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Salem's historic district, civic and athletic centers and lively farmers market offer plenty to do for first-time visitors to the city as well as longtime residents.
Marvel at the natural wonders the caverns have to offer, including the 57-ton Wedding Bell formation. Gift and glassware shops also offered. 5753 W.Main Street, Salem: (540) 380-2085 /Group rates available.
The park, which was voted "Best Park" in a recent Roanoker magazine reader poll, features play areas for kids,as well as plenty of open lawns for picnics, sunbathing or leisurely strolls. Monroe, Salem: (540) 375-3057
The new sports facility offers softball fields and locker room facilities. Teams from around the region compete in tournaments each summer. 1000 Union Street, Salem: (540) 375-4021
Held on the second Saturday every September in downtown Salem and Longwood Park, this festival is one of the largest arts and crafts fairs in the southeastern U.S. Main Street, Salem: (540) 387-0267
Opened in 1995, the stadium is home to the Salem Avalanche, the Class A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. Seats 6,000. 1004 Texas Street, Salem: (540) 389-3333
Established in 1842, Roanoke College was one of the few Southern colleges to remain in operation during the Civil War. The campus features many historic buildings - some of which pre-date the Civil War, as well as Olin Hall, which houses a theater and an art and sculpture gallery. 221 College Lane, Salem: (540) 375-2500
The Salem Civic Center hosts concerts, conferences and other regional events. 1001 Roanoke Boulevard, Salem: (540) 375-3004 or (800) 288-2122
Shoppers can find bounties of farm-fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and plants. Open six days a week, April through December. Main & Broad Streets, Salem: (540) 387-0267
Housed in the William-Brown House-Store, built in 1840, the museum follows Salem's rich history from its Native American roots to the modern era. The house itself was moved during the 1980's from its original site to its current location. 801 E.Main Street, Salem: (540) 389-6760
Held the second Sunday each December, the tour kicks off at the Historical Society and visits five historical and architecturally interesting homes decked out for the holidays; admission charged. Salem: (540) 389-6760
Vinton is strategically located alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway. The town shows its civic pride in the annual Dogwood Festival and the Vinton War Memorial. While a large number of the town's residents are employed in nearby Roanoke, Vinton remains an independant and vibrant community with a character all of its own.
Held each August at the Vinton Farmer's Market, the festival hosts nationally known bluegrass acts, local talent competition and gospel music. 204 Lee Avenue, Vinton: (540) 983-0613 or 345-8548
This stretch of highway offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire country. Whether it's fall foliage, occassional winter snows or deep summer greenery, the Parkway, which winds its way through the Blue Ridge Mountains, attracts visitors from all over the country. (540) 342-6025 or (800) 635-5535
Sponsored by the Vinton Chamber of Commerce, the parade is held annually on the Thursday after Thanksgiving. Highlights include clowns, bands and floats. Downtown Vinton: (540) 343-1364
Open year-round, the Market, which provides stalls for 26 vendors, offers fresh produce, cut flowers, crafts and baked goods, as well as other activities throughout the year. 204 Lee Avenue, Vinton: (540) 983-0613
Standing directly in front of Vinton's new Municipal Building, this majestic clock tower once stood in front of A.J. Rankin's jewelry store. 311 S.Pollard Street, Vinton.
Originated in the 1950's, the annual Dogwood Festival provides an opportunity for the community to come together. The festival, which offers something for the entire family, includes a parade, band competitions, arts and crafts by local and regional artists, a 3K run, softball tournament and the Miss Dogwood Pagent. Downtown Vinton: (540) 983-0613
Constructed in 1948, the Memorial is one of the community's focal points. In addition to providing catering for banquets, receptions and business meetings, the War Memorial provides a central meeting site for local clubs and organizations. 814 E.Washington Avenue, Vinton: (540) 983-0645
Information provided by the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce
Roanoke is rich in history, boasting numerous buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as three areas on the National Register of Historic Districts - the Historic Market Area, Warehouse Row and Old Southwest. Roanoke's Center Square combines its past with the future through a grouping of three museums, a planetarium, theater and the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge. The following are just a few of the attractions and historic sites around the Roanoke area.
