Lake Norman CURRENTS June 2023

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Bob Ross

Five-Star WSIC

Great Escapes

This Summer Luxury on the Lake Changes Hands Painting Experience
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LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS | JUNE 2023 2 D rs . M ichael c ole M an an D M ichael F oran Summer is Here and So Are We Wisdom Teeth | IV Sedation | Computer Guided Dental Implants Call our office today to schedule your initial consultation When your dentist or orthodontist says: “It’s time for the wisdom teeth to come out” Call soon for best dates! L ake N orma N ’ s T rus T ed C hoi C e F or o ra L s urgery s i NC e 1985 Drs. coleMan & Foran 19910 North Cove Road Cornelius / 704-892-1198

Norman’s LEADING LUXURY | JUNE 2023 7 704-655-0586 | | 21025 Catawba Avenue, Suite 101, Cornelius $3.25 M $4.15 M $3.15 M $1.65 M $3.85 M WATERFRONT | MOORESVILLE 16446 Pinwhenny Road | MLS 4009623 Lori Ivester Jackson | 704-996-5686 | Representing Sellers Liz Miller | 704-962-0018 | Representing Buyers WATERFRONT | MOORESVILLE 128 Greyfriars Road | MLS 4013077 Lori Ivester Jackson | 704-996-5686 Jessica Simpson | 704-787-3330 $4.575 M $1.5 M $1.1 M $678,000 WATERFRONT | THE POINT 135 S Longfellow Lane | MLS 4023117 Doris Nash | 704-201-3786 Jessica Simpson | 704-787-3330 WATERFRONT | LAKE JAMES 3259 Donahue Drive | MLS 4010484 Rachel Alosky Stark | 828-329-3552 WATERFRONT | STATESVILLE 101 Island Ridge Drive | MLS 4010474 Tracy Davis | 704-779-9750 Lori Ivester Jackson | 704-996-5686 7.5 ACRES | DAVIDSON 2615 Grey Road | MLS 4019871 Meredith Hall | 704-905-8400 THE PENINSULA 18936 Peninsula Point Drive | MLS 4025349 Mary Kay Portaro | 440-773-6512 | Representing Sellers Reed Jackson | 704-713-3623 | Representing Buyers GOLF COURSE | THE PENINSULA 19240 Peninsula Shores Drive Mary Kay Portaro | 440-773-6512 | Representing Buyers CONCORD 740 Poplar View Drive | MLS 4025408 Kristen Kosicki | 704-231-0714

Vacationing With Relatives

It’s June in the Carolinas. The neighborhood pool is open, my tomato plants are robust, all is well. During the next few months, many of us will embark on a well-deserved vacation, leaving Lake Norman in the rear-view mirror.

Since our June issue focuses on great escapes, I’d like to share with you my greatest escape — a trip I took to Italy back in the early 1980s.

The town of Montemarano lies among the mountains of Campania, about an hour and a half east of Naples. When the bus stopped adjacent to the town cemetery, I saw the sign: “Benvenuti a Montemarano.” With a six-hour wait for the return bus to Avellino and my Naples connection, I had ample time to explore, take photos, search for forgotten relatives.

I walked the cobblestones until I entered a corner bar, where several men conversed around small tables, two or three sat at the bar. I explained to the bartender that I was an American searching for family. Apparently, my Italian language skills were good enough to garner immediate interest from two men sitting at two different tables. The first man waved me over and I provided him with all the family history I had learned from my grandmother. After a 10-minute exchange, it was obvious this man wasn’t related to me.

The second man beckoned me. His name was Gianni Gallo. After exploring optimistic possibilities, he invited me home to speak with his mother. Coincidentally, the word was out that there was an American in town, and a small crowd gathered outside the bar. The group followed us as curious residents popped their heads out of windows to see the kid with a backpack. There was lively chatter and speculation along the way. When we reached Gianni’s home, he led me to the parlor then called out to his mother and sister. Somebody had alerted them to my pending arrival because a stout, white-haired woman entered the room with a tray of biscotti; her daughter carried a pitcher of red wine and four glasses.

The older woman was Bruna Gallo and, as we talked, I noticed the pictures on the wall, and I immediately knew who she was. When I suggested that her father and my grandfather were brothers, she hurriedly left the room and returned with a family photograph taken during my great-grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration in Boston, dated June 1948. I knew the photo well because my grandmother had the same picture hanging on her kitchen wall and, although everyone in that picture pre-dated me, my grandmother had recounted to me many times their personalities and life stories. I made the connections.

“This is my grandfather, Antonio, your father’s brother,” I said pointing to his picture, and then to the picture of Bruna’s father, Giovanni, hanging on the nearby wall (I had seen his obituary photo back home). He was the oldest of my grandfather’s siblings and the only one to remain in Italy when the rest emigrated to America. After he passed away in 1956, communication waned, and it had been decades since anybody had heard from his children.

“These are your father’s siblings: Pasquale, Almerinda, Eugenio, Caterina. This is your grandmother, Mama Rachaella, my great-grandmother.” I identified sixty-one people in that photo. With heartfelt emotion, the old woman stood and embraced me as did her children.

I stayed with my cousins for nine days. They introduced me to additional family. They showed me where my grandfather was born, where he went to church as a boy, the vineyards and mountain pastures of my grandfather’s youth. At night, I took in the tiny clusters of light from similar towns, distant and sparsely scattered over miles of mountains. I wondered what it might have looked like in 1890.

I took my stories and pictures back home to my father, who always wanted to visit Montemarano, but never got the chance.

Find your getaway. Have a great summer and travel safely.

Co-Editor Tony


MacAdam Smith

Advertising Director

Sharon Simpson


Lori Helms

Advertising Sales Executives

Carole Lambert

Beth Packard

Trisha Robinson

Event Coordinator

Alison Smith

Social Media Specialist

Lauren Platts

Design & Production idesign2, inc

Contributing Writers

Trevor Burton

Kathy Dicken

Mickey Dunaway

Vanessa Infanzon

Bek Mitchell-Kidd

Karel Bond Lucander

Chrissy Samson

Allie Spencer

Contributing Photographers

Jamie Cowles

Lisa Crates

The magazine by and for the people who call Lake Norman home
WE NEED YOUR VOTES! The 2023 Best of Lake Norman competition is underway, and it’s not too early to cast your votes. Vote for your favorite Lake Norman business, health club, performance venue, dining spot and more. Voting runs through June 30, so you have plenty of time to get as many votes in for your favorite business as possible! Winners will be revealed at a special ceremony to be announced soon. Winners will also be showcased in our August issue and will receive a Best of Lake Norman “CURRENTS” trophy along with an award certificate to hang prominently in your business! Your vote can be submitted at *Only one vote per IP address. Employees of Currents Magazine and any of its affiliates do not qualify to vote. LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS | JUNE 2023 8


Lake Norman CURRENTS is a monthly publication available through direct-mail home delivery to the most affluent Lake Norman residents. It also is available at area Harris Teeter supermarkets, as well as various Chambers of Commerce, real estate offices and specialty businesses.

The entire contents of this publication are protected under copyright. Unauthorized use of any editorial or advertising content in any form is strictly prohibited. Lake Norman CURRENTS magazine is wholly owned by Oasis Magazines, Inc.

Mission Statement: Lake Norman CURRENTS magazine will embody the character, the voice and the spirit of its readers, its leaders and its advertisers. It will connect the people of Lake Norman through inspiring, entertaining and informative content, photography and design; all of which capture the elements of a well-lived life on and around the community known as Lake Norman.

CHANNEL MARKERS Movers, shakers and more at the lake 18 BOTL Winner Spotlight Hampton’s 20 News around the Lake Davidson gets social 22 Bet You Didn’t Know ‘Let’s give this tree a friend’ 24 Shop & Tell Solstice Market at Lost Worlds 26 Why We Love … Readers tell us what makes their town special
+ WINE Eating, drinking, cooking and fun 60 Wine Time There’s more to California than Napa 62 Tasty Bits Mexican Corn Salad 64 Nibbles + Bites Saucy Girl Taco Truck 68 On Tap ‘Drink One, Don’t Be One’ FEATURES In Every Issue 28 Making the Scene Training the next generation of actors 30 Navigators A new owner at WSIC 32 Living Your Best Life Have a talk with your doc 40 Great Escape Good Karma Ranch in Iron Station 44 Great Escape Saddle up for Painted Sky Ranch 46 Great Escape NC’s Year of the Trail LAKE SPACES How we live at the lake 36 A Five-Star Destination –StayLakeNorman corners the market About the Cover: Land,
great escapes
in many varieties. Where will your summer getaway take you?
sky, serenity --
by Painted Sky Ranch 35 40 62 LIMITLESS A section for LKN residents 55+ 50 Walk with Ease Get moving in Mooresville 52 A Moment In Time Charleston meanderings 54 Limitless Learning Leaving nothing behind?

REGAIN CONFIDENCE at StayDry Med Centers

Are you having issues with bladder leaks? You’re not alone. Bladder leaks are annoying, challenging and sometimes embarrassing. Decisions about where to go or how much to drink revolve around your ability to get to a bathroom. Little things, like coughing, sneezing, running or jumping, can result in an unfortunate accident. StayDry Med Centers strive to change that and help patients regain their confidence.

StayDry Med Centers is a unique medical clinic that specializes in the non-invasive, non-surgical treatment of bladder leaks and incontinence in men and women. With multiple locations in the Southeast, StayDry Med Centers opened in Mooresville in 2021. They also have a location in south Charlotte, in the Ballantyne area.

“Urinary incontinence and bladder leaks are significant health problems in the United States,” says John Keen, Managing Director of StayDry Centers. “Stress and urge incontinence effect over 25 million Americans each year.” According to Keen, studies show 75% of them are women who have weakened pelvic floor muscles from aging, childbirth, menopause or other underlying health conditions. The remainder are men recovering from prostatectomies or who have overactive bladders or BPH.

StayDry Med Centers treats stress and urge incontinence with an FDA-cleared medical device called the Emsella Chair. The device uses High-Intensity, Focused, Electro-Magnetic (HIFEM) energy to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. An Emsella treatment lasts 30 minutes and is equivalent to performing 12,000 Kegel exercises during a single session. StayDry Med Centers patients with mild to moderate symptoms report positive results after six to eight treatments.

All StayDry patients must first undergo a brief complimentary consultation to review their medical history and screen for any contraindications such as pacemakers and neurostimulators which could disqualify them for treatment. Medical records are then reviewed by their board-certified physician. While most StayDry patients are women over the age of 50, 25% of their patients are men. Emsella treatments are generally safe for men three months after a prostatectomy.

“We currently have two FDA-cleared Emsella chairs and they are operated by BTL-certified Emsella technicians,” says Krista Schoenewolf, Center Manager of StayDry Mooresville, who describes a typical treatment as simple and incredibly effective. “Emsella therapy allows

you to walk in and out effortlessly and painlessly. Patients remain fully clothed on the device as it strengthens their pelvic floor muscles. Emsella does all of that work for you in a half-hour.”

Emsella isn’t just for those suffering from urinary incontinence either. Emsella has sexual health and vitality benefits because it not only strengthens the pelvic floor, but also increases blood flow in the pelvic region.

“The staff is very helpful, knowledgeable and they go out of their way to explain everything and make you feel comfortable,” reads a recent review of StayDry Med Centers on Google. Studies show that 95% of Emsella patients have an improved quality of life. “The results I experienced after six visits are amazing! Wish I had tried it months ago. Very satisfied with the results, and I highly recommend to anyone who needs their help.” There are countless testimonials like this one, including video endorsements, on StayDry Med Centers’ website.

If you are experiencing symptoms of urinary incontinence, contact StayDry Med Centers directly to learn if Emsella treatments are right for you. Bladder leak issues can become more severe over time. The sooner the problem is addressed, the more likely it is to achieve complete relief after only six Emsella treatments.

Urinary incontinence doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of getting older. Call the compassionate experts at StayDry Med Centers to schedule your free consultation and regain your confidence so you can take back your life.

For more information, call 704-274-2200 or visit


Channel Markers

Movers, Shakers, Style, Shopping, Trends, Happenings and More at Lake Norman

The ‘Joy of Painting’ is Alive and Well

Photogrpahy by debwhiteimages, LLC | JUNE 2023 17

Editor’s Note: Each month we will feature one of the 2022 Best of the Lake Norman CURRENTS Award Winners and share a little more behind-the-scenes info with our readers!


Has What Every Man Needs

From his store’s opening in 2014, Tyler Hampton and his business partner, his mother Jan, have sought to provide the finest in tailored clothing, sportswear, footwear and accessories. These tasteful and thoughtfully curated offerings are what make Hampton’s a stand-out among the area’s retailers, earning it the award as our 2022 Best of the Lake Norman CURRENTS “Best Men’s Boutique.”

“What sets Hampton’s apart is the knowledge and passion behind the business, product and our clients, as well as the caliber of clothing and accessories sought from various parts of the world,” Hampton says. “The majority of what I carry in the store is made in Europe — mostly Italy — and many of the lines are family-owned businesses themselves. This is where we find the same desire for excellence as we have. When someone’s family name is the brand, you know they care deeply about the garments they produce.”

Hampton says there are a few lines he carries that he holds exclusively as the only account in the country — a true source of pride that he and his mother can offer his clients something they can only find here in Lake Norman. He’s also developing his signature line called Jacket Required.

“For now, I’m having socks made in North Carolina, sport coats made in Italy and Canada, and shoes made in Italy,” he says. “All are custom-designed by me, and available only at Hampton’s.”

After its founding in Davidson followed by a move to the Langtree area, Hampton’s has recently changed locales to Mooresville’s ever-growing and bustling downtown area, settling in a two-story structure on North Main Street.

“The move to downtown Mooresville is one we welcome dearly,” says Hampton. “Growing up in Mooresville, I’ve seen a vast transition from what Main Street used to be, and I’m excited to be a part of what’s to come.”

He says the larger location will provide significant improvements in the way they merchandise and show the lines they offer, and it will feature an upstairs area dedicated to custom clothing. There’s even a private bourbon bar on the second floor.

And if you’re looking for that special gift for Father’s Day, Hampton’s might be your answer. From custom belts by LEN Lifestyle to handforged William Henry knives, the shop may very well have just what that special man in your life deserves.

As Hampton say, “for the man who has everything, we have what he doesn’t.”

Visit Hampton’s new location at 138 North Main Street in Mooresville, or learn more at or by calling 704.230.4458.
photography courtesy Hampton’s Hampton’s brings clothing and accessories from around the world to the Lake Norman market.
LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS | JUNE 2023 18 | JUNE 2023 19 Windows and doors that reflect your lifestyle 1141 Hawthorne Ln. Charlotte, NC 28205 | 704.344.1875 | Mike@WindowAndDoorPros.Com

Time to get social!

Social districts coming to Davidson

Following unanimous approval by the Town of Davidson Board of Commissioners on May 9, the town has green-lighted two social districts — one encompassing the town’s Main Street area and one at its “circles” near exit 30.

As defined by law, a social district is a “defined outdoor area where alcoholic beverages, sold by an establishment licensed for the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption, may be consumed.” Social districts are permissible under state law, and several Lake Norman municipalities have since enacted them, including Cornelius’ Catawba Avenue corridor, Huntersville at Birkdale Village and Mooresville’s downtown area.

The Main Street social district largely encompasses the retail establishments along that stretch from its intersection with Depot Street to the north to the intersection with South Village Lane (at the corner where Carrburritos sits) to the south. The “circles” social district is a full retail block near the roundabout at Exit 30 bounded by Griffith Street, Jetton Street, Grocery Lane and Peninsula Drive — an area that includes Sabor Latin Street Grill and milkbread (of the Kindred family powerhouse restaurant brand).

Social districts are perceived as economics drivers for many municipalities and their downtown or entertainment areas and have been approved by more than 40 cities and towns within North Carolina since Governor Roy Cooper signed it into law in September 2021. (use image of social district cup?)

Which is the fittest Lake Norman town?

The results from the annual “Mayors Fitness Challenge” are in, and Huntersville took home top honors this year — finally. It’s a victory long in coming following last-place finishes in 2021 when Davidson took home the trophy and 2022 with Cornelius’ first-place win.

Participants in the six-week 2023 Challenge between the three towns

must accumulate activity and exercise minutes — and can add to them by participating in special programs for additional points — which are tallied at the end of the program to determine which town had the highest average minutes per participant. Here’s what the final tally revealed:

• Huntersville, with 103 participants, averaged nearly 753 minutes

• Davidson’s 109 participants averaged a little more than 692 minutes

And after much of last year’s crowing about its victory, Cornelius came in third with the fewest number of participants, at 92, and the lowest average of participant minutes at about 664.

Liberty Park “Reimagined”

Join the Town of Mooresville in its grand re-opening celebration of the revitalization and renewal of Liberty Park on Saturday, June 17, beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Town officials say they have a surprise headliner musical act in store to accompany the event’s ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by a chance to enjoy all the new park amenities, as well as several food and drink options.

The nearly $8 million Phase II project of the park’s rejuvenation was contracted to JD Goodrum of Cornelius, and includes a covered basketball court, greenway trail, new restrooms, playground and a shaded picnic area. The park is at 255 E. Iredell Avenue, and the grand re-opening is one of several events on the calendar this year as part of Mooresville’s 150th anniversary celebrations. Learn more at

CHANNEL MARKERS - news around the lake
Compiled by Lori Helms
Above, special cups are required in the area’s social districts, like this one from Mooresville. Left, Liberty Park’s grand re-opening is just around the corner.

Bob Ross

Keeping the Dream Alive

If you are of a certain age, you surely remember a limited number of television channels. Saturday mornings you may have tuned in to see a curly-haired painter who seemed to lull you into a calm stupor as you watched him create beautiful paintings, all in a half-hour, saying sweet, encouraging things like “happy little clouds,” “no mistakes,” only “happy accidents,” “let’s give this tree a friend – everyone needs a friend.”

The landscapes that unfolded were only part of the appeal. Bob Ross served up valuable life lessons along the way. With his gentle voice and signature expressions, Ross is an enduring icon whose popularity is still growing, even with the younger generation. His show, “The Joy of Painting,” airs on YouTube for all to enjoy.

Here in Lake Norman, there is a studio in Cornelius holding “Paint Like Bob” workshops led by a Certified Ross Instructor (CRI) who is educated and endorsed by Bob Ross Inc., having earned her Certification at the studio developed by Ross. Before his death in 1995, he educated CRIs to travel all over the world to teach his signature wet-on-wet technique. His mission was to make painting accessible to everyone. He believed that all you needed “was a dream in your heart” and a few good tools. Only CRIs are allowed to utilize Bob Ross’ likeness and paintings and teach anywhere they wish.

Bob Ross Workshops are about three hours long and are held once a month. Utilizing all Bob Ross branded brushes, paints, painting knives and other materials, the artist at Studio Elie in Cornelius keeps the workshop 17 attendees or less to ensure everyone gets the instruction and attention that Ross would have wanted.

“These days, more than ever, people are feeling anxious and uncertain,” says CRI Sue Miller and workshop artist at Studio Elie. “A lot of

our entertainment can be loud, suspenseful and tense. Bob, in all his gentle simplicity, was an antidote to that. We can help recreate some of his peaceful happiness and relax if only for a few hours to enjoy simply putting brush to canvas and letting go. As Bob said: create your own ‘happy little world’ right on canvas.”

Ross is believed to be a pioneer in Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR). More than a decade before it became popular, Ross had a mesmerizing, relaxing effect on people. His voice is being used today. He speaks in a soft, quiet and calming tone. He takes long pauses between words and sentences, and he exudes a kind of warmth. He speaks directly to the viewer. The show was as meditative as it was instructive.

Miller says there is satisfaction and joy watching people who never thought they could paint, create their own masterpieces in one afternoon. She is consistently rewarded by seeing people de-stressed by the end of class, creating art they never thought they could.

“What a wonderful person to represent,” she says. “Students will often bring in Bob Ross gifts and trinkets and give them to me; it is absolutely wonderful that I am being remembered when they see Bob. It’s the greatest compliment.” Miller grew up watching Ross, saying he inspired her to become a life-long painter.

“Bob didn’t paint to show how good of a painter he was. He painted to show how good of a painter you could be,” she says.

Editor’s Note: The story’s author, Chrissy Samson, is a Certified Ross Instructor (CRI). Sue Miller is a student of several Bob Ross workshops at Studio Elie.

CHANNEL MARKERS – Bet You Didn’t Know
by Chrissy Samson photography by debwhiteimages, LLC Top: “Paint Like Bob” workshop participants practice the artist’s unique technique. Below: A life-sized cutout of Bob Ross keeps watch over “Paint Like Bob” workshop Certified Ross Instructor Chrissy Samson.
Chrissy Samson is a CRI for Paint Like Bob workshops at Studio Elie in Cornelius (20700 North Main Street, Suite 110). Register for a workshop by visiting or by following Chrissy Samson Art on Facebook.

What Does My Personal Auto Policy Cover?

In most cases coverage will extend from your personal auto policy to a rental vehicle. The coverage would extend at the same limits as your existing policy for liability, comprehensive, and collision. However, there are things that the policy will not cover.

What would not be covered?

The two most common items not covered by your personal auto policy for a claim on a rental vehicle are Loss of Use and Depreciated Value. This means you would be responsible to pay the lost rental charges while the vehicle is being repaired and the loss of value in the vehicle after it is repaired.

What are my options?

If you want to be fully protected, you should consider purchasing the insurance offered through the rental agency. They should have several different options available; you should be aware of what your current auto policy offers so you are not double covered. | JUNE 2023 23
Personal Lines Account Manager Allie works to tailor coverage options and service our local clients. Allie Biechler (704) 875-3060 RENTAL VEHICLES » protecting our LKN community includes

Celebrate the


Lost WorLds BreWing Brings on summer

If there is one thing that the Lake Norman area does not suffer a shortage of, it’s the variety of markets across our several communities and the shopping opportunities and variety they provide. If you’re looking to change things up a bit from the traditional weekend morning farmer’s markets or Friday night food truck and live music rallies, we recommend you look to a celebration of the turning of spring to summer for your next shopping adventure.

On Saturday, June 24, from 4 to 8 p.m., check out the Solstice Market hosted by Lost Worlds Brewing in Cornelius. It is one of a handful of markets presented by Lost Worlds throughout the year, and as market coordinator and owner of Luna’s Lifestyle Christine Rinkert puts it, it has a very different vibe from other local markets, but it’s “equally as cool.”

“I curate a really neat list of artisans,” she says, which include about 50 vendors almost entirely based in the Lake Norman and Charlotte area. Their offerings range from handmade jewelry to pottery items to woodworking pieces, and everything in between. Her own shop – a Lake Norman staple for more than 20 years – offers a mix of art, lingerie and clothing, so there is definitely something for everyone’s tastes.

“Lost Worlds does an incredible job of branding the markets,” Rinkert says about Lost Worlds’ year-round offerings that have become quite popular with the region’s shoppers. “I’m just the lucky

one who gets to coordinate them.”

The Solstice Market is just one of five markets to be held at Lost Worlds this year, and the first evening market they’ve hosted. It falls after one already held in March, and will be followed by a market in September, its “blow-out” market the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and Rinkert’s favorite — the Procrastinators Market that will be held just before Christmas.

“It’s a chance to come out, grab a beer, wander the market and then meet up with friends after to linger,” she says. There will be two food trucks on site as well as music, and it will all be held in the outdoor area behind the brewery. Admission is free.

CHANNERL MARKERS - shop & tell
photography courtesy Lost Worlds Brewing Lost Worlds Brewing holds a variety of artisan markets throughout the year. Lost Worlds Brewing is at 19700-D One Norman Boulevard in Cornelius. Visit them to enjoy their beers crafted to “take you on a journey and satisfy your taste for adventure.” Learn more about them at
LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS | JUNE 2023 24 | JUNE 2023 25 21714 Catawba Ave, Unit A-6 | Cornelius, NC 28031 Sun-Tues 10-6 Wed-Sat 10-8 | ninasboutiquelkn Now Open in Antiquity Fashion Fun & Trendy Vote for Us for Best of Lake Norman CURRENTS Awards: BEST WOMAN’S BOUTIQUE r/BOTL2023 BEST OF THE LAKE Relieve Pain, Leave Stress Behind, Conquer Your Day Give the gift of massage Gift Certificates can be purchased online or in the Studio 704-465-5527 18147 West Catawba Ave. Get a Great Massage and Find Serenity Today Offering: Deep Tissue, Swedish, Neuromuscular, Sports and More Vote for Us for Best of Lake Norman CURRENTS Awards: Massage Therapy BEST OF THE LAKE Voted Best Massage Therapy 2022 BESTOF LAKENORMAN CURRENTS AWARD 2022 Voted Best Massage Therapy 2021 220 W. Plaza Drive | I-77, Exit 36, Hwy. 150 Open 7:30 am - 8:00 pm Weekdays 8:00 am - 4:00 pm Sat. Visit Randy Marion Cadillac for all your service, parts and accessory needs New modern facility to better serve our customers will be open early 2024 704-235-6502 Cadillac Direct • RANDYMARIONCADILLAC.COM

Why We Love

Lake Norman

How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways.

