Not too long ago I got a panicky email from a family who just found out they were being transferred to Mooresville from Florida wondering what it was like to live here. I remember feeling the same sort of panic when we decided to move here. What is it really like? Where are the closest grocery stores and restaurants? Are there healthy places where we can get food to go? Where can my husband train for cycling? Are we going to be too far away from civilization? Will we be treated like outsiders since we are from out-of-state? And, good grief, where is the nearest Starbucks and good hair salon?
I must admit I am a bit conflicted about telling you the truth…I want to share with anyone who will listen that this is truly one of the greatest places in our country to live…but, I really don’t want it to get too crowded and grow so much that our quality of life changes. Well, I am a REALTOR after all, so I guess it is my duty to inform.
The bottom line is that the only thing my husband and I regret about moving to Lake Norman is that we didn’t do it sooner! It’s truly the best of all worlds. Lake Norman is about 90 miles from the mountains and about 4 hours from the ocean. We have four mild but beautiful seasons. There is so much here in the greater Lake Norman area for every type of lifestyle and every social, physical, sports, academic, entertainment and economic level that most everyone can find their own niche and be quite happy.
The greater Charlotte and Lake Norman area is fast becoming one of the top destinations in the US and the smallish towns like Mooresville, Davidson and Huntersville along Lake Norman have increased in population ten-fold since 1990. I had no idea that Charlotte is the second largest financial center in the US let alone that major companies like Lowe’s Home Improvement are located right here in the Mooresville area.
Yet, it is a gentler, kinder world where drivers never honk their horns and no matter how bad the traffic they always let you merge in from a side street. Cashiers at markets actually walk out to get your cart if there is no one waiting. You rarely can’t find a place to park. And, because there are so many “transplants” from other states it is quite easy to assimilate. But, I highly recommend that you make the time to get to know the native North Carolinians as I have found them to be kind, warm and great friends. Not matter what, at the end of the day, if you live in the Lake Norman area or just out of town in the farm country, you will go home to utter peace and quiet.
Here is a quick overview for you:
Grocery stores are at the top of most people’s list…and we have plenty right here in Mooresville. Our grocery options range from our Super WalMart, Super Target to Food Lion, Lowe’s, Bloom and two Harris Teeters. Yes, there is a sushi chef at the Harris Teeter, a fresh fish counter, olive bar, salad bar, fresh squeezed juices, full service deli and a Starbuck’s in each one in Mooresville. Plus, we have weekly farmers markets and numerous roadside fresh produce stands.
Big Box and large chains: As I already mentioned, we have a Super WalMart, a Super Target, plus a Bed, Bath and Beyond, Best Buy, Petsmart, Pet Co, Staples, World Market, Michael’s, Dicks Sporting Goods, Goodys, Lowe’s Home Improvement just to name a few.
Our Shopping Malls
- The Northlake Mallis our newest and closest large mall to Lake Norman. It is located at Exit 18 and has several department stores ( Macy’s, Belks), specialty chains like J.Crew, The Gap, Anthropologie and the Pottery Barn to name a few plus a large AMC Theater Complex.
- Birkdale Villageat Exit 25 in Huntersville is a charming outdoor Urban Village with a theater complex, a Barnes and Noble Book Store, a Dick’s Sporting Goods and lots of shops from William Sonoma to Chico’s to a wonderful Southern Folk Art Gallery called Maddi’s, some great restaurants and several really cute childrens shops. It’s a great place to have a Frappacino and let the children play in the fountains on a warm summer day.
- If and when you need a high-end fix, South Park Mall and Phillips Place should be your destination. The South Park Mall has over 100 higher-end stores including Neiman Marcus, Nordstoms, Hermes,Tiffany’s, Frontgate, Kate Spade, Puma, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters (for the younger, fashion-hip teens), Abercrombie and some wonderful restaurants. Just down the street is Phillip’s Place where you will find not one but two Dean and Deluca’s!
- If you are an outlet shopper then you will head straight to the huge Concord Mills Mall which has way too many shops to list here!
Feel like eating out?
We’ve got all of the usual suspects: Fast food like Chick-fil-A, McDonalds, Hardee’s (Carl’s Jr), Arbys, Pizza Hut, Subway, Quiznos; chain restaurants like Panera Bread, Camilles, Chilli’s, Red Robin, Steak and Shake, Evans, Applebees, Cracker Barrel, Hooters, Panda Express and lots of steak houses to name just a very few. We also have some wonderful, locally owned and operated restaurants both upscale (Jeffrey’s, 131 Main, Soirees, Dresslers) and just plain good: Five Guys for the BEST hamburgers and fries (Like In n’ Outfor you westerners); Joels which has wonderful sushi and a good variety of good Asian food; Lancasters, Gregs and others for barbecue; Laney’s for fish; Vinnies if you want to hang out with the race and lake crowd; Mexican food…both typical and up scale; a GREAT bakery called La Patisserie; New York Pizza in many styles; Chicago hot dogs…I think you’ve got the idea.
Sports and recreation are truly a huge part of the Lake Norman lifestyle and I can’t think of too many that aren’t available here. The Lake offers boating of every kind (since it is so big), great fishing, canoeing and kayaking, water skiing and jet skiing. A close second to the lake is GOLF…from Pinehurst to NUMEROUS public and private courses. Between the mountains and our local state parks you’ve got plenty of hiking, mountain biking, camping, motorcycle adventures. Our state-of-the-art Lowe’s YMCA in Mooresville is an incredible public gym. Then we have the very unique U.S. National Whitewater Center. We have a local skate park in the works, more soccer fields plus lots of organized sporting activities for all ages. Of course we have the obvious: The NCAA basketball finals that capture lots of attention, our NFL Panthers, our NBA Bobcats, our Charlotte Checkers hockey team that won the Stanley Cup last year and of course every kind of car racing you can think of since we have about 80% of the NASCAR industry here which supplies about 25,000 jobs to our local economy.
There is also an abundance of cultural opportunities in the greater Charlotte area including: NC Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, The Mint Museum and The Mint Museum of Craft and Design, The Levine Museum of the New South, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, The opera, The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Actors Theatre of Charlotte, Afro-American Cultural Center, Charlotte Museum of History, NC Dance Theatre, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Charlotte Nature Museum, the McColl Center for Visual Art and Discovery place. (I know I left many out).
Educational opportunities abound in North Carolina: The Mooresville area public schools are a destination for many families because of their top rankings. Besides numerous city colleges there are the renowned Duke University, Wake Forest University, University of North Carolina’s Charlotte Campus, Davidson College (ranked in the top 10 small liberal arts colleges), Johnson C. Smith College and even our own culinary school: Johnson and Wales in Charlotte.
Last on my list but, believe it or not first on most, is Hair Salons/Spas. I am here to reassure you that you will be able to find every type of service found in any major city depending on the price you want to pay. I have my favorites that I will be happy to share with you!
I invite you all to drop me an email with questions about ANYTHING related to the Lake Norman/Charlotte area or ask for a personalized relocation packet which I will fill up with numerous publications, maps and resources based upon your specific interests and needs.