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Lake Lure: History, Happenings, and Houses

Those that know me well have heard about one of my favorite places in the world, Lake Lure. It's a quaint town nestled in the foothills of Western North Carolina and our family had the unique privilege of spending countless summer and fall days in our little lakefront cabin for over 50 years. While we no longer get to call the house our own, Lake Lure will always hold a special place in our hearts and I suspect we'll always make time to visit.

It truly is one of the most beautiful settings you'll see and if you get the chance to visit during the fall when the leaves are turning, it's a spectacular showcase of autumn colors. Both the sunrises and sunsets are both spectacular and captivating and there's nature all around including the mountains, river rocks, deer, great blue heron, the occasional bear, and plenty more. God's beauty and handprint is everywhere. If you haven't had a chance to visit, I definitely encourage you to!


In the spring of 1927, the town of Lake Lure was incorporated and the dam was completed to form the lake. Rumor has it that a small town called Buffalo lies at the bottom of the lake as well as six-plus-foot catfish. The town itself is considered to be the sister city of Lake Como, Italy and you can see much of the European influence in the earliest buildings including the Lake Lure Inn, The Arcade Commerce Building, and the Haynes Hill Mansion, all three of which are still standing today.

Haynes Hill Mansion hidden in the mountainside.

Happenings: What to Do

For years this quaint town has been a tourist attraction during the spring, summer and fall months. There are plenty of things to do in and around Lake Lure including visiting the beach, boat tours around the lake, renting kayaks or canoes, hiking, shopping at nearby Chimney Rock, or visiting the Flower Bridge. The scenery is breathtaking and if you visit on the weekend during late summer or fall, you're likely to see a wedding taking place under the gazebo near the marina.

One of the town's biggest bragging rights is that it has been home to filming several movies including Dirty Dancing. I'm told that if you take a boat tour they'll be sure to point out some of the places where the movie was filmed including the famous bridge scene with Baby. The town even hosts a Dirty Dancing Festival in August where you can watch the movie outside on the big screen and compete in a lifting competition in the lake. It's a hoot.

They also have a Polar Plunge in January for those brave enough to enter the freezing waters.

And last but not least, and probably one of my favorite things to do.....if you're around on a Sunday morning between May and October, be sure to stop by the little Lakeside Chapel that sits on the right side of the beach. Parking is in the ABC store parking lot (which cracks me up) and the service starts at 9am. It's always been meaningful to get to worship outside surrounded by such beauty.

There really is plenty to keep you busy and if you don't want to have to cook, there are several local restaurants both in Lake Lure and Chimney Rock you can enjoy.


A trip wouldn't be complete for me without taking the time to admire some of the houses along the way. Lake Lure has it all - big and little, old and new, main houses, guest houses, and boat houses, and a little bit of everything in between. I'm certainly drawn to the older houses, especially the little cabins, but I have to admire the beauty of so many. Here are some of my favorites that I have photographed over the years.

Lake Lure is a special little place and while biased, I think you should schedule a visit if you're ever in the area or looking for a neat place to go on your next trip. In my next post I'll share with you some of my favorite places to explore if you like to get outside to walk or go hiking, and the best part is you can take your dogs with you. Because we all know Sampson goes wherever I do.

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