So, if fields and woods are your favorite, in a half-block, you’ll be on the Huckleberry Trail. It goes a little more than six miles, ending at the New River Valley Mall. You can catch a movie and walk back! You can bicycle or inline skate too – BYOB or BYOS (bring your own bicycle or skates).
If gardening is your bent, head out the front door and in half a mile or less, you’ll arrive at the Hahn Horticultural Gardens (www.hort.vt.edu/hhg), a place to wander around, relax on a bench, take note of myriad plants and flowers at this Virginia Tech horticultural exhibit, open year round.
Walk another mile or a little less, and you’ll come to the duck ponds and the restored Solitude building (photo), originally a log cabin built around 1800. Acquired in 1872 for $21,250, along with 250 acres, this was the original home for the land-grant Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, which has evolved into Virginia Tech. Solitude is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Virginia Historic Landmark.
Smithfield Plantation (www.apva.org/smithfield) is a way-too-often overlooked gem in Blacksburg, and it’s about a quarter mile down a road from the duck ponds. Built in 1773, the house, grounds, gift shop and gardens is a delightful place for people of all ages.
Okay, love small town history? Turn right outside the front door and wander the 16 original blocks of Blacksburg, taking in the newly restored and open St. Luke’s and Oddfellows Hall a little more than a mile away. You can stop for lunch, ice cream (or the creamiest of all: frozen custard), coffee or tea along the way for rest and nourishment. The restored Lyric Theater (www.thelyric.com) offers a nice variety of movies and entertainment in the heart of downtown.
And, what if you simply don’t feel like walking? There’s always our Summer on the River special, to which you drive, then canoe or kayak, then have dinner at The Palisades (river clothes welcome) and drive back. Or, there are dozens of books and magazines around the inn, comfortable furniture at the pool, and okay, what if it’s raining?? Well, hunker down on the covered deck, and ask for a plate of homemade cookies and some lemonade or freshly ground, afternoon coffee, and watch the rain. Joanne