Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

September 4, 2018

TRAVEL GUIDE: Late Summer Getaway in Virginia's Blue Ridge.

      At the end of August, I went on the most fun weekend getaway! The great thing is that it was right here in my new home state of Virginia, but in a new-to-me part of the state. Virginia's Blue Ridge made for the perfect late summer getaway, and I can't wait to share all the details about where I stayed, and what I did in today's blog post!  

     Today's post was written in collaboration with Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge. Thank you to Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge for hosting me on this trip, and providing complimentary meals, activities and accommodations. 

Roanoke Travel Guide


     Virginia's Blue Ridge (also known as the Roanoke valley) is the region in the southwestern part of the state that includes the city of Roanoke, and the surrounding towns and counties.  This area is 250 miles from DC, 50 miles from the state border of North Carolina, and 120 to the state border of Tennessee. It was just under two hours for me to drive there from Charlottesville- and it was a very easy after work drive! This is the ideal destination for a weekend road trip if you live in the South. Interstates 81 and 581 run through the area, as well as US Route 220 (which goes to the Triad area of North Carolina).
     If you live a little too far away for a weekend road trip to Virginia's Blue Ridge, don't fear! Roanoke is home to a large regional airport, and Amtrak services the area as well.


     My friend Cara from Caralina Style joined me on this weekend getaway, and we both loved our lodging! We stayed a couple miles outside of downtown Roanoke (which was convenient since we were exploring outside of Roanoke as well), but we did enjoy discovering that there were some hotels located directly in downtown as well.

  •      Home2Suites by Hilton: This is the hotel that we stayed at! I absolutely loved it. I typically prefer to stay at Hilton hotels when I travel, and I've stayed at a ton of Hampton Inns over recent years. This was my first time staying at  Home2Suites Hilton property, and I think this might be my favorite Hilton option now! It's a similar type of hotel to a Hampton Inn, but it has a very modern and millennial feel to the decor of the hotel. I absolutely loved the bright and colorful lobby. The room that Cara and I shared was HUGE- I feel like we could have moved in! This hotel is located across the street from the Valley View Mall, and near the airport and I-581 (which takes you downtown). 
  •      Hotel Roanoke: We didn't stay here, but we did visit this beautiful historic hotel for breakfst one day, so I wanted to give it a shout-out. This expansive hotel is located right next to Roanoke's downtown. It's a historic hotel (now managed by Hilton), and is on the National Register of historic places! The parts of the hotel that I got to see were beautiful. 


     The food was so good in Virginia's Blue Ridge that I wrote a separate blog post all about where we ate and drank! Check it out here

     Things I Did: 

     *River Tubing with Twin River Outfitters: This was the part of the weekend that I was most excited for, and this excursion didn't disappoint! Cara and I got to enjoy a morning of tubing on the James River in Buchanan, VA. Twin River Outfitters is located right on the river in Buchanan, and they provide all sorts of river adventures during the months of April-October! They offer canoeing, kayaking and rafting in addition to tubing. The tubing trips are really affordable- $20 per person, and you can go down the specific section of river up to two times! The staff there was so helpful in getting us ready to hit the river, and before I knew it we were out there. Tubing on the James River was on my Summer 2018 Bucket List, and I'm so glad I got to check this off and have fun while doing it! There was also a really cool suspension walking bridge over the James River (right next to Twin River Outfitters), so Cara and I checked that out for some photos after our river float.

     *Visit local breweries: Virginia's Blue Ridge is known for its abundance of local breweries and craft beer! If you're a beer lover, you will love discovering all of the breweries in Roanoke and the surrounding towns. (P.S. for wine lovers- there are some wineries in the area as well!) Cara and I had lunch and beers at Ballast Point Brewery in Daleville, which I wrote more about in my Restaurant Guide post from last week. 

     *Stargaze at the Roanoke Star: Roanoke's nickname is "Star City", and there are stars to be found all over the area (on signs, murals, etc). The most prominent star of all is THE Roanoke Star. It was first illuminated in 1949, and is the largest man-made light up star in the world! It sits atop Mill Mountain, and you can conveniently drive up at night to see it up close and in person (for free!). There's a parking lot at the top of the mountain, and a balcony viewing area as well, which provides great views of Roanoke and beyond. 

     *Taubman Museum of Art: I have to be honest- I'm not much of an art museum person. It's just never been my thing, and I tend to move through them quickly. Because of this, I was surprised at how much I loved our visit to the Taubman Museum of Art in downtown Roanoke! This is a beautiful art museum, and it's also free to visit! I can truly say that I enjoyed each exhibit that they had up. There was a modern art gallery, a moving photography exhibit, and a gallery featuring beautiful couture purses as well. A little bit of everything! This is an absolute must-visit if you're in the area- it's free to go, so why not? 

     More Things To Do:

     *Roanoke Farmer's Market: Unfortunately the outdoor vendors didn't show up (for inclement weather) on the morning that Cara and I were going to go, and I'm bummed we couldn't make it! Roanoke generally has a large and thriving farmers market, located centrally in the downtown area. 

