Love the ones you’re with. There may be only one Wytheville VA, but almost everyone will love visiting this quirky small town in southwest Virginia.
You can’t erase the memory of haunting tales chronicling unusual happenings in the 1870 Octagon House or your first sight of a giant pencil suspended from a downtown storefront. You can’t even hide in a corner!
Act like a lady. The charming town of Wytheville (pronounced with-ville) is the childhood home of Edith Bolling Wilson, the second wife of President Woodrow Wilson and one of America’s fascinating First Ladies who had a passionate love for her country and for bourbon.
Situated in Wythe County with panoramic views of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Wytheville’s natural beauty, rich history, and unforgettable characters will leave a lasting impression on visitors traveling along the original Great Lakes to Florida Highway.
Buckle up buttercup. Among the most popular routes are Big Walker Mountain Trail, New River State Park, and Crystal Springs. Motorcycle enthusiasts can kick the Claw of the Dragon off their bucket lists with spectacular scenery and challenging curves.
Make love not war. Wytheville was founded in 1792 as Evansham and ultimately renamed in honor of George Wythe, the first signer of the Declaration of Independence for Virginia. Wytheville was of strategic importance during the Civil War, enduring attacks during Toland’s Raid in 1863 and in Stoneman’s Raid in 1865.
Look for the artsy signs of love at local landmarks. Here are some of the absolute best things to do in Wytheville VA!
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Coolest Places to Stay in Wytheville VA
- Best Boutique Hotel. The Bolling Wilson Hotel is a boutique hotel that honors former First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson. You’ll love the terrace overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains and the onsite restaurant and bar. More about this awesome hotel is below.
- Best Mountain Retreat. Reward yourself with a relaxing stay at the Inn at Foster Falls, a newly refurbished historic hotel located inside New River Trail State Park. Chef-made desserts and breakfasts add upscale luxury to this charming venue located in the picturesque mountain retreat.
- Best Tried and True. Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Wytheville VA has a heated indoor pool, a free continental breakfast available daily, a fitness center, and more. It’s located about a mile from downtown Wytheville.
First Lady & Founding Fathers
Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum
As one of only eight historic sites across the United States dedicated to the interpretation of a First Lady, the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum on Main Street tells the story of Wytheville native Edith Bolling Wilson, who played a pivotal role in the White House at an important moment during World War I.
The museum is housed in Edith’s unrestored home and features memorabilia from her childhood and her years at the White House. Hear Edith and Woodrow’s love story and find out why she was often referred to as America’s “First Female President.”
Bolling Wilson Hotel
The Bolling Wilson Hotel is a lovely boutique hotel that honors the First lady and offers 30 luxurious guest rooms. You’ll also find Graze on Main restaurant (named in honor of Mrs. Wilson’s use of sheep to maintain the White House lawn during World War I), and a rooftop lounge with beautiful views of downtown Wytheville and the surrounding mountains are essential stops.
Special touches throughout the hotel pay tribute to Edith, from large photos of orchids, the flower with which President Wilson so fervently courted her, nods to both her grandmother’s canaries she cared for as a child and her later taste for fine bourbon.
Conveniently located just off Interstate 81, and Interstate 77, the award-winning boutique hotel is just steps away from Main Street shops and restaurants.
Stay Here: Bolling Wilson Hotel
Trinkle Mansion Bed & Breakfast
Wytheville is also home to the Trinkle Mansion Bed and Breakfast, a beautiful and historic B&B.
Built in 1912 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as the Virginia Landmarks Register, it boasts four elegant guestrooms, plus a private garden cottage. While it radiates Southern charm, the B&B is comfortable, low key and welcoming.
Guests can indulge in delicious three-course breakfasts served fireside at a beautifully set table, complete with silver and crystal. Each guestroom has two queen-sized beds with private bathrooms, which have showers and original claw-foot tubs.
Thomas J Boyd Museum
Honoring Thomas Jefferson Boyd, the “Father of Wytheville,” the Boyd Museum focuses on local history, including local crafts, decorative arts, mining and the 1950s polio epidemic, with an exhibit called the “Summer Without Children.”
The installation includes an authentic iron lung used in the challenging health scare. Boyd was actively engaged in Wytheville’s development, serving as a local attorney, the town mayor, a surveyor, a hotel builder, and as an esteemed Virginia Legislator.
Great Lakes to Florida Highway Museum
The Great Lakes to Florida Highway Museum offers a look back to a time when Route 21 was the primary route to Florida from the Midwest.
Original artifacts, newspaper clippings and exhibits chronicle the development of the highway. The charming museum is appropriately housed in a restored 1950s gas station.
