Rumbling Bald Resort: Much more than Dirty Dancing

Joe Avento • May 5, 2019 at 12:00 AM

LAKE LURE, N.C. — Chances are you’ve seen Rumbling Bald Resort at Lake Lure if you’ve watched Dirty Dancing.

The iconic lift scene, where Patrick Swayze’s character lifts Jennifer Grey into the air while the two were in a pond, was shot at one of the resort’s golf courses.

The resort embraces its history with one of the most famous dance scenes in movie history. It annually hosts 2,000 people for an after-party during the town’s Dirty Dancing Festival. But it also wants folks to know there’s more than dirty dancing going on at the scenic hideaway on Lake Lure in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Rumbling Bald offers just about anything you can imagine to do outdoors, from golf, to hiking, tennis, fishing, swimming and boating. There’s also a water park and mini golf course.

The resort fancies itself as the complete getaway from the real world.

“There’s part of our brains that simply need to shut down, kind of disconnect,” said Jeff Geisler, Rumbling Bald’s managing director. “It’s a vibrant part of who we are and when we don’t do that, bad things happen.”

Geisler hopes a trip to Rumbling Bald turns into a trip back in time, where life was much simpler and, most importantly he says, the iPhone, Facebook and Twitter hadn’t been invented yet.

“We are the antidote for all of that,” he said. “The whole point of the resort is to get you outside, to get you to the lake, get you on a boat, get you to hike. These are the things that make you human.

“We can’t turn the clock back on TV. We can’t turn the clock back on digitalism, nor would we want to. So many wonderful things have happened, but we’ve lost the ability to connect with the things that are most important.”

Two golf courses — Bald Mountain and Apple Valley — are part of the resort. The 16th hole at the Bald Mountain course, a par-3, was the site of the movie scene. Apple Valley, a Dan Maples course, sits in the shadow of Rumbling Bald Mountain, which got the “Rumbling” part of its name after a reported earthquake in 1874 left the mountain making rumbling sounds.

Both golf courses played host to the ninth Battle of the Smokies last week. In a usually friendly matchup between sports journalists from Tennessee and North Carolina, the Tar Heel State won this year’s edition to take a 5-4 lead in the series.

“Rumbling Bald’s spectacular mountain setting on Lake Lure makes it an ideal venue,” said Trent Bouts, captain of the North Carolina team. “We had a great time. It’s very relaxing and I think golfers of all abilities would enjoy a visit here.”

While the golf was the reason they were on hand, what the gathering of writers and TV learned was how much more there was to offer at the resort.

It has more than 200 rooms of accommodations of all levels, from rooms in the lodge to beautiful homes in the mountains.

If you stay in a house in the woods, you will be reminded to not feed the bears if you are lucky — or unlucky — enough to come across one. You might also be awakened by the gobble of wild male turkeys looking for a mate.

Three restaurants are on the property. Legends on the Lake is a sports bar-themed spot with an outdoor deck featuring stunning views of Lake Lure just below. The Garden and the Pinnacle South Kitchen are also nearby.

It’s a popular wedding destination with a spa and salon as well.

The town of Lake Lure is in Rutherford County and has a popular beach and marina of its own at the other end of the lake.

The county’s most exciting project of date has been the formation of the Thermal Belt Rail Trail, which is expected to open this summer. The 13.5-mile, 12-foot wide trail for hiking and biking is being built at the cost of $5 million and will join the towns of Rutherford County.

The county is also home to Chimney Rock State Park and Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. Chimney Rock is less than a half hour from the resort. From the top — you take an elevator or climb almost 500 steps — you can see for 75 miles. The bridge, almost 100 years old, crosses the Rocky Broad River. It was replaced in 2011 and is now a walking bridge full of flower beds.

Rumbling Bald Resort is located about 40 miles southeast of Asheville. More information can be found at www.RumblingBaldResort.com.

“We invite you to go for a hike, go on the lake or simply sit on your porch and stare into the forest and think about nothing,” Geisler said. “If you do that, we have succeeded.”

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