The lake borders three counties and all are full of history.
In Bedford County, you can visit “Poplar Forest”, a home that Thomas Jefferson built for himself as a private retreat. For more information visit, www.poplarforest.org.
Historic “Avenel Plantation” served as the social hub for the area and hosted guests such as Robert E. Lee and Edgar Allen Poe, www.historicavenel.com
The Centertown historic district of Bedford includes a historic Meeting House, Courthouse and Museum, www.centertownbedford.com
The County seat for Franklin County is in Rocky Mount. There are walking tours of the many historic buildings. Franklin County is also the boyhood home to Jubal Early, a Confederate General.
Blue Ridge Institute & Museum
Recognized as Virginia's Center for Blue Ridge Folklore, the Institute and Museum are located just 29 miles down 122 south past the SML Visitors Center at Ferrum College. Visit a re-created 1800-style Virginia-German farmstead and see the gallery exhibits of crafts, music and decorative arts. Attend events staged by the Institute including the annual Blue Ridge Draft Horse & Mule Show held the fourth Saturday of July and the annual Folklife Festival on the fourth Saturday in October. Phone: 540.365.4419, www.blueridgeinstitute.org
In Pittsylvania County, visit historic Chatham to see Virginia’s only two street car diners, the 1853 Greek Revival Courthouse, and to take a walking tour of this 1777 town full of Victorian architecture. Be sure to stop in at the historic Yates Tavern in Gretna on the way. The SML Visitors Center offers brochures on walking and driving tours of many of these sites.
Bedford County: www.visitbedford.com
Franklin County: www.franklincountyva.org
Pittsylvania County: www.pittgov.org
Also nearby is:
The Natural Bridge, a natural wonder and historic landmark, is located on Route 11 between exits 175 and 180 from Interstate 81. Visit our attractions which include the Natural Bridge, Wax Museum, Caverns, Toy Museum, Haunted Monster Museum and Dinosaur Kingdom, Drama of Creation, Foamhenge, Monacan Indian Village and Cedar Creek Trail.
The Natural Bridge Hotel has 158 guest rooms, free high-speed Internet, room service, 10,000 square feet of meeting space, and has one of the largest gift shops in Virginia. We have the facilities and the setting for all types of gatherings. For more information visit: www.naturalbridgeva.com.
Avoca Museum in Altavista VA. Avoca was built in 1901 and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982. The grounds surrounding the property gained notoriety chiefly for being the homeplace of Colonel Charles Lynch (1736-1796) who was a colonial planter and who distinguished himself as lawmaker and soldier during the turbulent Revolutionary Era. The current house was built in 1901 by former Civil War Capt. Thomas Fauntleroy and wife, Mary Anna. Features Civil War Trails marker and museum pieces honoring Gen. James G. Dearing.