Joyce on the Lake

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  • 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.


    Paula Noonan with Lake Front Properties ( 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.


    I recently met Pam Pettus, Thomason Realty Group, ( 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.


    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.


    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

    #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 [], 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.”


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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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