A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

There’s nothing like an escape to the Blue Ridge Mountains with longtime friends. Beneath granite cliffs on the north shore of Lake Lure, Rumbling Bald Resort is the perfect place

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

There’s nothing like an escape to the Blue Ridge Mountains with longtime friends. Beneath granite cliffs on the north shore of Lake Lure, Rumbling Bald Resort is the perfect place

A Mountain Getaway with Lifelong Friends

There’s nothing like an escape to the Blue Ridge Mountains with longtime friends. Beneath granite cliffs on the north shore of Lake Lure, Rumbling Bald Resort is the perfect place to take a vacation from the day-to-day grind.

One hour from Asheville, two hours from Charlotte, and four hours from Raleigh and Atlanta, the resort is easy to get to, and with summer temperatures averaging 75 degrees, it’s a cool place to retreat to when other parts of the South are sweltering. Whether you and your friends are looking for new adventures or just hoping to relax — or a little of both — Rumbling Bald has you covered.

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Take a boat tour

Scenic lake cruises on covered boats leave from the cabana multiple times each day. As you motor over the water, you’ll learn the natural and cultural history of the area and visit landmarks that appear in Dirty Dancing, filmed on Lake Lure in the late 1980s. Lunchtime cruises also make an hour-long stop at a lakeside restaurant, while late-afternoon wine cruises feature a dockside tasting, a glass of wine, and a charcuterie platter to go. Wine is available for purchase on the boat.

Go fishing or explore by kayak

With the cool waters of the Rocky Broad River flowing in, Lake Lure is an ideal place for both stream and lake fishing. Throw out a line for the chance to catch rainbow trout, brown trout, large-mouth bass, and bluegill. Or rent a kayak and explore Lake Lure’s 24 miles of shoreline.

Unwind at the spa

Take a break from more active pursuits for a little pampering. The Rumbling Bald Spa and Salon offers Swedish, deep-tissue, and hot-stone massages; manicures and pedicures; facials; body scrubs; and more.

Tour area wineries

Raise a glass (or several!) on an all-day wine tour that leaves from the resort and transports you between four nearby wineries — with lunch included.

Explore Chimney Rock Village

Looking for a day trip? Composed of historic, Old West-style buildings, the village of Chimney Rock is less than half an hour from the resort. Situated along the rushing Rocky Broad River, the little town features inns, cafés, ice cream stands, and gift shops, as well as Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery. Sip craft beer on the sunny deck over the river before venturing onto the River Walk trail for a closer look.

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Hike the trail system in Buffalo Creek

West Lake Drive, a main road through the resort, dead-ends into the 1,500-acre Buffalo Creek Park, which offers miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking. Catch up with your friends as you ramble through hardwood forests, passing granite boulder fields and rhododendron-lined creeks.

Pack a backpack and spend hours strolling through nature. photograph by Rumbling Bald Resort

Tee up on a championship golf course

Both of the golf courses on Rumbling Bald’s property, Bald Mountain and Apple Valley, are situated on rolling terrain with mountain views and enjoy Golf Digest four-star ratings, so you’ll feel both captivated and challenged by a day on the links.

Spend a weekend on the green with friends. photograph by Rumbling Bald Resort

Canoe the lake, then relax on a white-sand beach

Rent a canoe from the North Shore Beach Cabana, the resort’s lakeside headquarters, and push off into the water to explore, pausing mid-journey to enjoy a swim and a picnic lunch on the boat. When you’re done, relax on the white sand of the resort’s private beach. 

Day-trip to a whiskey distillery

The family-owned Blue Ridge Distilling Company in Rutherford County produces single-malt Defiant Whisky from just three ingredients: malted barley, cultured yeast, and pure water from the aquifer underneath the distillery. Tour the distilling operation, taste the smooth spirit — and take a little home for later. 

Dine by the lake

The large windows and covered patio at Legends on the Lake sports bar offer an excellent view of Lake Lure. In addition to the view — and flat-screen TVs, pool tables, arcade games, and Wednesday trivia nights — you can enjoy chef-inspired burgers, salads, and handmade pizzas.

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See Lake Lure from a different perspective

Explore Chimney Rock State Park, just 30 minutes from the resort, and tackle paths ranging from the 0.6-mile Exclamation Point Trail to the 2.2-mile Skyline Trail. And, of course, take in the 75-mile view from the top of the 315-foot-tall granite outcropping. On your way back, stop at Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery — right next to the entrance to the park — for a craft brew by the river.

Saddle up for horseback riding

Riverside Riding Stables, the closest stable to the resort, offers a one-hour trail ride or a two-hour river ride (be prepared to get wet!). And Cedar Creek Riding Stables in Lake Lure offers one- to two-hour trail rides through the forest and across creeks lined with laurels.

Take a scenic ride on horseback around Lake Lure. photograph by Rumbling Bald Resort

Get your adrenaline pumping on a zip-line adventure

Fly through the lush green forest canopy on a zip-line tour and feel the exhilaration as you swoop from tree to tree. Just try not to make fun of your nervous friends too much.

Cruise the lake on a pontoon
Enjoy a resort-guided scenic cruise on Lake Lure, or captain a boat that holds up to 10 and motor out onto the lake yourselves to explore. Don’t forget the drinks and snacks!

Find your balance on a stand-up paddleboard

Rent a stand-up paddleboard (or SUP) from the cabana and explore the lake, but be sure to pause during your adventure to lounge and relax or take a dip.

This story was published on May 17, 2019

Christina Cooke

Christina Cooke is a freelance writer and editor living in Durham. She teaches journalism and nonfiction writing in the documentary studies programs at Duke University and Lewis & Clark College. Find more of her archived stories here.