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Dirty Dancing | Lake Lure, NC

Lake Lure - Dirty Dancing

Photo credit: Lake Lure & the Blue Ridge Foothills |

The Time of our Lives

Dirty Dancing is all around us. Twenty-three years after the coming-of-age movie that touched our hearts and got us moving (and dreaming of being twirled around in Patrick Swayze’s fabulous arms), we still pull out the DVD and get Baby out of that corner.

Patrick has passed away after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Jennifer Grey, aka Baby, has surfaced on Dancing with the Stars. And all around Lake Lure, visitors can find remnants of that heartwarming story.

So why not plan a Dirty Dancing weekend getaway that showcases both the movie and the picturesque area where it was filmed?

There are lots of great hotels and inns, and the Esmeralda Inn houses the film’s original dance floor in their lobby. Rumbling Bald resort is another possibility. Its film connection is on the 16th hole of the golf course, where Baby asked her father for money.

Firefly Cove Development is the original location for some of the most famous movie scenes such as “the lift” practice, the white bridge where Baby practiced her dance moves and the rock steps where Baby dances.

There are still plenty of folks in the area who remember the filming of the movie, and some who were extras.

Wow factor: Visit in the fall when the foliage is magnificent. In fact, any season has its charms in this beautiful, temperate part of Western North Carolina. And don’t stop with Dirty Dancing. Visit Chimney Rock, take a boat tour around the lake, stop in at the small towns in the area.

Hint: will help. Or call: 800.849.5998. Bring comfortable shoes, a light sweater for evenings and plan to have the time of your life!

Chimney Rock State Park | Lake Lure/Rutherford County, NC

Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock
Photo Credit: Chuck Hill Photography

You’ve seen images of Chimney Rock, but if you’ve never walked the trails and thrilled at the 75-mile panoramic views of Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge, put this adventure on your short list. At 535 million years old, the monolith for which the park is named has seen civilization creeping in. However, around the Rock, much of the scenery is, if anything, even more beautiful.

Lake Lure is manmade, of course, but seems perfectly situated in the shadow of the mountains. The climate is a delight, depending on your preferred season. Spring-green, Summer-lush, Fall-colorful, and Winter-best views of the year. The Skyline Trail goes to the highest peak in the Park, Exclamation Point. Hickory Nut Falls trail ends at the bottom of a 404-foot waterfall, second highest of its kind east of the Mississippi River. The Four Seasons trail lives up to its name, and the Great Woodland Adventure showcases 12 Discovery Stations with locally made sculptures.

Of course, the Outcroppings trail climbs 26 stories of stairs to the Chimney. That’s where you can climb the last of the steps and enjoy the view.

WOW Factor: The views, of course, but add to that the sheer adventure of wandering the path with friends and family, plus your faithful canine companion (leashed and current on vaccinations; see guidelines). This is beautiful territory and worth seeing.

Hint: Forget the flip flops – wear good walking shoes, and stay hydrated. Check out the restroom facilities, and bring a camera. Picnics are fun, and remember to leave nothing behind but your smiles and laughter. Dress in layers and bring a rain jacket. Bring the baby, but forget the stroller. Instead, rent a kid carrier backpack for the day. And, finally, check for the naturalist niche series, once a month from March through December, when you can wander with an expert.

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