When two people get the chance to travel along to a special place, love often flourishes. With its mild weather and enchanting atmosphere, the Dan River region of North Carolina and Virginia is the perfect place for romance to bloom.
Here are seven suggestions for destinations to make your heart flutter, along with recommendations on where to stay, eat, and drink.
For couples who love the outdoors:
Hanging Rock State Park, NC
Hanging Rock State Park offers an amazing outdoor experience with access to the Dan River for paddling, a stocked lake for swimming and canoe rentals, 8.4 miles of mountain biking trails, rock climbing opportunities, and more than 20 miles of hiking trails that climb onto spectacular views and weave alongside clear streams and waterfalls.
Stay: In cabins at the state park
Eat: River Rock Cafe, an outdoor-centric cafe located by the park
Drink: Green Heron Ale House, a music venue with a great beer selection
For couples to relax in the lap of luxury:
Primland Luxury Blue Ridge Mountain Resort, Va
Primland is the ultimate luxury mountain getaway, offering spectacular mountain-top views, elegant dining, conference facilities, and a wide array of recreational activities. Activities include Orvis-endorsed wingshooting for pheasant, quail and chukar; sporting clays; whitetail deer and wild turkey hunting; flyfishing, RTV tours, horseback riding, and an 18-hole championship golf course. And you can stay, eat, and drink without ever leaving the 12,000-acre resort.
Stay, Eat, Drink: Primland
For couples who love exploring the history of small towns: Historic Downtown Leaksville, NC
Historic Leaksville was founded in 1797, which makes it the most historic of Eden’s downtown areas. Within this downtown area are two smaller historic districts, encompassing dozens of landmark buildings and more than 65 businesses, including Sweet Revenge Bakery, The Downtown Deli, Pace-Stone, The Front Porch, Belladonna’s Antiques, and so much more.
Stay: Hampton Inn Eden
Eat: Mom’s Kitchen
Drink: Autumn Creek Vineyards
For couples who love music:
The Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail, Va
Virginia’s Crooked Road music trail winds through nearly 300 miles of scenic terrain in southwest Virginia, including 19 counties, four cities, and 54 towns. The trail connects major heritage music venues, such as the Blue Ridge Music Center, Birthplace of Country Music Alliance, and the Carter Family Fold, to smaller but nevertheless important venues that still throb with the sound of mountain music. Both Franklin and Patrick counties are home to sites along the Crooked Road, and it’s not hard to find a jam session on any given weekend.
Stay: The Early Inn at the Grove, former home and law practice of Jubal Early
Eat: The Dairy Queen in Ferrum, which often hosts old-time and bluegrass musicians
Drink: Twin Creeks Distillery, located in the so-called “Wettest County in the World”
For the rugged set:
Rock Castle Gorge overnight backpacking trip, Va
The Rock Castle Gorge loop takes hikers through more than 10 miles showcasing the best that the Blue Ridge Mountains have to offer, from crisp mountain streams to beautiful ridge-top panoramas. This hike can be done in a day, but to really savor it, make it over two days, separated by an overnight stay in the woods. Then treat yourself with a stay in one of Patrick County’s bed-and-breakfast inns and a visit to one of its wineries.
Stay: Mountain Rose Inn
Eat: Poor Farmer’s Market
Drink: Villa Appalaccia
For the fast and furious:
VIRginia International Raceway
The VIRginia International Speedway is America’s first true “motorsport resort.” It is built around a 3.27-mile multi-purpose road course that hosts amateur auto, motorcycle racing, and other track events. But while racing is the heart of VIR, the expansive 1,300-acre property also serves a vacation destination with a number of onsite hotel and lodging options. Within the property’s rolling hills and miles of lush forest, guests can enjoy unique amenities such as the exclusive Driver’s Club, karting, off-road racing, skeet shooting, pistol, and rifle ranges, skid pad, dining options, spa, and more.
Eat: Bistro 1888
Drink: Huntington Creek Vineyards
For couples who want to explore the past:
Danville is rich with history, from its founding in the early days of the American Republic and decades as “The World’s Best Tobacco Market” to its 8-day stint as the final capital of the Confederacy and visits by The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The Southern Virginia city offers multiple avenues for couples to discover its rich past. Begin with the Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History, and then take one or more of the Danville Historical Society’s three walking tours of National Register Historic Districts. Then check out Lou’s Antique Mall for a different kind of tour through the past. In the evening, take a peaceful stroll along the Riverwalk Trail.
Stay: Any one of the hotels in Danville
Eat: The Golden Leaf Bistro, a restaurant that’s themed around Danville’s tobacco heritage
Drink: The Homeplace Vineyard, a vineyard and winery with tasting room in the nearby county seat of Chatham