Home base for your cultural journey can be found at homey hotels in Lebanon and Bluefield, in chic cottages, or hand-hewn log cabins.
Vincent’s Vineyard in Lebanon invites you to “experience the grapeness” with their signature flavors. Your visit may even coincide with the popular Vincent’s van Gogh Painting events where participants enjoy wine and refreshments while creating their own masterpiece. If upcycling, repurposing, and hand crafted furniture are your thing, check out Another Man’s Treasure, also in Lebanon.
If being in the mountains gives you a hankering for getting outdoors, head to the Pinnacles Natural Area Preserve just beyond Lebanon. It’s a moderate hike along towering cliffs and sheer limestone ledges across a swinging bridge to experience a series of great waterfalls.
Get inspired with a visit to the Appalachian Arts Center which showcases works created by local craftspeople, artists, student apprentices, authors, and musicians. The 4,000 SF gallery celebrates the culture and heritage of the region and also offers rotating exhibits, demonstrations, and a retail marketplace.
A fun side trip to Richlands (pronounced rich-LANDS) might make you think that the area was named for the rich history of traditional crafts in these lands. Visit these ‘Round the Mountain Artisan Network craftspeople in their natural habitat.
Charlie Lawson of Clinch Valley Millworks specializes in custom cabinetry, flooring and millwork in addition to Adirondack chairs and custom furniture. The Crafty Kitten, Cassie Ogle, was taught to crochet at a young age by her grandmother and recently took up bookbinding and knitting. Preferring to work with recycled materials, especially in her bookbinding, Cassie uses traditional techniques to create unique and fresh objects.
Cedar Bluff offers a chance to visit the studio of dedicated teacher and craftsman, Doug Branton, who creates functional and purely aesthetic works in both leather and clay. While in Cedar Bluff, don’t miss taking in the picturesque Grist Mill in the middle of this ultra-charming town.
Just up the road, the Crab Orchard Museum & Pioneer Park where you can experience what life was like in this vast frontier throughout time. The museum offers an impressive collection of artifacts, special exhibitions, self-guided tours through our Pioneer Park, and local crafts and goods in the gift shop, all in a unique historical setting. Crab Orchard celebrates the season of Fall with a clever corn maze as well as the Frontier Christmas during the holidays.
When leaving Crab Orchard Museum, you’ll be traveling on Route 16, the famous Back of the Dragon Motorcycle Trail. A ride through Thompson Valley will show you why it’s famous. You may want to check out the Overlook for a new perspective. Plum Creek Vineyard is nestled in the midst of the Thompson Valley, offering 14 flavors of wonderful wine from fruit grown on site.
Round out your visit to Cuz’s Uptown Barbeque for a sumptuous supper in a whimsical atmosphere.
Start your day at the Appalachian Showcase in Wise, VA where 70+ artisans exhibit and sell their creations. As you drive through town, you are sure to notice the stately Inn at Wise which has recently undergone a $12 million renovation. Stop in and peruse the artworks from local photographers and painters. If can’t resist a milkshake in the Diner, be sure to dance it off with music from the original Peggy Sue jukebox before heading to MountainRose Vineyard.
Just outside town, you’ll find a charming winery actually created upon reclaimed mine land. MountainRose Vineyard has been producing award winning wines since 2004, offering 13 varieties. Check their website for exciting events like Mystery Dinner Theater, Sip-n-Paint, and crafting workshops. The friendly folks at MRV will be happy to share the story about how the vineyard came to be and the role that the Rose played.
When you are in the mountains, you’re closer to Heaven, as they say. Outside of Norton, you’ll find Flag Rock and High Knob Tower, two unique vantages worth the trip.
The breathtaking views from the Powell Valley Overlook are said to border on a religious experience. If you’re journey takes you to Big Stone Gap to walk in the footsteps of Ashley Judd, Whoopi Goldberg, Patrick Wilson, and Jenna Elfman as you experience the sites filmed for the big screen, you’ll find a rich cultural experience at the Southwest Virginia Museum State Park. The gift shop features handmade works from local artisans and a tour through life in the Gap through the years. The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, Virginia’s official Outdoor Drama plays out live, under the stars, from June to August.
This region is steeped in American music tradition, having produced the songs that gave birth to the country music industry from legendary artists like the Carter Family, Ralph Stanley, Jim & Jessee McReynolds, and so many more. The echoes of those golden years are still heard throughout the region at wonderful music venues where concerts are held to showcase traditional Bluegrass and Old Time Music. To experience the music organically, pull up a chair or even bring your own stringed instrument to a jam session. You may even get a flat-footin’ lesson.
The Ralph Stanley Museum in Clintwood weaves the life of Dr. Ralph Stanley with the history of traditional mountain music through a state of the art, interactive museum, allowing you to experience this unique musical style in its original setting, the mountains of Virginia.
Friday nights, you can choose from Allen Hicks Jam in Nickelsville and a concert at Lay’s Hardware in Coeburn. Saturdays find The Carter Family Fold in Hiltons full of lively tunes and toe-tappin. The museum offers visitors a window into the early days of recorded music. The Country Cabin in Norton also shines a light on mountain music with a concert every Saturday night. Sunday is a time for faith and family in the mountains and you can appreciate both at Ma & Pa’s Restaurant in Castlewood at the afternoon Gospel Jam. Ma & Pa’s also hosts a Bluegrass Jam on Monday nights from 6-9pm. Thursday nights offer a variety of Jam locales: Lay’s Hardware in Coeburn, Pickin’ in the Pound at the Town Hall in Pound, and Duffield Jams on alternating Thursdays in the summer. It’s best to check our website Calendar of Events for up-to-date scheduling.