Since the inception of Smith Mountain Lake in 1966, the surrounding communities have witnessed an amazing metamorphosis.Â The transformation of this tri-county area from vast farmland to a recreational paradise and thriving community occurred at a relatively quick pace, right before our eyes.Â Â Â After completion of the Smith Mountain Lake Dam, full pond was reached on March 5, 1966 at 5:03 A.M.
The meld of lifetime and long term residents and newcomers has created a sound historical, cultural and economic foundation of growth.
Originally built as a hydroelectric power project by Appalachian Power Company, the recreational opportunities were unpredicted.Â Many area residents look back at the cost of lake property in the early years and sigh with remorse of an opportunity lost. They experienced lifeâ€™s lesson that only hindsight is 20/20.Â Many long term residents of the area occasionally heave a few sighs of remorse watching property values grow as each year rolls by.Â Itâ€™s hardly a mystery why Smith Mountain Lake has become a destination for newcomers.Â Quite simply, there are not many places that offer a setting that combine a scenic mountain backdrop with a beautiful lake, friendly communities and moderate climate!Â Mingle in the ever-growing list of restaurants, retail centers, art galleries, organizations and all of the amenities that add to an excellent quality of life in the region and you can clearly see the magnetism.
Those of us who live here are privileged toÂ view the area up close and personal.Â What we see is a multi-faceted diamond, revealing beauty and quality of life from every angle.
Smith Mountain Lake has indeed evolved over the past four +decades.Â Today it is far more than a source of hydro-electric power.Â The region has moved past a weekend haven and beyond a summer vacation spot.Â Smith Mountain Lake has emerged as a solid residential community as well as a year round destination for travelers.Â Natural splendor is just one part of the influence.Â Each season unfolds with breathtaking natural beauty unique to the area.Â A sprinkling of snow each winter evokes a holiday spirit of festivity. Â Seasons change early in spring to prompt a blaze of brilliant azaleas, roadsides covered with daffodils, carpets of phlox and mountainsides colored with white dogwoods and redbuds.Â All the while a mass of green leaves are taking form within the trees. Summers in the area are lush with an abundant splash of color adding to the casual atmosphere and lifestyle.Â Nothing compares to the burst of color in the fall foliage at Smith Mountain Lake.
A casual boat ride down the 40 miles of water covering 500 miles of shoreline during any season of the year imbeds lasting memories of the occasion.
However, the area offers much more than natural charm.Â The communities surrounding Smith Mountain Lake are alive with more than 71 civic organizations.Â Combined, they unify to provide residents and guests with diverse stream of events, activities and interests all year round.Â Music lovers delightÂ in the quality of concerts provided by the Roanoke Symphony, blue grass festivals, folk, contemporary, rhythm & blues and other forms of musical entertainment.Â Many flock to the lake for quality art, antiques, crafts, and a wide range of shopping prospects.Â Â Annual events that include an quatic poker run, triathlon, fireworks displays, antique boat show, wine festival, home tour and a spectacular winter boat parade dot an active community calendar.Â Local retailers, restaurants, marinas and a plethora of businesses add to the steady flow of activity at and around Smith Mountain Lake.Â Just a short drive in any direction lead to national monuments such as the D-Day Memorial and Booker T. Washington center, historical sites that include Jeffersonâ€™s Poplar Forest and Natural Bridge. Â Those who enjoy outdoor sports such as golf and fishing will be impressed with what they find.Â There are five excellent 18-hole golf courses at the lake.Â As for fishingâ€¦Smith Mountain Lake attracts anglers for sport and competition.Â Known for its large Citation Striped Bass, the record to date is an amazing 52 lbs.Â World class bass tournament organizers such as BassmastersÂ® and the FLW Outdoor choose Smith Mountain Lake for premier events.
Those who live in or visit the area are likely to state, â€œLife doesnâ€™t get much better than this.â€
Change is constant and for Smith Mountain Lake the metamorphosis has been splendid.
The seamless weave of new and old culture has produced a lifestyle envied by those who can only view or visit.Â For more information on the region, history, businesses, lodging, dining and much more, go to the SML Regional Chamber website: www.visitsmithmountainlake.com or call 800-676-8203 to receive a free Visitor and Newcomer Guide to Smith Mountain Lake.
Vicki Gardner, Executive Director â€“ Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce