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|Khaya Caine • 4/04/18|
The Short Version: Visitors to Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains don’t have to worry about running out of fun things to do. From galleries and festivals to sports and shopping, there’s always a new experience waiting to be explored. Roanoke, in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, was recently named one of the best affordable places to live and one of the top destinations in the United States to visit. Whether you’re looking for the perfect location to say I do, enjoy a romantic excursion, or just have an unforgettable date, Virginia’s Blue Ridge mountains are sure to provide you with the perfect mix of adventure, culture, and serenity.
With a population of over 300,000 people, Virginia’s Blue Ridge (VBR) is a vibrant destination with world-class amenities that attract couples, singles, and families.
Caitlin H. and her partner chose Roanoke’s Explore Park as the venue for their wedding. They found the location to be a perfect match for their nuptial vision — and their budget.
In her online review, Caitlin wrote, “I cannot say enough great things about Explore Park. If you are looking for an affordable place that lets you do what you want (within reason obviously,) then please go check them out.”
According to Taylor Spellman, Public Relations Manager at Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, stories like Caitlin’s come as no surprise because VBR visitors seem to embrace the atmosphere as soon as they arrive.
“The region is very welcoming, and it has a charming Southern hospitality. People who have never been here are surprised by that metro mountain feel of outdoor adventures, beautiful scenery, and activities that can easily be tied to an experience. It’s easy to navigate and find the best of both worlds,” she said.
Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge helps create a stress-free experience for visitors and even those who frequent VBR. In addition to promoting the region, Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge updates its blog frequently to provide interested visitors with ideas on fun ways to spend an upcoming weekend — or plan the perfect trip later in the year.
“We’re the regional destination marketing organization, and we promote the whole Roanoke Valley, essentially, within an hour radius of the downtown Roanoke area. We’ve branded that region as Virginia’s Blue Ridge,” Taylor said. “We have about 14 different breweries, 14 different wineries, and we span across the cities of Roanoke and Salem, and the counties of Roanoke, Franklin, and Botetourt.”
On its website, visitors can find detailed VBR itineraries, insider tips, unique wedding venues, lodging ideas, special offers, and much more.
The people of Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge are proud that their home is immersed in history and tradition. Visitors will find that locals embrace the region’s history and love sharing it with newcomers.
According to Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, Roanoke Valley has been shaped by important figures and events dating back to the Native Americans who settled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. That rich history is alive and well in the area’s fascinating museums and major historical sites.
For those interested in learning more about the railroad’s impact on the development of the region, the Virginia Museum of Transportation has extensive collections, including internationally known exhibits of the most modern steam locomotives ever built.
Visitors to the Booker T. Washington National Monument and Harrison Museum of African American Culture have an opportunity to explore the many contributions African-Americans have made to the region. One reviewer described the Booker T. Washington National Monument as a “historical gem in rural Virginia.”
“For the more hands-on types, it’s neat to see the buildings where Booker T. Washington was born and worked, and what’s really neat is that the park is a working farm,” Celia Explorer shared in her review. “Great for families with kids who want to see sheep, horses, and hogs!”
VBR provides a detailed list of historical attractions in the area and even offers an itinerary for those planning to visit them.
There’s a reason visitors from around the globe flock to VBR year after year. Taylor believes it has a lot to do with the stunning beauty of Roanoke Valley — combined with a local culture that celebrates the importance of experiencing, and preserving, its natural resources.
VBR is known for having an abundance of memorable scenic attractions that celebrate the region’s authentic beauty. When people lay eyes on Cascade Falls — the 69-foot waterfall, framed by 200-foot cliff walls — they can’t help but appreciate the Cascades National Scenic Trail that brought them there.
Erica J. described Cascade Falls as a welcome reward for completing the trail. In her online review, she described her experience at Cascade Falls. “Prettiest hike in Virginia! One of the best times to see it is in the winter when the falls start to freeze.”
Visitors to VBR should also not miss a chance to experience the Natural Bridge. Located right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Natural Bridge stands tall as a National Historic Landmark and the gateway to the historic and beautiful Cedar Creek Trail.
The Natural Bridge Historic Hotel and Conference Center has a special romance package that includes overnight accommodations with wine and cheese upon arrival, a four-course dinner for two or a featured buffet in the Colonial Dining Room, and breakfast for two the next morning.
One visitor decided to take his wife to the Natural Bridge for Valentine’s Day and found the entire experience to be quite romantic.
“There is a great mixture of history and natural beauty here. The bridge itself is awe inspiring,” Justin wrote in his review. “In the summer, there is also a Monahan Indian village recreation along the trail. If you are going to the bridge take time to see some of the other attractions near the park, including a drive through safari, caverns, and a unique dinosaur park.”
VBR is known for exquisite dining, romantic atmospheres, and Southern hospitality. The region attracts foodies from every continent with a host of local restaurants that offer a variety of foods to satisfy every palate.
“Visitors can experience a robust local culinary scene paired with many craft beverages like beer, wine and moonshine throughout the region,” Taylor said.
The fare options just don’t seem to end. Artisan food shops in the area, such as chocolatepaper, provide visitors and locals with the chance to indulge in decadent treats and take gifts home. Treat your senses to a delicious dinner at one of VBR’s farm-to-table restaurants, such as Lucky, Alexander’s or Pomegranate.
“You can be out on the Blue Ridge Parkway, then come in, clean up, and go to a white tablecloth dinner,” Taylor said.
For those who have a passion for the outdoors, VBR has events for every season. Festivals take place in memorable venues that capture the energy of each performance. The Horse and Hound Wine Festival is held in July, and FloydFest is five days of heart-thumping music featuring popular vendors, delicious food, and great brews.
When it comes to sports, VBR doesn’t take a backseat. Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge highlights the region’s impact on the sports world. Between football at Virginia Tech, NCAA Championships in Salem, and golf tournaments that spark major interest, VBR is a destination for sports fans as well.
Couples planning a sweet escape to VBR have a wealth of idyllic places to stay. Imagine spending a peaceful weekend in a luxurious tree house located high above the Dan River. Primland Tree Houses delivers that type of unique mountain getaway.
For couples looking to illuminate their love at one of VBR’s most iconic landmarks, The Roanoke Star is a must-see stop during any visit to the region. Sitting above Mill Mountain and overlooking the surrounding valley, the star shines brightly for lovers every night. For 69 years, it has served as a welcome sign for visitors and locals alike.
After visiting the star, couples can take a short drive toward downtown Salem for an elegant dinner at Blue Apron Restaurant & Red Rooster Bar which boasts modern cocktails, cuisine, and excellent service. Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge also provides an in-depth list of romantic getaway ideas.
Taylor told us the holidays are an especially romantic time for visitors to the VBR. “In the winter, we have a lot of holiday events that would be great for a date — like ice skating in Elmwood Park and Dickens of A Christmas,” she said. “Our iconic Hotel Roanoke also puts on an annual event called Fashions for Evergreens — where it decorates around 30 to 40 evergreen trees. It’s really stunning and beautiful — that could be incredibly romantic.”
With the perfect mix of outdoor activities, dining, nightlife, arts, and exclusive events, it’s easy to see why Roanoke Valley is such a special place.