Gastonia (and its environs)
Gastonia is the biggest city in Gaston County and sits about 35 minutes west of where I live in Charlotte, North Carolina (Mecklenburg County). I used to go to Gastonia quite often when it was part of my sales territory from a previous job, but these days I usually just drive right through. While Gastonia is not really a tourist destination, it does give the visitor an idea of what true life working America is all about. Gaston County is the biggest manufacturing county in North Carolina, but it also has a few sights worth checking out.
(The above picture is of Crowder's Lake at the base of Crowder's Mountain in West Gastonia)