Roanoke

View of Downtown Roanoke from the Mill Mountain Star, Oct. 29, 2016.

The New River Valley (NRV) is always alive and bustling, even when school is not in session. The area offers beautiful hiking trails, mountain biking, amazing food and a rich history. While Virginia Tech can sometimes seem like a “bubble” around Blacksburg, there are so many more hidden treasures if one ventures a little further beyond Interstate 81. Through every season, there is something special for everyone, but here are a few suggestions to get your adventures started. These destinations and events might just be the perfect thing to get through the next exam season or summer spent on a seemingly empty campus.

The New River Valley during the fall is perfect for anyone looking to spruce up their Instagram; the leaves change colors and transform the Appalachian Mountains. Apple picking is extremely popular here, with multiple locations in the area. 

Doe Creek Farm offers a stunning venue, pick-your-own apples and even wine tastings on Sundays to get everyone in the mood this fall season. The farm also has a restaurant on-site that specializes in crafted cocktails. 

Sinkland Farms is a popular destination for students any time of the year. In the fall, their Pumpkin Festival brings community members of all ages to pick their perfect pumpkin and enjoy tractor rides, games, axe throwing, great food and more. This year, Sinkland Farms is adding a Friday Fall Concert Series, where local artists will be performing 7-10 p.m. while guests can enjoy food trucks, a beer and a wine terrace. 

Just a hop, skip and a jump away is Jamisons’ Orchard in Roanoke, Virginia. The farm and store create the perfect atmosphere representing the New River Valley. Visitors can buy fresh (when in season) apples, nectarines, vegetables, peaches and more. Their store on the grounds sells homemade apple butter, peach butter, mountain honey, hard candy, Amish country cheese and candy made right in front of your eyes. 

While some attractions are available all year round, there are many festivals that bring tourists and locals together to enjoy new and exciting events. These festivals also get to highlight the artistry and culture of the community while bringing in talent from across the country. During the end of July, FloydFest attracts all to hear music of all types in Patrick County, Virginia. This past year, artists like The Avett Brothers, Billy Strings and Old Crow Medicine Show played while attendees hammocked, camped and drank at the beer and wine gardens. The nine-stage setup provides entertainment for all who come. 

If you’re in a hungrier mood, the Blacksburg Chocolate Festival is on the horizon. Sponsored by the Rotary Club, the Chocolate Festival is taking over downtown Blacksburg 12-4 p.m. on Oct. 17. Proceeds from the festival will go to local and international charities the Rotary Club partners with. There will also be live music from Off Our Rockers during most of the festival. 

No matter where you go or what you want to see, the New River Valley offers a stunning array of attractions and events to cater to every crowd. For more information on local businesses and events, check out the New River Valley website, newrivervalleyva.org