Joyce on the Lake

  • 13 Jan 2020 6:05 AM | Gibson (Administrator)

    I continuously scratch my head when I hear locals call High Rock Lake, The River. HRL was created by damming the Yadkin-Pee Dee River for industrial use, and, thankfully, the lake evolved into recreational use as we know it today.  

    There are a lot of stakeholders pertaining to High Rock Lake and it all begins at the top, not politically or corporately speaking, but at the start of the Yadkin River in the northwestern part of the state, specifically Watauga County.

    Aerial view of Yadkin River.

    The Yadkin River is one of the longest rivers in North Carolina, flowing 230 miles. It rises in the northwestern portion of the state near the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Thunder Hill Overlook. Several parts of the river are impounded by dams for water, power, and flood control. The river becomes the Pee Dee River at the confluence of the Uwharrie River south of the community of Badin and east of the town of Albemarle. The river flows into South Carolina near Cheraw, which is at the Fall Line. The entirety of the Yadkin River and the Great Pee Dee River is part of the Yadkin-Pee Dee River Basin. The watershed encompasses nearly 15,000 square miles in both North and South Carolina and a small part of Virginia.

    Recently, I met with Brian Fannon, Yadkin Riverkeeper [YRK], based in Winston-Salem to learn more about the body of water I call home, High Rock Lake.  Although I get to see the lake every day, I certainly don’t want to take it for granted. “Water is everybody’s responsibility,” said Fannon. The Yadkin Pee Dee River Basin provides nearly one million people with drinking water and impacts up to one million with fishing tournaments, recreational use, and residences.  

    Yadkin Riverkeeper, Brian Fannon.

    North Carolina’s rapid population growth, particularly in the Triad region, is having a profound impact on the Yadkin River. This unprecedented growth threatens local drinking water supplies. Consequently, the Riverkeeper program works with residents, regulators, and elected officials throughout the basin to ensure compliance with the federal Clean Water Act and N.C. pollution control laws. Brian discussed the Riverkeepers’ initiatives with me and it is a full spectrum of activities, which include:

    • Engaging citizens in clean water issues through education, advocacy, and action.
    • Promoting sustainable development practices that will accommodate growth without compromising the long-term health of the Yadkin River. 
    • Exploring the River and its tributaries through guided paddles and river cleanup trips to experience its beauty and learn about its threats.
    • Teaching and practicing a “river ethic” of ecological respect for all multiple uses.
    • Affiliating with the Waterkeeper Alliance, the world’s fastest growing environmental movement, with more than 300 Waterkeeper organizations and affiliates protecting rivers, lakes, and coastal waterways on six continents.
    • Partnering with businesses such as Aveda to raise funds to protect water quality through their corporate Earth Month Partner program since 2017. 
    18 RIVERKEEPERS AND WHAT THEY DO

    North Carolina has more Riverkeepers than most states due to the multitude of rivers. The Yadkin Riverkeeper oversees 16 counties, including Rowan County. There are three pillars of work that encompass the Riverkeepers’ duties: Protecting the River, thus High Rock Lake, Advocating for the River, and Enhancing the River.

    Simply put, Riverkeepers monitor the quality of water, the potential threats to it, and how access is used and enjoyed. The Riverkeeper strives to create awareness for recreational use such as fisherman and paddlers alike. “Something that I think is important is the cooperation between YRK and Cube Hydro in developing recreation access and facilities on both the river and HRL. A new river trail map and new kayak and camping facilities on HRL will result from this work, and we are pretty happy about that,” said Fannon.

    This summer, the region endured significant high temperatures for a longer period of time with low rain which resulted in algae blooms in parts of the lake. YRK assisted state and county officials in assessing the risk posed by harmful algae blooms in HRL and informed the public and media about the impacts and causes. Through several media channels, including #YourRowan, we reached more than 4,000 individuals making them aware of the potentially harmful algae blooms (HABs).

    WHY IS PROTECTING WATER QUALITY IMPORTANT?

    The short answer is awareness of what is going into our lake to make sure it’s protected in the future.

    The long answer is regulatory oversight and involvement of the water quality, from waste-water treatment plants and agriculture to current technology. Currently, North Carolina does not have a set water quality standard for its rivers and lakes for recreational use.

    “In many cases, the discharge water from wastewater treatment plants is of higher quality than what is in the river. Often, the water in the river will not meet the water quality standards for wastewater treatment plant discharge; the water going out is cleaner than the river water brought in.”

    “The point is, wastewater treatment plants are not the problem with water quality in the Yadkin River; the culprits are Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) combined with poor agricultural practices, and stormwater runoff,” continued Fannon.

    Below are a couple of useful links regarding CAFOs:

    https://www.whqr.org/post/north-carolinians-want-more-oversight-cafos

    https://clf.jhsph.edu/about-us/news/news-2019/nations-leading-public-health-organization-urges-halt-all-new-and-expanding

    Visuals on the Poultry-Related Nutrient Flow in the Yadkin River Basin.

    YRK was an integral part of the recent settlement with Duke Power to excavate the coal ash at Buck Power Plant, which set a precedent for the agreement between Duke and North Carolina, announced January 1, 2020. Duke will now excavate nearly all the coal ash in North Carolina.

