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About Roanoke Valley Area

Roanoke is the largest metropolitan area along the Blue Ridge Parkway and combines small-city charm with big-city amenities. A well-traveled crossroads since colonial times, the coming of the Norfolk & Western Railway in 1882 sparked the region’s development as southwest Virginia’s commercial and cultural hub.

The city’s thriving downtown is anchored by its Historic Farmers Market, where vendors sell everything from fresh produce and garden plants to arts and crafts all year long. This National Register district also enjoys a lively cultural scene, featuring myriad unique retail shops and galleries, a variety of international restaurants, the ever-popular Center in the Square that houses several museums, and the exciting Taubman Museum of Art.

Roanoke served as an early headquarters for the development of the Parkway. In a building downtown, field supervisor Stanley Abbott coordinated a team of experts in preservation, landscaping, engineering, cultural interpretation, and other disciplines who brought their skills to bear on the Parkway’s design and construction. In addition, the Appalachian building styles around Roanoke helped influence the look of new structures created to serve the Parkway.

Today, Roanoke offers several access points to the Parkway from Milepost 110 to Milepost 121, including the spur from the Parkway to Mill Mountain at Milepost 120, completed around 1970. In the 1980s the City got behind the Explore Park Project as a way to better connect with Parkway travelers. Explore Park‘s visitor center is a valuable resource and the Roanoke-based Western Virginia Land Trust promotes Parkway conservation and stewardship in the region.

The Town of Vinton borders Roanoke.  Here, you can experience small-town charm right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, including shopping, restaurants, festivals, events and museums.

Stories from Roanoke Valley Area

September 16, 2021
Virginia's creative and sometimes whimsical LOVEworks are a wonderful photo opportunity. Why not start a new tradition and make some family memories finding and photographing a few LOVE signs while enjoying the out of doors this year?
August 23, 2021
When will the Parkway's leaves change to their wardrobe of fall colors? If you’re wondering when the peak Blue Ridge Parkway Fall leaf season will be this year, you’re not alone.
June 17, 2021
Many activities in the regions surrounding the Blue Ridge Parkway are available year-round for free.
February 24, 2021
A drive along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway is literally a trip through time. But there’s lots more history and heritage to experience along the Parkway beside the route itself.
January 25, 2021
Tips for planning your Blue Ridge Parkway travels that are useful every year, not just during a pandemic!
December 31, 2020
When high elevation nighttime temperatures dip below freezing, sections of the Parkway may be closed due to ice and snow. The roadway is not plowed or salted so closed areas become wonderful winter playgrounds.
December 4, 2020
Many of the businesses along the Blue Ridge Parkway remain open year-round and offer such eclectic merchandise that you can shop for everyone on your holiday gift list from the comfort of your home and have the gifts delivered to your door or directly to the recipient.
October 14, 2020
These routes offer sites worth visiting that promise to tickle your taste buds, enthrall your eyes and enchant your ears. There are trails to suit every traveler, taste, social distancing requirement, and location from Tennessee to Virginia.
August 26, 2020
The Blue Ridge Mountains are dotted with farms producing everything from Christmas trees to trout. Fruit, flowers, herbs, jams, jellies, pies, wreaths and other crafts are all produced right here in the mountains.
July 1, 2020
Motorcycle and sportscar touring are popular along the winding routes in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Recommended Itineraries

Region: Virginia
Duration:1 day
A slow-paced, one day trip from Roanoke, Virginia (Milepost 120) to the North Carolina state line (Milepost 216) is highlighted by intensive exposure to the Blue Ridge cultural landscape. The rural experience on the Parkway and on adjacent lands highlights mills, music, and agriculture, demonstrating how people have interacted with…
Region: Virginia
Duration:2 - 3 days
Ridge Region Weekend Getaway A two-day trip from Afton Mountain and Rockfish Gap (Milepost 0) to the Peaks of Otter (Milepost 86) and on to Roanoke, the largest metropolitan area on the Parkway, offers plenty of time to experience this region and highlight the ridge-top driving experience, including magnificent views…
Region: Virginia
Duration:2 - 3 days
Parkway Weekend Getaway by R.V. A two-day trip along the Blue Ridge Plateau from Roanoke (Milepost 120) to the Virginia state line (Milepost 216) is highlighted by intensive exposure to the Blue Ridge cultural landscape. The rural experience on the Parkway and on adjacent lands highlights mills, music, and agriculture,…