Small Town Travel Series:
The Best Things to do in Bedford VA
Bedford County is located in south-central Virginia, near Smith Mountain Lake. During my time in the area, I was able to stay one night in downtown Bedford and one night at Smith Mountain Lake. This allowed me to see different areas within the region, and they are both worth a visit! So I hope you enjoy my suggestions for The Best Things to do in Bedford VA.
This was also one of the few solo-trips that I’ve done since starting Wine and Weekends. It can get a little lonely if you let it, but when fully embraced… you actually learn a lot about yourself. I really believe that everyone should take at least ONE solo trip in their lifetime.
- Check-in at Longwood Inn in downtown Bedford
- Mountain View Vintage Market (There is a Christmas Market on November 16th)
- Refresh at the Inn
- Dinner at Bedford Social Club
- Beer tasting at Beale’s Beer
- Breakfast at the Inn or stop by Bridge Street Cafe’
- Visit the Bedford Area Welcome Center, get a photo with the LOVE sign, and purchase D-Day Memorial Tickets
- National D-Day Memorial Tour
- Visit the Bedford Boys Tribute Center
- Lunch at Town & Kitchen Provisions
- Explore Downtown
- Leave downtown Bedford and head to Bedford Landings B&B at Smith Mountain Lake
- The owners can give you tons of dining recommendations – I attended an event at Hickory Hill Vineyards. One suggestion is Heath’s Waterfront Grill!
- Breakfast at Bedford Landings
- Sightseeing cruise at VA Dare Marina
- Wine tastings at Hickory Hill Vineyards
- Wine tasting at Ramulose Ridge Vineyards
The Longwood Inn is a Bed and Breakfast style inn, located within walking distance from downtown Bedford. The owner Kara and her family live on-site and list the extra rooms in the home on Airbnb. The room that I stayed in was absolutely gorgeous. Spacious and clean, I didn’t at all feel like I was in someone else’s “home.” Each morning, Kara leaves coffee, juice, bagels, and fruit for guests to enjoy at their leisure. Longwood Inn is the perfect location for a one night stay or even an extended stay in the Bedford area.
The Mountain View Vintage Market is a HUGE event that takes place in Bedford each year. Vendors are hand-picked from all around the area, and even into neighboring states. Many shoppers bring small wagons or large totes because they know that they will find too many treasures to carry. Vendors include antiques, repurposed items or furniture, art, clothing, flowers, food, etc.
One of my favorite parts was a “create your own sign” station. You pay for the canvas (which is a piece of wood), you pick out a stencil, and you paint the image onto the piece of wood. They guide you every step of the way, and it is fun for both children and adults.
While this is an event that only takes place once each year. Don’t worry because there is a Christmas Market taking place on November 16th, 2019! Click here to view their Facebook Page and learn more.
I enjoyed my time at Bedford Social Club so much, I took around 2 hours to enjoy an incredible dinner by myself. The atmosphere is upscale, yet relaxed. They have an excellent wine list. Plus, the food is absolutely delicious! If you find yourself in Bedford, you MUST dine at The Bedford Social Club!
- A glass of the waiter’s recommendation of Chardonnay
- Spicy Cauliflower Bites*****
- Classic Ceasar Salad*****
- Fresh Scallops cooked in a Champagne Sauce*****
**Stars indicate my personal rating on a scale from 1-5**
Something else awesome that Bedford Social Club offers is their $55 Date Night Special each Wednesday & Thursday. This includes one appetizer, two salads, two entrees, one dessert, and one bottle of fine wine!
Beale’s Beer is located in a historic building, walking distance from Bedford’s downtown scene. The atmosphere is friendly and inviting, with large tables for groups to enjoy an evening out. Serving both food and delicious house-made craft beer, Beale’s Beer is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for anyone who decides to visit! I enjoyed a large pretzel along with a flight of their beers including BAHAMA BEAR, CURRANT SITUTION, RASPBERRY LEMON, and THE MULE. Each flavor was unique and fit well with its description on the menu.
