New RoanokeOutside.com Launches

roanoke outside

The Roanoke Regional Partnership and Roanoke Outside Foundation have launched a new RoanokeOutside.com. The new website features a fully-responsive modern design that will work on any device and features new video and photos showcasing the Roanoke Region’s phenomenal outdoor assets.
 
The original RoanokeOutside.com has produced 580,000 page views this year; a 12 percent increase over 2014. It launched in 2010 to catalog the region’s many outdoor assets; the first step in raising the region’s visibility as one of the best outdoor-oriented communities in the United States. Since the website launch, the Roanoke Regional Partnership’s outdoor branding work has included the Blue Ridge Marathon, GoFest, Radical Reels Film Festival, weekly newsletter to approximately 10,000 outdoor enthusiasts, advocacy for outdoor projects, and assistance to businesses. Roanoke regional employment in the outdoor industry has grown by 9.6 percent since 2010 while Virginia saw an 8.9 percent decline and the industry grew only 6.3 percent nationally.
 
“RoanokeOutside.com is going to the next level to be even more user-friendly,” said Pete Eshelman, director of outdoor branding for the Roanoke Regional Partnership. “With a cutting edge design and more robust features, the site is the first stop for anyone who wants to play outside. The site is a showcase of the Roanoke Region lifestyle.  About 40 percent of current page views are from outside Virginia so it is telling our story far and wide.”
 
Key features include:

  • Create an Adventure tool to help you plan a hike, bike, or paddling experience with stops along the way
  • Robust events listings with shareable URLs and ability for organizations to add an outdoor-related event free of charge
  • Expansive collection of newly-updated outdoor resources and information for Roanoke, Salem, Vinton, Covington, and the counties of Roanoke, Franklin, Alleghany, Botetourt and beyond
  • Responsive design that works on all devices

The website includes plenty of community collaboration in the spirit of Roanoke Outside. It was designed and developed by Roanoke firm Firefli and much of the new photography and videography was shot specifically for the website at locations all over the region.

What do you think of the new design?

Boston Globe Features Roanoke, Calls McAfee Knob ‘Best Hike Ever’

roanoke fall drive

Boston Globe readers know what we already knew: There’s nothing like fall in the Roanoke Region.

The pair of travel correspondents visited the region and hiked McAfee Knob as well as took in some other are hot spots. Here are a few snippets from “A Peak, A Painting, A Blue Ridge Autumn in Roanoke.”

“Seeing “A Walk in the Woods” inspired us to make the trip to Roanoke, but the views from McAfee were just part of what makes this area so compelling. This former railroad town has been undergoing a renaissance, with the openings of new museums and hotels, craft breweries, and a wave of millennials and retirees moving downtown, into stylish condos in refurbished old buildings. And what’s not to like about a city whose symbol is a giant star (a Christmas decoration that never came down) and whose landmarks include a vintage Dr Pepper sign? Old meets new in a charming way in Roanoke, you’ll discover.”

“A Walk in the Woods” featured the Appalachian Trail and the now-famous McAfee Knob, which was on the movie poster. The travel writers also visited — and loved — other Roanoke Region spots such as Carvins Cove and Black Dog Salvage.

You can find the full story from the Boston Globe.

GO Fest Goes Big

Roanoke GO Fest

All the numbers aren’t in yet, but we do know one thing: This year’s GO Fest was the biggest and best to date. With more than 25,000 people in attendance, the three-day festival showed how much this community supports the outdoors.

  • Attendance was up 25 percent over 2014.
  • Vendors reported sales increases and new vendors Mountain Khaki, Princeton Tec Headlamps, and Native Eyewear did so well, they have already promised to come back.
  • The food trucks kept busy, one vendor alone sold more than 900 pizzas over the weekend. Total food truck sales exceeded $110,000.
  • The River Rock had more than 1,200 kids and 150 adults go up the climbing walls (up from 800 total in 2014).
  • More than 340 campers registered on-site for overnight stays.
  • Participants in the Wild Gear Chase came from four states.

Thank you for helping make this event a huge success. We are already looking forward to next year.