Words by Thomas Martin, photography by Jennifer Chase
The Hotel Roanoke has been a cornerstone of the city’s social scene for more than a century, owing in part to its stellar affiliated restaurant, The Regency Room. Chef Stephen DeMarco delivers Southern cuisine with a French twist and an emphasis on local and seasonal. With graceful outdoor space, plush rooms and spa services that can be delivered in-room, the hotel itself is the epitome of old-time splendor. hotelroanoke.com
Chateau Morrisette’s winemaking legacy spans back three generations. The on-site restaurant ensures that your wine will be expertly paired with dishes such as this bone marrow with benne seed za’atar, pickled shallot and parsley, and grilled flatbread. And the estate is dog-friendly, too! thedogs.com
The Appalachian Trail, the longest hiking-only trail in the world, is just a stone’s throw away from the District—but it is even closer to Roanoke, the largest city on the entire trail. Feeling adventurous? Stop at McAfee Knob, the most-photographed spot along the Appalachian Trail, for a breathtaking photo op on a rocky outcropping overlooking Virginia’s Blue Ridge. virginia.org/appalachiantrail/
The O. Winston Link Museum’s collection includes large-format photographs that artist-photographer O. Winston Link took to document the last days of the steam-propelled Norfolk and Western Railway and captured the rural towns along the line. Also on display are Native American artifacts, a letter signed by Thomas Jefferson and various military medals. Local history is featured, including records from the city’s eminent families, as well as a collection of dresses fashioned from the repurposed cotton sacks used to package grain. These dresses were quite popular during the Great Depression, and the trend continued well into the 1940s. roanokehistory.org
Undoubtedly one of the best perks of traveling to Roanoke for a locavore is a stop at the Historic Roanoke City Market. The market serves as a microcosm of the regional foodscape, including local produce and fresh meats, as well as artwork and jewelry made by local craftsmen. It’s open daily year-round. downtownroanoke.org
Nothing says “I’m in the South” quite like a biscuit. Scratch Biscuit Company dishes up more than 20 unique styles of biscuits, including the Jezebel Biscuit, the Cowboy Crippler and—in honor of the classic Southern diss—the Bless Your Heart biscuit. Breakfast and lunch on weekdays and Saturdays, and enjoy the brunch menu on Sundays. scratchbiscuit.com
Chateau Morrisette produces reds, whites, dessert wines and fruit wines with what experts say is distinctly Virginian character. Be sure to visit the tasting room, and don’t miss the chance to tour the winery’s cellar and get up close and personal with the winemaking process.
The historic Grandin Theatre opened as a cinema in 1932 and showed its first movie, Arrowsmith. Financial troubles led the theater to close intermittently throughout the next 80 years, but ever since major renovations in 2002 the theater has played a significant role in Roanoke’s arts scene. The theater now plays new releases as well as classics from earlier years. grandintheatre.com
Home of the television show “Salvage Dawgs,” Black Dog Salvage offers a variety of home décor, upcycled furniture and unique salvaged gifts. New works by local artisans help keep the inventory of Black Dog’s two Roanoke warehouses fresh and inspired. From custom woodworking to clawfoot tubs, Black Dog Salvage is likely to have exactly what you were looking for, even if you didn’t know you were looking for it. blackdogsalvage.com
At Local Roots, the name says it all: organic, locally-sourced ingredients help this farm-to-table restaurant ensure that its menus reflect both the season and the geography of its location, giving all its dishes a Southwestern Virginia flair. This vegetable salad uses local greens as well as cheese from Curtin’s Dairy, a goat farm in nearby Franklin County.