There's definitely a new hipster vibe happening in Roanoke - old warehouses are being renovated and turned into apartments, rock climbing gyms and cool tap rooms, there are retro ice cream and soda bars, art house cinemas, craft beer breweries, farm-to-table restaurants, food co-ops, and an enormous Black Dog Salvage warehouse full of upcycled and salvaged treasures (the owners even have their own show on the DIY Channel!)
But the bearded/flannel/trucker hat look has been in Roanoke before it was cool. It's a very down-to-earth place, where you can buy fresh corn, peaches and apple sauce (and homemade aprons) from Brethren Dunkards, eat country cooking family-style in a gorgeous old farm house, find the best 'biscuits' (savoury scones) in America, find fantastic BBQ ribs and pulled pork sandwiches, line up for old-school chile from the open-all-hours institution, the Texas Tavern, and stare all day at the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains (part of the Appalachian Trail).
The kids also had a great time playing at the local water park, meeting the neighbourhood prize-winning hedgehogs, and - get this - playing in the street with their cousins. How good does that sound. We also drove one hour to nearby Lynchburg to play a the fabulous Amazement Square interactive children's museum. Definitely worth the trip, and Lynchburg has some gorgeous old renovated buildings by the James River to drool over.
Let me know if you ever travel to southern Virginia - I can give you the low-down! You can also read more about Roanoke, VA here on Bondville.
Images: Steph Bond-Hutkin | Bondville