Have you ever been in a hot tub on a cold winter afternoon? Or seen the stars from a hot tub on a cold winter night? Until we added our new hot tubs, we had no idea how incredible it feels to look out at a snow covered Smith Mountain and the ice-cold lake while enjoying the soothing water of a hot tub. And the stars at night! Being far from city lights, the heavens open up revealing millions of stars. Truly magnificent!
With or without the snow (a relative rare occurrence at Smith Mountain Lake), winter is a wonderful time of year to enjoy the quiet solitude of Silver Bay and the crystal clear views of lake and mountain. As is typical in southern Virginia, warmer days regularly mix in with colder ones, offering the opportunity to get out for walks at the State Park or (for the hardier among us) fishing for stripers. Coming back to the fireplace at the Cedar Cabin or a dip in the hot tub at either the Cedar Cabin or Main House, rounds out a perfect winter day!
When the trees are highlighted by light green tips of first growth and dogwood blossoms float through the forest and the lake and sky find a richer shade of blue, Smith Mountain Lake wakes up! As the birds return, the stripers spawn and a variety of wildlife is on the move, it is a great time to be outdoors. Kayaking or canoeing is a wonderful way to see wildlife and explore the secret inlets that surround Silver Bay.
Take a hike to the top of Sharp Top at the Peaks of Otter and be rewarded with 360 degree views of the spine of the Blue Ridge, Roanoke Valley and Smith Mountain Lake in the distance. Come back to a relaxing evening in the hot tub or telling stories around the fire pit at the Main House.
Swimming in the warm, clean water of Smith Mountain Lake is certainly our favorite thing to do in summer evenings. Whatever water sport you enjoy, Silver Bay is a wonderful spot to start from. Being in a protected corner of the lake, it is rarely busy, making it a great place for wake boarding, water skiing or tubing. If you are looking for a place to canoe or kayak, the no-wake area of Witcher Creek is a mile long with several beautiful inlets to explore along Smith Mountain, making it the best place on the lake for self-powered watercraft!
Activities around the lake are in full swing! Experience a drive-in theater, miniature golf or take a boat ride to a lakeside restaurant, all within a few minutes of Silver Bay. Or, you can enjoy quiet, lazy days at Silver Bay. Children have a wonderful time catching fish from the dock, or searching the shoreline for crayfish. These are the times we remember best.
The water in Smith Mountain Lake remains warm enough for swimming well into September, as nature readies itself for cooler weather. Through October and November the autumn colors change with every weekend. The point view properties are fabulous settings for family reunions at Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year.
Activities around the lake remain in full swing, with the Charity Home Tour, the Wine Festival, the Chili Festival and more!
There is nothing more enjoyable than to stretch out on the dock with a good book, and then dive into the clear, warm water for a refreshing swim. The lake is one of the cleanest in the East Coast, and as you swim or relax, you are looking across to undeveloped wilderness.
Fishing opportunities at Silver Bay View Cottages are unbelievable. The properties are located on Witcher Creek where the stripers spawn every spring. The lake is regularly stocked with game fish, and contains striped bass, large and small mouth bass, muskies, northern pike, and an assortment of small game fish. Fishing guides are available to introduce you to the lake, including: Captain Bert's Fishin' Charters 540-721-5788, Mike's Striper Guide Service 540-980-7527, Rockfish Adventures 866-943-1125.
There may be no better lake in the Mid-Atlantic region for boating. The 20,000 acres of Smith Mountain Lake and its 40-mile length make it a perfect place for water skiing, speed boating, canoeing, kayaking or sailing. Power boats and waverunners can be rented at several locations on the lake, including: Bridgewater Plaza Marina (Boats can also be picked up at the State Park - 540-721-1639), Parrot Cove (800-488-4516) (Parrot Cove also rents Kayaks), Parkway Marina (540-297-4412) (formerly knows as Saunders Marina), Mitchell's Point Marina (540-297-7174) or Virgil Naff Sea Doo (waverunners only - 434-528-0462).
The closest boat launch and boat rental is Mitchell's Point Marina (540-297-7174). (See Local Map from Directions Page)
Very young children enjoy going to the sandy beach at Smith Mountain Lake State Park, which is about 10 minutes away from Silver Bay View Cottages. The park imported tons of white sand to create a lovely beach and protected swimming area that is also monitored by life guards. Be sure and bring sun screen and an umbrella to protect you from the sun. There is also a well equipped playground adjacent to the beach.
Older children enjoy "Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn" experiences along the shoreline. Catching bait fish with a bare number 16 hook provides endless entertainment, as does catching craw dads, and fighting imaginary dragons! A boat trip to one of the islands is always a treat. After everyone has had a chance to explore every corner of one of these tiny islands, build a campfire and roast hot dogs on a stick followed by s'mores. There are campfire rings on most of the islands, as well as ample fallen wood. Just bring newspaper, matches and a pocket knife (to whittle your own hot dog and marshmallow stick) and have your own "Huck Finn" adventure!