I love thee on a hot summer day.

I love thee along route 77 before and after exit 30.

I love thee dotted with kayaks and paddle boards.

I love thee on a shaded bench.

I love thee catching catfish from the shore.

I love thee from a canoe.

I love thee through binoculars watching a myriad of waterfowl; kingfisher, heron and osprey.

I love thee surrounded by quaint villages.

I love thee on a sandy beach.

I love thee on a trail and preserve.

I love thee on Fourth of July.

I love thee with a picnic.

I love thee with a waterside restaurant.

I love thee with a boardwalk marina.

I love thee with a misty morning fog.

I love thee reflecting Autumn’s vibrant colors.

I love thee when the sun’s reflection sparkles like diamonds. I love thee at crimson sunset.

Even on a dreary dismal day, I never tire of your view.

Ode to Lake Norman

Why do you love your community? We would love to hear! Please email 250 words and a photo to tell us your story!

Our favorite time of year on the lake is boating season! There’s nothing better than packing the cooler full of tasty treats and beverages, zooming off to a quiet cove and tying up with a bunch of your friends for a day of relaxation. On the boat ride home, we’re always treated to a beautiful Lake Norman sunset … the perfect way to wrap up a perfect day!

Stay Connected

Anne McGraw & Larisa Kamp | JUNE 2023 27
Show your love for CURRENTS and subscribe to our sneak peek e-newsletter. Click “be the first” at

Making the Scene in Denver

A learning haven for local thespians

The opportunity for a child actor to realize a successful Hollywood experience is quite slim. How many of us know a child actor who made the trek to Los Angeles and earned a guest spot in a four-time Emmy nominated television series? Would you be surprised to know that someone from Denver, North Carolina did exactly that? Her name is Dara Sisterhen.

By the time Sisterhen was 10 years old, she was writing songs and playing the guitar, was enrolled in theater and improvisation workshops and was performing in local children’s theater.

“I knew I wanted to be an actor and my mom, who has a professional musical theater background and knew of the industry’s stressful demands, strongly disagreed,” says Sisterhen. “I begged her to get me an agent, and I kept at it until, finally, she gave in.” The representation led to her competing in the International Talent Showcase in Miami, where her confidence and stage skills then took her to New York, where she had numerous auditions and callbacks including multiple opportunities to compete for Broadway roles, but that wasn’t the road she wanted to take.

Subsequently, Sisterhen and her mom went to L.A., where she landed a guest role on the Nickelodeon teen series “Victorious.”

“Victorious was my first real acting job,” says Sisterhen. “It was lots of fun on the set, and so exciting … there was something Disneyland-ish about it.”

From 2009 to 2016, Sisterhen kept busy. Subsequent roles include recurring appearances on Disney Channel’s “Dog With a Blog” as well as Freeform’s “Switched at Birth” and a lead role in the Warner Brothers original movie “Pure Country Pure Heart” alongside Laura Bell Bundy (“Legally Blonde”) and Willie Nelson.

In addition to on-camera experience, Sisterhen trained at the studios of John Rosenfeld and Michael Woolson as well as the Lee Strasberg Institute and The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

“The London courses were intense and at a much higher level than I had previously experienced,” says Sisterhen. “It was predominantly

theater acting with incredibly in-depth and well-rounded training. I would love to see an institution comparable to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art here in the Southeast.”

In 2017, Sisterhen left L.A. and headed east, taking her love for songwriting and her vocal skills to Nashville, where life, she says, was “more relaxed.” While in Nashville, Sisterhen enjoyed the music scene, composing songs, performing, building her network of writers and publishers, and working with nine-time Grammy winner David Cobb to release her EP titled “Boom.” Sisterhen says she loves music as much as she enjoys acting and the escapism associated with character interpretation and song writing that lets the performer become someone else. A sampling of Sisterhen’s music can be seen on YouTube.

Sisterhen notes that the COVID-19 pandemic gave her a different life perspective.

“After the pandemic, I decided to return to my family and live a ‘normal’ life, supporting the arts and helping people navigate the arts industry.” To propel her mission forward, Sisterhen opened Dara Studio of Acting in November 2021, offering youth, teen and adult classes as well as summer camps, private coaching and audition taping. Recent students have earned roles on Apple TV and have auditioned for Broadway.

“Actors must learn to think on their own,” says Sisterhen. “At some point, they must become their own artists. Playing a character requires the actor to flesh-out character objectives and interpret the narrative message. And it’s not only about the individual actor. Decisions have to be made as a cast.”

Dara Studio of Acting’s next plays — “Eclipse,” a murder mystery performed by the studio’s youth company, and “What Are They Like,” a parent’s perspective on the relationships between parents and children performed by the teen company — will take place at the Joe V. Knox Auditorium at the Charles Mack Citizen Center in Mooresville on June 13 and 14.

photography by Hunt & York, Photography Top: Professional actor, musician and studio owner Dara Sisterhen Left: Dara’s Teen class reading lines
Dara Studio of Acting is at 342 North N.C.-Highway 16 (Business) in Denver. For more information, visit or call 704.937.6037.


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Local Radio Station Looks to the


WSIC Statesville welcomes new owner

Justin Ckezepis is a man on the go. He’s a real estate attorney, a podcaster, a husband, a father, a board member and an entrepreneur. Add to his list of accomplishments the forthcoming title of radio station owner, and you’re up to date — for now, anyway.

Ckezepis will take over the reins at Statesville’s WSIC Radio from Mark Sanger — owner, president and CEO for the past 18 years. WSIC offers a talk radio format broadcasting local programming including Iredell-Statesville Schools’ “ISS I on Education,” “Local Biz Now” and “Health Talk.” National programming includes “The Charlie Kirk Show,” “Coast to Coast with George Noory” and “The Todd Starnes Show.”

“I visited Mark Sanger with the goal of ultimately airing my podcast ‘Today’s Real Talk’ on WSIC,” says Ckezepis. “During our discussion, we talked business, and I described the purpose of my show — its format and the direction it was headed. One of my dreams has

always been to own a radio station and, when I expressed my desire to someday move into that realm, our conversation headed in that direction and, unexpectedly, station ownership was suddenly within my reach.”

WSIC Radio has been operating since 1947 and prides itself as the “… region’s trusted interactive media resource striving to connect businesses and the community.”

Ckezepis, known as the “Mobile Real Estate Closing Attorney,” has been living in the Lake Norman area since 1994. He’s a graduate of Hopewell High School’s class of 2008. He attended Appalachian State University and graduated with a degree in communications in 2011, and received his law degree from Charlotte School of Law in 2015. Ckezepis’ syndicated podcast, “Today’s Real Talk,” focuses primarily on the real estate business and life across North Carolina. However, content and discussions — with live, statewide call-ins — can vary from buying a home to addressing issues in education

by Tony Ricciardelli photography courtesy Justin Ckezepis WSIC’s new owner, real estate attorney Justin Ckezepis
Movers and Shakers: WSIC’s owner Mark Sanger (left) is selling his radio station to real estate atorney and entrepreneur Justin Ckezepis

to trading the best barbeque techniques. Experts in their respective fields are often in-studio participants who share their knowledge and field questions.

Ckezepis’ production company

— Real Talk Studios LLC — located in Cornelius is ground zero for his podcast, but it also serves as a production house for other podcasters and broadcasters producing a variety of content.

The facility operates independently from WSIC in Statesville, but Ckezepis says in addition to broadcasting from the Statesville studio, WSIC content will also be broadcast from Real Talk Studios beginning July 1.

“We’ll be keeping the news talk format and local coverage, which gives area residents access to the decision makers,” says Ckezepis. “We serve as a sounding board where citizens can have honest conversations.” Recent “Today’s Real Talk” topics include: “Who can tell you what you can & can’t on your property? HOAs”; “The Friendliest Town in the South: Tryon, North Carolina” and “Ever sit around and think about what it would take to balance between major growth and keeping your small town culture?”

Ckezepis recognizes the small-town feel and listener-trust fostered at WSIC, noting the station operates with a genuine appreciation and respect for the community. With WSIC’s 75 years of service providing Ckezepis with a solid, successful history to carry the station forward, the new owner will champion WSIC Radio into an exciting and promising future. | JUNE 2023 31 NON-TOXIC, VEGAN, 5 - 21 FREE POLISHES CERTIFIED ORGANIC PRODUCTS A LUXURY EXPERIENCE!
Ckezepis’ Real Talk Studios in Cornelius
Vote for
Best Nail

Guys, Have a Talk with Your Doc

Are you sure you know what you’re missing?

