Carvins Cove has long been one of the Roanoke Valley's hidden gems.

It's a primary source of drinking water, and a popular destination for outdoor recreation. This summer, more people are taking advantage of the opportunity.

With postcard perfect mountains in the distance, and wildlife up close, Carvins Cove represents a stunning escape, just minutes from busy city streets.

And even on a Monday morning, people were taking it all in.

"We're two and a half miles from the hustle and bustle of Williamson Road and the Roanoke area," said water authority spokesperson Sarah Baumgardner, "but once you get out here its peaceful and relaxing and that's one of the benefits of it."

This summer, the Western Virginia Water Authority has added to its fleet of kayaks. And the reservoir is averaging almost as many rentals in one month as it saw all of last year.

The water authority hopes that people who appreciate the natural resource won't take their supply of drinking water for granted.

"Most people have no idea where their drinking water comes from. It just magically appears at the faucet," Baumgardner said. "And we really do enjoy the opportunity to educate people that it starts in this beautiful watershed that we all play a role in protecting. "