The Virginia Mountains Region is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts with lakes to boat, rivers to fish, and peaks to conquer, but that's not all.
Highland County is known as “Virginia’s Switzerland” thanks to its alpine climate; the highest mean elevation of any county east of the Mississippi River. Monterey hosts the Highland Maple Festival annually in March. The Library of Congress designated it a “Local Legacy” in 1999. Visit for a literal taste of the mountains and incredible views.
The Omni Homestead Resort is a gem of Bath County and a quintessential escape for those seeking authentic southern hospitality. Take advantage of nearby Jefferson Pools, a natural hot spring from which Thomas Jefferson sought healing in 1818. Absent of a single stop light, 89% of Bath County is comprised of natural forest and state park. Here, you’ll appreciate the great outdoors alongside world renowned chamber music at Garth Newell, an unexpected delight.
Virginia’s oldest covered bridge and the last remaining covered humpback bridge in the United States can be found in Alleghany County. Built in 1857, Humpback Bridge ushered traffic across Dunlap Creek until 1929. Falling Spring Creek is a tributary to Dunlap Creek, and along Route 220 is where you’ll find its namesake 80’ waterfall, Falling Spring. Pull over and enjoy what Thomas Jefferson described as a “remarkable cascade.”
Those seeking a stunning drive will find it in Craig County, another locale void of stop lights but abundant in natural resources. Agritourism is thriving; visit fisheries, tree farms, pumpkin patches, and pick-your-own blueberry patches for a feel of rural mountain life. You'll find small town charm in Paint Bank and New Castle, where the shopping is unique and history comes alive at the Old Brick Hotel.
The Upper James River Water Trail is your call to experience the outdoors of Botetourt County. Float and fish through scenic pastures before enjoying the wineries and history of the area. Shop nostalgic Buchanan, hailed as “one of the Best Top Ten Antiquing Towns in the US” by Fodor’s Travel, and check out the Swinging Bridge, too.
The “Star City of the South” is Roanoke, the largest city, shopping, and dining destination in the region. Accolades are accumulating for the outdoor offerings of the city, however, and Roanoke County itself, an entry point for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Within the area are points of interest like the Taubman Museum, Historic Roanoke City Market, O. Winston Link Museum, various craft breweries, and one of Virginia’s favorite hikes, McAfee Knob, as seen in the film “A Walk in the Woods” starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.
Bedford County shares the shores of shimmering Smith Mountain Lake with Franklin and Pittsylvania Counties. Push off from Mariners Landing Resort, a year ‘round reprieve for families and couples alike. Those seeking history will find the one-of-a-kind National D-Day Memorial to be a somber but beautiful place. Bedford suffered the highest per capita loss during the invasion at Normandy in WWII. To walk in the footsteps of a president, head to Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson’s personal retreat and a National Historic Landmark.
On the Franklin County side of Smith Mountain Lake are waterside destinations like Bridgewater Marina and Bernards Landing. Rent a boat and spend the day on the water or enjoy a nice meal with a great view. Franklin County is also the beginning of The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. Find a jam session in Rocky Mount and then head to Blue Ridge Institute & Farm Museum in Ferrum to learn about the many facets of folklife. Finally, one can never be in Franklin County, “the wettest county in America” and “Moonshine Capital of the World,” without sampling its legal ‘shine. Inquire about Twin Creeks Distillery’s Sweet Mash Corn, the first legal Franklin County moonshine since before Prohibition.