Lake Lure, North Carolina

Lake Lure, NCIn the stillness of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina lies the tiny town of Lake Lure, just 13 square miles in size and with a permanent population of less than 1,500. This number swells to more than 10,000 during the summer, when the second-home crowd arrives, drawn to the small-town atmosphere and Lake Lure itself, which National Geographic called “one of the most beautiful man-made lakes in the world.”

Development is booming in and around the town of Lake Lure and its namesake lake, a 720-acre sparkling man-made wonder with 21 miles of shoreline surrounded by mountains. Set in the heart of the Hickory Nut Gorge, 25 miles east of Asheville, the area is especially appealing to residents of Charlotte, Florida and South Carolina looking for second homes and vacation homes. Its proximity to Atlanta and Charlotte adds to the enormous popularity of this resort area, where real estate values have increased by 21 percent in the last five years.


…the town of Lake Lure and its namesake lake,
a 720-acre sparkling
man-made wonder with
21 miles of shoreline
surrounded by mountains.

Missouri physician Dr. Lucius B. Morse came here in 1902, looking for a climate that would help cure his tuberculosis. His dream was to establish a resort community with four golf courses, a yacht club, fairgrounds, a racetrack, an amusement park and an airport. He purchased 400 acres for $5,000 and created what is known today as Chimney Rock Park. The site, with its 500-million-year-old monolithic rock, dramatic scenery and Hickory Nut Falls, had been a popular tourist attraction for a century, and Morse made it even better. He bought another 8,000 acres over the years and built a dam at the Rocky Broad River in 1926, forming Lake Lure, three large bays, a seven-acre island and many small inlets.

Carole McKay, owner of Premier Properties, Lake Country Real Estate, has been selling real estate in the area since 1971.

“When I first moved to the area, it was a sleepy little town,” she says. “It still is, but the lure of the lake and the dramatic scenery are bringing in buyers and investors. More and more businesses are starting up to service the area, and they will ultimately change the complexion of the area.”

While Dr. Morse’s dream did not survive the Great Depression, Lake Lure and Chimney Rock did, and their small-town quality of life remains unchanged.