Bedford, Roanoke & Blacksburg

Welcome to our Appomattox Road Trip series! There’s so much to see right here in Virginia, I can’t wait to jump in the car and get going. Our first trip will be to Blacksburg, with a couple stops along the way.

Since we can go to Lynchburg most any day of the week, we’re just going to drive through it today with our sights set on Bedford. Did you know that the National D-Day Memorial is located right here in Virginia? Bedford was chosen as a representation of all communities whose citizens served and were lost on D-Day because of its high proportion of casualties from the famous “Bedford Boys”.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “You are about to embark on the great crusade toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you… I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle.”

Visiting the memorial is a sobering experience. It commemorates not only the American participants in this pivotal campaign, but also the eleven other countries who fought alongside us and all 4,415 allied fatalities. The grounds are extensive, with many gardens and poignant works of art dotting the landscape in addition to the towering marble arch at the center. The reproduction of the soldiers scaling the cliff almost comes to life amidst the sprays of water that simulate the fire they would have braved in order to take the beach.

After exploring the memorial, we ventured downtown and had a great lunch at Olde Liberty Station. There are lots of ways to get outside and enjoy open spaces while you’re in Bedford! We checked out a playground while Daddy played a round of disc golf at Falling Creek Park.

If we were making this trip over the weekend of October 16th, we could check out the Go Festival in Roanoke. Committed to raising money to promote the outdoor recreation, the organizers have planned a benefit concert with raffles, team challenges and small outings scheduled all around the area. While you’re in town, you cannot miss the Mill Mountain Star & Park.

There is definitely a lot to do in Roanoke, but there are three things I am most looking forward to. I am really excited to take my kids to the Explore Park, just south of the city. They have zip-lines, hiking trails and even a brewpub for us big kids to enjoy!

The Little Gallery on Market Street looks like a charming place to stop and browse after spending some time outside, and it’s almost next door to our next stop, the Science Museum. We had planned to visit the science museum in Richmond back in March, but COVID changed our plans. The one in Roanoke is the oldest in Virginia! We look forward to their re-opening so we can stop in and see what there is to learn.

Virginia Tech’s main campus is located in Blacksburg. With 213 buildings and an airport spread over 2600 acres, the university is busy educating 34,440 students. Whether you’re shopping for schools, visiting as an alumnus or parent or just want to take in an exciting football game, make sure you stay up to date with the school’s recommendations here.

Jefferson National Forest lies just north of the campus and will give us another great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, especially as temperatures start to fall a bit. After a long day of exploring, we could decide to camp here and go hiking in the morning! There are other attractions that we’ll miss this year around, but hope to see The Dark Woods and Fork and Cork next time.

This sure made for a fun-filled weekend! I can’t wait for our next trip.

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