Don’t let fall pass you by. Take a break and visit the Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Have a fun-filled, affordable, three-day fall metro-mountain getaway.
Begin downtown at the historic Roanoke Farmers Market and check out the fall arts and crafts or venture to Center in the Square for an afternoon of museum hopping: The Science Museum of Western Virginia, Harrison Museum of African American Culture, Roanoke Pinball Museum, and Don & Barbara Smith Children’s Museum: Kids Square, then make a stop on the Rooftop for breathtaking views of the city. Plan to catch a live performance at Mill Mountain Theatre, also inside Center in the Square, that the whole family will enjoy.
At some point, lunch is in order. The Roanoke Market Building is home to a variety of restaurants and you're sure to find something you'll love. It just so happens that the Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge Visitors Center offers great information for touring AND you can take in even more history right there, too, at the O. Winston Link Museum and History Museum of Western Virginia, which share the building with the visitors center.
The Taubman Museum of Art has a wonderful Interactive gallery along with an Art Ventures program for kids of all ages.
Stroll down Market Street over to Church Avenue and have dinner at a local favorite - Macado’s, where you can choose from a variety of overstuffed sandwiches with fun names like Betty Boop and Custer's Last Stand.
Gear up, grab a camera and snacks, fill up your tank and head out on the Blue Ridge Parkway - “America’s Favorite Drive”.
You'll love the vibrant colors of the fall foliage, as well as the peace and quiet at milepost 176.1. It's where you'll find Mabry Mill, a historic water-powered grist mill/sawmill built in 1910 and is easily the most photographed site on the Parkway.
Enjoy a self-guided tour and lunch at the Mabry Mill Restaurant, where you can try a plate of cornmeal cakes with Southern barbecue, topped off with apple dumplings. Stop in their gift shop for handmade gifts and regional crafts before continuing on.
Adventure seekers can hike up to the summit of Sharp Top, milepost 83.1-85.9, for aerial views of the fall foliage that blankets the region and the beautiful Peaks of Otter Lodge below.
Travel north to Mill Mountain Zoo, home to 35 species and the miniature Zoo Choo. Walk over to the Mill Mountain Discovery Center where you'll meet a Naturalist with hands-on exhibits.
Trek to the Roanoke Star - a 100-foot tall lighted beacon - and take in the fall views of the Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
Take 581/220 north for a stop at the Roanoker Restaurant. There's a piece of homemade history in every bite. Try the grilled pork tenderloin with fried apples. For dessert, the butterscotch cream pie. Now that your day is complete, get back to your room and off your feet. Still one day to go!
Head to downtown Salem for a hometown atmosphere. The local shops yield delightful hidden treasures! A stroll down Main Street in Salem will be in order to savor the fall flavors of the Farmers Market and admire the foliage of the mountains as a colorful backdrop.
Grab a bowl of homemade chicken chili and a Salem salad at Mac and Bob's, and don’t miss Mitchell's Mud Pie.
Jump back onto Main Street and head down 460 to the Dixie Caverns and Pottery for a walk and souvenirs before making your way back home.