03/16/2015 | Director, Wytheville Convention and Visitors Bureau
Rich in History
The history of the area patterns the history of the nation with many interesting events, legends, and characters along the way. Wytheville embraces its heritage with over five historical museums honoring medicine, the Civil War, and polio’s unique impact on the area.
The Great Lakes to Florida Highway Museum depicts the mid-20th century era with its unique look at transportation. A self-guided historic walking tour showcases local history from pre-Civil War times until today. The region’s only African American Heritage Museum has an emphasis on education through photographs and exhibits. Five locations on the Virginia Civil War Trails mark the route of Toland’s Raid in 1863 and offer a beautiful scenic drive between locations.
Few communities can tout being the birthplace of a First Lady. The Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum tells the story of a Wytheville daughter who married the 28th President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson. Her influential and controversial life is chronicled in artifacts from her childhood to her years in the nation’s capital.
Several mansions dating to the 1800s also offer a historical glimpse into some of the first families of the region and their parts in the growth of Southwest Virginia. The legend and lore surrounding these locations offer many interesting stories about the area’s first affluent citizens.
Continuing the tribute to the town’s most famous offspring, a new hotel has recently opened across the street from the First Lady’s birthplace within the historic district. The Bolling Wilson Hotel is a unique upscale boutique property with 30 rooms on three floors. The restored historic hotel takes its themes from the great loves that were a part of Mrs. Wilson’s life. A restaurant, Graze on Main, and rooftop venue, The Perch, compliment the full-service property.
A great way to see the flavor and authenticity of the area is through the many festivals and special events that are held throughout the year. The following activities fill the spring, summer, and fall with a wealth of interesting, enjoyable, and educational opportunities for the entire family.
This eight-day event has an over 25 year history of providing entertainment. All events are free and held in the center of Wytheville throughout the day and into the evening. Included in each day’s schedule are crafts and classes, art displays and food, with every evening topping off with bands in the open air atmosphere of a beautiful public park. Besides this multi-day festival, there are many special or series events that are held at attractions and parks throughout the area.
Beagle Ridge Herb Farm and Flying Flowers
This attraction includes a two-acre herb display garden, a walk-through butterfly house, four and a half miles of nature trails, acres and acres of beautiful property and the new Serendipity, a special event building. From spring to fall, Beagle Ridge holds a variety of public special events including Lavender Thyme in June, Monarch Tagging in September and Garlic Thyme in October.
Big Walker Lookout and BW Country Store
Hosting a variety of heritage and culture events throughout the year, Big Walker Lookout and BW Country Store is a natural and man-made attraction and store located on a National Forest Scenic Byway just a few minutes from Wytheville. Showcasing the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it is an affiliate location of the Crooked Road Music Trail. From May through October, each Saturday and Sunday, a variety of artisans and musicians bring an authentic experience to this mountaintop location.
New River Trail State Park
As one of the most visited state parks in Virginia, the New River Trail State Park is a cornerstone of outdoor recreation in Southwest Virginia. Throughout the year, this facility holds a variety of programs and special events. Held in September, the New River Challenge has become Virginia’s premier long-distance triathlon. The challenge has a 40 mile bike ride, 12 mile kayak leg and half marathon along southwestern Virginia’s 57-mile-long New River Trail. Participants can either choose to compete solo or in teams of two or three.
Car cruise-ins and outdoor concerts are just a few of the activities you will find on the streets of the historic district in Downtown Wytheville. As part of a revitalization effort begun in recent years, the events held on Main Street offer a glimpse into the pure fun that can be had, no matter the season, in this small town atmosphere.
West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery
Located on a beautiful family farm, West Wind has many ongoing events throughout the year, including their popular summer concert series that runs from June to October. The attraction showcases local and regional music as well as homegrown and home-crafted wines.
Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre
Every eight weeks, a new Broadway-caliber production graces the stage. Following a four-course meal, Wohlfahrt Haus presents musicals that showcase many different types of music from classic to contemporary as well as feature huge production numbers with unforgettable dancing. These family-friendly productions are presented in matinee and evening times throughout the entire year.