This interesting tri-city area is located in the broad Catawba Valley at the eastern base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. As the name “Hickory” implies, this is an area of hardwood forests, the original resource for Hickory’s active furniture-making industry. According to local sources, 60% of the furniture made in the United States is made within 200 miles of Hickory, and names like Broyhill, Drexel Heritage and Henredon among many others are headquartered locally. Furniture factory outlets draw people from miles around. The area is also home to the one of the country’s largest fiber optic cable plants operated by Corning.
The downtown areas of Morganton and Hickory are small but clean and exceptionally authentic examples of the Southern small town. There are some recreational opportunities in the nearby mountains to the west and large Lake Norman to the southeast. The area is in the heart of the Bible Belt, evidence of which is all around. Cost of living is low and crime is among the lowest in the state. Some may not find enough in the way of intellectual stimulation, including cultural amenities and higher education.
The terrain is mostly hilly and wooded. The Catawba River runs through the area and turns south into Lake Norman at the east edge of the county, where the land begins to flatten out into the Carolina Piedmont. The climate is typical of the region. The mountains to the northwest block and warm cold northwest winds. The ocean is too far away to affect summer temperatures but can moderate winter cold.
Summers are warm with frequent 90 degrees days and thundershowers. Winters are cool but not excessively so. Winter temperatures frequently touch freezing, but seldom go far below. Snow and snow accumulations are rare. Rainfall is evenly distributed through the year, with fall being the driest.