Morganton Heights – Great Stores, Great Choices

Morganton NC shopping

Spring is right around the corner near the gated communities near Asheville. It’s time to dust off the hiking gear, plant beautiful new flowers, and take the pooch for a walk in warm, comfortable weather. The Morganton Heights shopping center is the perfect place to upgrade your outdoor equipment, build your summer wardrobe, have a delicious meal at the some of the best Morganton NC restaurants. Work up an appetite on the trails, then stop at HWY 55 for a hearty burger and fries. After a long walk around the neighborhood, take your canine to PetSmart to get groomed and pampered for an affordable price. With over 35 restaurants and retail stores, Morganton Heights has everything you need to get your spring started right.


  • El Portal – The best Mexican food in the foothills. All of their dishes are meticulously prepared with an authentic, yet mild flavor. Enjoy $2.00 shots and tacos on Taco & Tequila Tuesday!
  • HWY 55 – A fresh All-American diner experience with never-frozen burgers and frozen custard made in-house every day. The retro-themed chain has a 1950s soda-fountain look and every meal is served with a smile.
  • China King Buffet – One of the most unique dining experiences in Morganton. Patrons can enjoy sushi, hibachi, Asian, and American cuisine all in one big All You Can Eat buffet.
  • Di’Lishi Frozen Yogurt Bar – A cutting edge, fully-interactive yogurt bar where customers can creat their own tasty creations from ten different frozen yogurts and over sixty toppings ranging from fresh fruits to candies and chocolates. If you’re looking for a healthy after-dinner snack or something to satisfy your sweet tooth, Di’Lishi is the place for you.

Health and Personal Care

  • Sally Beauty –The largest retailer of professional beauty supplies in the world. Looking to save a little dough by dying your hair or doing your nails at home? Sally Beauty carries the biggest brand names in beauty products and offers exceptional benefits for members.
  • GNC – More than just a vitamin store. GNC has everything for your nutrition needs, including supplements, herbs, health food, protein bars, and more.
  • Great Clips – A casual salon offering haircuts for adults & kids along with professional styling products for sale. Visit the friendly staff at Morganton Heights for an affordable haircut today.

Clothing and Accessories 

  • Kay Jewelers – The #1 specialty jewelry brand in the United States featuring engagement rings, timepieces, and designer collections. They offer services including watch & jewelry repair, resizing, diamond upgrades & trade-ins, and jewelry cleaning & inspection.
  • Shoe Show – The latest in brand-name footwear and fashion. Shop women’s shoes, men’s shoes, kids’ shoes, boots, heels, sandals, handbags, and more.
  • TJ Maxx – The best place to save on style. From brand-name apparel and shoes to accessories, makeup, and more – TJ Maxx has it all, and at a discounted price so you can wear the latest trends without breaking your budget.

Home Improvements

  • Walmart Supercenter – America’s favorite superstore. Save on indoor and patio furniture, artwork and frames, and tools to get your spring garden in the best shape possible.
  • Mattress Firm – Great service for great sleep. Choose from a wide array of own-brand spring, memory foam, and adjustable mattresses. After you make your purchase, Mattress Firm will deliver your new bed right to your door and set it up free of charge.

Specialties Stores

  • Dick’s Sporting Goods – Find top brands, gear, and great deals for your sport. Dick’s carries all the equipment you need for everything from North Carolina trout fishing to hiking, swimming, and even golf.
  • Jo Ann Fabrics – The largest assortment of fabric, sewing, quilting, knitting, crochet, jewelry, and other crafts under one roof. Stock up on scrapbooking materials and capture those unforgettable family memories. Have a craft night with friends and make some Do-It-Yourself décor.
  • PetSmart – More than just a pet supply store. PetSmart offers quality products and accessories for a healthier, happier pet. Take your dog or cat to one of their academy-trained, safety-certified groomers for a light trim, a relaxing bath, or a deep moisturizing regimen for silkier fur.

Tucked away in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Morganton is a fun place that is full of history. Morganton was named after Brigadier General Daniel Morgan, a hero of the American Revolutionary war. The city was first named Morgansborough and changed to Morgantown before it finally became Morganton. Archaeologists discovered a historic Native American town known as Joara less than ten miles from downtown Morganton, occupied from 1400-1600 A.D. Morganton is also the setting of Master of the World, of the last novels written by French science fiction writer Jules Verne. The book describes Morganton as Verne saw it in the late 19th century.

Morganton Heights is one of the many fun places to visit in Morganton North Carolina. Dine, shop, and treat yourself to the perfect spring evening. If you’re looking for brand names at an affordable price, look no further than Morganton Heights. 

Morganton is just a twenty-minute drive from The Coves Mountain River Club. We are a vibrant mountain community who provide our residents with the perfect balance between rustic comfort and endless activities set against a picturesque landscape. We know our homegrown paradise is one of the best gated communities near Asheville you find. Why not come take a tour?

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.

Tags: Morganton | Shopping & Antique Hunting

Christmas Time in Morganton North Carolina

things to do in Morganton North Carolina

The “old-fashioned” Christmas has been an advertising staple for many years, evoking memories of how we celebrated the season in small-town America.  It’s a powerful image – one that stirs a longing inside us for those simpler times and traditions so treasured by our parents and grandparents.

In the mountain towns in North Carolina, you might still see a father and son bringing home a freshly-cut tree, smell the pies baking in the kitchen or hear the joyous laughter of the young ones enjoying their first hayride.  And one of the things to do in Morganton North Carolina, when December comes around and the Christmas lights go up and the hearts are filled with holiday spirit, is to bring the whole family downtown to watch the parade.

The Downtown Morganton Christmas Parade is December 15th this year, and more than 75 floats, marching bands and characters will be there once again to delight young and old alike. 

When you purchase real estate in Lenoir North Carolina, such as at the Coves Mountain River Club, you soon find yourself drawn to these local events.  You see them all around you, and you realize this is what you were missing.  This is what was lost when your life became so complicated.  This is why you’re here – to recapture the simple pleasures.

Things to do in Morganton North Carolina, when it’s Christmas time include a horse-and-carriage ride through the streets of downtown, bundled up against the chill, looking up in wonder at the beauty of the clear night sky and the lights and decorations.  People line up on West Union street across from Benjamin’s and Libba’s when the sun goes down, because it’s first-come, first-served and no one wants to miss out.

Sampson’s the white horse, and Belle is brown, and you’ll want to get close and pet them just because you can.  These carriage rides are a social event, like so many things in the mountain towns in North Carolina.  People come together, sharing the moments, making the memories they’ll treasure for years to come.

Of course “Downtown Santa” will be there on the weekends, bringing his “naughty and nice” list up to date and taking pictures with the children who look forward so much to his annual visit.

Christmas in the North Carolina foothills is much as it used to be.  People here still treasure quiet family moments.  Friends gather, thankful for another year together in this very special place.  Among such natural splendor, you can’t help being a bit humbled.   You learn the importance of preserving and passing on those things in life that really matter.  Traditions matter.  Parades and carriage rides and the wide-eyed innocents sitting on Santa’s lap…they all matter a great deal.

And so we discover these treasures we thought were long lost, and we understand why real estate in Lenoir North Carolina, is more than just property.  It’s a trip back in time, to those days when life was simple – yet so much more fulfilling.

Living at The Coves Mountain River Club, you’re surrounded by these treasures.  Travel a short distance in any direction, and you’ll find yourself deeply immersed in the area’s culture.  There’s so much to do and see here!

At The Coves, you can be as active as you like.  There’s a wealth of opportunities for anyone who loves outdoor activities, and our great mild weather allows you to enjoy them all year long  Hiking, biking, boating, swimming, fishing, golf, cycling and so much more…whatever your pleasure, it’s all available to you and at home or only a short drive away.

Whether you come for the fall foliage colors or the famous North Carolina trout fishing or just to experience Christmas where it’s still much like it was in days gone by, plan to visit The Coves Mountain River Club and see why so many people say buying a home in the North Carolina foothills is the best decision they ever made.

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.

Tags: Festivals | Morganton

Silver Fork Vineyard – A Sparkling Gem in the Foothills NC

Silver Fork Vineyard and Winery

On your list of things to do in Morganton, NC, make sure to highlight a visit to Silver Fork Vineyard and Winery about 40 minutes from The Coves Mountain River Club. With pleasant surprises like this popping up around every corner, it’s no wonder the mountain towns in North Carolina draw people from all over the world to our scenic cradle of Americana.

The Silver Fork boutique vineyard in the foothills of the South Mountains, produces nine old world varietals on more than five acres of rolling landscape.  The wines are Bordeaux-style, and the setting is nothing short of majestic. Soon the mountains will be ablaze of color adding to the vineyard’s ambience.

