There are numerous wineries and several annual wine festivals each year, including the Virginia Wine & Garlic Festival, Summer Solstice Wine Festival, and the Horse & Hound Wine Festival, just to name a few.
For beer enthusiasts, there are craft breweries throughout the Region, many of which have received national recognition. In Altavista, a new meadery is introducing its honey-based libation to old and new fans, while a newly opened whiskey and bourbon bar in Lynchburg is reportedly “serving enough varieties to make Pappy Van Winkle blush.”
The Town of Bedford is home to the National D-Day Memorial, which honors the American and Allied soldiers who died on June 6, 1944, during the World War II battle known as D-Day. More than 50,000 visitors, from around the world, visit the memorial each year.
At Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, in Bedford County, visitors can learn about the third U.S. president, his country retreat, and the enslaved population that lived and worked there. The site also hosts an Independence Day festival that includes music, crafts, demonstrations, and a reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Appomattox Court House National Historic Park, where the Civil War officially ended, includes more than a dozen structures, among them McLean House, where Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union general Ulysses S. Grant. The Museum of the Confederacy also is in Appomattox.
The Region hosts dozens of running events throughout the year. Each September, Lynchburg welcomes thousands of runners and walkers for the Virginia 10- and 4-Miler. The Hill City’s premiere race attracts not only runners from throughout the Region and the U.S. but elite runners from Kenya, Ethiopia, and other countries. It’s no surprise the city was recognized as a “Runner Friendly Community” by the Road Runners Club of America from 2011 through 2016.
Smith Mountain Lake, in southern Bedford County, spans more than 20,000 acres and provides a variety of recreational opportunities—from speed-boating and sailing to tubing and bass fishing. Bass fishing tournaments held at the lake attract professional and amateur fishermen from across the U.S.
Colleges in the Region participate in a full spectrum of individual and team sports, including NCAA Division I football, basketball, and baseball. The Region hosts the Olympics-style Virginia Commonwealth Games and, in 2019, will host the State Games of America. The State Games will attract thousands of athletes from all over the country.
The Lynchburg Hillcats, an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, play professional baseball at Lynchburg City Stadium. This year, the Hillcats made some changes, updating their logo and mascot, and allowing dog owners to bring their “best friends” for a night of baseball, and maybe a hot dog or two.
The Region is located near the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of America’s most scenic roads. The Appalachian Trail runs through Amherst County, and Lynchburg’s Blackwater Creek Trail is a popular place for hiking, biking, running, and spotting wildlife.
Mountain biking is a popular activity here. There are trails for all skill levels in Lynchburg and Bedford County, and the local mountain biking club, Greater Lynchburg Off-road Cyclists, hosts group rides and clinics.
The Lynchburg Museum System operates two museums: Point of Honor and the Lynchburg Museum. Point of Honor was once home to Dr. George Cabell, physician to the patriot Patrick Henry, whose home, Red Hill, you can tour in nearby Brookneal.
The Legacy Museum of African American History, in Lynchburg, focuses its exhibits on the Region’s African American experience. At the Anne Spencer House & Garden, located in Lynchburg’s Pierce Street Renaissance Historic District, visitors can see where Harlem Renaissance poet Anne Spencer lived, worked, and raised her family.
The Region also has several beautiful, historic cemeteries, including Old City Cemetery, said to be the most visited site in Lynchburg, and Presbyterian Cemetery, which has been the final resting place for many prominent area citizens since 1823.
In the Amherst County community of Clifford, the cemetery at Sarah Henry Manor—now Winton Country Club—is where Patrick Henry’s mother is buried. Winton also is one of several public golf courses in the Region.
Avoca, a Victorian-era house museum in Altavista, sits on property once owned by Charles Lynch, brother of Lynchburg’s founder, John Lynch. Avoca, which is owned by the Town of Altavista, hosts tours and annual events, and is a popular wedding venue.
The Region also hosts numerous annual festivals, including Get Downtown, a street fair that draws tens of thousands of people to downtown Lynchburg. The Campbell County Heritage Festival honors that county’s rich cultural heritage. Bedford County hosts an old-time country fair with midway rides, livestock, contests, and exhibits.
Every year, the Town of Bedford’s Centerfest routinely attracts more than 10,000 people for a weekend of arts and crafts, food, and entertainment. The Region also is home to the Historic Appomattox Railroad Festival, and the Clifford Sorghum Festival, which features the Virginia Jousting Tournament.
Yes, you read that correctly, jousting.