I had the opportunity to spend a few days exploring Rutherford County, North Carolina. The area has southern hospitality and gorgeous mountain views at every turn.
Take a stroll across a Flowering Bridge
The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge is one of two flowering bridges in the United States. Every planter on this former vehicle bridge is a different theme and attracts around 8-10,000 visitors from April- October.
The bridge is passion project from members in the community that were dedicated to rescue the bridge and make it a beautiful space for the community and travelers to enjoy. The bridge relies on volunteers who continue to help maintain the gardens.
Learn more about the gardens with the cell phone tour with signs located throughout the garden. The 155 ft long Flowering Bridge will definitely inspire you to think out of the box for your next garden project.
Explore Chimney Rock State Park
A visit to Lake Lure isn’t complete without a visit to Chimney Rock State Park. The State Park provides incredible mountain views of the area and was also a filming location for the movie “The Last of the Mohicans.”
Learn about the local wildlife
This Eastern screech owl pictured above is named Goblin. He weighs 4 oz and is part of the educational program at Chimney Rock because he was hit by a car and cannot be released back into the wild. The staff at Chimney Rock teach with non releasable animals and you can see where some of the educational animals live at the Animal Discovery Den.
Take a Hike
There are 8 hiking trails for guests to explore at Chimney Rock. Two trails you will want to check out are the hike to the top of Chimney Rock and taking the Hickory Nut Falls Trail to see the 2nd largest waterfall east of the Mississippi.
At 404 feet tall, Hickory Nut Falls is a pretty incredible sight to see!
Shop at Chimney Rock Village
At the bottom of the State Park, you will find Chimney Rock Village. The Village has lots of shops, places to eat, and a scenic riverwalk next to the creek.
Take a pontoon tour of the Lake
For another perspective of the area, take a scenic boat ride with Lake Lure Tours where you can learn more about the area while viewing beautiful waterfront properties with mountain views. On a warm sunny day, there is no place that I would rather be than on the water.
Actually, I take that back. If it’s super hot, I would rather be in the water. A few writers and I jumped in the water in our regular clothes and it was totally worth it. The water felt WONDERFUL!
Explore the Inn
The Lake Lure Inn and Spa dates back to 1927 and is located steps away from the beach on Lake Lure. The lobby at the Inn showcases 25 Music boxes from 1890-1910.
There are only two left in the world with harp in the center. The Lake Lure Inn and Spa was also where the cast of the movie Dirty Dancing slept during filming which makes it a popular destination for fans of the movie.
Meals with a view
There are several restaurants around Lake Lure that offer guests a scenic view while they dine.
Come for dinner or stay the night in one of the 17 guest rooms. The property at the lodge offers guests relaxed multilevel outdoor seating with a lake view. The menu stars of our evening were the fantastic appetizers and desserts. I would highly recommend the shrimp and grits, duck wings, Molten Cake, and Key lime pie.
La Strada at Lake Lure
Located a very short drive from the Lake Lure Inn and Spa, La Strada Italian Grill offers something for everyone. The garlic knots are a must if you are a big fan of garlic. The salads are large, the pizza is really good, the sweet potato waffle fries taste like dessert and reminded me of a funnel cake. The ice cream pies are also worth mentioning because of the thick crusts in graham cracker or Oreo.
Located close to Chimney Rock Village, Esmeralda has views of Chimney Rock from their outdoor patio and the gym floor from the last dance scene in the movie Dirty Dancing. The Bed and Breakfast first opened in 1891 and was restored again in 1997 after a devastating fire. The bed and breakfast inn also has 14 rooms for overnight guests. The food and hospitality of the owners at Esmeralda is also worth mentioning. A few of our meal highlights were the crab cakes with large pieces of lump crab, shrimp and grits spring rolls, and the 8oz grilled angus filet mignon served with crispy horseradish potato rosti, herbed green beans, gorgonzola cream and red wine jus. If we had more in our stomachs, we definitely would have ordered dessert because everything that we tried was delicious.
Where I stayed
During my visit I stayed at a 2 bedroom, two bath condo with full kitchen, fireplace, balcony, and family room at Rumbling Bald Resort. There are vacation homes, condo rentals, and studios to choose from for overnight stays. The style and decor depend on the individual homeowner but you can find images online before you book.
I really enjoyed my first visit to Lake Lure. There is a lot of beauty to discover there!
Thanks again to Rutherford County Tourism for hosting my visit.
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