Monday, May 28, 2012

US Hinterland: Roanoke, Virginia

In the last month, I have got to travel across different states of the US and it's interesting to see how varied and vast the country is. I recently visited Washington DC and while driving back from DC to Durham, visited a family friend in Roanoke, Virginia. That's how I landed in this place unknown to me and people I know.

For my first impressions, the drive from DC to Roanoke was very scenic. Rolling green hills, lush forests and pretty little wooden houses dotting the landscape. It was really breathtaking, driving through such a magnificent green region. Apparently Virginia is one of the most pretty states of the US and it was clearly evident why.

Anyways, even the town of Roanoke was pretty. It's surrounded by mountains all around, isn't too crowded and again has the pretty houses all around. It looks like one of those postcard towns which might be a pleasure to stay in. Green, healthy and relaxing. We had initially planned to stay there for a night but ended up staying for three days (and wanted to stay longer too)!

The first day we drove to the Roanoke Star, a huge lighted star atop a hill. The star at night is visible from afar, signifying the town of Roanoke. From the top of the mountain, you can get a good view of the town below as well as the mountains surrounding Roanoke. The mountain is heavily forested and has a couple of trails too for the trekking enthusiast. On a warm clouded day, this place is the perfect picnic spot.

The next day we drove to the New River area for tubing in the lake. Due to high water, the tubing was closed but the place turned out to be the perfect place to enjoy a day out. With the river lazily flowing next to you, green hills surrounding all around, cool breeze flowing and a warm nice sun: the feeling is just too tough to explain. We had a picnic there, ate, lazed around, played and just enjoyed being close to nature.

This place just looks like a painting, doesn't it? We drove along the lake and saw a couple of camping sites. Would love to camp at a place like this for a couple of days, gives you the kind of peace you sometimes miss in a big city. Also a lot of people were kayaking on the river as it had a couple of rapids too. Wish we had been allowed to do tubing too!

The next day, we just walked around town and visited a local festival They had lot of rides, games and a helicopter tour of the town too. There is a cathedral in Roanoke which looks yellow! Quite a funny color!

Other than that there are a couple of park drives closeby in the blue ridge mountains which are supposedly scenic. We did not get a chance to go there though. We also went to a local yogurt place to try out their frozen yogurt: it's definitely the best frozen yogurt I have ever had. Very yum, depending on what toppings you add. A definite must do if you ever get a chance to visit this small town in the Virginia hinterland!

Anyways the whole stay for us turned out to be more fun and longer than what we expected! A nice few days spent there...

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