Roanoke, Virginia

Roanoke is the "Magic City" of America, situated between Smith Mountain Lake and Virginia Tech. The city has also earned itself the moniker "Star City of the South" and "Capital of the Blue Ridge" due to its location on the mountainous area. It's located in the Roanoke Valley divided by the Roanoke River and is renowned for its awe-inspiring scenery and panoramic vistas along the Mill Mountain within the city limits.

The region surrounding this city provides some outstanding trailing facilities and well-maintained parks such as Carvings Cove and Appalachian Trail. Other attractions include the Mill Mountain Zoo, the Roanoke Star and the Discovery Center. Travelers from all over the world throng to this tremendous city to enjoy rare scenery, hiking options, cross county running, mountain biking, fly fishing, canoeing, and various other pursuits.

Roanoke offers a unique mélange of different cultures and is famed for its vivacious cultural events, specifically, organized by EventZone, which is a cultural hub created in 2003, from the merger of many different event organizers. Besides, Roanoke hosts the Commonwealth Games of Virginia, which started in 2010 and is a sports festival for amateurs. Visitors to the city can also explore the charming Grandin Village, which is an urbane village, reckoned for its multifarious dining establishments and independently owned retails.

Roanoke is a great place to live in. The city also has a bustling nightlife, various places to eat, places to see and can also offer you a great shopping experience. People of any age or any profession will surely find the city exciting and vivacious to their own liking.

Roanoke History

Established in 1852, Roanoke was called the "Big Lick", since a humungous range of wild life was found close to the Roanoke River. In the 1740's, the land which fell in the proximity of the salt licks, was grabbed by Mark Evans and Tasker Tosh, who came down from Pennslyvania. Right in the middle of the Roanoke Valley, these salt licks were home to several wild animals such as the buffalos, deer and elks, along with the Indians, who chased them for killing. The new village that was established along the eastern-western path of the Roanoke valley in 1834 was called Gainsborough, and was later renamed "Big Lick". In 1838, the Roanoke County was separated from the Botetourt County and had a population of roughly 5,000.

The linkage of 3 railroads was first built by a civil engineer William Mahone after the American Civil War (1861 - 1865). The linkage was further extended to Bristol through Norfolk in 1870 but the development of the region was severely hindered during the Financial Panic of 1873.The control of AM & O was taken by a private firm E.W. Clark & Co. in 1881 and it took over the Shenandoah Valley Railroad construction.

In 1850, the city became a stop for the railroad and in 1884, it became an independent city. Frederick J. Kimball was behind the construction of Shenandoah Valley Railroad and he was also behind the development of Pocahontas coalfields.

In the middle of 20th century the city grew exponentially during annexation. The state administration formed regulations for the prevention of annexation of land in the adjacent counties in the middle of 20th century. The city gained a prominence due to its placements amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains and in the Roanoke Valley. It became the transportation hub as it connected Tennessee and Maryland.

During the colonial era the city became the hub for roads and trails and The Great Wagon Road provided a route for people to travel across the region. The Roanoke Gap served as the route for the settlement of immigrants.

Construction of the railroad helped in economic growth of Roanoke and it attracted many manufacturers and a rayon plant was started in 1917 by American Viscose in Southeast Roanoke. Steam locomotives were manufactured at Norfolk & Western in 1950s and the Roanoke Shops designed a number of steam locomotives and classes until 1953. Virginian Railway (VGN) was built by Henry Huttleston Rogers and William Nelson Page in the early twentieth century. It started along the Roanoke River and passed through the city of Roanoke. In 1959, it was merged to N&W. Roanoke is famous for freight rail system but its first passenger rail service started in 1979.

About Roanoke, Virginia

The city of Roanoke offers a medley of attractions that can be explored for fun and adventure by its visitors. The downtown area is home to a plethora of cultural centers and magnificent museums at the center to keep the art connoisseurs busy. In addition, the local theatre called the Grandin Theatre can be visited, particularly on Friday and Saturday mornings, for free cartoon shows.

