Foliage.org: What are the projected dates for Roanoke Valley, Virginia peak foliage season?
Peak foliage in the Roanoke Valley is usually in mid-October but may occur earlier at higher elevations in the mountains. The fall season is spectacular from the middle of October to the first of November, displaying radiant mountain landscapes of red, yellow, and orange.
Are there areas, vistas, scenic lookouts or other destinations within Roanoke Valley, Virginia that are known for their uniquely beautiful fall foliage displays?
The Roanoke Valley is full of places to view our beautiful fall foliage. The Roanoke Star & Overlook on Mill Mountain provides the opportunity to look out over the Roanoke Valley and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains while standing under the largest, freestanding, man-made star in the world. Check out the current view atop Mill Mountain by visiting www.roanokeva.gov/starcam. Nearby McAfee Knob provides breathtaking views and is one of the most photographed parts of the Appalachian Trail. The Blue Ridge Parkway also features various overlooks and opportunities to view the vibrant color. www.blueridgeparkway.org
What are the local and regional roads or highways that are favorite scenic routes for fall tourists?
Take in the beauty of fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains by driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway – one of America’s favorite drives and the most visited unit in the entire National Park system. Downtown Roanoke is situated near milepost 120, but there are multiple access points to the Parkway throughout the area.
Interstate 81 leads you north into the beautiful colors of the Shenandoah Valley or south into the rural beauty of southwest Virginia. Similarly U.S. Route 11 parallels the interstate and some of the most historic areas of the Roanoke Valley. Route 11 passes through historic Salem and downtown Roanoke before leading north through the quiet, charming towns of Troutville and Buchanan.
Avenham Avenue in southwest Roanoke offers views of beautiful, old oak and maple trees nestled between classic homes in one of Roanoke’s most charming, quaint communities.
Route 419/311 winds through Roanoke County and the City of Salem before making its way up Catawba Mountain. The drive up the mountain offers views of the fall colors of the nearby Jefferson National Forest. Also, the road provides motorists a chance to park their vehicles for some hiking on the Appalachian Trail, which crosses Route 311.
U.S. Route 221 parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway as it leads south into the rural landscapes of Floyd and Hillsville. Heading north, Route 221 passes through the edge of the George Washington National Forest, creating an opportunity to view more fall colors because of the changes in elevation. You might even catch a glimpse of a train locomotive powering through the Blue Ridge Mountains.
What festivals or other public events are taking place during the fall foliage season?
– Home football games at Virginia Tech – Blacksburg
– Boones Mill Apple Festival – Boones Mill
– Big Lick Blues Festival – Downtown Roanoke
– Harvest Festival – Downtown Roanoke
– Blue Ridge Folk Life Festival – Ferrum College
– Pumpkinfest – Salem Farmers Market
– Franklin County Civil War Days – Franklin County
– Vinton Fall Festival – Downtown Vinton
– Ghost Tours – Downtown Roanoke
– Go to https://www.visitroanokeva.com/things-to-do/calendar/ for the latest listings.
Are there historic or cultural sites that are popular destinations for fall foliage travelers? What are they?
The Historic Roanoke City Farmers Market in downtown Roanoke is the oldest continuous use farmers markets in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The market began in 1882 and remains a must-see spot for visitors who come to downtown Roanoke. It provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy a fresh, crisp apple or a thick, flavorful squash that has been picked from one of our local farms. It offers shops and dining in a very attractive walkable setting. Attractions include the Taubman Museum of Art, Railwalk, Virginia Museum of Transportation and O. Winston Link Museum.
The National D-Day Memorial is located in nearby Bedford, the town that suffered the highest per capita D-Day losses of any in the nation. The memorial honors the allied forces that participated in the invasion of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 and serves as a powerful tribute to those who sacrificed for our nation’s freedom.
Nearby Natural Bridge of Virginia is both historic and beautiful. The bridge, which is 20 stories of solid rock, was purchased by Thomas Jefferson from King George III of England in the 1770’s. The bridge has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
What are some other popular tourist attractions for autumn travelers to the Roanoke Valley, Virginia. What are some of the less well known, but much loved local attractions?
The O. Winston Link Museum features over 300 of the black and white photographs of the Norfolk & Western Railway taken by O. Winston Link. A visit to the Link Museum offers a perspective on the history and culture of the railroad and its influence on the Roanoke Valley.
The Discovery Center offers exciting classes, interactive exhibits, and award-winning programs on the summit of Mill Mountain. The Center also serves as a Regional Information Center for the Blue Ridge Parkway.
“The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Music Heritage Trail” focuses on the region’s unique musical heritage and passes through ten towns, three cities, and ten counties along its 300-mile scenic route through the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains.
Are there favorite destinations for history, literature, architecture buffs, or antique collectors? What are they?
The Black Dog Salvage shop is located just a couple miles from downtown Roanoke and features a 40,000 square foot warehouse filled with architectural antiques and custom designs.
At the Taubman Museum of Art, the design and architecture of the building is its own unique exhibit. The design of the building is meant to highlight the natural beauty of the surrounding area, including the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Roanoke River, and Natural Bridge.
The Booker T. Washington National Monument commemorates the birthplace of one of America’s most prominent and respected African American educators and leaders. The monument offers visitors a chance to glimpse into what life was like for Washington as a child on a southern plantation.
What are some favorite destinations or activities of families traveling during the Fall travel season?
Mill Mountain Zoo, a Museum of living creatures: 88 animals – 7 endangered species. The zoo exhibits animals native to this area as well as creatures from Southeast Asia, South America and Africa. 16 gauge miniature train travels circumference – Ride the Zoo Choo!
The Virginia Museum of Transportation fires the imagination! Climb aboard decades-old steam locomotives while watching modern trains zoom by on active mainline tracks. Located in downtown Roanoke’s century-old freight station, the museum includes an extensive collection of steam, diesel, and electric locomotives and other types of rail cars. The pride of the Rail Yard is two of the most advanced steam locomotives ever built, the Norfolk & Western Class J 611 and Class A 1218. Other visitor favorites include model trains, automotive and aviation exhibits, buggies, a trolley bus, and a Jupiter Rocket.
The Upper James River Water Trail offers the opportunity to enjoy the Alleghany and Blue Ridge Mountains while experiencing the beauty of the river and passing through scenic valleys and rolling farmlands. This 14-mile stretch of river can be enjoyed by canoe, kayak, or tube.
A trip to Ikenberry Orchards in Daleville provides the chance to pick fresh apples right off the tree and enjoy all the wonderful apple dishes that are synonymous with fall. The Ikenberry Orchards are a family owned and operated business that has been growing fruit in Botetourt County for over 100 years.
What are some helpful resources for discovering local inns, bed and breakfasts, lodges, boutique hotels, and other local lodging and dining?
www.visitroanokeva.com is the official site of the Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau. It is Virginia Blue Ridge region’s official source on what to do and where to stay in the Roanoke Valley.
Is there anything else you would like to tell visitors thinking about traveling to the Roanoke Valley, Virginia for the fall foliage season?
Follow the Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau on Facebook for up-to-date information about the exciting things that are happening in our area this fall. www.facebook.com/roanokevalley
Special thanks to Catherine Fox, director of tourism & communications at Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau.