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About Smith Mountain Lake
Discover Smith Mountain Lake!
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History

Smith Mountain Lake had its' beginnings in 1963 when the dam across the Roanoke River was completed. It took three years for the lake to fill, covering 20,000 acres and creating over 500 miles of shorline. The lake is operated by AEP to both generate and store electricity. Energy storage is achieved by pumping water up into Smith Mountain Lake from Leesville Lake that is immediately below the dam and visible in the photo above. The Smith Mountain Lake Dam Visitor Center includes excellent exhibits that explain how it all works. See the Activities page for directions and visiting hours.

The lake is about 200' deep near the dam, leaving forests, farms, roads and bridges hidden beneath the surface. The area was prepared by cutting down all the trees that would be near the surface, but leaving the trees that would be completely submerged, creating ideal habitats for fish. As the lake was being filled, early water skiers describe dodging trees as the flew across the water!

For decades the lake remained very rural with few amenities. However, in the mid-1960s, before the lake was full, retired Air Force Colonel Leo Bourassa recognized the beauty and economic potential of the lake. He chose land along Witcher Creek with the most beautiful lake and mountain views, and built all of the properties that are now Silver Bay View Cottages, and named the area "Cedar Key". Cabin 1 and 2 were built as part of a fishing resort, while the Cedar Cabin was built as Col. Bourassa's home. In the late 1970's he added the Main House to his compound on the point. Over the years the land was subdivided, and Col. Bourassa and his wife donated the forest at the entry to Cedar Key to the Virginia Department of Forestry as a wildlife preserve, which is what it remains to this day.

What About Bob filmed on Smith Mountain Lake

In the early 1990s, Hollywood discovered Smith Mountain Lake and the comedy "What About Bob?" was filmed here, although they said it was Lake Winnipesaukee in the film. In the years following the film, several stars from the film industry chose to vacation here. More recently, the Hallmark Movie Channel film "Lake Effects" was filmed here.

Smith Mountain Lake Today

As the lake became recognized as a vacation destination in the mid-Atlantic region, marinas, stores, supermarkets, restaurants and even two movie theaters appeared around the lake. Fortunately Silver Bay and the Cedar Key area remain largely untouched. The land across Witcher Creek, adjacent to Smith Mountain, is managed by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and will never be developed, preserving our beautifull views and pristine setting. The Cedar Key section of Witcher Creek is designated as a "no wake" area, which also preserves the quiet, natural feeling of the area.

In the early days, Col. Bourassa stocked Witcher Creek with striped bass, creating an intense spawning area each spring that remained well into the last decade. While Witcher Creek remains a prime fishing areas, DGIF rightly felt that it would be better for spawning to take place throughout the lake, so they now introduce fish in other locations as well.

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About Lake Away Vacation Rentals
Handpicked Properties | Concierge Service
LakeAway Vacation Rentals on Smith Mountain Lake

Concierge Service

LakeAway provides concierge services to all of our guests. Call us and we are happy to help you plan your vacation and ensure that you are able to enjoy every minute of your visit.  Our services include:

Plan Activities

  • Age appropriate activities for toddlers, young children, teens, young adults, adults and elderly
  • Swimming, tubing, water skiing, wake boarding, kayaking, fishing and hiking
  • Boat, Kayak and watersport equipment rentals
  • Private dinner cruises and catering
  • Seasonal Events (fireworks, wine festival, fishing competitions, home tour etc.)

