Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, Bland and its surrounding county are a natural wonderland, including over 74,000 acres of the Jefferson National Forest and traversed by 56 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Cycling and motorcycle trails take riders along scenic roads. Opportunities for hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and horseback riding abound. Bland is an Appalachian Trail Town and also home to the Wolf Creek Indian Village and Museum, a reconstructed Native American site from five centuries ago discovered in 1970. A farmers market offers fresh produce in season, and the annual county fair is held at the Bland fairgrounds.




Ground zero for the “big bang” of country music in 1927, Bristol’s vibrant downtown features shops, restaurants and diners, many with live music. September brings the Rhythm & Roots Reunion, with music all along State Street.




Grundy, county seat of Buchanan County, is located on the Levisa Fork River in Southwest Virginia’s coalfields. Extensive relocation of much of the town, due to devastating river floods, has given the town a new lease on life, with new stores and bridges. Grundy is home to the Appalachian School of Law, which opened in 1997, and the Appalachian College of Pharmacy, which opened in 2005.




County seat of Carroll County, Hillsville has the oldest continuously operating diner in Virginia, amazing town-wide Flea Markets at Memorial Day and Labor Day (well over half a million people come to shop), the historic Red Hill General Store and the Hale-Carter-Wilkinson Home. A courthouse gunfight made news here in 1912, when Floyd Allen and his relatives opened fire in the courtroom, killing the judge, prosecutor and sheriff and wounding seven more. The story made headlines around the country and inspired two ballads.




Clinchco in Dickenson County is named for the Clinchfield Railroad Company. Darrell “Shifty” Powers, a sharpshooter with the 101st Airborne during World War II and portrayed in the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” described his hometown: “Picture a bunch of mountains all grouped together with narrow, winding roads lacing through then. Clinchco’s a little speck by the side of one of those roads, far in the southwest tip of the triangle of Virginia.” Clinchco is home to the Dennis E. Reedy Railroad & Coalmining Museum, with gritty reminders of Dickenson County’s industrial history.



County seat of Dickenson County, Virginia’s youngest county, Clintwood is home to the Ralph Stanley Museum and the Jettie Baker Center, a restored movie theater that’s a music venue, conference center and performance center. Nearby are Breaks Interstate Park and the John W. Flanagan Dam and Reservoir, with outdoor recreation opportunities from whitewater rafting to boating to hiking and cycling. Ralph Stanley holds a music festival nearby each Memorial Day weekend.



Haysi is located at the confluence of Russell Prater Creek, the McClure River and the Russell Fork River. A short distance from Haysi are the John Flannagan Dam and Reservoir and Breaks Interstate Park, offering kayaking, whitewater rafting, boating, fishing, hiking and camping are . The Dickenson County Fair is held near Haysi each summer.




Located on a wide, high plateau of rich farmland, Floyd was originally named Jacksonville for Andrew Jackson, seventh US president. Beginning in the 1970s, Floyd has become a mecca for artisans and “back to the land” proponents, with shops, galleries, restaurants and a vibrant farmers market. On Friday evening, residents and visitors flock to the Floyd Country Store for traditional music and dancing. The Jacksonville Center for the Arts offers classes and shows at the edge of town in a restored barn. Floydfest, an annual four-day celebration with seven stages and a wide variety of musical styles, takes place in July. Floyd is also home to County Sales, which distributes and preserves old time and bluegrass music.


Boones Mill


The Town of Boones Mill was founded in 1782 by Jacob Boon, who built a small grist mill alongside Maggodee Creek. The area is still known for its small town atmosphere and friendly residents. Boones Mill is located in Franklin County and is a short, 20-minute drive from Roanoke, Rocky Mount and Smith Mountain Lake. The Boones Mill Apple Festival is held in September each year.

Rocky Mount


Rocky Mount is county seat of Franklin County near scenic Smith Mountain Lake. Located on the historic Carolina Road followed by settlers traveling westward, the town is the eastern gateway of The Crooked Road, Virginia’s heritage music trail. Downtown features a farmers market, antique shops, craft galleries and more.




Galax has a vibrant downtown with shops, galleries and restaurants. The restored Rex Theater’s weekly radio show, “Blue Ridge Backroads Live,” beams old time and bluegrass music to four states and over 40 countries. The yearly Old Fiddlers Convention, held in August since 1935, brings thousands of musicians and dancers to Felts Park for a week of on-stage competition and campground jams. Nearby on the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway is the Blue Ridge Music Center, with an outdoor amphitheater, museum and luthier shop with Saturday music performances spring through fall. New River Trail State Park begins on Chestnut Creek near the center of town, with 39 miles of biking, hiking and cycling along the New River.


Glen Lyn


Located where the East River joins the New in Giles County, Glen Lyn is a scenic small town with walking trail, park, campground and boat ramps for easy access to fishing and boating. Each Saturday morning from May though October, Glen Lyn Park is home to flea markets from 7am through the afternoon. The Henry Reed Memorial Fiddlers Convention is held every June, honoring Glen Lyn’s most famous old time fiddler.



Named for the narrowing of the New River that flows past it, Narrows was settled around 1778, 30 years after the first migrants from Pennsylvania arrived in Giles County. During the Civil War, Narrows served as a strategic location for Confederate troops defending the Dublin-Bristol rail line. Views from the New River are spectacular, and recreation opportunities abound. Narrows is an Appalachian Trail Town and a bird sanctuary with flocks of wild geese and ducks every year. Upstream is the Narrows Town Park, which offers picnic facilities, playgrounds, and free swimming. A farmer’s market operates Wednesday through Saturday downtown.



Situated in the center of Giles County, the town of Pearisburg is located on a plateau above the New River at the intersection of U.S. Route 460 and State Route 100. Many of Pearisburg’s red brick downtown buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The courthouse is the oldest functioning courthouse in Southwest Virginia. The Andrew Johnston house, built in 1829, is a local historical museum and research center. It’s an Appalachian Trail Town with the Trail running through the outskirts of town and a place for hikers to spend a day or two of rest during the summer months.



Pembroke is located on a bend of the New River in Giles County. Nearby are two covered bridges and Mountain Lake, the resort made famous in the film “Dirty Dancing.”

Rich Creek


Rich Creek is located in Giles County, on the New River.




Fries is nestled next to the New River in Grayson County, once the site of a dam and cotton mill built around 1900. Small mill cottages sweep up the hillside, many now turned into summer homes or rental cottages. The New River Trail follows an old railroad bed along the New River northward to Pulaski, with outfitters providing tube, kayak, boat and bicycle rentals. A Thursday jam each week in the Fries Recreation Center Theatre brings together pickers and singers who continue the musical tradition of mill workers like Henry Whitter and Ernest Stoneman who were some of the first to take the region’s traditional music nationwide.



Independence is the county seat of Grayson County. Its 1908 courthouse is now an Arts Center and performance space, with a jam of old time music each Wednesday evening. As you would expect, the town holds its annual festival on July 4. A Mountain Foliage Festival is held in October, and a wine festival in August. The town was home to Wade Ward, renowned banjo picker.



Located in Grayson County on Route 16, Troutdale sits at the edge of the Mount Rogers National Recreational Area. Pulitzer prize-winning author Sherwood Anderson had a summer home near here in the 1920s and 1930s. The town’s fire department holds a monthly bluegrass concert during the winter, and an Old Time and Bluegrass Music Festival each September.




Jonesville was established in 1794 as the county seat of Lee County. It is the second oldest town west of Roanoke. Jonesville was a small but thriving center of local commerce in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but fell into gradual economic decline as the coal boom ebbed in the latter half of the 20th century. Most of Jonesville’s remaining commercial activity is concentrated in the west end. Jonesville Drug, one of the oldest surviving downtown businesses, relocated to the old Chappell’s Dairy site on the west end in 2004. The Dickinson-Milbourn House and Jonesville Methodist Campground are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Pennington Gap


The biggest town in Lee County, Pennington Gap sits astride the Trail of the Lonesome Pine (Route 58A). Stone Face Rock overlooks the town. The town’s historic Lee Theater and Community Center offers movies and live performances. The Appalachian African-America Cultural Center now occupies the one-room school once reserved for black children, pulling together life stories and heritage as well as providing a glimpse of rural education. Each fall, the town hosts an annual Tobacco Festival, featuring a parade, live entertainment, a 5,000 meter race and a beauty pageant.

St. Charles


The town incorporated in 1914, was officially named in 1907 for coal developer Charles W. Bondurant, and his secretary Ms. St. John. Commercial coal mining in St. Charles began around 1903. It was a center of commerce for the mining camps and communities that surrounded it during the coal boom of the early twentieth century.

At one point St. Charles was home to three theatres: The Virginian, The Rainbow & Turner’s Station. St. Charles is currently like many coal towns that boomed in the earlier 1900s. It now simply stands a reminder of our rich heritage of coal and hard work. Please visit the Coal miners memorial. It is a beautiful place to sit and reflect on the sacrifice that was made by so many men, women and children in the early years of mining.




Home to Virginia Tech, Blacksburg embraces its college town look and feel, and has repeatedly won awards for quality of life. Visit historic Smithfield Plantation, home of Col. William Preston, a surveyor, member of the Virginia House of Burgesses and a Colonel of militia in the American Revolution. Downtown there’s a farmer’s market, historic Lyric Theater and art galleries and craft shops. The Huckleberry Trail, once a railroad, winds six scenic miles between Blacksburg and Christiansburg for running, walking and cycling.



Christiansburg, the county seat of Montgomery County located astride historic Route 11, is the fourth largest town in Virginia. Christiansburg is located on the TransAmerica Bike Route (U.S. Bicycle Route 76), as well as the Huckleberry Trail, a popular six-mile bike/pedestrian path between Christiansburg and downtown Blacksburg. The area surrounding Christiansburg also boasts the 110-acre Mid-County Park, the Montgomery County Coal Mining Heritage Park and Science Center, and the Meadows Golf and Country Club. The Jefferson National Forest, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway, Claytor Lake State Park, and the New River are nearby.




Norton grew as a railroad hub in the Southwest Virginia coal country. It’s home to the Country Cabin II, a major venue on The Crooked Road, with local live music and dancing each Saturday night. Just a few miles from the city’s center is Flag Rock, center of the High Knob Recreation Area. Norton’s downtown fills with music during its Best Friend Festival, held each June. Labor Day brings the Dock Boggs Festival, honoring Norton’s bluesman of the ’20s.


Meadows of Dan


Meadows of Dan is located where Route 58 crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway, near the headwaters of the Dan River. The community’s motto, posted on the welcome sign, is “A simpler place in time.” Meadows of Dan is located along the Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, and near historic Mabry Mill on the Parkway. Meadows of Dan hosts an annual Folk Fair, in cooperation with the Virginia Peach Festival. Other festivals include Chinquapin Festival Corn Maze and Crafts in the Meadow.



Stuart is where the mountains of Southwest Virginia begin, not far from the spectacular Lovers Leap overlook on Rt. 58. Whether you’re uptown or downtown, the shops and restaurants are welcoming. Festivals honoring strawberries and peaches are held at harvest time each year.




Dublin is located in Pulaski County between Radford and Pulaski, along historic Route 11. Nearby is Claytor Lake with its state park and miles of waterfront for water sports and fishing. Rich grazing lands for cattle surround the town, home to one of the largest livestock markets in Virginia. It is home to New River Community College and the New River Valley Airport. The New River Valley Fair takes place in mid-July at the fairgrounds nearby.



Nestled in the shadow of Draper Mountain, Pulaski is the county seat of Pulaski County. Once a manufacturing and railroad hub, Pulaski’s historic downtown now includes the restored Pulaski Theatre and the restored railway station. A new historic and transportation museum features a model railway replica of the town in the 1950s. The New River Trail allows hikers and cyclists to follow the New River from Pulaski to Galax and Fries in Grayson County.




Radford’s beginning is in the heart of pioneer history, where William Ingles and his wife, Mary Draper Ingles, established a ferry, store and tavern on the New River. The city’s Riverway connects recreation opportunities through the heart of downtown. Radford University’s campus is located downtown, with 9900 students and 150 undergraduate and graduate programs. The annual Highlanders Festival in October brings together students and townspeople for music, games and entertainment, honoring the region’s Scots Irish roots.




Cleveland lies along the beautiful and biologically diverse Clinch River in Russell County.



Dubbed the “Redbud Capital of the World” by the Library of Congress, Honaker is located at the foot of Big A Mountain on Route 80, one of Southwest Virginia’s most scenic roads. Once a frontier settlement Honaker achieved its boom town years as home to one of the biggest sawmills in the eastern U.S. and a railroad junction. The town’s museum of local history will be moving soon into the restored bank building downtown. The town features a Redbud Festival each April.



St. Paul


Located on the Clinch River in Russell and Wise counties, St. Paul served as a gateway to the Southwest Virginia coalfields. Today the town focuses on its recreational and environmental resources. A Farmers Market brings the best in local food downtown. The Wetlands Estonoa Project introduces students to scientific and environmental research. The Clinch River Days Festival each May blends education and celebration of the most biodiverse river in North America.




Clinchport is a town located in Scott County, Virginia. Named for it’s location on the Clinch River, Clinchport is offers excellent kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and swimming. The Clinch River highway is a popular biking route with numerous twists and turns. Natural Tunnel State Park is just five miles from Clinchport.



Duffield is situated at the southern edge of the Jefferson National Forest about two miles west of Natural Tunnel State Park in the Appalachian Mountains in Scott County. Daniel Boone is believed to have been the first European to see the Natural Tunnel in the 18th century. It is also home to the Wilderness Road Blockhouse, a physical two-story replica of the original Anderson blockhouse used as a stop for frontiersmen traveling west. A railroad was constructed through the natural tunnel in 1893.



Dungannon is the gateway to the world-renowned Clinch River and the hiking and scenery of High Knob. The Scott County Horse Park, on the outskirts of Dungannon, draws visitors to frequent shows and festivals while the Flanary Archaeological Site, on the other side of town, has evidence of Native American occupation dating back 8,000 years. The historic Dungannon Depot hosts community events and meetings. Originally known as Osborne’s Ford, the town was settled by Scotch-Irish and English immigrants who traveled here from North Carolina in search of land.

Gate City


Gate City is seat of Scott County’s government.Once the site of a historic mill, the town offers residents a quiet location with vintage and antique stores, shops, restaurants and a park with little league baseball facilities. Just up the road is the Carter Family Fold, the home of A.P. And Sarah Carter, who joined A.P.’s sister-in-law Maybelle to form the original Carter Family in the early ’20s. The Fold is now home to Saturday night concerts of old time and bluegrass music, where the dance floor is packed with young and old, and the concessions window offers down home snacks and sandwiches.



The early history of Nickelsville, located in rich farm country in Scott County, dates back to the early 1800’s. Two miles away is the historic Kilgore Fort House, built in 1786 to protect settlers from Indian attacks. Bush Mill, built in 1896, is the only operational over throw water-powered grist mill in the region. The Ole Nickelsville Hotel continues to offer lodging; in its heyday, it served not only travelers and salesmen, but high school students who lived far from town. Allen Hicks hosts a jam every Friday evening at his luthier shop. Music is a tradition here; this is the home of Maybelle Carter of the original Carter Family, and where Ralph and Carter Stanley spent their earliest years.

Weber City


Located in Scott County near the Virginia border, Weber City was once known as Moccasin Gap, after the mountain pass used by settlers headed to Tenneessee.




From its earliest days as the site of a stagecoach inn to its current role as the Gateway to the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, Chilhowie has always been a community in which travelers are welcome and visitors are made to feel at home. Pottery, brick, lumber, textile, fertilizer, equipment and furniture manufacturing companies have all operated successfully in Chilhowie. Cattle farms are a mainstay of the region’s agricultural economy. Chilhowie became the center of apple production in Southwest Virginia and celebrates its apple heritage each September with an Apple Festival.



Marion, located on the middle fork of the Holston River on historic Route 11, is the county seat of Smyth County. It’s an Appalachian Trail Town offering amenities to hikers while they pass through. The Lincoln Theatre, a meticulously renovated Art-Deco Mayan Revival style performing arts center, is the home of the nationally-syndicated bluegrass music program “Song of the Mountains.” The General Francis Marion Hotel has also been completely restored as a AAA Three-Diamond boutique hotel. The town hosts ArtWalk with local artists and musicians on the second Friday of each month May through December. Hungry Mother State Park is located west of town on scenic Route 16, called “The Back of the Dragon” by motorcyclists who enjoy its sweeping curves and magnificent vistas.



Saltville, located on the border of Smyth and Washington counties, has a long history of commerce and conflict associated with the salt marshes that give the town its name. Archeologists have uncovered extinct species drawn to the area, as well as artifacts from hunters extending back thousands of years. During the Civil War, the saltworks were vital to the Confederate war effort, and Union forces sought to capture the town. The Museum of the Middle Appalachians, located in Saltville’s historic downtown, traces the story.




Virginia’s tallest town, Bluefield is the largest town in Tazewell County, with a sister community next door in West Virginia. The town is in the process of moving its entire downtown to higher ground on the south side of Route 460. Evening in the Shade programs are held at the Gazebo downtown throughout the summer. An Annual Autumn Jamboree brings together regional music talent. The Blue Jays, rookie affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, hold games at Bowen Field throughout the summer.

Cedar Bluff


Cedar Bluff once was home to the Clinch Valley Roller Mills, an grist mill complex located on the Clinch River. The town’s historic district winds along the Old Kentucky Turnpike. Prior to the arrival of the Norfolk and Western Railroad, lucrative businesses such as the Cedar Bluff Woolen Mill, Higginbotham and Bane Milling Company, a sawmill, furniture shop, and a blacksmith shop, opened or expanded. Hotel Monticello and the Blue Sulphur Inn welcomed visitors to the area. Cedar Bluff is the birthplace of George C. Peery, Governor of Virginia, elected in 1934.



Pocahontas was the first mine and epicenter of the coal boom at the turn of the 20th century, a miners’ town that once boasted an opera house, company store, stores and churches for the wide range of faiths and nationalities that mining brought here. Visit the Exhibition Coal Mine to see spectacular 13-foot tall coal seams and gain an understanding of what it was like to mine coal. The Old Power House, converted into a Museum and Educational Center, has many exhibits of coal mining heritage.



Located along the banks of the Clinch River, Richlands began as a farming community and was named for its fertile “rich lands” in Tazewell County. The Clinch Valley Coal & Iron Company began to develop Richlands in 1890. Southwest Virginia Community College is located nearby.



County seat of Tazewell County, Tazewell is located near the headwaters of the Clinch River amid rolling hills and rich farmland. The Crab Orchard Museum brings together historic frontier structures to tell the story of the region. Not far from town is Burke’s Garden, a mountaintop valley atop Clinch Mountain and a historic community of farms and homes.




Abingdon is a center for arts and culture in Southwest Virginia, home to the famous Barter Theatre where theater-goers can still trade “ham for Hamlet.” It’s an Appalachian Trail Town and home of the Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail Visitor Center. Restaurants, shops and galleries cluster downtown. Heartwood, located on I-81 just south of town, is a gateway for exploration of Southwest Virginia.



Bed and breakfast inns line Damascus’ quiet main street, which meanders along the Whitetop Laurel River on its way east toward Holston Lake. It’s an Appalachian Trail Town nicknamed “Trail Town USA” and hosts an annual Trail Days festival in mid-May. Rent a cycle in town and travel by van up to Whitetop Station and coast down the Virginia Creeper Trail, a railroad bed of gentle grades and spectacular views. Hike the Appalachian Trail or dive into nearby Mount Rogers National Recreational Area for camping, fishing or cabin rentals.

Glade Spring


The town of Glade Spring is a small town in Washington County that grew around a railroad hub. Small shops, galleries, restaurants and a coffee house cluster around the old town square, with a farmer’s market each weekend in the growing season. The bank building, complete with vaults and teller windows, is reborn as an artisan center. The Salt Trail’s gentle grade offers hikers and cyclists a scenic eight-mile journey from Glade Spring to Saltville.



Saltville, located on the border of Smyth and Washington counties, has a long history of commerce and conflict associated with the salt marshes that give the town its name. Archeologists have uncovered extinct species drawn to the area, as well as artifacts from hunters extending back thousands of years. During the Civil War, the saltworks were vital to the Confederate war effort, and Union forces sought to capture the town. The Museum of the Middle Appalachians, located in Saltville’s historic downtown, traces the story.




In the late 1800’s and 1900’s, Appalachia was the center of a booming coal mining culture. The town served as hub for about a dozen coal camps nearby. The town holds two world records. Bee Rock Tunnel, the world’s second-shortest railroad tunnel and The Peake Building, an apartment house with street-level access on all four floors. Each August, a week-long celebration known as Coal/Railroad Days celebrates the history and heritage of the community.

Big Stone Gap


Founded as “Mineral City,” Big Stone Gap became home to mine owners and timber executives who built imposing homes along tree-lined streets. John Fox Jr.’s “The Trail of the Lonesome Pine,” a runaway best seller at the turn of the 20th century, takes to the stage each summer in Virginia’s longest-running outdoor drama. The novels of Adriana Trigiani, who grew up in BSG, are the basis for a movie currently filming here. Big Stone Gap is home to Mountain Empire Community College, which sponsors Home Craft Days festival each October with traditional crafts and music. A summer “Gathering in the Gap” music festival brings old time and bluegrass musicians together for competitions, jams, and performances.



Coeburn’s main street is anchored by Lay’s Hardware, a cultural arts center and traditional music venue. The Guest River Rally fills the town each summer with traditional music, crafts and food.



Christopher Gist explored the area later known as the Pound, likely derived from a family name, in 1751. Around 1815, a pounding mill was constructed here. According to tradition the oldest settlement in Wise County, Pound was the last to be incorporated in 1950. Notables include the county’s most decorated soldier, Daniel Webster Dotson, basketball legend Glenn Roberts, U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers and motivational writer Napoleon Hill.

St. Paul


Located on the Clinch River in Russell and Wise counties, St. Paul served as a gateway to the Southwest Virginia coalfields. Today the town focuses on its recreational and environmental resources. A Farmers Market brings the best in local food downtown. The Wetlands Estonoa Project introduces students to scientific and environmental research. The Clinch River Days Festival each May blends education and celebration of the most biodiverse river in North America.



Wise is home to the University of Virginia at Wise. Downtown, shops and restaurants flank the historic courthouse and Wise Inn. The Famous Fall Fling takes place the second full weekend in October.


Rural Retreat


Rural Retreat is located in southern Wythe County on historic Route 11 in a rich agricultural region. Photographer O. Winston Link photographed and recorded Christmas church bells here in 1957. Pharmacist Dr. Charles T. Pepper may have inspired the name of the soft drink “Dr. Pepper.”



Wytheville is the county seat of Wythe County. It’s located at the crossroads of major north-south and east-west trails and roads. Wytheville is home to several history and culture museums including the Hale-Gibboney Rock House Museum, the Thomas J. Boyd Museum, the Heritage Preservation Center, the Great Lakes to Florida Highway Museum and the birthplace of First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson. A weeklong Chautauqua Festival is held each June, with concerts, arts and crafts, children’s festivities and more.