Smith Mountain Lake’s surrounding counties are rich with history, heritage and culture. Read on for a guide to SML’s nearby historical sites, museums, and attractions.
While in Franklin County, take some time to walk through its county seat, Rocky Mount, and take in the sites and historic buildings. Franklin County is also the boyhood home of Confederate General Jubal Early. Currently, there is a fund raising campaign in place to restore the General’s boyhood home to its original condition. More information about this historic restoration can be found here.
While in Pittsylvania County be sure to visit Virginia’s only two streetcar diners, a Greek Revival courthouse (c1853), and lots of Victorian era architecture (c1777).
Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest
“…a U.S. candidate for nomination as a World Heritage Site, Poplar Forest tells the story of one of the most important figures in American history.”
“Located in the heart of the city of Bedford. Avenel has been the centerpiece of social, cultural, and political life for over 150 years. Avenel is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.”
The National D-Day Memorial
“Visitors can expect both an educational experience as well as an emotional one, as they walk the grounds at the Memorial and leave with a clear understanding of the scale and sacrifices made during the largest amphibious landing the world has ever seen.”
Blue Ridge Institute and Museum
“For over 30 years Ferrum College's Blue Ridge Institute & Museum has documented the folkways of the people living in and around the Blue Ridge Mountains.”
The Crooked Road
“The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Music Heritage Trail” began as an idea in January 2003. The basis of the idea is to generate tourism and economic development in the Appalachian region of Southwestern Virginia by focusing on the region’s unique musical heritage.”
Booker T. Washington National Monument
“Booker T. Washington NM commemorates the birthplace of America's most prominent African American educator and orator of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The property evokes an 1850s middle class tobacco farm, representative of Booker T. Washington's enslaved childhood at the Burroughs farm.”
Smith Mountain Lake Dam and Visitor’s Center
“One of the most interesting places to visit at the Lake is American Electric Power’s Smith Mountain Lake Dam. At the Visitor Center overlooking the Dam, you’ll enjoy learning how electricity is generated in a pumped storage and hydroelectric project. There are hands-on exhibits and computer models to try, a theatre with audio-visual presentations, and a three-dimensional terrain map, which shows the lake area as if viewed from an altitude of 25,000 feet. Outside the Visitors Center there are overlook areas providing spectacular views of the dam, gorge and lake plus picnic facilities with charcoal grills located near the base of the dam.”