Rock Castle Gorge is an incredible 11-mile hike just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are several variations you can do for shorter mileage but completing the entire loop is worthwhile.
Sheltered within the deep, narrow confines of Rock Castle Gorge is a surprising variety of plant life. There are 200 species of wildflowers, 45 species of trees and 28 species of ferns along the trail. The gorge also has a stunning wildflower display boasting nearly 200 species from April through early May, all within day hiking distance of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The loop encompasses high, open meadows with an impressive panoramic view as well as the narrow confines of the Gorge, making for a strenuous, but rewarding day hike.
As you hike down the sometimes steep trail, you might be tempted to think of this botanical haven as a slice of wilderness left untouched by man, but that idea quickly vanishes as you begin to see old home sites along the trail. The banks of Rock Castle Creek were once home to the more than 70 families who farmed the land and harnessed the stream to power their mills.
From Roanoke – travel south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to milepost 167.5.
Situated in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia, Chateau Morrisette Winery is located at Milepost 171.5 along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The winery is 3,500 feet above sea level and offers spectacular vistas of the New River Valley and Buffalo Mountain. About an hour from Roanoke, Virginia, and two hours from Greensboro, N.C., Chateau Morrisette Winery and Restaurant part of the Mountain Road Wine Trail and Virginia’s Crooked Road Music Heritage Trail.
Chateau Morrisette has produced multiple award-winning wines and is home to the annual Black Dog Music and BBQ Festival.
Villa Appalaccia Winery is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway close Roanoke and centrally located to to Floyd and Stuart, as well as Greensboro and Winston-Salem N.C. The Italian-inspired Villa is situated with stunning views and a relaxing environment.
The winery produces Italian grape varieties and makes award-winning Virginia wine from Sangiovese, Primitivo, Pinot Grigio, Malvasia, Cabernet Franc, Aglianico, and Corvina. The vineyard is one of a few in Virginia planted on shale (not clay), resulting in a wine that is unique and true to the Italian heritage.
The winery features a wood-fired brick oven for special events, an Italian music garden for relaxation and entertainment and a bocce court. Villa Appalaccia also serves local cheeses, salamis, olives, humus, and crusty bread for a relaxing lunch with a glass of wine.
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