There is so much about life in my wonderful Lake Norman community that one can only learn after living here. If you have been following this series you will now know that you need to carry a compass with you because there are so many trees it is very hard to get a true sense of direction, that roads will change names when you least expect it and how to pronounce some names that aren’t quite what you expect. Here is the last of my series:
- Out Buildings: When I first started looking for homes here I keep reading about outbuildings and I had no idea what they actually were. Well, they are simply detached sheds, workshops and garden shops. Most of us have one because we need somewhere to keep our John Deere mowers!
- If ice or snow is predicted, everything shuts down! Folks from cold climates truly laugh their first winter here as they observe not just schools but the entire Charlotte area shut down if we have even an inch or two of snow or a threat of ice storms or even ice on the roads forming overnight.
- Walk out basements versus traditional basements: It you are from the north where basements come with every home, you will be surprised to know that most all of our homes do not have basements. However, if the lot is slopped enough, we have walk-out basements that are extremely popular especially if they walk out to the lake. In place of basements, most of our newer homes have a large bonus room on the second or third floor of the home.
- Hardwood trees are good and Pine trees can be evil: This may seem harsh, but I learned this from my tree guy who is a native. It turns out that pine trees have small root-balls so they tend to be the trees that blow over in storms. Since learning this I have observed it myself. We have had two trees fall on power lines at different times on our street and in both cases they were pine trees on forested lots.
- Pine straw mulch is a cure-all: I had never seen pine straw mulch until moving here which is why I even bother to mention it. I have since found out that most serious gardeners include a twice annual ritual of spreading bales of pine straw under and around their trees, shrubs and flowers. It is used extensively commercially because it tends to make everything look very fresh and neat.
- Siding: We have all of the common types of siding here. Brick is the most popular because of the low-maintenance but it is also one of more expensive options. Other types of siding include stones of all kinds, cedar, cement fiber, logs (as in log cabins) hard-coat stucco and various thicknesses and textures of vinyl. Some folks are still a bit nervous about stucco because of the synthetic stucco problems years ago but there are great stucco experts that can test it for moisture issues.
- Inspection issues: moisture, crawl spaces, caulking: Moisture related problems are the most common found on home inspections here. From crawl spaces with inadequate drainage or moisture barriers, to lack of caulking at windows to rot damage to door jambs. Also, look for broken seals in double-paned windows…there will be moisture in between the exterior and interior layers of glass.
- Barbecue, especially churches and clubs: I wrote an entire article about North Carolina Barbecue but I just wanted to mention how much barbecue is a part of life here. Churches, civic organizations, fire departments and schools are known for their great barbecue fundraisers. Just look for home-made signs at street corners or in the local newspapers. Pulled pork is the best!
- Festivals! It you want to experience the true, small-town and southern culture, you need go no further than your local town festivals. The Lake Norman Festival (Now called Race City Festival) is held every May in Mooresville. Davidson has a wonderful 3-evening Christmas Festival and you will find many around the Lake area on July 4th. What they all have in common is decadent food (funnel cakes, giant turkey legs, fresh lemonade, barbecue, Kettle Corn), arts and crafts, music and entertainment.
- Art, Gallery Crawls: I had no idea how art is ingrained in the culture here. Whether you are interested in Museum quality, contemporary or traditional, paintings, pottery, wood turning, sculptures and photography, you will find it all right here. Downtown Mooresville has monthly “gallery crawls” and exhibits at the local Artist Guild. Davidson has wonderful concerts, plays and performances on and off campus plus some exceptional art galleries and stores. There are concerts ON the lake as well as movies you can watch from your boat. Then there is always the Mint Museum, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens and such in Charlotte.
- No Smoking laws! Now this truly is a sign of the times as North Carolina recently passed a law forbidding smoking in bars and restaurants. It is great news for us non-smokers but actually over the past few years most establishments have banned smoking on their own. With towns like Winston-Salem it truly is a big deal to be able to see this law passed.
- Take the time to get to know the locals…we have invaded them. Most people estimate that 75% of the current residents are what are termed “transplants”. We have come from all over the country to enjoy life here. Many folks around the lake never take the time to get to know the old-timers and locals which is truly a shame. I have met so many wonderful, native residents who have shared what it was like watching the lake fill up in the 1960’s and their sleepy cotton and tobacco towns scattered along the railroad increase in population ten-fold since the completion of the I-77.
- Yur Fine! This is one of my very favorite responses you will get from our true Southerners to any kind of apology. Example: “I’m so sorry!” “Oh, yur fine” they respond with a smile!