HAMPTON, Tenn. (WJHL) A popular lakeside destination in Carter County will soon come under new ownership after more than six decades of building their legacy on the Watauga lakeshore.
In Hampton, Tenn., some people say this property is home to the best view you’ll find on Watauga Lake.
For 61 years, the Tipton family has been serving locals and tourists alike at Lakeshore Resort & Marina and their restaurant, The Captain’s Table.
“It’s been a lifetime of work,” said owner Ted Tipton. “Rome wasn’t built in a day, and this place wasn’t built in a day.”
Ted and his wife Betty purchased the property in 1961 – taking over the marina, the resort of cottages and the restaurant.
Once called ‘Lakeshore Grill,’ the restaurant became known as ‘The Captain’s Table’ in 1990.
One glance at the scenery surrounding it and it’s not hard to see why people keep coming back.
“The lake, the view. It’s just part of God’s country,” said Tipton.
Tipton says it took a lot of hard work to get the resort and restaurant to where they are today. As with any business, there have been challenges.
“Mostly, keeping the doors open!” said Tipton with a laugh. “The good Lord has been kind to us. We just kept expanding and working. It’s something we look back on with pride. We have scratched and crawled and been successful and the people have supported us.”
A successful operation six decades in the making is no doubt a family affair for the Tiptons. Four generations have kept the place up and running. Children have grown up at the marina and the restaurant.
Tipton says over the years they have seen a lot of familiar faces but also a lot of new ones as tourism has grown.
An article in ‘Outdoor Life’ back in the 1960s on fishing for walleye on Lake Watauga prompted their first boom in tourism, Tipton recalls.
“We get them from all over the United States now. We have devoted all our time and efforts to making this a great place for people to come and visit,” said Tipton.
He thanks the Hampton community and locals for their undying support – some of them for decades.
“We’ve got what you call regulars. A lot of them are going away by old age,” Tipton said with a laugh. “We support them and they support us, that’s as simple as I can put it.”
Tipton was honored as Tennessee’s Restaurateur of the Year in 1991 – to this day it is one of his proudest moments.
“We wanted to serve the people of East Tennessee and that’s what we’ve accomplished,” said Tipton.
After six decades, the Tipton family has written its final chapter of their story centered on running the business on Watauga Lake.
The resort, marina and restaurant have all been sold to new owners and will remain open.
Barbecue chain Southern Craft will soon replace the Captain’s Table.
“By now, we realize that age has taken its toll. All of us are worn-out horses,” said Tipton with a smile.
He says the family has peace about their decision, knowing what they have built will live on.
“We are older and want to see the place grow more and serve the people of East Tennessee. I want the new owners to flourish,” said Tipton.
Tipton made sure to thank all of their employees over the years who have helped make their business a true staple of the Carter County community.