Best of the West

From outdoor trails to luxury resorts, Southwest Virginia has it covered.

Scott K. Brown Scott K. Brown. Courtesy Virgini

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Primland. Spectacular views, mountain-top chalets, elegant dining, conference facilities and a wide array of recreational activities are available at Primland Resort. Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org

Southwest voters agree: the 34-mile Virginia Creeper Trail, which connects Abingdon and Damascus, was voted Number 1 in this year’s contest, followed by the Cascade Falls Trailhead in Pembroke with its views of the impressive 66-foot high Cascade Falls on the four-mile out-and-back trail. In third place, the paved Dick & Willie Passage Rail Trail runs just over four miles along the Danville and Western Railroad corridor. This trifecta of hiking and biking trails define the area’s outdoor culture.

To gear up for your hikes and bikes, look to Clinch Life Outfitters in St. Paul, which earned a first-place win from our voters for its kayaks, canoes, rods, and reels—along with guided fishing trips. Blue Ridge Outfitters in Marion came in second. This locally owned and operated store offers outdoor apparel, hiking boots, cowboy hats, and more. And in Roanoke, our third place winner, Mast General Store, which dates back to the late 1800s, also offers gifts, jewelry, knives, and toys.

Looking for luxury? Our readers voted Primland, Auberge Resorts Collection, in Meadows of Dan, an outdoor lover’s favorite. “Set amidst 12,000 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains, it is difficult to not immerse yourself in Primland’s natural surroundings,” says Ashley Nelson, Primland’s director of marketing. The resort is known for its “best-in-class service, luxury accommodations and amenities, and an unrivaled guest experience,” she notes. It’s consistently voted one of the best resorts in the South by Travel+Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler, and our voters agree. The resort’s Highland Golf Course blends seamlessly into the natural landscape, food is world-class, and spa services are decadent and extensive—all in a breathtaking mountain setting.

Nestled in the New River Valley, Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke offers serenity, relaxation, and the adventure of the Appalachian Mountains right outside. Vacationers have been enjoying this rural resort, made famous by the movie Dirty Dancing, for centuries.

Cap off a visit to this dynamic part of the state with a stopover at the Floyd Country Store. You’ll have a boot-stompin’, finger-pickin’ good time at one of the best incubators around for local heritage music and dancing. It’s always a favorite in our Best Music Venue category, along with Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount.

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