May 29, 2019

Our Summer Kick-off | Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia | Lehigh Valley Wedding Photographer

Those of you follow me on Instagram may have seen that we spent the Memorial Day weekend lakeside at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia!

It was an impromptu decision to pack up the kiddos and head south for the 7 hour drive into the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. We’ve never taken such a long car ride with both kids, so I wasn’t sure how it would go. We were pleasantly surprised that after 7 hours, one potty break, countless snacks and a stop at an overlook at to view Porter’s Mountain, we finally made it to our destination!

So, I wanted to share a little sneak peek at our short vacation to Smith Mountain Lake for a few reasons. First, because this is how I document our time together and preserve our memories! Second, because I learned a few lessons along the way:

  1. I underestimated our kiddos. They were AMAZING on both the long ride down to SML and back home again. I thought for sure it was going to be a rough trip, but they did great!

  2. I really look like my aunt. It’s funny looking back at photos to see our same chin, squinty eyes, and nose.

  3. “Lake hair, don’t care” is our mantra. Makeup free, wild curls, and flip flops were life….and I am pretty sure that’s something I could get used to!

  4. Family time is amazing. Seriously, the more the merrier.

  5. Any road named Purgatory Highway through rural Virginia is probably a route to avoid—whoops!

 (Check out the virtual tour of where we stopped  here !)

(Check out the virtual tour of where we stopped here !)

We joined my Aunt Sharon, Uncle Ron, my cousin, Jackie, and her husband, Jeff, and their little girl, Juliet, for the weekend. Even though we were only visiting Smith Mountain Lake for 2.5 days, our days (and nights) were full and busy!

It was a hot weekend with temperatures reaching the mid-90s. We spent the days lounging on the dock and getting a reprieve from the heat by floating in the lake.

As soon as you arrive at Smith Mountain Lake (or SML for short), you trade in your car keys for a set of boat keys. Everywhere we went was by boat! On Saturday, we went to Smith Mountain Dock for lunch. Smith Mountain Dock & Lodge’s claim to fame is that it’s the oldest marina on Smith Mountain Lake and is known as “The Home of the Pet Carp.”

While there, the kids LOVED feeding popcorn to the TONS of carp that hang out near the docks. One of the attractions of Smith Mountain Dock is putting peanut butter on your toes so the carp can suck it off! (We chickened out on this one, but maybe next time!)

Our nights were spent cruising the lake to enjoy the views, see the newly hatched babies on “bird island”, and chasing the most incredible sunsets you could ever imagine. On Saturday evening, we went over (by boat, of course) to the shops at Bridgewater Plaza where we had the most amazing pizza at Pizza Pub and Hershey’s ice cream from The Ice Cream Cottage which gave us a sweet little taste of home.

Our final day was so bittersweet. I was missing our pets back at home, but leaving such an amazing place and our family was so hard. I spent the morning packing up the car while the kiddos swam off the dock and Ben squeezed in some fishing. My cousin Chad and his wife, Marena, came down for the morning to see us before we left.

We wrapped up our trip with one final boat trip out where we took turns skiing and giving the wake surfing a try!


Alyssa is a wedding & portrait photographer based in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. To inquire about having your moments worth remembering documented, reach out here.

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