"Smith Mountain Lake..not part of the Park" Smith Mountain Lake State Park by zanzooni

Ahhh...Virginia...

Land of history, climates, and scenery. From blue mountains rising seemingly out of no where consisting of monochromatic blues and purples, gentle, vibrant green rolling hills meandering through the lush wide open countryside, to the sometimes turbulent Atlantic Ocean that leaves it's anger behind. Lakes, lakes and more lakes...Caverns, the only ***** restaurant in the Metro DC area, 2 hours west of DC, watersports, golf courses as well as claiming the most battles fought on it's red clay soil, durring the Civil War.

Smith Mountain Lake is Virginia's second largest lake. With well over 500 miles of waterfront shoreline, 40 miles long, and encompasing 20,600 acres, it offers a myriad of watersport activities, camping, golfing as well as electricity production. The lake was man made by damming of the Blackwater and Roanoke Rivers in order to generate electricity, and to help manage water flows downstream and nearby. The lake filling process began in September of 1963 and ended in March of 1966.

The Dam

The dam was built to generate hydro-electricity. Land was being bought up by the Appalachian Power Company, starting in the 1920's, with the actual construction process beginning in the late summer of 1960. The daming process began in 1963, with the lake actually finishing it's filling process in the spring of 1966. There are 5 total hydro-electric power generating units now. The total cost: $113,000,000(4 were built in '64, the 5th in '79) Alot of money for that period of time. This picture shows the highest point of the lake, at 250' at full pond. If we have severe drought, the lake can drop by about 4'. The water purity here is excellant, and the water temperature invites swimming from May-September. The average mean temperature is 73F in the summer, and the winter's are quite mild with the temperature at 41F. Average snowfall is only 10" for the season.

The west end of SML, including the town of Moneta, is closest to Roanoke, VA (population about 100K) and the east end, including Huddelston, is near Lynchburg, (population 70K) So, while you are here, you can go to the "Big City" in less than an hour, depending on how the crow flies that day. What ever neck of the woods you decide to visit, you will have shopping malls as well as commercial airports just in case you need a quick get away.

What about Bob?

This is the house that was used for a model for the movie, "What about Bob?" starring Bill McMurray and Richard Dreyfus made in the fall of 1992. The movie was filmed on the lake and in the town of Moneta. The signage as well as the buildings were painted in order to portray the town of 'Lake Winnipesaukee", NH.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:If you love the outdoors sporting life, this is the place to be.
  • Cons:None, that I can think of....
  • In a nutshell:This is my retirement village...
  • Last visit to Smith Mountain Lake State Park: May 2004
  • Intro Updated Jul 6, 2004
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zanzooni

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