It’s hot and only getting hotter as the weekend approaches. During times like these I like to get away from the city and cool off somewhere shady. The beach is too far for a weekend drive to make it worth the trip in my opinion. Who want’s to drive (or most likely be stuck) in highway traffic on a scorching day?
But lucky for us Roanokers, there’s a hidden gem just down the road! The Town of Buchanan where “main street meets the mountains”. Only 35 mins down 81 North (I timed it), you’ll find yourself in the quaint and charming Town of Buchanan. Don’t let the size fool you though. Buchanan is packed with outdoor adventurists and amazing food. Best of all, Main Street is right off the Upper James River Water Trail!
So without further ado, here is a guide to staying cool in Buchanan, VA.
First things first. North Star Restaurant is located right off of highway 81, on Route 11 in Buchanan, and is the definition of “local”. When you walk in people will know you’re not a local, trust me. But I don’t mean that in a bad way. They will come talk to you, say hello, give you recommendations for places to stop in Buchanan, and even sit down at your table and verify that yes, Buchanan is the best town in Virginia. The environment is super casual, the folks are friendly, and the food is delicious. The restaurant is cash only though, so be prepared whether you go there for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Twin River Outfitters is located in the heart of Buchanan, right off of the James River. If you’re looking for a place to float, fish, camp or basically anything to do with the river, they are your go-to. Twin Rivers is a paddle sport business that rents canoes, kayaks, rivers rafts and runs trips on the Upper James River run by Dan and John Mays (fun fact, they are actually twins). All you need to do is call them a few days ahead of your trip and reserve a launch with them. Shuttles are run twice a day and their times vary, depending on what stretch of the river you want to float.
Step back in time to the 1950’s with this authentic soda fountain! The Buchanan Fountain and Grille actually has a restored soda fountain, serving up ice creams and floats! There’s even a jukebox on hand to play some classic tunes. Not only are their floats amazing, but their fountain burger with special sauce is a must try. Need a band-aid? Not a problem. The Fountain actually has a full working pharmacy inside of it! This is truly a cool and interesting place.
This Saturday, June 23 from 5-9pm, come enjoy the second annual Reggae By The River Festival! Bring your chairs and friends and relax by the James River while you chill to the sounds of Shorefire and Lazy Man Dub Band. Admission is $5. Kids 12 and under are free. There will be noms for sale by local restaurants, including Roanoke Bagel On The James and the 876 Jamaican Grill. The Town Park gates will be open at 5pm and tasty brews will be provided by PA Short Distributors.
You Can’t leave Buchanan just yet! At least not without finishing your night off with a delicious dinner. That’s where the Brink Of the James Bistro comes in. Right down the street from Town Park, in a white cottage-looking building, sits the Bistro. The Bistro has a casual atmosphere, and whether you sit inside or on their amazing patio overlooking Purgatory Mountain, the service will be top notch. I highly recommend their BBQ sandwich and one of the delectable local craft brews.
Simply Love Buchanan And Want To Do More?
Here are some other Buchanan places for you to check out and spend the night at, while you surround yourself with the Blue Ridge and Alleghany Mountains.
- Appalachian Trail
- Apple Orchard Falls
- Buchanan Railcar Inn
- Cottage At Springwood
- Historic Buchanan Theater
- James River House
- Shenandoah Gateway Farm B&B
- Squirrels Nest