- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 20, 2002

If you're looking for a place that appears to have it all great fishing, accommodations, restaurants, interesting and historic sightseeing Gaston County in the southwestern area of North Carolina (not far from Charlotte) is for you.
Here's a plan of action that will allow the anglers in the family to experience a better-than-average body of water, Lake Wylie, with myriad opportunities to hook a memory:
Bring your boat or hire a guide, then fish to your heart's content in a huge reservoir that touches both North and South Carolina. Be sure to buy a freshwater tourist license for both states. You can fish all day in Gaston County, but in case you want to move elsewhere, it's a good idea to have a South Carolina permit, as well. Some tackle shops carry both.
cFamily members who don't care to cast for bass, crappies, catfish or landlocked stripers, should do what is known as the "Magnolia Tour." Visit the American Military Museum of Gastonia, then the Belmont Abbey. The Abbey, completed in 1893, once was the only abbey cathedral in the United States, and it is part of a Historic District on the national Register of Historic Places. Now go to Brevard Station in Stanley, a museum of artifacts and documents from the past. Stanley also is home to the Bigleaf Magnolia, America's largest flowering plant.
Check out Cherryville's downtown Heritage Park that shows how things were done in the days of yore, and don't forget Christmastown U.S.A. in McAdenville, a small mill town that is illuminated by hundreds of thousands of lights during the holidays.
There's also Crowder Mountain State Park, a 5,000-acre beauty surrounded by peaks and breathtaking views in Kings Mountain. Whatever you do, don't forget to visit the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont. Located on the shores of Lake Wylie, the first 110 acres of the garden has been completed, with 340 additional acres to be developed into what the promoters promise will be the most beautiful gardens in the world.
Stop by the Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia where you will learn about native Americans and their way of life, in addition to animals, gem stones and every type of natural history.
That's just half of what Gaston County promises. There's plenty more to do. Me? I liked everything, but most of all I liked the fishing. It was fantastic.
For additional information, check www.gastontourism.com; 800/849-9994.

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