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Family Paint Party in Rocky Mount

November 21st, 2015 · Comment Now!


Rocky Mount Center for the Arts at the Grainery is hosting its very first family painting party. Come on out with your young ones, or by yourself, to learn how to paint Van Gogh’s beautiful “Sunflowers”.


Take some time this Fall season to let your creative side be unleashed and best of all create something memorable with the family.
When: Monday, November 30th, 6:00pm – Cost: $40 per adult (+ one child) / $25 each additional child.

Your instructor will be Miranda Banks. Call or email to sign up.
220 Franklin Street
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
(540) 483-1317


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Virginia is for…….Smart People! And Other Interesting Facts!

November 2nd, 2015 · Comment Now!


It seems that Financial fitness website Nerd Wallet recently compiled a list of places in the U.S. where intelligent people tend to settle down. Out of the 100 cities they have named eight Virginia communities to the Most Educated Places in America list. And one VA community, McLean, was even in the Top 10! To compile the list, NerdWallet analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data on the educational levels of residents in more than 2,000 locations.


That is some pretty cool information in our book. Here are some other interesting and encouraging facts about our beautiful state!

- A survey by the consumer services website Thumbtack, ranked 95 U.S. cities on the ease of starting a business, tax codes, and training and network programs (among 10 other things). One Virginia city came up pretty high in the results at #3! Richmond ranked third in the nation for being one of the friendliest cities for small businesses just starting up. Virginia also ranked very highly for Over-All Friendliness, Health & Safety and Environmental issues to name a few others.


- According to the Virginia Employment Commission, Unemployment continued to fall in almost all of Virginia’s metro areas during September. The VEC reported on Wednesday that jobless rates fell in 10 of the commonwealth’s 11 metro areas. September was the third consecutive monthly decline. Over the year, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down 0.7 percentage point from September 2014. At 4.3 percent, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is at its lowest level since September 2008 when it was also 4.3 percent. While the labor force continued to decline in September, household employment again remained essentially unchanged. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues below the national rate, which was unchanged in September at 5.1 percent.

East Coast VA Beach

- Virginia Business online says that Northern Virginia has surpassed the Tri-State New Jersey/New York region as the largest data center market in the U.S., according to a report from JLL. The company’s annual Data Center Outlook says the region has nearly 20 percent of the market share in enterprise demand year-to-date in 2015. Northern Virginia’s competitive utility rates, tax incentives, abundance of power and a robust fiber network compared to other Tier 1 markets  — such as New York/New Jersey, Northern California, Chicago and Dallas  — have made the region the most attractive global data center market for enterprise users of all sizes.


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Employment Opportunity at SML Chamber of Commerce

October 29th, 2015 · Comment Now!


The SML Regional Chamber of Commerce has an exciting opportunity currently open for someone to join our dynamic team to handle accounts receivable – office coordinator. Expertise with Quickbooks and Microsoft Office are essential. This is a great position for someone looking to work part-time in a fast-paced office environment. Hours are family friendly – 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Mon.-Fri. Please submit a signed cover letter and resume to Lauren Parcetich, Acting Executive Director, Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, 16430 Booker T. Washington Hwy., #2, Smith Mountain Lake, VA 24121 or emailinfo@visitsmithmountainlake.com.

Thank you,

Lauren Parcetich
Acting Executive Director
Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce


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Musicians Wanted for SML Symphony & Chorus

September 12th, 2015 · Comment Now!



Smith Mountain Lake Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will resume rehearsals,
beginning after Labor Day. Both ensembles will operate this year in the
capacity as community ensembles; repertoire selection will be at a capability
level commensurate with a community ensemble – i.e. not nearly as difficult at
last year’s repertoire, yet still magnificent music. All choral music will be
in English (No German this time).

