6 Reasons to love Roanoke, VA
The Historic Roanoke City Market has been selling fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and crafts in downtown Roanoke since 1882. The market is open year-round, seven days a week and has 42 permanent tables as well as vendor tents and pop-ups. There are great boutiques and restaurants on Market Street. Two of our favorites are Eli’s Provisions that specializes in craft beer, cider, and local food products, and Chocolate Paper, which says it all. The shop has a wide selection of cards as well as chocolates. The store even holds wine and chocolate tastings.
If you’re flying into Roanoke, you should see the Roanoke Star, an 88.5-foot star that is visible 60 miles from the air. The star sits atop Mill Mountain and overlooks the surrounding valley and Blue Ridge Mountains. The largest, free-standing, man-made illuminated star in the world, the star was constructed in 1949 as a seasonal Christmas decoration but eventually became the region’s permanent symbol. A 15-minute drive from Roanoke, Mill Mountain is home to the Mill Mountain Zoo and Discovery Center. You can even hike and bike to the star.
Roanoke has a vibrant arts community that rivals those of many bigger cities. The Mill Mountain Theatre puts on regional-themed as well as nationally known plays, often with Equity performers. The Taubman Museum of Art has 11 galleries and its permanent collection includes works by John Singer Sargent and John Page, while the O. Winston Link Museum offers stunning photos of steam engines. The city also boasts the Roanoke City Ballet and the Roanoke Symphony. You can also pedal your way around the city on the Art by Bike Route, a self-guided
bicycle tour of public art pieces.
Southerners take their biscuits very seriously but there’s no arguing over how delicious the biscuits are at the Roanoker Restaurant. If you don’t believe us, USA Today and The Today Show will testify that they are among the best in the country. The Roanoker has been serving down-home comfort food since 1941 and little has changed except it keeps growing. Today it seats 300, and makes about 1,000 biscuits a day. The restaurant, which says it serves “unfussy eats,” offers Southern favorites such as sausage gravy, pies, fresh vegetables, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken and corn sticks. It’s all made from scratch, just like they did it 75 years ago.
Roanoke is one of the best outdoor communities in the country with something for everyone. The beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, the Appalachian Trail, and three state parks provide opportunities for hiking, biking, mountain climbing, camping and caving. Nearby rivers are perfect for canoeing, kayaking and fishing. USA Today named the Roanoke Valley one of the country’s “10 Best” bike-friendly destinations. It also is one of the top mountain biking spots in the country. With the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop, get the family outdoors or simply enjoy the peace and quiet yourself.
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW
Even if you’re not looking for a 50-year-old door knob, you’ll still enjoy wandering around Black Dog Salvage that specializes in the reclamation, repurposing and resale of architectural, commercial, and industrial elements, fixtures and “obsessive oddities.” Roam through the 40,000 square feet of warehouse space that is jam packed with – for lack of a better word – stuff. Make sure to talk to the staff, who are the stars of the DYI Network and GAC’s “Salvage Dawgs.” It’s the ultimate home flea market.