     *Roanoke Pinball Museum: I've never visited any sort of museum that specialized in a certain game- the Pinball Museum sounded awesome!! It's located downtown in the Center in the Square. 

     *Go Mountain Biking: Virginia's Blue Ridge is known as a hot spot for mountain biking on the East Coast! Mill Mountain Park, which Cara and I visited to see the Roanoke Star, has lots of biking trails, and that's located near the city. There are also tons more places and trails to ride on in the surrounding counties! 

     *Shopping: There are some unique local boutiques downtown which are fun to check out. Our hotel was also right by the Valley View Mall, which we checked out briefly on Saturday. (Hey- Cara and I do love fashion blogging so no surprise there!)

     *Day trip to Natural Bridge: This is located just 45 minutes north of Roanoke, and if you have never been here you absolutely MUST! It is a nature based attraction like no other. I didn't go here on this specific trip- but my dad and I actually stopped and visited Natural Bridge a few years ago on one of our drives from North to South, on our way back to my college in North Carolina! Natural Bridge is a state park which quite literally contains a "natural bridge", made of rock. It is incredible to see it in person, plus it's in a beautiful area with trails! I wrote a blog post all about Natural Bridge a few years ago- check it out here

     *Visit a winery: We did get to check out a local brewery, but this part of Virginia also has many local wineries! I'd love to visit one in the future and compare the experience to the Central Virginia wineries near Charlottesville. 

     Roanoke and Virginia's Blue Ridge was a perfect destination for a late summer weekend getaway. There were lots of fun activities, great food, and it's also an affordable place to visit, which is so important to me in picking destinations for vacations and weekend trips! As a single 20-something woman who is still young in her career, finishing paying off school, and saving for the future, I don't have an unlimited budget right now for vacations and travel. During this year and the next few following, my goal is to take as many fun trips possible with friends, but to be able to do so in affordable places, where you can get the most for your money. Virginia's Blue Ridge definitely checks that box. Cara and I had a great time, and I hope to return to this part of my new home state!

     Have you ever been to this part of Virginia? Or taken a fun weekend trip recently?

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese 



  1. Roanoke seems like such a fun place to visit! It's not far from here, and many of my friends have been. I need to plan a visit soon :) The hotel you stayed at was so bright and pretty... very Annaliese!

  2. Such a pretty place! That food looks delicious! I have been river tubing before and we had so much fun! They have a few rivers close to my house we can go river tubing!

  3. Great pictures! Looks like you had a great mix of chill and visits! + great food

  4. you're the cutest - this looks like such a peaceful getaway!

  5. I am originally from, born and raised in Virginia Beach, VA. We just bought a house in NC but I miss VA so much <3 I L O V E the Blue Ridge Parkway, it's so gorgeous! Loved reading about your trip!

  6. I've never thought of visiting Virginia but this looks like so much fun!


  7. You came right to my hometown! Hahah my husband works in downtown Roanoke and we live ten minutes away, so we love everything it has to offer! The market is awesome, so I'm sad you missed out on it because of weather! Glad you enjoyed it! :)

  8. What a fun trip! I've never been to this part of Virginia even though I grew up a few hours away in Charlotte but it looks like I've been missing out!


  9. Ah river tubing!! I used to go with friends when I was a kid. I had no idea this area was so hopping. My brother lives in eastern NC - I'll bring this up as a weekend trip spot next time we're on the east coast!

  10. I love this! It's so great learning about hidden gems off the beaten path. Also, your first dress (stripes) is adorable!!

  11. I just love the Blue Ridge mountains. Looks like you had a lot of fun in Roanoke!!! It's such a beautiful city. If you enjoy skiing, there are lots of fun ski resorts in the area to check out this winter.

  12. Roanoke is such a great little town, and the Blue Ridge mountains are gorgeous! I'm so glad you got to experience it.

  13. How fun! One of my dearest friend lives in Roanoke now and I haven't had a chance to visit her – I will have to see if she's been to a few of these spots yet!

  14. Ahh this looks like such a fun trip! I've really been wanting to visit the Blue Ridge! The tubing portion of your trip sounds fum - it's like nature's lazy river!

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

  15. I love visiting the mountains in the summertime and this looks like such a fun getaway! Visiting local breweries and tubing is literally my weekend language. Lol

  16. What a fun end-of-summer trip. I had no idea that there was so much to do in Roanoke! It's been forever since I went tubing.

  17. I totally have to go! VA is pretty close to me and would make a great weekend trip. I'm going to save this post so I can reference it for later :)

  18. That sounds like a very fun trip! River tubing is something I have never done and I know I would love!

  19. I want to go!! looks like such a fun place. Loved your travel guide girl.

  20. What a fun getaway! I love how colorful and contemporary the hotel is and I would love some chicken and waffles right about now!

  21. I absolutely love your getaway pictures. Definitely looks fun enough to visit!

    xx Tatyanna

  22. I loveee all the gems you found in Roanoke! It is always awesome to go to places that have a lot of history AND lots of things to do and try. The food honestly looks amazing and it that hotel you stayed in looked perfect! This looks like such a fun place to visit!

  23. Okay adding this city to the bucket list! Also might I add, you've got the cutest, most colorful style and it makes me smile!


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