All musicians and singers are invited to
attend the first few rehearsals to try it out. If you plan on attending the
first rehearsal, please let me know, so I know what instrumentation to

Rehearsal Schedule:

Smith Mountain Lake Symphony
Monday, Sep 14, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Monday, Sep 21, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Sep 28, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Monday, Oct 05, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Monday, Oct 12, 7:00 -
Monday, Oct 19, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Monday, Oct 26, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Nov 02, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Monday, Nov 09, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Thursd, Nov 12, 5:00 -
9:00pm, Dress Rehearsal
Friday, Nov 13, 6:00 – 9:00pm, Final Dress
Saturday, Nov 14 Christmas Concert, 7:30pm

Items to bring:
- Your
- Pencil
- Chair
- Your Music Stand
- Music Stand Light

Mountain Lake Symphony Chorus
Tuesday, Sep 15, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Tuesday, Sep 22,
7:00 – 9:00pm
Tuesday, Sep 29, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Tuesday, Oct 06, 7:00 -
Tuesday, Oct 13, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Tuesday, Oct 20, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Oct 27, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Tuesday, Nov 03, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Tuesday, Nov 10, 7:00 -
Thursdy, Nov 12, 5:00 – 9:00pm, Dress Rehearsal
Friday, Nov 13, 6:00 -
9:00pm, Final Dress Rehearsal
Saturday, Nov 14 Christmas Concert,

Items to bring:
- Pencil
- Chair
- Music Stand, if you

Rehearsal Location (Orchestra & Chorus):
Bender Conservatory of
Lakewatch Plantation
58 First Watch Drive
Moneta, VA 24121
(located in
between Jonathan’s Restaurant and Mongolian City BBQ)

To view a clip from
last year’s exciting SML Symphony & Chorus concert, with approximately
four-hundred audience members in attendance, click here:

Here are clips of my previous

do me the favor of passing this message to your friends and neighbors by
forwarding through email or posting this link to your social media:
http://smlsymphony.com/musician_interest_form, to get the word out, so
interested instrumentalists and singers can know about it. See you

Warm regards,
Johnny Bender
Founder & Conductor
Smith Mountain Lake
Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
Moneta, VA 24121
ph: (540) 624-2983


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Day Of Remembrance on Sept. 19th

September 10th, 2015 · 2 Comments


There will be a “Day of Remembrance” at Bridgewater Plaza on Saturday, September 19th to honor the lives of Alison Parker and Adam Ward and to encourage the continued healing of Vicki Gardner. Shuttles from Lakewatch Plantation to Bridgewater Plaza will begin at 9am. The event will be from Noon until 10pm.

The day will begin with a dedication of a permanent memorial. Following the dedication, everyone present will circle around the Plaza holding hands and boats will be lined up in the cove to embrace the Plaza. All participants are encouraged to purchase and wear an #SML Strong t-shirt. A helicopter will fly overhead with photographers to capture the aerial view of this special moment. Rose petals will be dropped from the helicopter as we remember Alison and Adam. The SML Chamber is selling the #SML Strong shirts.

Please stop by the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center starting TODAY, Thursday, September 10th to purchase the shirt before the September 19th event.

After the dedication of the memorial and aerial photographs are completed, live entertainment will commence at Mango’s Bar & Grill. A host of bands will play for the remainder of the evening with silent auction updates announced during the breaks.

There will be no charge to attend the event – only donations. There will also be a silent auction throughout the day, and all donations/proceeds will be divided among the scholarship funds for Alison and Adam and the fund set up for “Vicki’s Vision” at Smith Mountain Lake.


→ 2 CommentsTags: News

PBS Film Premiere 50th Anniversary SML Red Carpet Event

July 31st, 2015 · Comment Now!


Whether you live, work or just simply “LOVE” Smith Mountain Lake, you will want to be part of the Blue Ridge PBS Film Premiere 50th Anniversary Red Carpet Event. This one hour documentary by award winning PBS will tell the story of Smith Mountain Lake’s evolution. General admission tickets for the film are $10 each. They go sale August 1, 2015 at the Visitor’s Center/SMLRCC.