 

 


Travel Suggestions

  • Nearby attractions:  Wineries,  Micro-Breweries, Historical Sites, Art Galleries, drive-in movie theater, miniature golf/arcades
  • Restaurants:  Southern BBQ, Italian, Fine Dining, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, Pizza
  • Places of interest throughout Virginia (as you drive to/from the lake)

Personal Services

  • Linen service
  • Grocery delivery

Practical Advice

  • Choosing the right property for your family
  • What to bring
  • Where to shop for food and other essentials
  • Transportation logistics:  Airports, Driving times, Scenic vs. Fastest routes.
  • Special needs (medical, handicapped, limited mobility)

Handpicked Properties

To ensure you have the best vacation possible, LakeAway has established quality standards that all properties must meet and maintain.   While properties may range from rustic to luxurious, they all must meet the following minimum standards:

Location: All LakeAway properties are within the exclusive Mountain Preserve communities at Smith Mountain Lake. We then handpicked properties that are ideally suited for lakefront vacations. All properties have docks where you may keep your own or a rented boat, and are in deep water so that you are not left “high and dry” if you happen to visit in a rare period when lake levels are low.

Beds:  Nothing can ruin a vacation more quickly than uncomfortable beds.  All beds are firm, in good condition and do no sag in the middle.  Softer beds or beds appropriate only for children are noted on the property web page.

Air Conditioning and Heating: All homes have central HVAC systems.  There are no window or room units that keep you awake at night.

Kitchens:  Kitchens are well equipped with utensils, pots and pans, cooking utensils, sharpened cutting knives, dishes and glassware.  Larger homes may include specialized equipment (blenders etc.) as well.  These are noted on the specific property web page

Cleanliness:  LakeAway sends two people to clean each house, ensuring  that it is thoroughly cleaned between guests.  Should you discover any problem, they are on-call to resolve any issue. 

Maintenance: LakeAway has contracts with local repairmen who are usually able to execute emergency repairs within a few hours.  On-going maintenance is performed when properties are not occupied.

Safety:  Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers  are provided in all LakeAway properties.  We fully comply with Bedford County Short Term Rental regulations.

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About the Mountain Preserve Communities
Natures' Corner of Smith Mountain Lake
About Mountain Preserve at Smith Mountain Lake View of Mountain Preserve region of Smith Mountain Lake and LakeAway Vacation Rentals

Mountain Preserve at Smith Mountain Lake

All LakeAway vacation rental properties are located within the exclusive Mountain Preserve communities of Smith Mountain Lake.   The Mountain Preserve communities enjoy the natural beauty of the Wildlife Management Areas of Smith Mountain.   The entrance to the Preserve is the narrow gap between Smith Mountain and Alpha Point (at the R2 buoy marker).   At this point the waters of the Preserve open up before you with spectacular views of lake and mountain.  Tucked away in a quiet corner of the lake, the creeks, bays and inlets offer the ideal setting for kayaking, swimming, fishing, boating and water sports.  All in the cleanest water on Smith Mountain Lake, which itself is the cleanest lake east of the Mississippi.

Inspiration for Artists

David Heath's Painting of the Mountain Preserver area of Smith Mountain Lake

The Mountain Preserve also provides inspiration for local artists that have aquired national and international reputations. A leading artist is David Heath, whose home and studio are on Smith Mountain Lake. His paintings are in public, private, and corporate collections in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He continues to paint subjects taken primarily from the Blue Ridge Mountains, lakes, streams, and costal areas of Virginia and North Carolina, the Adirondack Mountains of New York, and the New England coast.

To the left and below are Mr. Heath's paintings of the Mountain Preserve area of Smith Mountain Lake. Drop by to see his latest work at the Little Gallery at Bridgwater Plaza.







David Heath's Painting of the Mountain Preserver area of Smith Mountain Lake
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Reviews & Guest Book
See what others have to say
Reviews of LakeAway Vacation Rentals on Smith Mountain Lake

The following are reviews and guest book entries for Silver Bay View Cottages, owned and operated by Jim Erler, the founder of LakeAway.

