History has a tendency to come alive in the Lake Norman area, thanks to historic sites such as Fort Dobbs, Latta Plantation and Rural Hill, as well as venues like Richard’s Coffee Shop that offer camaraderie.
Here are five of the most patriotic places to visit in the Lake Norman area:
Richard’s Coffee Shop
165 N. Main St., Mooresville
Vietnam veteran Richard Warren opened a coffee shop in downtown Mooresville and named it Pat’s Gourmet Coffee Shop in honor of his wife. The shop became known more for the camaraderie among veterans than for its coffee. After Warren died, friends named the shop after him in honor of his efforts to make veterans feel appreciated. Operated by the nonprofit Welcome Home Veterans, Richard’s Coffee Shop has been called the “most patriotic coffee shop in America.” The shop also serves as a military museum. Artifacts and photos from various wars serve as the perfect backdrop for veterans to reminisce over military experiences. Details: 704-663-0488 or www.welcomehomeveteran.org.
Veterans Monument at Rotary Plaza
21445 Catawba Ave., Cornelius
Former Cornelius Mayor Harold Little, who served in the Navy from 1944 to 1946, inspired the town to build a monument honoring veterans. The Town of Cornelius unveiled the wall of inscripted names in 2011 shortly after Little died. The monument has more than 1,000 names, making it the fitting backdrop for Memorial Day and Veteran Day celebrations. Details: www.corneliusveteransmonument.org.
5225 Sample Road, Huntersville
Historic Latta Plantation features the home of James Latta, which was built in the 1800s, as well as original and replica outbuildings. The former cotton plantation hosts costumed interpreters, historic displays and hands-on activities that allow visitors to experience what life was like for the planters, yeoman farmers and enslaved African-Americans in the early 19th century. Living history demonstrations held during the year include gold panning, beekeeping, hide tanning and natural dyeing. Sometimes the site will hold World War II demonstrations. Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation owns the historic site. It receives funding in part by Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation and the Arts and Sciences Council. Details: 704-875-2312 or www.lattaplantation.org.
4431 Neck Road, Huntersville
Rural Hill consists of 265 acres that used to be the homestead of John Davidson, a major in the Mecklenburg Militia during the American Revolution. The site now plays host to educational programs, tours and some of the Charlotte region’s most popular festivals, such as the Rural Hill Scottish Festival and Loch Norman Highland Games, the Rural Hill Amazing Maize Maze and Rural Hill Sheep Dog Trials. The site is run through a nonprofit that is supported through membership and donations. Details: www.ruralhill.net.
Fort Dobbs State Historic Site
438 Fort Dobbs Road, Statesville
In summer 1755, 50 soldiers arrived on a remote hilltop near present-day Statesville with orders to build a fort to mark the edge of the British Empire. Fort Dobbs protected colonists from attacks by the French-allied Cherokee Indians during the French and Indian War (1754-1763), also known as the Seven Years War. Fort Dobbs now serves as the only state historic site dedicated to the war, even though it spanned five continents. The historic site offers musket and cannon firings, as well as other living history displays. Details: 704-873-5882 or www.fortdobbs.org.