What would you do if your hometown banned the use of cars altogether? What if you grew up in a town that had a preexisting law entirely prohibiting the use of automobiles and you grew up having to go grocery shopping on your horse?
In Love Valley, they call their streets “trails” instead of roads, lanes, or even streets, because in the Brushy Mountains of North Carolina, no cars are allowed (1). While it might sound somewhat confining, Love Valley offers the surprisingly leisurely atmosphere of an old western community, offering wagon rides, boardwalk strolls, shops, country stores and more (2).
But what is the life in Love Valley actually like?
Love Valley History
Founded in 1954, Love Valley was orchestrated by one individual who had two dreams that he ultimately merged into one reality: Andy Barker desired to live within a Christian community and he always wished he could be a cowboy (1). Barker left a secure job in Charlotte, North Carolina, in order to relocate to the mountains and make these dreams come true (1).
At the very beginnings of the town’s construction, Barker and some of his building friends first set up a church on a hill that still overlooks the town today. By the year 1963, Barker’s town had been incorporated and the main street (Henry Martin Trail) was well on its bustling way (1). Barker’s father was named mayor and the town continued peacefully with only one major rule: absolutely no cars allowed (1). While Barker passed away back in 2011, the 104-resident-town remains vehicle-free and happily entertains visitors with what their western world has to offer.
Love Valley Tourism
While Love Valley was never built with the idea of future tourists in mind, it has since become quite the novelty and plenty of tourists flock to it today in order to revel at the wonder. If you have a love for horses and enjoy trail riding, then Love Valley is a dream destination for you! It offers miles of trails for riding, varying in levels of difficulty from steep mountain hikes to wide dirt paths (3). While there are many interesting activities and exciting town events schedules throughout the year, most of Love Valley caters to those who want to “relax and ride,” enjoying their time at a laid-back pace (3).
While the headquarters for the town lies at the very foot of the massive timbered hills, there’s more than just hiking in this old town (4). The town itself strongly resembles the set of an old western movie, dazzlingly complete with a general store, saloon, tack shop and blacksmith (3). There is also a rodeo arena that doubles as a square dance floor on summer Friday nights (4). And just in case you happen to be directionally challenged, Love Valley has guide services available to you so you won’t get lost (3).
Located just 16 miles north of Statesville and 23 miles southeast of Wilkesboro, Love Valley is a charming little town with some fun, festive activities (1). If you want more information, try visiting the town website, or just plug their address into your GPS and give it a visit!