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Old 01-19-2009, 02:33 PM
59 posts, read 208,430 times
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We want to find a retirement lake lot at one of these two lakes, to purchase now and build on in the future. We lived in Charlottesville for years in the 90's and have many friends there. Both lakes are about two hours drive from Charlottesville, so that is a wash.

We vacationed for several years on Smith Mountain Lake and thus have a familiarity with it, and have heard many good things about Lake Gaston, also, although we've not visited it yet.

Prices seem a tad higher on Smith Mountain Lake. I've spoken with realtors on both lakes and they both speak of having very large inventories of properties for sale right now. Of course, this softens prices.

Pros for Gaston: water level seems to be controlled and is more consistent and stays fairly high due to Kerr Lake releasing more water when necessary. Prices seem better. One to one and a half hours to either Richmond or Raleigh. Good water quality.

Cons for Gaston: taxes in NC are higher. The water is somewhat shallower (not sure if that makes a difference). Not quite as beautiful as SML's small mountains, but Gaston's lots are therefore more sloped to the lake.

Pros for SML: gorgeous and we've seen it. We're used to it and we like it. Normally deeper water. Lower taxes than Gaston in NC.

Cons for SML: the last few years there's been quite a drought effect on SML, with water levels down several feet and some docks are dry. Prices are higher. Between Roanoke and Lynchburg, nice small cities but not the greatest metro areas to visit for culture, shopping, etc.

Thoughts? Have I missed anything? Anyone spent time on both?
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Old 01-20-2009, 08:33 AM
Location: State of Being
35,883 posts, read 72,007,935 times
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Have you posted this on the Virginia forum, b/c honestly - w/ the location of Lake Gaston being on the border - and Smith Lake being in VA - I think you may get more info on that forum.
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:05 PM
Location: Asheville, NC
648 posts, read 2,858,626 times
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I think this will come down to the surrounding beauty of Smith Mtn vs the convenience of Lake Gaston. Being right off I-85 lends the connectivity you want, but to me (a mountain dweller by choice, for full disclosure) the surrounding hills/mountains around Smith Mountain would make the decision for me.

Another thing you may want to consider is the clearness of the water. I know Lake Gaston is quite muddy, like the rivers of Eastern NC and VA. Is Smith Mountain Lake clearer?
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