Around the College Town: Blacksburg
By Kyle Bailey
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Named “2011 Best College Town in the South” by Southern Living, Blacksburg, Virginia is unlike many college towns you’ll ever visit.
Blacksburg, Virginia is nestled up against the Appalachian Mountains in the New River Valley and home of the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Named “2011 Best College Town in the South” by Southern Living, Blacksburg is unlike many college towns you’ll ever visit. Kirk Herbstreit and other broadcasters have talked and joked on air about riding through rural Southwest Virginia en route to broadcasting a Hokies home game. Hop off of I-81 and then take 460 West just 10 minutes down the road past farms, fields and the Huckleberry Trail when suddenly a sprawling, beautiful campus emerges with Lane Stadium appearing as one of the first noticeable structures.
SouthernPigskin.com Restaurant Recommendation – In Blacksburg, your first supper just might have to be at “Bull and Bones.” It’s the host of Frank Beamer’s Monday night radio show “Tech Talk Live,” but it’s known for much more than that. Bull and Bones is aptly named since it offers the best ribs, steak, and BBQ around. You’ll notice when you walk through the door that B&B is also a micro-brewery. Yup, they brew their own beer so order a beer sampler as an appetizer. The bar section of Bull and Bones is littered with brand new pool tables and high definitions making B&B a one-stop-shop.
Honorable Mentions: SouthernPigskin.com also highly recommends “PK’s Bar and Grill” for the best pizza and wings in town. “Boudreaux’s” is home to the best cajun food not found in the actual bayous of Lousiana. Finally “Cabo Fish Taco” is one of the most unique restaurants around. Never had a fish taco? Come to Blacksburg.
SouthernPigskin.com Bar Recommendation – “Top of the Stairs” (aka “TOTS”) is the quintessential college bar located merely yards from the Virginia Tech campus.
TOTS boasts a huge wrap-around deck, multiple bars, two stages for live music and karaoke, corn hole downstairs, and the famous “Rail” available at the bar. When the Hokies play in Lane Stadium, TOTS is absolutely the place to be for the post-game.
Point of Interest – Outdoors activities are abundantly available in Blacksburg and the surrounding New River Valley. Fish the New River and Claytor Lake (Virginia Tech’s 2007 National Championship Bass Fishing team did) or when the weather’s right you can float down the river with your friends. Hikers can hit up Dragon’s Tooth and McAfee’s Knob or the Cascades if you want to end your hike with a waterfall and a quick swim. Pandapas Pond in the Jefferson National Forest is a great place to do a little mountain biking. You can’t forget that Virginia is home to 544 miles of the Appalachian Trail that runs from Maine to Georgia.
If you find yourself on the Virginia Tech campus it’s totally worth your while to stop by the scenic Duck Pond and neighboring Smithfield Plantation. For more history, check out "Solitude," which is the oldest building on the Virginia Tech campus. It was home to the colonel of the Confederacy’s 28th Virginia Infantry, Robert Preston and two Virginia governors.
Fun Facts – Blacksburg is usually littered with young men in uniform. Virginia Tech is one of only two universities in the nation that maintains a full-time military environment within a larger civilian university; the other is Texas A&M, which also dubs its institution the Corps of Cadets.
“Today” show host, Hoda Kotb is a Virginia Tech graduate and Alumni Association Board of Directors member. She served as keynote speaker at her alma mater for the 2008 Virginia Tech graduation, where she played "Enter Sandman" over her iPod.
In 2011, Business Week named Blacksburg the "Best Place in the U.S. to Raise Kids."
Celebrity Confirmation – “I loved Blacksburg. It was so different than my neighborhood. There was fresh air. No police or helicopter noise. The city was behind me. Blacksburg will always have a corner of my heart. It’s where football meets my safe zone.” – Shyrone Stith, Virginia Tech RB from ’96-’00
“I love the peace if provides me. Every time I visit Blacksburg I sleep so well. It remains my second home, and I always look forward to going back.” - Dwight Vick, Virginia Tech OL from ’95-’98 (Captain ‘98)