Leslie Becker

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Mother Earth News magazine's “Great Places You’ve (Maybe) Never Heard Of” list features Floyd, Virginia as one of those places.  Set aside a day trip while vacationing at Smith Mountain Lake and visit this wonderful place. Known for folk music, craftsmen, wineries, and artists, Floyd was one of six communities listed in the February-March issue.

Floyd County is bordered on the eastern side by 31 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The current county seat, originally named Jacksonville after our seventh president Andrew Jackson, was changed in 1896 to Floyd.  Downtown Floyd has many unique shopping opportunities such as The Country Store, The Jacksonville Center, The Pickin’ Porch, County Sales, 16 Hands, The June Bug Center, and The Harvest Moon just to name a few.  On any given Friday night, The Country Store hosts the "Friday Night Jamboree" featuring famous musicians playing gospel, bluegrass, and old time music.

Floyd, County is also home to Chauteau Morrissette, a southern inspired hospitality winery and restaurant.  Buffalo Mountain, with an elevation of 3971 feet, is one of the most significant natural areas in Virginia.  It boasts an amazing 13 rare plant occurences, 3 rare animal occurences, and 6 significant natural communities. The combination of high-elevation, wind-exposed openings at the summit, and magnesium rich soils make it unlike any place else in the Commonwealth.

Floyd, Virginia is located 40 miles southwest of Roanoke, Virginia on US Route 221.

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Poplar Forest, a National Historic Landmark and Thomas Jefferson's personal retreat, will be opening its 2011 season on March 15.  Plan a visit to the first octagonal home (believed to be) in America that was designed and built by Jefferson.  Tour the home and visit the landscape, both currently being meticulously restored back to Jefferson's design using early 19th century techniques.   Learn about architecture, preservation and life in the early 19th century. Ongoing excavation and artifacts from the plantation community that lived and worked at Poplar Forest can be viewed while visiting Poplar Forest. One will discover his vision for his gardens, ornamental plantings and farm at Poplar Forest as it emerges through archaeology.


Poplar Forest is open for visitors from March 15 through December 15 (closed Thanksgiving Day).  Group tours can be arranged year round.  March 19 marks the first of many events throughout the year.  "This Old Tool" Roadshow from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, by the Early American Industries Association, will include a tour of the house, a behind-the-scenes restoration workshop, and networking with other tool enthusiasts.  For more information on the continuing events, go to http://www.poplarforest.org/events. 


Poplar Forest is only 40 minutes from Moneta, Virginia and is a wonderful day trip while visiting and relaxing at beautiful Smith Mountain Lake.

Jefferson's Poplar Forest
1542 Bateman Bridge Road (GPS)
Forest, VA 24551-0419
Telephone (434) 525-1806



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'Tis the season to start planning trips to Smith Mountain Lake, for a weekend, a week, or if you are so lucky, for a month or two. The Lake is waking up after a long winter, Smith Mountain Lake State Park is getting busy with visitors enjoying an afternoon hiking or sitting and watching the birds around the lake or just enjoying an afternoon on your deck or dock sipping your favorite drink and enjoying the sunlight.  Evenings are becoming abuzz with activities as well.  May 4 through May 8, the Cirque du Soleil's "Alegria" is coming to Roanoke's Civic Center Coliseum. "The themes of the show, whose name means "jubilation" in Spanish, are many. Power and the handing down of power over time, the evolution from ancient monarchies to modern democracies, old age, youth—it is against this backdrop that the characters of Alegría play out their lives. Kings' fools, minstrels, beggars, old aristocrats and children make up its universe, along with the clowns, who alone are able to resist the passing of time and the social transformations that accompany it." - http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/alegria/.

Alegría has an international cast of 55 performers and musicians from 17 countries and showcases breathtaking acrobatics. "Acts include the Synchro Trapeze and the intense and high-energy Aerial High Bars in which daring aerialists fly to catchers swinging more than 40 feet above the stage. The vibrancy of youth is alive in Power Track, a brilliant display of synchronized choreography and tumbling on a trampoline system hidden under the stage floor. In Russian Bars, artists fly through the air and perform spectacular somersaults and mid-air turns, landing on bars perched on the sturdy shoulders of catchers." - www.roanokeciviccenter.com

After a dinner at one of our wonderful local restaurants, enjoy the show!

May 7 Showtimes:  3:30 PM and 7:30 PM

May 8 Showtimes: 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM 

Purchase Tickets:
877-HTB-TIXNow (877-482-8496)

540-853-LIVE (540-853-5483)
Hits: 1999

The Blackwater Cafe at Smith Mountain Lake in Moneta has live jazz on the third Thursday of each month featuring The Charlie Perkinson Trio.  Charlie is the host of the local NPR Jazz Radio Show on WVTF 89.1 FM.    The Trio changes from time to time to include other local jazz musicians.  The music is played at a comfortable level and is a good accompaniment to the great food and ambiance that the Blackwater Cafe has to offer.  The evenings featuring the Trio are usually sold out so reservations are recommended.


The Blackwater Cafe also hosts a monthly Wine Dinner on the second Tuesday of each month September through May.  These dinners have become so popular it is usually a sell out crowd a few months ahead of time.  The evenings get great reviews for the food, wine, hospitality and the guest speakers.  If you like great food paired with excellent, interesting wines and the company of other wine connoisseurs call and make a reservation.  The local Wine Club also meets at the Blackwater Cafe on the third Tuesday of each month and many are regulars from the Wine Dinners and vice versa.


The Blackwater Cafe

4730 Scruggs Road
Moneta, VA 24121
(540) 721-4333

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Are you a World War II history buff?  Plan to visit Smith Mountain Lake and while there, visit Bedford's National D-Day Memorial. On February 22, 2010 at 7:00 PM, the Memorial will feature a lecture regarding segregation in the military during World War II, as told by Frank Bolden, one of two accredited black war correspondents during the war.  Also featured will be his interviews with Mahatma Ghandi, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin and Madam and General Chiang Kai-shek.  You will learn of the 92nd Infantry Division and the China-Burma-India theater of operations.  The lecture, complete with a slide presentation and discussion will be held at the Bedford Welcome Center.  Admission is free, but donations are welcomed.  For more information - Bedford Welcome Center, 816 Burks Hill Road, Bedford - 540-587-3619 - www.dday.org



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Smith Mountain Lake's boating season is just around the corner, why not get a new boat to kick it off?   February 25-27 at the Roanoke Civic Center, dream boats will be available along with boating accessories, and boating services.  This event has doubled in size over the last couple of years and represents a unique, once-a-year opportunity to see every dealer on Smith Mountain Lake.  The show is the place to buy as all dealers offer the best selection and special manufacturer boat show only promotions!  Free admission is being offered on Friday February 25 only, all other dates will cost $7.50 for an adult and children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult.  Hours are Friday 1-7 PM, Saturday 10-7 PM, and Sunday 10-5 PM.

Need information about the show? Contact Show Director Darrel Ross at (434) 610-5991.

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One of the Seven Wonders of the World is located in Natural Bridge in Virginia, approximately two hours from Smith Mountain Lake.  Constructed by nature, 20 stories of solid rock exudes history as you pass under the mammoth archway.  The Blue and Gray of the Civil War, Washington, and Jefferson are just a few of the legends that have passed through this bridge and are said to have traveled along the beautiful Cedar Creek Trail.  Open during all four seasons, (limited access to some of the attractions during the winter), be sure to visit the Natural Bridge Caverns, Cedar Creek Trail, the Native American Village, the Toy Museum, and the Wax Museum.  Evenings during the summer is a special time to visit the night pageant at the Bridge as special lighting makes the mountain sides form a vast stage. "Scenes move and change with the mood of gripping music in a spectacle which takes the onlooker back into the eternal ages"...(http://www.naturalbridgeva.com).


For more information:

P.O. Box 57, Natural Bridge, VA 24578
1-800-533-1410 • 540-291-2121
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Dead of winter and nothing to do while at Smith Mountain Lake?  Wrong!  Wintergreen Ski Resort is within 87 miles of  Smith Mountain Lake.  Many different types of winter sports can be enjoyed at Wintergreen.  If its skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and/or ice skating that you crave then this is the place for you.  Wintergreen is a family fun area with kid areas and big kid areas.  Wintergreen offers lessons in skiing, boarding, golf, and tennis. This is a place for year round fun with spas, tennis, golf, skiing, snowboarding, tubing, ice skating, and many fine restaurants, there is always something to do.   For more information, check www.wintergreenresort.com.  It is a good idea to purchase your tickets online prior to your day trip.  After a day there, come back to Smith Mountain Lake and sit by the lake while sipping on some of the area's fine wine.
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Within an hour's drive of Smith Mountain Lake, the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre is located atop Liberty University's 5,000-acre mountain in Lynchburg, Virginia. Never before offered in the U.S., the complex has synthetic slopes offering year-round skiing, snowboarding, and tubing using a new technology called Snowflex, The Centre caters to snow sport enthusiasts during all four seasons of the year. Snowflex is comprised of several layers of carpet-like material and simulates the slip and grip of real snow. The patented misting system keeps the surface moist providing speed and edge control. The ski slope has beginner, intermediate, and advanced trails. For Freestyler enthusiasts the complex features an elevated cornice drop, triple kickers and a colossal quarter pipe. Young and old can enjoy Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre.

Call for more information regarding prices and hours of operation

Admission Fee: rate varies

Children Welcome

Phone: (434) 582-3539 or (866) 504-7541

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: www.liberty.edu/snowflex

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The Nutcracker - "To Clara, the Christmas Eve celebration at the Silberhous household was always a special time. Then Herr Drosselmeyer arrives with special gifts and magic, making this Christmas one she will cherish forever.

Join Clara and the Nutcracker Prince as they battle giant mice, dance with snowflakes and journey to the Land of the Sweets where the Sugar Plum Fairy entertains them with exotic dances from around the world."  - Southwest Virginia Ballet

The Roanoke Performing Arts Center is located just 45 minutes from Smith Mountain Lake.  This is a wonderful ballet for the holiday season.  Treat you and your family or friends to a sensational experience.

Saturday, December 11th at 7:00 pm
Sunday, December 12th at 3:00 pm

Roanoke Performing Arts Center
Box Office (877) HTB-TIXNow
Tickets can be purchased online

Adults: $17, $24, $31 & $41
Children (18 and under) $13, $18 & $23

More Information:


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

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♪..♪.♫..Here Comes Santa Claus, Here Comes Santa Claus, Right Down Smith Mountain Lake!!.♪.♫..

Every Saturday from November 27, 2010 until Christmas, Santa Clause will arrive by boat to the lower level of Bridgewater Plaza to meet and greet the children.  Hours are from 1 pm until 4 pm.  Be sure to bring a camera and your list for Santa....but only if you have been a good girl or boy this year!  Visit the restaurants for a wonderful lunch or dinner after doing your holiday shopping in the wonderful stores at Bridgewater Plaza.  There is always something to do at Smith Mountain Lake.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010 from 5 pm to 7 pm, "Westlake Towne Center" and "We Care of Franklin County" will be lighting the Westlake Holiday Tree in front of the Westlake Library and retail shops.  Entertainment will be provided by local elementary school choirs and Smith Mountain Lake Harmeneers.  Bring your children and your cameras as Santa will be availalbe for photos.  Some of the retail stores will be providing light refreshments during the event.  Help a child to have a wonderful holiday and donate an unwrapped toy.  The first 150 people bringing donations will receive a free ticket to the Westlake Cinema's showing of "Miracle on 34th Street".
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Are you lucky enough to be at Smith Mountain Lake for the Christmas holidays? Do you want a beautiful fresh cut Christmas tree?  If so, Smith Mountain Lake's Rotary will be selling the most sought-after tree, the Frasier Fir.  The Frasier Fir is the most widely used because of its fragrance, shape, strong limbs, and ability to retain its soft needles for a long time when cut (which do not prick easily when hanging ornaments).


Starting Wednesday, November 24, 2010, trees will be available for purchase at Hot Shots Family Fun Center - 67 Village View Lane, Moneta, off of Route 122 near Westlake, during their regular business hours:  Sunday and Monday from 8 am to 3 pm; Tuesday through Thursday from 8 am to 8 pm; Friday and Saturday from 8 am to 9 pm.  Prices range from $38.00 to 95.00 with trees from 5 feet to 10 feet high.  Come early as the trees sell out very quickly!!

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"...the real Christmas must be spent in the country, and I cannot but feel that there is in the Virginia Christmas atmosphere a fragrance and an influence which is not to be found elsewhere." - Booker T. Washington Papers, Vol. 1


Feel and learn how Christmas was celebrated on the Burroughs Plantation in 1860 on the eve of the beginning of the American Civil War.  Listen to the whispers of the residents and visitors about the elections and secession in 1860.   Enjoy the essence of Christmas with candlelit tours, storytelling, hot apple cider, and gingerbread and much more.  This event commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and the beginning of many more special programs at the Booker T. Washington National Park in the years to come.


Event date:  Saturday, December 4, 2010, 3:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Location:  Booker T. Washington National Monument, 12130 Booker T. Washington Highway, Hardy, Virginia 24101

Children's Activities:  3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Feeding of Animals: 4:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Walking Tours with Costumed Interpreters: 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm

Admission is free.  For more information call 540-721-2094






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November 12, 2010, visit "2nd Friday" in CenterTown Bedford's street festival!  CenterTown Bedford, just a hop, skip, and a jump from Smith Mountain Lake, is a National Historic District featuring more than 30 shops including antique shops, cafes, restaurants, and specialty shops housed in historic buildings.  This event is free and open to the public and guarantees something for everyone. The festival will have live music and special events. Some of the shops and restaurants will be open until 8 PM or later.  This would be a perfect opportunity to get an early start on your holiday shopping.  Can't get into the holiday spirit? Perhaps attending the "Christmas in Bedford" Parade in CenterTown Bedford will help! The parade is being held December 4 starting at noon (raindate December 5, 2 PM).  Rumor has it that Santa will make an appearance!  The parade will start on College Street, proceed to right on Peaks Street, right on North Bridge Street, left on East Main Street, right on South Street, right on Washington Street, right on Center Street, left on West Main Street and right on 4th Street.  left on Macon Street and it will end on Summit Street.  There should be plenty of viewing areas!

Hits: 1885
Ah yes, winter will be coming soon!  Thanksgiving will be upon us and you think there will be nothing else happening at Smith Mountain Lake?  You're wrong!  November 27, 2010 marks the date for the Virginia Dare Flotilla for Toys Christmas Boat Parade.  Be a part of it by being a sponsor of the flotilla, entering your boat, donating an item for the raffle, or simply by donating a toy.  You can also enjoy being in your best Christmas attire and cruising on the decorated lead boat of the flotilla (Virginia Dare) while listening to seasonal music as it tours around the lake, leaving Virginia Dare Marina at 7 PM, going to Hales Ford Bridge, passing by the SML State Park and returning to the marina.  Don't feel like cruising?  You can also participate by going to Bridgewater, dine at one of wonderful restaurants, do some holiday shopping, or just relax while waiting for the flotilla to arrive.  Be sure to bring a toy to donate to the needy children of Bedford and Franklin Counties, All toys will be distributed by Lake Christian Ministries.
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If you are looking for something to do on a "chili" November weekend, be sure to attend Smith Mountain Lake's 8th Annual Chili Cookoff & Craft Festival on November 6, 2010!  Gates open at 11 AM with a full day of events planned until 4 PM.  Chili tasting begins at noon and voting lasts until 3 PM. Awards for "Best Chili", "People's Choice", and "Showmanship" are presented at 4 PM.  All ages will enjoy the day with Candy Top the Clown, Smith Mountain Lake's own Harmeneer Waterfront 4 Quartet providing music, and many talented crafters selling their wares.

The Festival is located next to Halesford Bridge in Moneta.  There is plenty of parking for your car or boat.  For more information, contact the Smith Mountain Lake's Visitor Center at 800.676.8203 or 540.721.1203.

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Also known as the Mill Mountain Star, the Roanoke Star is a man-made star constructed in 1949.  The star sits atop Mill Mountain in Roanoke, Virginia and is the world's largest illuminated free-standing star.  After construction of the star, Roanoke became known as the "Star City of the South".

While visiting the star, be sure to admire the sights from the overlook, and don't forget to take your camera!  Take a picnic lunch and enjoy eating at the park around the star.  Be sure to visit the zoo that is located on the summit of Mill Mountain (1,740 feet above sea level!).  This is truly a great day trip for young and old alike!

The Roanoke Star can be accessed both from Roanoke and from a spur of the Blue Ridge Parkway at Roanoke Mountain.


Hits: 1950

Shooting for a new movie called "Lake Effects" begins in October at Smith Mountain Lake. This is the story of a family raised on the lake. The older daughter moved away to Los Angeles to become a lawyer, the younger, an artist, now teaches art at the local elementary school and lives with her parents and their dog. When Dad dies in a sudden accident, the older sister returns home to SML to settle his estate. The next few weeks at the lake are filled with discoveries, tears and laughter as the two daughters finally understand, through the guidance of Dad's spirit, why it was so important to Dad that they grow up on the lake. For Mom, it is a journey of understanding what the lake means to her personally rather than through her husband's eyes. Of course there is humor as a local oddball leads a search for a LochNess style monster he believes lurks in the lake's depths and a few real Smith Mountain Lake characters make appearances. All these paths converge at the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival, in a heart-warming and hilarious collision course.

Currently the cast includes Sean Patrick Flanery, Casper Van Dien, Jane Seymour, Scottie Thompson, Madeline Zima, Jeff Fahey, Ben Savage, Eyal Podell, Richard Moll, Richard Riehle, Ron Canada and Mary McDonough in Lake Effects.

So when you are traveling around the area be sure to keep your eyes out for filiming and you could have the oppurtunity to be an extra in the film.

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Close to Smith Mountain Lake and nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Floyd County, Chateau Morrisette Winery features year-round festivals and events in an elegant old world atmosphere.  Make plans to visit the restaurant, gardens, and winery for a tour and wine tasting, or stop by for one of the special events scheduled throughout the year.

Sunday afternoons June through October, the winery has free music in their courtyard by local and regional musicians and entertainers. Bring your own picnic or the winery offers grilled foods and wines for those wishing to please their palates. October 9, 2010, the winery is hosting a "Black Dog Wine and Beach Festival." Bring your lawn chairs and sunglasses and be sure to visit your favorite crafters and vendors while relaxing with the music!  While there, be sure to check the calendar for the numerous events scheduled throughout the year.

Chateau Morrisette Winery is located on Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 171.5, 287 Winery Road SW, Floyd, Virginia.  540-593-2865 for more information.

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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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