Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire to travel, but here in Virginia, we call that feeling WanderLove. Here are our Top 5 favorite scenic and adventure-filled stops on the open roads of Smyth County. Explore your WanderLove in Smyth County, then visit our Event Calendar for more fun things to do.
Mount Rogers Scenic Byway
If you’re looking for a peaceful country drive with gorgeous mountain foliage, head out on the Mount Rogers Scenic Byway. This scenic drive overlaps with some of Southwest Virginia’s gems. To make a full day of it, plan stops at Whitetop Mountain (Virginia’s second highest peak) and Blue Ridge Discovery Center near Chilhowie.
Staley Overlook on The Back of the Dragon
The newest overlook on Route 16 is the J. Stuart Staley Memorial Overlook. Route 16, also known as the Back of the Dragon, is famous for the hairpin turns and twisting curves popular. Slow down and enjoy the ride with a stop at the Staley Overlook. Just a few miles north of Hungry Mother State Park, this scenic overlook reveals breathtaking views of Rich Valley. End your day at Davis Valley Winery, Highlands Distilling, or 36 Fifty Brewing, offering a unique taste of local flavor to celebrate the end of your ride.
The Dip Dog Stand
Enjoy the classic road trip fare and nostalgia at the famous Dip Dog Stand, where they have been using the same recipe since 1957. Just don’t call it a corn dog! An iconic stop for weary road travelers, they’ve been serving up delicious onion rings, shakes and dip dogs for over sixty years.
The Octagon House
Don’t miss the chance to drive by the Octagon House of Virginia, built in the 1850’s. Inspiring dozens of grim urban legends of ghosts, take a look from afar and then head to the Smyth County Museum afterward for the full story.
Route 107, Chilhowie to Saltville
Travel back in time as you explore the historic towns of Chilhowie (Meaning “Valley of Many Deer”) and Saltville. Route 107 connects these two towns. Don’t miss the Saltville overlook along the way, offering a birds eye view of the town surrounded by peaks. Then head to the Museum of the Middle Appalachians for a look back at the fascinating origins of this town, offering 30,000 years of history “from the Ice Age to the Space Age.” While you’re there, take your photo with Woolly, the museum’s resident woolly mammoth mascot. Back in Chilhowie, browse the boutiques and antique shops of the downtown historic district, or grab a bite to eat at The Riverfront Restaurant.
Smyth County LOVEworks
You’ll always remember finding your WanderLove in Smyth County when you take a photo at one of Virginia’s famous LOVEworks. In Chilhowie, you’ll find a seasonally decorated LOVEwork at the Smyth County Visitors Center. The LOVEwork in downtown Marion is located right next to famous Lincoln Theatre, built in 1927.