Autumn Venture to the Allegheny Mountains

If you’re already in the mood for cooler temperatures and a change of season, start planning for an autumn road trip. With our naturally beautiful landscape, there are plenty of opportunities for out-of-town excursions across Virginia, whether you want to spend the night away from home or simply meander for a day.
One of my favorite places to head in the fall is Douthat State Park in the Allegheny Mountains. Dating back to its creation in 1936 as one of the first state parks, Douthat has welcomed visitors to exquisite scenery and relaxed recreation. In addition to more than 40 miles of trails for hiking and riding, a pristine 50-acre lake invites campers to swim, boat, and fish. Beyond its scenic appeal, Douthat is a great weekend destination because of its lodging accommodations. With 32 individual cabins and three lodges, there are comfortable options for those of us who love sleeping indoors as much as we love nature.
As you head west to Douthat, be sure to stop along the way for some tasty bites and local backdrops. Smiley’s Travel Center is the perfect combination of both. You may not guess that a rural truck stop offers some of the best barbecues anywhere, but Smiley’s famously delicious dishes will make you a believer.
The Cheese Shop in Stuarts Draft is another rural eatery with a big reputation. Customers come from as far away as the West Coast and Europe to sample the signature deli menu and shop the selection of old-fashioned jams and jellies, candies, and more. If you stop in Stuarts Draft, it’s worth strolling through the Antique Mall. It might be rivaled in interest only by Lexington’s Coffee Pot, an architectural curiosity that’s shaped like a kettle and even spews steam.
It’s a great time to plan your first fall road trip. Head west to Douthat and savor the views along the way.

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