We had been reading a lot in the local news about the re-opening of Wildcat Lake in Banner Elk. The stories caught my eye, mostly due to an earlier attempt we made to visit a year ago, when Alex saw the lake on a map. But when we made the short trip down to Banner Elk from our place on Beech Mountain to take a look, we were surprised to find that Wildcat Lake wasn't there! So this year's re-opening of the park prompted us to go investigate - an excursion which exceeded our expectations in every way.
In short, the restored lake is just beautiful; and they have surrounded its banks with a wonderland of playground equipment and picnic facilities - plus a white sandy beach that borders both a childrens' shallow swimming area and a deeper one for adults, which is watched over by lifeguards!
The lake is also available for boating (with non-motorized craft only) and we could see docks for easy access to the water. Plus, it is my understanding that the Wildlife Resouces Commission has begun gradually restocking the lake with fish, starting with 5,000 bluegill this year. So another great fishing spot is in the making!
Anyway, what we had intended to be just a brief visit to scout around, stretched into a couple of hours, as we enjoyed the beautiful views and watched our daughter happily trying out all the jungle gyms and swings. We intend to come back with our swimsuits and a picnic next summer.
I will let the photographs convince y'all to do the same!