Asking the right questions can help prospective buyers—especially those new to “Lake Life” at SML–find the property that will be best suited to your full and complete enjoyment of the lake and it’s surrounds. Some trade-offs you may wish to evaluate:
Franklin vs. Bedford County – A key difference here is property rental policy: Bedford County allows “short term” (daily, weekly and monthly) rentals while properties in Franklin and Pittsylvania counties can be rented only for 6 or longer terms. Thus, a lake home in Bedford Co. is best for those seeking rental income; Franklin Co. is preferred by those who want less in-and-out traffic and “calmer” waterfronts with familiar neighbors. Both FC and BC have respected school systems; all three have proponents/detractors of their respective governance.
Main Channel vs. Secluded Cove – Lakefront homes on the main channels of the Roanoke, Blackwater or major creeks often have wide, unobstructed views of Smith Mountain, sunrises, sunsets and passing boat traffic. Cove frontage often means neighboring docks in close proximity and shorter views limited by rising shorelines and/or trees. More boat wakes and cooling breezes are found on the main channels; cove properties boast calmer waters but can be “close” on humid mid-summer days. Long, reasonably-wide coves/creeks attract wake boarders and surfers so the docks and shorelines that line them can be buffeted by towboat noise and wakes; short, narrow coves make for less boat traffic and less wake and noise disruption of swimmers, kayakers, paddle boarders and dock loungers. It is best to visit a property you are considering on a summer weekend afternoon for a sampling of the waterfront in full-use mode.
Sunrise vs. Sunset-view waterfront – Easterly-facing docks, decks and windows get morning sun and afternoon shade but require owners to watch SML’s magnificent mountain sunsets from their boats or neighbors’ homes across the street. West-facing properties enjoy the sunsets in exchange for hot afternoon sun that may necessitate tinted windows, awnings or shades to reduce AC costs and protect furniture.
Proximity to other stuff – There’s only one major bridge across this very large lake, so you may wish to chose where you want to locate with respect to where you wish to shop or might work, whether you’ll travel to your lake home from north or south, proximity to church of choice, etc. Just remember: Once you are a Laker, no complaining about “having a lake in the way” is allowed. It’s a way of life that only the fortunate few are privileged to enjoy.
Watching the star shows – The dark skies around rural SML make for incredible star gazing, an after-dark pass-time from most decks and patios. If heavy tree cover blocks your upward view, get in your boat and idle out a bit, lay back and enjoy the brilliant skyscape. Safety reminder: running lights stay “on” while adrift after dark.