A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

    What We Love About Newton From the view at the 1924 Courthouse Square in downtown Newton, past, present, and future merge. Buildings more than a century old share

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

    What We Love About Newton From the view at the 1924 Courthouse Square in downtown Newton, past, present, and future merge. Buildings more than a century old share

Your Guide to Newton



What We Love About Newton

From the view at the 1924 Courthouse Square in downtown Newton, past, present, and future merge. Buildings more than a century old share the streetscape with murals and sculptures created in the last three years. Bikes, pedestrians, and golf carts glide through the historic community at a leisurely pace, creating a scene that feels a world away from the car traffic found in other downtown districts. On a summer night, a cool breeze carries the sounds from the Music on Main Summer Concert Series, and throughout the year, The Green Room Community Theatre productions beckon you to The Old Post Office Playhouse for a night of theatrics. In Newton, both the enduring and the emerging have a home.

Click to jump to section:



Shop Locally Owned Boutiques

2 Pink Magnolias: After years of dreaming and scheming, mother-daughter pair Rebecca and Jennifer Stiver opened this charming gift boutique in 2010. They expanded in 2015, and it became a Hallmark Gold Crown Store in 2018. Shop goods for any occasion (yes, you do need a “Rootin’ Tootin’ Newton” tote) and for every room in your house.

Shop owners at 2 Pink Magnolias and jewelry pieces at Dana's Fine Jewelry in Newton, NC

Shop for fun and eclectic goods with a Newton flair at 2 Pink Magnolias or elegant jewelry pieces from Dana’s Fine Jewelry. photograph by Dani Nicosia

Dana’s Fine Jewelry: Voted Best Jewelry Store in the Catawba Valley by Hickory Daily Record readers, this shop has been an authorized dealer for well-known brands, like Elle Jewelry and Kelly Waters, for more than three decades. Dana’s promises an exceptional shopping experience and delivers it with a knowledgeable staff and a commitment to detail.

Bax Street Jewelers: From conception to creation, this Newton favorite is committed to custom jewelry. Master jeweler Joe Harrison helps shoppers visualize their dream pieces, and makes them real. Those seeking something less bespoke can browse the robust collection of fine rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.

Master jeweler Joe Harrison crafts delicate pieces at BaX Street Jewelers. Explore more artisan wares at Emporium 23. photograph by Dani Nicosia

Emporium 23: Owner and Catawba County native Laurel Jenkins has made distinctive home decor, upcycled furniture, and apparel for years. In 2022, she launched this market to showcase her products alongside those of other local artists, as well as like-minded brands. Emporium 23 also hosts workshops for aspiring makers.

Big Sig’s Military Surplus & Tactical Supply: Uniforms, patches, boots, awards, and then some — Big Sig’s has a vast supply of surplus merchandise from every branch of the military. That’s just the start, though, with clothing and supplies for hunting and fishing enthusiasts available in their downtown depot.

Backpacks on a rack and decorative pieces at Refuge Designs

Gear up for off-the-grid adventures at Big Sig’s or find handmade gifts and home decor at Refuge Designs. photograph by Dani Nicosia

Refuge Designs: Every piece of home decor in this shop is handmade, many of them from reclaimed and repurposed wood. Owner Kristen Teague also creates custom pieces, refinishes and paints furniture, and hosts design parties where people can learn some — emphasis on some — of the tricks of her trade.

Abundant Life Florist & Gifts: This locally owned and operated shop offers custom arrangements in its East A Street store and via speedy delivery. Stop by to pick up a sunny succulent or bright bouquet.

Bouquet of flowers at Abundant Life Florist. Decorative accessories at Livy Lou's Boutique

Brighten someone’s day with a fresh bouquet from Abundant Life Florist & Gifts. At Livy Lou’s Boutique, you’ll find something for everyone in the family. photograph by Dani Nicosia

Livy Lou’s Boutique: If retail therapy is a thing, then boutique owner Olivia Patterson is a therapist. A few short months after its February 2024 opening, Livy Lou’s has built a following with its curated collection of men’s, women’s, and children’s fashions from emerging brands like Simply Jolene, Barnstone, and Haver Supply.

A basset hound on an ottoman; antique homegoods on a shelf at Rescue Re-Tail in Newton, NC

Shop for home goods and vintage items while supporting the local Humane Society at Rescue Re-Tail. photograph by Dani Nicosia

Rescue Re-Tail: Shop for pet-themed gifts, home goods, vintage items, pet supplies, and more at this downtown Newton store or in live sales on the Humane Society of Catawba County’s Facebook page. Sale proceeds provide food, medicine, and supplies for animals at the Humane Society shelter.




Eat and Drink

Carpe Crustum Bakery: Treat yourself and stop by this bakery located on North College Avenue. Their goodies include cupcakes, single slices of cake, macarons, cookies, pies, and pastries. If you must narrow down your order, we recommend the pastry twirls made with blackberry jam or the old-fashioned coconut cake — the recipe originated from the owner’s grandmother.

Don’t miss out on a sweet treat at Carpe Crustum Bakery.  photograph by Dani Nicosia

Geppeto’s Pizza & More: A fixture of downtown Newton since 1988, this Italian restaurant now has locations in Hickory and Denver, too. The menu’s gourmet pizzas are where Gepetto’s distinguishes itself, with Cajun, Hawaiian, and Florentine-style pies. Finish it off sweet with one of four dessert pizzas.

