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50th Anniversary of Smith Mountain Lake | Everything you need to know!

Smith Mountain Lake will celebrate an exciting milestone in 2016 – its golden anniversary!

Smith Mountain Lake reached “full pond” of 795 feet above sea level on March 7, 1966. A ton of special events and celebrations will take place throughout 2016 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Smith Mountain Lake, making it a great time to plan a vacation or take a look at Smith Mountain Lake homes for sale.



Activities in the works to commemorate SML’s 50th anniversary are plentiful with community organizations and individual businesses marking the milestone in ways big and small. Included will be:

  • Several 5K and 10K races, as well as a 50-kilometer “dam-to-dam” ultra-marathon
  • A 1960s-themed weekend with live music, a car show and more
  • A Roanoke Symphony Orchestra 50th anniversary concert
  • 50th anniversary-themed celebrations at the area’s largest festivals, including the SML Wine Festival and Rockin Brews & BBQ’s

Bookmark the 50th anniversary of Smith Mountain Lake calendar of events, updated frequently by the SML Regional Chamber of Commerce, for all the details!

50th Anniversary Song

Several lake-area musicians banded together to produce a catchy tune about the 50th anniversary of Smith Mountain Lake. Written by Jerry Hale, “Jewel of the Blue Ridge” features noted vocalists Bubba Chandler and Mary Prillaman, as well as Johnathan Dillon (mandolin, banjo and guitar) and Tim Massey (bass and harmony).

Download the 50th anniversary song for $1.99. All proceeds benefit the celebration. Read more about how the song came about in this story from Laker Weekly.


Officially licensed 50th anniversary merchandise will be for sale at retail locations around the lake and the SML Visitor Center at Bridgewater Plaza. Clothing, accessories, memorabilia, trinkets, posters and a 2016 calendar are among the items available.

Find Out More

Visit the official 50th anniversary of Smith Mountain Lake page of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce for additional information, a brief history of Smith Mountain Lake, a list of related events and celebrations and additional links.

Smith Mountain Laker Magazine and Laker Weekly are compiling 50th anniversary of SML stories and photos and will be updating coverage throughout the year. The editors also welcome you to share your photos and memories of Smith Mountain Lake in celebration of the milestone.

Also covering stories and events surrounding the 50th anniversary of SML celebration is the Smith Mountain Eagle.

Contact Me

If you plan to be here in 2016 for the celebration and are interested in setting up an appointment to tour Smith Mountain Lake homes for sale, be sure to get in touch with me!


5 Tips For Swimming Safely In Smith Mountain Lake

It’s always time for summer fun at Smith Mountain Lake, and swimming is usually the highlight. Those lucky enough to spend the warm months on the lakefront get to splash and frolic to their heart’s content, but the hours spent among the mini waves requires some insight for staying safe.


1. Be Aware Of Conditions

Be on the lookout for changes in the air or water temperatures, as well as larger waves and current changes. The weather can also change suddenly, which will affect the conditions out on the water as well. Look for these things as you and your children are swimming so you can respond appropriately should the water get too rough to safely enjoy.

2. Watch For Obstacles

Rocks and underwater vegetation can easily ensnare swimmers, so keep an eye open for things in the water that have the potential to make swimming difficult. It’s easier than you think to get a foot caught in between rocks or tangled in some plant life.

3. Always Take A Buddy

You never know when danger could strike, so it’s essential that you’ve got someone there to watch your back—regardless of your age. A sudden change in weather or even something as simple as a cramp could make a seemingly harmless day down at the water’s edge go from fun to fatal real quick. Always take a buddy when you swim whether you are in the lake, the ocean, a pond, or a pool.

4. Swim In Designated Areas

If you are swimming on your own property, you probably know where the rocks are, where the drop offs are, etc. However, if you’ve headed on down to a local beach for a barbecue or something along those lines, stick to the areas that have been roped off for swimmers to avoid potential hazards in the water when you swim. Rocks may not appear that dangerous, but you don’t know when sudden drop offs occur or where boats frequent, so pay attention to the guides that have been set forth for your safety.

5. Set Some Ground Rules

This tip is especially important for kids. They are much more likely to stay safe if they know what zones they are allowed to swim in and what kind of play is acceptable and what kind of play is not, so set some ground rules. Parents know their kids best, and a parent is the perfect person to set the tone for a trip to the lake. It’s likely that different rules will apply to different age groups and even different kids. Mom and dad know everyone’s limits, so keep that in mind when you take the kids to swim.

Ready, Set, Swim At Smith Mountain Lake

Swimming is so much fun, we can’t even stand it, but it always pays to be safe. These five tips are exactly what you need to keep everyone at the lake alert and aware when they hit the water this summer. Grab your trunks and get ready to cannonball, my friends, because it’s time to swim.

Let’s All Go To The Movies At Smith Mountain Lake

The lake is a popular place to spend your summer, especially Smith Mountain Lake. The greenery all around, the calm mirror-like water, the lazy days sipping drinks and watching the kids frolic at water’s edge—and that’s just the beginning! On or off the lake, there are a multitude of things to do outdoors, but what is to be done on those random dreary days when splashing about isn’t exactly an option? Instead of sitting glumly indoors while watching the rain fall down, let’s all go to the movies.


Seeing a picture can be a fun family escape for days that the lake isn’t as appealing as usual. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon: indulging in snacks and bonding with family. Pick out a film that everyone can enjoy and you’ll be able to spend the hours after the viewing reminiscing about the characters, the plot, and that funny moment when the youngest in the family kicked over a full bucket of popcorn onto his sister sitting in the next row.

There are two very different, yet equally enjoyable options in the Smith Mountain Lake area. Here are two local spots to escape to when the weather is dreary.

Westlake Cinema

For a traditional experience viewing some of the most popular recent releases, take the family down to Westlake Cinema in Hardy. The theatres aren’t super large, so you won’t have to worry about large crowds of people, but that certainly means you should arrive early to ensure you get a good spot to sit.

Indulge in popcorn and snacks while you get out of the house and spend some family time catching a flick at Westlake. Sit back and relax as the lights go on and dancing hot dogs grace the screen. (That’s just another reason to arrive early; no one wants to miss the previews!) You can’t go wrong with a classic moviegoing experience.

Mayberry Drive-In & Entertainment

This retro 50s-style eatery is definitely a fun place to visit. Mosey on up to the counter for some classic American fare like hot dogs and hamburgers and finish it all off with your favorite kind of milkshake. Once the sun goes down, however, it’s movie time.

Load all the kiddos back into the car and drive around back. One new release will play at a time, so be sure to visit the website so you know ahead of time if the feature will be appropriate for all members of the family.

You can purchase that fresh, hot movie theater style popcorn upon arrival or stock the car with all your favorite drinks and snacks. Bring pillows, blankets, and whatever else you need to make this a comfy and cozy experience.

Prices are quite reasonable to watch a movie at Mayberry, with a kid’s ticket only half of an adult’s, and anyone under five watches for free.

Time To Watch

We understand that you are spending your time at Smith Mountain Lake for all the outdoor wonder that this very special place in Virginia provides, but sometimes things are out of your control, and the weather is always one of those things. When taking a break from having a fun day on the lake is your only option, these two movie theaters offer lots of family fun.