The museum offers examples of 19th & 20th-Century paintings, sculpture, graphic art and Appalachian folk art. Tours, films, classes and frequent performances are also held here. One Market Square, Roanoke: (540) 342-5760
The Council is the major voice for more than 75 cultural groups and individual artists in the Roanoke area. The Council's regular programs include the "City Art Show" and "Center Scholars", as well as regional art newsletters, highlighting local, state and national cultural issues. Volunteers welcome! 30 E.Church Ave., Roanoke: (540) 342-5790
The Institute, which is known as the center for Blue Ridge folklore and based at Ferrum College, highlights music, crafts and decorative arts. Visitors can witness folk culture through gallery exhibits and a 17th-Century German-American farmstead. Ferrum College, Ferrum: (540) 365-4416
Local lore says that whomever drank out of this landmark fountain would return to Roanoke. Salem Avenue & Market Street, Roanoke.
Built in 1906 during the era of horse-drawn fire wagons, the station houses modern equipment today. Among the memorabilia still inside is a functional pole to slide down. Church Street, Roanoke.
The museum which is based in what was the first public high school for blacks in Western Virginia, preserves and interprets the achievements of African-Americans native to southwestern Virginia. Exhibits include artwork from local artists as well as rotating works from Africa and museums around the country. 523 Harrison Avenue, Roanoke: (540) 345-4818
This is the oldest continuously operating farmers market in the entire state. Campbell & Market Streets, Roanoke: (540) 342-2028>
The college's theater was built in 1924 and the art annex, which included the first exhibition gallery in the area, was erected in 1948. The college sponsors hundreds of free events each year that are open to the public, including an international film series, art exhibits, dance productions and the Literary Festival. Hollins: (540) 362-6000
Built more than a century ago, the hotel offers old-world charm and outstanding service, as well as a 63,000-square-foot conference center. 100 Shenandoah Avenue, Roanoke: (540) 985-5900
The 710,000-acre forest lies within the Roanoke area and extends to the western tip of the state. The diverse vegetation and elevations found in the forest create habitats for many species of animals. Hunting, fishing, camping and picnicing are all offered here. Roanoke: (540) 265-6054
One of the most celebrated non-profit theaters on the East Coast, Mill Mountain attracts some of the finest talent in the country. Main Stage Theatre seats 411. One Market Square, Roanoke: (540) 342-5740 or (800) 317-6455 /Group rates available.
Situated atop Mill Mountain, the zoo features 45 species of native and exotic animals on a 10-acre site. Some of the animals include a Siberian tiger, red pandas, tree kangaroos and numerous reptiles. A children's petting area is also offered. Mill Mountain, Roanoke: (540) 343-3241 /Group rates available.
Perhaps Roanoke's most famous landmark, this 100-foot monument is the world's largest manmade star. The star was built in 1949 as a symbol of Roanoke's progressive spirit. Mill Mountain, Roanoke: (540) 342-6025 or (800) 635-5535
The museum takes visitors on a trip that spans the 10,000-year history of the Roanoke area. Exhibits show early settlements of Native Americans through the present day. One Market Square, Center in the Square, Roanoke: (540) 342-5770
The museum features a Chesapeake Bay "Touch Tank" with live marine animals native to the Chesapeake Bay area, a bubble room and the Learning Theater, Hopkins Planetarium and Star Shows, as well as traveling exhibits from around the country. One Market Square, Center in the Square, Roanoke: (540) 342-5710 /Group Rates Available.
Located about 45 minutes southeast of Roanoke, Smith Mountain Lake has earned a reputation as one of the best fishing spots in the eastern U.S. The area also offers miles of hiking trails, as well as boat launch facilities, picnic areas and camping areas; visitor center. Moneta: (540) 721-1203 or (800) 676-8203
The park is home to an early Blue Ridge settlement, a working 19th-Century farm and a one-room schoolhouse. Visitors can also learn how to cook over an open fireplace, weave on a loom and make furniture; open April through November. 3900 Rutrough Road, Roanoke: (540) 427-1800 /Group rates available.
Stroll down the museum's Main Street and view early automobiles, fire engines, carriages and aircraft. Also featured is the largest collection in the United States of Class J No.611 steam engines. 303 Norfolk Avenue, Roanoke: (540) 342-5670 /Group rates available.