I have often highlighted the city in which I currently live. For those of you who may be unfamiliar, I live in Roanoke, Virginia. After living for the first 30 years of my life in Naples, Florida, and another 5-ish across the state of Florida, I moved to Roanoke in July of 2013. If you’re ticking off the numbers on your fingers, I turned 40 this past September. But most of you already know that since I’ve been actively doing 30 day challenges for my year of #thisis40. When the weekly photo challenge came up as tour guide, I knew that I would have plenty to share.
Usually, I participate in the photo challenge on Wordless Wednesday, in which (as is indicated in the title) no words are used. I did share some photos of the Hotel Roanoke but wanted to share some more photos and talk a bit about my current city.
Today’s photography series will be a collection of some of the photos that I’ve taken from around Roanoke. A photo diary of sorts. I will also share some links to my past posts about Roanoke, where you will find plenty more information about the area.
Roanoke is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia. With easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is the delight of many fans of the outdoors.
If you’re interested in the Blue Ridge Parkway, you can check out these posts (a few are outside of Roanoke, but not too far away):
- Hiking Dragon’s Tooth
- Niagara Dam
- Historical Area of Explore Park
- Blue Ridge Parkway – The Saddle Overlook
- Roanoke Mountain Loop Trail
- Blue Ridge Parkway – Rock Castle Gorge Overlook
- Blue Ridge Parkway – Mabry Mill
One of the things that Roanoke is quite well known for is the Roanoke Star. The Roanoke Star is also known as the Mill Mountain Star. The star is located on Mill Mountain and is the largest, free-standing, man-made, illuminated star in the world.
The star was designed and built by Roy C. Kinsey and his two sons. It was constructed in 1949 and is three stars that contain 2,000 feet of neon tubing. The star is illuminated every night. It is primarily illuminated white but can include red, white, and blue for various occasions.
I must admit that when we return home from points north, the star upon the mountain is a welcome sight, letting us know that we are close to our final destination.
H & C Coffee Sign.
There are also two other neon signs sitting atop buildings in downtown Roanoke, which are illuminated at night and visible from I-581. One is a Dr. Pepper sign. According to this article, Roanoke consumed more Dr. Pepper per capita than any other place on earth from 1957-1959, and again in 1961. The other is the H & C Coffee sign. H & C Coffee was established in Roanoke in 1927 and the sign built in 1948. (cee’s which way photo challenge)
This sign was my favorite upon moving here because the coffee appeared to be pouring into the cup. However, I’ve noticed that it just stays fully lit now. According to this article from 2014, the animator mechanism needs repaired. I don’t often drive home in the dark, but I don’t think that its been replaced as of yet.
If you’re wondering about where the photo above was taken…I’ll tell you.
It’s from inside one of my favorite places to visit when I’m in downtown Roanoke:
Another of my favorite things about Roanoke is the amazing architecture. Having grown up in Florida, the architectural styles here are very different. While I have always been cognizant of architectural details, when I began to participate in Norm’s Thursday Doors, a weekly roundup of amazing doors from around the world, I began to see buildings through new eyes.
I’ve shared a close-up of one set of these doors in my post, Keys to the Past.
The Municipal Building is located at 215 Church Avenue. It is Neoclassical Revival and was erected in 1915.
Prior to being named Roanoke, the city was known as Big Lick. As shown on the sign at the Municipal Building, the original name was based on a salt outcropping which drew the wildlife to the site near the Roanoke River.
City Market Building.
The City Market Building is located at 32 Market Square SE. It is considered the heart of downtown. The Farmer’s Market is the oldest continuously operating open-air market in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It began in 1882. After the original building (built in 1886) was destroyed in a fire, the current building was built in 1922.
There are wonderful views to be had from the rooftop of the Center in the Square building. In addition to this one, I’ve shared some others in a much older post: Downtown Stroll.
Quite often there is something happening in Roanoke. I haven’t been able to make it to many events since we’ve moved here. Why? Miss Sunshine has been playing travel soccer since we moved here and that ties up most weekends. Occasionally we have some down time in the winter, but most of the events are not winter events.
Last year I did make it to the Local Colors Festival and I attended a Veteran’s Day parade a few years ago, where I gathered these photos.
However, Miss Sunshine will not be traveling for soccer this spring so I plan to take full advantage of the weekends to attend events and do more hiking!
You never know what treasure you might stumble upon when you are wandering around Roanoke. For example, there are beautiful sights to stumble upon in the alleyways found in the heart of downtown. (cee’s fun foto challenge). This is a connection in the alley behind the Center in the Square parking garage.
Of course, no tour is complete (on my end) without showing you more architecture. The stone at the top of the building says 1926. I know that much of our United States architecture pales in age comparison to those of Europe, but a building that’s 50 years older than me and looks this good deserves a glamour shot.
