Hidden away on a mountain ridge at the end of a steep, windy – but beautiful! – drive west from Roanoke into West Virginia is an old fire-tower that has been converted into one of the best bird-watching stations in the region. Dubbed the “Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory,” this 3,812 foot high perch offers views…

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In an earlier post, I mentioned what a cherished spot Hanging Rock Battlefield Park has been for our family. Last year, the area became an even better place for family adventures, with the opening of Hinchee Park. This 235 acre tract of land, recently donated to the county, connects Hanging Rock with Carvins Cove Reserve…

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There are few scenes as picturesque as the view descending into Catawba Valley on Rt. 311. Yet it wasn’t until recently that our family took the time to explore more of this beautiful valley. We entered the valley from the north, cutting west from Daleville on Catawba Road, Rt 779. It was a fine autumn…

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In 1906, Theodore Roosevelt was president, there were 45 states in the Union, and the Panama Canal was under construction. Meanwhile, in the booming town of Roanoke, the population had surpassed 20,000, the downtown streets had just been paved with brick, and east of town, the Niagara Dam had just been constructed on the Roanoke…

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Northwest of town lies a low-key spot of woodland beauty that is also steeped in history. Hanging Rock Battlefield Park sits at the corner of 419 and 311. It lies beside Masons Creek, which flows among small boulders and beneath rocky cliffs. Over the past several years, since our boys were very young, we have…

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East of town, tucked back behind Bonsack, lies Read Mountain, where a short climb affords one of the valley’s most beautiful views. The Read Mountain Preserve is 243 acres of scenic woodland and ridgetop, jutting out between the I-81 and Route 460 corridors. The hike up the mountainside, while steep in places, is manageable even…

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Fall is here, and according to a tree expert at Virginia Tech, it might be one of the prettiest, most colorful ones we’ve seen in quite some time. Peak fall color is expected from now until October 26, which makes these next few weeks the perfect time to take a little drive through the Blue…

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Where I-77 crosses the New River, there lies a picturesque and unique bit of early Virginia history: the Shot Tower State Park. Built over 200 years ago, the Shot Tower is an interesting testament to pioneer-era resourcefulness and enterprise. The tower stands 75 feet tall, and was constructed around 1807 by the entrepreneur Thomas Jackson.…

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One spot our family has consistently loved and returned to over and over is Roaring Run Falls in Eagle Rock. The Roanoke area is teeming with places that are rich in both natural beauty and fascinating history, and Roaring Run is one of the best of them all. Although the Roaring Run Falls trail has…

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Living in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a privilege we try not to take lightly, and we love to find new ways and new places to enjoy this beautiful area. But we also have our old favorite haunts, and one of those is Explore Park, located just southeast of Roanoke along the Blue Ridge Parkway…

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