I feel like my spirit lived in Lake Lure in a previous life.
It’s elevated every time I arrive and see the forested green of the pine trees surrounding the lake.
Lake Lure sits in the Hickory Nut Gorge, surrounded by lush mountain tops and sheer granite cliffs.
In the distance are the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Hickory Nut Gorge with names like Buffalo Head and Sleeping lady.
It’s ancient. Timeless. Connected.
It’s not long after arriving that I slip into Lake Time.
It moves slow and rhythmically like the oars on my stand up paddle board moving across the lake.
It’s one of the first things we do when we arrive at the Lodge on Lake Lure.
Kalyra pauses her paddling to do handstands and cartwheels. I watch in amazement and work up the bravery to slip off the board into the cool waters.
It’s cool and refreshing. The perfect complement to the humid air.
There’s no fear of sharks, jelly fish or crocodiles like back home in Australia. I can swim freely in the pools of serenity.
Lake Lure in North Carolina is my happy place.
I want to buy a house here. I want to buy a summer home here. I don’t want to travel anymore.
I just want to spend my summers on this lake, in my lakeside home, with my SUP board.
This was my mantra for our very short two day stay in Lake Lure.
I just had to bring my parents here on our big road trip from Dallas to Boston. It was slightly out of the way, but totally worth it.
My mum and dad loved it too.
With my Dad being a huge movie buff, he loved the connection this Lake Lure and Chimney Rock area has to the Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day Lewis.
I love the connection it has with Dirty Dancing.
Last summer we attended the 30th anniversary of Dirty Dancing here in Lake Lure.
It was a hoot and yes, I carried a watermelon!
Relax, Learn and Dream on a Lake Lure Boat Tours
You can see the stairs where Baby carried the watermelon on a Lake Lure boat tour, which we did on our last afternoon in Lake Lure.
It was sunny and warm and the breeze gentle. Surprisingly, the seats on the boat were padded and spacious.
We had plenty of room to watch the Lake Lure world go by and learn more about its history – and those gorgeous mansions on its bank – from our captain and guide.
Including the famous stairs Baby carried a watermelon up and danced back down.
This lake was artificially made back in 1927 by Lucius Morse.
He envisioned a lake resort that would be one of the largest in the country as he gazed down upon the Broad River Valley from the top of Chimney Rock, which he owned and opened to the public in 1916.
The town of Buffalo, a small Gold Rush and farming town, now sits at the bottom of Lake Lure.
Legend of the church said to be 70 feet below in the center of the lake whose bell is said to be heard ringing on stormy evenings
The lake is now owned by the town of Lake Lure, with private homes surrounding most of it. Access is provided via a town marina, beach and park.
What I love about this beautiful lakeside destination, is that it has not become one large lake resort.
It’s mostly a popular destination of privately owned homes that caters to families who vacation here every summer.
That’s what I want!
The tours last an hour and is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Be sure to reserve your spot in advance as they are popular.
I’m going to buy a boat with my house.
Spend my days supping and cruising up and down, up and down. Stopping for a swim in its dark shark free depths in the middle of the lake with those blue hazy views of the mountains I love so much.
Or, pulling up at the beaches of Town Beach or Rambling Bald Resort.
The girls can have fun zipping down the waterslides of main beach or kayaking around the bays.
It’s not just the lake that offers things to do in the Lake Lure region.
There’s Chimney Rock Village and Chimney Rock State Park as well.
Get Active at Chimney Rock State Park NC
Chimney Rock was made famous by the movie, Last of the Mohicans.
There is a small rock that juts out from the larger mountain and looks like …. a chimney!
The top of Chimney Rock offers stunning views of Hickory Hut Gorge and Lake Lure and breathtaking 75-mile views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
There’s an easy hike up to the top of Chimney Rock from the parking lot – 500 steps to the top. Easy!
My 76 year old father and 69 year old mother managed just fine, although we did have a few stops along the way to admire the view.
An elevator was built into a hole in the rock face that was blasted out for it. However, it has not been in use for about three years now.
I’m not sure what that technical difficulty is but I’ll take the stairs.
There are a couple of walking trails that take you up to the mountain above Chimney Rock. We didn’t pursue those on this trip, but Craig ran up one to take this photo for you.
Hickory Nut Falls
There is a beautiful 1.4 mile return trail through the hardwood forest that will give you shade from the sun. It’s relatively flat and easy walking.
It takes you to the base of Hickory Nut Waterfall, a 404-foot waterfall that plunges down the steep face of the cliff. It’s the second highest of its kind east of the Mississippi River.
Hickory Nut Waterfall was also featured in the movie The Last of the Mohicans, with the final fight scene at the brink of the falls.
Eat, Shop, and Chill at Chimney Rock Village NC
After your time hiking and exploring Chimney Rock, head into Chimney Rock Village for shopping and perhaps a coffee (Broad River Coffee Shop) or lunch break.
Chimney Rock Village is a small one street town with stores and restaurants perched on the banks of the Rocky Broad River, tucked in the Hickory Nut Gorge.
The Broad River runs alongside Chimney Rock village and is a gorgeous little oasis on a hot sunny day.
Sit on the deck of Riverwatch Bar & Grill with a nice glass of champagne while your kids scramble over the rocks below.
I didn’t do it on this trip, but I did last year with other blogger and adult friends – ah the serenity of a glass of wine uninterrupted by cries of “Muuuuummm”.
The water is running pretty fast here so I’m not sure about swimming. I think you can find little pools of water that will help cool you down.
On the previous evening, the Symphony of Rutherford County held their annual dinner and symphony event.
We grabbed a picnic dinner and headed down to the Gathering Place in Chimney Rock Village to watch it.
Sadly due to my bee sting incident, we were a little late in arriving.
We only managed to catch a few of the songs at the end, but it was spectacular.
We were starting to get into it with the beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace and Danny Boy and wished they kept playing. Those bagpipes made the mountains behind sing.
It was such an exquisite venue for an intimate music venue with the locals. We love experiencing local treats like this when we travel.
Stroll across Flowering Bridge
How does an old bridge overtaken by blooms and artwork sound to you?
One of my favorite things to do in Lake Lure is to stroll across the Flowering Bridge. It’s a wonderful example of community care and spirit.
They came together to decide what to do with the old highway bridge once the bigger and wider new road was built coming into town.
Why not turn it in to a public garden space? It was created by volunteers and is maintained by volunteers.
The 300 foot pathway is part of the 3/4-mile Town Center Walkway that continues past Morse Park to the Lake Lure Beach with great views of the Hickory Nut Gorge and Chimney Rock.
It’s one of most scenic walks in western North Carolina, is opened year round and is completely free!
Grab an ice cream at The Scoop
Across the road from Town Beach sits a popular shack filled with delicious local ice cream and flavors such as S’mores, Cherry Blossom, Banana Pudding, Orange Sherbert, Peach and Coffee.
Lucky we ordered the girls ice cream first so we could see exactly what a single scoop looked like.
Dad was about to ask for a double, and quickly changed his mind as the single servings were ginormous!
Perfect for a hot May day.
It’s nice to grab your ice cream after a day of playing at Town Beach, or you can walk there along the lakefront boardwalk after your walk across the Flowering Bridge, or your Lake Lure boat tour.
Stay at The Lodge on Lake Lure – it’s exquisite
My favorite thing to do in Lake Lure, was to sit on the deck outside our room at the Lodge on Lake Lure amongst the trees and look down on the lake below, watching it slowly go to sleep and then slowly wake up the next day.
Lake Lure Lodge is a beautiful place to stay at Lake Lure.
I fell in love with the view when I visited there last year with my Dirty Dancing friends.
It shot up the top of my list as a place to stay when we returned to Lake Lure.
We are so grateful to Rutherford County Tourism and The Lodge on Lake Lure for hosting our stay.
The Lodge on Lake Lure was built in the 30’s as a retreat for North Carolina highway patrolmen.
It opened to the public in 1990. It’s the only lakefront lodging in Lake Lure and offers a unique experience.
The Tree Tops Dining Room has stunning views of Lake Lure and the Hickory Nut Gorge mountains. Its the best way to start your day with a buffet breakfast and dinner is served Wednesday through Saturday evenings.
The Lodge on Lake Lure also owns the Tryon International Equestrian Center.
In September 2018, they are hosting the World Equestrian Games, which is a huge deal for the area.
I would love to attend and experience it (and stay at the lodge!)
In April, we spent a weekend at the Tryon International Equestrian Center and created some videos, which you can view here:
Supping on Lake Lure
Not only did we love the view from our deck, the breakfast room, and the lower level resting deck, but also from on top of the stand up paddle board.
Stand Up Paddle boards and kayaks are complimentary for guests staying at the Lodge on Lake Lure and we made sure we took one out on each day of our two night stay there.
We developed a family passion for supping when we lived in Australia. It’s now something we pursue on our travels when we can.
Supping takes a little practice to get used to balancing – I fell of dramatically the first time I did it.
Now I rarely fall of unless it’s intentional.
It’s a bit like riding a bike, once you figure out the balance it kind of becomes automatic.
I’ll be buying a board to match my boat and my house on Lake Lure.
My only complaint is that we did not stay longer. I want to go back in the summer, but I”m scared time is going to zoom by so fast with busyness that we won’t make it work.
Lake Lure is calling me to make it happen.
Lake Lure Video:
Check out how beautiful Lake Lure is in our video:
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What are your favorite things to do in Lake Lure and Chimney Rock NC? Do you love lake vacations?