Monday, December 31, 2012

What's on Your Mind? Mountain Lake isn't only resort that can claim 'Dirty Dancing'

Kevin Kittredge
is The Roanoke Times' What's on Your Mind columnist. whatsonyourmind


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Q: This morning I heard on the radio that today is the 25th anniversary of "Dirty Dancing." It said it was having its third annual celebration at Lake Lure, N.C. I've been under the impression for years that "Dirty Dancing" was filmed at Mountain Lake Hotel in Pembroke. Where actually was it filmed? Who gets the real claim for the filming of "Dirty Dancing"?

David Speight


A: Thanks, David, for your great question of a few months ago, and I'm sorry I haven't gotten to it sooner.

"Dirty Dancing," the low-budget dance flick starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey that turned into a surprise hit in 1987, was actually filmed at two locations: Mountain Lake Conservancy and Hotel and the Lake Lure Inn and Spa in Lake Lure, N.C. Many Roanoke Times readers are familiar with Mountain Lake, located on Salt Pond Mountain near Pembroke. If you've never been there, it's well worth a visit.

Lake Lure is located east of Asheville in Rutherford County, N.C. According to the inn's Faceboook page, the producers of "Dirty Dancing" originally wanted to film the entire movie at Lake Lure, but local officials declined, never dreaming the movie would become one of the year's top-grossing films, sell millions of videos and earn an enduring place in American pop culture. It also spawned a long-running musical in London's West End theater district.

As for which locale gets bragging right, it's a toss-up. Both venues play up the "Dirty Dancing" connection. Mountain Lake has held "Dirty Dancing Weekends," with tours, trivia contests, dance lessons and dancing in the evenings. The Lake Lure Inn has "Dirty Dancing"-themed cabins, named "Baby's Bungalow" and "Johnny's Cabin," after the characters played by Grey and Swayze in the film. A "Dirty Dancing Festival" has also been held in the town of Lake Lure for the past several years. Fans of the movie would no doubt enjoy a visit to both places.

It's a wrap

And that's it, folks. This is my last "What's on Your Mind?" column. As the great Tom Angleberger discovered before me, writing this column leads to all sorts of interesting discoveries, but it also can consume an enormous amount of time. I just have too many other irons on the fire to do it justice anymore.

So I'm leaving the column, and with it a long and rewarding association with The Roanoke Times that began before some of its newest employees were born. I'm deeply grateful for all that the newspaper has given me -- but it's time, finally, to move on.

Happy New Year!

Have a question? An answer? Call "What's on Your Mind?" at 777-6476 or send an email to Don't forget to provide your full name, its proper spelling and your hometown.

Editor's note: What's On Your Mind will return in the near future with a new columnist.

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