709 S. Jefferson Street.
I knew that a building with this much character had to have a history.
And it does.
Gill Memorial Hospital was founded by Dr. Elbyrne Gill in 1926 and is believed to be the Commonwealth’s first specialty hospital. It was an Eye, Ear, and Throat hospital.
It is currently home to RAMP (Regional Acceleration and Mentoring Program).
The Roanoke Valley is a great place to come visit. There is a great mix of urban and wilderness. Many people enjoy a great portion of their time outdoors.
Many high adventure enthusiasts love it here. There are plenty of trails for mountain biking and cycling. There are places to fish and kayak and rock climb. There’s even a climbing gym for those times when you can’t make it to the trails.
Not so High Adventure.
If you aren’t quite into high adventure (like me…the only one in my family of five), there’s still plenty to do. Roanoke likes its green space and preserves much. I’ve shared before some of our walks along the Greenway. I like to hike the many trails surrounding the area.
There is scientific backing to the benefit of spending time in nature and I can heartily agree with the conclusions.
Even though I take my Pilates and Yoga classes at my local gym, there are plenty of studios around town offering a focused workout. There is Empower Pilates & Yoga and Uttara Yoga Studio. There are also places like Pure Barre and Orange Theory Fitness. These are just a few of the places that I’ve heard of through friends.
As I mentioned above, there are often events held around Roanoke. There are often a calendar of events at Elmwood Park, Dr. Pepper Park, and the Berglund Center (where the hubby and I just watched Riverdance).
There are breweries and vineyards and an array of dining options.
There is so much more that is available to see and do in the area. Here are some great websites to check out for upcoming events and information on the area:
But you don’t just have to take my word for it.
Not only did Forbes put Roanoke on their 2017 list of 25 Great Scenic Places to Retire, but TripAdvisor recently named Roanoke as one of the best small USA cities to visit in 2018.
But you don’t just have to take their word for it.
Come visit and see for yourself.
Hope to see you soon!
Let your light shine!
33 thoughts on “Photo Diary of My Current City – Roanoke, Virginia”
Those buildings! Beautiful.
Thanks Dee! They are stunning! xx
Are you sure you dont
Work for the chamber of commerce?? Lol
Ha!Ha! I should! Right?! I’m helping with job security. lol. 😉
You’re an amazing tour guide Amy. Loved the walk through your beautiful city.
Thanks so much Miriam. I’m so glad that you loved the walk through the city. xx
I do eventually want to get around to doing the blue ridge parkway ones of these days. I guess that will take me to this lovely town too.
Great shots Amy 🙂
Thanks so much Norm. The Blue Ridge Parkway is beautiful. I think you’d love the architecture found downtown and probably throughout other the parts of the city as well. 🙂
What an elegant exterior! I’d be interested to see what the interior is like. ☺
I know that many of the older buildings around here try to keep as much of the original intact as possible. I’d be curious too! 🙂
What beautiful buildings! Great photos 🙂
Thanks so much!! 🙂
wonderful tour guide post – and you are right – a building that looks that good deserves a glamour shot. I am not a big fan of painted brick – but the green is fresh and looks very tended to. The H&C sign is so cool and nice of you to link your past posts about the Blue Ridge Parkway…. quite a nice resource post here…
Thanks so much! I do prefer brick in its natural state. While I don’t know the background on this building, I think sometimes a building has already been painted and painting it again is the only option. I do love the choice of green on this one. I’m glad you found my past links to the Blue Ridge Parkway useful! 🙂
Thanks for taking me around Roanoke 🙂
I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for coming along. 🙂
You really went all out and found some terrific patterns for this week. 😀
Thank you!! 🙂
Who knew painting brick green could be so striking…
Love the door in that building, and that alley. Nice post.
Thank you so much! The color choice isn’t one I would have considered, but it does make the the building quite striking. 🙂
That it does😊
So I haven’t even read this post yet but you stopped me when I saw ROANOKE …. I am literally like 30 minutes away near Smith Mountain Lake!! Such a small world! 💜
The Local Colors festivals are always great. I know they just collaborated and did the Chinese New Year event a few weekends ago that looked fun. I’m looking forward to this year’s event!
I saw that that they had done a recent event. I can’t remember why we didn’t go, but I saw some people dressed up at the county library who must have come from there. I’m looking forward to this year’s event…and spring! 😉
It sure is a small world! My youngest is old enough to get her boater’s license and is insistent that we will be heading down to the lake often over the summer! lol.
Great post! I used to spend a lot of time in the Roanoke area. That big star on the mountain was always a happy sight for me and my daughters as we travelled 220 N. Thanks for the memories.
I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post and that it could bring back some memories. That star is definitely a welcome sight after a long day on the road! 🙂
Let your star shine!