Twenty years ago, a large-scale, long-term, credible study concluded that men could take a pill that would reduce their chances of getting prostate cancer by a whopping 25 percent. This is not a rare disease: one man in nine will be diagnosed with it during his lifetime. About a third of men have it by the time they’re 55, and about 80 percent will have cancer cells in their prostate by the age of 80.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the U.S., except for non-melanoma skin cancer. For most, it’s a slow-burn disease that is not a problem, but it can be difficult to distinguish aggressive tumors from those that pose little threat.

The Pennsylvania radiologist Dr. Saurabh Jha noted that the prostate “doesn’t have the prettiest real estate.” It occupies a kind of lower-torso Grand Central of plumbing and electrical systems, wrapped around a close-packed gore of intestines, kidneys, sex organs and waste disposal routes. Surgery for cancer there is complex, frequently results in impotence and/or incontinence, and is often unnecessary (and that’s an article for another time).

So why aren’t more men taking that cheap and freely available drug, called finasteride (the trade name is Proscar), to gain its huge protective factor? Partly because of widespread confusion and obsolete information. And finasteride’s occasional side effects indicate that for a small number of men, it’s not a good option.

This is a complex story but an important one. Let me begin it for you, then you can ask your primary care physician or your urologist for the details. That careful 2003 study of nearly 20,000 men did, indeed, show a remarkable reduction in the overall incidence of prostate cancer among the half of them who took finasteride over seven years. But paradoxically, the data also showed an increased incidence of more serious forms of the disease, so finasteride did not become the go-to drug for prevention.

Ten years later, however, a more rigorous follow-up analysis showed that finasteride does not generate more aggressive cancers, after all. And it has other benefits, like alleviating the all-too-common problem of frequent urination among older men.

Dr. Howard Parnes, M.D., a prostate cancer researcher at the Di¬vision of Cancer Prevention at the National Cancer Institutes notes, “Although finasteride is not FDA-approved for prostate cancer prevention, it is approved for the treatment of urinary symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) ... finasteride is a reasonable choice for the treatment of BPH in that it may decrease a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer while improving urinary symptoms due to BPH.”

It is important to note that finasteride can have side effects, he adds, including sexual side effects, though in fewer than five percent of men. Risks as well as benefits should be part of the conversation. The important question for many men is this one, though: have you even had that conversation?


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Lake Spaces

How We Live at the Lake | JUNE 2023 35
photography courtesy Stay
properties and views like this, StayLakeNorman’s luxury vacation rentals are thriving on Lake Norman.
Lake Norman With
StayLakeNorman corners the luxury market Destination LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS | JUNE 2023 36
A Five-Star

Some folks will go to great lengths for a great escape. We’ve given you some fun options for getting outside of your Lake Norman bubble this month and checking out what waits for you beyond its shores.

But this is the story of one Australian man and his family, and the long trek they took to discover that possibly the best place in the country to escape from it all may very well be the place we often take for granted — the 520 miles of shoreline known as North Carolina’s very own Inland Sea.

It only took a two-year long road trip in a motor home across nearly every state in the U.S., for G.I. “Lawrie” Lawrence, his wife Frances, and their two children to discover what he describes as that “Goldilocks” appeal of our beautiful lake — not too rural, not too urban, but just right for the luxury vacationer looking to get away from life’s craziness for a bit without the sometimes programmed and sanitized feel of a commercial resort and the crowds that go with it.

As a real estate professional by trade, Lawrence knows of what he speaks. His decades-long career in Australia served him well, so when he and his family went on their multi-axle “walkabout” around America, he trusted his instincts when they stumbled upon our little piece of heaven.

“We fell in love with Lake Norman and decided, ‘Hey, let’s get a green card and stay’,” Lawrence says. They not only stayed, but Lawrence soon became one of the highest performing Realtors in Mooresville for several years running.

In 2015, he and his wife had the idea to create a luxury, high-end rental property on the lake — something well

by Lori Helms photography courtesy StayLakeNorman | JUNE 2023 37
StayLakeNorman’s properties are designed to meet the needs of the five-star vacationer, with several homes in Mooresville, Denver and Sherrills Ford sleeping as many as 16-18 guests.

beyond the typical lakefront properties that were often someone’s second home and rented out “as is,” with furniture and finishings more pieced together than thoughtfully designed and procured. He says at that time there were about 200 rental properties around the lake, describing them as mostly 3-star level Airbnb or Vrbo offerings. And within six months, their luxury property was the highest-performing rental on the lake.

This is great, he thought, so let’s do it again. Within no time, they then had the two highest-performing properties on the lake, booked at three times the rate as anyone else’s — and StayLakeNorman was born.

The key to how he achieved such rapid success is simple if you ask him.

“We build ‘sexy’ houses, that’s how,” Lawrence says matter-of-factly. “No one’s building them.” He says they learned how to create something extremely desirable for a market that no one else was addressing — what he describes as five-star, purpose-built vacation homes for that “one percent” client niche market. A lot of thought has gone into the design of these StayLakeNorman homes. Some of them are remodeled relics from the 1960s, 70s and 80s that had salvageable “bones,” and some are new builds, but all of them were designed to respond to what the high-end vacationer was seeking.

“We really kind of reverse engineered the properties to what that market wants,” he says. And they’ve truly found that sweet spot. Forty-five properties later and StayLakeNorman homes consistently outperform the market, offering the kind of resort amenities the luxury vacation market demands. That includes concierge-style service like daily housekeeping, boat rental availability and a home fully stocked by catering services, so the cupboards, refrigerators and bars are ready and waiting for new arrivals.

In a rental market where the typical Lake Norman property averages about $68,000 a year in income, StayLakeNorman homes net almost five times that amount. The average daily rate is about $1,300 per night, but it fluctuates by season. A home that rents for $600 per night in January could go for about $6,000 in mid-summer.

“The money is at the top, if you’re prepared to get the right look, feel and layout,” Lawrence says about the company’s deliberate approach to its inventory. “We are really building into the hole in the market here, and that hole is the five-star luxury vacation home market.”

Explore what StayLakeNorman has to offer by visiting, or call them at 704.924.0510.
The “Lakeside Story” home in StayLakeNorman’s inventory offers comfortable relaxation with expansive views of the lake.
WE WILL SELL YOUR FURNITURE Constantly Changing High Quality New and Consigned Inventory Helpful Staff Ready to Assist with Loading and Unloading Explore Our Spacious Showroom Today! 704-663-0668 | 335 W. Plaza Drive | Mooresville NC 28117 | Premier OpenEveryday Consignment | JUNE 2023 39 138 Village View Drive, Suite 104 Mooresville, NC 28117 | 980-447-9930 ... dive into our luxurious outdoor furniture collection! Summer is calling... Vote for Us for Best of Lake Norman CURRENTS Awards: BEST INTERIOR DESIGN BEST OF THE LAKE

Find it at good Karma ranch in iron station

Native to South America, alpacas are long-necked, big-eyed, smaller members of the camelid family. With luxurious coats that rival cashmere or angora, these gentle charmers communicate by humming. Head over to Good Karma Ranch in Iron Station and see for yourself. Say hello to Moonlight, Chika and Lover’s Legend — three of their herd.

“Alpacas are super addictive,” says co-owner Mike Walsh, with wife, Shelly, who adds, “They have a way of softening people, and everyone seems to react positively to them.”

At Good Karma, you can try an Alpaca Yoga class or enjoy a special event, such as “Moms and Mimosas” or “Charcuterie, Craft Beer


and Alpacas.” With help from their teenage son, Ryan, a part-time employee and a few volunteers, this family-friendly farm regularly offers group or private tours. You can also schedule educational school visits or company team-building and corporate wellness meetings. And watch for them at area events, including Paddockpalooza, Rural Hill’s sheepdog trials and BoHoHo holiday kickoff.

In 2004, the Walshes bought 13 acres in Iron Station, just a few miles from Lake Norman’s western shoreline. After attending a Carolina Alpaca Show they became interested in investing in them. In 2009, they began operating Good Karma Ranch, which references Mike’s interest in Eastern philosophy. Both raised in New York, they met in college at SUNY Oswego. Shelly was a teacher and Mike

GREAT ESCAPE – Good Karma Ranch
Snowmass Sizzlin’ Dreams, a 14-year-old male alpaca, is waiting for your visit.

a Naval officer; careers that didn’t point to a business in Peruvianbased livestock. But their heartfelt interest in sustainable farming and these animals has developed into a successful ranch and hardy herd of between 20 to 30 DNA-registered, microchipped Huacaya alpacas.

