Best marina: Westport Marina

The Westport Marina is the best place to keep a boat and have it serviced to run well. The marina has dry, wet slip and PWC docking to keep all toys safe. The marina has a gas dock and Nate’s Snack Bar, which can be pulled up to by water to get you ready for a fun day on the lake. They have services to keep boats maintained and well-conditioned for a long day, including an express oil change and diesel boat engine service. It also has state-of-the art tools and equipment to work any brand of boat. – Matthew Johnson


Best bicycle shop: Cool Breeze Cyclery

Riding a bicycle from Cool Breeze Cyclery is not only about trekking up a mountain or winning a triathlon, but also the experience that comes along with mounting the bicycle. The staff knows everything there is to know about cycling, and they are able to provide exceptional customer service because of it. After buying a bicycle from Cool Breeze, it can be serviced or fit on-site, while the customer shops for bicycle accessories or gear. Sure, it’s easy to pick out a bicycle and buy it, but at Cool Breeze Cyclery, it’s about the experience. – Sophia LaPietra


Best event venue: Carrigan Farms

The fifth-generation farm continues to thrive well into the 21st century through diversification. Since the early 1900s, it has transitioned from growing tobacco and cotton to producing fruits and vegetables. But you can also catch a hayride, pick pumpkins from the patch, plan your wedding or invite friends to your swim party in the quarry. The site plays host to field trips, picnics and special events. In October, the 130-acre farm becomes one of the Lake Norman area’s most popular haunts – Scarrigan Farms – with a moon-lit corn maze and 40-foot double barrel drop. – Justin Vick


Best fitness center: YMCA

Three YMCAs dot the Lake Norman landscape. The Lake Norman YMCA in Cornelius is one of the few in the county that is located on waterfront property, enabling members to kayak, canoe, swim and hop on a floating trampoline. The 57,000-square-foot Lowe’s YMCA in Mooresville includes exercise studios, swimming pools, racquet ball courts, gym space and sports fields. The newest branch, Sally’s YMCA in Denver, features exercise and fitness options, as well as an outdoor waterpark. All three offers exercise classes, sports leagues and fun for the family. – Justin Vick


Best bank: Wells Fargo           

Wells Fargo’s global reach spans 9,000 locations and 12,500 ATMS in 36 countries. And you don’t have to drive far to find a branch in the Lake Norman area. The bank has branches in Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville and Mooresville, as well as a drive-through ATM in Denver. The bank recently reported a $5.7 billion net income for the second quarter of 2014, up from $5.5 billion a year ago. CEO John Stumpf credited the bank’s success in growing loans, increasing deposits and deepening client relations to continuing to serve customers. – Justin Vick


Best wine shop: Total Wine

Total Wine is a great shop to get all of the alcoholic beverage essentials. With various fine wines, imported and local beers, and the most spirited spirits, the store has it all. It functions as a supermarket, where the customers serve themselves, with walls stocked from top to bottom with bottles of alcohol. They carry non-alcoholic drinks and cigars, as well as corkscrews, wine glasses, and other drink accessories. Total Wine offers wine-tastings and classes to increase the customer’s knowledge of the drinks. Customers can have their favorite wine shipped or pick up their favorite liquors, but either way no other wine shop has the variety and accessibility of Total Wine. – Sophia LaPietra


Best downtown area: Davidson

Complete with the feeling of a college town that still has Southern charm, the town of Davidson provides visitors and residents with many great restaurants, hangout spots and events. It’s a small town, but it’s blooming with originality. Anyone of any age will find fun activities, from checking out a few books at the Davidson Public Library to having a picnic with friends in the Village Green. The town gets excited for Davidson College basketball games, and if sports aren’t appealing to you, there is always time to dine in at some of the cutest restaurant and coffee shops around. In combining all of these aspects of the town, Davidson is a great place to have fun, get an education and call home. – Sophia LaPietra


Best apartment: Marina Shores Waterfront Apartments

These one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments have everything you need to enjoy Lake Norman to its fullest. You can relish the lake breeze and sunsets from your private balcony or patio. With new cabinets, countertops, carpets, lighting, bathrooms and appliances, these apartments provide a delightful living experience. Amenities include private boat and jet-ski slips, a private fishing pier, gated RV parking, tennis and sand volleyball courts, a newly finished lakefront pool, and an updated fitness center. It is also located near Jetton Park, where you can enjoy bike trails and outdoor gardens. The apartments are managed by Fairfield Residential Company LLC. – John Papadopoulos


Best place to adopt a pet: Humane Society of Iredell (Mooresville)

If you are in the market for a pet, what better way to get one than to rescue? The Humane Society of Iredell in Mooresville helps people find the best pet for them, and the best people for the pets. They host bi-monthly adoption fairs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the second and fourth Saturday of each month. The nonprofit is currently in search of foster homes and volunteers. To help, host or adopt an animal, stop by the Humane Society of Iredell. – Madison Siegfried


Best place to worship: The Cove

At the Cove Church in Mooresville, share your faith and attend events in a sociable, easygoing environment. Its mission is to introduce, learn about and celebrate Jesus, and its services are easily comprehended and applicable to day-to-day lives. The Cove hosts several events, like Baptism Celebration and educational classes. Many opportunities exist to serve at the Cove, locally and internationally. Life Groups cultivate friendships, reinforce faith and stay connected. Care Groups sympathize and encourage others in times of tragedy or strife. Whether the desire is to merely worship or to be dynamic in a Christian community, the Cove Church is an excellent place to do both. – Madison Siegfried