Lake Lure is a tiny town with a pretty recreational lake nestled in the mountains less than an hour from Asheville. There’s not much to the town that isn’t lake-related, so in the off-season, it’s a quiet place. Neighboring village Chimney Rock was more happening, at least in November.
We weren’t necessarily in Lake Lure for the lake, though. We were there because Lake Lure was one of the principal filming locations for Dirty Dancing! The staff cabins, the gymnasium where the last dance was performed, and the stairs Baby carried the watermelon up and later practiced her dance moves on were on the grounds of Camp Chimney Rock, the ruins of which are now part of a private gated community–and so off-limits to tourists. In the summer you can get a glimpse of the stairs from the water on a boat tour. I tried to find a viewpoint from roads across the lake from the private neighborhood and it didn’t work and I almost got my truck stuck, so I don’t recommend that. The golf course where Baby asked her father for money is Bald Mountain Golf Course–that still exists, but we didn’t go there. So our Dirty Dancing touristing was a dud, but we did other fun stuff…
We spent the night at The Hitching Post Campground, about an 8-minute drive from the lake, and close to an Ingles grocery store. It was very peaceful there… partially because nobody else was in our section of the park, and partially because there’s no cell service or wifi!
Maybe that’s nice if you’re looking to get off the grid, but J had a work meeting a couple hours after we pulled into town and needed internet. The one coffee shop that was open in the area was too small and didn’t have internet, but the nearby Ingles has a little cafe with a Starbucks and it ended up being perfect.
While J was hanging out at Ingles, Bugsy and I went back into town. We walked along the lake to the Flowering Bridge, a wonderful linear garden built across the former highway bridge and maintained by volunteers.
Drive another couple minutes past the Flowering Bridge and you’ll arrive at Chimney Rock Village, a sweet little strip of shops and restaurants under the towering Chimney Rock. We didn’t go into Chimney Rock State Park, but the entrance is right there in the village.
The State Park has some hiking, but the trails are short and you know how we love crowds, so we opted to hike to a view outside the park. Also: the hike is to a place called Party Rock, so how could we not. The Party Rock hike is under three miles to a bald rock face with big views of Lake Lure, and on our day we saw one other person. The trail itself isn’t anything special, just kind of a steep and rocky walk through the woods, but Party Rock itself is super neat.
As I mentioned in my Asheville post, we planned ahead and brought Chai Pani salads for dinner. SO GOOD. So we just had to find something for lunch.
Since J had his meeting at the grocery store, he just got a sandwich from the deli, which was nothing exciting. That made me feel a little bad because Bugsy and I found a great spot for lunch: Relish Food Truck, ten minutes down the road from the lake. I ordered tacos and we chilled at a picnic table behind the truck to wait for our food, and the cooks took an interest in Bugsy–odd, because she yelled at them every time they appeared in the doorway. One guy really wanted to make friends with her and brought her an entire hamburger patty. She accepted the burger merrily and then returned to barking as soon as she had eaten it. My tacos were super and we both left happy. Relish does breakfast and lunch tacos, sandwiches, and burgers.
When J was done doing business, I picked him up at Ingles and we went directly to Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery. The English-style beer wasn’t our favorite, but the location was: we drank our beers on the deck out back over the Rocky Broad River, with a view of Chimney Rock. And the name of J’s beer was fantastic: Swayze Hazy IPA!
We had an enjoyable stay in Lake Lure, but I feel like we’ve done all we need to do there. Although who knows, maybe we’ll return for the Dirty Dancing festival someday 🙂