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Blue Ridge Institute

Located in the nearby town of Ferrum at 20 Museum Drive, just a two-hour drive away, the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum is uniquely dedicated to preserving the folk heritage of the Blue Ridge region through exhibits, publications, and interactive events available to visitors. If you’re looking for for what to do at Smith Mountain Lake, learn more below about this fun and informative attraction near Smith Mountain Lake!

Dive into the Engaging Folklife of the Blue Ridge Mountains

Since the 1970s, the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum—an outlet of Ferrum College—has worked to document, interpret, and showcase the heritage of the Blue Ridge region and the people who live there.

From the exhibits at its on-site museum to living history sessions on an authentic 1800s Blue Ridge farmstead, to the enormously popular Blue Ridge Folklife Festival that the institution has put on for over four decades, the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum is a fantastic place to visit to gain more insight into the culture of western Virginia and Appalachia while having a great time.

The Blue Ridge Institute and Museum is also part of the Virginia Heritage Music Trail, also known as the Crooked Road. The archives on-site contain recordings of Virginia folk music spanning over the course of nearly a century, as well as photographs and documents related to the lives of the people in this unique region.

The Blue Ridge Folklife Festival takes place on the last Saturday of October each year and includes folk games, storytelling, moonshine sampling, live Blue Ridge roots music, traditional crafts, vintage cars and tractors, and contests related to horse pulling, animal showing, log skidding, and more.

Blue Ridge Institute’s museum galleries are self-guided and open year-round, with free admission. During the fall, winter, and spring seasons, the museum is open on Monday through Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm. During the summer season from mid-May to mid-August, the museum is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm on Monday through Saturday and on Sundays from 1:00pm to 5:00pm.

The Farm Museum at Blue Ridge Institute is open seasonally and has varying prices for admission depending on the program. Walk-in visitors can attend the Farm Museum on the weekends from May 6th through Labor Day weekend, with hours from 10:00am to 5:00pm on Saturdays and 1:00pm to 5:00pm on Sundays. Tours for groups of eight or more people can be reserved on any day between April and October.

Nearby Attractions to Enjoy and Explore

While connecting with the heritage, culture and past of this area of Virginia is sure to be a meaningful moment for visitors, the added benefit of a trip to Ferrum is the opportunity to add even more stops to your already fun-filled itinerary. When you’ve toured and taken in the all of the displays and exhibits you’ve come to admire, be sure to make some time to get out and explore further by adding the following stops to your must-see list.

Panther Grounds Coffee Shop

When you’re looking at your day of adventure ahead and realize you could use a quick pick-me-up to make sure you’re at your best, swing by nearby Panther Grounds Coffee Shop for a beverage and a savory bite. Integrated into Ferrum College, Pantehr Grounds Coffee Shop can be found at 305 State Rt. 602 and is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 9:00 pm with shortened hours during the weekend until 4:0 pm. The staff is welcoming and the ambiance is cozy, making this local coffee shop a great stop to energize up for fun that awaits.

Kat’s Hidden Treasures

Located at 26 Fieldcrest Road, Kat’s Hidden Treasures is a well-loved and popular local second hand store where those that have the motivation to hunt for something great are sure to find gems within. Whether you’re looking for incredible antiques, on the look out for that one of a kind souvenir or just interested in seeing if you stumble upon something fun, Kat’s Hidden Treasures is well worth a stop in. Here, guests can possibly find everything from home appliances and furniture to tools, jewelry, antiques, movies and more! This delightful destination is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays beginning at 8:00 am—so early risers may want to make this a first stop in order to get their eyes on the best and newest selection of items available.

Seventy-Seven Restaurant

When you’re craving some comfort food and could use that traditional small-town charm to go with it, head over to Seventy-Seven Restaurant found at 4477 Timberline Road. Offering up dine-in, take-out and delivery options, Seventy-Seven Restaurant is an unassuming yet warm destination that serves up some of the area’s most well-loved burgers and fries. A diner-style hometown ambiance makes this a place that’s easy to return to time and again. Do note that this is a cash-only establishment.

Premier Vacation Rentals – Where All Great Vacation Memories Begin

For additional details on the Blue Ridge Institute and other fascinating attractions and things to do in the Smith Mountain Lake area, contact our reservations team and ask about booking your accommodations through us today!

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