CHIMNEY ROCK, N.C. — This summer, Your704 is hitting the road on short trips from Charlotte that you can make on one tank of gas.
Here are a few spots we checked out in Chimney Rock and Lake Lure:
First, we stopped at Chimney Rock State Park where you’ll find incredible views of the Blue Ridge foothills and Lake Lure.
The park features six hiking trails or for easy access, there’s an elevator that will take you to the Sky Lounge gift shop and bridge where Chimney Rock is just a few yards away.
“Part of what makes it special is that there really is something for everyone,” said Olivia Slagle with park management. “If you are an avid hiker you can come and do all 7 miles of trails in a day, like in an afternoon. And that’s a great option, but if you’re a multigenerational family, you can come and take the elevator, enjoy the view, get an ice cream.”
Admission to Chimney Rock State Park cost $17 for adults and $8 for children ages 5-15). Children 4 and younger are admitted free.
For more information, visit chimneyrockpark.com.
After spending time at the park, we grabbed lunch and a cold beer at Chimney Rock Brewing Company, which sits along the Rocky Broad River.
The brewery is family-friendly, including 4-legged furry family members.
“It’s just a special spot,” said co-owner Rick Spruill. “People come (and) they don’t want to leave, and when they leave they can’t wait to come back.”
If you’re lucky you may catch a glimpse of the river otters, bears, or groundhogs that live nearby.
Beers on tap include a blonde ale, an English ale, an IPA and a Scottish spiced ale.
Not far from the brewery, we found Bubba O’Leary’s General Store which sells everything from fudge and jams to cast iron cookware and candy by the pound.
Peter O’Leary and his wife opened the store 31 years ago, and their dog Bubba helps watch over it.
“The scenery, the friendliness of the people, the old-timey buildings here, it really is kind of a step back in time to an old mountain village,” said Peter O’Leary.
Before we wrapped up our daytrip, we stopped at the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. The bridge was set to be torn down, but community members turned it into a garden instead.
The bridge and gardens are free to visit and open 24 hours a day year-round.
“All of our little gardens are themed gardens, so as you walk around there’s anything from a sun country garden to a shade garden, we’ve got a whimsical garden, we’ve got an herb garden,” said volunteer Linda Reandeau. said volunteer Linda Reandeau.
There’s also a “rainbow bridge” area that has close to 200 collars and dog tags on it that people have placed there in honor of pets that have passed.
For more information on the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge go to lakelurefloweringbridge.org.
Another spot where you can soak in the scenery is Lake Lure Beach and Water Park. Visitors can take a swim or float on the water, build sandcastles, or picnic with family and friends. The water park has water slides and water games. There is a cost to enter the beach and water park. Click here for information on admission.
Well known for its role in the hit movie “Dirty Dancing,” Lake Lure also hosts a dance festival each year to commemorate the cult classic. This year’s dance festival is scheduled for Sept. 16. For more information, click here.
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