Chicken Florentine Pizza from Geppeto's Pizza; a beer from Novel Taproom, both in Newton NC

Enjoy a chicken Florentine pizza from Geppeto’s Pizza & More. Then, make your way over to Novel Taproom for a regional craft beer and some live music. photograph by Dani Nicosia

Novel Taproom: Thirty taps, flagship regional beers, and a busy live music schedule make this bar a nexus of Newton nightlife. It’s lively in the day, too, with running and biking clubs taking off from Novel several times a week. Drop in on most Fridays or Saturdays to see national and regional touring bands.

Pour Choices Bottle Shop: Pour Choices? More like “great selections” at this bottle shop and rotating craft beer tap. Spend an afternoon or evening in the spacious tap room, and there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself at a dance party, a night of music bingo, or an impromptu lesson on the distinctions between ales and lagers, hops and malt.

Two ladies drinking beers at Pour Choices Bottle Shop; the bar inside 3 Little Birds Corks & More in Newton, NC

Sample the craft beers on tap at Pour Choices Bottle Shop and pick up a four-pack to take home. If you’re more into wine, check out the global list at 3 Little Birds Corks & More. photograph by Dani Nicosia

3 Little Birds Corks & More: The three birds here are three sisters, born and raised in Newton, who wanted to create a place where people could share stories, bottles, and beautiful charcuterie boards. Featured wines come from as far away as New Zealand, but featured art comes from a different local artist every month.

B-52s American Bar & Grill: “B-52” has a dual meaning here: the bomber, which inspired the military-themed menu, and owner Mitch Ball’s last initial and the jersey number he wore as a football player at Newton-Conover High School. If you’re bold, try dousing wings, a wrap, or mac and cheese in their signature Hydrogen Hot Sauce.

People gather around the bar at B-52s; a customer orders coffee at Narrow Gauge Coffee and Cafe

Tuck into bar bites in a convivial atmosphere at B-52s American Bar & Grill. If you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up, grab a sweet treat and specialty coffee drink from Narrow Gauge Coffee & Cafe in North Newton. photograph by Dani Nicosia

Narrow Gauge Coffee & Cafe: Soon to open in North Newton’s budding Depot District, this coffee shop specializes in locally roasted brews and gourmet baked goods. Try the Fluffernutter latte and grab a muffin to go. 



Local Accommodations

Boutique Auberge: A top-to-bottom restoration turned this 1939 classic colonial-style home into a boutique inn and event venue. Stroll through the lush gardens. Luxuriate in an afternoon wine-down. Enjoy a three-course farm-to-table dinner, and follow it with a show at the Frank & Sue Jones Amphitheatre, The Old Post Office Playhouse, or the latest blockbuster at the State Cinema. Each is a short walk away.

The Trott House Inn: Nearly 30 years after opening, the town’s longest-running inn features four rooms, one suite, and more than a century of history. Built in 1897 and expanded two decades later, the inn is a popular spot for rehearsal dinners, wedding showers, and other small but momentous events.

The Holly & Ivy Inn sign and lobby inside the inn in Newton, NC

Finish off a day of exploring Newton by settling into the comfortable communal space at The Holly & Ivy Inn. photograph by Dani Nicosia

The Holly & Ivy Inn: The colonial-revival style of this 1936 landmark inn extends both inside and out with three gables, a clawfoot soaking tub in the master suite bathroom, a sweeping spiral staircase in the front foyer, and other elegant touches throughout. Spend a relaxing afternoon on the veranda.




Things to Do

Southeastern Narrow Gauge & Shortline Museum: An extensive renovation in the early 2000s made this 1924 railroad depot the heart of historic downtown. See retired cars, cabooses, and locomotives at the Southeastern Narrow Gauge Railway Museum. Then, check out miniature versions at the Model Railroad Center. Soon, a 1948 Amtrak dining car will be available for catered events.

A railway replica in Newton Depot and an old British army uniform in The Museum of Catawba County

Discover the town’s railroad history at Southeastern Narrow Gauge & Shortline Museum, and then head to the Museum of Catawba County to learn more about this area’s pre-colonial past through the mid-20th century. photograph by Dani Nicosia

History Museum of Catawba County: How did the backwoods of the Catawba River Valley become a world-renowned furniture and textile empire? Exhibits at the 1924 Catawba County Courthouse show you, from pre-colonial agricultural tools to artifacts from the Revolutionary War to a faithful recreation of a 1920s doctor’s office.

The Beauty Bar: This downtown mainstay offers a full suite of aesthetic services. From facials and massages to manis and pedis, you’ll find your version of pampering at The Beauty Bar.

The pink lounge at The Beauty Bar and people practicing yoga at Hot Yoga Newton

Between your Newton exploration, carve out a little time for self-care with a facial at The Beauty Bar or an invigorating yoga class at Hot Yoga Newton. photograph by Dani Nicosia

Hot Yoga Newton: A staff of experienced teachers and a studio with expansive views of downtown Newton make this a favorite among locals. In addition to daily classes, Hot Yoga Newton sponsors a book club and partners with schools and other local businesses to take yoga into the community.




Explore More in Newton

A Locals’ Guide to Downtown Newton

Locals in this Catawba County community have built a lively downtown using the resources and small-town pride instilled by former generations.

Meet the Maker: Belle le Verre

Catawba County artist Marietta Burke lets her passion and talent shine through her stunning stained-glass creations.

A Circle Unbroken in Newton

Bluegrass musicians love the simple beauty of Old St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Newton. On Christmas Eve, the 200-year-old wooden chapel fills with the sweet sounds of strings and the joy of the season.



This story was published on May 31, 2024