Smith Mountain Lake Mystery Writer

Contemplations from a quiet cove on Smith Mountain Lake.

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Location: United States

I'm a Southern gal who loves life, my husband and our family (which, to date, includes 13 grandchildren). I enjoy being with friends and family. But I also like being alone and thinking up plots for future books. I've published two novels, both mysteries, and I'm working on my third. For more about my books, visit me at If you ever hear me say, "I'm bored," please get me to the ER immediately! Paddling my kayak and snapping pictures of the critters I see relaxes me. Beach music has the opposite effect--when I hear those old "doo-wops" I want to dance.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014


Camp. Greenco. Garrison Point. To me, they're all the same, just with a different name and time, but still my favorite spot in the whole wide world.

Greenville Tobacco Company, the company my dad worked for, owned this secluded little lodge (or camp) on the point where Durham's Creek empties into the Pamlico River. The company entertained tobacco buyers from the U.S., Japan, Rhodesia, and other countries, taught these clients how to fish for bass and how to appreciate good Southern cooking. In the summer, employees of the tobacco company could bring their families to Camp for a week. I think our family started enjoying Camp in the late 1940s when I was a child. I went every year except the year Ron and I married. Until a week ago, my last time there was in 1978 or '79. This year marks the 5th generation of my family enjoying the charm and beauty and magic of Camp. Click on the pictures to enlarge.

 Sons Bill (left) and Ronny (middle) with my dad and a 
string of freshly caught bass in 1972 or '73.

Son Bill (left) and his family last week at Camp. Note 
the osprey and nest on top of the old boat house.

 Son Ronny and his family last week at Camp.

I can't begin to describe my emotions or the memories running rampant through my head as we turned off Rt. 306 onto the road we would follow to reach Camp. In the early days, many of these back roads were dirt. Trees, some with Spanish moss, provided an overhead canopy. The first time my boy friend Ron (who will have been my husband for 53 years next week) came, he got lost, thought he'd never find his way out of the maize of dirt roads, but eventually arrived at Camp at 1:00 a.m.

My daughter Christine, and Blue, our Blue-tick Coonhound,
at Camp. Chris is now married and has nine living children.
In the early '70s, Texas Gulf, a phosphate mining company, bought thousands of acres of farmland from folks living in Beaufort County, North Carolina, which cut off Camp from the previous roads. After the buy out, we had to drive through Texas Gulf, now owned the by the much larger Potash Corporation.

Last week we drove through a small portion of the 
Potash Corporation to reach Camp.

The last road leading to Camp.

Tears trickled down my cheeks as I caught my first 
glimpse of Camp. This road, which once wound through 
a huge cornfield, is now surrounded by forests.

We made it! What was a screened porch leading to the 
kitchen is now enclosed. What other surprises awaited me?

A view of the creek side of the house. Can you 
imagine how excited I was?

I've rocked many a mile on this porch that overlooks Durham's Creek. 
The original one-story building housed two bedrooms with lots of beds, a
dining room, kitchen, and two rustic bathrooms. The two-story 
addition, with three bedrooms and a bath, came in the 1970s.

 Our family brought four kayaks, a canoe, and a rowboat.

 This building, the former servants' quarters, was the 
only part of  Camp that was air conditioned. Now it 
serves as a guest house with two twin beds, 
a dorm-sized refrigerator, and bathroom.

Camp, which we started calling Greenco for Greenville Tobacco Company, was sold in 1989 or '90. During the years my family enjoyed Greenco, a large generator powered by several batteries provided the electricity. Now it has regular electricity, air conditioning throughout the house, and internet service. The new owners also remodeled the interior of the original house. 

Camp now has other owners, folks whose roots go back to Butt's Plantation on the Pamilico River. Amazingly, my grandmother, who was born in 1871, played croquet on the lawn at Butt's Plantation. She traveled there by horseback or horse-drawn buggy. My first Labrador Retriever, King, came from Durham's Creek. King saved my life when I was a teenager. The "King" in my novels is fashioned after the real King.

I will blog more about Camp, i.e. Greenco or Garrison Point. After all, I haven't shown you the ospreys, or the Pamlico River side of the point, or the incredible sunsets, or reflections, or the crabbers, or my family having a good time. Can you tell I love this place?

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