Memorial Day rain impacts Smith Mountain Lake businesses

Bridgewater Marina says boat rentals are down

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va. – Usually on Memorial Day, a ton of boats are out on the lake, but employees at the Bridgewater Marina say they’ve only rented ten or fifteen the last couple of days.

Colder temperatures didn’t stop Emma Johnson and her family from getting out on the water this weekend.

“It felt warmer than the air, but maybe I was already frozen,” Johnson said.

Emma’s mom Kim says they came from out of state for vacation but weren’t expecting it to feel more like fall.

“It’s not that warm out today, but it’s okay. It’s our last day. We’re headed home, and we wanted to come out for a boat ride and enjoy it,” Kim said.

According to Bridgewater Marina manager Brandon Crawley, the Johnsons were some of the only people out on the water Monday.

“A normal Memorial Day we’re sending anywhere from 90 to 120 vessels out,” Crawley said.

The Marina only sent a few boats out Monday but says people are welcome even in the rain.

“When it comes to thunder and lightning, we tell people you want to get off the lake as fast as possible, but if people want to go out, we’ll send them out. As long as they’re safe and have a great, good time we’ll do it,” Crawley said.

Down the road, Mango’s Bar and Grill manager Jason Hodnett says the rain didn’t scare people off.

“They didn’t come in by boat, they came in by car, but they still came in pretty steadily all day,” Hodnett said.

Hodnett says without much boating people are encouraged to eat and shop more.

“There’s been a lot more walking traffic, people that came in, had lunch, let their kids run around, go to the arcade and probably stuck around a little bit longer than if they were on a boat and ready to go back out there,” Hodnett said.

Businesses told 10 News while this isn’t as big of a weekend as they’d hoped, they’ll make up for it later in the summer.

About the Author:

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.