- Davis Valley Winery (about 15 minutes) The winery is located in Rural Retreat, VA in the mountains of beautiful SW Virginia. Drop by the Tasting Room to sample their wines on a 100 year-old handcrafted oak bar.
- Rural Retreat Winery(about 20 minutes in Rural Retreat, VA) Their wine selection includes full body reds and lovely whites. They also have a full service deli that serves light fare sandwiches, soups and salads, and features Amish-style cheeses and meats.
- West Wind Farm Vineyard & Winery (about 45 minutes away in Max Meadows, VA). West Wind Farm planted their grapes in 2003, but the farm is a 4th generation homestead. The winery and tasting room are easily accessible from I-81. The wine selection includes reds, whites, and fruit wines.
The following wineries are just a bit farther away, but still close enough to enjoy as a day trip—and well worth the trip:
- Chateau Morrisette Winery (about 1 hr-40 minutes away in Floyd, VA). Along with award-winning wines, the Chateau Morrisette also features a restaurant of elegant dining in a relaxed old-world atmosphere for lunch and dinner.
- Villa Appalaccia Winery (about 1 hr-40 minutes away and near the Chateau Morrisette Winery in Floyd, VA. The vineyard is predominately grown Italian grape varieties. It is unique in that the vineyard is one of the few in VA not planted on clay but on shale thus resulting in wine that is unique and true to the Italian heritage. To enjoy with your glass of wine, the winery also serves humus, local cheeses, olives, and salamis along with crusty bread for an enjoyable lunch.
- Abingdon Vineyard Winery – Enjoy the beautiful grounds as you sample wines from this winery, which encompasses 6000 plants on 10 acres. The winery specializes in reds, whites, and roses. Relax your day away watching the S. Holston River drift by.
- Coltsfoot Winery – located in Abingdon on Stone Mountain Rd. Coltsfoot Winery uses only the finest select fruits and luscious berries to make a variety of delicious country wines. Tours and tastings are welcome by appointment. Their wine selections include various fruit wines such as Blackberry Wine, Blueberry Wine, & Plum Wine, to name a few.
Here are some additional ideas for day trips you may be interested in while you stay with us at The Collins House Inn. We are fortunate to have many activities to choose from here in Smyth County and the surrounding areas. There is something here for everyone from a beautiful drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains, visiting local farmer’s markets, festivals, or just enjoying a hike.
Here is 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 small community of about 300 residents. Though at first glance, you may think Burke’s Garden was formed from some type of volcanic action, it was actually formed eons ago when the sea largely covered the earth. 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—3000 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 1000 feet above the valley.
A trip to Burke’s Garden is never complete without a visit to its General Store. Here you will find local artisan crafts, some wonderful specialty spices, jams, and jellies, and you can also enjoy a sandwich from the General Store’s café. Want a real taste of “Americana?” Visit Burke’s Garden the last Saturday of September each year for their annual Fall Festival. You will enjoy freshly baked sourdough bread, a “Garden-wide” yard sale, and many other homemade goodies.
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 more than 12 miles of interconnecting trails in two separate networks. The trails range from 2220 feet at lake level to 3270 feet at Molly’s Knob and are made up of varying degrees of difficulty—from easy to moderate (with some steep sections. That full breakfast at The Collins House Inn will serve you well.
The Molly’s Knob Trail is a somewhat difficult path but well worth the trip. The view of SW Virginia is magnificent. Enjoy a picnic (picnic baskets are available and can be reserved either when reserving your room or the day prior to your hike) while you enjoy the view. The trail length is 3.2 miles round trip and makes for a terrific day outing.
HIKING IN MOUNT ROGERS NATIONAL RECREATIONAL AREA
(The area is also a great motorcycle ride.)
Mount Rogers National Recreational Area is located at the intersection of Grayson, Washington, and Smyth Counties. High, wild, and beautiful, Mount Rogers NRA is unique in Virginia. Often called the “rooftop of Virginia,” the highest elevation in the state (above 5000 feet) is in this area. Some visitors have compared the climate to Canada due to the spruce-fir remnant forest. Others are reminded of Montana’s Big Sky country when they see its timbered ridges suddenly open to grassy alpine meadows. Mount Rogers is Virginia’s highest peak at 5729 feet.
Mount Rogers NRA (a part of the Jefferson National Forest), with 150,000 acres, is one of the largest public recreation areas in the eastern United States. A round trip hike to the top of Mount Rogers will take around 5-6 hours, but you will 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 Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries while some of the state’s most impressive bucks are taken to the high country during deer season. Nearly 160 different species of birds have been identified in the area.
