As Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center gears up for its 106th summer season, the organization has added renovated tennis courts to its recreational offerings lineup. In addition to tennis, people of all ages can enjoy the outdoor swimming pool by the lake, mini golf, shuffleboard, and boat and paddle board rentals through Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 2. The Lake Junaluska Walking Trail is open to the public year-round.
Thanks to the generosity of donors, the conference center’s six tennis courts, located near the Kern Center and the Aquatic Center, underwent resurfacing and repainting, and received new chain-link fencing and new nets. Two also received pickleball lines. The renovations totaled approximately $95,000.
“Tennis has meant a lot to our family over the years,” said Joe Taft, a donor and longtime Junaluskan whose grandparents bought a house at the lake in 1919. "We've supported it at the lake because it's a great way to get exercise and it's just been an all-around important part of our life."
Taft and his late wife Camilla played tennis, and two of their four children played the sport at college. Daughter Lou Taft Welch is the executive director of Abilities Tennis Association of North Carolina, an organization that provides tennis programming for individuals with intellectual disabilities. She developed her lifelong passion for tennis while spending the summers of her youth at the family's Lake Junaluska house.
“I would go down to the courts every day and just pick up games with whoever was down there,” said Welch. “And come home at lunch to barely eat a sandwich and then go back out there — sometimes playing eight hours a day.”
Welch now serves on the council of the Lake Junaluska Associates, a group of individuals who support Lake Junaluska through charitable giving and volunteer work. She considers it her way of giving back to the place that shaped her.
This summer, the Lake Junaluska tennis courts will be available to tennis and pickleball players on a first-come, first-served basis from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
“Recreation is a big part of life here at Lake Junaluska,” said Kenneth Ratcliffe, director of conference services. “It’s really neat to see people of different ages recreating here at different times of the day, from moms who bring their little ones to the pool in the morning to residents and older adults who enjoy lap swimming in the evening.”
The Lake Junaluska pool, one of only two public outdoor pools in Haywood County, sits on a man-made peninsula. “When you’re at the pool, you feel surrounded by the lake,” said Ratcliffe. “It’s a beautiful location with a real family atmosphere.”
For groups who wish to enjoy the pool for a private occasion, pool parties are available for $250 on Sunday and Tuesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. throughout the summer.
POOL PASSES & EQUIPMENT RENTALS
Individuals and families may purchase daily and weekly pool passes and rent boats and equipment at the Lake Junaluska Recreation Hut, located next to the Kern Center:
• Daily pool passes are $6 per person or $20 per family per day (four-person maximum); weekly pool passes are $25 per person.
• Boat rentals are $5 per person for 30 minutes for canoe or kayak and $10 per person for 1 hour on paddle boards.
• Equipment rental for mini golf (ball), shuffleboard (cue and puck) and tennis (racket) is $5.
SUMMER ACTIVITY PASS
The 2019 Summer Activity Pass is available to all persons who wish to use Lake Junaluska’s recreational facilities including the pool throughout the season.
Lake Junaluska residents and non-residents may purchase passes at the Bethea Welcome Center during regular business hours. The pass, which accommodates up to four persons per family, costs $145 for Lake Junaluska residents and $220 for non-residents. Memberships include a variety of services and discount or special offers.
To learn more about recreation activities, passes, operating hours and rental fees at Lake Junaluska, visit lakejunaluska.com/pool.
To learn more about charitable giving opportunities at Lake Junaluska, visit lakejunaluska.com/support.
Lake Junaluska is a conference and retreat center and residential community that surround a 200-acre mountain lake in Western North Carolina. Lake Junaluska’s mission is to be a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind and body. For more information, visit lakejunaluska.com.