A visit to Smith Mountain Lake offers plenty of laidback lifestyle vibes as you sleep late in our super comfortable beds, chill on the back porch with coffee or wine depending on the time of day, and spend as much time as you can on or near the water. But some of our visitors are wired differently, finding themselves unable to completely enjoy lake life without getting out there and exploring everything the area has to offer. For those people who walk to the beat of a different drummer, we offer a getaway that’s just as different as you are. This guide to a historical journey of the Smith Mountain Lake area will feed your curiosity as it allows you to get out and explore more than the views off the back deck of your vacation escape!
Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest
You don’t have to wander far to find something of historical significance in our home state; Virginia was one of the original 13 colonies, after all. But some historical attractions are of a little higher importance than a marker found on the side of the road, and Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest is one such site! Located at 1542 Bateman Bridge Road in Forest, Virginia, this brick plantation with forest green shutters was the place our 3rd President retreated to when his day job began to stress him out. Restored to look much as it had in the earliest days of our nation’s history and offering special events throughout the year, Poplar Forest is definitely one site worth visiting at least once in your lifetime!
Ghost Town of Monroe
While this next “attraction” is more of a legend in these parts, the town of Monroe is suspected to be found on the bottom of Smith Mountain Lake, flooded over when the dams were built many years ago. It’s near impossible to determine if this story is fact or fiction, but to be honest, we don’t really want to disenchant anyone of the notion of a flooded ghost town as it adds to the mystique of the area! So, the next time you’re skiing, fishing, or swimming, be sure to send a cheerful hello down to the depths of the lake!
Booker T. Washington National Monument
It’s hard to picture one of the greatest Americans in history starting out his days in this humble slave shack, but Booker T. Washington was born a slave, and when you visit the National Monument you can walk in his footsteps as you explore the park, watch live reenactments, and feel humbled by this distressing time in American history. Located at 12130 Booker T. Washington Highway in Hardy, your visit to the grounds of the plantation is going to be one you will think about for years to come.
National D-Day Memorial
Honoring the brave soldiers who lost their lives on the beaches of Normandy, the National D-Day Memorial was dedicated on June 6th, 2001. With a population of only around 3,200 in 1944, Bedford suffered the nation’s severest D-Day losses by proportion and was therefore chosen as the Memorial site to honor the town’s great sacrifice. You can visit the Memorial at 3 Overlord Circle in Bedford, VA. The Memorial is open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with ticket sales ending at 4:30 PM. Be sure to call ahead at 510-587-3619 for more information and to confirm the Memorial’s operational status before visiting.
Reserve Your Historic Getaway Today
We offer the vacation escape of your dreams! Contact us today to book your journey and discover the historical side of the Smith Mountain Lake area.