10 Outdoor Southwest Virginia Fall Adventures
With Autumn quickly approaching, the New River Valley is a great destination to experience the foliage and partake in numerous Fall activities. The Inn at Riverbend is the perfect Southwest Virginia destination to do both; our decks (yes, we have more than one!) are a prime spot for ‘leaf peeping’ while sipping fresh, local apple cider, and our Bed & Breakfast is only a short distance to several local attractions and events. As a ‘Virginia Green’ accommodation we are happy and eager to support other local companies, businesses and events as well as encouraging our guests to explore the surrounding natural environment. Staying at the Inn at Riverbend gives you the opportunity to support the local community while ‘falling into fall’ by hiking to Cascade Falls, apple picking, visiting a pumpkin patch, a scenic drive to view foliage and much more! Here are 10 of our favorite fall activities,events and drives that are a must-do during this time of the year….
LOCAL FALL OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
1. Hike to Cascade Falls
Cascades Falls has been rated one of the top 10 waterfalls in the country and is definitely a must-see when you are in the area. It is a round trip 4 mile hike with 2 different trail options (upper and lower). The upper trail is more flat and wide with a slight continual incline while the lower trail offers more stepping stones, paved walkways and sporadic areas of incline. No matter which tail you choose, this walk is welcoming to hikers of all levels. We recommend taking one path up and the other down so you can see it all! The trails and access to the waterfall remain open all year long and during the fall season the scenery is breathtaking. Both trails are surrounded by plants and trees making the hike an exceptional place to view foliage and fall colors.
2. Apple Picking and Cider Tasting
September and October is apple growing, picking, harvesting and cider season! Doe Creek Farm is a locally owned and operated farm only 15 minutes from the Inn at Riverbend and offers a variety of Autumn-themed activities. There is an orchard on the property that has been growing apples for over a century and where visitors are encouraged to get outside and pick their own apples. Want more than just apples? Not a problem! Doe Creek also offers cider, apple butter, apply syrup, apple jelly plus green apple and tomato chutney; it’s an apple paradise!
3. Visit a Pumpkin Patch
The pumpkin patch at Joe’s Trees, a family owned and operated farm, is located 30 minutes from the Inn at Riverbend and is a great way to spend a fall afternoon. The property is excellent for moseying about the patch to see all the different colored and uniquely shaped pumpkins as well as picking your perfect pumpkin to take home. Joe’s also offers another traditional fall activity; hayrides to see the pumpkin patch from a different perspective.
UPCOMING EVENTS IN THE NEW RIVER VALLEY
4. Fall Festivals
Pearisburg is hosting their 4th annual Scarecrow Festival on Saturday October, 13; something you do not want to miss! The festival will be open all day from 8:00 AM-9:00 PM so go in the morning afternoon or evening to enjoy local vendors, food, live music and many other activities
The 27th annual Pumpkin Festival at Sinkland Farms in Christiansburg screams Fall with activities such as pumpkin picking, hayrides, live music, blacksmith and chainsaw demos, getting lost in a corn maze, arts and crafts, beer tastings from their own brewery,a display of painted and carved pumpkins and much more! The festival operates for 5 consecutive weekends from Friday September 28 to Sunday October 28. Don’t forget your camera!
5. Bland County Festival of Leaves
Located under an hour from the Inn at Riverbend, the Bland County Festival of Leaves is a completely FREE (even free parking!) community event. The festival will host local food and craft vendors, provide continuous live musical and historical entertainment as well as other activities. Hop on VA Route 42 for a scenic foliage drive and support the community of Bland County on either Saturday October 13 or Sunday October 14.
6. Muddy ACCE Race
This year the MAR (Muddy ACCE Race) will be held on Saturday September 15 beginning at 8:30 AM. This 5k obstacle mud run was created to support and raise money for the Access to Community College Education (ACCE) initiative which helps send high school graduates of Giles County to New River Community College free of tuition. This is both a great team building opportunity and a fun ‘show’ to watch as the run is equipped with 50 different obstacles. Whether you are participating or simply watching/supporting the muddy chaos, the Inn at Riverbend’s quiet atmosphere and close proximity (20 minutes) is the perfect place to rest before and after the Muddy ACCE Race.
SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA DAY TRIPS AND SCENIC DRIVES
Virginia is home to umpteen scenic byways and drives; a great way to spend a few hours ‘getting lost’ in the colors of Autumn. We have discovered quite a few paths and places for ‘leaf peeping’ but these 4 are our favorite and a must-drive during foliage season! You do not want to forget your camera for any of these journeys.
7. Highlands Scenic Byway Loop
The Highlands Scenic Byway meanders through Virginia’s Western Highlands and offers several areas to get out an explore the surrounding natural environment in addition to the stunning foliage views. To drive the entire loop take exit 43 off I-64 westbound, travel a short distance on SR 780 then turn left on Forest Road 447 to being the loop of the byway, totaling 19 miles.
8. VA Route 42: Newport to New Castle
This drive is one of the most popular for foliage viewing allowing you to wander through the Jefferson and George Washington National Forests, mountain valleys and follow several creeks. The route encompasses a few country stores and we highly recommend making a pit stop to peruse the local crafts and produce. This impressive drive will take you through 4 counties: Craig, Giles (where we are!), Bland, Smyth.
9. Big Walker Scenic Byway
Big Walker Scenic Byway covers 16.2 miles of roadway in the Jefferson National Forest. Rather than drive 6 miles on interstate 77 opt for the extra 10 miles to see the ravishing foliage views and possibly get outside the car and play for a bit as there are several opportunities to do so. Be sure to stop at at least one of the view points to see the fiery red and bright golden trees as well as the bird viewing for which this byway is known.
10. Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of America’s favorite drives, and ours too! It stretches for over 100 miles offering foliage and wildlife viewing mile after mile. There are also numerous outdoor activities along the path ranging from history to Eco-tourism to waterfalls to hiking and bird watching. There are several entrances to the Blue Ridge Parkway; it simply depends on what you want to see/do and how long you want to drive.
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