(don’t worry, we won't put Baby in it)
For many fans, Dirty Dancing is the kind of iconic movie that will always remain timeless. Set in the early 1960s, this classic coming-of-age tale is simultaneously spellbinding, heart-wrenching, and awkwardly comical. It’s no wonder that generations of Johnny and Baby fans annually flock to the film’s on site locations to pay homage to their love story. While some scenes at the movie’s fictional Kellerman’s Resort were filmed on location in Virginia; most of the movie’s outdoor scenes including those taking place at the “staff quarters”, and many of the indoor dance scenes including the famed last dance of the season were shot at various locations throughout Lake Lure, NC.
No Watermelons Allowed
The boy scout camp buildings where the staff quarters scenes were filmed were (sadly) demolished in the 1980s, but the stone stairway where Baby practiced the mambo (and carried up the watermelon) still exists. Located on private property in what is now called Firefly Cove, the white railing may be gone, but you can still easily see where Baby practiced her steps all the way back to Kellerman’s.
Tee Up The Drama
No coming of age tale is complete without a few poignant parent and child scenes, and in the case of Dirty Dancing, one of the most memorable takes place on the 16th hold of Bald Mountain Golf Course at Rumbling Bald Resort. With breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and foothills, it’s not hard to see why this picturesque par 3 was considered a perfect location shot.
Feel the Movement
The camp gymnasium that was used for the scenes at the Sheldrake and the (now famous) final dance scene at Kellerman’s burned down in a fire in the late 1980s, but the wood floor was able to be salvaged and now graces the lobby at Chimney Rock’s historic hotel and restaurant The Esmeralda. That means guests at the Esmeralda can still mambo, merengue, salsa (or just walk!) on the same floorboards that Baby & Johnny danced on - don’t worry, you can even put your heel down as you dance through.
Have the Evening of Your Life
Speaking of treading where Baby & Johnny trod… it may not be a film location, but the 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa is where the cast stayed while they were filming on location in Lake Lure. Grab a bite at the Veranda Restaurant where the cast ate, wander through the lobby and hallways where they wandered, you can even book one of the suites where Jennifer Grey or Patrick Swayze stayed, or a Dirty Dancing themed bungalow!
Sit Back and Relax
Lake Lure Tours offers daily guided boat tours at the top of each hour beginning at 11am, or if you prefer, you can book a private guided tour. Either way, their tour guides are experts in Lake Lure’s legends and movie site lore; it’s a relaxing way to see the sights that shouldn’t be missed!
Lake Lure’s Dirty Dancing Festival 2022
Begun in 2010 after Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, this annual festival is not only an incredibly fun weekend, it’s also a nonprofit fundraiser for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCan). From lawn games and watermelon contests, to live music, dance classes and even a lake lift competition - it’s a celebration of the iconic, timeless film and a way to support an even greater cause. Back for the first time since the pandemic, the 2022 Dirty Dancing Festival will be held on Saturday, September 10. Get your tickets early (they sell out fast!)