city's history began in the 1740s, but grew as a result of the
railroad. Today the railroad continues to play a visible role through
the Virginia Transportation Museum, the O. Winston Link Museum and
the actual railroad yard downtown.
is a getaway for us and one we wish could happen more frequently.
We've been spoiled by the service and amenities of the Hotel Roanoke, a Doubletree Hotel, which has a rich connection with the railroad
in 1882, Roanoke was just a small town, but Frederick J Kimball
changed all that when he merged the Norfolk and Western railroads and
decided his vision would be built around this community.
the hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places and has
changed much since its early days when it was a wooden structure with
less than three-dozen rooms. It was Mr. Kimball's desire, though,
that the hotel be the centerpiece of Roanoke. Even during the early
1930s and the Depression, the railroad allowed the hotel to prosper.
And it was during this time, the exterior facade had evolved from
Queen Anne to Tudor, which it remains today.
the hotel closed for four brief years after it was given to Virginia
Tech, in 1993 it reopened following a multi-million dollar
restoration and renovation.
bell staff is attentive to those who desire to utilize valet car park
or those who elect to self-park. The rocking chairs on the veranda
give you an opportunity to enjoy the meticulous landscaping.
the main lobby, you'll always find people milling about or relaxing
in the over-sized furniture. A grand piano typically plays in the
background. To the right and down the hall is the Pine Room Pub with
beautiful wood walls. It's a great place for a sandwich, if you're
looking for something light and casual or a game of billiards.
check-in you'll be handed your room key and warm bag of chocolate
chip cookies. Sadly, there's nothing worse than being stuck in an
elevator with that incredible aroma.
rooms vary in décor and furnishings to tastefully utilize
nooks and crannies of the Old Gal. Each time we've stayed, our
accommodations were elegant, yet cozy. We've always found the
hotel's packages to be an excellent value, especially those with
including breakfast. The breakfast buffet in the Regency Room on
Sundays is absolutely incredible.
may want to begin exploring just down the hill from the Hotel
Roanoke. Near its parking lot is the Roanoke Visitor Center and O.
Winston Link Museum in the city's former railroad depot. And it's so
very appropriate that a city so immersed in the railroad industry
would be the home of museum showcasing Mr. Link's love of photography
and railroads. Ironic though...a museum documenting the documentation
of one man.
mornings are a perfect time to take the enclosed walkway (Market
Square Bridge) across the tracks to downtown. The farmer's market is
bustling with vendors offering everything from flowers to fresh baked
goods. And because Roanoke has such diverse architecture, many
buildings still feature advertising painted on buildings, it's easy
to drop back in time and imagine a by-gone era.
includes an Orvis store (and don't tell anyone, but a few blocks down
on the opposite side of the street is an Orvis discount store).
in the Square, which is right next door to the market features the
Art Museum of Western Virginia; Mill Mountain Theater, a year-round
professional regional theater; Roanoke Valley History Museum; and
Science Museum of Southwestern Virginia.
an incredible selection of restaurants downtown for lunch too.
Photo Courtesy: Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC)