Smith Mountain Lake
Boating on the lake is available through rentals at many spots.
Too many of us spend too many years ignoring the inviting, ever-expanding destination right in our back yard. Time for a weekend getaway.
This time of year, Smith Mountain Lake is buzzing. Memorial Day weekend kicks off the lake’s important summer season of sun, boating, water skiing and lakeside lounging. It’s also likely the best time for visitors to the lake, which covers 500 miles of shoreline and stretches into both Bedford and Franklin counties.
Interested in weekending at the lake? We have a suggested itinerary for your getaway, with ways to spend a Friday through Sunday enjoying lake dining, sight-seeing, entertainment and of course, the water.
Dinner: Grab a quick bite after arriving at the lake. Try several of the restaurants located in Downtown Moneta, a quaint village in Bedford County on Virginia 122. downtownmoneta.com.
Casa D’Amici, an Italian restaurant, gives diners an authentic taste of Northern and Southern Italy, with an assortment of traditional pastas along with veal, salmon, chicken and steak entrees. Amp up the romantics and dine on the restaurant’s outdoor patio. 540-296-1329, casadamicisml.com.
For tantalizing sushi, try Edo Grill and Sushi. Its selection of Japanese cuisine is expansive, with teppanyaki dinners that include chicken, tuna steak and shrimp, nigiri sushi, rolls packed with everything from avocado to salmon, and a wide sushi menu. 540-297-6888, edogrillandsushisml.com.
The newly renovated Smokehouse Restaurant has a fresh Southwestern look with brightly painted walls, wood baseboards and butcher block tabletops. The eatery serves North Carolina-style barbecue, hamburgers, brisket, ribs and more. 540-297-4646.
Dessert: Cool off with homemade ice cream at the Homestead Creamery. This quaint shop and country store sells an array of unique ice cream flavors, fresh from its neighboring dairy. 540-721-2045, 7254 Booker T. Washington Hwy, Wirtz.
For a lighter treat, try Sweet Frog, a frozen yogurt shop with oodles of flavors and toppings at Westlake Towne Center in Hardy. 540-524-9191, sweetfrogyogurt.com.
Entertainment: Top off the evening with live music at Mango’s Bar & Grill at Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta. The eatery has its own outdoor stage overlooking the lake, where it hosts musical acts seasonally. Some Fridays are open mic or karaoke nights. Grab a microphone, put on your dancing shoes or sit back and soak up the music. 540- 721-1632, mangosbarandgrill.com.
Where to Sleep: Mariners Landing Resort Community and Conference Center is a Huddleston waterfront community that offers different kinds of accommodations for weekend travelers, including studio and one-bedroom hotel options and up to six-bedroom condominiums. Visitors can rent boat slips, play golf at the 18-hole course and swim or lounge at multiple pools or at the beach. 540-297-4900, marinerslanding.com.
Bernard’s Landing is a 70-acre waterfront resort in Moneta with a variety of overnight options. There are one-, two- and three-bedroom condos, townhouses and even patio homes on site. Other amenities include dining, an Olympic sized pool and a children’s wading pool, tennis and racquetball courts, a private beach and watercraft rentals. 540-721-8870, bernards landing.com.
For a lake stay that feels like home, try Bedford Landings in Moneta, a bed and breakfast that opened in December. This timber frame home serves hot breakfasts in its lakefront dining room. Its four guest rooms each have a distinctive theme, with queen or king-sized beds, private bathrooms and gas fireplaces in two of them. Other guest amenities include a theater room, a stargazing porch and a patio with a hot tub. 540-488-4600, bedfordlandings.com.
Halesford Harbour Inn is a waterfront hotel, located north of Halesford Bridge in Moneta, and tucked away in a quaint cove. It’s part of Halesford Harbour, a 41-acre resort with a marina, RV park, boat launch and restaurant. The Harbour Inn rooms, with two queen beds in each, range from efficiency suites to deluxe rooms with mini fridges and microwaves, and one offering is a two-bedroom, two-bath suite. 540-297-9000, halesfordharbour.com/index.php/harbour-inn.