Shopping Downtown HickoryI have had the privilege of living in the Hickory area for most of my life. I have seen the many changes throughout the years as this City survived and clawed its way back from the recession in 2008 to become a vibrant and welcoming city that now offers more to visitors and locals, with even more exciting additions in the future. 

It's no wonder there are so many people who visit the Hickory Metro and then ultimately end up moving here. Whether it's the easygoing nature of the locals, the abundant outdoor adventures, the thriving food scene that is continuing to flourish, or just the close proximity that Hickory has to so many other amazing destinations. People are deciding daily that this is a place that they can see as Home. I know that feeling well; Hickory offers a sense of place where we enjoy our small(ish)-town vibes but also the vibrant stream of events, attractions, and restaurants. Exploring, traveling, and learning evoke something in people that keeps them wanting to see more and immerse themselves more into a community. 

As I mentioned, growing up here has been an amazing experience, and I can truly share the "For Real" things that made my childhood and adulthood wonderful. I have so many memories like the first time I ever caught a Crawfish in the creek at Glenn Hilton Park. Or the first time I ever jumped off the dock into the cool waters of Lake Hickory on a hot summer day. The first time I tried liver mush, I loved it! The first time, I trained for a triathlon, running and biking around Hickory, especially the trails and greenway between Geitner Park and the City of Hickory Park. The first time I was chosen as a child for the dizzy bat contest at the Crawdads stadium or the first time I participated in a "dry-ice" experiment at the SALT Block's Science Center. The list could go on and on - you get the picture. Those firsts will always stay with me and are the true meaning behind For Real experiences in Hickory, NC. 

We are truly lucky here in the Metro. We are surrounded by pure, pristine beauty in our outdoor activities. Lake Hickory offers some of the best bass and catfishing on the East Coast, Bakers Mountain is packed full of great hiking trails, and Rocky Face Recreational Park in Hiddenite offers an epic experience for trail runs and rock climbing. We have an extremely active disc golf community and host tons of other sporting events and tournaments at our great sports complexes throughout the community. As our area continues to grow, it is so exciting to see our access to Lake Hickory grow with the completion of the Riverwalk part of the Hickory Trail projects. 

Sarah, Citywalk, City Walk Brewing, DogThis summer don't hesitate, pack a lunch and take a picnic. Take your kiddos to Glenn Hilton Park and hunt for those crawdads. Take your bikes because there are some great trails to follow through the park. Support our local downtowns like Hickory, Conover, Newton, and others on Friday nights for live music, outdoor dining, and weekend events. Take the kids to local parks like Lowe's Food's City Park - the kids will love it, and the water feature is pretty neat! Have a Saturday free with just you and your furry friend? Take a stroll along the 1.5-mile paved path between Geitner Park and Hickory City Park or take on longer trails at Riverbend Park along the Catawba River. Be sure to include stops at City Walk Brewing (the Fanny pack IPA is one of my favs,) grab some popcorn at Tastebuds Popcorn (Decadent Dog is delicious), make a reservation at Cowa Saké for sushi and burgers, and just enjoy the beautifully renovated Downtown Hickory.

It won't take you long to see what I see and why so many "visitors" are starting to call this city that I love: Home.