I say so often that someplace is “about an hour away” from Henry County that someone is bound to eventually get suspicious. It’s true though. Within an hour from here in pretty much any direction, there is something really cool to see or do. Smith Mountain Lake, and specifically Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, is one of these cool destinations.
Incidentally, this is also the lake where Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss filmed the 1991 comedy, “What About Bob?”.
Bridgewater Plaza is very touristy, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a multi-level boardwalk mall on the banks of Smith Mountain lake. It has several restaurants, arcades, gift shops, a miniature golf course designed like an old west village over the water, and a marina.
Moosie’s is one of our favorite restaurants here. It is an upbeat, fun, family restaurant with seating in the rear that looks out over the plaza at the lake.
There is also Mango’s Bar and Grill, an open air restaurant and concert venue just on the other side of Moosie’s.
They have a great “U” shaped bar where you can pull up a stool and just enjoy the day with a local brew. Dam Lager is one of the flagship offerings from Sunken City Brewery, located just under four miles away from Bridgewater Plaza.
There are a lot of activities for kids. There is a midway-style arcade outdoors on the lowest level and Harbor Town Miniature Golf is a unique course built to look like an Old West village set atop the canopy of the marina’s boat slips.
I don’t know why but I have never seen the miniature golf course especially busy.
Maybe it’s because of the fish.
Bridgewater Marina is a fully functioning marina but is also cram-packed full of souvenir shirts, hats, candy, and trinkets of all sorts. They also sell popcorn to feed to the fish who gather by the boardwalk just outside.
When I say that the fish gather, I mean it. They pack the water here, waiting for popcorn.
Add a little popcorn and the fish go into a frenzy.
This may not be the most ecologically sound fun but, honestly, the fish really seem to like it.
Was the moose smiling this much when we started?
If you have some time left over either before or after your trip to Bridgewater Plaza (and are a craft beer fan), it is a short trip to Sunken City Brewery. Their name is an homage to the city of Monroe which was founded in 1819 by Abnor Anthony along the Staunton River and submerged when when Smith Mountain Lake was created in 1963. While they are best known for their Dam Lager and Red Clay IPA, they do make some darker seasonal beers. Be sure to check their hours. They are only open Thursday through Sunday and they open late(ish) in the afternoon on the weekdays. There is a large glass panel behind the bar that lets you peek into the actual brewery.
If you have trouble getting directions to the address that Sunken City uses on their website, 40 Brewery Drive, Hardy, VA, use the address for Kroger’s right across the street, 80 Westlake Road, Hardy, VA. Sunken City should be about a six minute trip from Bridgewater Plaza, south down VA-122.
For more information about any of this, try these links:
Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce
Only In Your State: The Ghost Town of Monroe Could Hiding Under Water
And here’s a video where Adam Woo tracks down the different locations of the film “What About Bob?”: