Leslie Becker

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Spring—with its warm-but-not-too-warm-temperatures and extra hours of sunlight – is here, and if you need more of an excuse than that to get out and enjoy all the gifts of this gorgeous season…well, here’s one for you: Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is host to a Spring Wildflower Walk on two consecutive Saturdays in April (the 7th and the 14th).

The hike is known to be exceptionally beautiful and exceptionally strenuous, with lots of uphill climbs and muddy slopes, as well as intimate views of the wilds of Monticello, so wear sturdy shoes! The hike kicks off at 9am at the Thomas Jefferson Visitor’s Center.

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Posted by on in Smith Mountain Lake Fun

Thanks in part to its farm-friendly setting and proximity to the well established “green scene” in Roanoke, residents of Smith Mountain Lake are finding it simple and convenient to adopt a more natural lifestyle.

The first step to a more holistic lifestyle is dropping bad eating habits and adopting new, healthy ones. Start by cleaning out those cupboards! Remove any processed foods and donate them to your local food bank or church. You will replace these items with fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meat, and fish.

Read on for a list of local resources for fresh produce, meat, and other goods and services for the eco-friendly lifestyle. 

CSA Shares

  • Riverstone Farm offers full CSA shares (will feed a family of four) or half shares (will feed a couple) with delivery to Roanoke. Call Bret Nichols at 540-577- 8218 for more information
  • Good Food Good People is comprised of a few local farms that work together to provide year round CSA shares as well as an online a la carte option. They also manintain a presence at a number of local farmer's markets. More information is available via the group's website.
  • Mountain Run Farm in Bedford offers grassfed beef, pastured poultry, and pork. Their animlas are never fed biosolids or GMO grains/corn. Those interested are encouraged to visit the farm, though more popular cuts of meat may be purchased at The Well in Bedford.
  • Eco Friendly Foods also located in Bedford has really set the bar for humane meat processing. Sold mainly in the farmer's markets of Northern, VA and Washington, D.C., and to award winning restaurants in New York (Momofuku, for one), those of us living here at SML are truly lucky to have this rockstar of the culinary world right down the street!

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The Oakley Blue Ridge Big Bass Classic will return to Smith Mountain Lake April 21 & 22, 2012! Single day entry is $100 per angler;oakley_big_bass two day entry is $150. Registration will be held at Bridgewater Marina on Friday April 20, from noon to 8pm. Get there early because the first 100 entrants will receive a FREE custom Quantum rod!

The Grand Prize is a 2012 Nitro Z7 with Mercury 150 HP Pro XS motor with a tandem trailer and dual console. Value: $28,500.00!

Check the event website for more information about start time and hourly prize payouts.

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Looking for something to do at Smith Mountain Lake for St. Patrick’s Day?

Start your day at Peaks of Otter Winery, where wearing green will get you extra discounts on their award winning wines. The free event goes from noon to 5pm!

After that, head to Mango’s Bar & Grill for specials on corned beef and cabbage, Reuben sandwiches, and draft pints.

Be safe, have fun, and remember: everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

Peaks of Otter Winery
2122 Sheep Creek Road
Bedford, VA 24523

Mango’s Bar & Grill
16430 Booker T. Washington Highway
Moneta, VA 24121

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If you have ever taken a drive behind the Downtown Moneta development, you undoubtedly noticed the rough shape of Old Moneta Road: the run-downs buildings, overgrowth of weeds, etc.

It is always a shame to see real estate gone to waste, especially when it has such inherent potential. Fortunately for Old Moneta Road, its fate is no longer one of further deterioration and waste, thanks to a few local artisans looking to bring some life back into the community.

Christopher Lynch and Jonathan Falls, both 26 and residents of Moneta, have opened a blacksmith shop on Old Moneta Road. Falls’ brother, Jeremy will open a welding shop in an adjacent building, and a good friend, Josh Ritchey, will open a leather shop located within the blacksmith shop.

It is the hope of Lynch and Falls to attract local artists and artisans interested in bringing a sense of vibrancy and bustle back to Old Moneta Road.

Click here for the original article from Smithmountainlake.com

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Posted by on in Smith Mountain Lake Fun

VitaZen, Smith Mountain Lake’s premier vitamin and supplement store will be hosting a Free Bone Scan event on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24 from noon until 6pm. The scan uses ultrasound technology to read your fracture risk through your heel, and you will receive a print-out to share with your doctor. It is quick, easy, and painless. Better yet, there is no x-ray/radiation exposure.

Space is limited, so set your appointment now by calling Brett of Vitazen at 721-9635. Be sure to ask about other upcoming events and yoga classes!

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Spring is fast approaching, and with it come the Appalachian Power Smith Mountain Lake Triathlon. The event will be held at Smith Mountain Lake State Park on Saturday, May 5, 2012 beginning at 9am. Click here for event and registration information.

The Smith Mountain Lake Triathlon is a well established, beginner friendly race. It’s also features an open water swim (the first of the season in Western Virginia). Historically the water temperature at Smith Mountain Lake has been in the upper 60’s, so wetsuits are recommended, but not mandatory for the 750 meter swim. The bike portion of the race is 20k over a rolling course, and the run (5k, all inside the park) is out and back and ranges from flat to rolling. This is a really great race, and a great way to break into triathlons.

If you’re a beginner interested in training for this race, beginnertriathlete.com is a great resource full of expert training tips and tools.

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Virginia has long been known for its fine wines, and now Pittsylvania County has joined as a viticultural star in its own right.

White Oak Meadery in Shockoe will debut its local honey wine at this month's SoVa Wine Fest, as the county's third commerical winery to open in the past two years.

Husband and wife co-owners Rusty and Betsy East are passionate about their product, and excited to introduce festival goers to the diversity and depth of flavor that mead has to offer.


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Dust off those trail running shoes everyone, and get ready for the 2012 Blossom to Bottle 5k, at Peaks of Otter Winery and Johnson's Orchard. Traverse the hills and valleys or the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, while taking in the sights and sounds of Spring. You will cross bridges, streams and pastures full of blossoms and farm animals with their precious new born babies.And then of course, kick back and enjoy a glass (or a bottle) at the Peaks of Otter Winery.

For more information on the race, click here. And for more information of getting into great shape for the race, check out the Couch to 5k training program.

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Forget flowers and chocolate, and forget shopping online. This Valentine’s Day, surprise your sweetie with a DIY gift box, bag, or basket sourced from businesses here at Smith Mountain Lake. Your Valentine will love it, and you’ll be supporting our local economy. Read on for a mix-and-match guide to a perfectly romantic Smith Mountain Lake Valenstine’s treat.

First, pick your Valentine’s poison and head over to Laker Beverage and Tobacco. Their selection of wine and beer can’t be beat in Franklin or Bedford counties, and the knowledgeable staff will set you up with the perfect bottle or craft brew. This is a great place to start because you can begin building your gift basket here in-store.

Then, try The Cottage Gate for some eclectic extras that will really make your gift basket (or bag or box) pop. There is much to see at The Cottage Gate, so take your time and let the perfect gift find you. Maybe a bookshelf-edition board game for two?

Next, check out what VitaZen has to offer your Valentine. With a huge selection of Bean Pod soy candles, Aura Cacia massage oils, and soothing bath salts, you can really up the romance factor here. Through Valentine’s Day take advantage of “The Little Green Bag” package, which includes a candle, massage oil; and a your choice of a sweet, salty, or spicy granola treat all for $20. Another idea is to purchase a package of Yoga classes for two. There are few things more romantic than experiencing the gift of mind and body wellness as a couple. And it just so happens that VitaZen is offering 25% off of all yoga accessories with ticket purchase through 3/31/12. You’ll find everything you need to begin your practice here, from mats and mat bags to blocks and straps.

Finally, let local photographer Christi Austin capture the perfect image of your romance. Consider a gift certificate for a photo session with your Valentine, or book a "boudoir" session featuring just you.

Put it all together and you’ve got a one-of-a-kind gift that’s sure to impress your better half this Valentine’s day.


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There are few things more interesting than tracing one's family history back to its roots. However, the research process may prove daunting without the proper tools and know-how. Luckily for residents of Smith Mountain Lake and nearby areas, the Bedford Genealogical Society will be hosting a class for those interested in mapping out their family tree.

Each course is four weeks long, with Part A geared toward those interested in the basics of getting their research off the ground, and Part B about Internet research techniques. Part A will be held on consecutive Saturdays, February 11 through March 3, 2012; from 9am to noon. Part B will be held on Monday March, 12; Friday March, 16; Monday March, 19 and Friday March, 23 from 7pm to 9pm.

For pricing or more information, visit the Bedford Genealogical Society's website.

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Come by the Westlake Library at 84 Westlake Road, near Kroger, on Saturday, January 21 to meet local author Joe Dye. He will discuss his book, “From Appalachia to the White House: My Life in the Secret Service,” at 2:30 p.m.

Mr. Dye grew up in Russell County, and his memoir chronicles his time working for the FBI, Metro Police Department, and the U.S. Secret Service White House Police. He tells of protecting presidents, heads of state, royalty, and religious leaders; plus personal trials and tribulations along the way.

For more information, call the Westlake Library at 483-3098, extension 3.

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For those interested in something a little different in the way of healing and pain management, Ellen Ravis will be hosting a seminar on “Reconnective Healing” at VitaZen, a supplement store/yoga studio at Smith Mountain Lake. The seminar is a free introduction to the practice of Reconnective Healing, and it will be held on Saturday, January 21, at 2p.m. For more information on the seminar, call Brett Keister at 540-721-9365. For more information about Reconnective healing, visit www.thereconnection.com.

And while you’re there, be sure to talk with Brett and Glenda about the yoga classes they offer!

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Jersey Girls Flock to the Lake; Do Good Things

Realizing that they were only a few of the apparent many Garden State Ladies who have flocked to Smith Mountain Lake for a little sun, sand, and tranquility in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains; sister-in-laws Kathy A. and Kathy P. Saleeba along with their cousin Lesley Kocsis decided to recruit their Jersey sisters and form social club.

According to a recent article on smithmountainlake.com , the, “story starts with a bottle of wine.” The Kathy’s got together one night to discuss their Jersey roots, and the rest is history. From there, the club grew organically, mostly through word of mouth. And now, with membership totaling 50, Kathy A. made the decision to receive those interested in joining on a waiting list, so the club avoids becoming too large for its members to socialize.

Socializing isn’t the only thing on the club’s agenda, though. Members meet for dinner, generally at Poppy’s, to discuss potential service projects, like their fund and supply drive benefitting Bedford and Franklin County humane societies. This year, a cookbook is in the works, with proceeds also benefitting the humane societies.

Members are also encouraged to form smaller groups within the club, to focus on common interests, which will encourage the women to build stronger friendships.

For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Another holiday season has come and gone, so now let us all take a great sigh of relief, and for making it through in one piece, treat ourselves to an elegantly prepared meal from one of Smith Mountain Lake’s premier places to dine, The Landing Restaurant.

After a season built upon gastronomic overindulgence, celebrating with food may seem counterintuitive; especially since for so many of us, spring training begins in January. But The Landing Restaurant, and her sister, Bruno’s Gastropub, don’t serve up the kind of greasy stuff that tends to cling to our waistlines. Here, only the finest fare is to be had.  And while it’s true that if you’re really counting calories it may be best to avoid the Kobe Beef Burgers and Duck Fat Pommes Frites, a Roasted Golden and Red Beet Salad never (served with a balsamic vinaigrette and warm goat cheese pearls) has never harmed a figure.

For hours, location, and more information on The Landing Restaurant and Bruno’s Gastropub, visit their website , or call (540) 721-3381 to make a reservation. And for a little information about the “Gastropub” concept, click here.

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Posted by on in Real Estate News


Living cities www.grosvenor.comGrosvenor’s research perspective on world real estate markets Dec 10 Dec 11 Dec 12 ForecastBoJ BoEFedECBSource:  Central banksUS$ bn

Money, Money, Money

The accelerating slowdown in China and the euro zone summit of December the 9th were the two most significant economic developments of the last month.  Both of these events point to further monetary stimulus in 2012.  The fall of the China manufacturing PMI, from 50.4 in October to 47.7, was widely reported in the press.  We think this understates the scale of the slowdown.  Our own in house indicator of economic activity, which ranges between 2 and -2 with 0 indicating trend growth, has fallen to -0.6.  With inflation falling, China should ease monetary policy quite quickly by cutting reserve requirements and, in 2012, interest rates.Although the euro zone summit failed to produce the comprehensive solution to the crisis that many were hoping for, it did make some progress.

The key measures are: a fiscal compact that constrains structural deficits to 0.5% of GDP; €200-€250bn additional funding for rescue packages; and some additional protection for private bondholders (relative to previous proposals) in the event of sovereign debt restructuring.  Importantly, the package opened the way for the ECB to engage in quantitative easing (QE) on a much bigger scale than before.By contrast, the US posted some very good economic numbers in Q3, particularly retail sales, and we think that this level of growth will continue into Q4.  Q1 and Q2 of 2012 are likely to see much tougher economic conditions.

Much of the current strength is due to high levels of capital expenditure induced by 100% capital allowances.  This policy will come to an end in December.  The recession in Europe will also hit the US harder than expected.  So, despite current optimism on the US economy, we believe the US is likely to engage in substantive monetary easing in 2012 to support economic activity....

for more info on this reproduced parital article and / or how

Smith Mountain Lake real Estate is performing feel free  to email us at

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Posted by on in Smith Mountain Lake Fun

The fourth annual Charity Chug tour was held this past weekend at various locations around Smith Mountain Lake, to benefit Lake Christian Ministries. This year’s tour was the biggest to date, with eight different train “layouts” to view, each with an “eye-spy” type of checklist of features to spot.

The tour is hosted annually by the Smith Mountain Lake Model Railroad group, which is loosely comprised of model train enthusiasts who were introduced to one another by Radio Shack’s Steve Miller, who realized he had customers with such a specialized common interest who didn’t know one another. Steve organized a lunch for them, and the rest is history.

The train displays in this year’s tour varied from a massive outdoor display of G-Scale (that’s German for grosse, meaning big) trains which wound through live miniature shrubs; to displays in progress, which were particularly interesting to the budding model train enthusiast interested in the process of layout design. Information about this year’s participants can be found here: http://www.smithmountainlake.com/events/lakerWeekly/wb/301896

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Posted by on in Smith Mountain Lake Fun

If you’re looking for a way to spread a little worthwhile cheer this holiday season, why not start by sharing your Christmas spirit with a child in need right here in Bedford or Franklin county? Lake Christian Ministries, in partnership with Virginia Dare Cruises and Marina, and a handful of local sponsors bring to you, once again, The Virginia Dare Flotilla for Toys!

On November 26th, Smith Mountain Lake will be aglow with a veritable parade of boats all decked out in their holiday’s best (and brightest), led by the Virginia Dare herself. Departing the Virginia Dare Marina at 7 p.m., the parade can be seen from the Halesford Bridge at 8 p.m. and from Smith Mountain Lake State Park at 8:45 p.m.

For those who prefer a seat on the main attraction, tickets to ride along on The Virginia Dare are available for $30 per adult and $25 for children under 12, tax included. The price includes the 2 hour cruise, hors d’oeuvres and cookies, and “holiday punch.” Just remember to bring at least one new, unwrapped toy per guest, please. The Virginia Dare will depart at 7 p.m., and return at 9. To book your seat, call the marina at 540-297-7100, extension 0.

And if you still have the urge to give give give, toy donations may be dropped off at the following businesses through the second week in December: Smith Mountain Lake Visitors Center, Moneta Farm & Home Center, Smith Mountain Lake State Park, The General Store, Chopsticks, Capps home Building Center, Dollar General (Westlake), Dollar General (Moneta), Stellar One Bank, Hot Shots, Shoprite, Franklin Community Bank, Anchors Family Restaurant, Moosie's Restaurant, Poppy's Restaurant and the Virginia Dare Marina.

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Imagine coming to Smith Mountain Lake, taking in the breathtakingly picturesque views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and watching the serene sunset over miles of water, accented by the lovely lake homes surrounding our pristine area. Now imagine doing all this while floating miles above the water, just drifting amongst the clouds. Mariners Landing is making this dream-like scene possible with their presentation of the First Annual SML Hot Air Balloon Classic, September 9-11, 2011.

Hot air balloon pilots from around the region will be taking to the skies of Smith Mountain Lake, providing airborne adventures for area residents and visitors alike. Tethering rides and other activities are planned throughout the weekend and private flights are available to the general public via advance reservations.

To set up advance reservations and reserve a ride on a hot air balloon for the days of the event, please call (540) 297-4900. The event goes on from 7:00 a.m. on September 9th through 5:00 p.m on September 11th. Don’t miss your chance to reserve tickets and experience the majesty, beauty and excitement of Smith Mountain Lake as never before!

Mariners Landing is located at 1217 Graves Harbor Trail Huddleston VA 24104 United States. For more information visit their website or call the number above.

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Lynchburg, VA's 3rd Annual GETDOWNTOWN Street Festival

For an entertainment experience that’s unique to the Lynchburg area and some exciting live acts the whole family can enjoy, bring everyone out to the 3rd Annual GET!DOWNTOWN Street Festival on September 9 from 6:00-9:00 p.m.

The festival was created to welcome area college students to Lynchburg and to showcase the opportunities and amenities available downtown for students and their parents. It is conveniently located near Smith Mountain Lake, and the event is completely free and open to the general public. Main Street will be closed to traffic during the event, and the festival will include:

  • Live musicians
  • Dance performances
  • Downtown stores and restaurants to browse
  • Area vendors and crafters to shop from
  • Face painting, caricature and balloon artists, stilt walking and dances for the kids
  • Two stages with street musicians performing all along Main Street
  • Downtown restaurants and food vendors

With more than 10,000 people in attendance in 2010, this year is sure to be even bigger and attract even more exciting performances and vendors. The festival provides a venue for downtown cultural organizations, merchants, restaurants and retailers to reach out to the community and showcase the very best of the Lynchburg area. Come out and get involved in the community,support local musicians, businesses and vendors, and just a have a great time!

Lynchburg 3rd Annual GETDOWNTOWN Logo
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Leslie Becker, AIA, AIPP, FIABCI, NAR
Licensed in the State of VA


P: 540.797.0477 | F: 866.507.5289
PO Box 50
Huddleston, VA 24104

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