A pre-party will be held October 24, 2015 from 3:00 – 4:00, immediately prior to the film’s screening. The pre-party is only available to SML 50th Anniversary Sponsors, Patron Sponsors and Individual Sponsors.

$75 – Individual Sponsor receives admission for one to the Red Carpet Pre-Party celebration featuring music by the SML Steel Drum/Parrot and Toucan Bands, one ticket to the film screening, champagne toasts, slice of the huge 50th Anniversary Cake.

$250 – Patron Sponsor receives admission for two to the Red Carpet Pre-Party celebration featuring music by the SML Steel Drum/Parrot and Toucan Bands, two tickets to the film screening, champagne toasts, slice of the huge 50th Anniversary Cake, a digital photo by JollyJen Photography, a special gift bag, special seating, and be recognized in the event program.

For more information please contact: Jackie Davis, Event Chair 4jackiemdavis@gmail.com or Barb Nocera, barb@visitsmithmountainlake.com



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Smith Mountain Lake Versus The Beach

June 5th, 2015 · Comment Now!


Lakefront living has many advantages over living near the ocean!

I will detail several of these advantages shortly, but let me start by giving you one simple reason. In general, oceanfront property became popular decades before lakefront, so the prices at the ocean skyrocketed to (often) many times that of lakefront homes. In the last decade, the popularity of lakefront property has exploded as well. But it is still not as fashionable as oceanfront…yet. As a result, the appreciation potential of a lakefront home is greater, in the opinion of many investors, than that near the beach.


One person who helped clarify this for me was the man I mentioned earlier, David Stevens, the former Senior Vice President of Freddie Mac, and one of the most astute individuals in the nation on real estate trends, especially as they affect the financial markets. For years David had been looking for a second home at the Outer Banks, and was very pleased with the value of similar homes here at Smith Mountain Lake. He said the home he purchased here would cost many times more on the water in the Outer Banks. After spending a number of vacations here, he also realized that there was actually more of what his family really wanted to do here!

One of the reasons he gave is the opportunity to have a powerboat, jet ski, canoe and sailboat just a few steps from his back door. Though this may be remotely possible in rare situations in an oceanfront setting, this is the norm for homeowners here at Smith Mountain Lake. My dock and boathouse area include a Hurricane deck boat, a Hobie Cat sailboat, my friend’s wakeboard boat, two Sea Doos and a canoe. My neighbor on one side has a paddle boat for more leisurely rides and the other neighbor has a fishing boat.

David said his family didn’t want to spend big money and time docking their crafts at a local marina, as he would at the ocean. This is a hidden cost that many don’t think about when making a comparison. The convenience of having these vessels right at hand has provided David – and countless others here – the joy of a true waterfront experience.

Another reason that many now prefer SML to the ocean is the absence of hurricanes here in Southwestern Virginia.

Since I wrote the first edition of this book, one of my readers wrote me an email on this topic. He said:

Another selling point of lake vs ocean. The salt water is much more harmful to the metals and finish on houses and water vehicles. I have to rinse my boats off after each use or pay a price in engine repairs and extra wax.
Patrick Stover
Annapolis, MD

I hadn’t thought of this one, and I guess it isn’t something one would think of unless they were living it. Thanks for the tip, Patrick!

I believe that Smith Mountain Lake holds many advantages over oceanfront living. I admit I am a little biased – but so are thousands of others from New England to California! One of my recent lot buyers has lived in seven or eight locations around the nation. He currently lives in a beautiful home near San Francisco. He was part of successful software company that went public and his wife is vice president of a national retail chain. He called me last summer and said that in all of his travels he’d never seen a place like Smith Mountain Lake, and though he could afford to live at the ocean or in the mountains, this is where he wanted his residential journey to end. His family had visited here only briefly while living in North Carolina years before, yet they decided that this is where they would one day build their retirement home.

He informed me that he was prepared to spend up to $1.5 million on a premier waterfront lot here with deep water, privacy, a direct view of the mountains, and a nearly flat building site. After going back and forth for months online and via phone, he traveled here for four days.

