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Lakefront Log Home Project: Log Home Diary Entry #3, We Have Land!

Knowing the type of land on which you plan to build is one thing. Actually finding that perfect plot can be another.
by George and Marlyn Curnow
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We Have Land!

Log Home Diary Entry # 3

Southwestern Virginia log home project | Open SpaceAs mentioned in the last entry, we had the plan before the land. So, now we needed land. This was easy and hard. It was easy because we knew what we wanted and where we wanted it to be. It was hard because our guess at the cost of land was, well, a bit shy of reality.

We knew we wanted a lakefront log home. At the time, we were living on Lake Norman in North Carolina — our third lakefront home. In all, we have lived 17 years on the water. We wanted retirement living to be the same. The magic of the water has us thoroughly seduced.

The “where should we buy” decision was not really difficult. Our two adult offspring both lived in Virginia with their spouses. We were cautious not to delude ourselves into following our adult children in our retirement, only to have them move across the country, so we wanted to be closer to them both but be content where we are if they should move. In reality, having a lakefront home makes it much easier to get visits from family, as it’s a bit like going on vacation for them. (A beautiful lake has that power.)

Virginia isn’t a bad choice at all; in fact, it has much to offer. The question was which lake. We enjoy bigger lakes with many coves, as this makes exploring the shoreline fun. Also, bigger lakes tend to have more amenities: parks, trails, restaurants, marinas, etc. We saw our choices in Virginia as being Lake Anna or Smith Mountain Lake. Lake Anna was closer to our offspring, but Smith Mountain Lake (SML) was closer to our retirement image. We both were born in the mountains of Pennsylvania. We vacationed at Lake George in the spectacular Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. SML stirred the childhood and adult memories for us both. And, so, SML was our focus.

We visited the lake several times, particularly as we visited with our children. We got their input on the lakes. We rented a pontoon boat and saw much of the 40-mile length and some of the 500-plus miles of SML shoreline. We surfed the web for real-estate agents and land.

In about 2005, we made contact with a marvelous real-estate agent who knows SML in great detail. We told him what we wanted: a parcel of land with some hardwood trees, an open water view, not too far from basic shopping and a maximum price we wanted to pay. He found every piece of available land — about 12 in all — that met our criteria. Most were in coves with open water views if you stretched your neck real far. We learned quickly that, to get the view we want, we would need to up the ante by about 50 percent. We did, and we now have 2.5 acres of hardwoods with just less than 300 feet of shoreline on the outside edge of a nice cove with an open water view and a view of Smith Mountain. Way to go, Wayne!

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