• Charlie Leonard

Walk Down Main Street: Belmont's beautiful downtown makes for a perfect day out

It’s impossible to picture the growth of Gaston County without looking to the city of Belmont. Situated directly across the Catawba River from Mecklenburg County, and only 20 minutes from Uptown Charlotte, Belmont has almost doubled in size since the year 2000 due to intentional planning and its proximity to Charlotte’s rapid growing population. It’s an excellent location for people and businesses looking for a quieter alternative to Charlotte without sacrificing a high quality of life.

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

Belmont has always played the role of a naturally peaceful town throughout its history. Named “beautiful mountain” after nearby Crowders Mountain, Belmont thrived off a focus on the land. While cities like Gastonia and Charlotte grew larger during the textile revolution, Belmont was a much more agriculturally centered town. When the Stowesville Cotton Mill opened nearby in 1853, Belmont finally began a textile pivot to align with the rest of Gaston County. In 1871, the railroad that split downtown Belmont in half was built, which set the stage for the Belmont of today.

Chronicle Mill - Photo Courtesy John Clark, Gaston Gazette

Shortly after the railroad arrived, three major milestones occurred. The old Caldwell Plantation was donated to the Benedictine monks, transforming the location into what is now Belmont Abbey College. In 1895, the town of Belmont officially gained incorporation, leading to an official government structure. Finally, in 1901-1902, the Chronicle Mill–which will soon be redeveloped–became the first textile mill within the newly incorporated town’s city limits. The modern day Belmont had officially taken shape.

In the not so distant future of 2030, a new railway is set to be built. The LYNX Silver Line, a proposed light rail line operated by the Charlotte Area Transit System, has set its final westbound station in Belmont off Wilkinson Blvd, which could lead to even more growth and transformation.

Stowe Park - Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

Today, a mix of old and new business developments, a proximity to multiple nature areas and green spaces, and an overall high-rating in key data metrics have transformed Belmont into one of the trendiest places to live in the Charlotte area. At the heart of it all is Main Street, the vibrant epicenter of a “quiet town” with more than enough to say.

Shopping & Services

Belmont’s Main Street stretch is a retail haven full of great art, antiques spaces, and just generally cool places that give you the goods to live your lifestyle.

AR Workshop

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

65 Glenway St.

Monday-Tuesday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., Friday 10am.-2pm, 7 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Wood painting and wine drinking converge at AR Workshop, one of Gaston County’s art spaces. Run by the designer duo of Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff, the AR Workshop specializes in wood pallet painting classes and other DIY options, but you can also order pre-made pieces through their custom order form. Check their website for the most up-to-date information on workshops and events for adults and kids.

Ballard’s Barber Shop

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

200 N. Main St.

Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

In 1949, William Henry “Bill” Ballard opened Ballard’s Barber Shop in “East End” of Belmont, and they’ve been going strong ever since. The barber shop replicates the modern, small town vibe of Belmont while pursuing “all things dapper.” This means quality haircuts and high quality shaves that come with a hot towel, pre shave oil, and a hot lather with a cold towel to finish. Book your appointment to hang out, catch up, and start looking as dapper as you’ve ever been.

Belmont Yoga

Photo Courtesy of Belmont Yoga

37 Glenway St.

Hours TBD

Finding a wellness community is crucial for your mental and physical well-being, and Belmont Yoga is one of Gaston County’s newest wellness options. Belmont Yoga offers a wide variety of classes in multiple yoga specialties such as runners yoga, kids yoga, power flow, deep stretch, and more. Their store also sells yoga gear, CBD and wellness products and locally-made art and jewelry.

Catawba River Outfitters

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

6 N. Main St.

Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

If you’re looking to visit one of Belmont’s multiple green spaces and trails for some outdoor fun, look no further than Catawba River Outfitters. Whether you’re an outdoor novice or an experienced adventurer, Catawba River Outfitters has you covered with camping gear, clothing, hammocks, chairs, and other outdoor accessories. Stock up for your next outdoor excursion.

Jolie Boutique

Photo Courtesy of Jolie Boutique

33 N. Main St.

Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Established in 2005, the Jolie Boutique is a female fashionista’s paradise with a rotating selection of women's clothing and accessories that are Instagram approved. Jolie Boutique offers free shipping on all orders over $100 and sales are featured on a regular basis.

Meraki Flower Shop

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

35 N. Main St.

Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

We all know that cool little shop that’s aesthetically pleasing and vibrant like a piece of art. Meraki Flower Shop fits that bill with a space filled with one of a kind floral arrangements hand curated by owner Erica Steppe. “Gift Good Vibes” with a Meraki arrangement for everyday moments, weddings, and all events.

The Mercantile Barber Co.

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

6 N. Main St.

Monday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Tuesday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Wednesday 8 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Thursday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

For an “old school” barber shop experience, visit the Mercantile Barber Company located in the back of the former Belmont General Store building. Owner Jamie Price’s Mercantile Barber Company honors the heritage of Downtown Belmont while forging their own path as a place to get a quality haircut or shave.

Piccolo Antique Mall

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

134 Main St.

Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.-6 p.m.

Antique hunting is a timeless tradition that's equal parts fun and practical. At Piccolo Antique Mall, there's over 22,000 square feet of antique picking space to work with. Showcasing over 70 shops worth of art, furniture, records, books, and more, shopping for your next big find just got a lot easier.

South Main Cycles

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

4 N. Main St.

Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

South Main Cycles is the place to gear up before cruising down Belmont’s many trails and bike paths. The bike shop located in the old Piedmont & Northern Railway Depot offers quality bicycle sales and service and features some of the best bicycle brands like Giant, Pivot, and Santa Cruz. With regular discounts and passionate staff who are cyclists first, come get your personal cycling journey started today.

Surprise Me

140 N. Main St.

Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

If you need a gift for any occasions, Surprise Me is bound to do what their name entails. The shop has a rotating inventory of unique, “must-have” items like candles, stationery, note cards, and other accessories. Surprise Me is great for finding that special gift for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, or just your own little treat.

Dining & Bakeries

The gastronomical offerings of Belmont keep growing by the day, with an ever expanding portfolio of certified cult classics, coffee and cocktail joints, perfect patio dining, wine spots, and so much more.

Belmont Specialty Foods

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

35 N. Main St.

Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Belmont Specialty Foods is the perfect all-in-one deli and grocery store for whatever you may need. Their deli features fresh sliced meats, cheeses, and sandwich curations, while their bakery offers a wide variety of pies, cakes, and other sweets. There’s also a wide selection of fresh provisions, preservatives, and other ingredients that you may need. Shop here today, or stop by for lunch and check out their heated patio.

The Bottle Tree

Chris Rodarte, Gaston Outside

102 Davis St.

Wednesday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Friday 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Gaining its name from the many blue and green bottle trees across the South that reflect the light and “leave nothing but good behind,” The Bottle Tree restaurant strives to provide a culinary experience that leaves patrons “in the highest of spirits.” Executive chef, Colleen O’Hare, merges Southern classics with global flavors that reflect the growing trend of new-American cuisine. The Bottle Tree also houses a spacious and multicolored patio outside that’s as diverse and inspired as the food inside.

Cherub’s Cafe

Chris Rodarte, Gaston Outside

23 N. Main St.

Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.; Friday 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

Since opening in the late ‘90s, Cherub’s Cafe has become one of Belmont’s most widely adored classic restaurants. In conjunction with the Holy Angels, Cherub’s offers differently abled adults an opportunity for meaningful employment. The cafe is known for their pecan chicken salad in a variety of formats, but they also serve breakfast items as well as desserts made Tony’s Ice Cream, Gaston County’s unofficial ice cream. If the weather permits, their patio next door is the place to eat.

Cotton Candy Factory

21 N. Main St.

Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

The Cotton Candy Factory is one of three businesses in downtown Belmont that’s run by the Holy Angels, an organization that’s dedicated to helping the differently abled. Inspired by Belmont’s cotton mill history, the store sells regular and organic flavors of cotton candy goodness and candy by the bulk all while providing employment opportunities to differently abled individuals.

The Everyday Market

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

7 S. Main St.

Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

If you love coffee, wine and baked goods, then you will definitely enjoy the exceptional coffee, wine, and made-from-scratch food that The Everyday Market has to offer. Taking inspiration from the iconic cafes of Europe, owner and pastry chef Majid Amoorpour offers a community space for relaxation and really good homemade pastries and sandwiches and coffee to pair. If it’s wine you’d prefer, The Everyday market features wines from all over the world. Lounge inside or enjoy their street-facing patio with a view of Stowe Park

Glenway Premium Pub

Camille Renner, Gaston Outside

55 Glenway St.

Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

The Glenway Premium Pub is a classic sports bar and tavern that’s just off Main Street. With a comfortable covered