Where to stay: Most major chains are represented in the Roanoke area.
Historic Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center in downtown Roanoke offers rooms starting around $150. Specials are frequently offered on the Internet (www.hotel roanoke.com). The Inn on Campbell is a small, but elegant bed and breakfast with three suites. Rates start $170 (www.theinnoncampbell.com). Parking is available in a lot across the street.
Where to eat: The Roanoker, at 109 West Salem Avenue, lives up to its reputation for serving award-winning breakfasts. On the Rise Bread Company in the Historic Market area at 303 Market Street is a great breakfast or lunch spot. Awful Arthur’s Seafood Company in the City Market Building offers a variety of original hand-crafted beers along with good food. The dining room in the Hotel Roanoke is a good choice for either lunch or dinner. If you do not want to drive to dinner, the three Fork restaurants — Fork in the Market, Fork in the City, and Fork in the Alley — provide complimentary transportation in their Fork to Fork extra-long Checkered Cab.
The Homeplace Restaurant outside the small town of Catawba serves all-you-can-eat family-style meals in a farmhouse setting, Thursday thru Sunday. Ice cream addicts should take time to track down Roanoke area locations that sell Homestead Creamery Ice Cream. The best option is to drive to the creamery located at 7254 Booker T. Washington Highway near Burnt Chimney. Special flavors such as pumpkin, peppermint and gingerbread are available during the holiday season. The homemade eggnog is excellent but the boiled custard is a gift from the gods.
Additional information: Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, 101 Shenandoah Avenue, NE, Roanoke, VA 24016; (800) 635-5535; www.visitroanokeva.com, www.visitvablueridge.com.
Kay and David Scott are authors of Complete Guide to the National Park Lodges (Globe Pequot). They reside in Valdosta.