Where to Go, What to Know

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Writer John M. Thompson recently traveled to the Booker T. Washington National Monument in Franklin County, Va. Here is his reporter's notebook.


About 4 1/2 hours from Beltway




From the Beltway, take Interstate 66 west to U.S. 29 south; at Lynchburg, go west on U.S. 460 to Bedford, then south on Highway 122 for 22 miles. The Booker T. Washington National Monument is in Hardy, 25 miles southeast of Roanoke and 16 miles northeast of Rocky Mount, Va.


The Claiborne House B&B (185 Claiborne Ave., Rocky Mount, 540-483-4616, http://www.claibornehouse.net), an elegant Queen Anne mansion, has six rooms with private baths, antiques and TVs ($110-$145 per night). About 10 miles north, the Chateauware B&B (181 Webb Mountain Rd., Boones Mill, 540-334-1386, http://www.chateauware.com) offers rooms from $95 to $155.

There are several motels in Rocky Mount and along U.S. 220 toward Roanoke.


In Rocky Mount, Ippy's Restaurant (1760 N. Main St., 540-489-5600, http://www.ippysrestaurant.com) has been an institution since 1919; steaks, seafood and baby back ribs, $15-$20. Good local fare is $5-$15 at Olde Virginia Barbeque (35 Meadow View Ave., Rocky Mount, 540-489-1788). In Roanoke, the Coach and Four (5206 Williamson Rd., 540-362-4220, http://www.coachandfour.com) presents a traditional menu; entrees about $8.95-$32.95.


Booker T. Washington National Monument (12130 Booker T. Washington Hwy., Hardy, Va., 540-721-2094, http://www.nps.gov/bowa) is open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.

Many of Roanoke's attractions are in the Center in the Square, a hive of shops, restaurants, museums and a theater centered on an 1882 farmers market and 1914 warehouse.

The History Museum of Western Virginia (1 Market Sq., 540-342-5770, http://www.history-museum.org) traces regional history from prehistoric times to World War II; $3, seniors $2, children ages 6-17.

Exhibits at the curvaceous new 81,000-square-foot Taubman Museum of Art (110 Salem Ave. SE, Roanoke, 540-342-5760, http://www.taubmanmuseum.org) include the John Singer Sargent portrait of Mrs. George Gribble and a display of Judith Leiber handbags; $8.50, seniors $7.50, children 5-12 $4.50.

The Harrison Museum of African American Culture (523 Harrison Ave., Roanoke, 540-345-4818, http://www.harrisonmuseum.com) presents changing exhibits in a 1916 building constructed as the first public high school for African Americans in southwestern Virginia; free.

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