    “This is a huge step forward in protecting N.C.’s water, and we are proud of our participation in both the Buck Steam Plant settlement and in the statewide meetings to push for cleanup at all coal ash facilities. As the Buck coal ash threatened HRL, this is a very pertinent issue for its residents there,” commented Fannon.

    HOW CAN WE HELP?

    The Yadkin Riverkeeper is funded by individuals, companies, and foundations who share a commitment to clean water. Help us keep the Yadkin River fishable, swimmable, and drinkable, now and for future generations. We welcome you to become a member for $35 ($25 for students).  

    Currently, YRK has 300 members. In 2019, YRK exceeded its corporate donation revenue projections by nearly 40%, received a $22,500 grant from Winston-Salem Foundation for board and staff diversity training, and hired a part-time diversity communications specialist.

    Yadkin River Dam.

    In addition:  

    • The Yadkin Riverkeeper successfully launched its historical paddle series and River Reconnect program, with the goal of providing educational programming and water-based recreation opportunities for underserved youth.
    • Began collecting data for the YRK Swim Guide program, providing information to the surrounding communities on E. coli levels in four popular swimming areas on the river and HRL. YRK now has in-house capacity to analyze samples in real time and report results to the public and local health agencies.
    • Facilitated an agreement between Cube Hydro Carolinas and N.C. Division of State Parks to use $40,000 in funding from FERC-approved Recreation Plan for a new paddle trail map.
    • Developed outreach materials for a sustainable agricultural initiative to promote local, sustainable meat and dairy farmers who market their products directly to consumers.
    • Supported local community efforts to improve and expand access to the river, including educational presentations, paddles and outreach programs for high school students and local civic organizations.

    Yadkin Riverkeeper Inc. has been a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, supported by the generosity of individuals, corporations and organizations that care about clean water, since 2008. For more information, go to www.yadkinriverkeeper.org

    Yadkin River at High Rock Lake.

    I would love to hear from you on what your favorite lake activity is, or someone that you would like me to feature in 2020. Please email me at highrock@YourRowan.com

     

    #itsaROCOthing         #lakeliving      #YourRowan    #BeAnOriginal     #HighRockLake


  • 1 Jan 2020 6:45 AM | Gibson (Administrator)

    WHAT MAKES LIVING ON HIGH ROCK LAKE SO SPECIAL?

    I have met dozens of lake-living residents since I have started this blog and I hope to feature several others over the next few months. For this month’s blog I wanted to introduce you to one long-term resident and another who found High Rock Lake through research and good business sense.

    A LOVE OF LAKE LIVING – ED SNOW 

    Camping on the shores of High Rock Lake back in the late 60’s got Ed Snow thinking that lake living was right for him and his young family. The Snow family bought their first boat in 1968 and navigated the waters and various coves of High Rock Lake. He recalled his son at two years of age taking naps on the V berth seat cushions while beached on an undeveloped parcel. The views were spectacular; seeing the far-off mountain range and immaculate sunrises pass the High Rock dam, is what ultimately hooked the family.

    In 1970, Alcoa started to sell off some of its real estate and Anchor Downs became the first development on the Rowan County side of HRL. The Snow family got on the Alcoa real estate list of those who desired lake frontage. As a matter of fact, Ed was the third name on the list, which meant he might be able to get that special, natural sandy beach the family had become familiar with during their boat and camping trips.

    Watching the sunset over the dock.

    It was still very early in the development with only a dirt road going into the site where honeysuckle grew wild. Ed discovered ‘his’ perfect location. The actual site they had been using for the past few years could be their very own lake property. It was serendipitous. Finally, their dream of lakeside living was achieved. The lot needed to be cleaned out for construction, and this began the next chapter for the Snow Family, which were picnics while trees were dropped and burned to make way for the family home. “I remember sleeping in the family van on weekends, as we were so excited to be working our property ourselves and wanted to get as much done in a full day’s work. The beach-side bonfires were great for grilling and planning out where the home would be situated,” said Snow.

    In October 1977, the Snows moved into their home and continue to reside at their lakeside retreat.

    GIVING BACK

    Ed Snow joined High Rock Lake Association (HRLA) as a member then later served on the board of directors, having a personal interest in the lake and wanting to ensure that the residents such as he and his family had a voice for their property and the lake levels. “The water levels were our biggest challenge back in the day. At first, we all just accepted it was the way it was, regardless of winter or summer months. Then our board members delved into the agreements with Alcoa (former ownership of the dam system thus lake levels) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and we created a satisfactory understanding for recreational use of the lake,” continued Snow.

    For years, the younger Snow, Lee, joined his father at the monthly board meetings hearing firsthand what is of importance to the 4,000 residents of the lake; now Lee is the president of HRLA, keeping the family name and love of lake living on the forefront for all lake residents.

    A WAY OF LIVING

    High Rock Lake is known for fishing (bass, crappie and catfish), but water recreation is certainly a pastime. With fewer boat traffic, small boats and water skiing is ideal. With three generations of Snows living on the lake currently, the family takes full advantage of what lake living is all about.  “It’s a wonderful place. I can breathe and relax once I am home in the evening. Its refreshing, a mini-vacation everyday just sitting out on your own dock looking out at the lake, seeing the natural habitat and even waving at visitors enjoying our lake for recreation purposes.”