“We spent a lot of time educating ourselves about alpacas, and we take really good care of them,” says Mike. “We’ve also done a great job making it a business, and we’ve grown it quite a bit with multiple channels. We not only raise and breed alpacas but have a stud service here.”

They shear their animals annually, and their fibers are transformed into high-end clothing and home goods. Alpaca fiber is not only super soft but also hypoallergenic, naturally flame retardant and warmer than sheep’s wool. They work with an eco-conscious company in Oregon, which sorts, spins and dyes the fiber. You can buy products from this company as well as garments made in Peru on their website. And Good Karma’s “sustainable farming creating sustainable fashion” isn’t just a slogan. Their farm is 100% solar-powered and implements rotational grazing and composting.

But despite this being a working business, there’s no question they’re attached to their alpacas.

“What I enjoy most is how much joy the alpacas bring,” Shelly says. “The hardest part is the behind-the-scenes hardships, including illness, death and premature births.” Their mostly peaceful farm is also home to two family dogs and four pet goats.

This fall, they’ll join a small group of friends in the alpaca community for a “life list” trip to Peru, visiting the motherland of their treasured mammals.

Far right, from top: The “girls’ barn” at Good Karma Ranch; a baby alpaca, or cria, only three days old; Shelly Walsh, co-owner at Good Karma Ranch, with Kenric, a 16-year-old male alpaca in the “boys’ barn;” Good Karma Ranch offers textiles products in The Farm Store onsite as well as online. Good Karma Ranch owners Shelly and Mike Walsh with a newly purchased alpaca, Sunlight, who came from New York. For an easy day trip from anywhere in the Lake Norman area, learn more about a visit to the ranch at www.goodkarmaranch. com or contact them at | JUNE 2023 41
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Giddy Up!

Hoof it over to Painted Sky Ranch

Maybe you’d like to pretend you’re rounding up cattle on an episode of “Yellowstone,” or exploring the Western frontier as you trot horseback through picturesque woodland trails and past creeks that transport you to a simpler time? Well, rather than travel to Montana or Wyoming, just take a short drive down a country road to Painted Sky Ranch in Mooresville and experience Western-style horseback riding second-to-none.

“Smelling the fresh air and riding a horse in the woods; it’s so peaceful, relaxing and therapeutic,” says owner Debra Shook. “We ride the horses past beautiful ponds where blue herons hang out. It’s just a wonderful place to unwind.”

It’s a novel way to get out in nature, enjoy some exercise and meet some of Shook’s beloved horses, including Honey, “who’s as sweet

GREAT ESCAPE – Painted Sky Ranch

as her name,” or Missy and Trigger, “who’s nosy and likes to be in your business.” Debra owns seven horses and boards seven more for other owners at her ranch. She matches riders with her horses’ personalities, factoring in riding experience, age and size.

Painted Sky Ranch is set on over 10 acres with six pastures, a large training arena and a barn with 12 enclosed stalls (with three more under construction). There’s also a round pen to exercise the horses and a tower to view horse shows. Trail rides meander along a parcel of 135 acres adjoining her ranch. Along with boarding other folks’ horses, Debra teaches people of all ages to ride and handle horses safely.

“The goal for a lot of kids is to learn to ride and then to get their own horse,” Shook says. She grew up in Drexel — a one stoplight town — and got her first pony at age three. “I don’t remember life without a horse.” The only time she was horseless was going off to college, and she knew the man she would one day marry would need to love them as well. “I’m so thankful that Jeff does,” she says.

After living in Charlotte and working in the corporate world, Shook was laid off. This workaholic decided to carve a fulltime career from her passion: horses.

“In 2005, I hung my fliers in the post office, the tractor supply company, everywhere I could,” she says. “I had my first client, and it took off from there. I love horses, I enjoy working with people and being outside. It was a win-win situation.”

She and Jeff now live in a waterfront home on Lake Norman with their two dogs and cat (another cat stays at the ranch barn). In 2016, she officially opened Painted Sky Ranch. When she was thinking about names for their property, Painted Sky came to mind.

“It is a nod to the stunning sunsets here. They’re just gorgeous. And at night, it’s so clear you can really see the moon and the stars.”

To book your trail ride or sign up for lessons at Painted Sky Ranch, 590 Mayberry Lane in Mooresville, text or call Debra at 704.458.6994. Rides are by appointment only. Learn more at

Bill Gary took lessons and participated in trail rides at Painted Sky Ranch before going out West to help his friend on cattle drives. Trigger plays a game of peek-a-boo. He’s not that shy, his cover photo this month proves that. | JUNE 2023 45


2023 is Year of the Trail in North Carolina

– how will you celebrate?

If you’ve needed an excuse to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors, North Carolina has given you one: 2023 is Year of the Trail. Cities and towns across the state are highlighting trails for biking, hiking, horseback riding and paddling (canoe, kayak and paddle board). The celebrations, special events and new trails are open to everyone.

Greenways, parks and rails-to-trails provide an abundant source of accessible, easy, moderate and difficult trails to traverse. North Carolina’s lakes and rivers present plenty of opportunities for exploring nature from the water.

GREAT ESCAPES- north carolina trails
Get ready to bike, hike or paddle your way through the Year of the Trail. LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS | JUNE 2023 46

Get Involved: Year of the Trail Activities

Now through Sept. 30 — Cornelius Trail Passport. Check in at all nine greenways and trails and receive a swag bag including Year of the Trail merchandise. Visit cornelius-trail-passport/ for details.

June 2 — Elkin Valley Trails GIVING BACK to the Trail. Volunteer to work on trails in Elkin. Learn more at mstsegment6/events/292562424.

June 3 — American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day. Clean up a local trail with your community. More information is available at national-trails-day.

June 3 — Fonta Flora Fun Run. Gather the family and run/walk/roll for 3.1 miles through the town of Old Fort, then take part in the area’s first “Trails and Trains” festival. Visit www.greattrailsnc. com/events/fonta-flora-fun-run for more information.

Bakers Mountain Park

(6680 Bakers Mountain Road, Hickory), known for its 189 acres of mature chestnut oak forest, includes various moderate to strenuous trails. The Bakers Mountain loop is 2.45 miles and passes old homesteads and monuments, while offering a view of the Piedmont. A .25 mile-paved trail near the park office is accessible to wheelchairs. Learn more at bakers-mountain-park.

Brown Mill Mountain Bike Trail

(7 2nd St. SW, Concord) is a 4.25-mile hand built and machine cut trail featuring dips, berms, jumps, switchbacks and a gravity cavity. Visit trails/brownmill for more details.

Fort Hamby Park

(499 Reservoir Road, Wilkesboro) is more than 1,400 acres, with several trails including a disc golf course for playing the game or just hiking. Plaques at each station name the trees in the area. Another trail, leading to the W. Kerr Scott Dam, begins at the park’s visitor center. More information is available at

Lake Davidson Nature Preserve (750 Jetton St., Davidson) provides a peaceful place to float or paddle on the water. Bring your own equipment or rent canoes, kayaks and paddleboards with online reservations. Walk the Sterling Martin Trail, a .5-mile loop along the shore of Lake Davidson. Learn more at

Salem Lake Park (815 Salem Lake Road, Winston-Salem), where the most popular trail is its 7-mile Salem Lake Trail, looping around the shoreline of Salem Lake. The gravel path is mostly flat for bikers, hikers and runners and offers views of the city skyline, woods and lake. Visit for more details.

Stewart Creek Greenway (543 South Burns Avenue, Charlotte) has a paved path near Uptown Charlotte that makes it an easy ride for people in wheelchairs. It’s a 1.4-mile, oneway trail and is part of the Carolina Thread Trail. Stop at Blue Blaze Brewing for a Year of the Trail Pale Ale, especially made for Year of the Trail. Connect to other greenways in the network for longer walks or rides. More information is available at

July 14 — Streetlight 5k and Frolic. Enjoy a run during sunset through downtown Concord, ending with live music and family-friendly activities. More details are available at events/streetlight-5k-frolic.

5 Resources for Finding the Right Trail

Carolina Thread Trail (

Locate trails to hike and get involved with trail advocacy.


Learn about mountain bike riding through clinics, coaching and summer camps.

Great Trails NC (

Discover trails for biking, hiking, horseback riding and paddling, and gather information about special events happening all year.

North Carolina State Parks (

Search for parks around the state and get the details on each one.