I am not a history expert, nor do I claim to really even enjoy “museum-like” experiences very often. BUT, the National D-Day Memorial Tour is absolutely worth your time. It is a humbling experience. As the entire memorial is outside with views of the gorgeous peaks, it is more like viewing an art exhibit that also happens to remind us of the incredible sacrifices of the brave soldiers who lost their lives on June 6, 1944.
The tour guides do a great job in making the experience educational, but also enjoyable and relatable. Many people don’t know why the small town of Bedford VA was chosen for this national memorial. It is actually because even though the town only had 37 men to serve in the D-Day invasion, 20 of them died in service. This caused Bedford to have the largest death toll per capita, considering its small size in the 1940s.
As I previously wrote, “Many people don’t know why the small town of Bedford VA was chosen for this national memorial. It is actually because even though the town only had 37 men to serve in the D-Day invasion, 20 of them died in service. This caused Bedford to have the largest death toll per capita, considering its small size in the 1940s.”
So not only is Bedford the home of the National D-Day Memorial, but it is also home to a small tribute center that is solely focused on the “Bedford Boys.” The Bedford Boys is the name that was coined to the 37 Bedford residents that served in the D-Day invasion. The Bedford Boys Tribute Center was founded (on accident) by a couple who had plans to write a book on The Bedford Boys. They ended up starting the Tribute Center, which has given the Boys’ extended families a place to display their personal items in order to tell a story of their lives, experiences, and sacrifices during that time.
Town & Kitchen Provisions is an adorable, local restaurant located right on the main strip of Bedford’s downtown area. Known for their creative sandwiches and house-made sides, Town & Kitchen is the perfect lunch location for those who want to take a day and explore Bedford’s downtown region. I enjoyed their Burger and Pasta Salad, along with a glass of their pour of the day: Sauvignon Blanc!
After spending most of the day exploring downtown Bedford, I changed locations and moved towards Smith Mountain Lake. Still in Bedford County, Smith Mountain Lake is the second largest lake in Virginia. And even in the off-season, there is plenty to do! There are several wineries located around the Lake region, lake cruises, ample hiking for those of all levels, and when all else fails – a splendor of beauty to be admired!
Bedford Landings B&B is a stunning Bed and Breakfast located right off of the water and near the Smith Mountain Lake Airport. The B&B was built by the current owners, Jack and Karen. Both are retired business people, who decided to make their dreams a reality and built their current home with the idea of using it as a Bed and Breakfast from the beginning. This allowed them to truly think about important amenities for their future guests, such as large bathrooms with his and her sinks, separate temperature control units, and unique gathering spaces.
The building, from the inside and out, is absolutely breath-taking. Plus, their hospitality will make you feel right at home! I stayed in the “fourth room,” which had an extremely comfortable king-sized bed and a large two-person jacuzzi tub. A gourmet breakfast is served each morning in the dining area… and you won’t want to miss it!
The VA Dare Marina is the home of the VA Dare Boat, which offers a variety of sight-seeing cruises. The boat can be rented for private events. However, I was able to enjoy a specialty public cruise that focused on the history of the lake and seeing the beautiful fall foliage. Lunch is provided on the cruise at an additional cost. There is also a full bar with a variety of options available for purchase for all guests.
Hickory Hill Vineyards is located roughly 10 minutes from Bedford Landings B&B. They specialize in a variety of varietals and offer both sweet and dry wines in order to reach a larger audience. Located in a simple farmhouse, the family-owned-and-operated winery is quaint and makes you feel right at home. I was lucky enough to attend on an evening when they had food and music on site! I began with a tasting of each of their wines and my favorite wine was their Cabernet Sauvignon!
Thanks for taking the time to read about the best things to do in Bedford VA! I had an absolute blast working with Destination Bedford in this project. Bedford really does make the perfect weekend getaway. At only an hour’s drive north of my home town, I’m going to keep this one tucked away in my own brain when I am looking for a quick trip with friends!
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Until next time,
*Thank you to Destination Bedford for sponsoring this post*