    “One of the best things about High Rock is that it is less commercialized than Lake Norman. We do have a few amenities, and I would be open for another marina with fuel and maybe a restaurant with a different menu selection in addition to what we already have as a nice addition. Let’s dip our toe in on adding lakeside businesses, not jump in with both feet so to speak,” continued Snow.

    Wake fun on the lake!

    FINDING THE RIGHT FIT – MIKEY WETZEL 

    Originally from the San Francisco Bay area, Wetzel saw property values soar to beyond what normal working folks could attain for a home on the water. Since his work allowed for telecommuting, his sights expanded throughout the U.S., and North Carolina was high on the list.

    “My family and I moved to High Rock Lake 12 years ago from the west coast. Our dream was to live full time on a lake and we went about our search with a scientific methodology – the criteria: warm weather, affordable, and near a major city for entertainment, good dining options and a major airport,” described Mikey Wetzel, owner of Go Burrito, Salisbury. “High Rock Lake was a no brainer. The lake residents here have a laid-back attitude, no snobs allowed. Seeing kids growing up on a lake, swimming, skipping rocks, fishing, boating and jet skiing with friends is special.”

    After this process, Wetzel says he could help others decide on decision making criteria for lake living sunrise versus sunsets, water depths, sandy beach, proximity to amenities/downtown, main channel views, location near bridges, etc.

    When I asked what additions or amenities he would you like to see on the lake he said, “I really would like HRL to see a diversity of restaurants. Having other waterfront dining options would be more appealing to attract Salisbury and surrounding communities to experience what HRL has to offer.”

    You don’t have to wait for new restaurants to come visit. High Rock Lake is already planning activities for next year. “I am hoping to bring back ‘Float the Goat’ concert with Darryl Harwood (a China Grove resident) next summer. We saw success from this summer’s event, all the while raising awareness and funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I would like to see a Poker Run on the Rowan County side. The annual Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat Festival is a must see and do event. I think we could expand it with entertainment that would showcase the lake and its amenities.”

    What is the best thing about lake living for Mikey Wetzel? “Everything! Everyday, I feel like I won in life with a great view.”

    I would love to hear from you on what your favorite lake activity is, or someone that you would like me to feature in 2020. Please email me at highrock@YourRowan.com

  • 10 Oct 2019 8:18 AM | Gibson (Administrator)

    It may be October and the fall weather has finally reached us. But lake season is not over yet, not by a long shot.

    You may have seen firsthand that the lake is about three ½ feet down from ‘full pond’. But how does that happen, what does that mean to boaters, fishermen and residents?

    When I first discovered High Rock Lake, I heard the locals in Salisbury call it the ‘river’. It’s a reservoir owned and operated by Cube Hydro Carolinas, LLC, an affiliate of Cube Hydro Partners, LLC, since February 2017. Cube Hydro took ownership of four hydroelectric power plants located along the Yadkin River from Alcoa. The facilities – High Rock, Tuckertown, Narrows and Falls – are expected to produce nearly 885,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of clean, reliable electricity per year.

    HYDROPOWER IS CLEAN POWER

    Cube Hydro is an independent hydropower company that buys, develops and modernizes hydropower facilities in North America. They are committed to responsibly developing hydropower at existing dams using innovative and environmentally friendly technologies. The 19 hydropower facilities are in five states and along ten river systems. Collectively, the projects add 385 megawatts of capacity to the electric grid and produce approximately 1.5 million megawatt hours of clean energy annually, enough electricity to power 147,000 homes.

    Beyond ensuring the continued generation of clean energy at the various projects, Cube Hydro is investing millions of dollars to improve the environment. Construction of a nature-like fish passage at the York Haven facility on the Susquehanna River, working with the National Park Service to install eel passages at the facilities on the Potomac River, and installing new aerating turbines to improve the water quality at the Yadkin High Rock facility. High Rock is one of the four hydro power facilities – collectively called the Yadkin Project – that Cube Hydro owns and operates in North Carolina.

    “Cube Hydro is proud to provide reliable and affordable hydro electricity from the Yadkin Project to meet North Carolina’s increasing demand for clean electricity and we’re committed to partnering with communities to produce economic and environmental benefits in the region, as well as maintain recreational areas that the public can enjoy. Cube Hydro looks forward to working with local, state and federal officials to ensure the Yadkin Project remains a valued asset to all North Carolinians,” said Mark Gross, VP of Operations, Cube Hydro.

    In addition to partnering with GE Renewable Energy to install new aerating turbines at High Rock to improve water quality, Cube Hydro has developed patent-pending technology, the linear aerating value, to further improve oxygenation in the Yadkin River.

    Cube Hydro is committed to maintaining recreational areas in the communities surrounding the Yadkin Project, from sailing and skiing, to bird watching and fishing. A list of just some of the many ways the lakes provide enjoyment for people in the region can be found on their website: http://cubecarolinas.com/recreation/.

    GOOD FOR PUBLIC SAFETY

    In addition to providing public access recreation areas near all four reservoirs, Cube Hydro manages approximately four thousand licensed pier permittees at two reservoirs – High Rock and Badin. Public safety at the recreational areas is one of Cube Hydro’s top priorities. Encompassing that priority is the annual free community event in June at the public swim areas on High Rock and Badin to raise awareness of water safety. Cube Hydro, in partnership with various law enforcement agencies, gives away more than 100 life jackets during these events to children and raises awareness by arranging water safety games and other demonstrations. Cube Hydro also cooperates with local law enforcement and state officials such as N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission to ensure ongoing safety on the Yadkin Project reservoirs and supports the annual High Rock Lake CleanSweep as its ‘platinum’ sponsor.

    WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE?

    As part of the implementation of the Yadkin Project FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) license and the Relicensing Settlement Agreement, Cube Hydro is also working to provide additional public benefits to the areas surrounding the Yadkin Project, including by:

     Enhancing the tailwater dissolved oxygen to support fish and aquatics and recreation;

     Funding improvement to facilities at certain access areas and the High Rock portage trail;

     Making a monetary contribution to the Yadkin Pee Dee River Trail Fund;

     Monitoring and managing exotic species and rare, threatened, and endangered species;

     Supporting Alco (former project owner) in the sale or donation of non-Project lands to the state or the Land Trust for game lands, recreation, and/or protection and preservation (Alcoa recently sold approximately 2.310 acres of lands near High Rock to Three Rivers Land Trust and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission);

     Developing new recreation access area in Rowan County (to include a beach and swimming area); and

     Protecting historic properties and implementing other shoreline management improvements.

    WHAT IS THE SHORELINE MANAGEMENT PLAN?

    I briefly mentioned the shoreline management plan above. A new agreement was signed by Cube Hydro to ensure that the terms of the FERC license are met. High Rock Lake Association, a 1,000 plus membership organization with an all-volunteer board of directors’ work in tantum with FERC and Cube to come to reasonable alignment for the betterment and enjoyment of the lake. A few examples of the work completed for lake property owners and public use:

     High Rock Lake to be operated to keep water level within 4 ft. of full pond between April 1 to October 31; and within 10 ft. of full pond between November 1 and March 31

     At such times levels in the reservoir falls below minimum elevation there shall be curtailment of discharge rates to prescribed minimum flow

     Low Inflow Protocol will govern lake operation in time of drought

     Average Expected Lake Level during Recreation Season is projected to be approx. 2 ½ ft. below full pool level

    Now, you know why the lake fluctuates and it’s not all on mother nature’s shoulders. There are lots of people striving to keep High Rock Lake environmentally friendly and accessible. I would love to hear from you whats happening on High Rock lake, please email me at highrock@YourRowan.com

    #itsaROCOthing #lakeliving #YourRowan #BeAnOriginal 

  • 10 Oct 2019 8:06 AM | Gibson (Administrator)

    Yes, Labor Day weekend has passed and the summer of 2019 is in the history books, but don’t fret it isn’t really the end of the summer since we live in North Carolina, specifically in Rowan County, which is the perfect time of year for upcoming activities – county fairs, concerts and still lots of time to enjoy High Rock Lake.

    Although it is a little early for pumpkin spice lattes, and mums on the front patio, I wanted to take this time to reflect on some of the big moments of the summer as some of you may have enjoyed them all first hand, or if you haven’t perhaps you need to run out to get your 2020 calendar now and circle some dates!

    This is my personal list of the best activities on High Rock Lake, Rowan County style from this summer:

    #1 Our annual Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat Festival is something the community looks forward to each year. And this year I jumped in with both feet to coordinate the food and display vendors on behalf of the Rowan Chamber. So, I may be a bit biased, but boy did we have food options – BBQ, hot dogs, hamburgers, kettle corn, shaved ice, dumplings and Som’s Teriyaki Chicken. And a hearty welcome aboard to Ya Ya’s Kitchen. YUM. I’m thinking all those options were complimented well by New Sarum Brewery’s product selection too.

    The actual Dragon Boat festival not only offers visitors great views of our beautiful lake and shoreline but delivered downright hearty competition. We had 28 teams enter in this year’s event, with local team ‘Gator Bites’ taking the overall championship. Local music entertainer, and Catawba College student Seth Pittman played a couple of sets to bring more entertainment value to the event. With all of that and approximately 5,000 attendees, this is the must attend HRL event each summer. Mark your calendars for July 25, 2020!

    #2 Who doesn’t like a Fourth of July holiday fireworks celebration? [Well, perhaps hundreds of dogs including my own baby Dane.] For the past three years, the Spencer Moose Lodge and Campground hosts a phenomenal firework display over the main channel for the July fourth celebration. This year’s extravaganza presented by Nazareth Child & Family Connection scheduled on Wednesday, July 3 delivered fantastic fireworks and a beautiful night!

    Best viewing is always by boat near the opening of Swearing Creek but there are lots of access areas nearby for spectator parking, or if you have a friend that lives on the lake, bring some food and they just make let you hang out and enjoy the spectacle.

    #3 A new lake sight-seeing activity was presented this summer and delivered as promised – the inaugural July 4th HRL dock decorating contest. High Rock Lake Association, the 55-year old membership-based non-profit organization has been the voice for the lake residents in promoting safe recreational use and environmental welfare of the lake and Yadkin River in Davidson and Rowan Counties, created a friendly competition among home owners to show their dock decorating skills during this past July 4th holiday. The winning dock owner received a four-foot antique carved oar trophy for the summer season, a $500 gift card for Rock Outdoors and of course, bragging rights.

