What are the five best things to do in Southern Virginia?

Caroline Patek

You can’t go to Southern Virginia without experiencing its outdoor scene — the area is teeming with activities to experience nature.  Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the five best things to do in Southern Virginia:

1. Taste some wine. Southern Virginia is known for its vineyards, which are more boutique than some of the large wineries you may have visited in California. Take a drive and visit either Château Morrisette or Villa Appalaccia Winery — both located on the Blue Ridge Parkway — to taste wine and  explore the vineyards.

2. Go on a hike. The scenic Blue Ridge Parkway has countless hiking trails with varying levels of difficulty. The 544-mile Appalachian Trail cuts through the Shenandoah National Park, and the southern end of the trail winds through George Washington and Jefferson national forests.

3. Check out Floyd, Virginia. The town of Floyd is known for its artisan culture and its wineries. Go to the 100-year-old Country Store to experience its selection of vintage and novelty candy, hand-dipped ice cream and bluegrass music. The town is also home to a variety of festivals throughout the year, including Floyd Fest and Black Dog Wine & Music Festival. 

4. Go to Virginia International Raceway. Virginia is home to six speedways and raceways, so if you’re in town during an event, we suggest you try and catch a race. The Virginia International Raceway is a 3.27-mile course that plays host to at least 12 events each season, including the Gold Cup Historic Races, GT LIVE and American Le Mans Series.

5. Explore The Crooked Road. This driving route is Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail that travels through the Appalachian Mountains, from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Coal Field region. Along the way you can stop at music venues such as the Blue Ridge Music Center, Birthplace of Country Music Alliance and Carter Family Fold to get a taste of the area’s popular bluegrass, gospel and mountain music.

  • On September 14, 2012
    Caroline Patek answered the question: Caroline Patek

    What is the best way to see Southern Virginia in one day?

    No trip to Southern Virginia would be complete without immersing yourself in its picturesque surroundings. After all, the region is home to the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains and the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. Start with breakfast before you head out for a hike near the Blue Ridge Parkway. There, you’ll find numerous trails with varying degrees of difficulty.

    After your hike, grab lunch in nearby Floyd, where you can fill up in eateries like Oddfella’s Cantina & Tapas Bar and Natasha’s Market Cafe. Afterwards, take a walk around Floyd — the town is known for its artisan culture and live music. When the sun begins to set, head to dinner at Elements at Primland. The restaurant is located at an altitude of 2,800 feet, giving you unforgettable views with your meal.

    Post-dinner, join Primland for an evening of stargazing — you can sign up for the nightly star walk in the resort’s observatory dome or you can book the Tour of the Universe, which lasts between 90 minutes and two hours.
  • On August 31, 2012
    Caroline Patek answered the question: Caroline Patek

    What are the best Southern Virginia food experiences?

    There’s more to Southern Virginia than its scenic surroundings — the region has a few local food products worth sampling during your trip. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the best Southern Virginia food experiences:

    1. Mabry Mill Restaurant. Located in Meadows of Dan near The Lodge and Cottages at Primland, this quaint restaurant is known for its buckwheat pancakes and stone-ground grits. Stop in after a hike in the area, and be sure to pick up your own buckwheat flour in the gift shop on your way out.

    2. Foggy Ridge Cider. Head to Foggy Ridge Cider in Dugspur to sample three different types of cider, plus one cider mixed with apple brandy. Apple experts will teach you how to pair cider with just the right dishes, and afterwards, you can buy some cider to take home.  

    3. Blacksnake Meadery. This is Southwest Virginia’s only meadery, a place that ferments honey, spices and water to make an alcoholic beverage also known as honey wine. Tastings are $2, and you can sample a variety of meads such as wildflower honey wine. The meadery is open for visitors on select weekends between noon and 5 p.m.

    4. Local peaches. Southern Virginia is known for its delicious summer produce, but there’s nothing better than the local peaches. Pick your own at an orchard, get a jar of jam to take home or indulge in some housemade peach ice cream.

    5. Wine tasting. Wine is probably Virginia’s best-known potent potable and the hills are dotted with many small wineries. Château Morrissette and Villa Appalaccia are two of Forbes Travel Guide editors’ favorites.
  • On August 29, 2012
    Caroline Patek answered the question: Caroline Patek

    What are the best places to eat in Southern Virginia?

    A meal in Southern Virginia tends to complement the lush natural setting  — local and fresh ingredients are featured at all the top spots. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the best places to eat in Southern Virginia:

    1. Elements. Located inside Primland, Elements offers American cuisine in a cozy yet sophisticated setting. Bathed in wood walls and a crackling fireplace, the upscale restaurant places on emphasis on regional dishes and locally grown ingredients. Reservations are required.  

    2. Chateau Morrisette Winery. Come to this winery in Floyd to sample fine wine and stay for an excellent meal. The restaurant features elegant vistas and a fireplace inside, and the summer months bring an outdoor patio. Dine on dishes from the South, such as seafood from North Carolina and crab cakes from the Low Country.

    3. Byrd & Baldwin Bros. Steakhouse. Located in the southeast Virginia town of Norfolk, this traditional chophouse is set in a historic building dating back to 1906. You’ll find that the space is filled with wood paneling, a humidity-controlled wine cellar and plenty of meaty menu choices. Start out with a Maryland crab cake or a salad, and move on to a juicy 12-ounce New York strip with sides like mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, or crabmeat mac and  cheese.
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  • On August 29, 2012
    Caroline Patek answered the question: Caroline Patek

    What are the best places to stay in Southern Virginia?

    Hiking around the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway in Southern Virginia can be exhausting, so you’ll want to make sure you have top-notch accommodations to rest your weary head. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors share their list for the best places to stay in Southern Virginia:

    1. Primland. Situated on 12,000 acres of verdant Blue Ridge Mountain land, Primland was made for relaxation. The property is made up of a Lodge with 26 rooms, six Fairway Cottages and 12 Mountain Homes, for a total of 44 accommodations. Guest rooms are comfortable and cozy, and outdoor fire pits and live music on the terrace add to a cabin-like feel. Primland also offers countless activities on its property, including tree climbing, sporting clays, horseback riding, tennis, golf, geocaching (a high-tech treasure hunt), stargazing and fly fishing.

    2. Hotel Roanoke. You’ll find this historic hotel in the town of Roanoke. The restored property — originally built in 1882 — features traditional guest rooms, more than 63,000 square feet of conference space, in-room spa services, and golf partnerships with three local clubs and courses.

    3. The Martha Washington Hotel & Spa. This charming property located in Abingdon, Va., looks like it was pulled right out of a history book with its crisp white columns, wood-burning fireplaces and plush fabrics found throughout. Be sure to check out the town while you’re there; it’s home to the William King Museum, The Arts Depot and White’s Mill.