The day after our exciting meet-and-greet experience with Kiera Cass we found ourselves with an entire day free and open to explore western Virginia.
This was our first time visiting this part of Virginia and we fell in love with the area. Roanoke was the closest city to where we were staying so we decided to spend the day exploring Roanoke before heading home.
We began our day with a stop at the Roanoke Visitor Center, housed in the town’s old train depot. Here we met a delightful volunteer that quickly acquainted us with the city, shared with us her recommended stops, and even told us we could stay parked in the Visitor’s Center parking lot so we didn’t have to worry about parking downtown.
From there we just had a short walk across the overhead walkway to get to downtown Roanoke.
We began our day by strolling through the charming downtown shopping area that was filled with unique boutiques.
Some of our favorite stores included:
“La De Da,” an adorable women’s boutique that was so artsy and individual. We loved everything in there including the background décor and the unique ways they displayed their wares. It truly was a feast for the eyes and we all kept commenting how much it reminded us of Krista and her artsy style.
“Chocolate Paper,” a paper store filled with handmade wrapping papers, journals, fun gifts, and cards. They also just happened to sell homemade chocolates which explains the store’s name. I personally can’t think of a better combination of inventory, being a great lover of paper wares and chocolate.
“Gypsy Palooza” which was as representative of my girls’ styles as “La De Da” was Krista’s. They both fell in love with this fun, funky boutique filled with homemade upcycled clothes and vintage pieces.
Molly even found a cute pair of pants with leather suspenders that she couldn’t resist.
Shopping here was delightful, not only because of the fun pieces and charming décor, but also because of the fun girls that ran the store.
On the corner we discovered a fun candy store. Here we picked up a treat for Daddy and the boys at home. We also each got a bag of candy for the movies later.
It was while we were in the candy store we discovered that we were inside “Center in the Square,” a building circled on our map by our helpful friend at the Visitor’s Center. She said we needed to stop in this building if for nothing else than the free aquarium, rooftop gardens, and butterfly house.
This building houses multiple museums including the Harrison Museum of African American Culture, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, and the Pinball Museum…none of which we visited this trip, but we did spent time in the lobby enjoying the free aquarium. Molly was especially thrilled to see they had jellyfish, one of her favorite animals.
We then headed up to the seventh floor to check out the rooftop gardens. Being mid-March there wasn’t much growing, but the views of the city were incredible.
Then at Gracie’s request we headed downstairs to check out the butterfly house.
It was fun to search out the many variations of butterflies found in the garden.
It was so peaceful and relaxing to sit and be still among such beauty…
At least until we started getting dive-bombed. 🙂
As we spoke with one of the butterfly house employees he shared with us some of the current types of butterflies on display, explaining that the types change daily. He explained that new chrysalises are purchase weekly at a cost of $1000.00 a week with those butterflies living only days to up to two weeks at a time.
It made me appreciate the experience all the more to see the investment of time and money that goes into a place like that.
By the time we were done flitting around with butterflies we were all hungry so we took a lunch break to get off our feet and enjoy some delicious French Dip sandwiches.
From there we walked back to the car because our next stop wasn’t within walking distance. It was however a must see stop, being one of the most famous establishments in Roanoke, Virginia. Yes, I am talking about Black Dog Salvage, best known for their DIY Network show, “Salvage Dawgs.”
“Salvage Dawgs is a trip into a world of shrewd negotiations as Robert Kulp and Mike Whiteside co-owners of one of the premier architectural salvage operations in the United States, Black Dog Salvage bid on homes and buildings condemned to be demolished. Their goal is to secure the remarkable pieces of America’s past hidden inside these old structures before they are lost forever. These salvaged vintage pieces include everything from doors, windows, mantels and more. Once they are recovered, the guys sell these valuable pieces to a wide range of clients, from construction workers to high-end interior designers, who use them to restore other historical buildings and add character to newer structures.”
What a place! This was way more up my alley than any of the boutiques we had visited that morning. The shop is split into two parts with the front being filled with house décor and one of a kind, upcycled pieces made from other people’s rubbish…MY FAVORITE sort of decorating! I was just sad Toby wasn’t with us because he would have loved it!
The back half of the store was filled with the raw, unfinished products that could be used to create one’s own unique one-of-a-kind pieces. Here they had rooms filled with old doors, lighting fixtures, sinks and architectural pieces.
I found treasures among the “junk” when I stumbled across these red, plastic, sign letters. I had a decorating vision as soon as I saw them!
In the store they even had a nook set up where you could put up your feet and enjoy an episode or two of their show.
It was an incredible place. I hope to return someday with Toby. This is the sort of shopping we enjoy doing together!
We ended our tour of Roanoke with a drive up to the overlook. We were told throughout the day that we couldn’t return home to Pittsburgh without a trip up to see the Roanoke Star, the world’s largest lit-up star in the world. It sits on hillside above the city, shining down upon Roanoke.
I have to say that over the course of the day we fell in love with Roanoke. Everyone was so friendly and the city was absolutely charming.
We ended our special day with a visit to the movies to see the much-anticipated remake of “Beauty and the Beast.” I was a bit nervous that my favorite Disney movie of all time would be decimated. Gracie, who also considers “Beauty and the Beast” her favorite Disney movie, felt more confident and was eagerly looking forward to this live action version.
Well, I had nothing to worry about. It was incredible. I loved everything about it and would go as far as to say that I think it is even better than the original. I will not say anymore as I don’t want to risk giving anything away in my gushing, but…EEK! IT WAS SO GOOD!
What a magical way to end a special day with my girls.