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“A day to remember” 

After attending the morning church service with my parents, I heading out for a day of paddleboarding, as I drove on I – 81, I thought about the ten year anniversary of 9/11 and how the United States had changed the last ten years and about the families & friends that had lost some many love ones in this tragic event and how they must be coping with the day.  The week of enjoying such beautiful lakes, rivers and various parks has made me thankful to live in such a great country and appreciate the freedom that we have to enjoy these great places.

First stop – Smith Mountain Lake
Today’s trip is solo, Rasta and Bahama had stayed behind to enjoy some quality time with the grandparents at Claytor Lake, they knew that my dad would spend most of the day throwing tennis balls and taking them swimming, so today I was on my own. My first stop of the day was Smith Mountain Lake, I launched at the Smith Mountain Lake State Park boat launch, (many public boat launches are located all around the lake) the state park and launch area was busy on this Sunday afternoon, I headed out past the beach area, in the direction of the main lake, the park has some nice coves with sandy beaches to stop and explore, the water was fairly clear, about five feet of visibility and was a warm 72 degrees, the shoreline area was a cloudy with the wave action from the Sunday boat traffic, Smith Mountain Lake is busy on weekends and during the peak summer season, the best time to paddle is earlier morning or late evening and during the spring and fall midweek season. The lake has some neat islands to paddle around and explore. As I paddled back to the launch area, I passed a few kayakers enjoying the lake and watched a few of the famous Smith Mountain Lake bass swim along the shoreline.

Smith Mountain Lake  Area information:

Launch site: Smith Mountain Lake State Park boat launch, $4 fee, many other public access/boat launches are located around the lake, pick the area you plan to paddle in and use of these launches.
Paddleboard rental nearby or Bring Your Own Board: For a lake the size of Smith Mountain Lake, I did not find a paddleboard rental operation; Wake and Skate a shop at Bridgewater Plaza is planning to rent boards next summer, the sell boards now.
Nearby lodging: A large selection of vacation rentals, campgrounds, houseboat rentals and a couple motels are located around the lake
Dining options:  Mango’s (causal), Chopsticks (oriental cuisine) The Landing (fine dining) Blackwater Café (steak & seafood) Homestead Creamery (ice cream and sandwiches)
Other nearby area activities: Virginia Dare Cruise, Hiking, Wine Festival (Sept 24 – 25) Sailing.