Dirty Dancing Lake Now Just a Muddy Pit

Fans disappointed when they visit Virginia lodge
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2015 1:50 PM CDT

Fans of Frances "Baby" Houseman and Johnny "Patrick Swayze" Castle are being put in the corner—emotionally speaking—by what has become of one of Dirty Dancing's major filming locations. The Guardian reports that nearly 30 years after the film was released, thousands of people still come to Virginia's Mountain Lake Lodge—stand-in for the fictional Kellerman's Resort—only to find its famous lake now more of a muddy pit. The water, which cooled Houseman and Castle as they practiced their signature lift, completely disappeared in 2006, killing a bunch of fish. It was largely empty again beginning in 2008, that year revealing the bones of a missing 1920s fisherman. The lake has remained mostly empty since.

The water's recurring disappearances can be explained by a "plumbing system" unique in the world to Mountain Lake, environmental studies professor Jon Cawley tells the Guardian. He says water drains through holes in the lake bed to clear out old sediment. This process is actually part of a cycle, suggesting the lake should eventually be bigger and deeper someday. To appease disappointed fans, the lodge actually plugged the holes in 2013, only to have a new one open up. It's not all bad news for Dirty Dancing fans, however. A second locale used to shoot the movie was Lake Lure in North Carolina, and a BBC travel feature reports that it is "just as wet—and lovely—as ever." (More Dirty Dancing stories.)

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