    More than 25 lakeside homes were decorated to the hilt and many more placed red, white and blue décor to join the fun and show their patriotic colors. The winning dock is in Crane Cove, Rowan County owned by Kris and Randy Hall. I hear from a few of the participants that they are already starting to strategize on their dock design for next year!

    #4 As you have read a time or two, this HRL blogger does not fish, but watching the beehive of activity at Hill’s Minnow Farm & Sporting Goods store surrounding their annual Crappie Roundup on High Rock Lake does make fishing a bit more appealing. The annual fishing competition is from March 16 through May 25. More than 700 tagged fish were released in several Rowan County watering holes.

    More than 1,400 fishermen participated this time around looking for a Crappie payday. Where else can you say those words and feel good about it?

    And ranked in the top-five HRL cool experiences:

    #5 ‘Float the Goat’ Darrell Harwood Concert on Goat Island Mikey Wetzel and High Rock Lake Life (Facebook group) created a new experience to entertain lake goers and to help raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on Sunday, June 23. Darrell Harwood said in a Facebook post that the venue was ideal for summer lake entertainment and money was raised for this worthy cause. A floating venue with three pontoon boats and stage with concert goers in and on the water was an ideal location. Stay tuned for news on another concert in 2020.

    And my almost top five best moment in summer 2019, hasn’t even happened yet! – it’s the High Rock Lake CleanSweep #HRLCleanSweep on Saturday, September 21. If you are game to be a volunteer and give a helping hand or fishing net to capture whatever is floating, we want to see you at the N.C. Wildlife Access Area off Bringle Ferry Road! There is a cool tee shirt and lunch in it for you. For more information check out the Facebook page: HRLCleanSweep for more information. See you out on the lake.

    We are in Rowan County, N.C. so winter’s gloomy days are not coming for a full four months, so there is still time to get out and enjoy what High Rock Lake has to offer.

    I would love to hear from you what your favorite lake summer moments are, please email me at highrock@YourRowan.com

    #itsaROCOthing #lakeliving #YourRowan #BeAnOriginal

  • 10 Oct 2019 7:54 AM | Gibson (Administrator)

    Buying a lake house is the best decision a family can make. Owning a lake home makes it easy for a busy family to come together, as well as extended family and friends. It’s been said, “you never know how many friends you have until you have a lake house, or boat.” A lake home and all that comes with it –fishing, boating, skiing, or just relaxing–affords endless opportunity to connect and reconnect with family and friends.

    Positioned in the north central region of the state, High Rock Lake is North Carolina’s secondlargest lake, spanning 15,180 acres between Rowan and Davidson Counties. High Rock Lake is named after the neighboring mountain in the Uwharrie range, and it touches several communities, including High Rock, Lexington, Linwood, including Rowan County’s Salisbury, Richfield and Spencer. Lake homeowners in these communities have full access to the lake’s many amenities and recreation opportunities. In addition to offering some of the finest fishing in the state, this lake is the recreation destination for the many communities that line its shores. But did you know High Rock Lake is a happening marketplace for home sales, condos and rentals?

    I spoke with a few local real estate agents that specialize in waterfront home sales connecting lake properties with buyers. And they are coming from all not only North Carolina and from all parts of the country. One new resident is making his way from Washington State to HRL, and I have recently connected with a couple from St. Louis through this blog who will be visiting soon in hopes of relocating here for retirement.

    So how can you find your own piece of heaven? Let’s take a shopping trip.

    IT’S A SELLERS MARKET

    Paula Noonan with Lake Front Properties (LakeFP.com) shared that she has been selling lake houses on High Rock Lake for more than 22 years. There are a few basic considerations before deciding whether to move forward in a lake investment after your initial research on a specific area. For instance, what does the lake property look like “off season?” The winter months are the best time to get a worst-case scenario snapshot of the property; what is the lake level? As a rule of thumb if you like it in the winter, you will love it the rest of the year. “Most buyers are looking for a BIG view, a flat lot, and then certain amenities inside the home to fit their lifestyle. But is always comes down to a gut feeling, if it feels right and you fall in love, it’s time to put in an offer,” commented Paula.

    “It’s a ‘Sellers’ Market’, in the past we would have 100 plus houses available around the lake, currently its less than 50, so buyers are accepting less matches to their criteria. New lakes aren’t being built, which makes finding the location and view that you like an easy first step in moving forward,” shared Paula. “The interest rates are good, and buyers have been holding onto their money, but now there is definitely more interest in the area,” continued Paula. “Most of my clients are retired or soon to be and want to find their dream lake house for their family to come and enjoy. I love helping potential buyers find their perfect lake house without the hassle of searching through general real estate.” The property offerings are as varied as the lake sunsets; homes start at $187,000 without water access to $1.5 million for a beautiful lot on the edge of a point.

    Waterfront properties are, as a rule, more expensive than homes not on the water. Price is determined by waterfront footage, not necessarily the amenities within the four walls of the house. Costs of seawalls, docks, and piers vary and can require the input of the entity that “manages” the water (i.e. Cube Hydro manages High Rock Lake). The corporation manages water levels and administers permits, dictating what can be done on areas that touch the water. And of course, you need to budget for water toys like boats, jet skis, life jackets, floats, coolers, etc.

