There is so much about life in my wonderful Lake Norman community that one can only learn after living here. If you’re contemplating a move here, you most likely have gone to the Chamber of Commerce websites and already know about our great weather, proximity to Charlotte, the Blue Ridge Mountains and the beaches. But what is it REALLY like living here? I’ve compiled a list of 10 helpful hints / fun facts that I hope will you give you a glimpse into really living the “lake life.”
- 4 seasons: Yes, we do have 4 distinct seasons but all are mild. Trees have usually finished loosing their leaves by Thanksgiving and by mid April everything is almost completely leafed back out. Our hottest months are July and August. We get about one real snowfall (snow sticks to the ground) each winter and a few hail or ice storms mixed in here and there. We have afternoon thunder and lightning during the warmer months but they are very sporadic. You can be driving along and run into a heavy rain and be back out in the sunshine 10 miles later. Because we are so far inland, hurricanes generally bring tropical rains but little else.
- Farm fresh produce: We still have many wonderful reminders of the days before Lake Norman was created and became so popular. You don’t have to go very far to find the beautiful farming country in addition to the few still lingering around the lake area. Many Lake Norman towns (Huntersville, Davidson) also offer farmer’s markets on most weekends. Be sure to check the town’s local website for dates and times.
- Local jargon:
If you want to fit in, you need to know how to pronounce some very important local names:
- Jetton (As in the street in Cornelius) Je-t- ON;
- Iredell: Eye-er-dell;
- Rowan: Row-Ann
- Appalachian: App(sounds like apple)- a- latch-a. (the most mispronounced word throughout the US!)
- Sounds of the lake: Unless you live on the main channel, in the boating months you most likely will have just the occasional sounds of a boat going by or the screams of delight of children water skiing or riding in one of the amazing variety of tubes and clever things pulled by boats.
- Variety of people: About 70% of those of us lucky enough to live around Lake Norman are “transplants” from other states. Everywhere you go you will hear a great variety of accents. Even the Southern accents vary tremendously depending on where they are from originally and how long they have lived here.
- Japanese Beetles. Usually towards the end of May you will start to see an iridescent flying bug sitting on your rose bushes, crepe myrtles and other tender flowering plant. Within a week they will become a force to reckoned with, particularly if you have young plants. They eat the plants and flowers leaving just the lacy veins. Do not get the bags that are meant to capture them as they actually attract more to your garden. Several bug sprays are popular but we find hand picking them off of our plants to be more environmentally friendly along with an application of a systemic on the vulnerable plants in March.
- Boatslips are scarce on Lake Norman, so try to get one with your house. Duke Energy oversees the lake and they are making boatslip and dock regulations more restrictive. If you plan on having a boat, try to buy a home with a deeded boatslip if you aren’t buying a waterfront home. There are few public marinas and from what I understand no more permits for multiple dock marinas are going to be allowed in all of Lake Norman.
- Take the time to get to know the locals. Most people estimate that 75% of the current residents are what are termed “transplants”. We have come from all over the country to enjoy life here. Many folks around the lake never take the time to get to know the old-timers and locals which is truly a shame. I have met so many wonderful, native residents who have shared what it was like watching the lake fill up in the 1960’s and their sleepy cotton and tobacco towns scattered along the railroad increase in population ten-fold since the completion of the I-77.
- Festivals! It you want to experience the true, small-town and southern culture, you need go no further than your local town festivals. The Lake Norman Festival (Now called Race City Festival) is held every May in Mooresville. Davidson has a wonderful 3-evening Christmas Festival and you will find many around the Lake area on July 4th. What they all have in common is decadent food (funnel cakes, giant turkey legs, fresh lemonade, barbecue, Kettle Corn), arts and crafts, music and entertainment
- Red clay: Our natural soil here is a deep red clay. If you buy a home with a mature garden you may not even see it but if you have a good rain, don’t be surprised if you track some red footprints into the house. If not amended with mulch, our red clay becomes rock hard when it is dry. If you have any planting to do, I would plan it for after a good rainfall.