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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

February 24, 2021
A drive along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway is literally a trip through time. Construction on the Parkway began near Cumberland Knob in North Carolina in September 1935. Works Project Administration crews completed some of the early road construction, landscaping and recreation area development. As you travel the Parkway today,…
January 25, 2021
January 26 is National Plan for Vacation Day and I’m including my tips for vacation planning amidst the unpredictability of 2021. My husband and I have sadly been planning back-to-back transatlantic and Mediterranean cruises for more than a year that have just been canceled. But, we’re still healthy and still…
December 31, 2020
The Blue Ridge Parkway, a unit of the National Park Service, is managed as a scenic route but also to protect the natural resources along the Parkway corridor. When high elevation nighttime temperatures dip below freezing, there is little winter sun and moisture is on the roadway, sections of the…
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. These merchants can ship gifts directly to your door or to the recipient’s location if you won’t be able to deliver the…
October 14, 2020
Fall color season is upon us and the hillsides are dotted with the reds of maples, sourwoods and sumac and the yellows of birches and yellow poplars. But even after the trees are bare, these routes offer sites worth visiting- they promise to tickle your taste buds, enthrall your eyes…
September 10, 2020
Some leaves in the Asheville area are already beginning to stop producing chlorophyll and 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. It’s usually in October which is often the busiest month along the Parkway. 
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.
April 17, 2020
The Blue Ridge Parkway and surrounding areas in Virginia provide a mecca of outdoor opportunities -- places to relax and enjoy nature from underneath a forest canopy, along a mountain stream or on a rocking chair on a covered front porch.
October 5, 2019
October marks the official start of Fall Color Season along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This month is one of the most popular for visits to the region. A chance to see the Appalachian views awash in reds, golds and lingering shades of green is an experience on many people's bucket lists. Learn what's in store for you in Fall of 2019.

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,…