Wytheville, Virginia, is a one-of-a-kind town and a visit there is sure to be a one-of-a-kind experience. The allure of this Southwest Virginia destination begins with the fact that it is the only town in the world named Wytheville (pronounced Withville). Its convenient location and easy access at the crossroads of two major Interstates (I-77 and I-81) make it all the more appealing.
Once off the interstate, visitors realize it’s easy to create a fun-filled stay, enjoying unique attractions, outdoor adventure and a classic downtown. This three-day itinerary is a great way to take it all in.
Day One: Explore downtown Wytheville
With its classic shops, museums and restaurants, downtown Wytheville is a fascinating place to spend a day and delving into its history is a great way to start. There are five museums here, each with its own stories to tell. The Thomas J. Boyd Museum (295 Tazewell Street, Wytheville, Virginia 24382; 276-223-3330) is the perfect introduction to this unique community. There are exhibits about the origin, the economy and leaders of Wytheville. Visitors also learn about the devastating polio epidemic in 1950 and Wytheville’s plight as ground zero of this “summer without children.”
This is the hometown of First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson and the site of the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum (145 East Main Street, Wytheville, Virginia 24382; 276-223-3484). Considered by many historians as the “Secret President,” she played a pivotal role in her husband’s presidency and was a force to be reckoned with long before their marriage. One of only eight sites which depict and interpret the lives of first ladies, the site includes a museum as well as the Bolling family home.
Stop for lunch at Skeeter’s World Famous Hotdogs (165 East Main Street, Wytheville, Virginia 24382; 276-228-2611). Established in 1925, this is one of Virginia’s oldest continuously operating restaurants and a perennial favorite. A visit is like a step back in time, featuring classic dogs and glass-bottled colas served at an old school lunch counter.
Downtown shopping is a must! There are antiques, crafts and specialty stores featuring everything from fine jewelry to local art to handmade furniture. Galleries show the work of local artists and at the Rose Cottage School of Art (570 East Spring Street, Wytheville, Virginia 24382; 276-620-0303), visitors can participate in paint nights, workshops or even music lessons.
An added downtown bonus is a one-of-a-kind selfie spot. The Wytheville Office Supply (146 West Main Street, Wytheville, Virginia 24382; 800-344-0356) is home to the largest pencil in Virginia! It’s been a Main Street landmark for more than 60 years.
Another unique dining venue awaits for dinner. The 1776 Log House Restaurant (520 East Main Street, Wytheville, Virginia 24382; 276-228-4139) is a popular local spot with an extensive menu, with a location like no other. Located in an 18th century, two-story log cabin, each dining room has a personality all its own; there is a sprawling country garden, large gift shop and Christopher’s Lounge rounds out the setting.
Day Two: Discover homegrown attractions
They call them homegrown attractions here. And they grow them big! Start the day at Big Walker Lookout (8711 Stoney Fork Road, Wytheville, Virginia 24382). It is the oldest and highest private attraction in Virginia. At an elevation of 3,405 feet, the lookout offers a spectacular view of the Appalachian Mountains and Virginia farmlands. The Big Walker Country Store features local jams, jellies and candies as well as the work of more than 25 artisans from the region.
Next stop is the Fort Chiswell Animal Park (569 Red Hollow Road, Max Meadows, Virginia 24360; 276-637-6754), which has grown from a mobile petting zoo to full-blown safari park. This is now home to an interactive experience amid a 45-acre setting. The largest zoo in Southwest Virginia, it is home to more than 200 animals from six continents, including camels, zebra, antelope and buffalo.
West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery (180 West Wind Drive, Max Meadows, Virginia 24360; 276-699-2020) is the perfect spot for a midday break. This family farm in a beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain setting produces small batch wines, made annually onsite, from each year’s on-site harvest.
For a dose of afternoon beauty, visit Beagle Ridge Herb Farm (1934 Matney Flats Road, Wytheville, Virginia 24382; 276-621-4511). Southwest Virginia's premiere lavender farm features 14 themed display gardens as well as the Flying Flowers butterfly house. It’s the only one of its kind in Southwest Virginia and also offers a two-day Lavender Academy for those who want to delve into the details of choosing, growing, pruning and harvesting.
Spend the evening taking in dinner and a musical. The Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre (170 Malin Drive, Wytheville, Virginia 24382; 276-223-0891) is a 200-seat German-themed venue which presents outstanding Broadway style professional musical productions. Before each performance a four-course, themed, plated meal is served.
Day Three: Explore the outdoors
Pack a lunch and enjoy the outstanding trails Wytheville has to offer. Crystal Springs Recreational Area (723 Pump Hollow Lane, Wytheville, Virginia 24382) consists of 1,800 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The trail system here includes two loops and a connector trail. The seven-mile loop takes hikers to ridges with views of Sand Mountain while a shorter loop parallels a creek to a reservoir. This is also a popular mountain biking spot and has picnic areas and a limited number of camp sites.
The New River Trail is one of America's premier rails-to-trails routes, designated an official National Recreation Trail and is also a Virginia State Park. Nearly 58 miles long, the trail runs through Wytheville and three other Southwest Virginia counties. Foster Falls, the New River State Park headquarters (116 Orphanage Drive, Max Meadows, Virginia 24360; 276-699-6778), is located about midway along the trail and is a popular starting point. Across the river is the historic Shot Tower (283 Pauley Flatwoods Road, Austinville, Virginia 24312; 276-699-6778). It was built more than 200 years ago to make ammunition for the firearms of the early settlers using lead from the nearby Austinville Mines. Visitors may ascend the 75-foot tower, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Back downtown, 7 Dogs Brew Pub (360 West Spring Street, Wytheville, Virginia 24382;
276-228-0994) is the perfect spot to end the day, enjoy some snacks, tasty burgers or sandwiches and taste the local brews. After dinner, compare the beers at nearby Seven Sisters Brewery (355 East Main Street, Wytheville, Virginia 24382; 276-227-0999) and enjoy the game hall and live music.
Where to stay
There are unique lodging options in Wytheville. The Bolling Wilson Hotel (170 East Main Street, Wytheville, Virginia 24382; 276-223-2333) is part of the Ascend Hotel Collection and offers 30 luxurious guest rooms, Graze On Main restaurant and a rooftop lounge. Nearby, the Trinkle Mansion Bed and Breakfast (525 West Main Street, Wytheville, Virginia 24382; 276-625-0625), was named in the top 10 in the country in 2019 Trip Advisor reviews. This beautiful historic home features four guest rooms and a garden cottage. For a more rustic stay, one of the many nearby cabin and cottage rentals is the perfect solution, but Wytheville has a full range of hotel properties in every price range. For a full list of local lodging options, check the VisitWytheville lodging pages.