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1st visit to Roanoke for possible retirement -- weekend

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Alexandria, Virginia
posts: 54
reviews: 41
1st visit to Roanoke for possible retirement -- weekend

My husband and I would like to explore Roanoke one weekend, possibly this fall. Currently, we live in Alexandria VA and enjoy the variety of things to do here and fine dining. We want to get away from the traffic, high cost of living, and inside the Beltway crowd. Roanoke has been suggested as a possible good choice for city living, lots of outdoor activities, arts, dining, etc.

We need to check it out. If you had just a weekend, what would you suggest to see, do, dine?

Any established neighborhoods come to mind that we should check out?

Thanks.

roanoke, va
posts: 146
reviews: 35
1. Re: 1st visit to Roanoke for possible retirement -- weekend

wow, wanna trade places?? i've been trying to convince my husband to move to alexandria for over a year now, ha.

as far as living in downtown roanoke-- there aren't really any specific neighborhoods. the downtown area is really not that big. but it is a good location, especially for anyone who wants convenience of food/shops near by and easy access to outdoorsy activities as well. of course, the farther you get out of the actual downtown area there are neighborhoods like gainsboro and southwest. but to be honest, many of them are trying to undergo 'revitalization,' which hasn't come anywhere close to being completed yet.

if, however, you're branching out of the actual city, then i would look at SW county, North county, or possibly salem.

as far what to see or do, if you're into the outdoorsy activities than i would suggest hiking (especially that time of year, it's beautiful). downtown, you can visit the farmer's market, the art museum, some different shops and galleries. there is a science/history museum but it's really not much unless you have kids, and it's currently being looked at for a large renovation as well.

as far as eating -- downtown, i would suggest, tong's thai (if they have finished with their remodeling by the time you're here), alexander's, or blue 5. tho, if you want a taste of roanoke that is very casual dining, then i can't recommend the weiner stand, texas tavern, or macado's high enough. they're all great.

here's the link for downtown roanoke:

http://www.downtownroanoke.org/index.htm

Salem, VA
posts: 308
reviews: 8
2. Re: 1st visit to Roanoke for possible retirement -- weekend

I guess a lot depends on your interests. If I were visiting Roanoke for only a weekend, I’d enjoy a nice dinner at Carlos Brazilian International Cuisine on Friday night (suggest you make a reservation for a table with a view). Then on Saturday morning, I’d check out some of the neighborhoods and walk around downtown Roanoke. Grab lunch (I second the recommendation for Tong’s Thai!) and then spend a couple of hours in the afternoon at the Taubman Museum of Art. Depending on the timing of your visit, you could see a show Saturday night at the Roanoke Civic Center Performing Arts Theater. If you like opera, Opera Roanoke will be doing a one-night-only performance, “Wagner in the Valley” on October 17th. On Sunday I’d have brunch at the Hotel Roanoke. I prefer the more casual brunch buffet in the Pine Room but if you like white-gloved service then eat in the main dining room (much more $, though). After brunch, I’d head up to the Mill Mountain Star to take in a view of the city, walk the trail a bit and then drive onto the Blue Ridge Parkway for a Sunday afternoon drive. If that’s too lazy of a day for you, you could always go for a hike at Dragon’s Tooth after Sunday brunch.

The last poster makes some really good points about the down town Roanoke living situation. Many of the beautiful old homes have been chopped up into rental properties and it’s just plain pitiful to see their current state. There are some lofts and condos right in the downtown area. I live just outside of Salem, the city adjacent to Roanoke and love it. I’ve got 13 acres of wooded property but I’m only a 15 minute drive to Salem. Are you interested in a single-family home or an apartment/condo? Do you want brand new construction or an older home? Do you want to live in a community of other retirees? I’m not a realtor, but it would help me figure out how to advise you with regard to particular neighborhoods to visit. We have quite a few living options available around here.

