Roanoke, Virginia fits the definition of Graceful.
What do I mean by that?
Well, I participate in a weekly photo challenge.
And the theme this week happens to be “graceful”.
However, my archives don’t contain photos of swans, ballerinas, or princesses.
Those happen to be the things I think about when I hear the word graceful.
As I pondered it more and thought through the description used in the photo challenge: “something that exists harmoniously with its surroundings,” I decided on a direction.
I think the city and surrounding area of Roanoke, Virginia does just that.
If you aren’t familiar with Roanoke, it is located in the Southwestern portion of Virginia.
It also happens to have become my adopted home since mid-2013.
According to the City’s government website, the first pioneers explored the Roanoke Valley region as early as the 17th century.
As a side note, my genealogical search has turned up with family lines in the surrounding counties as far back as the late 1700s.
The city of Roanoke was originally called Big Lick, named after the salt that fed the wildlife along the Roanoke River.
The town was established in 1852 and then became the town of Roanoke in 1882 and follow that by becoming a city in 1884.
Its location helped it flourish.
To me, the downtown area has an industrial/urban feel.
This may be biased as I come from an area of South Florida, where there are no railroads and little to no manufacturing since the establishment of the area was at a much later time.
I love this urban feel to the downtown area.
The area has been undergoing a revitalization for some time.
However, I did not move to the area until the summer of 2013 and quite a bit had already taken place in the pedestrian-friendly downtown.
Since then, more shops and restaurants have spread beyond the initial square to create even more space to wander downtown.
And condos have been built in the upper floors of the historic buildings.
There is almost always something going on.
There are festivals. And there are 5k’s. Also, for any of you that are hardcore runners (this is not me…my zen is yoga), the Blue Ridge Marathon will begin and finish downtown in April.
Elmwood Park’s amphitheater and The Berglund Center have both been venues for some amazing concerts.
There is also a Greenway that runs along the Roanoke River, filled with runners, walkers, and bicyclists.
Given that I have a history of having a child involved in an accident and being med-flighted to a Level 1 Trauma Center with a brain injury when we lived in Florida, I was relieved to find out the city I was moving to had a Level 1 Trauma Center located in it.
That’s not something that I would have ever thought about before living through it.
But minutes are critical when there are life-threatening emergencies involved.
Located near the hospital is the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.
I find it absolutely fascinating that this is happening where I live.
Before I moved, I had gone back to school to work on a degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. The area I was living in Florida had a strong biomedical community and the Bachelor degree was being offered at the local State College. It had great potential because I was busily raising kids, so going off to a University was not an option. I didn’t get too far along before we moved (but I aced Chemistry, Statistics, and A&P after being out of college for 18 years!).
My focus changed when I moved here, but I still hold a special place inside for medicine and how the human body functions.
Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Roanoke Valley (which encompasses the city and county of Roanoke and the city of Salem) exists harmoniously within its environment.
There is a love for the outdoors.
A love for green space.
It’s also nestled between the mountains.
Everywhere that I drive, I am facing a mountain range.
And the Blue Ridge Mountains are a sight to behold.
My photos only offer a glimpse of the spectacular scenery.
A great website to check out regarding the area happenings is Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
They always have great things on their blog about things to do and see in the region.
They also share some amazing Instagram photos (one of mine is in the first snow of 2017 photo album).
Blue Ridge Parkway.
Quite a few people travel along the Blue Ridge Parkway every year.
Excepting the photos in the city, all of these photos are taken on the Parkway from either Mill Mountain or Roanoke Mountain.
The Roanoke Mountain loop road is now closed for the season. It should also be mentioned that if you plan to travel the Parkway in the winter, you should always be sure to check with the National Park Service for road closures.
If you should find yourself this way, I think you’ll agree that the cityscape and the surrounding natural landscape exist in a symbiotic relationship.
That there are grace and harmony in their coexistence.
update: since the writing of this post, I have shared about various hikes and views that can be found in the area. They can be found in the USA category found under the Destinations tab. But here are a few to get you started.
Let your light shine!