    VISIT HIGH ROCK LAKE

    I recently met Pam Pettus, Thomason Realty Group, (www.highrocklake.com) in Southmont through an acquaintance and found she offered sound advice from her 23 years selling real estate and sharing what lake living is all about. As a teenager Pam hung out at the lake and learned about the charm and character of the various coves on HRL. “There are more than 40 listings overall on the lake, and as of late the activity has picked up. We were a tad slow this spring, but buyers are now coming out to visit. My recommendation is to ride around the lake by car, check out the marinas, restaurants and travel time to designated locations. Once a buyer has 2 – 3 properties on top of their list, then I suggest we check it out again by boat. Coming up to your potential dock and seeing the location from the lake will definitely help make the decision for you,” said Pam.

    Pam’s Facebook page ‘VisitHighRockLake’ has great information, and better pics of sunsets and the activities on the lake. I follow her, and you should check it out as well. She even posts what the specials are at Tamarac Marina each day, for those of us that don’t want to cook, or perhaps are out on the boat enjoying another unique sunset on High Rock Lake.

    OUT IN THE COUNTRY BUT NOT FAR FROM THE CITY

    One of Pam’s top selling points of High Rock Lake properties since 2006 is how affordable they are, compared to Lake Norman. Also, our proximity to Charlotte and Greensboro is a win for commuters.

    NEW IN ROWAN COUNTY

    Did you know Rowan County has a new lakefront community? Lighthouse Landing off Bringle Ferry Road features nineteen home sites with six modern farmhouse designs, with an open concept floor plan, lake views and either deeded boat slips or private docks. Lighthouse Landing is being developed by Mark Lomatrie who just happens to be building his own home there. This hidden gem is situated on approximately 20 acres with more than 2,000 feet of shoreline on High Rock Lake, just over the bridge from Lakeside Family Restaurant and the N.C. Wildlife access ramp at Second Dutch Creek. Residents will appreciate the large building lots, some with pool envelopes and the peaceful park-like setting. Lighthouse Landing homeowners will also enjoy boat storage for all their lake toys within the community.

    I had the pleasure to learn about the development from Julie Cash of J. Cash Real Estate when she has worked in real estate for more than 10 years and specializing in waterfront property sales since 2012. Julie’s boutique firm was selected not only because of their sales track record but her marketing expertise and reputation for selling the lake lifestyle. Who wouldn’t want to come home every day to vacation?

    “Lighthouse Landing offers the full package – all of the homes will have great lake views and access, deeded boat slip or private dock. Buyers love the open concept floor plans, thoughtfully designed outdoor living spaces and many sites have room for a pool if desired. It feels like a park. Our vision is to give buyers a product that feels like a getaway, where they can enjoy the lake lifestyle for a reasonable price. Lighthouse Landing is an amazing value, especially compared to waterfront communities in neighboring Lake Norman. The location is an easy drive to downtown Salisbury, nearby restaurants and I-85 for a Charlotte or Winston-Salem commute,” said Julie.

    “The entry level home on ¾ acres with a deeded slip is listed for $385,000 and waterfront homes are in the low $600,000s. Currently, we have three homes under contract, and more being reserved. The home sites are selling faster than we can build because this is what everyone wants. This is an exciting time and if all goes as expected we will be sold out well before year end. It’s all about value and offering a good price point for those that want to secure a peaceful, country-style setting on High Rock Lake,” continued Julie. For more information on Lighthouse Landing check out www.JCashrealestate.com

    #lakeliving #HRLliving #YourRowan #itsaROCOthing

  • 10 Oct 2019 7:47 AM | Gibson (Administrator)

    Since I live at the lake, I’ve been on various watercraft, of course power boats and pontoons, kayaks and recently even a stand-up paddleboard, but one method of water transport I have shyed away from is sailing. Even though I grew up in Maine, a sailors’ paradise, I never had the pleasure or opportunity to set sail. I was introduced to a local Rowan County resident, Tim Isenberg. So local, in fact, that he lives in the next cove from me. We discussed the merits of sailing over the other motorized means of transportation on water.

    At a young 72 years, Tim finds time to help others with repairs of their boats and sails. Tim goes out when he can and when the wind is right. “I hope to see more sailboats out on the lake. Its free to enjoy. Sailing is not just technical, it’s romantic. The wind is constantly moving, the sailor is always moving; trimming sails and keeping sight of what is going around them and yet the activity is relaxing at the same time,” commented Tim.

    Tim and his three brothers spent time fishing on High Rock Lake when they were young. His maternal family is originally from the High Rock Lake area, Panther Creek, so like a duck taking to water, he did the same. His interest in sailing was piqued when his son, Douglas, inspired him to take up boat building years ago when they built a Bolger Tortoise sailboat. Its sail was even made locally at Taylor Mattress Company. Tim’s profession for more than 30 years has been and continues to be woodworking. He and his wife, Carol, own Isenberg Cabinet Shop, Salisbury. His love of sailing and passion for wood; reclaimed, drift or otherwise melds his two worlds. Today, Tim sails and has competed in several regattas in North Carolina, specifically in Davidson County and Cape Look Out. Note: High Rock Lake has a marina for sailboats, Skipjacks Marina at Yachtsmen’s Point.

