Quality of Life

Caldwell County is located in Western North Carolina where the Piedmont meets the Mountains.Caldwell County is part of the Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir Metropolitan Statistical Area, the fourth largest MSA in North Carolina. This four-county MSA has a population of over 300,000 people.

Caldwell County is located slightly north of Interstate 40 and is framed by the Catawba River and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Caldwell County presents a geographic picture of stately mountains and lush valleys dotted with cities, communities and farmlands.

US Highway 321 (a four-lane highway) threads its way from the river to the mountains. Caldwell County is 69 miles northwest of Charlotte, 73 miles east of Asheville and 73 miles west of Winston-Salem. Other MSA’s within 100 miles include Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina and Johnson City, Kingsport and Bristol, Tennessee.

Four moderate seasons color the landscape: vibrant autumn gold, crisp winter whites, lush spring greens and soft summer blues. Winters, although mild, bring a touch of snow. Due to our proximity to the mountains, summers are equally temperate.Nearby Grandfather Mountain, at over 5,000 feet, presides over one of the world’s oldest ranges, the magnificent Blue Ridge. The yearly average temperature is 57.8 degrees. The average 24-hour temperature in July is 76 degrees and the average annual rainfall is 49 inches. Four seasons are prevalent and characteristic of Caldwell County due to the wide scale of altitude from 900 to 5,964 feet above sea level with an average elevation of 1,182 feet above sea level.
Three highways, Interstate 40, US 64 and US Highway 321, provide vital transportation links for Caldwell County’s growing manufacturing, commercial and tourism base. US Highway 321, a four-lane thoroughfare, runs from Blowing Rock to the City of Gastonia, where it intersects with Interstate 85. It provides a quick route to Charlotte making the commute time from Lenoir to Charlotte Douglas International Airport 75 minutes. Other major highways located in Caldwell County include NC Highway 18, NC Highway 268, NC Highway 90 as well as the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway.
Industry and Business
Business and Industry enjoy government support in partnership with the Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Commission. The furniture business and its corollaries make up other primary manufacturing base. Originally founded by German craftsmen immigrants whose legacy is evident in the quality of workmanship today, Caldwell County products are shipped all over the world. Along US 321 is the renowned “20 Miles of Furniture” where shoppers from everywhere flock to take advantage of home furnishing bargains at outlet stores.Caldwell County ‘s business and industrial base is becoming more diversified, with inroads into a wide range of technically sophisticated products such as plastic, automotive, and medical supplies. The growth the county has experienced during the last few years has spread over the municipalities in a combination of traditional and diversified industries.

Two Caldwell County industries in particular exemplify this manufacturing coexistence: Bernhardt Furniture Company and Meridian Automotive Systems. Bernhardt, makers of fine contemporary furniture and case goods, has been in existence in Caldwell County since 1889 and employs approximately 1,800 workers locally. Meridian Automotive Systems, a manufacturer of thermocouples automotive parts, opened Caldwell County operations in 1984 with jobs for330 employees. Just some of the products now being manufactured in the county include medical supplies, analgesics, industrial lifts, molded auto parts, fiber optics, packaging, textiles, clothing labels and fabric tape.

Several factors make Caldwell County an attractive site. We, as a county, are productive. Out of a population of approximately 77,000 people, 42,120 are in the work force. Thirty-nine percent of those are women. A strong work ethic, sense of pride and dedication pervades the nonunion labor force. Topography, access to interstate highways, available property at reasonable costs, low tax rates and special services and trianing for employees all draw new industry and businesses to Caldwell County.

The Greater Hickory Metro area of western North Carolina encompasses counties that have long prided themselves on their beautiful scenery and warm, friendly neighborhoods. We are equally proud to provide access to the highest quality in healthcare for individuals at every stage of life. Caldwell Memorial Hospital is committed to provide safe, effective, compassionate medical care and to promote healthy lifestyles to Caldwell County residents.Amid the blooming spring rhododendrons and crisp palette of fall leaves, our local hospitals and healthcare providers feature the best in health services, including: cancer care programs approved by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer; heart surgery; neonatal care units; centers for joint care and diabetes health; vision care and correction surgery; birthing suites to welcome your newest family additions; and outstanding pediatric care to see kids all the way into adulthood.

From the physicians’ practices to community hospitals referral centers, our family of area healthcare providers are proud to offer you the best in technology with compassionate care, leaving you free to enjoy the scenery with your family, friends and neighbors.

Caldwell County ‘s consolidated public school system boasts 17 elementary, four middle and three high schools. Together they serve almost 12,000 students. In comparison with the state’s approximately 135 school districts, Caldwell County consistently delivers a top performance in virtually every major category.For nearly 40 years, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute has served as an area leader in expanding educational and cultural opportunities within Caldwell and Watauga counties. The Institution offers nearly 100 curriculum programs, hundreds of corporate and continuing education certifications and special interest courses, and GED/Basic Skills training at over 50 sites throughout its two county service area. Record enrollment over the past three years has boasted over 3,700 curriculum students though the CCC&TI serves over 14,000 students annually in all areas of the college.

