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White Lake (Photo; Helen Holt/WWAY)

WHITE LAKE, NC (WWAY) — Nestled just a few minutes south of the county seat White Lake is full of rich history.

While the lake is what attracts most visitors from across the country, there is a lot of stuff to do on and off the water.

For the majority of the year White Lake is described as a ghost town, but from May through early September this sandy bottom lake sees a lot of action.

“We are always ready to welcome the tourists and everyone coming back for the summer,” Jake Womble, family owns Goldston’s Beach, said. “Tens of thousand of people filter through each week or weekend.”

Goldston’s Beach is typically where you’ll see the most foot traffic. Womble says everything about this place is special. It’s been a part of the Womble and Goldston family for nearly a century.

“My grand dad’s uncle started the place back in the early 1920s, left it to my grand dad and he’s been running it ever since,” Womble said. “He is 95 now and him, my dad, and myself work here with a couple of family members.”

White Lake covers more than 1,200 acres, stretches 5 and a half miles around, and is spring and rain water fed. It is considered a Carolina bay so how it was formed is still a mystery.

“Some people think that it might date back to the ice age you know with ice pushing through, other people might think it’s meteoroids, but nothing has for sure been determined,” Womble said.

Since the 1920s a lot has changed, but the stories and memories made over the years are everlasting.

“We have had some families for 40, 50 years,” Womble said. “It’s kind of a look back into the past, you know everything has got a little age on it.”

From swimming to boating to fishing, or just taking a snooze under a tree, it’s slice of paradise located in Bladen County.

“We have a sandwich spot, restaurant, gift shop, arcade, rides, bingo, put put, and a hotel,” Womble said.

This a year round job for Womble that he plans to be a part of for years to come.

“It’s really special because there not many small businesses around that have been in the family for that long, from generation to generation,” Womble said.

One big part of White Lake is Goldston’s Restaurant and Friday was their first day of the tourism season. They serve breakfast and dinner.

You can either order something on the menu or get food off the buffet bar offering the southern classics like meat, vegetables, and of course seafood.

Robin Summerlin runs the restaurant and says the best part beside the food is the people he meets.

“I’ve always enjoyed it and appreciated it,” Summerlin, restaurant partner. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of people over here. You see them one week a year and you have a lot of catching up to do. It’s always a good time.”

Summerlin says he does a lot of cooking himself and he says the best dish to order is fried chicken. He said butter is pretty much a part of every menu item.

While the season is typically only from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, they are trying to extend it a little by opening up this weekend.

White Lake Water Festival is the unofficial start to summer at the lake and events are happening Friday through Saturday.

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