    Currently, Tim has created a work of art, a 17-foot vessel, The Core Sound 17. The hull shape is derived from the dead rise spritsail skiffs which were utilized all over North Carolina for fishing and transportation. This style of boat is efficient, and many are restored and can be seen at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort. The blueprints for Tim’s sailing vessel were purchased from B and B Yacht Designs [www.bandbyachtdesigns.com], in eastern North Carolina at the north bank of the Neuse River. “100% wooden boat construction is still the way to go - covered in epoxy which is waterproof and yields a good strength to weight ratio.” This is the key to boat building and sailing, Tim shared with me, because it shouldn’t sink. Profound. The sailboat can hold up to three passengers, is designed for shallow water, and does not have a motor. So, rowing or paddling out and away from the dock is the mode of transport until the wind catches the main sail. The Core Sound weighs just 350 pounds, and the rig is very efficient. It is not low (you won’t hit your head like in the movies), and the wind behind and off the beam is controlled well. Oh, the Core Sound 17 does have a name ~ Kraken Jager. German for a Scandinavian sea creature and Jager is “hunter.” Tim mentioned that any boat over a certain number of feet should have a name to give it personality and perhaps an attitude for the skipper while out on the water.

    It’s a Maine connection

    The Isenbergs has spent much time up in Maine, my home state, and most recently just this past July visiting family and learning about Carol’s Maine roots as a “Downeasterner.” Tim’s oldest daughter worked for LL Bean for more than 20 years, and even their restored HRL home had a Maine/Bean feel to it. Tim and I got to talking about the scenic imagery of the Maine/New England coast with its abundance of lobster shacks, villages and islands along the coastline and how it is romanticized by movies.

    We all have a little pirate in us

    Did you know that many current phrases are derived from sailing, or pirate lingo? I am sure most of you have heard of ‘Even Keel’, ‘Above Board’, ‘Batten Down the Hatches’ and ‘Clean Bill of Health’. These and many other terms and phrases have been taken from sailing vernacular and have made their way into our everyday conversations. Even Figurehead, one without real power, is “borrowed” from back in the day as large vessels placed a carved, wooden decoration or figure on the bow of the ship to appeal to a certain group ~ Pirates of the Caribbean anyone? So, let’s grab some grub and ‘Dutch Courage’ at Tamarac, then cut and run when we are squared-away.

    If you do see me out in the water, sailing, rowing or motorboating, wave and give a shout out. And if you see Tim in his Core Sound 17 yell out a big thanks for keeping sailing a mainstay on our lake.

    Enjoy the lake!

    #Sailing#HighRockLake #itsaROCOthing #BeAnOriginal #YourRowan 

  • 10 Oct 2019 7:20 AM | Gibson (Administrator)

    July is here, school is out, boats are in the water and High Rock Lake recreational season is in full swing.

    Recently, I visited the busiest place on earth over the July 4th holiday weekend, or so it seemed, Tamarac Marina and Restaurant, 9120 Bringle Ferry Road, Salisbury.

    I have been here countess times, but with the holiday weekend, I saw much more than a store/local fuel stop. Perhaps owner Dan Black could rename it to Tamarac Marina & Campground, Bait Shop, Quik Mart, Karaoke Bar, Beach & Picnic Area, Pontoon Rental and Camping Supplies Super Store. The offerings are endless. How do they pack that much stuff in one location?

    I ran in just for a few summers’ fun-day necessities – ice, propone and fuel for the boat (I have a gas caddy, so can go by car and pump directly into the boat). OK, I knew it would be busy, its Saturday morning in the summer AND on a holiday weekend; but I was not prepared for what I saw as I traveled across the Bringle Ferry Bridge. Six boats deep waiting to fill up at the dock fuel pump, and likely to run into the store for munchies to bring back to their vessel of choice. There were families seated at the picnic tables, a few folks fishing off the edge of the property and more hanging out on the gazebo watching the boats go by. Seats inside the restaurant were just about filled and enjoying breakfast, getting ready for the day with family and friends.

    Even though it was jamming inside the store, Dan Black was in his office and he gave me a few minutes of his time, and we were joined by Sandy Mullins to chat about what Tamarac Marina means to the lake community.

    “The vision for Tamarac has been a convenient High Rock Lakeside location, good food at an affordable price, especially the seafood and steaks, and to be the first place you think of for your lake recreational needs from camping and BBQ supplies, to fishing bait and tackle, or if you find out that you are in need of last minute boat registration and fishing licenses. We have it here at Tamarac,” said Black.

    “Pontoon boat rentals range from half days to full weekends, and our camping sites have something for everyone, including full hook-ups to tent camping. Like any outdoor activity, weather determines visitors’ plans. Folks just need to call to reserve in advance,” continued Black.

    Fridays and Saturdays are the busiest days as lake enthusiast are getting ready for their weekend activities. Sundays are busy, but normally customers are stopping in for lunch, or a few groceries. “We pride ourselves on a friendly atmosphere here. Customers are valued and we treat them like friends,” commented Mullins. “That’s why Facebook is such an important tool for us, we can let folks know what the specials are; if there is a concert or fishing tournament. So, they can plan their day.”

