The city's own land of the lakes

In northern Mecklenburg County, this lakeside community encourages locals and visitors to get wet and wild in their town’s backyard.

Originally a magnet for cotton, the lakeside town of Cornelius, in northern Mecklenburg County, was incorporated in 1905. To get the best taste of the town, spend a day on Lake Norman, where you can dine dockside, charter a pontoon boat or show off your board skills. The year-round heated patio at the Port City Club ensures great lake views, and the tasty, made-from-scratch menu keeps guests coming back for more. More inland, Fork! serves up fascinating food and wine in a 100-plus-year-old home with a wraparound porch.

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