Travelers would take a wrong turn off the highway, or go looking for a
friend down a quiet country road, or follow directions to a secluded inn,
and all at once, perhaps just at sunset, there would be a placid lake
surrounded by mountain peaks. Or a tree-lined gorge etched by a rushing river.
Or a small, friendly town that felt good.
Franklin D. Roosevelt visited here, as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald, and more recently, Emily Post. Others prefer to slip in unannounced, enjoying the respite of these color-drenched mountains before returning to real-world problems.
It’s provided the settings for such movies as Dirty Dancing and The Last of the Mohicans,
but long before Hollywood discovered Lake Lure and its remarkable surroundings, the rich and famous knew what a gem existed in this part of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
There’s so much to do. In addition to Lake Lure, Rutherford County is the home of small towns that virtually flow into one another – Spindale, Rutherfordton and Forest City.
Another plus is the renowned Chimney Rock, a striking scene when viewed from afar, and a fantastic perch upon which to survey the surrounding mountains and valley.
For Steve and Linda Hayes, the area beckoned as a vacation getaway for more than 11 years, until they finally made their decision to stay. “My husband is from Ohio, and I’m originally from Kentucky,” she explains. “We moved to Charleston and lived there for years, but something kept drawing us back to these mountains.” The couple was on the lookout for property when they spotted a small white cottage. A tiny workshop in the back provided the inspiration for the first of several cabins, and their version of a B&B was born.
“Every time you drive around a curve the sights are so beautiful,” she says, noting that the thermal belt running through Hickory Nut Gorge keeps the air more comfortable year round.
Part of what keeps folks busy here is the entertainment, found at the fabulous Foundation Performing Arts and Conference Center, patterned after Charlotte’s Blumenthal Center.
The Foundation hosts professional touring companies, and welcomes comedy, dance, Broadway and children’s events to Rutherford County.