Asheville & The Central Mountains
Lake Lure: The "Gem Of The Carolinas"
Western North Carolina ebbs with natural scenic beauty. Harbored in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains are magical destinations – attractions and “Main Street” towns teeming with tradition and folklore. Along with Chimney Rock and Grandfather Mountain exists a splendid wilderness getaway called Lake Lure. Located about an hour and a half from Charlotte, and 26 miles southeast of Asheville, this mountain hideaway lures visitors with an intriguing mix of enchanted wilderness beauty and rich history.
Nestled in the heart of Hickory Nut Gorge, the lake itself and the Town of Lake Lure were conceived through the vision of Dr. Lucius B. Morse. Poor health brought Dr. Morse and his wife Betty to the gorge in the early 1900s. The core ingredient of the Lake Lure community – the lake – was created in 1926 by building a dam on the Rocky Broad River. Subsequent naming of these placid waters is accredited to Mrs. Morse.
The Town of Lake Lure was incorporated a year later, in 1927, and thus began the lure of the “Gem of the Carolinas.” National Geographic includes Lake Lure as one of the “ten most spectacular man-made lakes in the world.” This sensational wonder is comprised of approximately 720 acres encompassed by about 21 miles of shoreline, all hidden among towering 500-million-year-old mountains.
Plans of a resort development came to a screeching halt in 1929 with the onset of the Great Depression. Today, Lake Lure consists of accommodations, attractions and dining establishments welcoming travelers with tastes from mild to lavish luxury. The community hidden in the scenic beauty of this treasured town includes beautiful seasonal homes enticing travelers to change their mind about “just passing through.”
The Lake Lure area has been favored by and hosted entertainers, politicians and writers such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Emily Post. Today, the area lures filmmakers and stars, providing a stunning backdrop for feature films such as Dirty Dancing and The Last of the Mohicans.
Lake Lure lies in the “thermal belt,” keeping the climate agreeable year round. With a summer average of 74.8° F and a winter average of 45.5° F, any time of year is perfect for exploring the outdoor offerings of this mountain town.
Enjoy the warm water and mild climate by floating on an inner tube, picnicking in the shade or catching rays on a sandy beach. Rent a boat at the marina or take a languid lake cruise. Discover an adventure on any of the numerous walking trails that wind through weeping willows and high lake grass.
Fancy a challenge? Take a swing at one of the three 18-hole championship golf courses recognized by Golf Digest as “always good golf, different from other Carolina courses.” Among these is Fairfield Mountains, Lake Lure’s major commercial golf resort.
Fish for Rainbow and Brown Trout, Large and Small Mouth Bass, Crappie and more. Feeling competitive? Beat the local fishing record held by adventurer Virginia Hill with a 64-pound catfish caught in 1962. An 80-pound monster catfish is still rumored to roam the bottom of the lake.
Need to feed that adventurous appetite? Dine at one of the many restaurants along the Lake Lure shore for a quick bite or an extended evening meal. Rest at one of the dozens of quaint bed and breakfasts and charming luxury inns, or find a cabin surrounded by the enchanting beauty of the mountainous outdoors.
The itinerary for a Lake Lure vacation is endless and no matter what time of year a getaway is in order, the temperature, surroundings and the people are bound to make it an unforgettable adventurous experience. So come celebrate Lake Lure and find out why it is the “Gem of the Carolinas.”
From Asheville: Take I-40 East to Exit 53A (Hwy 74A East). Stay on Hwy 74A East for 22 miles.
From Charlotte: Take I-85 South to Exit 10B (Hwy 74 West). Take Exit 167 and turn right onto Hwy 9 North. Go 12 miles to stop sign at the junction of Hwy64/74A. Lake Lure will be directly in front of you.
From Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Raleigh: Take I-40 West to Exit 103 (Morganton). Follow Route 64 West approximately 32 miles to Rutherfordton where 64 joins with Hwy 74A. Continue on Hwy 64/74A approximately 20 miles to Lake Lure.
added: December 10, 2008
updated: January 29, 2009