When the owners were first looking for Western North Carolina land for sale several years ago and came upon this spot, where Silver Creek and White Fork Creek intersect, they were seeking a new direction for their lives.  Something about the location and the tranquil beauty moved them so deeply that they quit their careers in New Jersey and pull up stakes to come here and learn all there is to know about winemaking.

Soon, Silver Fork Winery became a favorite site for weddings, picnics and business meetings. Tours are popular, of course, and wine tastings on the patio are a regular feature.  Silver Fork wines are available for purchase by the glass, bottle and case.

Co-owner Jennifer Foulides says they meet people who sample their wine and comment that it “doesn’t taste like a Napa Cab”.   It could be manipulated in the winery to mimic a California cabernet but would then lose its North Carolina characteristics.  The range of annual rainfall allows for dry farming, and vintners have the additional advantages of 1,200 feet of elevation, southern-facing slopes and great drainage. There are no cold nights here to increase tannin levels, so Silver Fork’s cabernet is better as a wine to pair with food.

Larry Kehoe, who sold them the property, was well-known as a pioneer in North Carolina viticulture.  His vineyard dated back to 1992, and he was happy to help them begin the journey of learning and experimentation that led them to today’s level of success.

Silver Fork Winery hosts live music, Movies Under The Stars and other exciting events on a regular basis.  Check their web site for more details ( or call (347) 739-2052.  You’ll even find your favorite food truck there on Saturday and Sunday.  If you’re looking for fun things to do in Morganton NC, make your way to 5000 Patton Road in Morganton.

We at The Coves Mountain River Club have a special affinity for Silver Fork.  Some of our residents make a visit there part of their annual wine tours in the mountain towns in North Carolina during the fall harvest season.  And our friend Chef Corey Hooks, a local celebrity chef, pairs their wines with locally grown food during the monthly cooking demonstrations at our Pisgah Mountain Lodge.

If you’re exploring Western North Carolina land for sale, we offer one of the best places in the state to retire.  Our location in Lenoir is just a short drive from a multitude of exciting adventures, from outdoor activities to entertainment to local culture and traditions. Many of our residents prefer to stay in Lenoir and enjoy the small town friendliness. Downtown Lenoir has a number of family-owned restaurants, home decor boutiques, breweries and one of the country’s largest displays of public art sculptures.

Come by and meet our first Artist-In-Residence, colorful Charlie Frye.  You’ll always find him in overalls covered in paint from the day’s creativity. He’s was commissioned to paint two quilt blocks on our Round Mountain Ranch barn and did a beautiful job! We’re hoping they’ll become part of the Quilt Block Trail of North Carolina, a collection of more than 200 such artworks across the mountains.  Charlie’s frequently at the lodge talk and teaching about art, what inspires him and showcasing a private art exhibit to property owners.

There’s always something to enjoy at The Coves Mountain River Club. From our guest lecture series, to 39 miles of hiking trails in Western NC with its breathtaking views and elevations and the limitless opportunities for outdoor activities of all kinds. Image every day having the chance to close your eyes, breath in fresh mountain air and realize you’ve finally found exactly the right place to live life to its fullest.

When you’re in the Lenoir area, come on by and take a tour.  We’ll have a glass of wine waiting for you and a chair, where you can sit, relax and watch the sun set over the mountains.

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page Complimentary Magazine

Tags: Morganton

Root and Vine in Morganton NC

things to do in Morganton NC

Mountain towns in North Carolina offer all the appeal of living in nature’s splendor without forcing you to give up the opportunities afforded by a more urban existence. You’re never far from shopping, dining, medical care, culture centers, educational opportunities and so much more. So Western North Carolina land for sale has become a wise choice for people seeking the best of both worlds in their retirement years.

Visitors are often delighted to find that there are plenty of things to do in Morganton NC and surrounding areas. When you first visit Morganton‘s popular Root & Vine restaurant, you may be drawn there by the unique menu that perfectly blends the culinary tradition of France with Southern comfort food. Maybe you’ll hear from locals that it’s one of the area’s most popular places to eat. But chances are you won’t know the real story behind Root & Vine and the two remarkable people who brought it to life.

In 2011, Aimee Perez was general manager of a café in Hickory. And Brian Miller worked there as a line cook while he was enrolled in culinary training at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. The fact that they lived on the same street became the basis for conversation at first, but they soon learned they had similar goals and interests. Before long, Aimee and Brian began dating.

A day trip led them to Linville Gorge for swimming, and afterward they stopped in Morganton to eat. Enjoying lunch on a restaurant’s patio, they soon found themselves talking about the place’s untapped potential. There were relatively few tables, but the location at the corner of Union and King streets was ideal, and the ambiance of brick, big trees and plenty of shade was very inviting.

The two had already begun thinking in terms of opening their own restaurant, and when it came down to the details, they found that their visions and ideas were pretty much identical.

Brian was just weeks away from earning his diploma when they decided to go ahead and take the plunge. “I don’t think I would have had the courage to do it without her,” he now says.

First, there was research to be done. The two, armed with a legal pad, spent time on Union Street trying to learn the eating habits of people in Morganton. Was there anything missing – a need that a brand new restaurant could fill?

Around this time, the restaurant they had visited on their way home from Linville Gorge suddenly closed. Sensing that the time was right to pursue their dreams, they took over the property. It was a very old building, and Aimee and Brian soon found themselves ripping up old linoleum flooring, smashing wall mirrors and doing everything else necessary to bring it up-to-date. That included investing $60,000 in shoring up the foundation.

Today’s Root & Vine is a far cry from those beginnings. In fact, now it ranks among the best things to do in Morganton NC. Brian has used his childhood influences – the basic foods of after-church lunches in the South – to create entrees such as six-cheese macaroni and cheese, pork chops with Cheerwine barbecue sauce, seared duck, the iconic iceberg wedge salad, with its grilled lettuce topped with bleu cheese and chunks of smoked pork belly and of course North Carolina mountain trout. Consistent with what he and Aimee learned from their survey of the local populace, they offer a remarkable array of dishes that are uncomplicated yet contemporary.

Root & Vine is open Monday through Saturday at 139 West Union Street in Morganton. Lunch is served from 11:30 to 2:30, and dinner is from 5:00 to 9:30. Reservations are welcome. Call (828) 433-1540.

One of the more desirable mountain towns in North Carolina is Lenoir, home of The Coves Mountain River Club. With its setting on more than five miles of frontage of the Johns River near Wilson Creek, The Coves stands out as a uniquely beautiful place to live. Anyone considering the purchase of Western North Carolina land for sale should definitely take note of the many amenities at The Coves Mountain River Club.

Stop by, kick back with a free glass of wine and watch the sun set behind the mountains. This is life in the Western North Carolina foothills. This is yours to enjoy…at The Coves Mountain River Club.

Call us directly at 828.754.0700 to schedule a tour.

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84-page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide, which gives you more information about living in the foothills of North Carolina.

Tags: Morganton | Restaurants & Breweries

The Restaurant Scene in the Foothills NC

Restaurants in the Foothills NC

If you’re itching to escape on an idyllic mountainside getaway that’s packed with trendy restaurants, art galleries, craft shops, microbreweries, and local watering holes, look no further than Lenoir and Morganton, two of our favorite mountain towns in NC. Peaceful and pristine, yet bustling with enough activities to satisfy mind, body, and soul, these western North Carolina towns not only make for fantastic getaways in the cozy foothills of the Blue Ridge, they’re two of the best retirement places in NC.

Retirement Living magazine recently named Morganton the #1 town in the Carolinas for retirement, citing its downtown area as a primary reason for its top-of-the-list ranking. ranked Morganton #5 for retirement for all of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, giving special kudos to its “vibrant downtown” among its many other features.

We agree! Vibrant is the perfect way to describe the always-on, event-packed artsy downtown Morganton scene. But our favorite reason to hit the streets around Union Square in Morganton are the dining options. From upscale elegant to cozy café, from inside intimate to sidewalk friendly, there’s a restaurant to suit all tastes.

Three of the most popular places to dine in Morganton are:

     Root & Vine(139 West Union Street, Morganton, NC)
Classical French cuisine meets traditional Southern fare for a unique casual dining experience. Offering both indoor and outdoor (covered patio) seating, this restaurant is tucked inside an historic 1901 building, but the vibe is modern and the ingredients are locally sourced and fresh. The menu ranges from traditional sandwiches and burgers to more exotic fare, such as wood-grilled Chilean salmon served with cucumber-tomato salad, Middle Eastern couscous, and lemon tahini or sautéed tiger prawns, chicken, and mussels served with Spanish chorizo, roasted sweet peppers, sugar snap peas, tomatoes and saffron rice. Chef Brian Miller uses fresh ingredients from nearby Bluebird Muddy Creek, Hoffman Heritage, and Heirloom farms. And there’s a full bar, featuring a long list of unique signature cocktails, plus more than 50 beers and 100 wines to choose from.

