High Rock Lake Living

Laura Hill
On Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 19:26
With its awe-inspiring mountain views, pristine lakefront panoramas and abun­dance of wildlife sightings, High Rock Lake’s appeal is no mystery. Did we mention the world-class bass fishing and an easy commute to Raleigh, Charlotte and Greensboro? One of Davidson County’s most popular weekend/summer retreats for decades, the 15,000-acre lake and its surroundings is steadily becoming one of the most sought-after permanent addresses in the region, as modest summer cabins increasingly make way for larger luxury getaways and full-time residences. “It’s hard to find a place in the Piedmont with a little bit of mountain and a little bit of lake without driving 150 miles to the west part of the state,” says Jim Kelley, a High Rock Lake resident for the past five years. “Here, you have it all.” Where once an avid weekend sportsman might have bought a small cabin for far less than $100,000, home prices today range from modest frame houses starting in the $150,000 range to upscale homes in gated communities to elaborate lakefront mansions in the million-dollar range. And just what makes the area so attractive? “What’s not to like? The weather is beautiful, and the people are great,” says Jocelyn Kearns, a friend of Kelley’s and another High Rock Lake full-time resident who enjoys her own private dock on the lake, as do many area homeowners. “Life is so different here,” she says. “We spend a lot of time with friends on the lake, jet-skiing and so on during the day, playing cards at night. It’s going back to nature – an old- fashioned kind of life.” Five miles from Denton, High Rock Lake is nestled in the Uwharrie Mountains. Both Kelley and Kearns live in The Springs at High Rock, one of the numerous new developments along the lake’s 360-mile shoreline, Kelley on the mountain side of The Springs and Kearns on the lakefront. Kearns fell in love with the area first, more than eight years ago, when she and her husband, Phil, were living in Ohio. “He traveled a lot of the time, and every time he was out of town he would look at a different area. When he saw the lake, he called and said, ‘When you see the deer jumping in the forest, you’ll be crying.’ And that’s just what happened.” Kearns built a home and moved in five years later. She communicated her enthusiasm three years after to Kelley, who was then retiring from his job with Duke Energy in Greensboro. “I was having lunch with her one day, and we were talking about retirement,” he recalls. “I was telling her that I’d love to live on a lake, and I’d really love to live in the mountains and she said, ‘Come see where I live.’” He did, and within two years Kelley and his wife, Rebekah, were living in their mountain dream home, a move that “suits us like a glove,” he says. Kearns agrees. “I feel like I’m getting down to what is important here,” she says. “The only thing I would change would be to build a bigger front porch. Who needs a living room?”


Laura Hill is a former reporter/columnist for the Tennessean and a contributor to Journal Communications publications since 1996.