On day one, we took a boat tour of the lake. With map in hand, we surveyed the various features and home styles of the different sections of our “Jewel of the Blue Ridge.” We enjoyed a great view of many lots from the vantage point that only the water can give. On day two, we went by car and got a different view of the various waterfront lots that we had narrowed down in previous months. By sunset, we narrowed it down to the top four. On day three, we rented a private plane and flew over the lake, getting a breathtaking aerial perspective of the waterways, neighborhoods and lots we had been reviewing.

My new friend was more impressed with the lake than he had previously imagined, and was especially pleased that he was able to go home with a lot that exceeded his expectation at a little over half of what he anticipated from California. He has now told other Bay area residents of our beautiful secret and I am preparing to take his friends on a similar tour here soon.

David and my new West Coast friend are thrilled with their property purchases at Smith Mountain Lake. Are you ready to enjoy a similar experience? If you want to join people from all over the United States who now call this place home, please contact a local Smith Mountain Lake REALTOR® today.



→ Comment Now!Tags: Lake Living · Real Estate Value

VA Film “Wish You Well” Celebrates DVD Release with Special Screenings at Four Virginia Theaters

May 23rd, 2015 · Comment Now!


Lynchburg, Virginia (May 20, 2015) – In celebration of its DVD and VOD release, Wish You Well will be screened on Tuesday, June 2 at four theaters across Virginia: The Grandin Theatre (Roanoke), Westlake Cinema (Hardy), The Byrd Theatre (Richmond) and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (Ashburn). All screenings will begin at 7:00 p.m.; doors will open at 6:00 p.m. A Q&A session with writer/producer David Baldacci and producer Sara Elizabeth Timmins will follow the Roanoke screening; a Q&A with actor JP Vanderloo will follow the Ashburn screening. Seating is limited; tickets can be purchased in advance at https://wishyouwell.ivolunteer.com/kickoff. The first 30 people to arrive at each theater will receive a free Wish You Well poster.

wish you well

Filmed entirely on location in Giles County, Va., Wish You Well was adapted from David Baldacci’s bestselling novel of the same title. After a family tragedy, a young girl moves from New York with her younger brother to live with their great grandmother on a Virginia farm and comes closer to understanding the land and roots that inspired her father’s writings while discovering herself, the love of family, and the power of truly believing.

The film stars Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Interstellar), Mackenzie Foy (The Twilight Saga, Interstellar), and Josh Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama). It was directed by Darnell Martin (Cadillac Records) and produced by Sara Elizabeth Timmins of Life Out Loud Films, David Baldacci, and Karen Spiegel of Copper Beech Productions.

Wish You Well will be released in the United States on DVD and VOD by Entertainment One Ltd. Mission Pictures will distribute the film internationally.
For more information about Wish You Well and future updates on where DVD’s can be purchased nationally, please like us on Facebook.


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Is Smith Mountain Lake A Profitable Place To Invest?

May 3rd, 2015 · Comment Now!


Lake Property

Real estate investment at Smith Mountain Lake is a profitable way of increasing personal wealth. You may think, as I once did, that buying a second home is too costly or frivolous, that it is a stretch to make it work within your investment and retirement plan. But there are many reasons that buying at Smith Mountain Lake may be the best investment you ever make. I have chosen to invest a significant portion of my portfolio at Smith Mountain Lake, and many others have done the same.

The retirement of the Baby Boom generation means that tens of millions of people are in the process of finalizing their plans to make their big move in the coming years. The majority of Americans live in the East and will likely remain in this part of the United States upon retirement. It is no secret that a significant proportion of these retirees are looking to live by the water or in the mountains. They want to slow down their pace, yet they still wish to enjoy the culture of nearby cities.

