Radical Reels Draws Outdoor Enthusiasts

Radical Reels

The Jefferson Center was packed for the Radical Reels Film Festival and Get Outside Expo on Sept. 16. The national film festival showcases some of the best mountain sports videos of the year and is only making two stops in Virginia. 

More than 700 people turned out to meet vendors, sample the fare from area food trucks, and catch the films. All of the proceeds from the event went to support the Roanoke Outside Foundation.

Roanoke Outside is a charitable organization working to make your region the capital for world-class, outdoor fun, with things such as RoanokeOutside.com, Get Outside Weekend Update, Blue Ridge Marathon, and GO Fest. Tax-deductible contributions help us continue to push for a future where Roanoke is the greatest place for outdoor recreation.

Some left as big winners. Plenty of prizes were raffled at intermission, including gift cards to restaurants, stores, and concert tickets. Thanks to everyone who came out and made the event a success and we can’t wait to see you again next year.

Movie Showcases Roanoke Region’s Outdoor Assets

A Walk in the Woods movie roanokeThe secret is out.

The Appalachian Trail, McAfee Knob, and the Roanoke Region are the stars of “A Walk in the Woods,” which opens in theaters nationwide this week.

The movie features actors Robert Redford and Nick Nolte in a comedy adventure based on the bestselling book of the same name by Bill Bryson.

The story behind “A Walk in the Woods” is based on the real adventure of Bryson (Robert Redford), a travel writer. Upon retirement he hopes to find peace and tranquility by hiking the unspoiled, spectacular, and rugged Appalachian Trail. He’s joined by a friend (Nick Nolte) who has other motives and different ideas about what “adventure” means.

The movie is bringing major attention to the Appalachian Trail, and while the plot line has charm, the scenery steals the show, making you want to retrace some of the best footpaths in the world. Of the nearly 2,200 miles of Appalachian Trail, 544 miles pass through Virginia and the iconic McAfee Knob is center stage in the movie as well as the official movie poster.

Winding through the Roanoke Region, the A.T. offers dozens of short and long hikes, from easy to strenuous and includes loops that peak at waterfalls and cliffs with spectacular views. McAfee Knob is the most photographed site along the trail, and a favorite hike for people living in, and visiting, the Roanoke Region, but you’ll find many more adventures:

  • More than 1,000 miles of trails within an hour of Roanoke
  • Home of the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • 24 rivers and creeks
  • Second largest municipal park in the U.S.
  • Largest lake in Virginia
  • 30+ miles of urban pathways connecting the community

“A Walk in the Woods” is already showing in Roanoke. A special showing with the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Conservancy is scheduled for Friday at the Grandin Theater. Before the movie, Conservancy members will talk about their role in the filming of the movie and what the organization is doing to protect the trail. The talk and reception begins at 6 p.m. at the CoLab; the film showing begins at 7:15 p.m.

Smith Mountain Lake Named Best in Virginia

Smith Mountain Lake Virginia tourism

Smith Mountain Lake was named the top lake in Virginia in a ranking of the “Best Lakes in All 50 U.S. States” by MSN Travel and Cheapism.

One lake was selected from every state with Smith Mountain Lake in the company of some famous vacation spots such as Lake Michigan (Michigan), Lake Tahoe (Nevada), Lake Erie (Ohio), and Douglas Lake (Tennessee).

Here’s what the editors had to say about the Roanoke Region’s pick: “Known as the ‘Jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains,’ Smith Mountain Lake (or SML, as locals call it) offers 580 miles of shoreline. Roughly equidistant from Roanoke and Lynchburg, this rural destination is popular with outdoor-loving retirees and vacationers.”

The top lakes were chosen because they offered plenty of opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing, and watersports.

Learn more about Smith Mountain Lake as well as the other lakes in the Roanoke Region from Roanoke Outside.