From the Career Center to the future Appalachian State University Center, CCC&TI connects high school students straight through to bachelor’s degree programs on one campus, distinguishing the college as a state and national model. The Career Center’s specialized workforce training earned it the Governor’s Entrepreneurial Award for its success in innovation in educational partnerships. The ASU Center to be named for Faye A. Broyhill is set to open in spring 2006. While the center will focus primarily on teacher training, additional programming options are being explored.

Home of the Cobras, CCC&TI offers NJCAA men’s basketball, women’s volleyball and cheerleading. The college’s basketball team has enjoyed national recognition, finishing the 2002 season sixth in the nation in NJCAA Division III play atop recent regional championships. Intramurals, student government activities and over 30 clubs and organizations allow students further opportunities to become involved. In addition, the college’s Broyhill Civic Center features quality entertainment throughout the year, including CCC&TI’s own Performing Artist Series.

CCC&TI’s Caldwell Campus is located in the foothills of Hudson, about 15 minutes north of Hickory. Overlooking Grandfather Mountain, the college’s Watauga Campus is located off Highway 105 in Boone.

Higher Learning
An outstanding institution, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI), customizes its programs to fit the demands of today’s job market. Focused industrial training provided by CCC&TI is dedicated to meeting companies individual training needs for skilled or semi-skilled workers. The training can take place either at a company’s facility or on campus, and is designed with individual companies in mind and to accommodate their schedule. This program allows CCC&TI to provide training for as few as two or three employees at a time. CCC&TI also provides a training service for new and expanded industries in the community. The college will design and administer a special program for training the production manpower required by a new or expanding industry that is creating new job opportunities. In addition, CCC&TI provides a foundation to students who transfer to four-year programs.
Less than 12 miles from our northern border is Appalachain State University and just across our southern border is Lenoir-Rhyne College, both offering advanced degrees. Appalachian State University partnership courses provide high school students with simultaneous high school and transferable college credit. Within 100 miles of Caldwell County are numerous other institutions of higher learning, including the University of North Carolina at Asheville, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Western Carolina University in Cullowhee and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem.
Outstanding recreational opportunites in sports, the arts, and community festivals make Caldwell County living doubly enjoyable. Natural scenery in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and a moderate southern climate add to Caldwell County’s quality of life. Boating, canoeing and water skiing on nearby lakes and snow skiing on the mountain slopes are less than an hour’s drive away.A very popular and well-attended event is the Bridge-to-Bridge Incredible Bicycle Challenge which finishes at Grandfather Mountain. Sponsored by the Chanber of Commerce, the bicycle challenge draws in excess of 1,000 participants each year.
A paradise for naturalists and sportsmen, the Pisgah National Forest covers nearly 50,000 acres in Caldwell County in the Grandfather Mountain District. Nearby Tuttle Education State Forest is an instructional resource with ecological displays featuring hiking trails, picnic and camping facilities and an amphitheater.Wilson Creek Gorge is a popular recreation area carved out of the mountains by rushing white-water river. Uncommercialized and undeveloped since the floods of 1916 and 1940, which left skeleton communities, the gorge is hauntingly beautiful.

For the fitness enthusiast, Caldwell County’s seven parks offer both structured and unstructured activities. Team sports leagues in baseball, softball, soccer, swimming, and football are organized at the parks. Learn more about the parks at City of Lenoir web site.

Five golf courses are interspersed throughout the county. Country Acres Golf Course, Cedar Rock Country Club, Granada Farms Country Club, Lenoir Golf Club, and Orchard Hills Golf Course provide challenging courses in the midst of unparalleled scenery.

The racing aficionado finds NASCAR-affiliated track Tri-County Speedway. Charlotte Motor Speedway is also within 90 minutes driving time.

Art and Culture
Cultural activities provide residents with additional leisure outlets. Street fairs and festivals are held annually in the communities of Hudson, Lenoir, and Granite Falls. The events feature handmade crafts such as quilts, toys, pottery, and stained glass.Another popular celebration is Harambee, organized by the City of Lenoir and the Freedman Community. Held in August, thousands of people attend this Festival of African American Arts.

In collaboration with Lenoir Parks and Recreation, the Caldwell Arts Council sponsors Summer-in-the-Park, a series of concerts, puppet shows and plays. A non-profit organization, the Arts Council is working to enrich the lives of Caldwell County residents.

Caldwell County hosts an annual five state sculpture competition, the largest gathering of professional sculptors in the South. Newly added to the Arts Council in the Galleria is the museum shop of finely crafted artistic items.

Assisted by the Arts Council and by the local business and industry, Foothills Performing Arts, located on the campus of CCC&TI in Hudson, produces fine theatrical productions.