We took a mini-vacation to Lake Lure, an enchanting small town about 40 minutes southeast of Asheville, North Carolina. Since passing through last November, I had been dreaming of going back in warm weather.
Lake Lure is nestled in the center of North Carolina’s massive Hickory Nut Gorge and the wild Rocky Broad River flows through it. Territory spans a little over 13 square miles of which more than 1 square mile is water.
Check out this drone video I found on Youtube:
At the start of the 1900s, the Morse family purchased the land that would become Lake Lure, and acquired additional acres over time. The family also developed the town’s power utility company which helped them fulfill their next goal of building a dam.
With this dam diverting the river, they could finally create their dream lake resort town. It was officially founded in 1927 but taken over by a mortgage company that foreclosed them during the Great Depression.
Many scenes from the 1987 hit Dirty Dancing were filmed in Lake Lure. The writer Eleanor Bergstein was visiting and it reminded her of the Catskills in New York where her story actually took place.
My song pick for this entry is the final scene from Dirty Dancing:
Be sure to stop by the Visitors Center when you arrive in Lake Lure. They offer coupons and brochures for area attractions, a mini museum displaying history of the town, and info about films that were produced in Lake Lure.
Thunder Road, A Breed Apart, Firestarter, Dirty Dancing, My Fellow Americans, and The Last of the Mohicans (a mile or so away into Chimney Rock) were all filmed in Lake Lure during the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. Just last year, a new film called Careful What You Wish For wrapped up, proving the town’s unique beauty game is still strong over time.
The 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa
You can stay in the same rooms where Johnny and Baby stayed at The 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa if you request in advance. The hotel is right across the street from Lake Lure Beach & Water Park and conveniently located between several restaurants.
The lobby was full of antique/vintage furniture and a collection of fascinating historical instruments like lyres, music boxes, and self-playing pianos. Many of us are musicians with a taste for old time music, so we were a bit like kids in a candy shop here.
I was thrilled to hear some of my favourite Cole Porter jams.
Our rooms were compact and tidy, and the beds were way more comfortable than my own.
Moose & Goose is the hotel’s bar. The staff were so kind and accommodating to our group that just kept growing.
We had a blast on this veranda that overlooks the lake, the mountains, and the pool.
Guests are welcome to a continental breakfast of coffee, cereal, bagels, and apples, but it didn’t hit the spot. On select days the hotel’s restaurant, aptly named Veranda, also serves brunch and I wholeheartedly approve of this splurge.
For brunch Veranda serves a mix of American breakfast favourites like bacon, sausage, biscuits, the best gravy (aside from my mother’s) anywhere, hashbrown casserole, an omelette bar, toast, muffins, and pastries.
Veranda also serves lunch/dinner fare like salads, meat-carving stations, prime rib, yeast rolls, a variety of vegetables and sides, fried fish, pot pie, and more.
For that sweet tooth they offer an assortment of cakes, pies, cheesecakes, tortes, brownies, fruit, sticky buns, and a giant chocolate fondue fountain. Be sure to block out space for a nap or a long walk after brunch.
Depending on who you ask, the place is haunted. Here is a video I found of an employee sharing the stories you can find snippets of posted around the lobby:
Speaking of scary stories, I learned that back in 2016 there was a terrifying wildfire at Party Rock at the top of the mountain overlooking the town. Even after watching this video several times, it is hard to imagine something so frightening taking place in the tranquil Lake Lure just three years ago.
Lake Lure Beach
The Lake Lure Beach/ Water Park is an idyllic setting for a picnic and luxurious day outdoors.
Allegedly the water park is for kids only, but no one stopped the adults that I may or may not have witnessed climbing up the slides.
We stood under these weight-tipped buckets and I screamed like a banshee every time I got drenched. Some of us took it in better stride than others.
The beach itself was broad and clean with a generous view of the sky and mountains. To an unfair advantage, it had been raining all day so it was a bit soggy.
You can rent kayaks and paddle boats for the day or by the hour, take a pontoon boat tour of various filming locations, and play golf at the same resort in the film.
They have an annual competition here each year for “The Lift” which is another scene filmed in Lake Lure.
Lovely as it is, our visit was disappointing in some ways. I attribute that mostly to rainy weather and poor timing. The package we bought at the Lake Lure Inn included a day pass at the water park and a boat tour; a collaboration between separate businesses.
However, the LL Beach staff closed the beach shortly after we arrived, and the LL Boat Tours staff canceled the tours altogether. Neither businesses gave refunds for their respective portions of the package per company policies.
Barring poor weather, the beach is well worth the price of admission. I look forward to returning on a nice, warm day much more like what is depicted in this video:
Lake Lure Flowering Bridge
My favourite part of Lake Lure is its Flowering Bridge, located a very short walk from the 1927 Lake Lure Inn.
The Flowering Bridge is always open to the public with free parking and admission. Check out my blog The Flowering Bridge; Lake Lure’s Gateway to Beauty to learn more about this incredible garden!
At the eastern end of the bridge nearest the beach, you can stop by the Carolina Moon Cafe and Gift Shop.
Carolina Moon serves all sorts of sweets and caffeinated treats and a cozy vibe that we were particularly grateful for on this rainy day.
La Strada Italian Restaurant
La Strada sits high up on the mountain with balcony seating that overlooks the rest of Lake Lure. The restaurant is across the water from the 1927 Lake Lure Inn and was a fine place to end the evening. We stopped in for some late night treats and made new friends from Columbia and Mexico.
Lake Lure has many other restaurants, resort hotels, and outdoor activities like golf courses, stables, marinas, fly fishing, and parks. You can reach Chimney Rock State Park and Village just a few minutes down the road.
© Fernwehtun, 2015- Current. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Fernwehtun and Fernwehtun.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.