Cooleemee Makes a Great Day Trip
If you live anywhere from the Piedmont Triangle to Charlotte, Asheville to Mooresville—or anyplace in between— you will find plenty of attractions in Cooleemee to fill an enjoyable, memorable day. This former cotton mill town is serious about preserving and sharing its proud history and natural heritage.
Cooleemee’s Textile Heritage Museum
Located in the historic Zachary Holt House at 131 Church Street (just off Marginal Street). In the setting of the former mill manager’s large brick home, its exhibits allow visitors to explore just what a cotton mill town was like in its prime.
The Mill House Museum
Just one block down Church Street sits a typical four-room mill house built in 1905. A tour guide takes you back in time to the world of a mill hand’s family in the early 1930s. Hundreds of local, period artifacts help tell the story—from iron beds, feather ticks, chamber pots, handmade toys and a wood cook stove. In the yard you will find a clothes line, garden plot and smoke house.
Cooleemee’s museums are open Wednesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All tours are guided and begin at the Zachary House. Admission to the Mill House Museum is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and free for children 12 and under. Call 284-6040 for more info or to set up a group tour in advance.
RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls—“The Bullhole”
Open on the riverbank opposite Cooleemee. The park opens at 8 a.m. and closes at sundown. These 30+ acres on the Rowan County side feature an impressive stone dam, a sandy beach deposited there by a flood, and good fishing in the spring and fall. Many bring their bathing suits to swim and “ride” the little rapids. There are scattered picnic tables and benches along its beautiful wooded trails and the handsome big shelter can be rented, perfect for family reunions or church gatherings. Rest rooms are located near the main parking area. Contained grilling is allowed in the park except under the main shelter.
Swimming and water activities at your own risk—there is no life guard on duty. RiverPark urges its patrons to wear an old pair of tennis shoes in the river to prevent accidents on the granite bedrock bottom, known for its slippery moss. Please note the park rules when you enter. There are regular police patrols who enforce rules that include no littering, no drugs or drinking of alcoholic beverages and no glass containers are allowed. If you wish to reserve the park’s large picnic shelter for a church gathering or a family reunion, call 336-751-2325. Half day rate: $30, full day rate: $60. Please help keep the park a beautiful, family-friendly place.
Directions to River Park
From town, take NC Highway 801 South across the S. Yadkin River, turn right on Needmore Road, right on Erwin Temple Church Road and keep going until you reach the parking area.
Stop at Davie Discount Drugs for a coke and some directions. Good advice can also be found at Cooleemee Hardware Store over a Cheerwine and a pack of peanuts. Both are located at the Cooleemee Shopping Center on NC Hwy 801 near Marginal Street.
Warning: Mapquest and Google Maps will get you to Cooleemee but are sometimes not always helpful when you get off the highway.