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Imagine a gorgeous water town so close to one of the biggest financial centers in the country that you can be there in minutes. Now, imagine leaving the busy city and office behind every night to spend the evening firing up the grill on a deck that overlooks Lake Norman or taking the boat out as a cool breeze blows off the water. Welcome to Cornelius.
Cornelius sits just north of Charlotte, along the eastern shores of Lake Norman, North Carolina's largest manmade lake. Interstate 77 runs right through the center of both towns, which is just one reason why professionals choose to work at one of the big banks and businesses Charlotte is known for and take the short commute home to their peaceful homes on the water.
Cornelius is known for its charming green space — it is home to 10 parks — as well as its diverse community and housing options. It also has its own world-class golf course.
Cornelius did not become an incorporated town until 1905 after two Davidson cotton firms got into a fight over whether or not to elect an official cotton weigher. One side didn't like the results and picked up its cotton business and moved to the area south of Davidson. Bad roads in Davidson made the Cornelius area more appealing to cotton farmers, and eventually, Joseph Benjamin Cornelius invested enough to build a cotton mill in the area. The community named the town after him to thank him, and today, the Historic Preservation Committee works to preserve the area's history.
- Population: 31,737
- Cornelius sits along the shores of Lake Norman, which was built between 1959 and 1964. At 32,510 acres and 33.6 x 9 miles, it is the largest man-made lake in North Carolina. It can hold up to 3.4 trillion gallons of water.
- Cornelius has its own branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
- Cornelius is home to the Lucky Dog Bark and Brew, an indoor/outdoor sports bar and park where humans and dogs can hang out together. Davidson has its own off-leash dog park and a 200-acre farm and greenways where dogs are welcome.
- History buffs delight in the fact that Cornelius is home to Potts Plantation, a historic district that dates back to 1753. The area is home to a two-story log home built in 1811, as well as numerous other structures, like the Slave Cemetery, a smokehouse, and Smith Cottage Complex.
When it comes to attractions in Cornelius, obviously Lake Norman is the big appeal. However, there is much more to the community. Cornelius has a sprawling country club. The entire area is home to countless restaurants that offer up a variety of cuisines for all budgets.
- Hello Sailor – Hello Sailor is the 2nd restaurant by Joe & Katy Kindred located on Lake Norman in Cornelius. This location is the casual alternative to Kindred, but still a destination itself. The vibe is Palm Springs, the food outstanding, and the drinks, top notch. Bonus: you can drive your boat right up to the restaurant.
- Sangam Indian Cuisine – Sangam Indian Cuisine in Cornelius is out of this world. The takeout restaurant always receives rave reviews, and it is the perfect place to order a sampling of your favorite Indian dishes for a cozy night at home. You can even order online and have the food delivered.
- Charlotte Douglas International Airport– Both Davidson and Cornelius are a little over 25 miles from Charlotte Douglas International, the country's sixth busiest airport. It is also the main hub for American Airlines.
- Lake Norman Shuttle and Taxi Service– Private transportation is available between Cornelius and Davidson and Charlotte, as well as Charlotte Douglas International Airport and several smaller airports in the area. Shuttles, limos, and cabs are all provided through Lake Norman Shuttle and Taxi Service.
- Downtown Cornelius – If you can't get enough of these locally-owned businesses, head on over to Downtown Cornelius. The charming, walkable district features bridal shops, gift shops, consignment stores, restaurants, and some delicious bakeries and candy shops.
- Birkdale Village – If you can't find what you're looking for at one of the local shops, head about five miles to Birkdale Village in nearby Huntersville. The mall features familiar stores like Banana Republic, lululemon, LOFT, Bath & Body Works, Francesca's, Gap, Williams-Sonoma, and much more. It also features several restaurants.
Our Town Cinemas (Temporarily closed) – The Charlotte Observer named Our Town Cinemas in nearby Davidson one of the "top 10 places to go" in the Charlotte area. The quaint theater runs new movies on its four screens. It also features bistro tables in each screening room, so movie-goers can dine on dishes like pizza, burgers, and wraps, as well as beer and wine.
Things To Do
- Lake Norman State Park – Lake Norman State Park is one of the area’s biggest attractions, and there is plenty to do for residents of all ages, such as boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking. You can also just kick back and enjoy the scenery or have a picnic.
- The Peninsula Club – The Peninsula Club sits along the shores of Lake Norman, and it is both a residential neighborhood and a golf club. It boasts a Rees Jones-designed golf course, a 35,000 square-foot clubhouse, eight tennis courts with a pro shop, a pool, baby pool, poolside cafe, aerobics studio, exercise room, spin bike and barre studio, children's activity rooms, restaurants, and much more.
- Ramsey Creek Park – You don't have to drive 3+ hours to enjoy a beach day. Head on over to this seasonal park on the shore of Lake Norman and enjoy the water, playground, fishing pier, and more. The beach is open from Memorial Day-Labor Day.
Real Estate Information
Like any lake town, Cornelius is home to miles of beautiful lakeside homes. Many of them sit on wooded lots, and even several of the neighborhoods that are not right on the lake offer beautifully landscaped yards, natural lots, and mature growth trees. Of course, also like any lake town, the waterfront homes can range in price, and there are many multi-million-dollar estates in the area, ranging from old European to modern traditional styles. You will also find a number of newly built Southern-style homes in the area with rocking chair front porches. In Davidson, many communities sit along the town's greenway paths that provide residents a safe trail along which they can walk right into town.