Planning on visiting your kids who are attending one of our local universities, Virginia Tech or Radford? Let us suggest a few ways you can make it memorable and introduce you to some beloved attractions in Montgomery County. Go to Town!
With a breathtaking landscape comprised of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains as well as the ancient New River, there’s no better place to explore nature than Montgomery County. The Huckleberry Trail connects the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg and is part of the nation’s rail-to-trail system, making the 14-mile trek perfect for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and abilities, whether walking, running or cycling. The Renva-Knowles Memorial Bridge, along with multiple trailheads along the way, afford visitors easy access and parking.
The Huckleberry Trail is also an access point to Coal Miner’s Heritage Park, which is located on a 30-acre swath of land where the Merrimac mining community once resided. Where a mining tipple, hotel, general store and residential housing for coal miners once stood is now an open greenspace and a wooden bridge leading guests into the park, the old mining entrance and some of the remnants of the old mining community. The park is an homage to more than 100 years’ worth of coal mining history in the region.
While you’re visiting Montgomery County, be sure to check out Falls Ridge Preserve, part of a rugged ridge along the Roanoke River reaching about 80-feet in height. Enjoy a hike to a serene spring-fed waterfall as small pockets of cascading water lead the way. Wildflowers and interesting rock formations of limestone and sandstone serve as the backdrop for your hike during the spring and summer months, while storybook-like ice formations enchant visitors during the winter months.
Montgomery County is an epicenter of global agricultural innovation, and also is home to some of Virginia’s finest restaurants, wineries and breweries, a few of which are located right on the farms.
Located on Glade Road Growing Farm, Rising Silo Brewery offers beers brewed with exclusively organic malts and water from the farm's well. Brewmaster Greg Zielske also sources produce from other local farms to develop creative seasonal options. Additionally, the brewery utilizes green energy through the power of 113 solar panels that provide 31 kW of solar energy, as well as a solar hot water system.
If you prefer wine, be sure to check out Beliveau Farm Winery. With a desire to grow grapes and make wine, Yvan and Joyce Beliveau purchased 165-acres of land that had been overgrown with brush, and the 1900’s farmhouse-turned-barn that sat upon it, in 2001. By 2009, the first grapes were planted with the first wine produced in 2011. The winery officially opened in 2012 and a brewery was added in 2019 to produce gluten free beers – currently Virginia’s only gluten-free brewery.
And 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.
You must be getting hungry by now. Ranging from burger joints to fine cuisine, in Montgomery County there’s a taste available for everyone’s palate. And just like the bustling agricultural industry of the region yields delicious brews and wines, so too does it allow for remarkably fresh, local flavors from our bevy of restaurants who proudly prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner for our visitors.
Connie Hale, chef and owner of Buffalo and More, sources all of the restaurant’s buffalo meat from a nearby farm (which she also owns) to prepare local favorites like bison chili, buffalo brisket and a variety of burgers. She says visitors tell her that buffalo has a sweeter, richer taste than beef, and that many say buffalo meat tastes like what beef used to taste like. The restaurant also sources all its other proteins and produce from local farms lending to an authentic Montgomery County flavor experience.
Some of the region’s more refined restaurants are located within the area’s historic buildings. But don’t let the formal structures and sophisticated menus fool you – you’re still in Montgomery County after all, and we do casual around here.
A favorite Southwest Virginia landmark since 1963, The Farmhouse Restaurant in Christiansburg serves up some of the best steak and seafood dishes in the New River Valley in a relaxed setting one would expect from a southern farmhouse. Originally part of the Ridinger Estate built in the 1800s, the authentic farmhouse is joined by an old train caboose, adding an additional unique seating option.
622 North invites diners to a large, recently renovated Victorian building in Blacksburg’s historic Downtown District. Serving lunch and dinner options influenced from flavors from around the world, 622 North treats guests to family-style, three-course and a la carte meals crafted with the finest locally sourced ingredients of the New River Valley.
For some nighttime fun and culture, stop by the Lyric Theatre. Originally opened in 1930 and the focus of major restorations throughout the years, the Lyric 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).
All that’s left to do now is tuck in for a good night’s rest. After all, tomorrow is a whole new day to explore the New River Valley. Go to Town!