Having lived at Lake Norman since 2007 – first in Mooresville and for the past year in Davidson – I’ve gotten to know the area quite well.
The area is vibrant, diverse and quirky, and I’m so glad that my family and I are a part of it, especially now that we have a 4-year-old daughter. But as much as I’ve embraced Lake Norman as home, I was a bit late in discovering all its charms.
I moved to Charlotte in the early ’80s, just as Lake Norman was really starting to grow and change. I always knew about the lake, but wondered why anyone would live there, so far from all the action and amenities in Charlotte.
That attitude changed when I got married and started looking for a place to start a family – a place with affordable homes, good schools, and plenty of modern conveniences. By then, Lake Norman had come to fit that bill, and the area’s population was skyrocketing.
We first settled in a bungalow about a block away from historic downtown Mooresville, and immediately sensed a subtle but distinct shift in daily life. While Lake Norman certainly has its share of congestion and stressors, the pace feels less hurried and more welcoming.
That vibe was evident strolling through our neighborhood as families sitting on their front porches waved or stopped to chat. It was also evident while visiting the area’s many restaurants, shops and bars where – and I think this is one of the most interesting aspects of Lake Norman – you encounter everyone from millionaires with lakefront homes to blue-collar guys driving old pick-up trucks.
I love that mix of people, which I think is a hallmark of a desirable community.
Over the years, I’ve explored pretty much every nook and cranny of Lake Norman, from fast-growing Huntersville, situated only 15 miles from uptown Charlotte, to more rural towns to the north, like Troutman and Statesville, as well as communities on the quieter west side of the lake, such as Denver.
Each place has its own unique appeal, but they’re all connected via the state’s largest manmade lake, a scenic, 32,475-acre playground ideal for boating, fishing, and swimming.
And now that I’m a father, I see Lake Norman in a whole new way. I’m more grateful for the many public parks, such as Jetton Park and Lake Norman State Park, where we can explore nature and play in the woods. I’m more thankful for great community events, like the area’s farmers markets and festivals, where we can connect with friends and neighbors and dance in the streets.
I also love that I live in a neighborhood where we can walk or ride bikes to shops, restaurants, and wonderful local resources like the YMCA, all of which make us feel that much more a part of the community.
It’s been 50 years since Duke Energy created the lake as part of the construction of Cowans Ford Dam. It will be exciting to see what’s in store for the area over the next 50 years.
Expansive new mixed-use developments like Langtree at the Lake will attract more people and opportunities and, yes, more congestion. But further growth will add yet another dimension to Lake Norman’s character and way of life, and I’m glad I’m going to be here to experience it.
Sam is the editor of Lake Norman Magazine.
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