To get to one of the most noteworthy homes of late on Smith Mountain Lake, you head east on Virginia 40 from Rocky Mount. Pass the one-horse communities of Redwood and Glade Hill. Soon you’ll come to Penhook and the local landmark known as Carl’s Place, a friendly diner and gas station.
Just past Carl’s, follow some back roads for 3 to 4 miles to the lushly landscaped golf community called Water’s Edge. A little ways off a cul de sac at the end of Upland Shores Drive, you’ll find No. 330, a house owned by Jonnie and Celeste Williams.
Built in 1993, the cedar and stone-sided mansion stands on two waterfront acres, behind some shade-providing trees on a point that juts out into the lake’s Blackwater River side. There’s a stone-paver driveway with a turning circle, six parking spaces and an attached, two-car garage. It’s currently listed for sale at $3.9 million. (More pix are here).
There’s another waterfront home in Water’s Edge which Jonnie Williams owns with his son, Jonnie Jr. It’s at 125 Sconset Drive, and is smaller and is also for sale — for $649,000. )More pix are here.)
Neither home is particularly noteworthy at Smith Mountain Lake, where scores of similar mansions dot 500-some miles of shoreline. Instead, the recent prominence comes from the friends of Williams — a car dealer turned tobacco magnate — who he’s gifted with lake vacations in recent years.
One is Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for governor, who’s vacationed three times at Williams’ expense. Twice, in 2011 and 2012, Williams gave the Cuccinelli a week in the summer (value of each: $3,000), according to the attorney general’s recently amended financial disclosures.
Once, in 2010, Williams provided a place to Cuccinelli for a four-day Thanksgiving retreat (value: $1,500). For that, Williams also provided a catered dinner.
Another is Gov. Bob McDonnell. In 2011, according to the governor’s financial disclosure, Williams gave McDonnell $2,268 worth of lodging and entertainment at Smith Mountain Lake. Williams has lavished other gifts upon the governor as well.
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