Andrew James Lodge MD

Hyco Lake is a Best Kept Secret

I lived in central North Carolina for almost 20 years before I discovered that Hyco Lake existed. The 3,750 acre lake is located in north-central North Carolina, close to the border with Virginia. It is about ten minutes from Roxboro. My wife and I purchased a home there over ten years ago. At that time, the inventory of homes on the market around the lake was plentiful. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, however, the number of homes for sale has plummeted as the real estate market has been booming. In addition, new construction on the lake seems to be ramping up as well. There is a tremendous amount of undeveloped shoreline and a tour around the lake reveals numerous homes being built or remodeled.

Despite this increase in interest in building and real estate around Hyco Lake, my experience has been that the vast majority of people that I meet don’t know anything about it, much like me 20-30 years ago. My primary residence is about an hour south of the lake. When my family has invited guests to visit us at Hyco, it has for most been not only their first trip there, but also the first time they’ve heard of it. Uniformly, however, once they come, they enjoy themselves and are eager to return.

The name Hyco is derived from a native American word for the turkey buzzards that can be seen patrolling the lake area. The land immediately surrounding Hyco Lake is owned by Duke Energy Progress. It was, in fact, the predecessor of this company that formed the lake to serve as a cooling reservoir for its power plant. The current company still operates an active power plant on the shore of the lake today. The plant burns coal to produce steam that then turns the turbines that produce electrical power. Over the years the plant has developed a system to recycle most of the by-products of the coal burning.

Hyco Lake has some features that I view as relatively unique to lakes in central North Carolina. Essentially all the homes on the lake have some waterfront property. There aren’t really any neighborhoods per se that extend back from the waterfront, but groups of homes tend to be clustered and accessed based on the coves around which they are built. Many are accessed by private roads. Hyco also tends to maintain its water level relatively well throughout the year, even during the hottest and driest part of the summer. This is a major plus for those interested in recreational water activities. Throughout the season one can observe people wakeboarding, wake surfing, water skiing, tubing, and jet-skiing as well as just floating and swimming. The lake is enjoyed not only by homeowners but also by visitors by virtue of a park located towards the Caswell County side of the lake. The park offers a beach, public boat launch, and camping and picnic opportunities. The Person-Caswell Lake authority patrols both the park and lake to maintain safety. Because of its relative obscurity, boat traffic is generally not excessive, even during the Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day holiday weekends. Because the power plant discharges warm water used to cool its steam exhaust, the lake temperature remains warm enough to permit a long boating season and fishing throughout the year. Also, due to the power company’s ownership of the land surrounding the lake, much of the shoreline is not or cannot be built upon which prevents overdevelopment. There is only a single business on the lake – a small “marina” that comprises a convenience store, restaurant, and gas pumps. There are no permanent boat slips other than those on the homeowners’ docks.

My family and I have appreciated the relative peace and tranquility of our home on Hyco Lake for over 12 years. We use our home throughout the year. Since over half of the homes on the lake are not occupied year-round, the cooler months tend to be very quiet. During the warm weather months, we have hosted many friends and family members there. All have enjoyed this somewhat hidden gem. The fact that the lake is relatively unknown has actually increased our appreciation of our getaway. We hope to continue to enjoy it for years to come.

By Andrew Lodge MD

Andrew James Lodge MD