Come ride the Blue Ridge Mountains. Southwestern Virginia is home to beautiful sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the charming arts community of Floyd, bustling Blacksburg and mile after mile of beautiful road cycling.
Meet us at historic Hotel Roanoke downtown. Arrive early to explore this evolving railroad hub. (See below for things to do in the area) We'll take a warm-up ride this afternoon to explore the nearby hills, including Mill Mountain, home to Roanoke's iconic star. From the top, take in a sweeping view of downtown Roanoke, the vast railroad yards, and the surrounding mountains. Dinner will be included at an excellent restaurant downtown.
After a delicious full buffet breakfast, we'll take a brief shuttle to get away from city traffic and into the hills north of town. Our ride will take advantage of magnificent roads that wind between mountain ridges on their way to Blacksburg. We'll arrive there for a late lunch and time to explore the campus of Virginia Tech. The town and campus are both bicycle and pedestrian friendly, so you will want to explore.
Blacksburg's downtown shops and the nearby Smithfield Plantation are highlights. Smithfield is the meticulously restored 1774 home and gardens of Colonel William Preston and his descendents. Nearby is the Drillfield, the enormous central green space of the VT campus. On the Drillfield you will find the War Memorial Chapel and the April 16 memorial, honoring the memory of those lost in the tragic shooting of 2007. Surrounding the Drillfield on all sides are buildings of neo-gothic architecture clad in local limestone, known here as "Hokie Stone."
Today we say goodbye to Blacksburg and head south to Floyd County. We'll end up in the funky, artsy community of Floyd. Famous for live Bluegrass and roots music concerts, Floyd has attracted a cluster of artists and others looking for a small town with culture. Floyd residents are happy that there is only one stoplight in the entire county! Our hotel, in the heart of the community sponsors a concert series every Thursday evening at the nearby Floyd Country Store. Read more about Floyd here: Click
Today is a big day on the Blue Ridge Parkway, so get ready for some spectacular scenery and biking!
We have scheduled a stop today at Mabry Mill, one of the most photographed spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This site is popular for good reason – the tour of the mill is fascinating and they still grind cornmeal and buckwheat flour on site. We encourage you to stop and browse the mill and surrounding buildings providing a glimpse into life in rural Virginia in the early 1900’s.
You may also want to budget some time to explore Chateau Morrisette in the early afternoon. The vineyard and winery sits just off the Parkway and tastings are available for those who are interested.
Lastly, you may want to have some free time today to continue to explore the quiet and quaint downtown of Floyd. Many shops and restaurants are located within a few blocks of our inn. The late afternoon is also an opportunity to schedule a massage with a local therapist located within walking distance of our inn
Its time to make our way back to Roanoke. The Blue Ridge Parkway will provide the longest segment of the journey, including a spectacular sustained descent from Bent Mountain. Begun as a works project in 1935, the BRP is a 470 mile scenic drive stretching from Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The section that we will enjoy on this day has the characteristic small farms and meadows, split rail fences and occasional overlooks. Just outside of Roanoke, we'll descend from the Parkway into Roanoke Valley. We'll wrap things up with a final lunch back at the hotel. As with all of our tours, showers are available prior to departure.
Low end of tour price range reflects the 6 month Early Bird Discount. High end of price range reflects no Early Bird Discount.
What's Included in Your Tour Price
4 Nights of Lodging
Dinners Nights 1, 2, & 4;, All lunches; All breakfasts; Snacks and hors d’eourves most evenings
Services of Expert Guides
Carolina Tailwinds maintains a guest to guide maximum ratio of 7:1 on all our tours. Guides are ready to show you the hidden wonders of each and every destination.
Full Route Support & Luggage Transfer
Service of 1 – 2 support vans on route every day.
Complimentary Transportation from Roanoke Airport
Carolina Tailwinds picks up on the morning of Day 1 and drops off in the late afternoon on Day 6 at the Roanoke Airport (ROA). Timing formally coordinated 2 weeks prior to tour date.
