town cars banned
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
May 27, 2020 ·  2 min read

What Life Is Like Inside The Tiny Town Where Cars Are Banned

If you’ve ever dreamed of living in a simpler time, then this is just the place for you. Love Valley in North Carolina is famous as the town where cars are banned, and just might be the answer to your slow-paced life dreams.

Love Valley: The Town Where Cars are Banned

Looking like the set of an old western film, Love Valley is a quaint little mountain town that was born out of one man’s two dreams:

  • To live in a Christian community
  • To be a cowboy

In 1954, Andy Barker left a well-paying job in Charlotte, North Carolina, and moved to the Brushy Mountains. With some friends who worked in construction, Andy built the small church that sits on the top of the hill overlooking the town, along with other buildings and homes. Love Valley was incorporated in 1963 and Andy’s dad took on the position as mayor.

There are no roads, streets, or avenues here – instead, they are referred to as “trails”. The main street through the center of town is called the Henry Martin Trail. 

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No Cars Allowed

When Andy dreamed of creating Love Valley and living a slower-paced life, he knew there was one thing that had to go: cars. 

For the 104 residents who live in the town, the main method of transportation is horses. Walking down the Henry Martin Trail really does feel like you’ve stepped back in time, with horses tethered and drinking from water troths outside of the General Store and other shops.

While most residents do, in fact, own cars, they are only really used for out-of-town trips.

A Tourist’s Delight

While the town wasn’t intended for tourism purposes, it no-doubt attracts that type of attention. When visiting the town tourists must leave their car parked in the lot outside the figurative “town gates” and either walk into town or rent a horse.

Shops in Love Valley are just what you might expect:

  • General Store
  • Local Bar
  • Gift and Ice Cream Shop
  • Cafe
  • Feed store
  • Hardware store
  • Tack store

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Events Worth Visiting For

While the town itself is worth the detour to check out, they also host a variety of fun events every year that stay true to its nickname “The Cowboy Capital”. 

They host several rodeos as well as popular horse shows. There are spaces for people to camp, cabins, and rooms to rent as well. Though Andy passed away in 2011, his memory lives on in Love Valley. Fancy yourself a road trip to the Cowboy Capital? Check out their website to help you plan your visit.