Smith Mountain Lake Weekend

Hello my friends! Matt and I got back to DC yesterday after spending the weekend at one of our old favorite spots: Smith Mountain Lake near the Virginia/NC border.

smith mountain lake the landing restaurant

Long time readers will remember that we’ve been to Smith Mountain Lake twice before with our friends Tim and Lindsey, who we met while living in Chapel Hill when I was in grad school at UNC. (Previous recaps: 2011 trip recaps and 2012 trip recap.) It had been way too long since we’d seen them – we miss living nearby! – so we were excited when they invited us to spend the weekend with them at the lake. Tim’s family owns a gorgeous house right on the water!

smith mountain lake hammock

smith mountain lake

We arrived late on Friday night and woke up on Saturday ready for some adventures! It was hot and sunny – perfect for swimming in a cold lake. We spent the day playing around in the water with Tim, Lindsey, their kids, and their friends Beth and Jeremy and their kids. My front flip game is still strong – and we discovered that Tim and Lindsey’s son Hayes swims wayyyyy faster and with better form when a competition/race is involved. ;)

smith mountain lake swimming diving

Matt and I also took out the jet skis – such a blast – and we all played around on one of the stand up paddleboards, too.

Tim and Lindsey’s kids went home with the nanny on Saturday afternoon (Lindsey had been at the lake with the kids all week), so we had some fun mostly adult time on Saturday night. (That’s Beth and Jeremy’s son in the photo below.) Our dinner transportation: a boat!

the landing restaurant smith mountain lake(My dress is an old fave from StitchFix!)

We took the boat over to a restaurant on the other side of the lake called The Landing. We came here with them once a few years ago – fun to be back!


Matt and I shared two yummy appetizers to start – the seared tuna and the local heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella. Fresh and summery!

the landing restaurant smith mountain lake dinner

I had the salmon salad for my entrée and stole a few bites of Matt’s steak. :) The salad was enormous so I saved half for lunch the next day – perfect!

salmon salad the landing restaurant

Saving half the salad also meant I saved room for dessert. :) My photo came out really blurry but we shared a lemon cake and a couple ice cream sundaes around the table. Delicious!

On the boat ride home the skies were dark and ominous looking – and we were treated to the most stunning sunset as the sun just peeked out of the clouds. Amazing!

smith mountain lake sunset

We made it back to the house in the nick of time – it started pouring and a massive thunderstorm rolled through just as we reached the door! Whew – that was a close one!

On Sunday morning, Matt and I were in charge of breakfast for the group. We planned one of our usual favorites: a veggie and egg scramble with roasted sweet potatoes and some fruit. I prepped/chopped a bunch of the stuff before leaving Matt in charge of the cooking and heading out on a short run with Tim and Lindsey!

smith mountain lake running

I used to run with both Tim and Lindsey all the time in Chapel Hill and I really miss it! It was so fun to be out pounding the pavement with them again – just like old times. :)


We did a hilly 3 mile jaunt that involved a quick photo stop down by the water. :)

smith mountain lake running

When we got back, Matt had finished up the breakfast preparation – what a guy! It was delicious. :) There was some bacon in the eggs, too – yum!

easy breakfast for a group healthy

We spent the rest of the morning getting in a little more lake time! Lindsey showed off her mad wake boarding skills:

smith mountain lake wake boarding

And then Tim whipped me and Lindsey around on the tubes while Matt snapped some funny action shots. Too fun!!

tubing on smith mountain lake

This one is my favorite – ha!

smith mountain lake tubing

We were so sad to say goodbye and hit the road after lunch yesterday. What a fun quick trip! Thank you again for having us Tim and Lindsey – we loved seeing you again! Let’s not wait so long in between hangouts this time, k? :)

Which do you prefer: ocean or lake? It’s a tough call for me but I think I’d probably go lake, even though I love waves – there are just so many fun water sports involved with lakes! I also grew up going to lakes so they have the nostalgia factor too. :)

p.s. My “Will Run for Bacon” tank is 15% off today and tomorrow with the code HEAT16. Happy running!



  1. 1

    Lake for me too! We were very fortunate to grow up with a lake house thanks to our grandparents, so it’s very nostalgic for me as well. My fiance, Matt and I, are getting married at our lake house this fall. :) What a wonderful weekend full of so much fun! I have to say that’s a killer front flip. ;)

  2. 4

    Looks like your friends have a beautiful place on the lake. And that sunset is amazing! I’m glad you guys got back just in time.

  3. 5

    I’ve always heard that SML is a gorgeous place to go to the lake and your photos are lovely! I think I prefer lake trips a little more because I’m not freaking out about sharks or jellyfish or something, the lake has to be clean though. This is all excused if I’m in Australia though. Sharks and jellies are still scary but my home beaches are just to die for.

  4. 7

    Glad you guys had a nice trip! I grew up in Roanoke and have some fun memories at SML!

  5. 8

    As a Floridian growing up, I will always say ocean (or gulf). No lake activities in Florida, that’s asking for gators :) Springs are nice, however, if you don’t mind manatees.

    • 9

      Manatees are the BEST. I love snorkeling with them in Crystal River <3

      And as a fellow Floridian…if you grow up with gulf coast beaches, no lake will ever be acceptable. The beaches (and lack of gators!) are just too great. I personally struggle with any lakes (even northern ones without gators) because I feel like none of them are clean enough (even though I know that's totally not true, I just can't seem to get over it!)

  6. 10

    Sounds like so much fun! I love your dress in the first few photos! I’m 100% a beach gal…its my ultimate happy place!

  7. 11
    Roadrunner says

    What a wonderful weekend! All the ingredients of a great time. And, while loving the ocean and waves, lakes of good size are incomparable!

  8. 12

    You really do know how to make the most of your weekends!!! As always I have salmon envy!

  9. 13

    Gosh that’s such a hard choice… I’d be inclined to say “lake” for the same reasons you listed, but I really love the ocean, too! There’s something so peaceful about watching the waves hit the beach.

    In an unrelated note… LOVE your dress!

  10. 15

    Love a lake house. Perfect vacation.

  11. 16

    What a fun weekend away, I used to love tubing as a kid! So terrifying and fun. Lakes are fun, but I’ll always be an ocean girl!

  12. 17

    Definitely an ocean girl! I HATE lakes. The bottom always feels slimy and gross and I just hate the idea of stagnant water. But I did grow up on the gulf of mexico with clear warm water and white sand beaches so it’s just a matter of life long exposure and preference! I’ll take a choppy boat ride and sea creatures any day over the water sports a lake can offer (my husband on the other hand grew up in NY and OH and he prefers a lake for the same reason as you).

    • 18

      The key is to go to lakes where you jump off a dock and can’t touch the bottom, because I totally agree the bottom is super gross and creepy. :) I feel like the water is fresher than oceans, though – love the lack of salt!

  13. 19

    Awww, this reminds me so much of home. I grew up less than 2 hours from there. So beautiful!

  14. 20

    I love that blue dress!

  15. 21

    We loved our time at SML.

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