If you’re looking for a place that’s like what Lake Norman used to be before its explosive eastern shore growth, head to the Catawba County communities of Sherrills Ford and Terrell.
With a location that is the furthest away from Charlotte, no major highways and little water or sewer infrastructure, the northwestern corner of Lake Norman is by far the least developed.
Catawba County has 148,000 residents and most still live in central and western parts of the area known as the Appalachian foothills, particularly in Hickory and Conover. These cities benefit from Interstate 40, mixed drink sales and heavy industrialization in furniture, textiles and fiber optics.
But the southeastern pocket of Catawba County is one of the fastest-growing portions, projected to grow by 25 percent or more between 2000 and 2020, due to the demand of lake lots, relatively low housing prices and proximity to Charlotte. Additionally, the new Lowe’s corporate center in Mooresville brings a number of jobs to the area.
To many area residents, good schools, less congestion, lower prices and a small-town way of life are worth the nearly one-hour commute to Charlotte.
The population increase in the past few years has prompted Catawba County Schools to plan new schools and make additions to old schools in the southeastern part of the county to accommodate the rapidly growing area.
In anticipation of coming changes, Catawba County Commissioners adopted the Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan in 2003. Drafted by a group of volunteers who live in Catawba County’s Lake Norman communities, the Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan explores current conditions and defines issues crucial to preserving quality of life in face of rapid change. Community leaders use the plan to make decisions regarding future growth and development.
Area leaders are also discussing a commercial center at N.C. 16/N.C. 150 and a village center at N.C. 150/Sherrills Ford Road.
Noteworthy attractions in the area include the Terrell Country Store at N.C. 150 and Sherrills Ford Road, an 1891 country store with old-fashioned candy, homemade butter, hoop cheese, Amish jellies, hand-dipped ice cream and locally-made gifts.
Further west into Catawba County are the Bunker Hill Covered Bridge on N.C. 70 in Claremont, one of the two remaining covered bridges in North Carolina; and Murray’s Mill off N.C. 10, a fully restored working grist mill dating to 1873.