Historical Sites To Visit Near Smith Mountain Lake
While the weather is mild or when you have some free time, take a jaunt to one of our local sites of interest. It’s quite enlightening to find that we live on or near land that holds much historical significance for us and those who helped to found our country. Here are a few possibilities of places to visit, summarized by the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce.
The lake borders three counties and all are full of history. In Bedford County, you can visit “Poplar Forest”, a home that Thomas Jefferson built for himself as a private retreat. Historic “Avenel Plantation” served as the social hub for the area and hosted guests such as Robert E. Lee and Edgar Allen Poe. The Centertown historic district of Bedford includes a historic Meeting House, Courthouse and Museum.
The County seat for Franklin County is in Rocky Mount. There are walking tours of the many historic buildings. Franklin County is also the boyhood home to Jubal Early, a Confederate General. The boyhood home of Booker T. Washington is also in Franklin County, memorialized in a national park near Westlake Corner at Smith Mountain Lake.
In Pittsylvania County, visit historic Chatham to see Virginia’s only two street car diners, the 1853 Greek Revival Courthouse, and to take a walking tour of this 1777 town full of Victorian architecture. Be sure to stop in at the historic Yates Tavern in Gretna on the way. The SML Visitors Center offers brochures on walking and driving tours of many of these sites.