     Wisteria(108 East Meeting Street, Morganton, NC)
Deep in the heart of historic downtown Morganton, there’s a southern gastropub called Wisteria with a farm-to-table menu that changes with the seasons. By using locally-grown, sustainable ingredients, this hometown favorite keeps things fresh. And by sticking with “distinctive meals based on traditional Southern dishes,” they keep things real. Their dinner menu appeals to all appetites by offering snacks, smalls, and suppers. Got a snack-size appetite? Try the boiled-peanut hummus, the chicken liver moose, or the house pickle plate. If you’re bringing a supper-size appetite, there’s a range of robust options, including crispy pork belly ramen, the Heritage Farms pork shoulder steak, and the Russell Family Farms grass-fed beef burger. And there’s plenty to keep the vegetarians in your party happy, including the Hoppin’ John veggie burger served with hand-cut fries, a gooey four-cheese macaroni au gratin, and lots of fresh salads. When it comes to libations, this place has a mile-long list of microbrews, plus wines, classic cocktails, modern cocktails, and whiskey flights. Wisteria also has one of the most popular brunch menus in the area. Ready for some retro? Stop by on Thursdays at 9:00pm for Vinyl Record Night.

     Grind Café(136 W Union St, Morganton, NC)
Talk about a hip atmosphere! This place is cooler than cool, not to mention friendly, warm, and artsy. People come for the specialty coffees, smoothies, and frappes, the to-die-for pastries, and the live music events. But they stay for the tasty tapas, the distinctive breakfast, lunch and dinner items, and the fine assortment of craft brews and wines. If you’re a sandwich aficionado, this is definitely the place for you. This popular downtown coffee shop not only serves fresh deli sandwiches and wraps using fresh breads and locally sourced ingredients, there’s also a variety of hot and grilled options, including Burke Turkey Jack, Remarkable Reuben, Muffuletta (a New Orleans classic), Blue Ridge Roast Beef, Pig in the Grass, and Mountaineer Dogs.

Now let’s talk about Lenoir. highly recommends  NC mountain communities like Lenoir as one of the best places to visit and retire. Its cool summers and mild winters, they say, make this town ideal for year-round outdoor activity. They call Lenoir a place where “art abounds” and there’s “food and drink galore.” They got that right! When it comes to restaurants in WNC, Lenoir leads the way with restaurants that range from quaint and elegant to casual comfort cuisine. Foodies come from far and wide to dine in this charming town with the motto “where enjoying life is an art form.”

Here are three of our favorite places to dine in Lenoir:

   Bella Torte Bistro & Bakery(128 Main Street NW, Lenoir, NC)
Executive Chef Todd Ritter uses fresh local ingredients to create masterfully designed lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch fare. This is American classic cuisine with big city flair, prepared by a well-traveled chef experienced in a variety of food preparation techniques, including Italian, French, Greek, Indian, Chinese, and Japanese. Perfectly plated dinner items include cioppino and bourbon molasses pork chops, fresh Prince Edward Island mussels, and pan-seared duck breast with roasted potatoes, grilled asparagus and mixed berry glaze. Vegetarians can try the delectable vegetable pasta or the portabella stack with balsamic-glazed grilled portabella, roasted red peppers, spinach, tomato, and asparagus with basil pesto. Lunch specials include beef picadillo crepes with Sriracha crema, crepes au salmon, and spinach-mushroom quiche topped with cheddar pepper jack sauce and served with a side of fresh fruit. Yelp and TripAdvisor reviewers give this “cute” bistro high rankings. Customers swoon over the friendly service, and praise the chef for his attention to detail in preparing rib eye steaks that are “sliced to order and cooked exactly to our liking.” Then there’s the bakery! Bella Torte makes “confectionary art” for all occasions. Their delectable cookies, pastries, and one-of-a-kind custom cakes promise to make your special event “rich in both flavor and design.”

