Project Description

Originally intended to be a holiday decoration, Roanoke’s lighted, mountain-top star was dedicated by Roanoke native, John Payne, who played Fred Galey in the classic Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street, but over the years it became the city icon, earning Roanoke the nickname “Star City of the South”. Poised between the Blue Ridge Parkway—one of only three cities that have its own exit off the parkway— and the Appalachian Trail, the city is the metropolitan hub of the Southwest region, and is a perfect location for exploring the natural abundance of outdoor adventures in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

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Explore the Historic Roanoke City Market  with its pet friendly vendors and eclectic shops or take your four-legged friend for a hike on Mill Mountain to get a live shot of yourselves on the Roanoke Star-Cam. More than 22 miles of greenways — scenic connectors that link natural resources to Roanoke’s neighborhoods and downtowns— are perfect for long strolls with your pooch. One of the greenways runs right next to the charming suburb of Grandin, home of several pet-loving businesses including Black Dog Salvage . Known for its DIY Network show, Salvage Dawgs, Black Dog Salvage  honors its canine mascots and television co-stars with a line of pet merchandise including dog collars, leashes and toys. The huge architectural warehouse features all manner of salvaged house parts and collectibles and next to the warehouse, there’s a field with a salvaged truck-turned-stage called The Dog Bowl, where special events and live music are featured during good weather.

If you want more space to play, head about eight miles north to Carvins Cove Natural Reserve.  Carvins Cove is the second largest municipal park in the country, with 12,700 acres of hiking, equestrian trails and natural beauty, including a major water source for the region, the Carvins Cove Reservoir. If your dog loves the water, rent a kayak at the dock or take your pal on one of the many park trails or for a picnic on the grounds.

For true outward hounds, The Appalachian Trail crosses the valley at Troutville, about five miles north of Roanoke. McAfee Knob and Dragon’s Tooth, two of the most photographed landmarks on the trail, are accessible from SR311 to the west. Dogs are allowed to hike with their humans on most of the trails with a few exceptions detailed on the trail’s website.

For something a bit less strenuous after your hike, hit Virginia’s Blue Ridge Cheers Trail , a collection of regional breweries and wineries with locations near trails, as well as in downtown Roanoke.

Want to grab a cup of coffee or a meal with your friend? Check out VBR’s pet friendly patios to find places like Sweet Donkey Coffee House , where you can also grab pastries and light lunches. Or if pups and pints is more your speed, you’ll also find a list of breweries that offer outdoor seating like Big Lick Brewing in Roanoke.

Stay

For outdoor lovers, Explore Park offers an array of accommodations for every possible camping experience, from roughing it in your own tent to glamping. Choose from basic campsites, yurts, air conditioned cabins and platform tents and enjoy a variety of the park’s activities from the aerial adventure course to disc golf, paddling, kayaking, horseback riding and hiking.

If you prefer a hotel closer to the city, the Holiday Inn Valley View in Roanoke will surprise you with its many amenities, including an indoor swimming pool. If your pooch loves the outdoors, head up the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Peaks of Otter Lodge , offering pet-centric rooms in Building #3 that feature laminate floors and easy access to the grounds and a Pampered Pooch package .

For a taste of both the mountains and the sea, Smith Mountain Lake State Park offers pet friendly campsites and cabines. Featuring the state’s second largest freshwater lake, the park also has hiking trails, a fishing pier, boat rentals and numerous water activities.

Photos by VisitVBR.org