The search for your Smith Mountain Lake dream home typically only involves your family and your real estate agent. There is excitement, frustration, occasional anxiety and ultimately a feeling of deep satisfaction when it all comes together and you are in your new home. Now it’s time to broaden your circle of contacts and reach out into the community you’ve chosen. What do you do next??
Some people find it easy to fit in, no matter where they are. They’ve just never, ever met a stranger. Others, who might be more introverted, can find the adjustment to lake life a challenge. There are a number of reasons for this. You might be leaving the comfort of a large established network of friendship and support, and discovering that you have to completely rebuild that network at the lake. You might assume that the unique hobbies and interests you have, won’t be shared by others here. You might find the solitude of winter a challenge, as a portion of the lake population retreats to warmer climates. Some newcomers have reported that making new friends here is difficult because of travel, visiting guests and the daunting task of breaking into an established clique of people. Overcoming these challenges starts with having an awareness of the various resources available at Smith Mountain Lake, to help people make a comfortable and fun transition. Here are some tips.
Just Say Hello
…But do it in a mindful and deliberate way. Stop in at the Chamber of Commerce and introduce yourself. The Chamber is a treasure trove of resources for newcomers, including contact info for the Newcomers Club, a wonderfully, welcoming organization. When you go into a store or restaurant, let the proprietors know who you are and what your interests are. They will probably remember your name, next time you’re in! Ask your realtor to give you a list of vendors, contractors and other resources they trust. It’s the first thing we give our clients who purchase a lake home. Everyone here is the quintessential “big fish in a little pond.” Take advantage of the smallness and openness of the community, especially in the beginning!
Unlike large metropolitan areas that may have significant municipal resources, volunteer organizations around Smith Mountain Lake form a key partnership with local governments to provide fiscal and programmatic support to any number of local agencies. The CASA program in Franklin County (for example) provides home studies and counseling services to support juvenile and domestic relations court and the Department of Social Services. Good Neighbors and Lake Christian Ministries are two other organizations heavily advocating for families in need. On the cultural front, The Smith Mountain Arts Council (SMAC) is always seeking volunteers to help provide more cultural enrichment at the lake. If your hobbies include: art, photography, singing, dancing, playing music…. chances are there’s an affiliate group within SMAC that will welcome you with open arms. Again, the Chamber is a great clearing house for the various volunteer organizations around the lake.
There’s a Club For Everything
It’s very difficult to think of an interest for which a club or affinity group doesn’t already exist at or around the lake. There’s a club for women from New Jersey. There’s a club for women who like to jet ski. There’s an antique boat club. There are quilting and woodworking and game groups. I’m a songwriter. I joined a songwriter’s club!!! No matter what your hobbies are, ask around…someone will know someone who knows someone…and then you’re in!
Attend Area Events
Smith Mountain Lake’s community events are hugely popular, and offer the opportunity to meet a lot of new faces all in one place. The area’s signature event, the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival, spans the last weekend in September and offers residents and guests alike the chance to sample a host of Virginia wine. Other events include Charity Home Tour, chili cook-offs, beer festivals, and pirate weekends…just to name a few.
Talk to Your Real Estate Agent
During the home buying process, you and your real estate agent become very close. If anyone knows how to help you feel at home in your new surroundings, it’s the person who helped you find it in the first place. We want to be among your very first lake friends and are happy to make your transition here as easy as possible.
For help in finding your Smith Mountain Lake dream home, reach out to Mike and Kay DeGiorgi at Lake & Land Realty. We have all the experience necessary to connect you with the right property to suit your needs.