   1841 Café(117 Main Street NW, Lenoir, NC)
If you’re looking for a neighborhood gathering place with live music, craft beer on tap, trivia nights, and a full menu of hearty food Americana-style, this is the café for you. Friends and neighbors are drawn here as much for the atmosphere of camaraderie as for the robust plates at value prices. Beef tips are cooked to perfection with a delicious burgundy gravy, the rosemary pork tenderloin is served atop mushroom risotto with a fresh side salad, and the fried cod fish sandwich is topped with a home-made tartar sauce, fresh lettuce, and tomatoes, and served on a perfectly toasted hoagie. There’s a full variety of beef, chicken, fish, and pasta dishes, and a plenty of hoagies and burgers, including kid-size burgers for the little ones. Come on Wednesday nights for 50-cent wings and half-price beer. And be sure to check their event schedule in advance to find out which nights your favorite local band will be in the house. They fill up fast on live music nights, so be sure to call for reservations.

   Uptown Café & Bakery(104 S. Main Street, Lenoir, NC)
If you’ve ever wanted to break the rules and start with dessert, this café/bakery is the perfect place to do it! Customer reviews call the Uptown a “sweet lovers paradise” with “phenomenal desserts.” One peek through the bakery window tells you all you need to know… this place makes their sweet treats with love! Desserts like caramel apple cheesecake, sea-salted caramel brownies, and pumpkin praline pie garnished with white chocolate and whipped cream are just a taste of what make this award-winning bakery is a local favorite. They’ve been voted “Best Bakery” by the people of Caldwell County for several years running. Customers can’t get enough of the fresh no-bake cookies, mouthwatering cream horns, fully-loaded caramel apples, and artistically designed hand-dipped strawberries. When you’ve had your fill of dessert, grab a menu and order a hot home-cooked meal of pot roast with smashed potatoes, chicken pie, baked spaghetti, country style steak, barbecue ribs, or a nice hot made-from-scratch soup, like vegetable beef, loaded baked potato, cream of mushroom, or cream of chicken. When it comes to home-made comfort food plus sweet treats, nobody does it better than Uptown Café & Bakery.

If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the nearby mountain towns in NC, you will no doubt want to take home a doggy bag from one of these amazing restaurants in Lenoir. And if you happen to live in Lenoir at a place like The Coves Mountain River Club, you’re going to want to wrap up enough cookies and cream horns to share with your neighbors. That’s because The Coves is one of the most secluded yet neighbor-friendly gated NC mountain communities  Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, this is a scenic wonderland where living is easy. Where neighbors gather on the wrap-around porch at Pisgah Mountain Lodge to share coffee, desserts, and stories of their day. Days here are all about fishing in the abundant Johns River, hiking on private trails, tending to the community garden, and swimming in the infinity pool as you drink in spectacular views of Grandfather Mountain against clear blue skies.

If you’re ready to become one of the lucky ones who lives at The Coves, there’s no time like the present. Now that we’ve got you thinking about the best retirement places in NC, come to The Coves Mountain River Club to pick out your own custom-built home in this scenic paradise right in the heart of a community that offers easy access to shopping, entertainment, and a foodie-lover’s restaurant scene.

When you’re ready to explore our perfect pairing of mountain and river living at The Coves, contact us by calling 828.754.0700, or stop by any time to plan your visit. We’ll even help you with dinner reservations at one of Morganton/Lenoir’s best restaurants to give you a taste of the area we know you’ll want to call home.

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.

Tags: Lenoir | Morganton | Restaurants & Breweries

Lake James State Park – A Sparkling Gem in the Foothills

Lake James State ParkLake James is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, on the McDowell/Burke County line just 15 miles west of Morganton.  Covering 6510 acres, it features 150 miles of shoreline.  To the north, you see the majestic Pisgah National Forest, which absorbs rainwater and helps to maintain the unusual clarity and cool temperature of the reservoir.  Look closely and you may spot a bald eagle nesting in one of the trees.

One of the benefits of owning North Carolina mountain properties is the wealth of outdoor activities available to residents. Western North Carolina has many lakes, rivers and crystal clear streams. Whether you prefer trout fishing, kayaking, standup paddle boarding or a lazy day floating on inner tube, the mild four season weather in the foothills allows you to take maximum advantage of them.

On the southern shore of the reservoir about 20 minutes from The Coves Mountain River Club is where you’ll find beautiful Lake James State Park, the largest of its kind in the state.

