Weekend Cultural Adventure
Weekend Cultural Adventure
Searching for a weekend exploration of cultural and historic attractions near Norton? We've got you covered! See suggested trip itineraries below. Check out the Area Attractions page for more ideas.
Weekend Warrior: Day One: Museum Bliss
Early Exploration: Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park
Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park, Big Stone Gap
Spend the morning exploring some of Southwest Virginia's rich history.
- Take an abbreviated tour of the Southwest Virginia region's history by visiting Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park. Open most days March through December. See the museum website for more details, including admission fees and hours of operation.
- Also visit the John Fox, Jr. Museum, which was the home of author John Fox Jr. and where he wrote Trail of the Lonesome Pine, 14 other novels, and more than 500 short stories. See the website link above for more details, including admission fees and hours of operation. Click Driving Directions from Norton.
- There is also the Harry W. Meador Jr. Coal Museum, which offers a look at coal mining and how the industry has influenced local communities and culture. See the website link above for more details, including location and hours of operation.
- Eat lunch in downtown Norton at one of these Local Restaurants.
- After lunch, take a stroll through downtown Norton to the Wise County Chamber of Commerce where a roadside plaque outside the office offers an abbreviated version of Norton's history. Also, walk past Norton City Hall where a Cannon said to be from the U.S.S. Constitution, "Old Ironsides," sits. It's dedicated to those from Wise County who died fighting in World War I.
Afternoon Adventure: History, Wine, and Art
MountainRose Vineyard, Wise
Spend the day exploring several attractions in the neighboring town of Wise.
- Take a stroll across the University of Virginia's College at Wise campus. The land where the college sits has a long History. Walk the campus grounds using one of these Suggested Routes. Driving Directions to the college from downtown Norton.
- Visit MountainRose Vineyard, located about five miles from the college and pictured above. Driving Directions from UVa-Wise. The vineyard is located on a reclaimed surface mine. Vineyard tours and wine tastings are available, and MountainRose also hosts several monthly special events.
- Stop by the Inn at Wise. The century-old Inn was recently restored and, in addition to offering overnight accommodations, the building is a mini-art gallery, featuring photographs and other artwork by local artisans. Driving Directions from MountainRose Vineyard.
- Eat at the Inn's Pub & Tap Room or Return to downtown Norton for dinner.
Evening Entertainment: Artistic Performance
- If searching for bluegrass or traditional old-time music, visit Country Cabin II just outside downtown Norton or Lays Hardware Center for the Arts in downtown Coeburn. Both venues offer several monthly events and are affiliated with the regional Crooked Road initiative.
- If visiting the area during late June through late August, be sure to catch a showing of the Trail of the Lonesome Pine State Outdoor Drama in Big Stone Gap. The drama will celebrate its 55th season in 2018.
View of Downtown Norton
Downtown Norton offers several lodging options, depending on your preference.
- If seeking the great indoors, check out these Hotels.
- If wanting to camp, Flag Rock Recreation Area has an 18-site campground open April 1-Oct. 30. See the Campground Page for details. Also check out these other Area Campgrounds.
Weekend Warrior: Day Two: Branching Out
Early Exploration: Ralph Stanley Museum and Birch Knob
View from Birch Knob, Dickenson County
- The Ralph Stanley Museum is located 24 miles from downtown Norton in Clintwood and highlights the career of the late bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley. The museum also explores the history of traditional mountain music. Visit the Museum Website for more information, including admission fees and hours of operation. The museum opens annually in mid-March and remains open through Dec. 1.
- Birch Knob Observation Tower, located 10.5 miles from the museum and on the Virginia/Kentucky border, offers sweeping views of both states, as well as West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. Pictured above is one vantage from the observation deck. Driving Directions from the Ralph Stanley Museum. Note: The gravel road leading up to the summit may be gated in winter months.
Afternoon Adventure: Breaks Interstate Park
Breaks Interstate Park
- Breaks Interstate Park offers a mix of both cultural, historic, and natural opportunities to explore. Located about 27 miles from Clintwood, the 4,500-acre park - one of only two interstate parks nationwide - is located in Kentucky and Virginia. Activities include hiking, mountain biking, birding, geocaching, and whitewater rafting, elk tours, a variety of music events, and interpretive programs. Visit the Park Website for more information about these and other activities.
Evening Exploration: Southwest Virginia Sunset
View from Flag Rock Recreation Area
Check out these overlooks for exceptional sunsets.
- Powell Valley Overlook: Located on U.S. 23 North between Big Stone Gap and Norton, this overlook offers sweeping views of Powell Valley and surrounding mountains. Driving Directions.
- High Knob Observation Tower: Standing atop the 4,230-foot summit offers a great vantage of Southwest Virginia's spectacular sunsets, as pictured above. Driving Directions from downtown Norton.
- Flag Rock Overlook: Resting at 3,200 feet in elevation, the overlook also provides a great vantage to watch the sun slip below the horizon as the lights in downtown Norton illuminate the surrounding hillsides. Driving Directions from downtown Norton.