Weekender: New River Valley, Virginia

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My lovely sister just moved to the Blacksburg, Virginia area with her new husband. I have only been to the area one time many years ago and was super excited to be invited for a weekend trip. I did not remember how beautiful Blacksburg was, or how many interesting nature themed activities there were.

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The blue ridge mountains are especially beautiful. You can see them peak out while driving throughout the city, but for the best look take a short drive to Roanoke, VA and go to Mill Mountain Park for the scenic overlook. Besides the overlook, Mill Mountain Park has a lot of things to do including hiking, a zoo, and a wildflower garden. It would be easy to spend several hours here exploring all they had to offer. If I go again I would plan to bring a picnic lunch and spend the afternoon here.

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There is also a very large neon star at the top of the outlook that is illuminated white except for several occasions a year that it is red, white, and blue.  This view is so beautiful, and definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.

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While driving back to Blacksburg from Mill Mountain, you have to stop at the Blue Cow Ice Cream Shop which is at the bottom of the Mountain. I had never had an ice cream flight before, but now that I have, nothing else will do.

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For $9 this was a steal and perfect for the three of us to share. We tried the cow patty (chocolate ice cream with candy and oreos), the brown butter pecan, the campfire smores, and the goat cheese blueberry swirl. I loved all of them, but the goat cheese with blueberry was absolutely out of this world delicious. If you visit this cute little shop, get the flight and thank me later. IMG_4689.JPG

Of the food highlights we had while visiting Blacksburg, of course, brunch had to be included. Aside from the pitcher of mimosas (which is always fantastic) the food was absolutely great at 622 North,IMG_4678

If you have read this little blog before, you may have noticed that I adore fried green tomatoes… and brunch. So when I saw them on the brunch app list I had to order. When I read the description of pimento cheese, pepper jam, and bacon toppings I was 100% sold. These did not disappoint and I could have eaten so many. IMG_4680

The Mediterranean benedict was so good, it was eaten before it could be photographed. You will have to take my word for it that the falafel topped with Israeli salad inspired toppings and a poached egg was outstanding. The 622 benedict was really delicious as well. Pesto hollandaise, capicola ham, and tomato jam cannot really go wrong. Needless to say these two were my favorite dishes that we ordered. I also had the Kentucky Hot Brown, which was good, but I would have ordered it without the syrup next time as the bottom layer was a little sweet for my taste. With that being said, the french toast breakfast version of one of my favorite meals was a whole lot of delicious piled on one plate. This dish had a lot of food and could easily be shared.IMG_4681

The best dinner I had during my visit was at Cabo Fish Taco. It did not disappoint.  Their service was great, the atmosphere was a college crowd but very relaxed, and the food arrived quickly.

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Let me tell you guys about these dips. I am (obviously) a dip lover… especially when it comes to salsa. We ordered the salsa trio (tomatillo, mango, and mild), the guacamole, the queso, and the corn pico that comes with any order. All of them were great but I could have eaten the tomatillo salsa with a spoon. The table’s favorite was the mango salsa, and I loved mixing the guac with the pico salsa to make it a bit chunkier.

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I sampled a bite of many tacos, but my favorites were the tuna, and BBQ mahi tacos. Two tacos come per plate and you can mix and match whichever you choose. The tuna tacos were bright and lemony with the most amazing kiwi-pineapple fajita sauce. A definite must order in my book. The soy ginger shrimp and special pork belly also deserve honorable mention. My belly was so happy when we left.

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The crowd favorite (and free) thing we did while in Blacksburg was visit the Hahn Horticultural Garden on the campus of Virginia Tech. Not only were the plants stunning, but the garden was clean with very easy paved walking paths throughout. It was absolutely beautiful. There is a small waterfall with koi swimming in the stream, Edison bulbs hanging from the branches in the courtyard, potted succulents, and so many plants. This was a great place to walk around, catch up with my sister, and just relax. If you are in Blacksburg you should definitely go to this garden for a visit. DSCN1085FullSizeRender-5DSCN1099FullSizeRender-4IMG_4662DSCN1093DSCN1086DSCN1100

On the way out of town we stopped at Hello Bagel for breakfast and were pleasantly surprised with how good this little shop was. They had beautifully folded origami cranes hanging from the window, and a stellar menu. I got the asiago bagel with veggie cream cheese and bacon. Oh my, it was delicious. I also had a bite of the lox with capers, red onion, and cream cheese which was out of sight. IMG_4700.JPG

All in all, our weekend in Blacksburg and Roanoke was awesome and I can’t wait to get a chance to come back and explore more. If you have been to the area, leave a comment on where I should go the next time I visit.

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