Tarheel Trailblazers ( Find a bike trail, signup for an event or join the group.

Visit to learn about mountain biking opportunities, like the Brown Mill Mountain Bike Trail in Concord. | JUNE 2023 47
Here are several ideas – all within an hour of the Lake Norman area – to get you started: | JUNE 2023 49 For the area’s 55+ adults who place no limits on living their best lives! Limitless
Creek, Charleston, SC

Step It Up

Thanks to a grant awarded from the National Recreation and Park Association, and with funding support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Mooresville Parks and Recreation Department began the Walk With Ease program in September 2022. The program was developed by the Arthritis Foundation and is scientifically proven to help reduce pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and other chronic conditions.

Participants receive the Arthritis Foundation’s “Walk With Ease” book which has four components: walking, health information, exercises and motivational tips and tools. The book also contains journal prompts to help track progress with a goal of walking at least three times per week.

“One mile equals approximately 2,000 steps, we convert steps into miles and log them weekly,” says Barbara Johnson, recreation supervisor at the Winnie Hooper Recreation Center in Mooresville. “Last year, the group walked 374 miles. This year, the group has walked more than 500 miles. Our group is on a roll,” she says. Walkers meet at The Selma Burke Recreation Center in Mooresville, which has a multipurpose field making it a great place for groups to gather.

“People walk to reduce stress, boost energy, build bones, control weight and burn calories,” says Johnson, who also joins the group in their walks. “In our Walk With Ease program, participants have formed relationships, created a Walk With Ease Facebook page and have ownership of their walking community. Most importantly, they enjoy fellowship together and love each other.”

“My favorite part is hearing testimonies from the participants of how the program has impacted their health. If someone is on the fence

about joining, I tell them that the program is a great way to lift your day, not only physically, but to improve your mood, too. Laughing, smiling and feeling good together is a bonus,” she says.

The program includes 30 minutes of class time and 35 minutes of walking, twice a week for six weeks. During the summer months, walkers continue their journey remotely, submitting selfies in their walking spaces and emailing their step count to Johnson. In-person walks will resume in September.

“Our goal is to continue to increase participation; we currently have 42 participants,’ she says. “Creating access by meeting people in their walking spaces is also a goal. The Walk With Ease program is an important program in the Lake Norman area because being outdoors is a pathway to advance health equity and inclusion for everyone,” says Johnson.

The program is free, walkers must be age 18 and older, and smallsized dogs are also welcome. Every step counts, so register at www. or send an email to Johnson at bjohnson@

LIMITLESS - health
Kid photography courtesy Mooresville Parks & Recreation
Walk your way to a healthier and happier life
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The CharlestonNo-Brainer

As May turns toward June each year, at least we Mecklenbergeans, if no other part of the state, semi-officially declare the beginning of summer on Memorial Day each year. We don’t even wait for the first of June. Ski boats, jet skis and sailboats dot the horizon. From early morning until after-dark campfires, summer has unofficially begun. To drive across the I-77 bridges, it seems everyone in the county must own a boat.

Not really. Boating is far from the only vacation opportunity for people in our part of North Carolina. The choices of short vacation spots seem almost limitless. So, I won’t try to list them. However, I do want to talk about my favorite, which sits only three-and-a-half hours south of us. I checked with Google Maps as I wrote this.

A few years before we settled in Charlotte in 2005, my wife and I spent two days in Charleston on the way back to my Indiana school district from a summer conference in Myrtle Beach. The first thing we discovered was how easy it is to fall in love with Charleston. And

we did — in two days. It was only two days, but we knew we would be back sooner than later. More about that down the page.

We did the typical things on this first two-day side trip to Charleston. We walked Meeting Street and admired the “Three Sisters” facing the harbor. They would later appear in my novel about the Civil War, “Angry Heavens,” where Charleston and the area were as much characters as were the protagonists and antagonists in the story. We took the mule and buggy tour and spent hours in the City Market and at the Battery.

As it was getting toward supper on our first day, we asked the buggy driver about his favorite local place to eat seafood. I highly recommend this technique — it will likely save you a few dollars and present you with the best food in the city; the food the locals crave. The buggy driver’s suggestion wasn’t in Charleston-proper but located on the banks of Shem Creek, in Mt. Pleasant. Called The Water’s Edge, it’s only 14 miles from Charleston.

LIMITLESS - a moment in time
oh so cLose, and so much to eat

We had lunch again at The Water’s Edge next day before catching a flight back to Indiana. Sandy and I grew up on the Alabama Gulf Coast eating what we believed was the best seafood anywhere, especially fried. The Water’s Edge changed our minds about great seafood in two meals, and it changed how we vacationed in Charleston.

Our return to Charleston was only a couple of years later when the school board in Fort Branch, Indiana, and I agreed to part ways after three years. There is an old saw about new superintendents and football coaches. Neither has been fired yet. That was me in 2005.

My wife, Sandy, and I moved to Charlotte, and I took a job teaching at UNCC in July. And after settling into the house and my office in the College of Education, we needed a little respite from the recently

endured stresses. We had sold a home in Haubstadt, Indiana, and moved into a rental house in Evansville, Indiana. We bought a house in University City, and when my contract with the school board expired, we moved out of Evansville and into our new home in Charlotte. We needed rest.

We decided on a plan that focused on our favorite parts of Charleston. We left Charlotte at 9 a.m., and three-and-half-hours later, we were in the oyster shell parking lot of The Water’s Edge for lunch. We messed around the other restaurants on Shem Creek (all face the water with boats coming and going) and headed to our favorite places in Charleston: The City Market, The Three Sisters (and other houses on Meeting Street), the Battery from which the cannons exploded on Fort Sumpter to begin the Civil War and the numerous beautiful high-steepled churches that at one time gave Charleston the moniker of The Holy City as sailors arrived in the city.

Soon it was 5 p.m. and nearing suppertime. We headed to The Water’s Edge for yet a different seafood delight. Soon after 6 p.m., we headed back to Charlotte and were in our beds by 10. We had completed our first one-day Charleston vacation ... the first of many.

Photo by Mickey Dunaway | JUNE 2023 53

Do I Have to Leave My Kids at Least $1?

If I made a “Top Ten” list of estate planning myths, close to the top would be the belief that one cannot simply disinherit a child and that the clever workaround is to leave them one dollar. However, in North Carolina, a parent is not required to leave their child anything — not even $1.

The only person one cannot disinherit (at least not easily) is their spouse. Leaving $1 to a child may in fact create unwanted (and costly) consequences to the estate. First, the bequest of $1 to that child may infuriate them to the point of filing a will contest, thereby exposing your estate to lengthy, expensive litigation. Second, your executor is required to issue a check for $1 to that beneficiary. For your executor to close the estate checking account, the check must clear the bank. Also, to file a final account and close the estate proceedings with the court, your executor must submit written receipts and releases from all the estate beneficiaries.

As you might guess, that check is never going to get cashed, and that receipt is not going to get signed. In fact, it may be returned unsigned but with some other choice words from the beneficiary.

Your executor is then in the position of having to deal with the court to address the issue of not having the required receipts.

What is the best way to disinherit a child? You may include a statement in your will or trust acknowledging that you have intentionally omitted that person from the will. Some “disinheritances” don’t result from bad blood. You may go further to explain that the omission of that person does not result from lack of love or affection.

LIMITLESS - learning
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Dine + Wine

Eating, drinking, cooking and fun
Photography by Lisa Crates | JUNE 2023 59
Saucy Girl Taco Truck opens for business.

Wine Wanderings Wondrous

There is more to California wines than Napa Valley

One can be excused for thinking that, when it comes to California wines, there’s just the Napa Valley to focus on. Nothing could be further from the truth. Throughout the Napa Valley region, there are numerous low-production winemakers. But, in general, Napa is a victim of its own success. The vast impression is one of large wine enterprises that resemble tourist destinations and commercial prowess.

A favorite story about the dichotomy of California wine is that you can visit one of Napa’s touristy, commercial behemoths, pay a lot to taste wines and listen while a marketing representative quotes from a brochure about the establishment. Or you can go to another region in California and taste wine for little or no cost, listen to the grape growing manager, learn about winemaking, wine philosophy, marketing and sales. That sounds like a lot of people. In fact, it’s only one person who manages all these tasks and many more.

I love to go wandering. I’ve spent a lot of time ambling around in Napa’s next-door neighbor, Sonoma County. I’ve whiled away many a day talking with that multifaceted person and sipping on his or her wine. One of my favorite spots, right on the edge of Napa, is the tiny region of Knights Valley.

Knights Valley was custom designed to produce great wines. Eons ago the Russian River used to flow through the valley, depositing gravel as it travelled along. That changed: Mount Saint Helena erupted, changing the course of the river. That geological change produced well-draining soil of volcanic residue and gravel. The magic that makes the wines from Bordeaux so wonderful is gravel in the soil — a gift from one of that region’s very own rivers. Knights Valley was poised for greatness.

Riding around the hills and valleys of Sonoma, tasting the vast array of wines is fun, and you can come across some spectacular wines. A well-kept secret is the great locations that favor the growing Pinot Noir. The general expectation in Sonoma is wines that are “oomphy” with deep body and taste. Pinot Noir is worlds away from that.

The first thing to note about wines from coastal California is that the Pacific Ocean is cold — no “Baywatch” babes and lots of winemakers. Some of Sonoma looks down on the chilly, and it’s just what the

DINE + WINE - wine time
Wine country wandering leads to wondrous wine finds

wine doctor ordered for Pinot Noir; lots of sun and cool breezes. Many Pinot Noir experts have set up shop here.

A Pinot Noir sector is the large Sonoma area called the Northern Coast. Things are rapidly changing there. This is prime country for Pinot Noir. Proof of that is the amount of Burgundy expertise that has moved in. Burgundy is world famous for Pinot Noir wines with eye-watering prices.

In the recent past, the Northern coast was home to two fundamentally different winemakers. One seriously developed Pinot Noir, and the other was those who simply wanted to profit from the name. So, the West Sonoma Coast wine region was born. It’s located on the farthest western sliver of Sonoma County. It encompasses the steep, rugged mountainous terrain along the Pacific Ocean coastline. My opinion is the region was the political result of serious winemakers separating themselves from the “hangers on,” resulting in unique wines with lots of finesse.

There is vine life beyond Napa Valley. Wines from outside Napa Valley are well worth seeking. They’re not difficult to find at wine merchants around the lake, and there are lots of them. Talk to them and get wine recommendations from the vast selection of different California regions. You’ll be happy to sip on what you find, and you can bet that you’ll be paying a price that’s far below Napa’s. Enjoy. | JUNE 2023 61 WITH DELIGHTFUL NEW DISHES & (BOAT) DRINKS SAIL OVER TO THE WATERMAN VOTE FOR WATERMAN FISH BAR AS LKN’S BEST SEAFOOD SALMON SPINACH STRAWBERRY SALAD PEACH, PLEASE! BEST OF THE LAKE 9615 Bailey Rd | Cornelius, NC 28031 |
DINE + WINE - tasty bits LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS | JUNE 2023 62

Summer Side A Perfect

Mexican Corn Salad

This salad is one of my all-time favorite summer recipes. It goes so well with everything from tacos to grilled chicken or seafood. It’s easy to make ahead and can be served warm or at room temperature; it’s the perfect summer side dish.

Grilled corn is elevated to a new level when it’s mixed with this simple, zesty and slightly creamy sauce. Finish the dish off with a squeeze of lime, a handful of fresh cilantro and creamy feta or Cotija cheese crumbles. No grill? Not to worry, this dish is equally tasty with steamed or sauteed corn, too.

When you need a crowd-pleasing summer side dish, look no further than this bright and zesty Mexican Corn Salad. Trust me, this will become your go-to summer side dish that you’ll make again and again.

Servings: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 6 minutes

Kathy Dicken lives in Huntersville and is the author of The Tasty Bits food blog. For more meal ideas that are simple and delicious, you can follow her blog at or on Instagram @thetastybits.


4 ears fresh corn, husked

1 1/2 Tbsps. mayonnaise

1 clove minced garlic

Zest and juice of 1 lime

1/3 cup chopped green onions (about 4)

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, Cotija or goat cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or basil

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika or chili powder

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

Instructions: Cook the corn using your preferred method – brush corn with olive oil and grill over medium-high heat for 2 minutes each side, or steam corn by wrapping in wax paper and microwaving for 3 minutes per 2 ears of corn. You can opt to remove corn from the cob, and sauté over medium heat with a splash of olive oil for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, garlic, lime zest and lime juice. When cool enough to handle, remove corn kernels from the ears and add to the bowl, along with green onions. Next, add half of the cheese and cilantro, paprika, salt and pepper to the mixture. Stir to coat. Garnish with a final squeeze of lime and the remaining cheese and cilantro.

This dish is excellent served immediately or at room temperature. | JUNE 2023 63
photography by Kathy Dicken

Wheely Good Tacos

There was a time when food service on wheels was dominated by ice cream trucks and hot dog carts. The approaching sound of bells or maybe a children’s song playing over a loudspeaker let everyone know a treat was on the way. Street vendors can still be found on city blocks, suburban streets and little league fields; however, things have changed. The simple carts and old-time vans have been replaced by custom-built trucks and trailers housing fully operable kitchens and service capabilities, and the offerings are unlimited. From basic burgers and fries to gourmet cuisine and world fare that rivals fine restaurants, food trucks cook up great selections for everyone. To see how impressive roadside dining can be, attend one of the Food Truck Fridays and the ‘Tawba Walk Arts & Music Festival in Cornelius.

Gastronomical fulfillment, however, is not the only appeal of a food truck. A clean, well-maintained vehicle with colorful graphics and catchy slogans can reel in a crowd. A good example of food truck drawing power is Saucy Girl Taco Truck owned by Mooresville resident and businesswoman Stephanie Ehl. Saucy Girl Taco Truck’s hot-pink finish can be heard long before the vehicle stops. “The truck is new and beautiful and was custom-built in Mexico,” says Ehl, “It certainly attracts attention.”

Saucy Girl Taco Truck rolls on simple and savory

Ehl, originally from a small town in Michigan, was a banker by trade and, after several relocations while working in the industry, she landed in Troutman in 1998. She left banking during the last recession in 2008 and bought a 1967 vintage food trailer that had operated outside Boston’s Fenway Park during the late ‘60s and ‘70s.

“We called it Juan Taco Truck, and it looked like a big Lego head,” says Ehl. “The 15-foot sombrero that sat on top made it extra special.”

In 2013, Ehl sold Juan Taco and returned to banking. At that time, she had four sons to take care of. However, when affected by the BB&T and Sun Trust merger in 2022, she realized that owning a food truck was what made her happy. By then, two of her sons were in the military, and two were at home, the youngest being in high school. It was time to give it another go. Saucy Girl Taco Truck took to the road only a few months ago, and business has been bustling.

“To help meet the demands, I’m bringing Shelby, my original superstar Juan Taco Truck ‘Taco Girl,’ up from Texas,” says Ehl. “Shelby

DINE + WINE - Nibbles & Bites
Owner Stephanie Ehl stands proudly by her mobile kitchen

The harder we try, The better the results. The better the results, The better it tastes. The better it tastes, The more customer satisfaction. The more custemer satisfaction, The higher the recommendation. The higher the recommendation, The higher the expectation. The higher the expectation, The harder we try

is a master at engaging customers and customer service, and she knows this business. ‘Taco Girls’ make a great team.”

Ehl makes her proprietary salsa fresh every day — about 10 gallons per week. “I keep my salsas tastebud friendly,” she says. “I make a red salsa, roasted black bean salsa and a cilantro salsa, which gives the most heat.”

Saucy Girl Taco Truck offers tacos, burritos and quesadillas three ways — shredded beef or chicken and vegetarian. Ehl says people often ask to buy her salsa, which she’d like to sell someday at farmer’s markets.

“I love Mexican food and I’m very interested in Hispanic culture,” says Ehl. “My tacos are based on L.A. style tacos, made with meat, onions, cilantro and corn tortillas with salsa on the side. I’m more interested in flavors than a formula; I put my own spin into the recipes, and the result isn’t a street taco; it’s a gourmet taco.”

Saucy Girl Taco Truck rolls into the Hoptown Brewery in Mooresville every Tuesday from 5 to 9 p.m. Ehl’s taco truck is available for special occasions, parties, fundraisers and corporate gatherings. She’s already booking for 2023 holiday events. Ehl looks forward to someday adding a couple more trucks and increasing her staff, allowing her to venture further into Iredell County. She knows well that a rolling taco truck gathers no moss.

For more information about Saucy Girl Taco Truck, call 704.754.6500, visit its Facebook page, or send an email to

Saucy Girl’s Shredded Beef Burrito | JUNE 2023 65 275 N Main St, | Troutman, NC 28166 | (704) 528-1204
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Megan Mathis-Webb, AuD

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359 Williamson Road

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