Collegiate Rowing

Lake Lure Gives New Meaning to Niche Market

Whether Rowing, Swimming or Climbing, Lake Lure is their Secret Treasure


By Valerie A. Hoffman

Whether it's a parade of collegiate level rowing teams, a cadre of world-class swimmers or a tight-knit brood of highly skilled rock climbers, Lake Lure and Chimney Rock Village is no stranger to attracting its own brand of special interest groups.

Say what you will about our little community being off the beaten path, isolated or too remote, but it is clear that for a growing number of intrepid athletes and passionate outdoor adventurers, the towns of Hickory Nut Gorge represent their own secret treasure.

Take, for example, our collegiate rowing teams.

Every year since 2005, local residents see this group arrive quietly, practice hard, enjoy a few sites, eat lots of pizza, and then return home to college life.

And, sure there are other lakes, but these rowers say that they select Lake Lure as their ideal training ground because of our typically mild winters, the nice long layout of the lake, calm waters and very little boat traffic in the early spring months.  (And we thought that was a local's only secret)!

From February through early April teams come and go in a steady stream, staying at Rumbling Bald Resort where they are treated like the very special guests that they are.

The presence of the crew teams and their families and coaches provide a significant economic impact to the resort and to the local economy during what is normally considered the off season for tourism. 

The resort staff coordinate a wide variety of logistical matters, both before the various teams arrive and throughout their stay. The resort's restaurant staff also prepares numerous meals and often opens Legends on the Lake (formerly Lakeview Restaurant) just for the teams.

They coordinate their various lodging needs, from single room units for the coaches to larger homes for the crew teams. They also accommodate various training needs in the resortís spa and recreation room.

Being able to catch a glimpse of the teams in action has become a bit of a tradition for local residents. They snap pictures for Facebook friends and watch the action from their boat docks. Some residents of the resort even come down to the beach and chat with the team members. 

FUN FACTS:

  • Ohio State University was the first team to come to Lake Lure for training in 2005
  • Teams from North Carolina have also been coming to train on Lake Lure since 2007
  • The resort plays host to about 6-7 teams a year and can accommodate around 12-14 teams per season
  • This year, nine teams are coming from colleges around the nation.
  • Moms to some of the team members often make the trip, cooking meals, running errands and just being moms
  • The last crew team for 2017 is Vermont's Middlebury College, the Alma mater of Mark Bellissimo, co-founder and managing partner of the Tryon International Equestrian Center, located 20 minutes from Lake Lure.