Mount Rogers NRA also includes the second highest peak in Virginia—Whitetop Mountain—that rises to 5540 feet. The view from Whitetop Mountain on a clear day includes peaks in the distance of the bordering states of North Carolina and Tennessee.
The West End of the Mount Rogers NRA includes the famous Virginia Creeper Trail and outstanding trout fishing in Whitetopaurel and Beartree Lake. Damascus, known as the friendliest town on the Appalachian Trail, is a trail hub that has four major trails going through the town: Virginia Creeper, Appalachian Trail, Iron Mountain, and Daniel Boone Heritage Trail. There are over 400 miles of designated trails in the Mount Roger NRA ranging from primitive single-track to old logging roads and railroad grades. Some are for foot only while others allow horse and/or bicycle use.
HENLEY MOUNTAIN BERRY FARM
Pick your own blueberries at Henley Mountain Berry Farm. The owners Bill and Marcia Blackwell established the “pick your own” blueberry farm in 2008. They planted 9 varieties of highbush blueberries including: Aurora, Blueray, Bluecrop, Draper, Duke, Elliot, Liberty, Patriot, and Reka. Blueberry season begins in mid-June and generally lasts through Mid-September.
BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Known as “The World’s Fastest Half Mile,” Bristol Motor Speedway is home to Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series, and Camping World Truck Series events in March and August. Adjacent to the Speedway is Bristol Dragway, affectionately known as “Thunder Valley.” Bristol Dragway hosts racing from March through October, including the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Drag Racing Series, which features cars that race at speeds in excess of 300 mph. The Collins House Inn is located just 45 miles north of Bristol, making it a favorable option for your NASCAR vacation accommodations. Make your reservations early!
THE LINCOLN THEATRE
Located in historic downtown Marion, this fully restored 1920’s theatre is host to numerous live performances. Originally built as a movie house, it is one of only three remaining Mayan Revival-style theaters in America. The Song of the Mountains Bluegrass Concert Series performs at the historic Lincoln Theatre. The full concert schedule is available online at www.songofthemountains.org.
GRAYSON HIGHLANDS STATE PARK
An easy and beautiful drive off I-81 from Exit 45 in Marion, VA, Grayson Highlands State Park is adjacent to the Mount Rogers National Recreation area—a part of the Jefferson National Forest. The park offers beautiful vistas, hiking, mountain biking, and bridle trails, and excellent trout fishing. The park contains picnic facilities. If you are picnicking, you can order a picnic basket from The Collins House Inn either when you reserve your room or when you check in.
BLUE RIDGE HIGHLANDS FISHING TRAIL
Along this trail you will find some of the best fishing in the state such as Whitetop Laurel Creek, one of Virginia’s biggest and most breathtaking trout streams. The New River (in Grayson and Wythe Counties) is ranked in the top five of best smallmouth bass fisheries in the country! For more information, go to www.fishblueridge.com.
And for you motorcycle aficionados:
BACK OF THE DRAGON
The Back of the Dragon is a riding experience with 32 miles of endless curves and beautiful scenery in the mountains of Southwest Virginia between Tazewell and Marion. Are you the one to tame the dragon? There are 32 miles of excitement, with more than 260 curves and elevations of up to 3500 feet from the valley floor to the top of the mountain. This ride will take you across 3 mountains and challenging switchbacks, with an occasional glimpse of some fantastic scenery, but don’t get distracted. The Back of the Dragon takes you from Marion to Tazewell on State Route 16, and then turns around and comes back for a different view. Once you’ve ridden the Back of the Dragon, register at www.backofthedragon.com to become a dragon master and keep abreast of the trail’s upcoming events.
The Claw is off I-77 and I-81 in Southwest Virginia. Take a ride on the wild side with The Claw featuring loops ranging from 62 to 224 miles long with names such as, “The Wooly Mammoth,” “Possum Run,” the “Horn of the Cow,” and “Turkey Strut.” For a free brochure, call: 877-755-9928.
The Mansion is currently being remodeled, but a new schedule is pending. The Mansion is haunted, but tours include paranormal investigation, haunted history tours, ghost hunt weekend and in October: Spookyworld. This site is perfect for people who love ghost stories.
Holston Hills Community Golf Course
Maybe golf is one way you relax. Marion has a community golf course of 18 holes of championship golf. The course is a scenic one with vista view fairways and the Holston River in play as it winds through several of the fairways. The greens are sure to challenge your putting skills. And even if your game is off, the scenery is sure to please. Check the course out by clicking on the link and taking a tour: www.holstonhillsgolf.com. You won’t be disappointed.
