Lesley Howard, Our Health Magazine
12:00 AM EST, February 2, 2011
Popular wisdom holds that today’s multi-tasking lifestyles tax our physical and mental health. The importance of jumping off the proverbial highway in order to re-energize is promoted in magazines and health journals alike. But it’s also important to decelerate gradually: going from sixty to zero is as stressful as flooring the accelerator. A vacation with opportunities for golf, hiking, or even cooking lessons is more likely to restore us than one sans structure.
Smith Mountain Lake provides multiple ways to refuel. This man-made lake is within a two or three hour drive for many Virginians, and yet few of us bother to “get away from it all” without the expense of plane tickets and exhaustion of lengthy travel. Read on, and plan to enjoy a local vacation.
Bernard’s Landing describes itself as a “resort and conference center” featuring luxury-type resort and outdoor activities. They have two outdoor pools, one indoor pool, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, a racquetball court, tennis, volleyball, a steam room, a sauna, a fitness facility, a private beach with swimming area, basketball, a game room, horseshoes, and even corn hole. At their marina, pontoon boats, ski-boats, and other water craft are available for rentals. Staff will arrange for additional activities, such as golfing or fishing, with an expert guide and also have inside tips about area attractions. For those who want to combine business with pleasure, the conference center can host up to 150 participants.
But what distinguishes Bernard’s Landing, according to Lori Phillips, Director of Sales and Marketing at Bernard’s Landing is that their “property is overwhelming! You have this ‘WOW’ effect as soon as you approach down the hill through the property. So many places around the lake are building after building. We pride ourselves in our untouched natural beauty.”
Bernard’s Landing restaurant, aptly called “The Landing,” has won multiple awards every year since opening. Chef Bruno Silva says his cooking is “classic with Andean Nouveau influences. I use a lot of French techniques.” If you’d like to take some of those techniques home, “Cooking with Bruno” classes are available in the fall, winter and spring. And those who want to maintain healthy eating habits on vacation won’t be stinted. The Landing offers entrees for a range of appetites, from fish and grilled meat to organic pork tenderloin.
Phillips notes that Bernard’s Landing is open year-round. “Summer is the most popular time for vacations, but fall, winter, and spring are just as nice. Fall is peaceful and full of color with fall foliage. Winter brings about a sense of romance as you snuggle by the fireplace, and spring is blooming with flowers and excitement as the lake begins to warm up for the season!”
One of the places Bernard’s Landing staff may arrange for your game of golf is Westlake Golf and Country Club. This club charges public course prices, but you’ll get a private golf club experience. Russell Breeden, a native Virginian, designed the Westlake’s course. The course description tempts hard-core and weekend golfers alike: “As with many of Breeden’s courses, a mix of distance and accuracy is required here.”
Westlake boasts a golf pro who’s a native Roanoker. Billy McBride III completed membership into the PGA of America in 2000 and has been with Westlake since 2004. McBride notes that Westlake has been known “for the views we have. And a lot of folks enjoy playing our course because even though we’re at the lake we have a lot of hills and undulations that make it almost like a mountain course.” Their greens, he believes, are usually “in the best shape of any,” on the lake. “We have a good superintendent who knows the grasses.” After hitting 18 holes, Westlake’s restored clubhouse, serves good solid breakfasts and lunches daily.
If you want to join Westlake Country Club, greens fees are waived and cart rental rates reduced. Plus, members gain access to the tennis courts, pool, and driving range; they can also host private functions. Members are eligible to participate in Member Tournaments. Westlake’s monthly social functions provide the opportunity for talking eagles, bogeys, and mulligans.
Another membership-only community at Smith Mountain Lake is The Waterfront. This development enjoys eight and a half miles of shoreline as well an 18-hole, PGA Championship Golf Course designed by George Dillon. Pro Shop Assistant Josh Herman notes that people enjoy their golf course because “it’s not only challenging to experienced golfers but the whole spectrum of golfing abilities.” Their club house restaurant features a variety of traditions such as free meals for children on Tuesdays, Sunday brunch, and prime rib night. They, too, have healthy entrees for those who want to enjoy a healthy meal out: fennel and watercress insalata and lower-fat bison meatloaf are two such entrees.
Waterfront community members can access a 22,000 square foot clubhouse, where the pro shop and restaurant are located, as well as a fitness center. Tennis courts, a pool, and a driving range round out their other amenities.
Mariners Landing, which promotes itself as a “Resort Community and Conference Center,” offers opportunities for home ownership, as well as rentals for those vacationers who don’t want to commit to a second home. Visitors and residents have told Holly Sweet, Director of Marketing and Events, that what they like most is “the combination of our amenities and events, the restaurant, the spa and fitness center, the gorgeous lake and mountain views, and our staff's attention to customer service.”
Some of their amenities include an outdoor pool, a beach area, a fitness room, a gazebo, and a game room. Their business center is also a draw; weddings, conferences, and banquets may be held there. The Pointe at Mariners Landing is home to Pure Spa, where guests enjoy services including weight loss therapies, facials, massages, hand and foot treatments, body scrubs, and detox treatments.
When you’re hungry, head to the main restaurant, “Benjamin’s.” It’s open year-round. Benjamin McGehee, Director of Food and Beverage, recommends their “wide variety of salads, fresh fish selections, and healthy daily specials” for health-conscious diners. If you’d like to indulge, Benjamin’s also features “hand-cut Angus beef and fresh seafood. Specialties include Crab Cakes, Ahi Tuna Fish Tacos, and house-made Desserts by Pastry Chef Mama Sue,” says McGehee.
Sweet notes that Mariners Landing is set apart by “the variety of special events and overnight packages we offer, in addition to our ability to host corporate and social groups.” If you’d like to buy in, owner Matt White notes that “Mariners Landing now offers Vacation Intervals starting at $19,900 per deeded share, in addition to a vacation exchange program.”
Maximize your vacation time by minimizing your travel – enjoy Smith Mountain Lake.
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