Smith Mountain Lake
A Virginia Sampler: Exploring Blue Ridge Mountain Historical Sites
Learn the story of the Blue Ridge Mountains as you visit Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, walk the Appalachian Trail, discover historic sites and enjoy unique regional entertainment.
Rating (4.86)
Program No. 13052RJ
6 days
Starts at
Special Offer
Getting There
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At a Glance

Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains and Smith Mountain Lake are renowned for their beauty, history and distinctive culture. Join academic experts to discover the compelling stories behind Thomas Jefferson and Booker T. Washington, immerse yourself in Appalachia and discover the inside story behind a famous local feud. Along the way experience the compelling story of D-Day, explore the Virginia Museum of Transportation, take a brief hike the Appalachian Trail and enjoy a boat trip on beautiful Smith Mountain Lake (weather pending). Cap your adventure with a night of unique regional entertainment.
Activity Level
Varies by date
Varies by date. Short hike on the Appalachian Trail featuring rocky and uneven terrain. 6/10 of a mile on EASY dates and 2 miles on MODERATE dates.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Take a short hike (distance varies by date) on the Appalachian Trail and visit the Virginia Museum of Transportation, home to a restored Class J 611 steam engine.
  • “Meet” Thomas Jefferson and then explore his personal retreat, Poplar Forest, an exploration of Thomas Jefferson's personal retreat.
  • Experience the National D-Day Memorial in tiny Bedford, VA and thrill to the story of the town’s noble sacrifice of 21 young men who stormed the beaches on June 6, 1944.
Featured Expert
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Bill Barker
Bill Barker has portrayed Thomas Jefferson in a variety of venues since his first appearance at Independence Hall in Philadelphia in 1984. He has continued to appear as Jefferson for Colonial Williamsburg as well as the White House, Versailles, ABC, CBS, PBS, CNN and stage productions of the musical, 1776. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Bill received a B.A. in history from Villanova University and attended the University of Pennsylvania. He has been portraying Jefferson for Road Scholar programs for over a decade.
Tim Sims
Bill Barker
April Cheek-Messier
Betsy Haynes
Suggested Reading List
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