I just wanted to thank you for all your help with Smith Mountain Lake. We just loved the lake and had a great vacation. In the end, we found Mariners to be just so-so . . . nice because the condo in which we stayed was new and clean, but really lacking in terms of service and design (example, the bedrooms in the condos had no windows so you felt like you were sleeping in a cave and the dishwasher was placed directly under the sink, which made washing and loading dishes rather complicated). The dishes in the condo were also too big for the d/w. You could never get the front desk to pick up their phone, and they opened very late and closed very early. Housekeeping couldn't come up with extra pillows or a kitchen garbage can larger than the smallest bathroom-sized one that was in there.
So, though I might not stay there again because all of these seemingly minor quirks added up to a larger amount of annoyance after a while, we did just love that end of the lake for its large smooth coves and general quiet. The boating and skiing was great.
Thanks for recommending Mexico Viejo too. We had a great dinner there, preceeded by yummy margaritas, with a beautiful lake view. I had trouble believing that there would be anything authentically latino in rural Virginia, but was happily surprised.
We'll definately come back to the lake, but likely not to Mariners, though not in the end because of its location. We would probably rent a private house since the resort amenities didn't really add up to much for us in the end anyway.
Again, thank you for your helpful and enthusiastic responses to my many questions!