Lincoln County, NC

  In the intangible beauties of life at a slower pace, you’ve found your home in Lincoln County. Stretching from the relaxing shores of Lake Norman to the hometown charm of Cat Square, Lincoln County is a quiet haven with easy access to the attractions of Charlotte. Because of I-77, the east side of Lake Norman developed very quickly. The western side in Lincoln County has typically been a little quieter and laid-back. But it’s no secret to the thousands who now make their home here. Lake Norman is referred to as North Carolina’s Inland Sea because it covers more than 32,500 acres and has 520 miles of shoreline. This clean, freshwater lake is fed by the Catawba River and was created in 1962 when the Cowan’s Ford Dam was completed across the river. Affectionately called “Denver of the East,” the town of Denver is the main commercial region of Lincoln’s lake area. The town is centered on the post office and stretches north and south along N.C. 16. Future plans call for widening N.C. 16 to four lanes from Charlotte to Hickory, and development is already happening as retailers and developers position themselves on this important stretch of highway. Hundreds of new homes have been built along the lake corridor, including some of the most upscale on this dazzling lake. Communities such as NorthView Harbour, Sailview and Cowan’s Ford (golf community) offer waterfront lots. The area’s premier address is Governor’s Island, with palatial stucco homes and boat slips extending on a finger of land out into the lake. Homes here can cost $1 million or more. Not too far from the water are more moderately priced neighborhoods, including Waterside Crossing and Verdict Ridge (golf community). So many people have moved to the area and taken an interest in its development that there’s been serious talk about forming a new town in east Lincoln that would be called West Norman. It would encompass the lakeside areas of Westport, Triangle and the N.C. 16 and N.C. 73 intersection. Travel west to the geographic center of the county and you’re in Lincolnton, the county seat. Lincolnton is also growing, and not just because of its proximity to Charlotte. Lincolnton lies an equal distance from Hickory and Charlotte, and an equal number of workers go to work in Hickory and in Charlotte each day. The recently expanded U.S. 321 has helped to strengthen the tie between these two cities. Residents of downtown Lincolnton are proud of their town’s charm and cultural offerings. The Lincoln Cultural Center on Main Street is the host stage for productions by the Lincoln Theatre Guild. The center also houses Lincoln County’s Museum of History, which features Lincoln artifacts and historical materials. Each September, crowds as large as 50,000 gather for a downtown festival that’s sweet to the core. The Lincoln Apple Festival offers food, games, rides and entertainment. Top-rated health care is provided at Lincoln Medical Center on John Gamble Drive in Lincolnton. This privately owned, 101-bed acute-care hospital recently completed the biggest construction project in the 30-year history of the hospital, adding a new wing that increased the medical center’s size by more than 40 percent. Finally, heading far west into the foothills of Lincoln County is Cat Square, a unique place with a unique name. Local lore holds that the name came to be because folks used to drop off their unwanted cats on the square. Today, Cat Square is known for hosting one of the largest Christmas parades in the area.