MONETA, Va. – Smith Mountain Lake saw a lot of traffic on Labor Day. The weather was perfect for boating, playing a game of mini-golf or even enjoying a meal outside. The holiday brought in a good deal of foot traffic for businesses on the lakefront, which gave it a very different look than last year.
Mango’s, a popular restaurant at the lake, said they started seeing customers flow in before noon. Crystal Levan, a server at the restaurant, said last year was hit or miss on most days. Some days people wanted to be out and about, but not nearly as much as this year.
“It has been so much better this year. People are ready to get out and they have just been wanting to be here as much as possible. You can tell the boats have been all over the lake. They come in off the boats. We have a line all the way up the stairs and people are paying to get in but can’t even sit down,” said Levan.
Levan said having people coming back in to eat has brought the energy up at the restaurant and this makes each day more enjoyable.
Even though some businesses said they saw a boom in business this year, others, like Bridgewater Marina, said last summer was the busiest ever. The pandemic took a hit on a lot of businesses but at Smith Mountain Lake, boating was not one of them.
“The fact that we are in a pandemic drives people to us because going out on the water is something safe you can do with a family. You’re social distanced. I think a lot of people are coming to us,” said Grayson Jenkins, the sales manager at Bridgewater Marina.
The marina booked out their boat rentals for the entire holiday weekend and they hope the word continues to spread about Smith Mountain Lake. The Marina rents boats out all year long and the only days they are closed are on major holidays. This includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.