Blacksburg, Virginia may be a college town—the proud home of Virginia Tech’s Hokies—but any visitor will immediately sense that it’s much more than just a temporary students’ home.
If you’re looking for a weekend of outdoor excursions, Blacksburg, Virginia, is the ideal retreat. Located in close proximity to various points on the Appalachian Trail—including the famed McAfee Knob—as well as a variety of walking and biking trails, rivers, and farms, Blacksburg offers a copious itinerary of outdoor adventures. This relaxed small town promises abundant bursts of fall foliage, as the Blue Ridge Mountains serve as Blacksburg's picturesque backdrop.
Planning a trip to Blacksburg? Here are the spots and activities that you can’t miss in this small town.
Wine and Dine
Grab your morning cup of joe at Bollo’s Bakery and Café, a local-favorite spot that features over 40 different coffees, handcrafted baked goods, and light vegetarian and vegan lunch options. Then get a taste of the local culture at the Blacksburg Farmers' Market, open year-round on Saturday mornings in downtown Blacksburg. Its vendors offer everything from farm-fresh produce to handmade pasta, and if you’re lucky, you may even catch some special visitors—the Poplar Hill alpacas. This local alpaca farm sells socks, scarves, gloves, and soaps made sustainably from soft-as-a-cloud alpaca fleece at its farmers' market booth.
Taste the unknown at Blacksburg Wine Lab, a wine bar focused on exposing guests to “lesser-known wines of the world, while educating their minds and their palates.” Start the meal with a sampling of featured meats and cheeses (if you’re feeling adventurous, add on a tinned seafood selection), then pair your wine selections with unique, seasonally-changing tapas dishes.
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For dinner, step back in time and enjoy a meal steeped in history at The Blacksburg Tavern, which is located on Main Street within the town’s original square. “When this home was built Main Street was a dirt road where horses pulled wagons and picket fences kept milk cows from roaming,” tavern owner Daniel Riley writes. Indulge in a traditional farmer’s menu, with standard offerings including your choice of Country Ham or Beef Brisket, served on biscuits or as a composed plate, or opt for a family-style selection of meats and sides.
At Beliveau Farm, owners Yvan and Joyce Beliveau transformed 165 acres “overgrown with brush” and a century-old farmhouse into a scenic modern wedding venue, complete with fragrant lavender fields, on-site hiking trails, and expansive treetop views. Beliveau Farm boasts a bevy of attractions and activities, including a charming inn, a boutique award-winning winery, and an innovative brewery. Sample some of the farm’s gluten-free and gluten-rich beers and tour the newly-installed solar panel field, a recent step towards the farm’s goal to go net-zero.
The Manor House at Beliveau Farm is ripe for romance; choose from one of the signature bed-and-breakfast rooms and let the inn plan the rest… literally. On its website, The Manor House writes, “We have everything you would want to create a memorable proposal…and we’ll help you plan the surprise and keep the secret.”
For an unforgettable afternoon adventure, head 20 minutes outside the city to Winterfrost Farm. Founded by mother-daughter duo Reagan and Sheila Miles, Winterfrost Farm focuses on rehabilitating rescue horses and connecting with the community through riding lessons, volunteer opportunities, and its non-profit Ride-a-Rescue Program, which allows visitors to admire Blacksburg’s scenic trails on horseback. But this isn’t just any horse ride—you’ll be riding a rescue horse as a part of the horses’ rehabilitation process. The program is 100% volunteer-operated and all proceeds go back to caring for the rescue horses. A fun afternoon activity that gives back to the community? Sounds like a win-win.
Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains are a playground for avid hikers, and Blacksburg is situated just 10 minutes away from various segments of the Appalachian trail. McAfee Knob is one of the area’s most popular hikes; an 8.8-mile journey round-trip, this hike up Catawba Mountain is no small task, yet its culminating panoramic view makes it one of the most popular spots on the Appalachian Trail.
Keep the exploratory spirit alive with a visit to Mountain Lake Lodge’s Adventure Center, an outdoor adventure zone furnished with treetop climbing and zip-lining courses, archery tag, mountain-biking paths, and an escape room.
No visit to Blacksburg is complete without a visit to Virginia Tech’s campus. In the fall, cheer on the Hokies in a football matchup at Lane Stadium; then, as a postgame activity, wander the rare old-growth forest near the stadium, where the dozens of white oak trees are estimated to be over 300 years old.
Arts and Culture
Performance art and visual arts share one roof at the Moss Arts Center, Virginia Tech’s hub for artistic engagement. Tour the rotating art galleries and be sure to catch a student-led dance or choir performance. If you’re craving more culture, head off campus and get a dose of history at the Historic Smithfield Plantation Home, a unique 18th-century property and the birthplace of two Virginia governors. End the day with an evening film at the Lyric Theater, known fondly as “the heart of Blacksburg.”