40 Facts About the History of the Banjo (From Africa to Appalachia)

Banjo History - Bluegrass Banjo Man

American folk music, and particularly traditional Appalachian music, would be incomplete without the signature twang of the banjo. Along with the accompaniment of the fiddle, the banjo has echoed from porches across the Blue Ridge Mountains region for centuries. Before becoming part of larger string-band ensembles, banjos historically supplied the background music for storytelling. Later, the banjo … Read more

The 10 Best Hikes on the Appalachian Trail in VA

Mcafee Knob from above on the Appalachian Trail in Fall

The Appalachian Trail extends 2,190 miles north to south in the eastern United States. Nearly a quarter of that—more than 550 miles— lies within (or along the borders of) the state of Virginia. The AT in Virginia passes by award-winning VA state parks, through the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, and into the world-renowned … Read more

30 Fascinating Facts About the Appalachian Mountains for Trivia Buffs

The Appalachian Mountains run north to south in the eastern third of the United States, passing through every coastal state north of Florida and all the way up into Appalachian Canada. They also move slightly westward into other states, including Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia. Within this massive area— ranging from 100 to 300 miles … Read more

Appalachian Folklore, Monsters and Superstitions

Sasquatch aka. Bigfoot - Appalachian legends and folktales

Stretching from Alabama and North Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian mountain range was formed millions of years ago before being settled by Native Americans and, later, Scots-Irish, English, German, and Polish immigrants. Since settling in the mountains in the 18th and 19th centuries, Appalachian people have developed a unique blend of cultures that has its own … Read more

Hungry Mother State Park Cabins, Camping & Hiking Trails

Hungry Mother State Park Lake in VA

Hungry Mother State Park is one of the six original Virginia State Parks in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It includes over 3,300 acres of wilderness, as well as a 108-acre mountain lake. The park’s unusual name comes from the legend of a pioneer woman, Molly Marley, and her child. After being captured by Native Americans, … Read more

The 15 Best Things to Do in Lexington VA & Natural Bridge VA

Downtown Lexington VA

Located in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, about halfway between Roanoke and Waynesboro, Lexington VA is a small college town with a rich history dating back to the American Revolution.  Lexington is part of Rockbridge County, which is home to the Natural Bridge (once owned by Thomas Jefferson), Washington & Lee University (one of the oldest colleges … Read more

The 15 Best Things to Do in SWVA (Southwest Virginia)

Wild Pony in Grayson Highlands State Park in SWVA. Photo by Dawson Tozier

Virginia is a phenomenal state to explore for anyone who appreciates the wilderness, as well as those who enjoy delving into US history and Appalachian culture. Top-flight sightseeing in VA is never far away, and the list of things to do in Virginia seems limitless. Virginia is home to the George Washington and Jefferson National … Read more

The 15 Best Things to Do in Roanoke VA

Appalachian Trail hiker on McAfee Knob at Sunrise

[Updated January 15, 2022] With a population of around 100,000 people, Roanoke is both the largest city along the Blue Ridge Parkway and the largest in Virginia’s Blue Ridge region. Roanoke has a lot of the small Blue Ridge mountain town charm that’s customary to the region, with a historic town center, wilderness just minutes … Read more

The 10 Best Restaurants in Roanoke VA (Virginia’s Blue Ridge)

Rockfish Restaurant in Roanoke VA

[Updated 1/12/2022]  The city of Roanoke VA has no shortage of great restaurants to choose from. With a population of around 100,000 people– the largest of the many mountain towns along the Blue Ridge Parkway– there are eateries of every ilk to satisfy any possible craving you could have. My wife Emma and I have been … Read more