- Whitetop Maple Festival—last full weekend in March
- Naturalist Rally—Mother’s Day weekend
- Damascus Trail Days, Damascus, VA—May
- Wayne Henderson Music Festival and Guitar Competition—third Saturday in June
- Independence Day Festivities and Fireworks, Marion, VA, July 4th
- Hungry Mother Arts & Craft Festival/Marion Downtown Days Festival—third full weekend in July
- Rich Valley Fair and Horse Show—late July/early August
- Virginia Highlands Festival and Antique Fair, Abingdon, VA—first two weeks in August.
- Birdwatcher Festival—May and September
- Galax Old Fiddlers Convention—Second week in August
- Civil War Reenactment, Saltville, VA—August
- Chilhowie Apple Festival, Chilhowie, VA—last full weekend of September
- Grayson Highlands Fall Festival—last full weekend in September
- Whitetop Molasses Festival—second Sunday in October
- Sherwood Anderson Festival—September-December
Smyth County, Virginia abounds in local festivals and celebrations. In Marion, together with Saltville and Chilhowie, there is always something happening, whether it is a civil war enactment or a production in the local Lincoln Theatre.
- ***Hungry Mother State Park
- Smyth County Museum: (276) 783-7286
- Sherwood Anderson Historic sites and burial place
- Lincoln Theatre
- Barter Theatre, Abingdon, VA
- Downtown Marion, VA
- Saltville, VA—salt capital of the Confederacy
- Chilhowie, VA
- ***Mount Rogers National Recreational Area
- Appalachian Trail
- Virginia Creeper Trail for biking and hiking
- Jefferson National Forest
- Grayson Highlands State Park
- Smyth County Artisan Trail
- Settlers Museum of Southwest Virginia: (276) 686-4401
- Museum of the Middle Appalachians: (276) 496-3633
- Morgan McClure Racing Museum and Souvenir Shop
- Bristol Motor Speedway
- The Marion Regional Farmers’ Market
For more information, visit the Smyth County Chamber of Commerce.
And along the way, you will find many places for shopping and antiquing.
Marion is home to some great restaurants and eateries, some of which are within walking distance of The Collins House Inn. No matter what your tickles your taste buds, you will be able to find it at one of Marion’s fine restaurants. Here is small list of dining establishments for you to choose from:
- The Black Rooster (General Francis Marion Hotel) and within easy walking distance
- Macado’s—easy walking distance
- Tuscan Italian Grill
- Yummy Yummy Japanese Restaurant—easy walking distance
- Great Wall Chinese Restaurant
- El Puerto
- Four Season Bakery & Restaurant—easy walking distance for lunch
- Main Street Gift Eatery—easy walking distance
- Appletree Restaurant
- Wolf’s Barbeque—easy walking distance.
If you are able to spend some time in Marion and want to shop for that unique gift for that special someone, you will find several gift shops, a nice women’s clothing store, and several galleries that have local artisans’ works available for sale. Come meander around Marion, stop for a nice relaxing lunch at one of our restaurants and see how pleasant a shopping experience can be.
Marion even has an Army & Navy Store for men right on Main Street. Yes, men, you will find a large selection of clothing, boots, shoes, etc. to fit your every indoor and outdoor need.
Home of the Appalachian Spirit Artists Association, with a mission to celebrate the arts, traditions, lore, and spirit of the Appalachians and to showcase work of local artists. Artwork on display includes oils, acrylics, watercolor, stained glass, jewelry, fabric art, and woodturnings.
The Black Rooster Gallery
(Inside the General Francis Marion Hotel’s Black Rooster Lounge)
The gallery offers original art and fine artisan crafts. The gallery represents established artists and exceptional rising talent in painting, pottery, jewelry, candle making, woodworking, basket weaving, and drawings.
The Herb House
Originally built at the turn of the century, The Herb House is currently owned by Jim & Holly Thomas. Here you can find items made by local artisans, ice cream, and other ‘forbidden delights.’ Or maybe you want to just relax and hang out for awhile. Incidentally, The Herb House is haunted.
Avery Cornett, owner, offers a beautiful selection of fine jewelry. If you make it to one of Marion’s “Second Fridays Art Walks”, you will often times find Avery displaying his handmade, original jewelry creations at the Appalachian Spirit Gallery. Avery has recently created a series of jewelry items, now licensed by the Lincoln Theatre, that replicate many of the Mayan symbols that embellish the inside of the Lincoln Theatre.