The historic section of Gold Hill is just west of US-52, about 1/2 mile. It's hard to call this a destination, but it's a good place for an hour long diversion on a sunny day.
In the 1800's this was a hotbed of gold mining activity, with many mines dotting the area. There is a small museum, playground, picnic area, and a rail trail. Not sophisticated, but it is a pleasant stop. Come by on a Friday evening in summer to enjoy an old fashioned hootenanny at Montgomery's General Store.
Several good roads to ride here; try St Stephens Church Road from Gold Hill to NC-49, or any of the side roads.