Tapestry of Art and Nature
The Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachians are some of the oldest mountain ranges in the world: With age, they say, comes beauty.
Nature takes center stage with mountains and streams forming a landscape unique to Virginia. The region is particularly appealing to those who enjoy camping, hiking, hunting and fishing. Witness nature’s handiwork in “The Grand Canyon of the South” at Breaks Interstate Park, near the Virginia and Kentucky State Lines.
The 1600-foot gorge carved by the Big Sandy River has some of the most spectacular scenery in the state. This park has wheelchair-accessible picnic and lodging facilities.
In the westernmost tip of Virginia near the Tennessee state line, take an exciting chairlift ride at Natural Tunnel State Park, called the eighth wonder of the world, or learn about the area wildlife, geology and railroads through tactile exhibits.
Accessible boat ramps, fishing piers, swimming pools and cabins are also available at other state parks, such as Claytor Lake near Dublin. Experience the relaxation of fishing at one of the finest lakes in the region.
Also enjoy these activities at other parks in the area, like Hungry Mother State Park in Marion and Grayson Highland State Park close to Mount Rogers, the highest point in Virginia at 5,729 feet. The Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, part of the Jefferson National Forest, also offers accessible fishing and picnic facilities.
As it rolls en route to the Smokies, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a pastoral byway, one of the most scenic roadways in the nation. Enjoy breathtaking views of mountains and farmland, not only in the spring and summer, but also in the fall when the mountains glow with the colors of the changing leaves.
Mabry Mill, the most photographed spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway, is lovely any time of year.
Small towns like Tazewell nurture the rich history of America’s first frontier with the stories of pioneer and Native American legends such as Daniel Boone cutting the Wilderness Trail through the Appalachian Mountains in 1776. This trail drew hard working settlers to the mountains.
Get a sense of the hardships in the lives of settlers involved in the nation’s westward expansion at Historic Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park in Tazewell or at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, located at the very tip of Virginia. Both offer tactile exhibits and amenities for visitors with hearing disabilities.
Interpreting Native American life in 1215, Wolf Creek Indian Village in Bastian, offers the modern convenience of an electric scooter for visitors with mobility disabilities.
The heritage of these pioneers’ exploits form a unique culture that is shown in traditional crafts that are a cottage industry in these Southern mountains.
Don't just look for these crafts in special shops – they're sold in local museum gifts shops, drug stores, and even grocery stores.
This same heritage is reflected in the folklore and music that is passed down from generation to generation and lives through a wealth of musicians. The Crooked Road Music Trail is a driving route connecting the major heritage music venues through Southwest Virginia, the birthplace of both country and bluegrass.
The town of Floyd is known for its Friday Night Jamborees at the Floyd Country Store, as well as accessible venues at the fire department and in the streets where the rich tones of mandolin and banjo drift out into the night air.
The roots of country and blue grass are deep in this region. If you listen closely you can hear the spirit of the mountains echoing the melodies of this Old Time music.