Blue Ridge Highlands Driving Tour


    A Tour of Music, Crafts and Mountain Memories

    Bristol Motor Speedway


    First stop: Bristol, where you'll find stories of epic proportions - many that are still being written today. Such as a recording session that spawned a musical genre and an old-fashioned racetrack that grew into the world famous Bristol Motor Speedway, NASCAR's most beloved venue. They're just two of the reasons that Bristol is "layin' down tracks and livin' up to legends!"

    Visit the restored Birthplace of Tennessee Ernie Ford on the Tennessee side of Bristol as well as the Paramount Theatre right there on State Street. Bristol's State Street features country music murals and monuments and features live music throughout the summer and fall, such as the annual Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion in September.

    Located near State Street is the Solar Hill Historic District, the first Bristol neighborhood to be listed as a Virginia Landmark and registered in National Historic Places. Read about how it got its name!


    Travel northeast from Bristol to Abingdon and visit the the Morgan McClure Motorsports Museum on Interstate 81. For NASCAR fans, this is a must!

    Drive into Historic Abingdon and see a performance at the Barter Theatre, the State Theatre of Virginia, which has been entertaining audiences since the Great Depression, when folks would "barter" something in exchange for admission.

    Spend some time at The Arts Depot, where gallery exhibits highlight regional culture.


    Go northeast from Abingdon on Highway 107 to Saltville, "Salt Capital of the Confederacy," and stop by the Museum of the Middle Appalachians, with Ice Age exhibits, including a Wooly Mammoth skull, as well as Civil War and Woodland Indian exhibits. Head back to I-81 to Marion.


    Hungry Mother State Park


    Further north on I-81 is the town of Marion, where you can take in a performance at The Lincoln Theatre, a Mayan Revival architecture movie palace built in the '20s and recently restored to its original glory. "The Song of the Mountains" - a live bluegrass and old-time General Francis Marion Hotel.

    Other attractions in Marion include Hungry Mother State Park and the nationally renowned Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.


    Going north on I-81 is Wytheville, where you can see a play at the Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre or see a renovated old movie palace on Main Street - the Historic Millwald Theatre - Virginia's oldest motion picture theatre in continuous operation!


    North of Wytheville in Bastian, investigate the re-created village and crafts of the Eastern Woodland Native Americans at Wolf Creek Indian Village and Museum.


    Visit Galax, home of the world-famous Galex Old Fiddler's Convention! Then check out the Rex Theatre and be part of the live radio broadcasts of bluegrass and folk music!

    From late spring to early fall, visit the Blue Ridge Music Center at Milepost 213 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Enjoy an outdoor concert every Saturday night.


    Chateau Morrisette

    Meadows of Dan and Critz

    East of Galax in Meadows of Dan, enjoy the outdoor concerts held once a month at Chateau Morrisette Winery, which overlooks the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    Southeast of Meadows of Dan is Critz, where the R. J. Reynolds Homestead is located. This 19th-century homestead is open from May to October for tours and is a center for Southwestern Virginian arts, crafts and music.

    Ferrum, Floyd and Pulaski

    Northeast of Meadows of Dan is Ferrum, home of Ferrum College and site of the Blue Ridge Institute and Farm Museum.

    Northwest of Meadows of Dan is Floyd, home of the Floyd Country Store and stompin' grounds of the Friday Night Jamboree and Sunday Afternooon Jam - both mini fiddler's conventions every weekend!

    Newbern and Blacksburg

    North of Floyd to Newbern, explore the Wilderness Road Regional Museum with its library, 19th-century buildings and buggy shed.

    Drive north from Newbern to Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech and Smithfield Plantation House, the 18th-century frontier home of Colonel William Preston.

Last Updated: 4/11/2013 11:54 AM
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