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Tuckasegee’s Fairytale

Posted On June 2, 2020

Castle Ladyhawke's new owners aim to give the plateau the royal treatment

By ALLISON BOLT 

A group of homeowners at Bear Lake Reserve, a luxury resort community in Tuckasegee, NC, recently purchased a Scottish Boarder castle tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The over 10,000 square foot castle has four bedrooms, is surrounded by 60 acres of land, and of course, it has a quintessential castle tower. 

Castle Ladyhawke was built in 2005 by Kim Norde, who discovered the perfect mountain spot in Tuskasegee, NC, for her over $6 million custom-built castle. According to Craig Smith, President and General Manager of Bear Lake Reserve and Castle Ladyhawke Investor, Norde "poured her heart and soul into the development of the castle and the results were a magnificent three-story home with multiple terraces and balconies, a large semi-circle deck with panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and a tower to complete the authentic and fairytale setting."

Between 2012 and 2016, Castle Ladyhawke was a wedding venue, and during that time, it was named the "best wedding venue" in Western North Carolina by The Knot and Wedding Wire. The castle closed for several years when Norde became ill and eventually lost her battle with cancer. The new owners look to honor Norde's vision and what she built to host events for the community, including Bear Lake Reserve homeowners' events, fundraisers for local charitable organizations, corporate retreats, day tours and weddings. 

Castle Ladyhawke sits just over a mile from the front gates of Bear Lake Reserve. Driving past the property on the way to Bear Lake Reserve, "we saw the vision to bring the two properties together," said Smith. "it just felt like the perfect opportunity!" Now renamed as Castle Ladyhawke at Bear Lake Reserve, the original name was preserved with a small addition to connect the property to its Jackson County roots and new ownership. Smith noted upon the purchase of the property that it was important to Bear Lake Reserve "to bring the brands together to provide a seamless experience between the two properties." 

Under the new ownership of Bear Lake Reserve, including a small group of homeowners at Bear Lake Reserve led by Craig Smith and his team from Bear Essentials Club Management, the castle will host every type of event. According to Smith, "The castle will be more than just for weddings. The vision is to open gardens, an apiary, sell local farm goods, honey, mead, wine and more through the grades at the castle. Plus, launching a sport area to include archery and other medieval adventures."

"Our hope is to have Castle Ladyhawke re-emerge into the wedding and event scene and become a highly sought-after venue," said Smith. "It has all the elements to become a world-class destination. The mountain views are incredible; the ambiance is like stepping back in time or flying across the ocean to ancient Scotland."

The castle events will feature catering from the global award-winning Chef Johannes Klapdohr, who is the Co-Owner of the Library Kitchen and Bar and the former Executive Chef at Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, NC. According to Smith, "Chef Johannes has catered over 500 special events and weddings and brings his experience and expertise to Western North Carolina."

Upon visiting the castle, guests can expect a fairytale experience. "The most stunning experience of the castle is the fact it is a castle," said Smith. "It is a surreal experience pulling into the castle in our Range Rover, seeing the gardens, lush green rolling mountains and the 24-inch thick rock walls with the flag waving off the tower. You actually feel like you are in Scotland. It feels like you are in a completely different country and not in Tuckasegee, NC."

The acquisition of Castle Ladyhawke by Bear Lake Reserve means that guests will not only have access to all of the castle's amenities but also to the full resort experience of Bear Lake Reserve which according to Smith includes, "onsite accommodations, a 500 acre lake with motorized and non-motorized marina, 23 miles of hiking trails, a 14,000 square foot Lake Club with pools, hot tub, fitness center and beach, a Jack Nicklaus Design golf course, tennis/pickleball and three great dining options."

However, the new Castle Ladyhawke at Bear Lake Reserve will not only benefit visitors and event goers. According to Smith, "The re-opening of the castle will benefit the local community by stimulating the tourist industry as well as creating potential business opportunities for local wedding photographers, service vendors, and other wedding and event business owners."

Castle Ladyhawke at Bear Lake reserve will open Aug. 1, 2020 to the public for all types of events.