We’ve dedicated this page to providing you with some great ideas for day trips during your stay at The Collins House Inn. This page is new and will continue to evolve, so check back often for even MORE reasons to visit Marion, VA and The Collins House Inn.
We’re very fortunate to have many things to choose from in Smyth County and surrounding areas -- whether you’re looking for a beautiful drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains, or if you’re wanting to visit local farmer’s markets, fall festivals, wineries, flea markets or go for a beautiful hike! There’s something here for everyone!
Burke’s Garden, VA
Here’s a wonderful day trip that will take you through some truly beautiful countryside. Burke’s Garden is located in our northern neighboring county of Tazewell and is a very (I mean VERY) small community of approximately 300 residents. Though at first glance (of the photo to the left) you may think Burke’s Garden was formed from some type of volcanic action -- not so. It was actually formed eons ago when the earth was largely covered by the sea. Over time, and with the power of rivers created by the receding sea levels . . . and later geological alterations from glaciers and other movements of the earth, the crater-like valley was created. Burke’s Garden is Virginia’s highest valley -- being 3,000 feet above sea level. It has long been an agricultural paradise atop a mountain. The Garden Mountain, which surrounds the valley, towers an average of 1,000 feet above the valley.
A trip to Burke’s Garden is never complete without a visit to its General Store. Here you’ll find local artisan crafts, some wonderful specialty spices, jams, and jellies, and you can also enjoy a sandwich from the General Store’s cafe. Want a real taste of “Americana?” Visit Burke’s Garden the last Saturday of September each year for their annual Fall Festival. Here, you’ll find a “Garden-wide” yard sale, freshly-baked sourdough breads, and many other homemade goodies.
Are You a Wine Lover?
The Blue Ridge Highlands area of Virginia offers some great wineries.
And, a visit to each will give you a full day of tastings and beautiful vistas! Closest to The Collins House Inn are:
Davis Valley Winery (approx. 15 minutes away)
Rural Retreat, VA
M-Sat: 10AM-5PM Sun: Noon-5PM
Rural Retreat Winery (approx. 20 minutes away)
Rural Retreat, VA
M-Sat: 11AM-6:30PM Sun: Noon-6:30PM
West Wind Farm Vineyard & Winery (approx. 45 minutes away)
Max Meadows, VA
M-Sat: 11AM-6PM Sun: 1PM-6PM
The following wineries are just a bit farther away, but still close enough to enjoy as a day trip -- and well worth the drive:
Chateau Morrisette Winery (approx. 1 hour - 40 minutes away
near Villa Appalaccia Winery)
M-Thurs.: 10AM-5PM Fri-Sat: 10AM-6PM Sun: 11AM-5PM
Villa Appalaccia Winery (approx. 1 hour - 40 minutes away
near Chateau Morrisette)
Fri: 11AM - 5PM Sat: 11AM - 6PM Sun: Noon - 4PM
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Beagle Ridge Herb Farm
Do you love an abundance of fresh air, beautiful herb and wildflower gardens, butterflies and hummingbirds . . . then you can’t miss a trip to Beagle
Ridge Herb Farm. Beagle Ridge Herb Farm is located about 12 miles outside of Wytheville, VA and is about a 40- to 45-minute drive from The Collins House Inn. When you drive to Beagle Ridge, you may question if you have perhaps taken a
wrong turn . . . as it is quite remote. But once there, you truly feel in touch with nature -- surrounded by fragrant herbs like lavender, thyme, rosemary, flowers, and a whole lot of “quiet.”
Owner, and Executive Director, Ellen Reynolds and her husband have created a beautiful, relaxing sanctuary where you can go to relax, learn, purchase herbs and other plants, as well as, purchase many homemade soap, lotion, and shampoo creations that have been finely crafted by Ellen herself. She also conducts many “how-to” classes throughout the spring, summer and fall, as well as, special luncheons.
Visit the Beagle Ridge Herb Farm web site for class and luncheon schedules.
Hike to Molly’s Knob
(at Hungry Mother State Park)
Hungry Mother State Park (just 6-1/2 miles from The Collins House Inn) has over 12 miles of interconnecting trails in two separate networks. The trails
range from 2,220 feet at lake level to 3,270 feet at Molly’s Knob and are made up of varying degrees of difficulty . . . from easy to moderate (with some steep sections).
The Molly’s Knob Trail is a somewhat difficult path but well worth the trip. The view of southwestern Virginia is magnificent (shown at left)! The trail length is 3.2 miles round trip and makes for a terrific day outing.
Hungry Mother State Park also offers beautiful picnic sites, a beach, as well as paddle boat and canoe rentals to round out your day’s activities.
Hiking in Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
(Located at the intersection of Grayson, Washington, and Smyth Counties)
High, wild, and beautiful, Mount Rogers National Recreation Area (NRA) is unique in Virginia. Often called the “rooftop of Virginia,” all of the state
above 5,000 feet in elevation is in this area. Some visitors compare it to a Canadian-type climate because of its spruce-fir remnant forest while its timbered ridges, that suddenly open to grassy alpine meadows, remind others of Montana
Big Sky country. Mount Rogers is the highest peak in Virginia at 5,729 feet.
At 150,000 acres, Mount Rogers NRA (a part of the Jefferson National Forest) is one of the largest public recreation areas in the East. A roundtrip hike to the top of Mount Rogers will take you around 5 to 6 hours, but you’ll witness beautiful vistas with views of up to 50 miles -- which is a rare experience in the southern Appalachian range. Black bears are being restocked by the VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries while some of the state’s most impressive bucks are taken in the high country during deer season. Nearly 160 different species of birds have been identified in the area.
Among the many offerings that Mount Rogers NRA provides, you’ll find more than 300 miles of trails, two small lakes, more than 100 miles of tumbling trout streams (both stocked and native), as well we horse trails and much more.
Here, you’ll also find the second highest peak in Virginia -- Whitetop Mountain -- which rises to 5,540 feet. On a clear day, the view from Whitetop Mountain includes distant peaks in bordering states of North Carolina and Tennessee.