Feel free to send me a PM if you have any specific questions. I hope you enjoy your stay!

Central Maine
Destination Expert
for Maine
posts: 5,902
reviews: 131
3. Re: 1st visit to Roanoke for possible retirement -- weekend

Hey C -- there are others of us out here who are also looking at possible future retirement-living locations. How about posting a trip-report when you get back, sharing your impressions of Roanoke with us...might be appreciated by many who can't make the trip themselves right now....

Virginia
Destination Expert
for Virginia Beach
posts: 6,129
reviews: 14
4. Re: 1st visit to Roanoke for possible retirement -- weekend

Do realize the travel forum posts are not for relo, although for a longer stay in an area or a vacation weekend such as CtheUSA might have, that seems to be fine. Just sayin' because if the topic gets flagged it could be closed. (More likely with a future topic specifically on relocating to roanoke as was just mentioned.)

I'll tell you where you can probably start a topic on relocating/retiring, whatever the city or town. That might be a TA forum called "off-topic chatter". While I haven't seen guidelines on it, I just pulled it up and do see one topic that has over 9500 responses, one...my goodness...116,244 responses, and a couple around 3000 responses just on the first page. So you might be able to set up your own section there to meet your needs.

Click on the top dark green bar on the Home tab. Then go down along the left to the light green options to Forums. When those first few options for forums come up, one will be "go to forums home page". Click on that. Then click on "see all" to get the whoooole long list of forums to choose from, one being off-topic chatter. (Earlier on there's an option to type in off topic chatter...but you might want to see all your choices too.)

Have fun.

Central Maine
Destination Expert
for Maine
posts: 5,902
reviews: 131
5. Re: 1st visit to Roanoke for possible retirement -- weekend

Great suggestion Explorer. I should have known better -- got caught up in the enthusiasm that someone else might be able to check it out for me.

Virginia
Destination Expert
for Virginia Beach
posts: 6,129
reviews: 14
6. Re: 1st visit to Roanoke for possible retirement -- weekend

Oh, I understand. I get caught up in answering a post someone else has renewed that's ages old:)

See if you can CtheUSA could PM or something and just head over to open up a whole nuther world for relocating. All the best.

Alexandria, Virginia
posts: 54
reviews: 41
7. Re: 1st visit to Roanoke for possible retirement -- weekend

Thanks everyone for their suggestions for a weekend in Roanoke. I'll also check out off-topic. Didn't see what I was looking for at first, but it's worth a try.

Virginia
Destination Expert
for Virginia Beach
posts: 6,129
reviews: 14
8. Re: 1st visit to Roanoke for possible retirement -- weekend

CtheUSA, if you don't see anything in a word search there, start your topic. You'll probably get a lot of responses:)

Virginia
posts: 339
reviews: 27
9. Re: 1st visit to Roanoke for possible retirement -- weekend

For neighborhoods where you'd want to actually live, I'd check out South Roanoke (the Avenham area), Crystal Springs, Raleigh Court, and Salem (central Salem, near Main St.). For the most part, those are neighborhoods with established houses, sidewalks, restaurants and/or shops within walking distance, etc. If you just do an internet search for any of them you should be able to find more info, but let me know if you need any more help with them.

Some of my favorite restaurants are Wasabi's (sushi), Blue 5 (upscale/modern southern), Table 50 (American), Norberto's (Italian/mediterranean), Luigi's (Italian), Carlos (Brazilian), and Stephen's (seafood).

If the weather is nice, you should check out the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping at the Roanoke Star. There are several easy, short hikes right off of the parkway. I definitely suggest strolling through downtown Roanoke and stopping in the shops and the market. Downtown has just recently seen some new upscale condos- I personally wouldn't want to live there quite yet (maybe 5 years from now though) as they don't have all the ammenities I think would be necessary for urban living (ie, a decent grocery store you can walk to).

10. Re: 1st visit to Roanoke for possible retirement -- weekend

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