The Roanoke Valley is budding with picturesque natural beauty and mountain wonder. 

Retire your winter blues and renew your senses this spring in Virginia's Blue Ridge. From our picturesque natural beauty and mountain wonder, to our bustling downtowns and family-friendly events, the warmth of the season abounds throughout the Roanoke Valley.

Absorb the scenic charm of our mountain landscape with a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The route is brimming with such showy shrubs as Rhododendrons and Wild Hydrangeas, and colorful flowers including Bluets, Turks-Cap Lilies and Dwarf Irises. Due to the lower elevation, bloom peaks in the region are typically earlier than more southern areas of the parkway. Capture the vibrant and budding landscape by camera as you hike one of the numerous trails or enjoy lunch at one of the many picnic areas along the way. The Blue Ridge Parkway Travel Planner mobile app is an ideal guide in mapping an impressive tour of the popular roadway.

At the city centers of Roanoke, Salem and Vinton, multiple farmers markets are ripe with outdoor vendors offering a variety of goods, from eye-catching flowers and locally grown produce, to enticing homemade treats, hand-crafted jewelry and other artistic treasures. The Historic Roanoke City Market, open year-round, is a local landmark and favorite that boasts a storied tradition as the heart and soul of downtown Roanoke.

Step aboard a trolley tour, April 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in celebration of the 80th Historic Garden Week. This year's tour will showcase five Roanoke gardens and homes as part of this annual statewide event, which invites visitors to an open house of Virginia's most bountiful gardens, memorable homes and historic landmarks at the peak of spring color.

Pay homage to Mother Nature at Earth Day Roanoke, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., April 20 in the city's Historic Grandin Village neighborhood. The free event boasts a wealth of educational booths and health-inspired demonstrations, in addition to children's activities, food, music, artistic finds and more. Local farmers and gardeners will also be on hand to share their valuable knowledge and tips.

At the Booker T. Washington National Monument, celebrate Earth Day and kickoff National Parks Week with special children's programs April 20 at 11 a.m. As the birthplace of the scholar and educator, the monument recounts some of the early influences of Washington's life and provides insights into what life was like for slaves during the 1850s. Journey back to the monument May 25-27 to see the history and traditions come alive during Memorial Day-Living History Weekend.

Blossoming outdoor scenery also spurs the start of warm-weather festivals throughout the region. The 58th Annual Vinton Dogwood Festival will fill downtown with sights and sounds of the season, April 24-28 at the Vinton War Memorial. The free event features a five-day carnival, live entertainment, crafts, children's activities, auto and motorcycle shows, an annual parade, and more.

Spring forward alongside hundreds of runners at the 2013 Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon, April 20 in downtown Roanoke. Touted as America's Toughest Road Marathon, bragging rights aren't the only prize up for grabs for competitors in this year's race. Two lucky runners will score a spot on the five-person relay team of legendary athletes Bart Yasso, Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers. The race starts and ends in downtown Roanoke near the Taubman Museum of Art.

In Salem, join the Red Sox as they kick-off their 2013 season at Lewis-Gale Field. The team officially opens on the road, but will return home on April 12 against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The opening homestand will feature a three-game weekend series against the Pelicans followed by a three-game series against the Potomac Nationals. This year marks the Red Sox's fifth year as a Boston Red Sox affiliate and 47th season in the Carolina League.

Revel in the best of the season in Virginia's Blue Ridge. For more information about warm-weather events, including the Kite Festival, Strawberry Festival and the opening of Center in the Square, visit our website and our mobile website at, call (800) 635-5535 or stop by the Roanoke Valley Visitor Information Center located at 101 Shenandoah Avenue NE in downtown Roanoke, and open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.