More details on what's included:
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Built by the Norfolk Southern Railroad in 1882, this grand facility was renovated by the city and Virginia Tech in the 1990's, and is now under Hilton's Curio brand. Connected to shops, restaurants and museums by a pedestrian bridge, this is the location for exploring downtown Roanoke.
Inn at Virginia Tech
Located on campus, walking distance from Blacksburg's Main Street, this modern facility is built of the "Hokie Stone" that is a hallmark of Virginia Tech buildings. Preston's Restaurant onsite provides an excellent breakfast buffet in the morning.
Nights 3 & 4
In the heart of offbeat downtown Floyd, its a short stroll to shops, restaurants, and the famous Floyd Country Store. The hotel is committed to eco friendly construction materials, soaps, and technologies. Each room is decorated with local handmade furniture and art, and is equipped with high definition television and wi-fi.
We will be in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the terrain is very hilly. Daily route distances describe above are approximate, and options for more and less are always available.
As with all of our tours, less ambitious cyclists can take advantage of short cuts and strategic "leap frog" van shuttles along the route to tailor the route to their needs.
Tour Point of Origin:
Hotel Roanoke, 110 Shenandoah Avenue Roanoke, VA (540) 985-5900
Getting to the Tour Start (Roanoke, VA)
Driving: Approximate travel distance to Roanoke--
- Charlotte, NC: 195 miles
- Cincinnati, OH: 380 miles
- Nashville, TN: 439 miles
- Harrisburg, PA: 295 miles
- Washington DC: 240 miles
Airports: Roanoke Regional Airport (ROA) offers more than 50 scheduled flights daily, providing nonstop service from Roanoke, Virginia to nine major cities. The major airlines that fly daily include US Airways, United Airlines and Delta. Allegiant Air also provides full sized jets and frequent service to Florida. The airport is just minutes from hotel Roanoke. www.roanokeairport.com
Ground Transit: A complimentary Hotel Roanoke shuttle is available for the seven minute ride between the airport and the hotel.
Parking: We have arranged for long term parking there for the duration of your tour. We will end the tour at the same inn with an opportunity to shower there prior to departure.
Arrival time of the first day of the tour is 12:00 noon if renting equipment from us, or 1:00 p.m. if bringing your own bike. Guests will want to meet us at these times dressed in bike clothes, or ready to change into them.
We plan to wrap up around 3:00 p.m. on the final day. Your return flight should be no earlier than 5:00 p.m. that evening.
Extend Your Vacation
Before or after our activity packed tour, you may want to tack on a few days. There is a lot to do in and around Roanoke if you have time.
Downtown Roanoke is home to these excellent attractions:
Taubman Museum of Art: Modern and contemporary art from around the world is featured, as well as regional art and touring exhibits.
O. Winston Link Museum: Housed in a restored, Loewy-designed railway passenger station, the museum exhibits the largest collection of Link's photographs of 1950's life along the N&W railroad.
History Museum of Western Virginia: Exhibits show history of the region -- Native American, photography, military, folk-life. Location in downtown's historic marketplace.
Virginia Museum of Transportation: Explore historic locomotives, cabooses and other rail equipment; antique automobiles, trucks and buses; and the new Wings over Virginia Aviation Gallery.
Hiking and Mountain Biking:
Carvin's Cove Natural Reserve, just north of town, is the nation's second largest municipal park, and is home to 40 miles of mountain bike trails.
The Appalachian Trail hiking trail passes by Roanoke. McAfee Knob offers panoramic views of the region.
Bedford, VA, 29 miles east is home to:
National D-Day Memorial: Bedford VA suffered the highest per capita D-Day losses in the nation. The National D-Day Memorial honors the Allied forces with stylized English Garden, haunting invasion tableau, and striking Victory Plaza.
The highest waterfalls east of the Rockies, cascades, glens, colleges, hamlets, valley farms, quaint towns and steep hillsides dotted with vineyards. All of this, in addition to the sparkling waters of long blue glacial lakes, make the NY Finger Lakes a special bicycling destination not to be missed.