For all of its wonders, Smith Mountain Lake VA still has a few surprises up its sleeve for visitors. Here are the top surprising facts about Smith Mountain Lake and the towns nearby that you may not be aware of!
Booker T. Washington’s Legacy Began Here
Located on the west side of Smith Mountain Lake is the Booker T. Washington National Monument. Dedicated to the famous teacher, orator, author, and presidential advisor, this monument preserves the historic plantation that Booker T. Washington was born and raised on until he was freed from slavery at 9 years old.
Smith Mountain Lake Wasn’t Always a Lake
Long before the valley was flooded and the Blackwater and Roanoke Rivers were dammed off in 1963, there were a handful of towns that called the valley home. Even before then, the Smithsonian Institute’s archaeology department found remnants from Algonquin Native Americans from centuries before. Places like Sunken City Brewing Company pay tribute to these lost cities in their name. Learn more at the Smith Mountain Lake Visitors Center!
Facts About Smith Mountain Lake: It Has Appeared in Two Movies
Most famously, Smith Mountain Lake VA served as the setting for the 1991 Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss comedy What About Bob? in which it stood-in for Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. The lake was also the setting for the 2012 independent film Lake Effects, which appeared on the Hallmark Movie Channel.
Smith Mountain Lake is Centrally Located Near a Handful of Important Places
Smith Mountain Lake is in between Roanoke and Lynchburg, and only a short drive away from the Blue Ridge Parkway, the National D-Day Memorial, and Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest home. Our town is also within driving distance of Raleigh, NC and Washington D.C. (2 hours north of Raleigh and 4 hours southwest of Washington D.C.).
Smith Mountain Lake Has an Alpaca Farm
In Hardy on the western shore of the lake, you’ll find Smith Mountain Lake Farm, where you can tour and see alpacas of all ages. These adorable creatures are bred for their wool, which is turned into fiber for industrial and fashion purposes.