It is only the beginning of the seasonal heat and humidity here in the Shenandoah Valley, and between cold drinks, air conditioning, and shady porches, everyone is trying to beat the heat. There is a local spot only twenty or so minutes away from the Iris Inn where you can immerse yourself in nature and cool off with a refreshing swim—Sherando Lake.
Sherando Lake is “known locally as the jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains” (fs.usda.gov.) It’s separated into two different sections, the upper lake and the lower lake, the latter of which is the primary hangout area. The lower lake is a beautiful retreat, encircled by a sand beach and allowing for sunbathing, swimming, boating, fishing, and picnicking. (The upper lake is used for boating and fishing only. There’s no car access, so you’ll have to carry your equipment to the upper lake.)
For those who wish to fish (how’s that for a fun rhyme scheme?), there are small, secluded areas all around the lake where you can set-up your essentials, kick back, and relax in peace and quiet. The lake is stocked with trout, bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, and catfish, and more, so it’s an ideal place for fishermen (and fisherwomen too, of course).
For those interested in hiking, Sherando Lake offers that as well. The level of difficultly ranges from relatively straight, easy trails to moderately difficult inclines, so there’s a hike for everyone of every fitness level. (The Overlook Trail is especially beautiful. As expected by the name, it overlooks all of Sherando Lake and allows you to view the tops of the surrounding mountains.)
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ― Henry James