Activities, Attractions and Areas of Interest

PICNICKING and HIKING

Groundhog Mountain Picnic Area: Located at Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 188. Features include a historical rail fence exhibit and an observation tower with a commanding view of the Blue Ridge Plateau and the Piedmont of North Carolina .

Trails of the Rocky Knob and Rock Castle Gorge Area:Located at Blue Ridge Parkway mileposts 167 and 169. Available are easy, moderate and strenuous trails of natural beauty and wonder. You'll see high open meadows, panoramic views, tumbling cascades and historical sites on the way to the summit of Rocky Knob, at 3,572 feet. Until the 1920s a mountain community lived in this rugged area, where the rushing waters of Rock Castle Creek fueled a thriving industry of sawmills and gristmills. You'll see many reminders of these days along the trails. This hike is merely one of hundreds in the 4,500-acre Rocky Knob Recreation Area, which has a National Park Service visitor center and plenty of picnic tables.

Hiking / Bicycling a river — Virginia's newest and longest linear state park wanders along 39 miles of the New River through Carrol, Grayson, Pulaski, and Wythe Counties. The park is New River Trail State Park and follows an abandoned railway bed called the Cripple Creek Line for 57 miles from Galax to Pulaski. Because of the former railbed the trail provides a relatively level surface, easily traversed for hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders. Still under development, the hiking-biking-horse trail passes through historic villages, provides places to launch boats and canoes, and is a popular day-trip walking/riding trail. There are numerous entry/exit points to the park along its 57 mile route. For details, contact New River Trail State Park, Route 1, Box 81, Austinville,VA 23412. Phone (276) 699-6778 or in Richmond, (804) 786-1712.

Buffalo Mountain Natural Area Preserve: A 1,000 acre preserve with 13 rare plant species, 3 rare animal species and 6 natural communities that are rare to Virginia. The Buffalo Mountain property was part of a larger tract of land given to Revolutionary War Gen. Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee as a reward for his military service. The general passed the land to his sons, Charles Carter Lee and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. A log cabin cabin that housed Charles Carter Lee's law office still stands on an adjoining piece of land. Directions - From the Blue Ridge Parkway take Va. 799 North about 1 1/2 miles to Va. 727. Turn left and go about 1 mile to the low saddle in the ridge near the foot of the mountain. Turn right on dirt road and go about a mile up the ridge to the gate and parking area. Buffalo Mountain Nature Preserve

ATTRACTIONS and AREAS OF INTEREST

Mabry Mill: Located at Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 178. One of the Parkway's most popular attractions with coffee and souvenir shops, a self-guided trail, gristmill, blacksmith shop and pioneer exhibits. Undoubtedly the most-photographed place on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Mabry Mill has been called one of the most picturesque water mills in the entire U.S.

Chateau Morrisette Winery: A family owned and operated winery featuring a gift shop, restaurant, tours and music festivals throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall. The winery, built of native stone and wood, resembles a minature German castle and is set on a 40-acre hilltop farm bordering the Blue Ridge Parkway. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains above the Rock Castle Gorge Wilderness Area, Chateau Morrisette produces some of Virginia's most premier and well received wines. Open seven days a week, visitors are welcome to tour the facilities, experience the wines, savor the international cuisine, while enjoying such local events as ... "Black Dog Jazz Concerts", or the "Full Moon Autumn Harvest Celebration", all in an elegant old world atmosphere. Located near milepost 172 on Va. State Road 777. Call (276) 593-2865 for more details.

Villa Appalaccia Winery:Italian-inspired Virginia Wines in a Tuscan environment on the Blue Ridge Parkway of Virginia. The winery is normally open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays from 11:00 AM till 5-6:00 PM and Sunday from 12:00 until 4:00. Located one mile north of Chateau Morrisette winery on the opposite side of the Parkway and 5 miles north of Mabry Mill. Call (540) 593- 3100 or for further details see Villa Appalaccia Winery

Shelton Vineyards:North Carolina's largest family-owned vineyard surrounds a beautiful state-of-the-art Winery nestled into a Blue Ridge Ridge hillside. Tour, taste and then dine at the Yadkin Valley's Premier restaurant: The Harvest Grill located on the property. Shelton Vineyards

Levering Orchard:The largest pick-your-own cherry orchard in the South. Other available fruits include apricots, nectarines, pears, peaches, plums and apples. Call (276) 755-4837 or 755-3593 for more information.

The Floyd Country Store: An old time general store which, every Friday evening is host to the Friday Nite Jamboree - Real Old Time Mountain Music. Around 7 o'clock each Friday evening, folks from the community, surrounding regions and states, start showing up with fiddles, mandolins, banjos, dobros, and guitars for an evening of mountain fun. Located on South Locust St. in Floyd, VA, milepost 165 (Tuggles Gap) to VA SR 8. Call 276-745-4563 for more details or see Floyd Country Store.

Jeb Stuart Birthplace: Confederate Major General James Ewell Brown Stuart told his brother William Alexander Stuart in 1863 "I would give anything to make a pilgrimage to the old place, and when the war is over quietly spend the rest of my days there." J.E.B Stuart never returned to his birthplace and boyhood home, but thanks to a group of local citizens you today can visit the site where one of the greatest soldiers to sit upon a horse learned to ride. Laurel Hill is located in the far southwestern part of Patrick County on the dividing line between the piedmont and the mountains and within sight of the boundary line of North Carolina and Virginia. The seventy-five acre site, owned by the J.E.B. Stuart Birthplace Preservation Trust, is open to the public for walking tours and annual events including a Revolutionary War encampment in the spring, and a Civil War encampment in the fall.

