Hiking the Appalachian Trail

You don’t have to be a hiker to know about the Appalachian Trail. One of the longest hiking trails in the United States, this Maine-to-Georgia mountain excursion has been the subject of memoirs, movies, and mainstream media. Every year millions of hikers attempt to make the “thru-hike” north or south, but only around 15% make their destination.

Appalachian Trailblazers

appalachian trail - fall foliageThe popularity of the Appalachian Trail exploded just before the new millennium, but the hike itself has been around for decades. The trail began with Benton MacKaye, a forester who first wrote of his planned path in 1921. The first section of the trail opened in New York several years later. Early metal markers pointing the way South still exist from these early trailblazing efforts. Today hiking conservatories have unified the trail with white trail blazes. Similar blue blazes show the road to campsites, shelters, and scenic overlooks off the beaten path.

Home Sweet Home

Lake Nantahala is home to many scenic views, rugged hiking trails, and protected forest spaces; but nothing else in our backyard is quite as famous as the Appalachian Trail. A 60 mile portion of the 2,180 mile Appalachian Scenic National Trail passes through the Nantahala region. Our nearby neighbors in Franklin, NC became an official Appalachian Trail Community in 2010 for their work in protecting and tending the trail. North Carolina is also home to another famous Appalachian Trail stop: Hot Springs, NC. The hot, bubbling natural springs outside of Asheville make a perfect stop, whether you’re hiking in the wilderness or taking a day trip to the northeast.

Adventure awaits in your backyard. Hike past cascading falls and stunning views of the North Carolina mountains on the Nantahala section of the Appalachian Trail.

photo from flickr

A Picture Perfect Life

We asked, and Lake Nantahala lovers delivered. We know why we love the sweeping views, residential amenities, and rich adventures of the Reflection Lake Nantahala community, but we want to know what mountain lake life means to our residents and renters. Lake Nantahala Facebook follower Casey took our request to heart, sharing his favorite images of Lake Nantahala. We’re sure he hopes to find an opportunity to rent a lakeside cabin and enjoy the sweet peace of Lake Nantahala living once more.

 life on lake nantahala

There’s nowhere better than a cabin on the lake to relax on a hot summer day. With a sense of seclusion from the rich green foliage, a hazy view of the Nantahala Mountains, and the crystal clear water reflecting the beauty around, we can’t imagine why anyone would pass up a vacation at Lake Nantahala. Many of our lake homes feature benches, tables, and chairs where families can relax and enjoy the idyllic pleasures of this North Carolina mountain getaway.


lake nantahala at dusk

A view from above captures the ethereal beauty of the twilight hours. When fog rolls in off the mountains to settle onto the pure waters of Lake Nantahala, the result is breathtaking. During the day the lake ripples with families enjoying fishing, swimming, and boating, but as peace creeps through the evening hours, the waters still, showcasing the beauty that surrounds them.

Experience the picturesque cabins, lakeside views, and endless amenities of Lake Nantahala. Ask about North Carolina mountain real estate and rental homes.

How to Hack Lake Life

fun at Lake NantahalaWe’re always ready for a day of play at Lake Nantahala, but sometimes we let our enthusiasm get the better of us. Don’t jump in before you’ve checked off these summer life hacks for the perfect lake day.

  1. Stay Plugged In. Can’t give up your smartphone? Keep up with friends and colleagues (and enjoy your “Loving Lake Life” playlist) by putting your iPhone in a plastic sandwich bag. The touchscreen will work as usual, and you won’t have to worry about fritzing your phone while you lounge by the lake.
  2. Stay Hydrated. If you’re gearing up for fun in the sun, hydration is the key to a long, happy day. You don’t need a cooler to a enjoy crisp, refreshing drink on Lake Nantahala. The night before a summer adventure, fill an empty water bottle halfway. Put it on its side in the freezer. In the morning, fill it the rest of the way with water, juice, or your favorite soda. Voila! Instantly cold water without chipping ice or hauling coolers.
  3. Stay Organized. Are you the type of person who tends to lose things? It’s easy for keys, wallets, and electronics to sink to the bottom of an over-full beach bag. Skip the ensuing panic by keeping your important items together. Clean out an old sunscreen bottle and store your phone, keys, and credit cards inside. Not only will they stay safe and hidden, you won’t have to worry about accidental water damage.

There’s still time to soak up sun on the Lake Nantahala shore! Enjoy the good life with a North Carolina mountains lakeside property.

Prepare Your Pup for a Day at the Lake

dog visits the lakeFor many Lake Nantahala residents and renters, it’s unthinkable to leave pets behind for a summer trip to the lake. Dogs are your best friend, your child with four paws, your fellow adventurer in the wilds of the Nantahala National Forest. Lake Nantahala is pet friendly, with plenty of places for you and your furry friend to roam. If you’re planning on bringing your dog to the North Carolina mountains, make sure he’s ready for a day at the lake.

Plan Your Lake Day

Before hitting the open water with your favorite pet, know what sort of activities are on your to-do list. Does your ideal lake vacation include swimming and fishing? You’re probably okay to bring your pet along. Would you rather sip cocktails or nap in the warm sunshine? Leave your pet at the lake house while you lounge by the lake. If you plan to rent a boat, take a hike, or visit Lake’s End diner, make sure all areas are pet approved before bringing along your pooch.

Know Your Dog

The first step in a stress-free (well, stress-limited) day at the lake with your dog is to make sure your pet is appropriately trained. Can your dog swim? Is he a good runner? Does he come when you call him? Train your dog for obedience before bringing him out for a day of fun at the lake. If your pooch isn’t a good swimmer, buy a doggie sized life vest and let your dog practice swimming in it. You should also know if your dog gets tired easily, has asthma triggered by hot weather, gets along well with people and other animals, and listens well enough to stay nearby.

Pet Safety Gear for Lake Nantahala

Just like lake-goers need to stock up on sunglasses and sunscreen before hitting the shores, pets require lake gear, too. If you’re bringing your dog to the lake, supplement your beach bag with:

  • Bottled water and a portable bowl
  • Dog waste bags
  • Identification tags
  • Food and treats
  • A first aid kit with antibiotic ointment and dog medications
  • A collar and leash
  • An old towel
  • A dog-proof flotation device

Ready for a day at the lake with your dog? We look forward to seeing you and your most loyal companion at Lake Nantahala this summer!

photo from flickr

4 Landscaping Ideas for Your Lake House

If your Lake Nantahala property is a summer residence or a vacation home, you probably don’t want to invest too much effort into renovating the landscape. Nevertheless, a flourishing yard and garden can improve your curb appeal, make your real estate feel homier, and provide a welcome burst of beauty each time you visit the lake house. If you want to create a beautiful lakeside landscape without the stress of constant upkeep, try one of these 4 Lake Nantahala landscaping ideas.

  • Choose your plants wisely. It’s tempting to plant your favorite flowers regardless of upkeep, but some plants just aren’t worth the effort. If you don’t have time to tend your Lake Nantahala garden, limit your landscaping to a few brightly colored, hard to kill plants. Coneflowers thrive in sunlight or shade, daylilies anchor well on hillsides, and succulents grow strong in unconventional containers like wheelbarrows or bird baths.
  • nc mountain viewWork with your environment. Lake Nantahala overflows with lush mountain views, sunlight glinting off waterfalls and streams, and idyllic panoramas of the Nantahala National Forest. Make the most of the landscape beyond your backyard by clearing trees that block your view, matching lake house gardens to the natural beauty of the Reflection community, and creating places to enjoy the splendor already around you.
  • Focus on outdoor entertaining. When you live in such a beautiful corner of North Carolina, most of your summer entertaining takes place outdoors. Instead of spending time creating an elaborate landscape, create a place to enjoy the beauty of Lake Nantahala. Build a firepit in the backyard, clear a place overlooking the lake for a permanent outdoor dining area, or hang a hammock on the back porch where your guests can enjoy the beauty of the night sky.
  • When in doubt, hardscape. Hardscaping creates instant elegance without a lot of upkeep. To beautify your landscape without worrying about watering and weeding, add a birdbath, lawn ornaments, or a vine-covered arbor to your landscape. Hardscapes are sturdy enough to withstand any weather and don’t go dormant during winter months, meaning your lake house hardscapes will look just as beautiful during Christmas vacation as they do for your summer trips to the lake.

For more tips on life at Lake Nantahala, call our Reflection Lake Nantahala real estate offices.

