Cedar Key Village 
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History and Nature

The Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is ranked “America’s most scenic drive” by leading travel writers. Following mountain crests through Virginia to North Carolina and Tennessee, the Parkway is the gateway to an Appalachian empire where visitors escape the speed and crowding of modern life. One of those gateways is to wonderful Smith Mountain Lake.

From the Peaks of Otter area located along the parkway just north of Bedford to the US Route 220 South exit heading into Franklin County, our section of the Parkway is full of awesome natural beauty, weathered pioneer cabins and splitrail fences. There are mountain forests, quiet river streams, wildlife and wildflowers—all looking over a patchwork of orchards and farms.


Included along this stretch of parkway are several attractions that make for a wonderful day. The Peaks of Otter offers a 5,000-acre area with hiking trails to three peaks: Sharp Top, Flat Top and Harkening Hill. Spend the day enjoying the Visitor Center, self-guided trail, historic farm, summer interpretive programs and picnic area.

At mile marker 120.4, exit to Roanoke Mountain (a drive loop). Follow the road to the wonderful Mill Mountain Park and Zoo, picnic facilities and the giant Star that earned the city of Roanoke the name “Star City of the South.”

Mile Marker 121.4 is the exit for US Rt. 220 South taking you through Boones Mill to Rocky Mount and back to State Route 122 and Smith Mountain Lake.

Website links:

Peaks of Otter - Breathtaking scenery; tours; restaurant, hiking & more; 85554 Blue Ridge Parkway, Bedford, VA 24523; 540-586-1081; www.peaksofotter.com.

Blue Ridge Institute & Museum
Recognized as Virginia's Center for Blue Ridge Folklore, the Institute and Museum are located just 29 miles down 122 south past the SML Visitors Center at Ferrum College. Visit a re-created 1800-style Virginia-German farmstead and see the gallery exhibits of crafts, music and decorative arts. Attend events staged by the Institute including the annual Blue Ridge Draft Horse & Mule Show held the fourth Saturday of July and the annual Folklife Festival on the fourth Saturday in October. www.blueridgeinstitute.org 

Booker T. Washington National Monument

Administered by the National Park Service, Booker T. Washington National Monument preserves the birthplace and commemorates the life and accomplishments of one of America’s most prominent black heroes.  A Visitor Center with an audio-visual program, exhibits and bookstore are located at the Monument. Nature and history trails, park ranger programs and tours, a picnic area and many special events are scheduled throughout the year. Booker T. Washington National Monument is located 4 miles east of the SML Visitor Center. Open seven days a week except Thanksgiving and Christmas; 12130 Booker T. Washington Hwy, Hardy, VA 24101 - 540-721-2094; www.nps.gov/bowa.

Bedford County, home to a The National D-Day Memorial—A tribute to the sacrifice of Allied Forces on June 6, 1944. Open 10AM-5PM daily Interchange of Route 460 & 122 in Bedford, VA. 800-351-3329 ; www.dday.org, and historic center town district featuring a Meeting House, Courthouse and Museum.

Charming, unique small town; antiques, local artisans, restaurants, books, furniture & more; Farmers Mkt -Tuesdays 3:00-7:00, Friday & Satruday 9:00-1:00; www.centertownbedford.com; 540-586-2148
Bedford County: www.co.bedford.va.us

Smith Mountain Lake State Park - Swimming, fishing, boating, hiking, cabins,picnicking, cabins, camping, visitors’ center, and a variety of programs for all ages; 1235 State Park Road , Huddleston, VA 24104; 540-297-6066; www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/sml.shtml.

Moneta - Downtown Moneta Celebrations - Saturday; kids activities, adult beverage garden, stores & Downtown Moneta restaurants open late!; www.downtownmoneta.com.

Petting Zoo - Spring Valley Cabins - 1190 Horsebend Rd, Moneta, VA 24121; 540-297-0950.

Poplar Forest a home that Thomas Jefferson built for himself as a private retreat. Historic “Avenel Plantation” served as the social hub for the area and hosted guests such as Robert E. Lee and Edgar Allen Poe.  Open to the public April - November; Closed Tuesdays and Thanksgiving Day; 1542 Bateman Bridge Rd, Forest,VA 24551; www.poplarforest.org.


Franklin County is in Rocky Mount. There are walking tours of the many historic buildings. Franklin County: www.franklincountyva.org

Pittsylvania County, visit historic Chatham to see Virginia’s only two street car diners, the 1853 Greek Revival Courthouse, and to take a walking tour of this 1777 town full of Victorian architecture. Be sure to stop in at the historic Yates Tavern in Gretna on the way. The SML Visitors Center offers brochures on walking and driving tours of many of these sites.Pittsylvania County: www.pittgov.org


The Natural Bridge, a natural wonder and historic landmark, is located on Route 11 between exits 175 and 180 from Interstate 81. Visit our attractions which include the Natural Bridge, Wax Museum, Caverns, Toy Museum, Haunted Monster Museum and Dinosaur Kingdom, Drama of Creation, Foamhenge, Monacan Indian Village and Cedar

Creek Trail.www.naturalbridgeva.com.

Smith Mountain Lake Dam

One of the most interesting places to visit at the Lake is American Electric Power’s Smith Mountain Lake Dam. At the Visitor Center overlooking the Dam, you’ll enjoy learning how electricity is generated in a pumped storage and hydroelectric project. There are hands-on exhibits and computer models to try, a theatre with audio-visual presentations, and a three-dimensional terrain map, which shows the lake area as if viewed from an altitude of 25,000 feet. Outside the Visitors Center there are overlook areas providing spectacular views of the dam, gorge and lake plus picnic facilities with charcoal grills located near the base of the dam. So make a day of it at this great attraction that created the lake back in 1966.

Smith Mountain Lake Dam Visitors Center

Free Activities

Walking -

Booker T Washington Memorial,

Bedford Main Street & Historic Centertown
Downtown Moneta Celebrations

Hiking -

Appalachian Trail - One-fourth of the trail lies in Virginia; trail varies from easy hiking to difficult rock climbing; from busy national parks to isolated wilderness areas; www.appalachiantrial.org. 

Peaks of Otter Trails - Seven trails that vary in difficulty from easy to very strenuous; 540-586-4496; www.virtualblueridge.commaps/peaks-of-otter-trails.asp

Bird Watching -

Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway or hike Abbot Lake Trail at the Peaks of Otter for great bird-watching; www.dgif.virginia.gov/vbwt.


Blue Ridge Parkway - Drive a segment of the 469 miles of beautiful mountain, valleys, meadows & spectacular vistas; www.blueridgeparkway.org/visiting.htm.

Museum -

Blue Ridge Institute and Museum - Ferrum College; 20 Museum Drive, Ferrum, VA 24088; 540-365-4416; Galleries open Monday-Saturday 10:00-4:00 year round; Sundays 1:00-5:00 (seasonal); www.blueridgeinstitute.org.

Museum -

Harrison Museum of African American Culture - Educational/cultural museum celebrating the art and history of African Americans; 523 Harrison Avenue, Roanoke,VA 24016; 540-345-4818; www.harrisonmuseum.com.

Smith Mountain Lake Dam - Visit the Dam and learn how electricity is generated in a pumped storage and hydroelectric project.; 540-985-2587; Open 10:00-6:00 Tues—Sun, closed Mon. and certain holidays; www.smithmtn.com.

Arts and Entertainment

Roanoke Civic Center
- Concerts, Broadway Shows, Gun Shows, Boat Shows, Flea Markets, Job Fairs, Expos, Conferences, and more; 710 Williamson Road; Roanoke, VA 24030; 540-853-2241; www.roanokeciviccenter.com.

Salem Civic Center - Sports and Entertainment Complex featuring baseball, football, basketball, concerts, horse shows, Salem Fair & more; 1001 Roanoke Blvd, Salem, VA 24153; 540-375-3004; www.salemciviccenter.com

Sedalia Center - Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains; Visual & performing arts programs, cultural festivals, and exhibitions; 1108 Sedalia School Road,Big Island,VA24526;434-299-5080; www.sedaliacenter.org.

Virginia Dare—19th century style side wheeler cruise boat; accommodates up to 135 for sightseeing, specialty & lake dinner cruises. 800-721-3273; www.vadarecurises.com.

Visit one of the many local/regional wineries or attend SML
annual wine festival- featuring over twenty wineries, food, entertainment and arts and crafts. Held in September, www.visitsmithmountainlake.com.

Casa D’ Amici - Monthly Wine Pairing Dinners; 7 courses gourmet meal; 540-296-1329; 1100 Celebration Avenue (on the corner off Route 122 & Route 607); www.casadamicisml.com.

Brooks Mill Winery
6221 Brooks Mill Rd, Wirtz, VA 24184
We are a new family owned and operated winery located near Smith Mountain Lake in Franklin County. We offer delicious fruit wines for all personal tastes. Call for a tasting appointment. We're just minutes from the Westlake Corner.

Hickory Hill Winery
1722 Hickory Cove Lane, Moneta, VA 24121
We invite you to visit our vineyard and experience its quiet country charm. Tours of the winery and tastings are available. You can enjoy one of our wines on the covered porch of the winery or in the picnic area over-looking the vineyard.

Peaks of Otter Winery
2122 Sheep Creek Road, Bedford, VA 24523
Breathtaking views near the Peaks of Otter, this winery features tastes of the fresh fruit used in the wines including Apple, Crab Apple, Cherry, Berry, Apple Pepper, Chili Pepper and Apple Cinnamon wines. They also have a wonderful assortment of jellies, jams, butters, sweet ciders, a picnic pavilion, and self-guided farm tours.

Tomahawk Mill Winery
9221 Anderson Mill Road, Chatham, VA 24531
Enjoy fine wines in a 114-year-old historic, water-powered gristmill built by a confederate soldier. Have a picnic viewing the stored millpond and dam. Taste Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Concord and Mead wines.

Valhalla Vineyards

6500 Mt. Chestnut Road, Roanoke, VA 24018


Valhalla Vineyards has quickly become "Roanoke's Winery."  Tour our barrel cave, sixty feet beneath the vineyard!  If you want a taste of French wine country without going to France, come spend an afternoon with Valhalla Vineyards.

White Rock Vineyards & Winery

2117 Bruno Drive, Goodview, VA 24095

We are a family owned and operated vineyard and our winery is located in the appropriately named Goodview area of Bedford County, VA.  Come visit our tasting room and veranda and enjoy the spectacular views, breathtaking sunsets, and lost of good old Southern hospitality.