Sunday, July 01, 2012
You can take it with you!
From traditional T-shirts to locally produced wine, Smith Mountain Lake retailers offer a variety of keepsakes to fit any style and budget.
What will be this summer’s top vacationer takeaways? We posed the question to proprietors and staff members at some of the lake’s most popular shopping destinations. And, whether your souvenir will be a quirky trinket, a serious gift, something whimsical, a consumable or memento with lasting meaning, you’ll likely find an item to consider among those on the following pages.
For additional information on shopping options at Smith Mountain Lake, pick up a copy of Laker Out & About. The free publication has been updated for 2012 and is available in racks around the region and at the SML Visitor Center at Bridgewater Plaza. In addition to details on retailers in a variety of categories, Out & About also includes coupons and information on dining and recreation opportunities around the lake.
1. Diamond Hill General Store & Garden Center
Located in Goodview, Diamond Hill offers books by local authors, the area’s largest selection of locally produced wines ($8.99-$29.99), locally made jams and honeys as well as peanuts prepared and packed at nearby Bethlehem United Methodist Church.
2. The Little Gallery
Specializing in fine art by area artists and craftspeople, items at The Little Gallery at Bridgewater Plaza range from paintings of lake scenes to jewelry and pottery. One-of-a-kind handmade mugs with SML logos (pictured) begin at $20 while artist-crafted earrings in a variety of materials start at $12.
3. Haywood’s Jewelers, Westlake
Co-owner Joanna Hudzik said customers who visit her store at Westlake Towne Center are drawn to engravable SML-themed charms (pictured), available in gold or silver starting at $50, and Pandora-brand charms ($25 and up).
4. The Lake Outlet
Reopened for the season, The Lake Outlet on Scruggs Road is loaded with name-brand summer wear. Most popular, according to owner Bob Stone, are SML-logoed T-shirts, full-zip hoodies (pictured) and sweatshirts that range from $5 to $12.
5. Bridgewater Sportswear
Flip-flops ($3.99-$75), T-shirts and hats ($9.99 - $24.99), and swimwear in a wide range of prices will be the most frequent tourist takeaways, said store owner Gary Ellis.
“It’s the fudge,” said store attendant Lesley Kocsis. “People come back every year to enjoy some and take samples home to friends.” Available in a variety of flavors, the homemade treat is $11.99 per pound and can be cut in small portions.
Proprietor James Roney pointed to jars of flameless candles as the store’s most popular items. With 40 scent varieties ranging from the best-selling eucalyptus (for sinus relief) to citronella, they cost $10 each or $100 for your choice of 12. Decorative candle stands are available, too. Large-format photos and postcards of SML scenes are also sold at the store, which is located at Bridgewater Plaza.
8. The Lakehouse Beanery/ASAP
This eatery and souvenir shop offers custom screen printing of T-shirts and many other items. Most popular, according to owner Kim White, are the “Franklin County: Moonshine Capital of the World” designs, starting at $18.99. Personalized items – such as infant onesies (pictured) – can also be made in your choice of colors for $11.95.
9. The General Store
SML bottle coozies with built-in openers ($5.99) are extremely popular. “We’ll sell hundreds,” said Rita Grisetti, co-owner of the store on Scruggs Road. “We also sell a lot of [engravable] metal and wood picture frames [pictured] from $7.99 to $11.99. Ideal for displaying activity and ‘group-grin’ photos, they make awesome mementos for family reunions and girls’ weekend gatherings.”
10. Gabriel’s Outlet and Gift
The store, located on Booker T. Washington Hwy., features a line of SML T-shirts starting at $5, polo shirts for $12 (pictured) as well as designer-label summer wear at discount prices.
11. SML Gallery
Owner Rick Ries offers a variety of mediums at his gallery at Westlake Corner (near Food Lion), including matted copies of photos he’s shot of scenes around the lake starting at $15.99. The photo pictured is $225.
12.Affordable Home Outlet and Antique Mall at Mayberry
Owner Michelle Aznavorian said visitors hit Affordable Home Outlet for nautical-themed paintings, metal sculptures and prints, which start at $25. At the Antique Mall at Mayberry, Adirondack-style chairs made of old water skis and other consignment pieces from local artists and craftsmen are the sought-after items. Prices vary as these tend to be one-of-a-kind treasures. The chair pictured is $499. Both stores are located at Downtown Moneta.
13. Laker Beverage and Tobacco
Co-owner Mike Gray said growlers charged with SML’s signature beer, Dam Lager, are popular with visitors. One-liter growlers are $15 with refills costing $4. The two-liter version (pictured) is $30 with $8 refills. Visitors can also pick up other craft beers, wine, SML wine glasses and gourmet cheeses at the store, located on Booker T. Washington Hwy., just north of Westlake Corner.
14. Emerson Creek Pottery
Store manager Kathy Cocke said visitors are drawn to SML mugs, crafted of ceramic pottery and featuring a hand-painted image of Smith Mountain, in either 10-ounce size (pictured, $15.50) or 16-ounce size ($16). The pattern is one of many offered by the Bedford County store.
15. Bridgewater Marina
Managing partner Roy Enslow expects to sell “tons” of a new T-shirt design featuring an SML logo on the front and a colorful map of the lake spread across the back. “In white or gray, and sized from small to 2XL, at just $12.95, they’re priced for impulse sale,” Enslow said. The shirts also are available in children’s sizes at the Bridgewater Plaza store.
16. The Cottage Gate
Customers love the colorful line of Lake Girl-brand clothing – hats, T-shirts and hoodies – starting at $20. “And we expect our new line of ‘saying’ signs...to be very popular,” said Twila Tolley, who co-owns the store at Westlake Towne Center. The sign pictured is $28.