The Blue Ridge, famed for its endless trails and outdoor recreation, offers an array of outdoor adventure. Nestled within the expansive mountain range sits Roanoke, the largest city along the Appalachian trail. Discover small town charm, robust dining options, museums and more in a city where minority owned venues thrive in this richly diverse area.

Where to eat

A fabulous choice for exquisite small plate dining is Bloom, where farm freshness is magnified within each dish. Suggested items include the Sweet Potato Bloom, served with cranberry sorghum and flavorful applewood bacon which sit atop the medallions. Another heavenly option is the Williamson Farms beef skewer, perfectly seasoned and tender. The microgreen pea shoots give a punch of fresh flavor and texture.

For decadent pastries, check out Bread Craft. Recommended is the almond croissant with a cup of French Press. And for some of the most amazing chilled desserts, hit Crème Fresh, a dairy free ice cream spot.

Where to stay

When visiting Roanoke, the place to stay is Liberty Trust, a former bank constructed in 1910 which was referred to as “the temple of finance.” And it is easy to understand why upon entering the the grand fortress, where Beaux arts style marble columns and tile floors are spotlighted by elegant chandeliers hanging from the tall ceilings. The hotel is a masterpiece featuring French Renaissance architecture throughout the building. The massive copper and brass door of the illustrious vault serves as the focal point of the entrance.

Chef Andy Schlosser serves up exquisite dining at the hotel where guests are left perplexed by the decadent flavors of uniquely paired dishes. The steak tartare is freshly ground to order beef tenderloin with a locally sourced egg atop. It is served alongside crispy shallot, scallions, mustard and capers. Another must try is the Hamachi crudo, where raw fish is served with fresh cilantro and jalapeño slices on a plate drizzled with curry oil and sweet soy.  Another divine option is Coquilles St. Jacques which consists of sea scallops in a black truffle and apple brandy crème gratin. The impeccable flavor is addictive, harmonized by the delicacy of the jumbo scallops. For some starch, indulge in the patatas bravos, roasted potatoes served with a smoked paprika and garlic aioli. The dipping sauce is so flavorful, you’ll likely take solo dabs of it with your fork.  

Support of diversity

The city embraces diversity and inclusion not just through its cultural outlets, but also its support of local businesses . Virginia contracted with local entrepreneur Xavier Duckett to help attract Black travelers to the area. He worked with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources to create “The outdoors are better together” brand. Ducket is also founder of Humble Hustle, which empowers youth through outreach programs, including organized hikes and outdoor recreation activities. In addition, he owns Hmble Hstle Clothing Co., where he is the founder and designer of street wear and created “Black travel is essential” clothing and products.

Roanoke is also building upon the Hidden in Plain Site project which will showcase sites capturing the black experience. The completed project will offer rich exploration into the visions and establishments of black trailblazers.

For an enriching great weekend getaway, consider Roanoke as a great option for some exquisite dining, shopping and recreation.

Additional activities:

Outdoor hike at Poor Mountain

Taubman Museum of Art

Harrison Museum of African American Culture

Virginia Museum of Transportation

Roanoke Pinball Museum