Summer Fun in Bryson City

Summer is off to a great start. Lake house owners in the Reflection community have settled into a season of summer cookouts, record breaking Kokanee salmon fishing, and relaxing afternoons boating on Lake Nantahala. But Lake’s End Diner isn’t the only source of entertainment for local homeowners. Nearby Bryson City has a full schedule of exciting summer adventures this July at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.

Independence Day at the Nantahala

Residents of Nantahala, North Carolina celebrate freedom by expressing their sense of adventure. This 4th of July weekend the NOC is throwing a festival of family-centric fun that reminds us of the blessings we enjoy every day. Kick off a weekend of excitement with the Sizzlin’ 4th of July festival. Events will include the Nantahala Rafting Club’s Family Whitewater Weekend races, sizzling sales at the Nantahala Outfitters stores, and live music at Big Wesser BBQ. 4th of July weekend events run July 4th-6th in Bryson City.

Camp Cup Challenge

Summer camp is something that never goes out of style. July 14th-15th the Alzar School invites nearby camps to enjoy two days of rafting adventures, team building, and new friendships at the Camp Cup Challenge. Campers will learn beginner downriver rafting, freestyle, and slalom from a team of top coaches and instructors. Kids 18 and under are welcome to participate for just $5.

Kayaking on the Nantahala

kayak on the beach - adventureThe NOC rounds out a month of freedom and adventure with two race events on the Nantahala River. Kids of all ages are welcome to participate in the NOC Canoe Club Challenge on July 19th. Races include beginner slalom, advance slalom, and the NOC Boater Cross foot race. The weekend of kayaking continues with the World Kayak Hometown Throwdown on July 20th. Paddlers can show off their skills with rolls, loops, swimming, and more as they rack up points and compete for recognition. At the end of the competition, racers can check their ranking on a local, regional, and national level.

Taste the adventure this July with family fun in Bryson City near Lake Nantahala.

photo from FreeDigitalPhotos

4th of July on the Lake

american flag on the lake4th of July celebrations encompass everything we love about life on the lake: fresh grilled food, beautiful views, and time spent with family and friends. With our crystal clear lake, beautiful forested mountains, and welcoming community, we can truly experience America the Beautiful every day of the year. Make the most of your Independence Day holiday with 4 ways to celebrate 4th of July at Lake Nantahala.

  1. Throw a cookout. Nothing says “lakeside living” quite like a 4th of July cookout. Buy simple foods like hot dogs and chips, bake desserts ahead of time, and leave the refreshments in the cooler. There’s no better way to prepare for a family-and-friends cookout than a day relaxing on the shores of Lake Nantahala. Want to keep the festivities small? Celebrate our country’s birthday by cruising around the lake with your favorite people, a cooler full of snacks, and an inner tube for some 4th of July fun!
  2. Go camping. Honor our hard-won liberty by enjoying the beauty of our national parks. Pack your bags and spend a night under the stars in one of the Nantahala National Forest’s idyllic campsites. There’s no better way to appreciate American life than roasting hot dogs over an open campfire. Take your time hiking and exploring the Nantahala on July 5th, then travel to nearby Glenville for their annual fireworks display.
  3. See the fireworks. It wouldn’t be the 4th of July without fireworks. Kids may enjoy sparklers and glow worms as you celebrate at the lake, but the real fireworks come after dark. Visit Glenville, Andrews, or Franklin for a show that will light up your entire holiday.
  4. Head to Bryson City. Our friends at the Nantahala Outdoor Center know how to party! This Independence Day they’re hosting the Sizzlin’ 4th of July event, a weekend full of whitewater rafting, adventure races, and special sales at the NOC Outfitter’s store.

Make the most of your Lake Nantahala real estate by celebrating the holiday with the people you love.

Lake House Must-Haves

view from Lake Nantahala marina

Summer at the lake means rest and relaxation. Our Lake Nantahala real estate has full access to beautiful mountain forests, waterfront shores, and North Carolina summer entertainment. To make the most of your vacation this year, stock up on these 5 must-haves for a summer lake house.

  1. Grill. Nothing beats an impromptu cookout with friends, family, and Reflection Lake Nantahala neighbors. Bring along a mini-grill for a week by the water or invest in a high-class smoker for a summer of unbeatable lakeside living.
  2. Cooler. Whether your family loves summer parties, days relaxing on the Lake Nantahala shore, or afternoons on the open water, a cooler always comes in handy. Stock your lake house deck with refreshing beverages and refrigerated snacks before starting your next summer adventure.
  3. Hammock. Some days, nothing sounds better than a little peaceful solitude. Hang a hammock in your yard, on your back porch, or on a moveable stand in your home. There’s nothing better than a hammock for a relaxing morning of reading, an afternoon catnap, or an evening enjoying a sky full of stars.
  4. A lake bag. Make a dip in the lake simple and refreshing by stocking your beach tote ahead of time. Pack sunscreen, beach towels, sunglasses, lake shore reading, and plenty of bottled water for days at the lake.
  5. Friends and family. We all love a moment to ourselves now and then, but summertime at the lake isn’t half as fun without someone to share it with. Share your North Carolina lakeside mountain getaway with your siblings and their children, your oldest friends, or someone new. As long as you’re with someone you love, a summer of fun is guaranteed!

Father’s Day Fun at Lake Nantahala

father's day activitiesEvery year when Father’s Day rolls around, dads get an assortment of the strangest gifts in the store. A biography of a sports legend he’s never heard of, outdoor technology for that weeklong hiking excursion he’s supposedly always wanted to try, and ties in a variety of colors and shades that suit his family more than the man himself. If you want to give dad a gift he’ll love—and remember—the best present is quality time. Here are 4 Lake Nantahala Father’s Day activities for you and your family.

  1. Fishing: There’s no better Father’s Day gift than a morning of relaxation, nature, and dad’s favorite people. Lake Nantahala, the Nantahala River, and the streams near the Reflection gated community have an impressive array of fish to catch. Find dad’s favorite fishing spot or explore the shores of North Carolina mountain creeks.
  2. Golfing: If your father or husband prefers a slower paced sport, take him golfing for Father’s Day. The Nantahala village has several scenic golf courses nearby, including Cherokee Hills Golf Course in nearby Murphy, NC. Find other courses nestled into the Great Smokey Mountains and the Nantahala National Forest.
  3. Boating: Nothing else gives dad the rest and relaxation of a Father’s Day spent on the lake. Pack a cooler, rent a boat, and enjoy the warm sunshine and lakeside breezes of an afternoon on the water.
  4. Homemade Food: Does your dad love to grill, munch homemade snacks, and sip refreshing drinks by the lake? Plan a family cookout for Father’s Day. Prepare tasty, marinated steaks or keep it classic with burgers. Don’t forget to make his favorite dessert from scratch!

Show dad you love him by making new memories. Enjoy your Father’s Day at Lake Nantahala with your favorite North Carolina mountain man.

photo from FreeDigitalPhotos

Lake House Hydrangea

Hydrangea flowers add instant Southern charm to flowerbeds, table arrangements, and bouquets. A summer favorite in North Carolina, hydrangeas tend to confound new gardeners. Hydrangea bushes require a delicate balance of sun and shade, which can be difficult to find in the wooded mountains of Lake Nantahala. Nevertheless, when these beauties finally burst into bloom, they make any extra effort well worth it.

Hydrangea Varieties

hydrangea flowers for your cabinAgriculturists have developed a variety of hydrangeas that are more shade-tolerant than their predecessors. These new hydrangea plants also require less frequent pruning to produce full, lush flowerbeds in front of your home.

  • Mophead hydrangeas flourish with morning sun and afternoon shade and wilt under too much shade. Choose blue, white, pink, or lavender colored flowers for your Lake Nantahala lake house.
  • Annabelle, or “wild hydrangea,” require a fair amount of shade to flourish in our hot North Carolina summers. Their large, pristine white blooms add classic Southern elegance to cabins with traditional architectural features.
  • Lacecaps have loose, flattened flowers interspersed with the bright green foliage of the hydrangea bush. Some varieties of lacecap hydrangeas have smaller, dark-colored flowers surrounded by a ring of large white blooms. Gardeners can apply the same gardening techniques to lacecap and mophead hydrangeas.

Basic Hydrangea Care

Choose the appropriate hydrangea for our North Carolina hardiness zone and the amount of sun vs. shade on your property. For best results, give your hydrangeas plenty of room to expand. Water your plant thoroughly for several years as it establishes, but never let water stand around the roots. Prune your hydrangea based on the flower care instructions for your particular variety. Newer varieties of hydrangea bushes may bloom multiple times during the growing season.

Add a touch of old fashioned beauty to your home by planting hydrangeas at your mountain lake house. For more lake house ideas, contact Reflection Lake Nantahala.