The beautiful Smith Mountain Lake covers 32 square miles and boasts 500 miles of shoreline. It is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, close to the cities of Lynchburg on one end of the lake and Roanoke on the other.
A popular tourist destination, Smith Mountain Lake rental homes start at $400 and go up to $4000 per week during the peak season. Another popular attraction at the lake is houseboat rentals. The boats rent for $1200-$2900 per week during peak season .
The area is home to 18,000 permanent residents. Real estate in the area covers a wide range of prices. From $150,000 for a condo to well into the millions for a lake front home with picturesque views, the area is accessible to people of various economic means.
Some of the residents of Smith Mountain Lake have found a unique way to come together and raise money for charity. The annual Smith Mountain Lake Charity Home Tour began in 1991 as a way for the community to assist the Blue Ridge Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Each year, eight residents agree to open their home and grounds for public tours. The even lasts for three days and one ticket allows guests to visit each of the eight homes included on the tour.
Since the event began, 144 homeowners have participated by opening their homes to the public. For the first six years, all of the money when to the Multiple Sclerosis Charity. Since 1997, however, other local and regional charities have been included.
For the 2008 event, which took place in October, there were eight charities including Bedford Christian Ministries, Bedford Hospice House, Crisis Line of Central Virginia, Free Clinic of Central Virginia, Free Clinic of Franklin County, Lynchburg Daily Bread and Moneta Volunteer Fire Department .
Visitors can purchase tickets online, by mail or in person and can access the tour area by car or boat. Tickets purchased at the event, rather than in advance, are higher priced.
The resident of Smith Mountain Lake work together each year to produce an event that is memorable for the visitors. In addition to the home tours, the event also features a gala that includes dinner, dancing and a silent auction. Gala tickets for the 2008 event cost $90 per person.
Since the first tour in 1991, over $2.6 million has been raised for charity.
Smith Mountain Lake attracts both tourists and those who are looking to permanently settle in the area.