A place of Adventure
While families and friends savor in the pristine waters and shorelines of Lake Norman throughout the beautiful summer months of the south, many fail to realize exactly how the little piece of paradise came to be. Just before 1963, the lake itself only existed within the imaginations of those working for Duke Power as a source of fresh water and flood control. Never would they have believed that over 50 years later the project would become a statewide destination location.
The dam that created Lake Norman was strategically placed where the Catawba and Santee-Cooper Rivers join in South Carolina and was the final and largest damming project on the Catawba. What is now so massive it is known as the “inland sea” once started as a mere puddle that slowly, and then quite rapidly, swallowed farms, buildings, churches and roadways. It was predicted that the lake would reach full pond in 1964, but after heavy spring rains the lake was filled by mid-July of ‘63.
From that point on, Lake Norman and its four surrounding counties – Mecklenburg, Iredell, Catawba, and Lincoln – began to boom and haven’t ceased since. People from all over the Charlotte area poured into the lake to build piers and lease waterfront lots, and business owners opened shop on the lake to serve the massive amount of people flowing into the newly created Carolina oasis. More than 17,000 people now call Lake Norman home and an even larger number come to visit the waters every year when the weather gets hot.
At that point in time, leisure becomes the name of the game along the 520 miles of shoreline that stretch throughout the towns of Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville. Everywhere you look, natives and tourists alike can be seen partaking in a variety of land and water activities. From shopping to golfing, all the way to fishing and wakesurfing, the options to unwind and have fun with friends and family are seemingly endless. Cultural and community events are a constant as well, so no matter what your preference may be, you will surely find something incredible to do.
The action surely doesn’t stop there though, as hiking trails and greenways can be explored by bike or foot throughout the entirety of the region. Whether you’re looking for an easy, relaxing walk in the park or a challenging but fun hike, there is a trail for you. Lake Norman State Park extends a diverse collection of trails, from the 0.8-mile Alder Trail to the 30.5-mile Itsui Trail. Regardless of choice, you will be fully immersed in the beauty of Lake Norman and the quaint towns that call its shorelines home.
Upon completing your woodland adventures, you’ll be sure to have worked up a mighty appetite. Luckily, deliciously unique food can be enjoyed at any time of the day, making the dining scene just another bonus to the beautiful areas surrounding the lake. Whether you’re in the mood for a meal with a waterfront view, local craft beer, sweet treats or a place you can eat with your pooch, you can find it around Lake Norman. The essence of southern charm encapsulates the local restaurants and breweries that scatter the shoreline and mainland, and each establishment strives to provide exceptional fresh and local menus.
Speaking of great food, Lake Norman’s surrounding towns contain several notable farmers markets where you may purchase produce and product from local farmers and artisans. At Davidson’s Farmers Market, you will find yourself surrounded by vendors such as King of Pops, Coldwater Creek Farms, Essential Soap Co., and Your Mom’s Donuts, just to name a few. Josh’s Farmers Market in Mooresville has all the fresh produce needed to whip up a healthy meal, but also has Nana’s pies to cater to that sweet tooth as well.
The restaurants, farmers markets, and outdoor activities are proof that Lake Norman has surely come a long way since it’s humble beginnings during the early months of 1963. From a trickling of water to a booming destination location, it’s no wonder why the area is so intriguing to those who live there and those who come to visit from near and far. Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville each offer a unique experience to anyone who enters into the town lines, and each are memorable in far more ways than one.