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Things to Do in the North Carolina Mountains: the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge

Things to Do in the North Carolina Mountains: the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge | CosmosMariners.com

When I was planning my trip to Rutherford County (NC), I kept hearing about the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge that I had to visit. Based on different descriptions from people I'd met along the way, I couldn't get a grasp on what this unique garden looked like: was it just a bridge with a few flower arrangements on it? Was it a bridge that was somehow completely constructed out of plants?

And most importantly: was it worth all of the hype, or were the good people of Lake Lure, North Carolina, pulling my leg?

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On my last morning in Lake Lure, with rainclouds threatening to spoil my trip to this mysterious bridge, I headed across the street from the Geneva Riverside to explore.

What awaited me was certainly a beautiful botanical project, but (even more exciting to me) the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge is also a wonderful example of palimpsestic (there's your word o' the day) history.

Things to Do in the North Carolina Mountains: the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge | CosmosMariners.com
The Flowering Bridge of Lake Lure with the new bridge in the background




The History of the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge


The bridge in question has served to ferry visitors across the Rocky Broad River to nearby Chimney Rock since the 1920s. During the middle of the 20th century, Lake Lure began to grow as a family friendly vacation destination, and rental cabins began to pop up along the shoreline.

Then, in 1986, Hollywood came to town to film a little movie you might have heard of: "Dirty Dancing." When it was released in August of 1987, moviegoers were fascinated with the quaint mountain town where Baby and Johnny fall in love, and wanted to learn more. Although filming was split between Lake Lure, North Carolina, and Mountain Lake, Virginia, the town of Lake Lure quickly became known as the "Dirty Dancing" place, thanks to the prominence of the cabins and the interior dancing scenes which were shot in and around the historic Lake Lure Inn.

This added interest in the area brought even more visitors to this quaint corner of the North Carolina mountains, and traffic became an issue. When, in 2011, it became apparent to those who run the community that a larger, more modern bridge was required, the residents were reluctant to tear down the original one.

After much discussion, the original bridge opened on 2013 as a pedestrian foot bridge where the public could sit and read on one of the many benches, enjoy the view of nearby Chimney Rock, or simply admire the beauty of the plants and trees on the path.

Things to Do in the North Carolina Mountains: the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge | CosmosMariners.com
Fun, but not functional

You can now add all of this to your bank of fun facts about North Carolina, and share at your next cocktail party. You can thank me later.

Things to Do in the North Carolina Mountains: the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge | CosmosMariners.com
Britton and I on the Flowering Bridge. To the left is the newer bridge and in the background is Chimney Rock.

What to Expect at the Flowering Bridge

I love finding unusual, homegrown sites like this: you can tell that the community has put an incredible amount of work into the project, and it really is unlike anything I've seen before.

Mixed among the expected wildflower sprays and pruned trees are whimsical displays featuring vintage furniture, garden gnomes, recycled plastic toys, and stained glass. It all comes together in a unique garden that defies explanation, but somehow works.

Things to Do in the North Carolina Mountains: the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge | CosmosMariners.com

If you were a gardener, you'd probably spend hours here. But even as someone who can barely tell a rose from a daisy, I found the bridge awe-inspiring and delightful.

Things to Do in the North Carolina Mountains: the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge | CosmosMariners.com


The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge is free and is run by the Friends of the Flowering Bridge, a local organization. Visitors are welcome to walk the bridge, sit by the lake, and take pictures.  Make sure to sign the guest book!

Where is Lake Lure and the Flowering Bridge?


There's a reason that the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge often shows up on lists of things to do near Asheville, NC, as it makes for a fantastic day trip from that hip, up-and-coming city.

Within an hour of leaving downtown, you'll be in Lake Lure, where you can stroll along the Flowering Bridge, grab a bite at one of the many local restaurants (there aren't any chains here, which is one of the reasons I love it so much!), and hike up nearby Chimney Rock.

Things to Do in the North Carolina Mountains: the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge | CosmosMariners.com

It's also a quick drive from Hendersonville, North Carolina, too, so put it on your list of things to do in Hendersonville as well. [As a side note, Hendersonville is a fantastic little mountain town, and I highly recommend wandering the many antique shops before grabbing a freshly baked cookie or pastry from the historic McFarland Bake Shop on Main Street.]

Things to Do in the North Carolina Mountains: the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge | CosmosMariners.com


So, once you're in Lake Lure, you'll want to head past the lake on the left side, towards Chimney Rock.[See the Lake Lure map, below]. After you pass the Welcome Center, you won't be able to miss the new bridge over the Broad River: as you drive over it, you'll see the Flowering Bridge slightly lower and to your right. There's parking on both ends of the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge, so find a spot.

It's usually not crowded, which makes for some excellent photo opportunities.

Things to Do in the North Carolina Mountains: the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge | CosmosMariners.com

Although Lake Lure is small, it ranks at the top of my favorite North Carolina points of interest: the Flowering Bridge, friendly community, beautiful lake, and nearby state parks make this a place that you could easily stay for a week. If you visit soon, let me know what you think!


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Have you visited Lake Lure, North Carolina, before? Would you like to see the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge?

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Things to Do in the North Carolina Mountains: the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge | CosmosMariners.com

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