Willowbrook Homestead Museum
The Willowbrook Homestead Museum is the newest addition to the Wytheville Department of Museums collection. The 9-acre property includes the Wythe County Decorative Arts Museum, smoke house, Umberger cabin, spring house, kitchen house, log barn and blacksmith, gunsmith and woodworking shops.
Public tours, living history demonstrations, and a historic foodways program — with a kitchen, garden and cooking demonstrations on an open hearth and an earthen-baked oven — offer a glimpse into the past.
Haller Gibboney Rock House
The Haller-Gibboney Rock House was the home of Wytheville’s first resident physician.
Dr. John Haller, his family, and their descendants lived in the home for 140 years as it was used as an infirmary and a school during the Civil War, and later as a boarding house.
1870 Octagon Mansion History Museum & Gallery
You look like you’ve seen a ghost. The 1870 Octagon Mansion History Museum & Gallery features John Cushman’s lifetime collection of American History, as well as hosts tours and special events for the ongoing restoration and preservation of this unique architectural marvel.
Listen to haunting stories and learn about paranormal experiences witnessed in the Octagon Mansion. The historic home is the perfect setting for “Dinner with a Ghost” events, a gourmet dinner hosted in the formal dining room followed by paranormal investigations.
Beagle Ridge Herb Farm
Keep calm and carry on with lovely lavender. Beagle Ridge Herb Farm is a carefully tended lavender farm featuring formal gardens, guided nature tours, and an outdoor tearoom offer visitors an intimate look at the natural world.
This official monarch butterfly migration point houses more than 10,000 flying flowers each year in southwest Virginia’s only walk-through butterfly house. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the gardens then shop in the gift shop overflowing with lavender flavored and scented products made on site. Get a big glass of lavender lemonade or a souvenir package to take home.
The 160-acre wooded retreat has more than four miles of nature trails, as well as display gardens and seasonal events. Relax in the gardens and enjoy a cup of herbal tea, learn about herbal crafts and natural lotions and creams, or just take in the breathtaking views.
You can even enjoy a scenic gourmet picnic on the mountain featuring lavender products, wine and a chauffeured golf cart ride to the designated rendezvous spot.
Fort Chiswell Animal Park
Fort Chiswell Animal Park is where the deer and antelope play, along with camels and monkeys.
Virginia’s most interactive zoo is home to exotic animals from six continents. Grab a bag of food and hop on the fabulous safari bus and meet Puff the Camel, who gets up close and personal with his greetings at feeding time. Many animals will shower you with sloppy affection in exchange for treats.
Fort Chiswell Animal Park sits on 45 beautiful acres and you’ll enjoy interacting with a variety of animals, including camels, zebras, buffalo, monkeys, parrots, antelope and deer. Little ones love the petting zoo.
Scenic Trails, Parks, and Pit Stops
Big Walker Mountain
If you love the outdoors, you’re in the right place.
Among the top attractions are the Big Walker Mountain National Forest Scenic Byway and Big Walker Mountain. At an elevation of 3,405 feet, the Big Walker Lookout features an observation tower and a swinging bridge.
Big Walker Lookout
Big Walker Lookout, the oldest and highest private scenic attraction in Virginia, is the starting point of the Toland’s Raid Civil War trail that ends in Wytheville.
At Virginia’s famous attraction, “only the birds see more” from the 100-foot observation tower where, on a clear day, visitors can see five states. If you dare to look down, see the Claw of the Dragon, a famous motorcycling route on Big Walker Mountain.
The Lookout at the top of the mountain is also a Virginia Birding Trail and offers breathtakingly beautiful views. An expansive country store features a popular ice old-fashioned counter with premium hand-dipped ice cream and country-fresh fudge. Hear bluegrass and watch crafters every weekend when they host regional musicians and artisans in the panoramic parking lot from May to October.
Claw of the Dragon
Don’t forget your helmet. It would really be a challenge for bikers to find a more beautiful driving trail than the scenic back roads of southwest Virginia.
Looping through the Blue Ridge Mountain range, the Claw of the Dragon is one of the most popular destinations in the South for motorcycle enthusiasts. As the 16-mile scenic byway makes its way to the top, riders are immersed in the breathtaking flora and fauna of each season.
New River Trail State Park
New River Trail State Park is a 57-mile linear park that follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way. It parallels the scenic and historic New River for 39 miles.
Activities include horseback riding, bicycling, fishing, camping, and canoeing. Don’t miss the historic shot tower that dates back over 300 years where ammunition was made by shooting hot shots into the river to cool.
Reward yourself with a relaxing stay at the Inn at Foster Falls, the newly refurbished historic hotel located inside the park. Chef-made desserts and breakfasts add upscale luxury to this charming venue located in the picturesque mountain retreat.
