If there were ever a year to get excited about vacation, it’s 2021!
By Robin Sutton-Anders
After months of sticking close to home, we’re dreaming of new adventures. Nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains and alongside the James River, Lynchburg, Virginia, has it all: inventive cuisine, hiking, and outdoor activities, and boutique hotels fit for royalty. So in honor of traveling again, we present three itineraries sure to satisfy your appetite for adventure.
Itinerary #1: Family Getaway
- Check-in at the Kirkley Hotel, a family favorite thanks to its spacious rooms and indoor pool.
- After a restful night’s sleep, spend some time exploring the Lynchburg Community Market, where breakfast options range from diner-style favorites at Country Cooking by Irene to grab-and-go kid-friendly options, like the freshly baked cinnamon rolls at Father’s Café & Bakery.
- Visit the Amazement Square Children’s Museum, complete with the famous Amazement Tower, the country’s tallest indoor climbing structure (there’s even a zipline!).
- Break for a sweet treat at Joy’s Absolutely Fabulous Treats on Commerce Street.
- Head over to Bikes Unlimited, where the in-house cycling enthusiasts will outfit your whole family with two wheels perfect for coasting the scenic Blackwater Creek Trail. Get your children psyched to exercise their lungs through the old Hollins Mill train tunnel!
- End your day with a relaxing taco dinner on the patio at El Jefe Taqueria Garaje. Don’t miss out on a margarita mixed from the restaurant’s impressive tequila collection.
Itinerary #2: Love Bird Escape
- Check in at the Craddock Terry Hotel (ask for a room facing the James River!), and savor the chocolate-covered strawberries available upon request.
- After a luxurious night’s sleep, stroll over to My Dog Duke’s Diner for breakfast. You can’t go wrong with the French toast, topped with powdered sugar, maple syrup, and piled high with fresh berries.
- Next stop: Lynchburg’s Old City Cemetery Museums & Arboretum, a breathtaking 27-acre history park and public garden with the state of Virginia’s largest public collection of antique roses.
- Then take a short drive southwest of the city to Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, a plantation house designed by Thomas Jefferson in the early 1800s. In addition to the house itself, Poplar Forest includes hiking and walking trails through native woodlands, enslaved workers interpretation, and museum shop.
- Make early reservations at the RA Bistro, where the classic hand-cut Delmonico Ribeye to the Mahi Oscar offers something for every taste.
- From the Bistro, you’re just a three-minute walk to the Academy Center of the Arts, where the live entertainment ranges from the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra to performers like Buddy Guy and Keller Williams. Check their website for shows and exhibitions.
Itinerary #3: Outdoor Adventure
- Check in at The Virginian, an historic hotel that’s graced downtown Lynchburg since 1913.
- Kick off your Saturday at Market at Main, where the four-egger Downtown Omelet or the Low Country Benedict—topped with Virginia country ham, pimiento cheese, and a house-made hollandaise sauce on fried green tomato slices—will fuel your body for a day of adventure.
- Just across the river from downtown, visit the folks at James River Adventures, who will set you up with just the right kayaks or canoes to explore the James River. If you pack a picnic lunch, there are plenty of places along the way to beach your boat and enjoy the view.
- Hungry for another thrill? Regardless of the season, stretch your snow legs on the slopes at Liberty Mountain Snowflex Center. Don’t leave before you catch the sunset view from lodge.
- For dinner, head back to The Virginian, home of Lynchburg’s only rooftop hotel. At Skyline Rooftop Bar & Grille, the inventive appetizer plates pair well with seafood dishes and hearty salads. As your soak in the lights of Lynchburg, toast your day with a signature cocktail.
Robin Sutton Anders is a Greensboro, N.C.-based writer and the managing editor of Verdant Word Communications.