RUTHERFORD COUNTY, NC
Used to be, the warm, friendly towns and breathtaking scenery of Rutherford County were a secret known only to a few. Travelers would take a wrong turn off the highway, go looking for a friend down a quiet country road, or follow directions to a secluded inn.
Then, perhaps just at sunset, there would be a placid lake surrounded by mountain peaks and a tree-lined gorge etched by a rushing river.
Franklin D. Roosevelt visited here, as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Emily Post. Others prefer to slip in unannounced, enjoying the respite of these color-drenched mountains before returning to real-world problems.
There’s so much to do at what’s become known as the Front Porch of the Blue Ridge. In addition to Lake Lure, Rutherford County is the home of small towns that virtually flow into one another – Spindale, Rutherfordton and Forest City.
There’s no shortage of beauty – or of activities. Chimney Rock State Park offers a striking scene when viewed from afar, and a fantastic perch upon which to survey the surrounding mountains and valley.
Visitors can find countless B&Bs or rustic lodges, tucked away down winding roads, or up into the mountains. Many enjoy watching baseball with the Forest City Owls, playing with their kids at KidSenses, or learning about history during a trip to the Bechtler House & Mint Site.
For some, the scenery is a familiar reminder of childhood. “Since the late sixties, my family has had a cabin on Lake Lure and I grew up spending weekends and vacations here,” Elizabeth Yountz explains. Now that they are retired, she and her husband, Eddy, divide their time between their home at Oak Island, North Carolina, and their new home near Lake Lure.
Part of what keeps folks busy here is the entertainment, found at the fabulous Foundation Performing Arts and Conference Center. The Foundation hosts professional touring companies, and welcomes comedy, dance, Broadway and children’s events to Rutherford County.
The Cherry Bounce Trail, a marked auto tour of the county’s history, is also a “don’t miss” experience. The Trail features visits to Revolutionary and Civil War sites, as well as what is known as the possible birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. Maps are available at the welcome centers in Lake Lure or Rutherfordton.
Bill and Barbara Ashman have lived in the area for many years and are property owners at Rumbling Bald Resort. “We looked all over, but we kept making time to come back to Lake Lure,” he said.
“We have a pontoon, often called the "old folks’ party boat," Mrs. Ashman laughs, “and we love riding around and watching some of the most beautiful sunsets from the middle of the lake.” The size of Lake Lure is also a plus for them. “No cigarette boats and loud jet skis,” she adds. “One of the many advantages of living on Lake Lure and at Rumbling Bald Resort is the friendliness of everyone you meet.” They have favorite restaurants and have adapted to the slightly rural lifestyle.
“We have an open door policy for visiting so as a result we’re completely booked in the summer.”
There’s a wealth of pleasure tucked away here ... from wilderness hiking trails and the broad vistas of Chimney Rock State Park to equestrian activities, antiques, art and garden clubs to community theater and concerts, to great fishing and boating and championship golf.
The Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority and Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce offer free customized retirement planning packets and the opportunity to “Have the time of your life.” In other words, enjoy the area from the comfort of your car or boat, or take the plunge and explore this beautiful area on foot, by bike, or perhaps kayak.
Whatever you decide to do, Lake Lure and the Blue Ridge Foothills are sure to satisfy your need for adventure and relaxation.
Share this article: