It’s unlikely for an interstate to make a great drives listing but there are exceptions to every rule. For over 300 miles, I-81 carries sightseers, intentional and otherwise, through Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.
The valley is a work bucolic art, painted across the landscape with a pigment of agrarianism and the brush of time. Farms, complete with barns and silos dot the rolling hills as the picturesque ridge lines frame in the valley in the distance.
The highway seems to have been placed with the economy of space in mind. Rather than the typical interstate, 81 is situated on just enough property. It is slid in among the homesteads without taking more land than is needed. Not one unneeded foot is designated for right of way or even a rest area
Along the road you’ll find storied Southern locales:
Bristol: “The Birthplace of Country Music” and the home of the famous NASCAR short track.
Natural Bridge: Breathtaking natural geological formation so impressive that when Thomas Jefferson saw it, he decided to buy it.
Lexington: Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson are both buried in this town. It is Home to their respective instructional charges: Washington & Lee University and The Virginia Military Institute. Even if you don’t visit the generals, this is one of the most beautiful towns in The South.
Blacksburg: Home of The Virginia Tech Hokies.
That’s just scratching the surface. There too many towns, local attractions, and stories to mention. It’s not you average interstate drive.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire