One of Montgomery County’s two largest towns – Blacksburg – is internationally known for Virginia Tech University and is indeed a quintessential college town. But, Blacksburg offers so much more to New River Valley visitors than higher education. Here are 10 must-experience Blacksburg locales for your next visit to Montgomery County. Go to Town!
Black Hen & Blue Bar
With a rich agricultural history, Montgomery County and Blacksburg have no shortages of delicious, farm-to-table foods and talented chefs. Black Hen & Blue Bar and it’s beloved culinary artist, Chef T, bring out the vibrant flavor of the region with sophisticated yet approachable dishes. Be sure to try the seared scallops and risotto, which contains mascarpone and a few other unique ingredients we’re not allowed to share. Go to Town! attempting to identify all the flavors in this rich dish, but be sure to save room for dessert.
Blacksburg Farmers Market
Taste your way through the flavors of Montgomery County and stop by the Blacksburg Farmers Market, open every Wednesday and Saturday, where local growers and makers sell their wares to the local community and restaurants. Depending on the season, you can take home flowers, meats, eggs, produce, baked goods, honey, handmade goods and more. All of the farms participating in the market are located within a 50-mile radius of Blacksburg, and use unique growing methods to lengthen the Appalachian growing season. As Southerners, they’re all of course very friendly so feel free to ask them about their growing processes as part of your agritourism experience.
Top of the Stairs
Top of the Stairs, or TOTS as the locals call it, is a beloved Hokie hangout featuring indoor and open air dining overlooking one of the main thoroughfares through the Virginia Tech campus. In addition to the iconic neon Virginia Tech flag (which lights up the night sky after gameday), TOTS is locally known for a drink called The Rail, which answers the question, “What would it taste like if you mix all the liquors together in one drink?” Give it a shot and you’ll find it tastes remarkably better with each sip. Plus, the TOTS team might just make you an honorary Hokie.
Pandapas Pond and Poverty Creek Trail System
If mountain biking or hiking through nature is how you like to Go to Town!, be sure to check out Pandapas Pond, located in Jefferson National Forest. Claimed as some of the best mountain biking trails on the East Coast, mountain bikers can kick up mud over 19 trails and more than 30 miles of terrain. Trails are suitable for all skill levels from greenhorns to shredders, while rough rock gardens, switchbacks and grueling vertical climbs await all comers. The pond itself sits on the Eastern Continental Divide and treats visitors to a serene vista of rhododendron, dragonflies, turtles, songbirds, and waterfowl.
If you’d prefer a more leisurely ride or hike, Poverty Creek Trail is the main multi-use trail at Pandapas Pond that features more gently rolling slopes across a 7.1 mile one-way trail, perfect for hiking, running, horseback riding, mountain biking, or just enjoying a picnic at the Pandapas Pond day area.
Beliveau Farm Winery
With a desire to grow grapes and make wine, Yvan and Joyce Beliveau purchased land that had been overgrown with brush, along with the 1900’s farmhouse-turned-barn that sat upon it, in 2001. By 2009, the first grapes were planted and the first wine was produced in 2011. Beliveau Farm Winery officially opened in 2012 and a brewery was added in 2019 to produce gluten-free beers – currently Virginia’s only gluten-free brewery. While the variety of wines available, from the “Destiny” vidal blanc to the “Sweet Surrender” concord, are enough to impress any aficionado, more impressive is the 165 scenic acres of picnic areas, hiking trails and lavender fields that add the perfect touch of ambiance to your glass.
The Lyric Theatre
Blacksburg’s Lyric Theatre, originally opened in 1930 and the focus of major restorations throughout the years, is famous for being one of Virginia’s first cinemas to show sound pictures. Adorned with original 1930s tapestries, replica lanterns and the fully restored lobby and auditorium, today the Lyric Theatre is a hub for movies, concerts and performances. The Lyric Theatre is also home to some of the best popcorn in Montgomery County, so grab a bag and enjoy (we like it better with extra butter).
Moon Hollow Brewing
Moon Hollow Brewing Company boasts an inviting venue where people from all walks of life can connect over fresh, local brews. Named for the small plot of land behind the brewery space, the brewery treats patrons to a variety of locally influenced flavors, from a grapefruit ginger sour to a traditional Hefeweizen. While Moon Hollow does not have its own kitchen (yet), local food trucks are often on site in case you get the munchies. The brewery also is part of the Old Prices Fork School Revitalization Project, which is transforming the unoccupied school into a center for housing, retail, and food and beverage locations.
Moss Arts Center
Virginia Tech’s Moss Arts Center (known locally as the MAC) is a thriving community of art and inspiration, where visitors have meaningful experiences enjoying arts of the highest caliber in all its forms. In addition to hosting exhibitions and performances from globally and locally celebrated artists, the MAC treats visitors to hands-on experiences, workshops with visiting artists, lectures and symposia, master classes, community celebrations and more. Inside of the MAC is The Cube, a one-of-a-kind black box theater used for research, performances and visual art.
New River Junction
The New River – one of the world’s oldest rivers – plays a significant role to Blacksburg, Montgomery County and surrounding areas, and the best way to explore this meandering waterway is to just jump right in and Go to Town! New River Junction is a family-owned campground and recreational park which offers access to the wide, shallow riffles and clear, warm waters of the ancient New River. Visitors can rent tubes (and a cooler) for the whole group and simply relax as they float down nearly one mile of calm water. For those seeking a bit more adventure, there is an optional 200 yards of exhilarating rapids at the end of the float.
Blacksburg Wine Lab
If you like wine but feel intimidated by the traditional tasting rooms, stop by Blacksburg Wine Lab for a more approachable wine experience perfect for beginners. Owners John Boyer and Katie Pritchard have created Blacksburg Wine Lab to treat wine amateurs and connoisseurs alike to an experience of tasting high-quality, lesser-known wines with a focus on educating clients on the science and flavors of wines. Blacksburg Wine Lab also serves a menu of foods ranging from appetizers to tinned seafoods to pair perfectly with your wine flights.