Smith Mountain Lake truly has all of this and much more. Every year we hear the same comments over and over. Recently, a couple from Pennsylvania who found Smith Mountain Lake on a map scheduled a two-day visit to check out the area. They had been looking all over the Northeastern seaboard for a place to spend their golden years. Their trip turned into six days. They bought a beautiful waterfront lot, and their home is underway. They said they never imagined it would be so beautiful here. It’s people like this that are causing SML to grow in popularity every year.

Did you ever consider why the retirement of Baby Boomer Generation is so significant to the value of resort properties like those offered here? Statistics say the Baby Boomers have the greatest wealth of any group in the history of the world. One reason for this is the significant income earned by these individuals in recent decades. Much of this has been plowed into retirement plans that will be available soon. Many people think that there is no better use for these funds than to purchase a place to enjoy and continue to see grow in value.

A second reason for this Baby Boomer wealth is the unprecedented growth in home equity during recent decades. I regularly interact with clients who bought a home for around $100,000 that is worth close to a million dollars now.

Another often overlooked factor is the release of massive funds through inheritance. Statistics say that $8 trillion (eight with 12 zeroes) is being inherited from the passing of the WW2 generation in one decade. Amazingly, these funds are being received by the same people with the incredible wealth in retirement plans and home equity! And these are the same people who often want to live near water and mountains, often in the Eastern US.

All marketers know that massive revenue will be generated wherever the baby boom population arrow is pointed. In the 50s, it was Gerber baby food. In the 70s, Levi Jeans. In the 90s it was mutual funds and VHS players. Now the arrow is pointed directly at retirement and expensive recreation. This is why Warren Buffett, who looks at 20 year trends when investing, recently bought one of the world’s largest RV manufacturers. And multi-billionaire real estate investor Sam Zell has reportedly purchased a number of high-end RV campground properties. Do you see how Smith Mountain Lake perfectly fits this bill?

David Stevens is the President of Mortgage Bankers Association, and former FHA Commissioner. David passed over waterfront properties all over the East Coast to purchase a vacation home here at SML. David said, “The Smith Mountain Lake area is a hidden gem for long-term investment value. The ability to buy waterfront property at affordable prices, on one of the most beautiful lakes in the nation, still exists at SML. With the aging population aiming towards retirement on or near waterfront in temperate climate areas, combined with the unique timing right now of almost record low interest rates and a wonderful inventory to choose from, buying a home at SML…may prove to be one of the wisest investment opportunities for real estate available in the mid-Atlantic or Southeastern US.”

The pieces of the puzzle fit together well. Does it make sense for you to contact us to discuss investing at Smith Mountain Lake? I hope you’ll call or email us today.


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Vacation at Smith Mountain Lake

March 8th, 2015 · Comment Now!


After a long, cold winter a little bit of sunshine starts us dreaming of summer vacations, outings on the lake and all sorts of warm weather fun. So go ahead and dream a little! Imagine a vista of sparkling blue waters against the back-drop of beautiful mountains……and you and your favorite people laughing, swimming and eating together on the deck of a half million dollar rental home!


Or perhaps your dream consists more of renting a gorgeous big boat and riding off into the sunset, fishing, swimming and camping on some beautiful little island. In fact you can just quit dreaming and start planning. Put in your time off request and make your reservations! Whatever your summer dream vacation looks like, Smith Mountain Lake has it all!


To find just the right place to stay, you can talk to Diana Salyer for marvelous rentals on the lake, from cottages to homes or condos. Or you can find a magical place online by cruising Vacation Rentals By Owners. There are many wonderful vacation spots at SML, including Smith Mountain Lake State Park.


Visit local Vineyards and breweries; play at some fantastic Golf Courses; Go fishing in one of Virginia’s most popular fishing destinations; Spend the day on the lake on the boat rental of your choice; Visit several of the marvelous restaurants SML has to offer; Enjoy Water Sports such as Wakeboarding, Water or Jet skiing, Stand Up Paddleboard, Kneeboarding, etc.; or you could even plan your trip around one of the dozens of fun and exciting events happening at the lake!


→ Comment Now!Tags: Lake Living