(5/5)

WORDS CAN NOT DESCRIBE THE SERENITY OF THIS PLACE

We rented this house for a weekend for a get together with friends and their families. The house is well equipped, well maintained, providing wonderful views and lots of activities for every ones. Owner had been very gracious through out the rental and responded swiftly to any request we had. View from the deck, hot tub and yard is absolutely gorgeous. Location of the house is terrific; close to amenities and marinas. Boat traffic infront of the house is minimal so no noise at all. Fishing was good from the small dock. Early morning over looking the lake and fishing was unforgettable experience. There was only one problem... it ended so soon. I will definitely come back to Silver bay and rent the small cabin just for me and my wife... ;) Owners are very cooperative, courteous and helpful. I called them to ask about fishing and they guided me with great details and their website provides great deal of information and covers minute details.. Over all, 10/10.

(5/5)

AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL VACATION

This was absolutely one of the best trips. I worked very closely with the owners, whom checked on us upon our arrival, brought supplies (I had forgotten to purchase some needed items), and was very kind. In addition to the excellent service we received, the cottage was immaculate and the view was gorgeous. The house had everything we needed (including silverware, dishes, blankets, and cleaning supplies), game tables, a deck with grill, a hot tub, and stairs that led to a dock on the water. We also decided to bring our Vizsla who loved it! There was plenty of room for her to run around and because of the locataion, there was no need to worry about cars; the cottage is at the end of a private cul-de-sac, so there were no unwanted visitors. Overall, I would definitely recommend this cottage, or any owned by the same people. I will definitely be back!

(5/5)

RELAXING, REFRESHING, WONDERFUL.

We were looking for a change of pace as we typically go to OBX every year. We wanted to come to a place that offered something a little different and wanted to make some memories with the kids that would last a life time. We found that at SML and were extremely pleased with the main house at Silver Bay View Cottages. Great game room for the kids downstairs when we weren't on the water. The views from the deck and hot tub were breathtaking. Surprisingly, we could sit on the deck and not get eaten by mosquitoes. Many hours on the dock, in and out of the water. Lots of tubing, wake boarding, knee boarding, rope swinging, and hanging out on a few little beaches that we found. Also, we rented a boat from Mitchell's Point Marina and the staff was very friendly and they certainly took care of us during our stay. You probably won't spend much time in the house but we had a great experience in there as well. Very clean, lots of space and beds. The owner was wonderful and we enjoyed meeting him. There was even a problem with one of the beds and he fixed it for us within an hour. You can't beat that. All in all, a very memorable vacation and wonderful house. If you're looking to entertain a bunch of kids and their friends, the memories that you'll make here are hard to beat.

(5/5)

IT WAS PERFECT!

My husband dreamed of a place where we could kayak, hike and fish. Cabin 2 made his wish come true! The location and cabin were exactly as described. It was very quiet and peaceful. The view from the large deck that ran across the entire back of the cabin was breathtaking. The cabin itself was very clean and well- maintained. We appreciated the high quality of the amenities --- furniture, kitchenware, dinnerware, glassware, t.v. The queen bed was comfortable as was our son's twin bed. I especially appreciated the modern, new bathroom sink! The owner communicated with us promptly and provided good information about the area. We only ventured out of the area to go hiking at the State Park which was under a 12 minute drive. Most of the time was spent kayaking and fishing. Although the cabin is located high above the dock, we had no problem carrying our kayak down the well-kept stairs to the water. As for fishing, my husband and son enjoyed catching 8 fish(catfish and carp) in one day. Some were caught from the kayak, but most were caught directly from the dock. 

(5/5)

THE DESCRIPTION SAYS IT ALL!

My best friend and I came to Cabin 2 at Smith Mountain Lake for a girls getaway weekend. We found a piece of heaven waiting for us! Out of all the numerous cabins on the lake, Cabin 2 has the best view by far--aside from one tree, a completely obstructed view of the lake and surroundings. The pictures online don't even do justice to the breathtaking view and beauty of the cabin. The owner provided excellent customer service from start to finish. Cabin 2 was immaculately maintained, and we found everything we needed. We enjoyed a sunrise on the dock, sunset on the deck, and everything in between. We loved it so much we didn't venture anywhere else until we departed for home! One thing we loved was the quietness and solitude, especially on the dock and deck. The only sound we heard was the birds! Before we left Cabin 2, we marked our calendar for our fall visit and made the reservation shortly after returning home--a testimony to how much we enjoyed our time there. I would highly recommend this cabin. It truly is a private paradise.

