Lake Lure, the Gem of the Carolinas

Lake Lure, the Gem of the Carolinas

Lake Lure in the Blue Ridge Foothills

Envision a calm lake gracefully surrounded by green mountains, and then consider how you might want to enjoy it. Maybe zipping along on skis or cruising slowly on a pontoon boat, or sliding silently along in a kayak and fishing for trout. Or maybe you’d prefer just to float on a tube in the warm sun. The ideal place in North Carolina’s mountains for such pleasant undertakings is Lake Lure, tucked into the center of scenic Hickory Nut Gorge.

Unlike the ancient mountains, Lake Lure has not passed through eons, but was created by savvy engineers in 1926 when a dam was built on the Rocky Broad River. The town came into being officially a year later, and the area was christened the Gem of the Carolinas. The lake covers 720 acres with roughly 20 miles of shoreline, along which now nestle rustic homes that have become favorite getaways. Lake Lure also benefits from its location in the thermal belt, which captures warm air and keeps the climate moderate throughout the year. This makes it perfect for enjoying the lake and the attractions of the surrounding area.

A public beach and water park provide easy access to the lake, and all types of watercraft are readily available. Fishing is an excellent way to spend your time, with trout and bass abundant, as are sizable catfish. In fact, the local record remains a 62-pounder landed in 1962.

In addition to water activities, there are plenty of opportunities to hike and bike among amazing natural settings, or do some horseback riding along sedate trails. The area around Lake Lure, which is just 25 miles from Asheville, encompasses thousands of acres of rolling, unspoiled forest. Just around the bend is Chimney Rock State Park where you can climb to more than 2,000 feet and see for 75 miles.

The quaint Lake Lure Inn & Spa was opened as a resort in 1927 and drew its share of the famous, from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Franklin Roosevelt. However, the inn and surrounding countryside may now be best known as the location for filming of Dirty Dancing. In fact, the annual Dirty Dancing Festival celebrates the movie and promises you “the time of your life.” Visitors also like to find the mountainous spots featured in The Last of the Mohicans.

Golfers may want to take a swing at one of the area’s courses recognized by Golf Digest as offering “always good golf, different from other Carolina courses.” Among these is Rumbling Bald Resort with its two layouts and the town’s course, with its design attributed to master architect Donald Ross.

Need to feed that adventurous appetite? Dine at one of the many restaurants along Lake Lure’s shore for a quick bite or an extended evening meal. Rest at one of the dozens of welcoming bed and breakfasts and charming inns, or find a cabin surrounded by the enchanting beauty of the mountainous outdoors.

A Lake Lure vacation is a perfectly adventurous experience virtually any time of year, and the ideal way to find out why it’s the reigning Gem of the Carolinas.

Gary Carter

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