When we first decided that we would visit Smith Mountain Lake in February, it was the result of feeling stir-crazy and a need to get out of Lynchburg for a few days. As I looked at a few potential mini-trip locations, the lake was a place I kept leaning towards. Unfortunately, I was not the girl who grew up going to the same lake every summer with her family. HOWEVER, I am the girl who wished she was. I feel like a part of me is at rest when I’m near water, and when winter weather and a dreary work season began to take a toll on me, the water was really the only place I wanted to go.
One other thing you should know about me is that I am every definition of a planner. I love to plan. I live to plan– especially when I’m planning a trip. The rush I get when I open up Yelp and TripAdvisor to find the best spots to visit in an upcoming trip location is like that feeling when you walk into a Trader Joe’s on pay day. Pure bliss and happiness.
As I started to plan our weekend trip to Smith Mountain Lake, one thing stood out. There wasn’t a ton of information on SML out there. There was a fair amount of tourists websites and a few blog posts, but not an overwhelming amount. I got the sense that people just *know* what to do at Smith Mountain Lake, and that there were a limited amount of things to do, especially in the winter. I did some hunting and found a few ideas that sounded good, but decided that I would also rely on word-of-mouth recommendations to form our trip. Has this been anyone else’s experience? Please let me know.
And for anyone who has miraculously and randomly stumbled upon this blog post, or is newer to Central Virginia like me, I should probably let you know what Smith Mountain Lake (or, SML for the internet referneces) is. Smith Mountain Lake is a massive, man-made lake about 1 hour from both Lynchburg and Roanoke. There are tons of inlets and coves, so there are lots of options for staying and eating right on the water. It brings in a lot of tourism during the summer, offering rentals, lakeside stays, and fun for people of all ages.
Where to Stay
While I prefer to mostly book with AirBnb, the listings were a little bare for the middle of winter, and most places required at least a two-night stay. We were staying at a retreat center for meetings on Saturday night, so we just needed one night’s stay. We settled on Bedford Landings, a large Bed and Breakfast on the water. Complete with a wrap-around porch, hot tubs, game rooms, breakfast on the house, and a reasonable price, we were sold! You can find information for the B&B here. The B&B is located on the SML airport runway, and Jack is a licensed pilot. If you are licensed, this is a really fun stop to make in your flying ventures. If you aren’t, you can add a flight around SML to your package! How fun!
A few days after we booked, we were contacted and offered a free upgrade to their master suite! #Winning (I will never let that hashtag die). We gladly accepted and starting counting down the hours until the sweet, sweet time I could leave work early on Friday and head to our mini winter getaway!
We arrived at Bedford Landings around 4pm on Friday. The place is large and gorgeous, and pretty recently built. We were met by Karen and Jack, and they showed us around the huge estate, which includes four rented bedrooms, and a large downstairs and outdoor area. They were a lovely couple, and really made our visit special. As an introvert, I tend to get a bit nervous before socializing with new acquaintances, but Karen and Jack are masters of the B&B game, and made us feel welcomed and at home. We dropped off our things, explored the home for a bit, and then headed out for dinner.
For a live tour of our space, check out my Instagram stories highlight on my page, @lynchburgladies !
What We Did ~ Friday Night
Karen provided us with a list of the closest restaurants and things to do. As it was winter, a few places were closed, but we were craving some greasy burgers and sandwiches, and headed to a local bar and pub, Moosie‘s, which is located in the Bridgewater Plaza. There was a strong local crowd present, and we indulged on some great food and mixed drinks. We loved the energetic and comfortable vibe. Gabe got a sandwich with about 4 types of meat on it, and I settled for some good ole’ chicken tenders. We also had a few drinks with dinner, and really enjoyed everything! We had great service, and were really satisfied. 10/10 recommend. Afterwards, we roamed around the Plaza, a fun location on the water with tons of restaurants, shops, and things to do. You can check out some of the other restaurants, coffee, ice cream, and things to do at the Plaza here.
We ended the night with a bottle of wine in the hot tub, and headed to bed relatively early for us.
What We Did ~ Saturday Morning
On Saturday morning, we woke up to the invigorating smell of bacon and pancakes swirling through the home. We quickly got ready for the day, and went downstairs to a SPREAD. I’m sorry I don’t have a picture (trying to live in the moment, ya know?), but just think bottomless coffee and OJ, baked oranged, orange ricotta pancakes, thick bacon cooked to perfect crispiness, an a caprese omelet. I savored every single bite as we discussed our lives and connections with Karen and Jack. Interesting fact: we had a mutual connection that was soo crazy and just reinforced that it IS a small world, after all.
After breakfast, we gathered up our things and made our way to do some exploring!
Quick note: Our stay at Bedford Landings was truly wonderful. I really hope that you consider a B&B the next time you have a weekend getaway. Hotels and AirBnBs are convenient in their own ways, but it was great to experience some southern hospitality, eat an amazing breakfast, and feel like we were in our own little cozy home for a night. Check out Bedford Landings, and see if you can even get a private airplane tour!
What We Did~ Saturday Afternoon
We started out the day by stopping by the Smith Mountain Lake Coffee House, also located in Bridgewater Plaza. My husband had some homework to do, so I ordered a (wonderful) oat milk mocha, iced, read a bit, and walked around the plaza to check it out in the daylight.
The coffee shop overlooks the view pictured below, which looks SO FUN in the summer. As the daughter of an almost-pro golfer, I’m a sucker for mini-golf. There was also a mini stage, rock climbing, and a pier you could walk out on. It seems like Bridgewater Plaza is the place to be when the temperature rises!
Most of the shops were closed, but it was great to grab a local cup of coffee and just enjoy a quiet, winter day. The weather was great (60s and clear skies), and I soaked in the fresh air while Gabe completed some history homework (not jealous of those days).
Afterwards, we headed out about 20 minutes southwest to Homestead Creamery for lunch and ice cream. Fun fact: Homestead makes the ice cream used by Rookie’s in Lynchburg! And now, I understand why. Homestead makes some killer ice cream, but their shop was so cute and offered so much more!
Our B&B hosts told us that Homestead had some of the best deli sandwiches around, so upon arrival, we ordered a pair and walked around their country store. They featured tons of locally made food and products, including their own milk and dairy products. It was pretty busy for a Saturday in January, but it was really fun to look around and see some local products. We snagged a seat inside and enjoyed our sandwiches before indulging on some LEGIT ice cream.
Listen, fam, I am quite lactose intolerant. However, I have a never ending battle with my love for ice cream and inherent belief that coconut/oat milk ice cream just. doesn’t. cut. it. I will die on a hill of ice cream, and Homestead Creamery just confirmed that the hill will be made of their Espresso and Dark Chocolate ice cream flavors. So. Good.
While it’s easy to get their ice cream at Rookie’s in the warmer months, I think a ride out to the Creamery makes for a perfect Saturday date with a partner or friend!
After our incredible lunch and dessert, we had to head to a local retreat center for a night of meetings for a local event we are helping out with through our church. We were sad to say goodbye to our 24-hour getaway, but we know that we will be back in the summer to appreciate SML in all of its summer splendor.
My final notes are that SML can make a great winter getaway that’s close by, but yet feels far away. Splurge on a nice B&B, treat yourself to dinner and drinks, and soak up the local treasures without the crowds that summer brings. I adored our time here and hope that we can make this a yearly tradition.
Do you have any SML recommendations? Favorite places or stays? I would love to know! I would also love to hear of any other nearby locations, or even local ones, that would make for an entertaining blog post.
Thanks for reading!
-Amelia, Founder of LYH Ladies