    AFTER DOCK ENTERTAINMENT

    Karaoke is alive and well at Tamarac Marina on Friday nights. If you can sing like Johnny Cash, Jackson Browne, Nancy Sinatra or just want to watch and enjoy a beautiful night with entertainment, come on in. There was even an unofficial Elvis competition of sorts one night. Now, that was old-school entertainment. #BeAnOriginal

    Check out Tamarac’s Facebook page for dinner specials, and special events – Tamarac Marina and Restaurant

    Come enjoy what High Rock Lake has to offer. #HRLliving

    The summer is at its mid-way point, there is still lots of time and activities to join including the HRL River Rats Poker Run on Saturday, July 12; the Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday, July 27 and High Rock Lake Clean Sweep, Saturday, September 21 . 

  • 10 Oct 2019 7:10 AM | Gibson (Administrator)

    Lake living means boats and enjoying the waterways no matter what day of the week. Normally, High Rock Lake is busiest on weekends and of course holidays. But there are groups who figured on how to best enjoy our lake with a boat-filled gathering twice a month during the warm weather. Every second and fourth Tuesday evenings a group of boaters from Salisbury meet in the middle of High Rock Lake and have Happy Hour, merriment and munchies. If you are out and about on your boat, you are welcome to join.

    What is a Floatilla and how did it start? Shirley Price and her husband Ron were visiting friends and family in their home state of Kentucky enjoying lake activities which included weekend stays and excursions on house boats. It was the epitome of entertaining while enjoying lake life in their home state. So, in July 2015 Shirley decided to create the High Rock Bi-monthly Floatilla. Her Facebook page catalogs great pictures from past outings and will let friends and members know when the next Floatilla is scheduled.

    WE WELCOME EVERYONE – WHO WANTS TO HAVE A GOOD TIME?

    Getting to know your lake neighbors can be tricky. Many from the surrounding area come to the lake occasionally, while others live here year-round. Dozens of cove communities have created their own personalities. One such group is Anchor Downs. Most of these residents have known each other for years, enjoying what the lake has to offer such as the upcoming July 4th fireworks, and even entering the Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat races together under the team name Anchors Up.

    I asked Shirley to share a few stories with me so that I can give some color to the happenings on High Rock Lake for YourRowan.

    GO WITH THE FLOW

    Shirley and her husband Ron always arrive first. Some of the boaters’ zip in like a race car and throw it in reverse for a ‘perfect’ tie up. While others come in slow and precise. Regardless of the way they add to our floating neighborhood, no one has collided. We are all thankful for that.

    Newer pontoon boats have issues for Floatillas for instance to maximize space most now just have a door on one side, so the ‘walk-through’ doesn’t happen on all boats. The Price’s boat doesn’t have a front deck, so they make do with lining up the back of their boat with another’s bow. It’s a big puzzle, that works.

    ANCHORS AWAY

    Floatilla guests have hailed from Kentucky, Arizona and California. Locals Mark and Bernadine Wineka from The Post have come out on a beautiful night, just right for a photo spread for Salisbury Magazine. Ron went to toss the anchor out, but the rope was broken and off the anchor went to the depths of High Rock Lake. We had to wait for the next boat to join us to properly anchor and start the tie-up. Oops.

    One evening several boats were tied up closer to shore than usual. We are normally more in the middle of Crane Creek. The wind was strong that night so the whole flock of us started to drift away en masse. One of our normal group members came to join, but since we were not in the normal spot, they kept going back and forth looking for us. The tied-up group kept yelling their names, but we all were laughing so much they couldn’t hear us. As the saying goes, ‘we were hiding in plain sight’. Its not that hard to find several boats tied up all together. The couple did find us, and we all had a good laugh together.

    If we drift too much even with anchors, we’ll pull the anchors up and the middle boat will move us ALL to a better place, even while we are all still tied together. The party must go on! The last time this happened, the smallest boat was in the middle, we all called it the little engine that could.

    WHAT’S FOR DINNER?

    Food is a hook for these gatherings, simple, yummy and sharable are the only requirements. Our most asked for item: Cindy Hart’s pigs in a blanket. Even if she can’t join the Floatilla on a night, the group requests her to make it and pass it along to me to bring onboard.

    ACROSS THE CHANNEL

    Floatillas have been popular on the lake for years. On the Davidson County side near Swearing Creek, a group gathers every Thursday evening beginning in April, weather permitting. This group even has an email network to confirm the 6:30 p.m. meet up is a go. With a 7 p.m. blessing followed by a myriad of food prepared by friends and sunset watching.

    Normally six to 14 boats enjoy a mix of food, relaxation, and a lot of AHHH with those in attendance, especially with friends, and newfound lake owner friends. Paula Noonan says there is no pressure with this group, if you want to be social come on over, tie up your boat and jump into a conversation. If you want to simply enjoy the view, and take it all in by yourself, that is totally acceptable. Paula and husband Jim own a barge named ‘Dam Thang’. It’s the perfect vessel for hosting, complete with a grill. Someone even made pork chops one night! The most popular food item? The Noonan’s almost famous hot dogs, wrapped in chili, slaw and mustard. We welcome all new soon to be friends and your food items.

    Be An Original is the motto for Rowan County and this is just one example how we get to be ourselves, enjoy our region’s assets and showcase our community, and cooking skills.

    Check out our Facebook page - HIGH ROCK BI-MONTHLY FLOATILLA

    And this is what an HRL Floatilla is all about. We would love for you to join us; all forms of boating are welcomed.

    #YourRowan #HRLliving #itsaROCOthing

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