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Smith Mountain Lake

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The lake, deep blue, bottle green or slate colored on a cloudy day, covers over 20,000 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains of South Central Virginia. Sandy beaches, marinas, private homes and a lakeside State Park dot the 500 miles of shoreline. A shoreline that follows the Roanoke River out of Roanoke County, quickly widening into the main body of the lake before meandering into scenic coves on it's way to the deep waters and high cliffs around the dam.

With the permanent population at Smith Mountain Lake topping 18,000 and growing, the need for support services has gathered speed and new businesses are springing into life from one end of the lake to the other. The Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce/Partnership, Inc. was formed in 1993 to serve the lake area business community and is uniquely positioned to be able to coordinate the business needs and concerns of all counties bordering the lake. A Board of Directors, headed by Morris Johnson, President, and 320 members, have in place an energetic membership drive designed to include as many members of the business community as possible. The organization was created to promote tourism, business and community growth, to develop and promote programs to encourage economic, social, cultural and recreational interests of Lake Area residents. Several committees, made up of members who volunteer their time, take on the responsibilities of budget - the SMLCC/P is unique because of minimal county funding - Membership, the popular Business After Hours evening once a month and Lake Clean-Up. Other projects include an Education Information committee, an annual golf tournament, wine festival and an archery tournament.

The Visitors Information Center, currently in the same facility as the SMLCC/P and under its auspices, receives an average of 21,000 visitors annually along with nearly 5,000 written inquiries. They come from many different States and foreign countries through their 1-800-676-8203 number. Charlotte Bryant is the contact person. The Chamber and Visitor's Center is located on Route 122 at Halesford Bridge in Bridgewater Plaza.

For the enjoyment of both residents and visitors to the Lake, the State has built a recreational park on the Huddleston waterfront. It covers nearly 1,500 acres including 16 miles of waterfront. Smith Mountain Lake State Park is not just for water enthusiasts. In addition to a full-range of water activities, the park offers miles of hiking trails, camping and picnic spots. There's a visitor's center with maps and information regarding the park.

A white sandy beach with roped off swimming facilities, lifeguards and a wake zone provides safe swimming for adults and children. There is a pier and public boat ramp and mooring facilities. Newly housekeeping cabins on the waterfront are the latest amenity. The cabin fee includes the use of the boat ramp and swimming. 50 primitive campsites have grills and picnic table, while 24 of them have electrical and water hook-ups. There are centrally located primitive toilets and a cold water shower.

Events, such as the Smith Mountain Ruritans Bass Fishing Tournament in March and the Spring Fling in April, continue throughout the year with a Junior Fishing Tournament and Swimming competition.

For more information about the State Park, phone (540) 297-6066. For reservations and/or free brochures call 1-800-933-7275 or in Richmond 225-3867. The park is located in Huddleston on the north shore of the lake approximately 40 miles from both Lynchburg and Roanoke.

Close to the State Park, Smith Mountain Lake has its own airport with a 3,000 ft. landing strip. Sightseeing tours may be booked by contacting Virginia Air Services. Flights generally last 20 minutes and fly from the dam to the bridge. A maximum of 3 people can be carried at once. Charter flights can also be taken to the nearby Peaks of Otter.

At Smith Mountain Lake, the permanent resident or visitor can have as much or as little activity as suits the individual. There's much to do in the way of entertainment and dining out, and even more to do in the way of cruising the clear waters, in a kayak or a houseboat, fishing from a Jon boat or a private dock or picnicking on a grassy bank or cove. Lake restaurants offer everything from Haute Cuisine to pizza, burgers and ice cream. There's live music and dancing on the waterfront. Crab legs and Karaoke at Crazy Horse Marina and breakfast at Campers Paradise. On The paddle steamer Virginia Dare, guests can cruise and dine at the same time. There's even a water-going, thatched cabana that sells snacks and drinks to boaters, fishers, water-skiers who are having too much fun to leave the water.

Boats of all varieties may be bought or rented on Smith Mountain Lake. These include personal WaterCraft, Houseboats, pontoons or ski boats. Bridgewater Parasail is based at Bridgewater Plaza near Halesford Bridge. The flying is done near Bernard's Landing, a condominium complex, at the widest part of the lake. The lake abounds with fish. Trophy striped bass, black bass, wall-eyed pike and muskie are some of them. But finding them may prove difficult without a guide. Lake fishing guides are Coast Guard licensed and will take two people or a group of four out at a time. Bring your own rod and reel.

And in addition to the fishing, and the boating and riding airplanes, championship golf courses curve through the hills, and around the lake. Stately Country Clubs offer a variety of membership and non-member plans, good food and special night-outs. A new public Library opened its doors in Moneta in 1999 and small shopping centers around the lake include a couple of large grocery stores. Mom 'n' Pop grocers, quaint little places where you can buy anything from a loaf of bread to an anchor, dot the back roads and even some of the main roads. Banks abound as do churches of all denominations. Major medical facilities out of Roanoke have clinics at the lake and doctors and dentists have private practices there.

Bedford, Franklin and Pittsylvania Public Schools all service the Smith Mountain Lake area.

Scout Troop 540-297-7497
Guard Auxiliary 540-774-3869
Fire Belles 540-297-4990
4-H Center 540-721-2759
Huddleston Ruritan 540-297-4085
Moneta Lions Club 540-297-1849
Moneta Garden Club 540-297-7562
Moneta Ruritan Club 540-297-1182
Saunders Vol. Fire Dept. 540-297-6856
Scruggs Rescue Squad 540-721-5245
Scruggs Scuba Team 540-721-8651
SML Arts Council 540-576-3401 SMLBA 540-297-5404
Mt. Lake Assoc. 540-297-4146
SML Moose Lodge 2346 540-297-7183
SML Chamber/Partnership 1-800-676-8203
SML Dam Visit Center 540-985-2587
SML Rotary Club 540-297-9188
SML Policy Advisory Board 540-721-4400
SML Ski Club 540-297-6555
SML Visitors Center 1-800-676-8203
SML State Park 540-297-6066
SML Ruritan 540-297-2379
SML Marine Vol. Fire Dept. 540-721-5585
VA Inland Sailing Assoc. 540-989-5110

Strawberry Baptist Association
P.O. Box 91
Bedford, Virginia 24523

Tel.: (540) 586-8345

Copyright© 2001 SBAVA -- Updated 10/27/2002
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