The world famous Mill Mountain Star, built in 1949, is a neon star overlooking the downtown Roanoke. Travelers from all across the globe come to witness the glowing effulgence of this attraction, especially at night. The Mill Mountain Zoo and the Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea are other worthy spots that invite an extensive exploration. Mill Mountain Zoo is located on the top of Mill Mountains, and it is accredited for its multifarious aquariums and animal species. The zoo hosts more than 85 animals including an African elephant, Siberian tiger and Japanese macaque.

One of the preeminent museums of the city is the O. Winston Link Museum, dedicated to the railroad photographer O. Winston Link. Housing a spectacular display, the museum showcases a bevy of unique photographs related to rail stations and rail accessories.

Another renowned museum in the city is the Taubman Museum of Art, also known as the Art Museum of Western Virginia. The grand display in the museum provides celebrated views of American art, and specially offers rare depictions of South-western Virginian art. The Virginia Museum of Transportation is another popular choice to explore a depiction related to automobiles and locomotives.

Die-hard shoppers can explore the Roanoke's City Market, an open air market to get rare herbs, gifts, decorations and souvenirs. For branded products, the Valley View Mall can be visited. It houses over 130 stores selling local and branded items. Gourmet lovers can try out an array of native delicacies in the multiple restaurants that surround the area.

Some other places frequently visited by travelers are Blue Ridge Parkway, Hotel Roanoke and the Hollins University.

The city provides a bus system for intercity travelling and surrounding areas. All routes start or end at Campbell Court bus station. The bus service is also provided by Valley Metro to Virginia Tech, Blacksburg and Christiansburg.

There are no train passages but the Greyhound service can be found in the city for local transportation. The airport has regular flights to cities of Washington, Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Tampa area (St. Petersburg), Chicago and New York. The airport is located close to the downtown and Valley View Mall - the major city mall.

Travelers coming to the city can use the Valley Metro bus system, operating since 2004, to go to various places. The new bus service of Valley Metro was also named "The Smart Way" and it connects the New River Valley to Blacksburg.

About Roanoke County, Virginia

Roanoke is an independent city located in the state of Virginia, which has two independent cities - Roanoke and Salem and four counties come under the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area - Botetourt, Craig, Franklin and Roanoke.

Christened after Norborne Berkeley, the 4th Baron Botetourt and governor of the Virginia colony, Botetourt county is located in Virginia and was established in 1770. The county is home to the famous James River which originated from the village of Iron Gate, and runs to the south to Eagle Rock. There are two mountains ranges close together which are separated by the James River and the Buchanan. The county has two high schools and is distinguished as the seat of Republicans.

Craig County is located in Commonwealth of Virginia and there are a total of 5091 people living in the regions as per 2000 census.

Franklin County was formed in 1785 and was named after Benjamin Franklin. The district is divided into Blackwater, Boones Mill, Blue Ridge, Gills Creek, Snow Creek, Rocky Mount, Union Hall, Ferrum, Penhook, Glade Hill and Callaway. The county owns a part of the national protected region of Blue Ridge Parkway and Booker T. Washington National Monument.

The independent city of Roanoke is within the boundary of Roanoke County, which was established in the year 1838. The name of the county comes from the local river called Roanoke. The original county seat was in Salem but later Salem became an independent city. The county is governed by representative elected by five districts Catawba, Hollins, Cave Spring, Vinton, and Windsor Hills, which form the Board of Supervisors. There are five high schools in the county and it shares the national protected areas of Blue Ridge Parkway and Jefferson National Forest.

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests cover the largest forestland in Eastern United States and fall under 22 separate counties including Botetourt, Craig, Franklin and Roanoke. Perfect for sports aficionados and adventure junkies, these national forests serve the ideal ground for adrenaline-rushing sports activities such as biking, hunting, hiking, trailing, walking etc. Besides, several local travelers and various schools organize summer camps in these national forests.