Although the setting for Dirty Dancing is Upstate New York, actual filming of the movie itself took place in the South. Along with Lake Lure and the Fairfield Inn in North Carolina being used as locations to represent Upstate New York in the movie, so was the Mountain Lake Resort, situated close to Roanoke, Virginia.
Along with filming taking place at these resorts both Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey also chose to stay at Mountain Lake as well.
Most of the scenes as you watch the film which has stood the test of time were filmed in Mountain Lake Hotel’s dining room and at the gazebo over looking the lake. Also in one scene even the kitchens of the hotel were used.
A lot of the filming took place late in the year and certainly the weather was very cold. However the scenes shot where we see Johnny lifting Baby in the lake were filmed at this time. This is because the lake at the resort is fed by a spring and maintains a maximum temperature of 72 degrees throughout the year.
Although the majority of filming took place at the locations mentioned above, sometimes the crew had to travel a little further away to get the right location. For example the scene where we seen Johnny and Baby dancing on the log was actually filmed in Tryon, North Carolina, which is only a short drive away from the main resort. Again as with the rest of filming this scene was shot in the autumn and in order to ensure that it looked more spring like the trees had to be spray painted green.
Like so many other movies choosing the right location to create the right atmosphere was crucial. It took several months to find the right location for this particular film. This was because the director was looking for a location that remained much of what was normal in such locations during the 1960’s. However since filming took place over the years the buildings that played a very important role in the movie have now been demolished. It is such a sad thing to know but the beauty of the location is going to live on through the film.
Certainly both Lake Lure and Mountain Lake both played a prominent role. However when it came to shooting the scenes in the ballroom and of course the final dance scene with the stage needed something bigger. Luckily for the director of the film the perfect location was situated on Lake Lure, namely Camp Chimney Rock. At the time of filming it was in a state of disuse as the owner had chosen to no longer run it as a summer camp.