Whether you like to sip or chug, the Roanoke Valley region has the right mix of attractions to quench your thirst for fun, knowledge and beauty.
Christiansburg, a city in the valley, is known as the Dr Pepper Capital of the World because more of the soda is sold there than any other metropolitan area east of the Mississippi River.
It's an appropriate distinction. The region's one-of-a-kind taste is beyond comparison, similar to the beverage famous for its 23 secret flavors.
From the picturesque Natural Bridge to Thomas Jefferson's historic Poplar Forest plantation house in Forest, the area is a fascinating blend of attractions.
The Dixie Caverns in Salem showcase beautiful limestone formations. A shaded campground, a gift and rock shop and an antiques mall featuring collections from more than 40 dealers are among other draws. Within another commercial cave, the Luray Caverns, are several creatively named marvels. Titania's Veil is a shimmering white, pure calcite formation resulting from spreading crystalline deposits. Dream Lake, the caverns' largest body of water, reflects the stunning stalactites hanging from the ceiling.
Speaking of caverns, it should be noted that not all withstand the test of time.
That's true of what is now Natural Bridge, a collapsed cavern that formed a great stone arch. It's part of a 157-acre parcel purchased by Thomas Jefferson from King George III for 20 shillings before the American Revolution.
The still-intact Natural Bridge Caverns take visitors 34 stories deep within the earth.
A trip to Roanoke isn't complete without a visit to the retreat home of the nation's third president.
Thomas Jefferson, an accomplished architect, designed his Poplar Forest villa.
The home incorporates elements from ancient, Renaissance Palladian and 18th-century French architecture. Jefferson was greatly influenced by Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. Throughout the plantation, slaves built roads, tended to livestock, made bricks and worked in the fields. Jefferson bought and sold men and women to punish, to pay off debts and sometimes to reunite families.
The Salem Museum and Historical Society, a two-story brick home listed on the National Register of Historic Places, originally was a residence and a post office-general store combination. It boasts Native American artifacts, Civil War relics and other assorted mementos.
Consider a walking tour of historic downtown Smithfield and catch a glimpse of the old town's 60 Colonial, Federal and Victorian homes. Visitors can check out The Old Courthouse of 1750, a restored building modeled after the capitol building in Colonial Williamsburg.
At the 81,000-square-foot, three-level Taubman Museum of Art, groups can view some of the best works created by Virginian and Appalachian artists. Appalachian dolomite limestone, or hokie stone, permeates the facility's lobby, shop and cafe.
Roanoke Valley CVB