Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Business of the Week: Josh’s Farmers Market!

Lake Norman Real Estate's business-of-the-week


Josh's Farmers Market Mooresville Lake Norman

 Josh’s Farmers Market in Mooresville Lake Norman

If you have reason to be on Williamson Road in Mooresville you might have seen a crowded parking lot nestled in some trees on the east side of the street just south of Highway 150.  This is where Josh Graham and his wife Alicia own and operate  their popular Josh’s Farmers Market which sells seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables from local growers and from Columbia S.C.

Fresh, Locally Grown Fruits Lake norman

It’s truly like an entire farmers market all under one large tent.  The day I took these photos I bought some of the North Carolina  peaches which were ripe, and incredibly sweet as I have found all of their fresh fruits to be.  What a difference from store-bought fruits!

Fresh vegetables at Josh's Farmers Market P1020695

Besides seasonal fruits and berries, Josh also has a great variety of vegetables, fresh corn, and of course, several varieties of  juicy red tomatoes, some grown on their own land!

Every week they drive down at 2:00am to Columbia SC to “get the freshest produce” according to a recent article in the Mooresville Tribune.  “There’s not many places that you can go when the squash or blueberries were picked an hour before you buy them” according to Graham. Continue reading

Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

60 Things About Life in Lake Norman That You Should Know: Part 1

Lake Norman Waterview

 If you are contemplating a move to our Lake Norman area you most likely have gone to the Chamber of Commerce websites and already know about our great weather, proximity to Charlotte, the Blue Ridge Mountains and the beaches.  But what is it REALLY like living here?  Here is my list of things that I found most interesting after I moved here from California in 2005:

  • Trees, Trees and More Trees:  There are so many beautiful, tall trees, even along the Interstate that it is easy to loose your sense of direction.  From hardwood trees like Maples to towering Oaks and Pines to numerous varieties of blossoming fruit trees (like the Dogwoods above), we are surrounded by trees.  It is incredibly beautiful but you might want to have a compass handy as it is easy to get disoriented at first!
  • Wave!  Everyone waves at you here.  If you are driving in neighborhoods people in their yards or walking their dogs will wave at you.  Smiles and waves are a part of daily life.  It didn’t take long for it to become a habit for me too!
  • Imagine getting ready to get in the checkout line at a grocery store and having no lines or better yet have the sales clerk walk out to you to grab your cart!  Friendly customer service is a priority and a part of life here.  This is especially evident to me at grocery stores, banks and when I go to our local Lowe’s Home Improvement.  There are always plenty of knowledgeable sales people who go out of their way to help.
  • Stars at night:  If you live out on the lake and away from the center of town, you will be treated each clear night with myriad stars sparkling in the sky.

  • Peace and Quiet:  No matter where you are, you are never very far from almost complete serenity.  Even though I live off of Brawley School Road, once I am home I rarely ever hear a car go by.
  • Sounds of the lake:  Unless you live on the main channel, in the boating months you most likely will have just the occasional sounds of a boat going by or the screams of delight of children water skiing or riding in one of the amazing variety of tubes and clever things pulled by boats.
  • Birds:  If you put out a bird feeder or two you will be treated with a constant variety of visitors from bright red Cardinals (our state bird), to Blue Birds, Golden Finches, Wrens, Chickadees, Woodpeckers and many more who come and go all year round. Don’t forget to put sugar water out for the hummingbirds as well. I highly recommend you get a Southeastern US guide to birds!  (Also, visit Wildbirds Unlimited in Huntersville).
  • Sounds of nature:  If you are lucky enough to have tall trees, the sounds of birds singing and chirping will be in the background most of the day.  On a windy day the pine trees and other tall tree make a wonderful rustling sound.  During the summer we add in the crickets, cicada’s and the cute little tree frogs croaking as well.
  • Chances are you will pass a farm, produce stands, goats and beautiful glimpses of the lake on your way to the market or the Interstate.  We still have many wonderful reminders of the days before Lake Norman was created and became so popular.  You don’t have to go very far to find the beautiful farming country in addition to the few still lingering around the lake area.
  • Polite Drivers:  Now some people may not fit in this category, but I can tell you that the majority of drivers will let cars merge in front of them and even stop to let a car from a side street get on to the main road.  I rarely hear horns.  When in doubt, be polite.  I left my road rage in Los Angeles!

  • Parks and natural areas are a priority.  Many housing communities are designed to maintain what we call “natural areas” where the native, mature trees that were once part of a forest still remain.  We have lots of green space and many parks from small neighborhood parks to the 1300 acre Lake Norman State Park.  
  • Sports are an important part of life here in Lake Norman just as they are in the entire Charlotte area.  You will find that our local TV stations and newspapers will cover high school football and basketball on their prime-time news.  Our schools have highly competitive sports teams of just about every type you would find anywhere.  Of course, during the Sweet 16 basketball tournaments most everyone keeps track or watches the games.  UNC (Charlotte) was crowned the US Champions again this year but there are always a number of North Carolina Colleges in the competition including our small town favorite of Davidson College who made it to the final 8 last year. And, you can’t forget we are the auto racing center of the country as well!  See my Lake Norman Sports Resource Guide for a comprehensive list.
  • Recreation is an important part of daily life here from boating on the lake to walking, cycling, hiking and mountain biking. Lake Norman is large enough to accommodate the fastest “cigarette boats” and large sail boats but also has many small coves that are perfect for canoes, rowing, paddle boarding and kayaking. Water skiing, wakeboarding, wind surfing,…you name the water sport and we probably have it!

  • Vegetable gardens are a common site, especially in neighborhoods outside of the major subdivisions.  The neighborly thing to do is share when you harvest.  My neighbors even offer bulbs and plants when they are dividing them up.  A little sign of the country and the old ways which I love.
  • Variety of people:  About 70% of those of us lucky enough to live around Lake Norman are “transplants” from other states.  Everywhere you go you will hear a great variety of accents.  Even the Southern accents vary tremendously depending on where they are from originally and how long they have lived here.
  • Yellow pine pollen in April. One day in April you will suddenly notice what first looks like a layer of dust on cars and outdoor furniture. Pretty soon it will be apparent that there is a light layer of sticky, yellow pine pollen everywhere!  It doesn’t last but a month or so but I highly recommend you close your windows during this time.

  • Japanese Beetles.  Usually towards the end of May you will start to see an iridescent flying bug sitting on your rose bushes, crepe myrtles and other tender flowering plant.  Within a week they will become a force to reckoned with, particularly if you have young plants.  They eat the plants and flowers leaving just the lacy veins.  Do not get the bags that are meant to capture them as they actually attract more to your garden.  Several bug sprays are popular but we find hand picking them off of our plants to be more environmentally friendly along with an application of a systemic on the vulnerable plants in March.
  • Casual life style and clothing is the way of Lake Norman.  While you can find occasions to dress up, generally life is pretty casual and we all dress accordingly.  Shorts and sandals are fine just about everywhere in the warmer months.  It’s a bit like living at the beach or on vacation.
  • Tanning salons seem to be in every strip mall.  Having spent too much time on the sunny beaches of California I am now a regular at my dermatologist due to minor skin cancer so while many here still believe in having a deep tan, some of us use SPF 45!
  • No matter what type of shopping you are looking for, we probably have it nearby.  We have upscale boutiques and malls, all of the major Big Box stores and chains as well as Outlet Malls,  the Metrolina swap meets and antique events.  Our grocery stores range from Harris Teeter, Fresh Foods, Whole Foods (New!), and Trader Joe’s to the mega stores like Wal-Mart, Super Target, Sam’s Club and B.J.’s.
  • As I have written about before, those of us from other states have brought our favorite foods with us!  From New York style Italian to Five Guys awesome hamburgers and fries to upscale restaurants featuring a huge variety of foods, there is little you won’t find here in the way of food.  Having fresh produce stands so nearby as well as farmers markets means we have wonderful, locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as baked goods, honey, pickled green tomatoes and seasonal plants.

  • Porches:  For those lucky enough to have a “rocking chair front porch” as they are called here, there is nothing more relaxing then soaking up the peace and quiet, enjoying your morning coffee or evening glass of wine and greeting those who happen to walk by.  Screened porches are GREAT for the back side of your home too.
  • Take time to talk to workers…fence installers, pest control, tree trimmers, plumbers.  Whether you are having a fence installed, trees trimmed or a plumbing leak fixed, especially if the service person  has a Southern accent, you will find a friendly conversation to be an important part of the service.  Things are more personal here.  Enjoy slowing down a bit and chatting with folks!
  • People are nice, polite, talk while waiting in line, friendly.  I think we all adopt the Southern hospitality and culture a bit after moving here.  People are more likely to chat with you while waiting in line at Starbucks or just about anywhere if you welcome them.
  • Stop for pedestrians at the market:  If you even put one step towards your car after leaving the market most cars will stop and wave you on.  Just as when driving, there is a politeness that extends way beyond what is experienced in many areas of our country!
  • 4 seasons:  Yes, we do have 4 distinct seasons but all are mild.  Trees have usually finished loosing their leaves by Thanksgiving and by mid April everything is almost completely leafed back out.  Our hottest months are July and August.  We get about one real snowfall (snow sticks to the ground) each winter and a few hail or ice storms mixed in here and there.  We have afternoon thunder and lightning during the warmer months but they are very sporadic. You can be driving along and run into a heavy rain and be back out in the sunshine 10 miles later.  Because we are so far inland, hurricanes generally bring tropical rains but little else.

So, these are the first 26…Look for Part 2 soon!


 60 Things You Should Know About Life in Lake Norman Part 2

60 Things You Should Know about Life in Lake Norman, Part 3

60 Things You Should Know About Life in Lake Norman, Part 4

Fresh Sushi, Hush Puppies: The Scoop About Living in Mooresville Lake Norman

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman’s Business of the Week: The Daily Grind Grill & Cafe



The Daily Grind Restaurant in Historic Downtown Mooresville

Daily Grind Grill & Cafe

If you haven’t discovered the Daily Grind then you are in for a REAL treat!  Originally located on  Brawley School and now in Historic Downtown Mooresville, Daily Grind is all about fresh, homemade and delicious, with an eclectic menu that is perfect for our diverse Lake Norman community.

I chose it as my first Business of the Week because not only is it relatively new and family owned and operated, but because it is one of my personal hangouts and I really want them to succeed!  Over the past year they has earned quite a good reputation with the locals including several NASCAR cup drivers and for good reason:  Great, fresh, homemade food and friendly service!

Daily Grind Grill & Cafe is a family affair.  Originally from New Jersey, the Ryan’s move to Lake Norman about 3 years ago and opened Daily Grind in August of 2007.  Son Chris Ryan is the Executive Chef and Mom and Dad help everything run smoothly.

From my favorite sandwich, the veggie panini with grilled eggplant, Portabella mushroom, asparagus, tomatoes, roasted peppers and fresh Mozzarella, to an incredible selection of burgers, sandwiches, homemade soups and salads, I challenge anyone to not find something they like on their extensive menu.  While many of their items may be offered with us “transplants” in mind, they also offer the down-home southern foods like crab cakes, meat loaf with mashed potatoes, Grouper and grits.

Pub chips are a must have…their own homemade potato chips are thick and crispy.

Did I mention that they serve breakfast all day?  Fresh omelettes, Frittatas, or decadent blueberry pancakes, Belgian waffles, French toast stuffed with blueberries, raspberries or peanut butter and banana with their special butter I have yet to try anything that wasn’t perfectly delicious!

And, when I am trying to be health-conscious they offer fresh fruit, oatmeal and yogurt with granola.

“Whether you’re in the mood for just a cup of coffee or a hearty meal…Whether you’re working up a big appetite, or just in the mood for a sandwich, The Daily Grind & Cafe has what you are looking for”!

Daily Grind Grill & Cafe,  170 North Main Street, Mooresville NC. 704.230.1405

More Local Businesses

Lake Norman’s Birkdale Village: Great Shopping, Dining and Housing!

Lake Norman’s New Mooresville Town Square is Coming to Life!

Lake Norman’s Cool Breeze Cyclery:  It’s Not Just About the Bikes!

Ferrucci’s Market in Cornelius: Now That’s Italian Lake Norman!

Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations

Lake Norman Welcomes the New Year in Many Ways!

  The greater Lake Norman and Charlotte area has myriad ways to celebrate the New Year, it is just a matter of knowing where to look!  From boat parties on Lake Norman to holiday restaurant bashes to family oriented festivities there truly is something for everyone.

So, where do you go?  My suggestion is to start with The Charlotte Observer.  They currently have two great articles:  New Year’s festivities fit for a family and  5 great places to welcome the New Year  which offer an incredible array of places to go and things to do.  From the swank  Enchanted Evening Ball at Charlotte City Club to the hot  NYE at The Sunset Club it’s worth taking the time to check it out. If you don’t have time to pick up a free copy of Creative Loafing you might find their website equally helpful: Creative Loafing. Want to stay in Lake Norman?  Check out where you will find a list of all of the local parties from the new Tapas restaurant in Birkdale Village to Midtown Sundries on Lake Norman. Another Lake Norman resource is LKN Social which even lists boat parties on the lake!

Have a very safe and Happy New Year!

Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations

Lake Norman Home Buyers and Sellers, Our Drought is Officially Over!

Lake Norman waterfront homes

After about a year and a half, the greater Lake Norman area is now officially out of the few remaining drought areas in North Carolina according to the US Drought Management Advisory Council’s  data as of December 16, 2008!  Only the far western portion of our state has any water deficiencies:


Thanks to our most recent rains even the Lake Norman water levels are at 97.3 which is 1.3 feet above the “target level”.  (Remember that 100′ is “full pond” which is the highest level possible before they release water at the southern dam).

Continue reading