20 minutes west of I-73/74 between Rockingham and Asheboro.

            For more information about Mount Gilead, visit www.mtgileadnc.com.