Lake James State Park is a paradise for nature lovers and photographers. Visitors are surrounded by steep, forested ridges, where wildflowers grow in abundance.  Look for pink lady slipper, Jack-in-the-pulpit, passion flower, Indian pipe, cardinal flower, mountain laurel, rhododendron and flame azalea. Don’t be surprised to encounter deer, flying squirrels, red and gray fox, rabbit, muskrat and mink as you explore the park.  And on the water you’re likely to see green heron, belted kingfisher, mallard and Canada geese.

Here are some details regarding some of the state park’s many amenities:


If you love to fish, you have to experience Lake James North Carolina‘s uppermost and second largest Catawba River reservoir, renowned for its huge population of largemouth bass.

Early mornings and late afternoons from April through October find anglers pulling in not just the prized largemouth but colder water fish such as walleye and smallmouth bass as well.  Any Lake James fishing report from May through July will feature crappie, and bluegill, robin and catfish can be caught all year long.

The mountain waters of the Catawba and Linville rivers flow in to form a cool, deep lake with warm surface and plenty of rocky points, ledges and coves. There’s minimal aquatic vegetation, because hydroelectric power causes the water level to fluctuate.  And that helps to concentrate the fish populations.


Two boat ramps, Hidden Cove and Canal Bridge, offer access to Lake James for your power boat, sailboat or other watercraft.  Both are on NC Highway126, east of the park entrance.  Canal Bridge is open 24 hours a day, while Hidden Cove’s hours correspond to those of the park.  You can rent canoes and kayaks at the park, and other nearby launching sites and marinas have boats and motors for rent. There are places where you can purchase tackle, bait, ice and snacks as well.

Hiking And Mountain Biking Trails

The eight-trail system at Lake James State Park is fairly new.  There are options for all fitness levels, including the educational Holly Discovery Trail, which is suitable for children, a one-mile section of the historic Overmountain Victory Trail and the Lake Channel Overlook Trail, which leads to a breathtaking scenic vista.  Park rangers offer frequent guided hikes.

In the Paddy’s Creek area, there are 15 miles of mountain biking trails, including some for beginners and intermediate riders.


Lake James State Park features 20 backpack campsites along or near the lake shoreline. Two are reserved for campers with disabilities  They’re all set back 150 to 300 yards from vehicle parking areas, and each one features a fire pit, a picnic table and tent space.  Water fountains and wash houses with hot showers are nearby.  These camping facilities are available from March 1 through November 30.


At Paddy’s Creek, there’s a large sandy beach with an area reserved for swimming.  Enjoy it from May 1 through September 30.  You’ll find a pavilion with restrooms and a concession stand, and parking is plentiful.


Picnic areas are made available on a first-come, first-served basis at both the Catawba River and Paddy’s Creek areas. They feature tables and outdoor grills, plus receptacles for trash and recycling. And you’re only steps from drinking water and restrooms.

If you’re looking at North Carolina mountain properties, you owe it to yourself to set aside some time to visit Lake James State Park and see the wealth of benefits it offers the lucky residents who live nearby.  Take a look at the current Lake James fishing report and imagine yourself on the lake just after sunrise, reeling in your very own trophy bass.

The foothills area close to North Carolina‘s easternmost mountain lake. Lake James features mild four season weather and plenty of ways to remain active.  That’s why residents consistently rate The Coves River Mountain Club in Lenoir as one of the state’s best kept secrets.

Are you up for a horseback ride or a High Country hike?  You have miles and miles of trails to explore in the area.  How finishing off the day with an outdoor concert or some other cultural event?  Everything’s within easy driving distance, including antique hunting. Both experienced and novice gardeners will enjoy spending a leisurely morning working in Isabel’s Garden right at The Coves.  And when you just want some quiet time, nothing beats a walk along the edge of the Johns River, where you can simply relax and read a book under a shade tree.

At the community’s summit, Pisgah Mountain Lodge offers dramatic elevation changes and views of Grandfather Mountain and Table Rock which makes living a round here a truly unique experience.

In the midst of such natural beauty and tranquility, life at The Coves can be whatever you want it to be.  You can stay as busy and active as you like, with all the many amenities available for you to enjoy. 

Plan a visit to the foothills in Lenoir North Carolina.  Enjoy the wonderful weather and stress-free ambiance, and be sure to stop by The  Coves River Mountain Club to see just how good your retirement life can be.  

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which will provide more information about the foothills.

Tags: Greenways & Trails | Morganton