It’s late spring/early summer, and the world’s pandemic is still at our doorstep. What most of us want is a sense of normalcy and many are slowly starting to venture out. But, what can we do that keeps us entertained, all while socially distancing?
I decided to take a drive around High Rock Lake and share it with you. This can be a virtual tour; just read it and imagine the birds singing, motor boats in the distance, and children laughing at one of the picnic areas. Or, you can actually take the tour yourself and see firsthand what a beautiful lake we have right in our own backyard, and what fun it can be to discover new places with your family. #AloneTogether
A Little Backstory
Why did I think of a ride around the lake? Well growing up in Maine, there are several lakes and state parks that we could visit. I grew up in the southern portion of the state and beaches by the ocean is where we normally headed. Yet, when the family wanted a simple Sunday drive, we had Lake Auburn as our getaway. Lake Auburn is similar to High Rock Lake as they both are reservoirs, with good fishing, but that is where the similarities end.
We had just about one go-to local hang-out, Taber’s Restaurant Mini-Golf and driving range. We went for the ice cream, and that was about it, although it had great views of the lake. However, with a total area covering just 2,260 acres, our drive around the lake took 30 minutes for one full circle. Unlike HRL, Lake Auburn is closed to most recreational activities including ice fishing and swimming. Some of Maine’s most sought after fish species are found in the lake, including Salmon, Lake Trout, and Brook Trout. In recent years, Lake Auburn has also seen rising populations of warm water fish species such as Largemouth Bass and Chain Pickerel, which are now thriving in soft, shallow areas of the lake.
High Rock Lake covers 15,180 acres with 360 miles of shoreline, although many of the coves are not accessible by car. Major arms of the lake are formed by numerous creeks including Flat Swamp, Abbotts, Buddle, Swearing, and North and South Potts in Davidson County; and Panther, Dutch Second, and Crane in Rowan County. The main trunk’s widest point exceeds one mile.
Since its construction, surrounding communities including Denton, Lexington, Salisbury, Southmont, and Spencer, have enjoyed tremendous economic benefit through recreation driven by the lake. High Rock has proven to be one of the outstanding sites in the southeast for inland sailing, power boating, and fishing. In recent years, paddling has been added to the list with the designation of the Yadkin River State Canoe Trail which traverses the length of the lake along with the trail’s Daniel Boone Heritage section which terminates at the lake’s York Hill Access.
Let the Tour Begin!
Let’s take that trip together…err, I mean separately.
My suggested starting point for our journey is Second Dutch Creek on Bringle Ferry Road with breakfast at Lakeview Family Restaurant. They have plenty of seating outside, as well as inside.
This is where you need to decide if this will be a sight-seeing excursion, a foodie tour of the restaurants on the lake, or perhaps research for a new fishing hole.
Head east toward Salisbury, Hill’s Minnow Farm will come up on your right, 2.5 miles down. Do you need bait, snacks or fuel? They have it. And if it’s a Saturday – it’s homemade ice cream! The peach ice cream is killer. Very fresh.
Just another mile or so down is Dan Nicholas Park, for the extended journey, turn in. Did you know there is mini golf, a zoo, and hiking trails? Or keep that for your next family to do outing.
Take a right onto Providence Church Road, about six miles down on the right is our highly anticipated new lakeside restaurant, Waters Edge Dock and Grill. You can come by car or boat. Can’t wait to check out the joint venture between Mikey Wetzel (Go Burrito) and Todd Littleton (City Tavern).
Continue on, and Providence Church Road turns into Goodman Lake Road. Just over the bridge is a haven for fishing and there are a few parking spots waiting just for you.
Just before you reach Long Ferry Road, look left and yes, there are TWO Zebras (statues, not real animals) in the front yard of a residence. I don’t know the story behind it, but it tickles me every time I drive by. Take a left onto Long Ferry Road. If you take a right, and continue to the end of the road, it’s the home of Salisbury Shrine Club, and the annual Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat Festival. This year, the festival is scheduled for Saturday, July 25.
Jump onto I-85 North, over Yakin River Bridge to exit 91, Hwy 8, which is Cotton Grove Road to your right. You will see signs for High Rock Lake. You are now in Lexington, Davidson County. I opted to travel up I-85 rather than going through Linwood on Hwy 47. But that is a lovely drive and will add 20 minutes to the tour.
Now you have another big decision, a seafood lunch at Ocean View Seafood or BBQ at Speedy Lohrs? There is also Christo’s Original Pizza Buffet among others, including Old 64 Diner a few additional miles down Hwy 8. #ShopLocal
As you continue taking in the sights, I want to point out American Children’s Home.
Did you know there are a few fundraisers by the River Rats non-profit organization to raise money for this foundation and other children’s focused initiatives? Check out their Facebook Page for additional information. Friday and Saturday, July 10-11 is their annual Poker Run in Abbott’s Creek (the little side of the lake).
Continue on Hwy 8 East and take a stroll through High Rock Nursery Farm Stand, Linwood. Flowering plants, herbs, or fresh veggies are just waiting for you!
Keep digging on Hwy 8 as you enter into Southmont and check out Rock Outdoors. If you own a boat, you will be in heaven! If you don’t, you may after your visit. This is a great place if you need fishing gear, personal flotation devices for your new visitors or even for your dog.
And there is a coffee shop inside!
As you continue on your venture, High Rock Marina and campground will be a few miles out of the way, but they have ice cream! And great views of Abbott Creek.
Backtracking to Hwy 8, a stop over is a must at the NC Wildlife Access Boat ramp, another great view with picnic areas and a good size boat launch.
And if time, grab some food at Mazatlan Family Mexican Restaurant, a great place for lunch, or perhaps a date night later.
You will continue over the Hwy 8 bridge, and then be at the Brown Loflin Bridge (Pebble Beach) into the town of Denton, featuring Flat Swamp Creek. I know the name doesn’t sound inviting, but this location has a beach and swimming access, a great place for a family picnic and swimming day trip.
Check out Jacob Mabrey’s Gourmet Cotton Candy on Mountain Shore Dr. Call 336-300-4906 for more details.
At Healing Springs VFD station 48, take a right onto Bringle Ferry Road.
By the way, these are the first responders that have the necessary emergency water vehicles if there is a large-scale accident while on the lake.
Just before you cross over the bridge is the Tuckertown access ramp, a quiet place for fishing. Although I am not sure if I am supposed to tell you about it. As they say, best kept secrets.
As you cross over the Bringle Ferry Bridge and check out the Tuckertown Dam on your right – you can’t miss it, operated by Cube Hydro. And you are back in Rowan County!
There is a picnic area on the right with lots of parking, a great place for photos too!
As you travel up the hill, on your left is Wyatt Grove Church Road, which takes you to Morgan Ridge Vineyards, just two miles down the road. Another #YourRowan excursion in the works.
Continue on Bringle Ferry Road, you will see a sign for Eagle Point Nature Preserve on your right on Black Road. Admission is free and there is a great hiking trail that has two distance options depending on how much time or exercise is in the cards for you, especially in this social distancing time.
And as you cross over the Bringle Ferry Bridge you are back where you started, but I would suggest pulling into Tamarac Marina and Restaurant. Perhaps more food with a beer?
Our journey should have taken about two and a half to six hours, and is approximately 55 miles in length, unless you took me up on some of the side trips.
I hope to see you all out on the lake! From a distance.
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