(5/5)

WE HAD A GREAT TIME!

We spent three days in the cabin and had a wonderful time. We didn't want to leave! It was great to have our dogs with us and they were able to swim all day. The cabin was very clean and well kept. Nice sunsets and overall very relaxing. We intend on going back in the future! The owner was very helpful with us in working out a time we could come when our original dates fell through!

(5/5)

LATE APRIL AT SML

Our stay at Silver Bay on Smith Mountain Lake was fantastic. The place is a perfect combination of lakefront, house space, spectacular views, comfortable accommodations, convenience to marinas, quiet cove, and activities for the kids and dogs! The hot tub was the bonus! The kids had a fabulous time and the dogs slept for days when we got home! Nothing like a warm end-of-April weekend just right for the year's first swimming, fishing, grilling, boating, and quiet early mornings overlooking the lake! The only problem was I had to go back to work on Monday!

(5/5)

WONDERFUL RELAXING STAY AT THE CEDAR CABIN

This was made at the last minute, and the owner was extremely accommodating. The property was just as described, clean, and comfortable. We were looking for a place on the lake to moor our boat while we stayed, and the Cedar Cabin was just the ticket. We were provided with information about dining on the lake, and enjoyed the hot tub. Everything was perfect, thank you so much. 5 STARS! 

(5/5)

HEAVENLY

Love being in a no wake cove that is so deep and across from a wildlife preserve. This is our 3rd visit and we had such a good time kayaking and water skiing. The cabin is cozy and comfortable. Best of all our dog Annie is welcome too. This is our home away from home : )! We plan to come back next year

(5/5)

EXCELLENT PLACE TO STAY

My husband and I love to travel with our dogs. This cabin was perfect. We were close to several places to go hiking and we had the dock at the cabin that we could all enjoy going swimming. The weather was could not have been any better. The cabin was very clean and well maintained. I would recommend this to anyone that wants to come for a fun time. We can't wait to go back.

(5/5)

SILVER BAY VIEW COTTAGES ON SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE

This was our second year in cabin 1. There were many upgrades, furniture, bedding, tv, internet... A very pleasant cozy cabin for our family for a very reasonable price. The best part of all is that our dog Annie was welcome. We all enjoyed the cool, clean water and exploring the nature preserve from our kayaks.

(5/5)

RELAXING & BEAUTIFUL!

My husband and I rented this cabin for our anniversary, and we had such a great, relaxing weekend! The cabin provided everything we needed, and the view was gorgeous. The lake is clean, clear, and great for swimming - right off the dock even! Even better, we were able to bring our dog, making the weekend a win overall. I'd highly recommend this cabin, and we'd like to come back in the future.

(5/5)

JUST WHAT WE NEEDED

As owner/operators of a long haul truck, our dog and I usually load up and take a working vacation each summer with my husband. This summer we opted to do something different, especially since we now have 2 dogs. This little cabin on the lake was the perfect get away and we were so blessed to be able to bring our two labs along. The listing description was accurate, the property was clean and well-maintained and the owner was very pleasant to talk to and very helpful. We spent a few days just relaxing around the cabin and swimming with the dogs each day. The gated deck was wonderful for the dogs to be able to be outside if they wanted. One day we took a ride to the Smith Mountain Lake Dam Visitor Center where we learned about the lake and the dam. Another day we rented a pontoon boat from Parkway Marina and spent the day checking out the surrounding area from the lake. We had an awesome vacation, plan on returning and would highly recommend the property. The only down/con of this property would be all the steps to get down to the dock.

(5/5)

OUTSTANDING VIEW AND WELCOMING CABIN

Cabin was very clean and well maintained. The cabin had everything you would need. Very accommodating and friendly owners. We had a great visit. Would definitely come back. Thank you.

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