Stay Here: Inn at Foster Falls
Crystal Springs Recreation Area
Just outside the Wytheville town limits, you can explore Crystal Springs, a scenic 1,800-acre area where you can commune with nature and camp, bike, hike or picnic.
The scenic trails offer a variety of lengths and difficulty, crossing farmland, forests, and a clear mountain stream.
Mountain Hydration Tips
Water is your friend. Make sure to take plenty of water (3 liters minimum per day), snacks, first aid kit, cell phone or other means of emergency communication device, dress appropriately for the weather and elevation change (gain 1,000 feet in elevation, temperatures drop 7-10 degrees) and make a good plan for each outdoor excursion.
Dining & Drinks
Petals Wine Bar
Petals Wine Bar offers a casual atmosphere to get a drink after work or hang out with a friend.
At Petals Wine bar, you’ll find gourmet grilled cheese paninis, salads, soups, charcuterie, and cheese plates, alongside artisan wines from local vineyards and around the world. Come learn about wines with the friendly staff or try a local craft beer.
West Wind Vineyards & Winery
Go west for wine. With award-winning wines, West Wind Vineyards & Winery is a beautiful fourth-generation family homestead that offers special activities year-round, including wine dinners and music events. Enjoy hand-crafted Virginia wine while experiencing a spectacular view of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains.
West Wind offers tastings and tours, along with gourmet snacks, custom gift baskets, local arts, crafts and more. Try the wine slushies!
The Log House 1776 Restaurant
The Log House 1776 Restaurant is hard to describe with a quirky maze of dining rooms, nooks, crannies, and gift shops.
Have dinner in one of the oldest remaining structures in Wytheville, with portions of the building dating back to 1776. Be sure to wander through the eclectic garden to see the resident bunnies and doves.
Darlene Lang’s new, local eatery features fresh New York bagels and house-roasted Blackline coffee each morning to fuel up before a day of exploring.
Generous schmears of signature spreads elevate the bagels to gourmet standards at Ghetti’s Cafe. Lunch features a “build your own” pasta menu, and the locally famous “Wythe Fill”, a handmade fillable pasta pocket.
Crossroads Social House
Bring your bowling shoes. Wytheville’s newest attraction, Crossroads Social House, is a family entertainment center with 14 bowling lanes, a laser tag arena, private party rooms, and an arcade. Crossroads even has a full-service restaurant and bar with a seasonal outdoor patio.
Winner winner chicken dinner. After a tasty sandwich, I hit the slot machine and won $20!
Seven Sisters Brewery
Cheers to beers! Seven Sisters Brewery is a locally-owned craft brewery located in the historic R.P. Johnson building in the heart of Downtown Wytheville, and it is the locals’ place to hang. We even ran into the Mayor, who gave us a warm welcome.
Named for the nearby mountain range of the same name, this family-friendly spot offers a cool and casual atmosphere to catch up with a delicious craft beer, trivia nights and live music.
Skeeter’s World Famous Hot Dogs
Put on the dog and put everything on it. As a self-proclaimed hotdog expert, I urge you to stop at Skeeter’s World Famous Hot Dogs. While everyone else enjoyed breakfast, I opted for a famous chili dog with the works and wasn’t disappointed.
Established in 1925, Skeeter’s is one of Virginia’s oldest continuously-operating restaurants. Located in the historic district of Wytheville, a visit to Skeeter’s is like stepping back in time.
Reminiscent of by-gone days, the old-fashioned lunch counter, tiny Cokes in glass bottles, and, of course, the hotdogs, make it easy to see why Rachel Ray added it to her list of the Top 64 Hot Dogs in America.
High Plains BBQ
High Plains BBQ on Lee Highway specializes in slow-smoked meats and homemade sides.
The laid-back establishment is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy authentic Southern-style BBQ with panoramic patio views or a comfortable dining room. Road trippers should take a rest stop for ribs and the fixings.
Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre
In town, enjoy dinner, drinks, and a show at the Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre, a state-of-the-art German-themed dinner theater featuring lounge-style chairs and a four-course meal prepared by the in-house chef.
There’s something for everyone as audiences enjoy all musicals, all the time, with a variety of huge production numbers with exceptional choreography.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO VIRGINIA
- YOUR VIRGINIA VACATION
- RICHMOND: 17 Things To Do In Richmond VA On Your Next Visit
- VIRGINIA BEACH: 21 Amazing Things To Do In Virginia Beach, VA
- WILLIAMSBURG: 21 Phenomenal Things To Do In Williamsburg VA
- CHARLOTTESVILLE: 22 Outstanding Things To Do In Charlottesville VA
Where to Stay in Wytheville VA
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