Wytheville is a small town in Southern Virginia at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Founded in 1792 on 100 acres of land, the town once stood at the junction of two of America’s great western roads, the Peppers Ferry Trail, and the Ingles Ferry. It’s namesake, George Wythe, was among those who signed the United States Declaration of Independence. Visitors come to Wytheville for the outdoor beauty, the small town charm and the unique local history.
1.Big Walker Lookout
© Big Walker Lookout
The 100-foot tall Big Walker Lookout is an observation tower that stands at the peak of Big Walker Mountain in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Highlands. From atop top the tower on a clear day, one can see the mountain peaks of five different states. The tower was built in 1947 and has been continuously operated by the same family. The tower hosts weekend art demonstrations, is the first stop of the driving tour of Virginia Civil War Trails, and is a stop on the Big Walker Loop Trail, managed by Virginia Birding and Wildlife. Guests access the tower from the Big Walker General Store.
8711 Stoney Fork Rd, Wytheville, VA 24382, Phone: 276-663-4016
2.Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum
© Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum
Edith Bolling Wilson was the wife of President Woodrow Wilson, and America’s First Lady from 1914 to 1919. After President Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, the First Lady took “stewardship of the presidency” for 17 months until the end of his term. The museum includes Bolling Wilson’s birthplace and family home and offers several exhibits dedicated to display of documents, photographs and artifacts related to the First Lady’s life. Events include the Allied Dinner Series, a dinner and lecture program focused on World War I, which invites professors from area Universities to lead talks and discussion. Group tours are available. The museum is one of just eight in the nation to focus on the achievements and life of a First Lady.
145 E. Main Street, Wytheville, VA 24382, Phone: 276-223-3484
3.Wytheville Office Supply
The Wytheville Office Supply store has been a landmark of Wytheville’s Main Street since the early 1960’s. The shop is adorned with a 30-foot long metal pencil, known as the “Big Pencil.” The shop has been owned by the original owner’s daughter since 1972. The Big Pencil has undergone several renovations to keep it in top shape, and has moved with the business through several relocations. It still stands today as an icon of Main Street after more than 50 years. Wytheville Office Supply began as a small Letter Shop in 1948, and today occupies over 22,000 square feet of space, selling everything from pencils, to office furniture and copy machines.
146 West Main Street, Wytheville, VA 24382, Phone: 800-344-0356
4.Beagle Ridge Herb Farm
The Beagle Ridge Farm is a 160-acre property known for its lavender gardens, herbal tea gardens and butterfly gardens. Close to 5 miles of walking trails wind through a 2-acre display garden, Japanese meditation garden, children’s garden, multi-acre pond and a meeting house that can be used for events and weddings. Lick Mountain Excursions is a guided nature ride on a six-seat 4x4 vehicle. The two-hour tour combines Civil War history with wildlife and nature viewing. Flying Flowers is a walk-through butterfly house, home to 32 varieties of native butterflies. The farm offers gardening classes and workshops on crafting with lavender and herbs.
1934 Matney Flats Road, Wytheville, Virginia 24382 Phone: 276-621-4511
5.Wytheville’s Smallest Church
© Mr Doomits/stock.adobe.com
Wytheville’s Smallest Church is a tiny chapel, built in 2010 and inspired by a similar prayer structure in the state of Georgia. The church was built through the efforts of a small outreach group within the community, who saw benefit in creating a small quiet space for meditation and prayer. The white wooden structure has space enough for just four pews, a pulpit and altar. Anyone who visits is welcome to sign the guest book or leave a prayer request. A small bell tower is adjacent to the church. All are welcome to use the space to rest, contemplate or pray.
1090 Nye Road, Wytheville, VA 24382, Phone: 276-228-4310
6.Wythe County Genealogical and Historical Association
The Wythe County Genealogical and Historical Association is a non-profit organization founded in 2003 with the mission to provide research resources for those seeking information on family history related to Southwest Virginia. The association sponsors an annual Family History Institute Conference, which invites speakers from all over the United States.
Wythe County dates back to 1789, while the town of Wytheville formed in 1790. The first families of Wythe County were pioneers who moved to the area prior to 1810. Descendants of these first families may apply for an official “first family” certificate from the Wythe County Genealogical and Historical Association.
165 S. 11th Street, Wytheville, VA 24382, Phone: 276-228-2445
7.Thomas J Boyd Museum
© Wytheville Museums
Thomas Jefferson Boyd’s home in Wytheville opened as a museum in 1983. Known as the Father of Wytheville, Thomas Boyd was the town’s mayor, a surveyor, lawyer, hotel builder and member of the Virginia legislature. Artifacts in the home museum focus on the area’s local history, including the Civil War and a historic Wythe County polio epidemic. Collections include Wytheville’s first fire truck and early farming equipment, as well as military and Civil War uniforms.
Interactive stations for children are located within the Discovery Center. The ten stations teach local history alongside science and math. Self-guided tours take approximately 30 minutes. The museum is located adjacent to the historic Haller-Gibboney Rock House.
295 Tazewell Street, Wytheville, VA 24382, Phone: 276-223-3331
8.Haller-Gibboney Rock House Museum
© Haller-Gibboney Rock House Museum
The Haller-Gibboney Rock House Museum is the home of Wytheville’s first physician. Built in 1823, it’s where John Haller lived while serving as the county’s doctor, coroner, and a delegate to the Virginia legislature. The home, now a registered historic landmark, was used as an infirmary and school during the Civil War. The Hallers, and their descendants, the Gibboneys, lived in the home for over 140 years.
Today, the house museum contains over 1,400 documents, artifacts and period furniture related to the history Wytheville family life. The late Federal style two-story limestone home has five bays and a side gabled roof. Guided tours take approximately 30 minutes.
205 E. Tazewell Street, Wytheville, VA 24382, Phone: 276-223-3330
9.Old Fort Antique Mall
© Josu Ozkaritz/stock.adobe.com
Wytheville’s Old Fort Antique Mall is easily recognized by the giant black horse atop their sign. The Mall is a collection of over 60 antique dealers organized within an indoor, air-conditioned building offering 25 cent coffee and a candy counter. Popular collectibles found at the Antique Mall include Fischer Price toys, plastic model car kits, Barbie dolls and rare dolls dating back to the 1940’s. Glass items from carnival glass to mugs, steins, oil lamps and marbles are all popular. Pottery includes Native American pots, churns, old mugs and cups, china and collectible figurines. Several vendors deal in furniture, jewelry, old kitchen and farm tools, and artwork.
2028 East Lee Highway, Wytheville, VA 24382, Phone: 276-228-4438
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10.Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theater
The Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre is a unique dining experience in which guests are served a four-course dinner while being entertained by Broadway style musical productions. Musicals showcase classic and contemporary productions, and the theater produces approximately six different shows each year. Dinner shows take place on Friday and Saturday evenings, and as matinees on Thursdays and Sundays. In addition to the dinner theater, the German-themed restaurant offers a Bier Garten with café style dining, and fine German wines and beers. The Wohlfahrt Hause honors the early pioneer, Wilhelm Ludwig Wohlfahrt, who settled in this area of Virginia from Germany in the late 1700’s.
170 Malin Drive, Wytheville, VA 24382, Phone: 276-223-0891
11.Skeeter’s Hot Dogs
© Skeeter’s Hot Dogs
Skeeter’s World Famous Hot Dogs originally opened as the E.N. Umberger Store, a small grocery, in 1925. It moved to its current location in 1940, where it sold hot dogs for a nickel. The small hot dog side business gained popularity, and by 1950 became the best-selling item at the Umberger Store. The name Skeeter, once just a nickname for Umberger’s son, also took center stage when he began to run the store.
Today, customers continue to enjoy hot dogs served simply on white napkins at the vintage lunch counter. The restaurant is among the oldest continuously operating establishments in Virginia, and offers a full breakfast and lunch menu as well.
165 E. Main St. Wytheville VA 24382, Phone: 276-228-2611
11 Best Things to Do in Wytheville, VA
- Big Walker Lookout, Photo: Big Walker Lookout
- Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum, Photo: Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum
- Wytheville Office Supply, Photo: lenetsnikolai/stock.adobe.com
- Beagle Ridge Herb Farm, Photo: Beboy/stock.adobe.com
- Wytheville’s Smallest Church, Photo: Mr Doomits/stock.adobe.com
- Wythe County Genealogical and Historical Association, Photo: zephyr_p/stock.adobe.com
- Thomas J Boyd Museum, Photo: Wytheville Museums
- Haller-Gibboney Rock House Museum, Photo: Haller-Gibboney Rock House Museum
- Old Fort Antique Mall, Photo: Josu Ozkaritz/stock.adobe.com
- Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theater, Photo: baon/stock.adobe.com
- Skeeter’s Hot Dogs, Photo: Skeeter’s Hot Dogs
- Cover Photo: Felix Mizioznikov/stock.adobe.com