Nearby and along the shore of Smith Mountain Lake there are lots of interesting places to visit and things to do. You can hike along the shore at the State Park, take a cruise on the lake, tour the Visitor Center at Smith Mountain Dam, see a movie at a drive-in or indoor theater, or enjoy browsing through the many art galleries and shops in the area. The lake area is also well known for the golf courses here, as well as the hunting opportunities.
Only 15 minutes from Silver Bay, is Smith Mountain Lake State Park. With its 500’ wide sandy beach, it is a great place for young children to wade into the water. There are 13 hiking trails that meander through the park’s various features, including hardwood forests, pine forests, secluded coves and picturesque vistas.
Silver Bay Views is a beautiful corner of the lake, but there is much more to see. If you aren’t able to get out on the water on your own, a sightseeing tour on the Virginia Dare is a great option. Their dock is only 15 minutes from Silver Bay.
The Visitor’s Center at Smith Mountain is open to the public with a view overlooking the dam. Exhibits tell the history of the dam and how power is generated at the unique two-lake complex. Adults and children of all ages are fascinated by how energy is stored in Smith Mountain Lake, and its’ important role in the national power grid.
Smith Mountain Lake is full of islands that are ideal for camping and picnicking. One of our favorite activities is to build a campfire on one of the many inlets along Smith Mountain and cook hot dogs and marshmallows for lunch. Swimming in these pristine, mountain inlets is also a memorable experience.
There are several golf courses, both public and private, in the vicinity of Smith Mountain Lake. Course open to the public include Mariner's Landing Mariner's Landing (15 minutes from Silver Bay) and Westlake Golf & Country Club Westlake Golf & Country Club (35 minutes from Silver Bay).
Hunters are as fortunate as fishermen when it comes to selecting a successful place to pursue their sport. There are over 5,000 acres of land that have been made available by the Appalachian Power Company for hunting. Population game includes deer, turkey, quail, rabbit, and squirrel. For more information, contact the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
The Mayberry Drive-In & Diner takes us back to the 50’s and 60’s when piling the family into the car and going to the drive-in was a weekly event. The theater is only 20 minutes from Silver Bay. The Westlake Cinema, a modern indoor theater, is 35 minutes away.
As you drive around the lake you will see many wonderful shops and galleries, but be sure to stop at Bridgewater Plaza. If there is a “downtown” on the lake, this is it. Make sure you stop in at the Little Gallery, rated as one of the best art galleries in the south. The children will enjoy feeding the monstrous carp, the various arcades, miniature golf and an ice cream! For more ideas on things to do at the lake, drop into the Smith Mountain Lake Visitor Center.
Virginia history and scenic wonders beyond the lake can be found within an hour of Silver Bay. These are great places to visit as you drive to or from the lake, and are worth a special outing if you are staying at Silver Bay for more than a few days.
On Palm Sunday, 1865, Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia signaled the end of the Civil War. See the parlor of the Mclean house, where the surrender was signed, and the site where Lee’s army lay down their arms. ~1 hour from Silver Bay.
A short distance from Appomattox Court House is the recent opened Museum of the Confederacy. The museum interweaves stories of the Confederate government, the military, civilians and enslaved & free African Americans. There is also a focus on the "Appomattox Moment" where two legendary armies met for the last time. Gen. Robert E. Lee's coat and sword are featured items on display. ~1 hour from Silver Bay.
Explore the birthplace of Booker T. Washington, the author and orator who became the most influential African American of his era. The National Monument features a visitor center and trails through the plantation and farm. ~35 minutes from Silver Bay.
Remember when milk came in glass bottles and cream floated to the top of the bottle? Remember when ice cream was made out of cream and didn’t include ingredients you can’t pronounce? Do you remember what it tasted like?? Relive the taste of real dairy products at the Homestead Creamery . Their sales center is just beyond the Booker T. Washington National Monument and not far from Westlake Center. Their products can also be found at the Kroger in Westlake, as well as select stores throughout Virginia. ~40 minutes from Silver Bay View.
Jefferson built Poplar Forest as a retreat from his busy life at Monticello in Charlottesville. In the last decade or so it has been under restoration and is a great example of Jefferson’s mature interest in architecture. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Jefferson and to observe research and restoration in process. ~40 minutes from Silver Bay.
The 2 hour hike to the top of Sharp Top Mountain at the Peaks of Otter takes you to cooler air and offers 360 degree views up the spine of the Blue Ridge, across the Roanoke Valley and across to Smith Mountain Lake. It is our favorite hike in Virginia! There are also easier hikes to waterfalls and across to an 18th century farm, as well as another long hike to the Flat Top, the "other" peak of the Peaks of Otter. You may also enjoy driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway that goes through the Peaks. We enjoy stopping for a beer and a meal at Liberty Station in Bedford, as a reward for healthy exercise. ~50 minutes from Silver Bay.