Winter Wonders and the New River Valley

OK, anyone who knows me knows that I love being outdoors enjoying a hike or a kayaking expedition on the New River of Virginia. Now many feel that those are activities for the summer but what does one do in Giles County, VA in the winter? We have guests at Inn at Riverbend today during our first possible storm of the season and they are so looking forward to doing nothing that even I’m thinking – “OK, that could be fun.” Some are getting out the Cribbage board while some are putting on their jackets and reading their Nooks on the covered lower deck – the deer have already wandered through and they are hoping to see them again. I heard one comment about “…didn’t know there would be so many birds out at this time of year”. Another about “You know, we never take the time to just relax and enjoy ourselves but we are looking forward to a day of doing nothing”.

What other winter activities are there along the New River?

I’m a huge proponent of a hike to Cascade Falls. The trail is beautiful anytime of the year and the falls are always magnificent. Yet, there is something quite special about visiting them in the winter when snow blankets the ground and stalactites of ice surround the falls. The mountain laurel or rhododendron (I can never tell which is which) keeps some color in the viewscape and promises of blooms in the summer to come. The hush brought by the snow, almost eerie at first, becomes settling and relaxing as you realize that we very seldom get to hear quiet. And then the birds start singing…. Mountain Lake Lodge offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing along much of their 22 miles of trails. If you plan to rent equipment you do need to call ahead so that they have the proper gear up on the mountain. On days that are less blustery, many have taken a New River Sleigh Ride. Just imagine a cool winter float down the New River with your loved one and Another hike of note takes you to the Hanging Rock Migratory Raptor Observatory. The observatory rests on top of Peters Mountain at 3,800 feet. To get there you hike one mile along the Alleghany Trail. While September brings the highest count of Broad Wings, November/December brings the Red Tail Hawk and the Bald and Golden Eagles. Always a wonder to see. Afterwards, one can continue on a drive past the Hollow Hill Farm to see North American Bison (buffalo) and on to Paint Bank for lunch at The Swinging Bridge Restaurant where you can eat barbecue buffalo or buffalo burgers. Wonderful drive, hike and lunch! Another year-round fav for us takes us to Glen Alton Farm. Bank in the 30’s a Pearisburg banker built a private lodge out in the woods. Now part of the U.S. Forest Service, the farm has been restored offering beautiful views and a nice walk around streams, ponds, and the historic lodge and is a great place for bird watching as well.

What if you aren’t into the outdoor adventures?

The food around the New River Valley always commands attention. The Palisades Restaurant and Harvest Restaurant are all great choices offering farm-to-table fare and ever changing menus. The Giles County Historical Society curates the Andrew Johnston House and always has interesting things to talk about. One can always visit the town of Floyd where both visual and musical arts abound. Just up the road from there, look for Mabry Mill and/or visit one of the many wineries such as Villa AppalacciaAttimo Winery, or Chateau Morrisette. All of them get great comments from our guests. So come on out to the New River Valley, even in the winter. We can always find you something to do when you stay at our B&B in Pearisburg, Virginia!


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