Yearly Archives: 2012
I scream, you scream, we all scream for the Mooresville Ice Cream Company!
The summer is winding down, the kids are back in school and the days are getting shorter. Our family took the opportunity to visit a hidden gem in downtown Mooresville a few times over the past couple weeks. Call it a sweet tooth, or trying to get the last moments out of summer that we could.
The Mooresville Ice Cream Company, home of DeLuxe Ice Cream and Front Porch Ice Cream, is located in downtown Mooresville on Broad Street. You are able to peak in the glass doors next to the ice cream parlor to get a peak of the magic that is ice cream making! The ice cream parlor also has sherbet for those looking for a lighter option.
As school starts and we look for escape from the business of daily life, the Mooresville Ice Cream is becoming a weekly ritual for our family. Giving us time to sit down, talk and remind us that life is about the moments like a great scoop of ice cream with friends or family.
One of the crown jewels of living in Iredell county is Lake Norman State Park. Less than 20 minutes from most of the Lake Norman area this 1,328 acre park holds activities for everyone and truly holds the key to getting locals outdoors.
Activities at Lake Norman State Park
The list is long of the hobbies, sports and leisure you can enjoy at LKN State Park. From the park’s website you can find this list:
|Education and Events|
Biking at Lake Norman State Park
As a very enthusiastic mountain biker the mountain bike trails are what first pulled me to the park. Formally called the Itusi trail system the milage currently is sitting 22 miles at with several more miles currently under construction.The longest trail system in the Lake Norman and Charlotte area with different trail loops depending on how difficult and how much climbing you would like to endure.
Hiking at Lake Norman State Park
Hikers have many options to chose from at the park. Dedicated hiking paths that you won’t need to worry about mountain bikers flying up to you at 12 mph, but you are also able to hike all the miles of the Itusi trail. I also must note that while we are talking about hiking trail running is super popular and highly recommended. The trails are perfect and fast for anyone trying to find a new trail to run on.
Alder Trail: Begin this easy 0.8 mile loop at the Park Lake parking lot, which is the first area that you’ll come to after entering the main entrance. The trail crosses the picnic area, circles the peninsula between Norwood and Hicks creeks, and then skirts the edge of the lake. Take a short side path to the dam and view the spillway and gates that control the lake’s water level before returning to the trailhead.
Lake Shore Trail: The trailhead for this moderate but lengthy 5.0 mile trail is at a parking lot near the Cove Picnic Area located off of Shortleaf Lane, which is close to the swimming area. The trail passes the boat launch and family campground as it winds along the lake shore. Take the Short Turn trail to cut your hiking distance roughly in half. Do an ‘out and back’ on the group camp spur to add another mile and a half.
Itusi Trail: Hiking is also allowed on the Itusi Trail, although hikers must yield to mountain bikers using this trail. The Itusi Trail is not just a mountain bike trail – it is designed for hikers as well.
Camping at Lake Norman State Park
If you are remotely interested in camping at Lake Norman the first thing I advise is to go reserve your spot now.
Now that we got that out of the way… I believe camping at Lake Norman is something that locals don’t look at enough. Last year our family went there for Easter weekend. It was beautiful, scenic, amazing lake views, walks and it was perfect for a family camping trip. If we forgot something we were only 20 minutes from home and all of the campsites are well taken care of.
Family Tent/Trailer Camping: Tent pads, picnic tables and grills are available at 33 sites. Occupancy is limited to one family or six people per site. Park gates are locked at the posted closing hours. Campers may not leave the park after closing or before 8 a.m. except in an emergency. The Family Campground is open from March 15th through November 30th.
Group Tent Camping: No more than 25 people are permitted on each site. Drinking water and restrooms are available nearby; picnic tables and a fire ring are provided at each site. The Group Campground is open from April through November.
There are tons of things to do at the LKN State Park. Moving forward I’m sure we will focus on specific ones to give you more details. If you visit the park please let us know your insider tips! Visit Lake Norman’s website in the mean time.
