“The Cowboy Capitol of North Carolina!”
Have you always wanted to live like a cowboy? Saddling up and riding into town on your trusty seed, hitching your horse to the general store, and moseying into the saloon for a stiff drink? Well, partner, there's hope for you yet, because in Love Valley, North Carolina, the Old West lives on. Love Valley, a small town in rural North Carolina, was founded in 1954 by Andy Barker, a man who longed for the days of six shooters and the Pony Express. Barker always wanted to be cowboy, and decided that the easiest way to fulfill his dream was to create his very own, authentic Old West town, where the roads are made of dirt and cars are outlawed. Barker also envisioned the town as a kind of "Christian Utopia", a place where fellow god-fearing folk could escape the hellish nightmares of the city, where evil folks listened to their rock music and watched the dang blasted television when they could have been reading the Bible. Things obviously didn't quite work out the way he'd hoped, because in July of 1970, the town swelled with 100,000 people for the Love Valley Rock Festival. It was basically North Carolina's attempt as woodsex, with all the drugs, sex, and rock and roll that came with it. One particular story told to rock journalist Park Puterbaugh sets the scene well: The people that was sellin’ the LSD and everything, there must’ve been about 20 of ’em. And we had the Iron Cross out of Atlanta, who later became the Outlaws, the bike boys. They had about 75-80 people here. I went to the chief, whose name was Surfer, and said, ‘Look, Surfer, I want these drugs out of here. Go take every damn thing you can get your hands on and run ’em out.’ They started doin’ it. “Well, in a while, a bunch of these young fellows come to my house and said, ‘We want this motorcycle crowd to leave us alone or we’re gonna burn this town down.’ I said, ‘Well, just a minute, boys. Lemme see if I can talk to somebody.’ I went in and got my sawed-off shotgun. I said, ‘I’m gonna shoot every one of you (expletive),’ and man, they scattered like quail. I didn’t have any more problems outta them. Don't worry, things have calmed down a lot since then. Today, Love Valley is about as close as you can come to an Old West community, boasting a saloon, general store, hitching posts, campgrounds, a hotel, hardware store, and even rodeos. Gone are the biker gangs slinging LSD and the ideas of a "Christian Utopia", and instead, Love Valley has transformed into a peaceful town where you can truly get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The town hosts regular horseback riding adventures on its miles of riding trails through the surrounding Brusy Mountains, rodeos at the local areana, and even acts as the set for a horror film now and then. Want to plan your own trip to the Cowboy Capitol of North Carolina? Check out the interactive map below to get Love Valley added to your bucket list before you hit the road. Don't forget your spurs!
Very cool. Opens on Thursday through the weekend for the stores although you can walk through just to look 7days a week. I thought it was really neat.
It is cool to see someone's vision come to past. The town is real run down now and what few businesses remain are only open on weekend.
I was there on february 06 2016, and i really didnt like it at all. Only one store was open....the bar/restaurant. People there were not very friendly. Nobody even a knowledge we were even there. The town looks like a ghost town. Not recommended at all. Very disappointed.
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