GOLFING

Olde Mill Golf Resort: A well-known, beautiful and challenging course. It's one of the state's finest. Call (276) 398-2638 or 398-2211 for more information.

Skyland Lakes: A good course to test your skills with plenty of water and winding creeks. Phone (276) 728-4923.

FISHING

Crooked Creek Wildlife Management Area: In the mountains about four or five miles southwest of Hillsville, VA, there's a beautiful little stream where almost anyone can catch trout.

It's called the Crooked Creek Wildlife Management Area , a state facility operated by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Crooked Creek is unique in several respects.

The area covers some 1,600 acres of high country and meadows. Rabbits, squirrels, grouse, wild turkey and deer pull hunters from all over Southwest Virginia during hunting season. But trout fishing is the big attraction. Crooked Creek is one of several fee-fishing areas maintained by the game department throughout sections of Virginia that are high, cool and clean enough for trout to live.

The term "fee-fishing area" means that, in addition to having a regular fishing license, anglers must pay a $4 daily fee. That $4, however, buys quite a lot.

Most streams are stocked with trout three or four times a year.

Crooked Creek, on the other hand, is stocked with a fresh supply of scrappy, flashing trout every night except Sunday from mid-March to Labor Day. That means you're guaranteed there are trout in the stream.

No guarantee that they'll bite (though hatchery-raised trout are fairly cooperative); just an assurance that other anglers haven't caught everything days before you arrive.

There are six miles of Crooked Creek to fish in the wildlife management area. Three miles are the stocked section; the other three miles are left as native brook trout waters and are not stocked.

This is a beautiful place to get a youngster started trout fishing. Not only is Crooked Creek stocked every night, but the creek banks aren't cleared either. As a result, there's very little room to fish from the bank.

This is a gentle, shallow stream that must be waded to be fished right. And that is a prospect that appeals to all ages.

A well-stocked concession stand beside the parking area sells licenses and permits, as well as drinks, sandwiches, even meals. There are also rest rooms and sheltered picnic tables.

Natural or artificial baits may be used at Crooked Creek. After Labor Day, the stream reverts to regular statewide regulations, and a trout license is required in addition to regular fishing licenses.

A brochure is available from Virginia Game Department, 4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230. Phone (804) 367-1000.

RESTAURANTS and SHOPPING

The Restaurant at Chateau Morrisette: Enjoy elegant dining in a relaxed scenic atmosphere. Nestled atop the Blue Ridge Parkway, Château Morrisette offers a most unique lunch and dinner menu. Lunch 11-2 Wed-Sat and 11-5 Sunday, Dinner 6-9pm Fri-Sat. For reservations or information Call (540)-593-2865 or see The Restaurant at Chateau Morrisette

The Pine Tavern:Dining at the The Pine Tavern is truly a delight to the senses; enjoy everything from the unique cuisine prepared fresh by chef Michael Gucciardo to the live blues, jazz, latin and bluegrass played every weekend. Dinner Wed-Sun 5-10pm, Brunch Sat-Sun 11am-2pm, Reservations call (540)-745-4482. Located in Floyd, VA, milepost 165 (Tuggles Gap) to VA SR 8.

Oddfellas Cantina:Oddfellas Cantina has a relaxed atmosphere and fantastic whole foods that make a remarkable venue for live music. Specializing in "Appalachian Latino" cuisine, vegetarian dishes and Floyd County raised beef, Oddfellas has something for everyone. Dinner Wed-Sat 5-10pm, Brunch 10am-3pm, Call (540)745-3463. Located at 110A N. Locust St in Floyd, VA, milepost 165 (Tuggles Gap) to VA SR 8.

Rap's Orchard Gap: With gas, groceries, and picnic supplies. Rap's Orchard Gap is conventiently located on the parkway! Also available are souvenirs and local crafts. Located between mileposts 193 and 194 at the entrance to Lonesome Pine Cabins. Phone (276) 398-4200.

Area Shopping includes the gift, craft and antique stores of Meadows of Dan, Cana, Fancy Gap and Hillsville. The old-timey Mayberry General Store is located at milepost 180 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. In Floyd, VA, visit the famous School House Fabrics, as well as the Harvest Moon, a full-service health food store, plus, The New Mountain Mercantile, an artists co-op featuring local arts and crafts.

New Mountain Mercantile An Eclectic Blend of Artistic Gifts ... From bent willow furniture To windchimes and watercolors ... New Mountain Mercantile offers an exciting array of Local, Regional and Ethnic handcrafts, gifts and collectibles (representing over 100 local and regional artists and craftspersons). The Mercantile carries safari animals and toys for kids, handmade paper, cards and books, soothing music and aromatherapy oils and body care products. A relaxed shopping experience ... Open Year Round. Only six miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway milepost #165 Floyd, VA. (276) 745-4278.

OTHER ACTIVITIES

Primeland Sporting Clay Range (276) 251-8012 Primland Resort

Horseback Riding at the Cliffview Trading Post in Galax, VA (276) 238-1530

Canoeing at New River Outfitters. Call (800) 982-9190 in Jefferson, NC or (336) 982-9192.


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