Standing in our beautiful lobby staring at the welcoming HELLO sign, I reflect back to the beginning. Red mud, steel beams, long days and late nights. We were just a framed structure waiting to come alive. Accompanied by timelines, deadlines, and everyday construction, all things crucial to get a hotel up and running, thoughts of how we are going to be successful as a long term stay brand in a struggling economy were streaming through my mind. Two and a half years later, our fundamentals of providing a place for our guests to settle in, have a routine and connect with the neighborhood allow us to keep it simple, fresh, friendly, real and local.
I still remember the feeling I got when I heard the sounds of the sliding front doors opening and our first guest saying, “I would like to check in please”. That’s when I knew we were going to be alright! One by one, some of the nicest people you will ever meet came to be part of our TownePlace Suites family. Whether they were here for a night or to stay for a while, they made themselves at home and we added them to our family tree.
We are different here! Our welcome is more meaningful and our goodbyes hurt. People live here, they visit other hotels. We see them every morning as they head off to work and we send them off with a hearty “see you when you get home”. And in the evenings, we welcome them back to a fresh room and a familiar face. We hear their stories, each more endearing than the last and share ours with them. We know each other and that is very different and very meaningful.
Maybe you are tired of the standard hotel rat race and you are looking for a place to put down some roots, your home away from home, even if it is temporary. Maybe you are ready for a place where you will be called by your name and are able to call the breakfast lady by hers. If we sound like what you are looking for, stop by, meet us and take a look at the place so many wonderful people are calling “home”. We look forward to welcoming you with a warm smile and a friendly “hello”. Those sliding doors are waiting to open for you.
Lazy 5 Ranch!
Don’t let the name fool you, there is nothing lazy about it. As I approached the entrance, my heart rate took an unexpected rise. Who knew that you could go to Mooresville to see the Watusi? But seriously, if you are up for an animal encounter that you will never forget, the Lazy 5 Ranch is your brand of adventure.
The pasture along NC Hwy 150 is just a teaser of what is in store for you once you enter the gate. Once you visit the store, pay the fee and buy some feed, the world of exotic animals is waiting for you. As I passed through the gates, my mind drifted back to Jurassic Park and for good reason. I was riding in the bed of a pick-up truck and was swiftly attacked by hungry critters. This ride is not for the faint of heart. Of course, you can ride inside your vehicle with the windows up, but what fun is that?
Lazy 5 Ranch (www.lazy5ranch.com) is privately owned and operated by Henry Hampton with no federal or state funds. It is home to over 750 animals from 6 continents. The animals can be viewed from a horse drawn wagon or from your own private vehicle while traveling along a 3 ½ mile safari ride.
This ride is one of those things that you will want to do over and over again. The first time through, fear will be part of the excitement, so you will miss a lot. I remember telling my wife to hit the gas on several occasions as I began to feel like a llama or an emu was about to join me in the truck bed. It is amazing how long necks are, not to mention the tongues. They recognize the bucket of food and they want some. Be prepared for an up-close and personal encounter with these animals. For the most part, they are free to roam and they do. Be prepared.
When you finish the safari ride, be sure to take the walking tour. I thoroughly enjoyed the walk and animals and birds. The diversity of the collection is excellent. Take your time and look closely, some critters are shy and spend their time hiding.
I really appreciate the purpose statement that Lazy 5 has on their website….
The purpose of the Lazy 5 Ranch is to educate while entertaining as well as provide an excellent environment for reproducing some of God’s most unique creatures and helping the recovery of several endangered species including the Grevy Zebra, Scimitar Horned Oryx and Ring-tailed Lemur. Hopefully, with your visit to the Lazy 5 Ranch, you have learned new things and had lots of fun. Come see us again soon. The animals will be waiting!
I can’t end with any better statement, so load up the kids and the grandparents and head over for a few hours of fun and adventure. Visit their website ahead of time and learn more about the ranch and what it has to offer before you come out to meet the animals. Mostly, be prepared for fun and excitement; there is plenty of both.