It’s been a couple of weeks since my visit, but I’ve finally been able to put together my second Roanoke post. Check out Part 1 of my Roanoke posts: The food!
The beauty of Roanoke is not something I fully appreciated until I moved away after college. When you’re in the Roanoke Valley, you’re surrounded by the gentle, rolling Blue Ridge Mountains. I didn’t realize how much I loved those mountains until I took up residence in the DC swamp (No, I know it wasn’t actually a swamp). But while gorgeous in its own way, DC can’t beat the beautiful blues.
One of the most unique things in Roanoke is that giant 90 foot neon star atop Mill Mountain. It’s where Roanoke gets its nickname, the Star City. To get there is just a quick drive up Mill Mountain. And the views from their are so worth it. You can see all of downtown and beyond. I noticed that they now have a sign up there telling you the names of the mountains you can see. That’s pretty awesome.
The Farmer’s Market and Downtown Roanoke
Most of my Roanoke Food post centered around downtown Roanoke. So, if you find yourself down there, you’ll definitely want to check out the market on weekends. You can’t miss it. Tables have everything from produce to handmade goods. While I was there last weekend, there was also some live bluegrass happening. It’s definitely one of my fave things to do when I’m in town. There are also a lot of brick and mortar shops along the same strip as the market stalls.
Taubman Museum of Art
Taubman didn’t open until after I moved away, at the end of 2008. The design of the building, however, was in great contention while I lived there. Many argue that it disrupts the overall look of downtown, but personally, I love it. The modern glass and metal design is pretty in its own way. I’ve only been once, but I was fairly impressed with the space. It’s small, but definitely worth a visit.
Science Museum of Western Virginia and & Hopkins Planetarium
I haven’t actually been since I was a little kid. However, on my last visit, we decided to dip into the building just to check it out. It was recently remodeled and I wanted to see the building. Once we got inside, I realized it was so much more than it used to be. Now, in addition to the museum, there’s a planetarium, a butterfly garden, and an awesome roof deck with a fantastic view of the city. This is a must-see if you’re there with kids. Or if you just want to check out the view!
The Grandin neighborhood is definitely worth checking out. There are shops, cupcakes, Pops, a coffee shop, restaurants, TWO dive bars, the food co-op, and a great independent movie theater. this is where Roanoker’s go to have any hope of seeing a movie that is not in wide release. The charm of the theater is really great. I once saw a movie here in a theater that had all of 10 seats. Just awesome.
And finally, if you want to see the most beautiful place in the world (I’ll admit I haven’t seen much of the world, and I’m totally biased, but this post wouldn’t complete without this), then you need to visit . Just take a drive or walk around “the loop” that fully circles the university. The views from the top of the hill looking back toward the library take my breath away every time. I did spend 4 of the best years of my life (so far!) living there, but I really think its beauty is apparent to anyone.
There’s no way I could cover everything about Roanoke on the blog, but I hope I’ve given a little insight about why it’s actually a pretty cool little city. I may have moved away, but I certainly never mind going back to visit.