"Serving the County of Wise, the City of Norton, and the Towns of Appalachia, Big Stone Gap, Coeburn, Pound, St. Paul, and Wise."
Perfectly natural is the soothing sound of a babbling Spring brook and the soft whirl of a fisherman's reel. Perfectly natural is the peaceful Summer breeze atop a majestic mountain, and it's the mountains' brilliant show of scarlet, gold, and burgundy in the Fall. Perfectly natural is also the silent Winter snowfall on lush evergreens. Any season, Wise County, Virginia is the perfectly natural choice for your next vacation or weekend getaway.
Located in the southwestern portion of Virginia in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, Wise County has been blessed with scenic, recreational, and historic attractions. The Powell Valley Overlook provides a breathtaking view of a rare geological formation. For beautiful scenery, you should also visit the Flag Rock Recreation Area overlooking Norton and the observation tower at High Knob where you can see several states from one point of view.
35,924 acres of the Jefferson National Forest lie in Wise County, supporting a multitude of outdoor recreational opportunities: hiking, biking, swimming, canoeing, hunting, fishing, camping, boating, picnicking...and of course, it's a leaf-looker's paradise.
For something a little more fast-paced, visit the Lonesome Pine Raceway, a .375-mile ASA sanctioned oval track hosting racing events Saturday nights.
If you're not an outdoor enthusiast, you can explore our antique shops, colleges, libraries, museums, and other historic and cultural attractions.
To learn about Wise County's coal mining heritage, visit the Harry W. Meador, Jr. Coal Museum. The Southwest Virginia Museum of the Virginia State Park System showcases the lifestyle of early Southwest Virginia pioneers and founders of Big Stone Gap. And the former home of author John Fox, Jr. is now a Virginia Historic Landmark that contains furnishings and memorabilia from the Fox family.
For local and regional music, visit the Country Cabin II every Saturday night, or Lays Historical Hardware every Friday night.
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Wise County has been called home by many famous and intriguing people, including U-2 spy pilot Francis Gary Powers; actor George C. Scott; bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley; Grand Ole Opry stars Jim and Jesse McReynolds; former Green Bay Packer and Super Bowl Champion Carroll Dale; Glenn Roberts, originator of the basketball jumpshot; and Olympic Gold Medalist Ollan Cassell.
Big Stone Gap served as the former home and inspiration for novelists John Fox, Jr. and Adriana Trigiani. Fox penned many famous works, including The Trail of the Lonesome Pine and The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come. Trigiani authored the trilogy Big Stone Gap, Big Cherry Holler, and Milk Glass Moon.
Pound native Napoleon Hill wrote magazine profiles of such business leaders as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison. Hill virtually invented the gospel of personal achievement by distilling their principles of financial success into several motivational books, including the bestseller Think and Grow Rich. Napoleon Hill also lectured widely and served as an advisor to presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
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Every community has an annual festival that features good food, arts and crafts, music, dance, and a variety of other entertainment and activities.
- Best Friend Festival - Norton - June
- Clinch River Days - St. Paul - May
- Coal/Railroad Days - Appalachia - August
- Gathering in the Gap Music Festival - Big Stone Gap - May
- Guest River Rally - Coeburn - Labor Day Weekend
- Home Craft Days - Big Stone Gap - October
- Pound Heritage Days - Pound - May
- Spearhead Trails - May
- Wise County Famous Fall Fling - Wise - October
Wise County also plays host to many other annual events such as the Virginia-Kentucky District Fair & Horse Show and to many mountain music festivals, including The Dock Boggs Festival, Ralph Stanley Memorial Bluegrass Festival, and Gathering in the Gap Music Festival.
The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, Virginia's Official State Outdoor Drama, opened in 1964 and is now the longest-running outdoor drama in the State and the fifth oldest outdoor drama in the nation. The story, written by John Fox, Jr., tells of the great coal boom in Southwest Virginia and the resulting changes in the people and the region. The Trail of the Lonesome Pine is performed mid-June through late August at the June Tolliver Playhouse.
The Pro-Art Association, an affiliate of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, presents musical, theatrical, and artistic programs to its members, the public, and in the schools.
For a complete calendar of local events, restaurant and lodging information, or a list of area campgrounds, contact the Wise County Virginia Chamber of Commerce at 276-679-0961 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our on-line calendar of events.
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- Bee Rock Tunnel
- Roaring Branch
- The Peake Building (Guiness Book of Records)
Big Stone Gap
- Tourist & Information Center "101" Car
- Southwest Virginia Museum
- The Trail of the Lonesome Pine Outdoor Drama
- Harry W. Meador, Jr. Coal Museum
- John Fox, Jr. Museum
- June Tolliver House & Craft Shop
- Mountain Empire Community College
- North Fork Reservoir
- Historic Red Fox Trail
- Oxbow Lake
- Clinch River Trail
- Wise Lake Reservoir
- University of Virginia's College at Wise
- Bark Camp Lake & Recreation Area
- Breaks Interstate Park
- Carter Fold - "The Birthplace of Country Music"
- Cumberland Gap National Historic Park and Tunnel
- Hensley Settlement
- John Flannagan Dam & Reservoir
- Little Stony Falls
- Natural Tunnel State Park
- Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve
- Pocahontas Exhibition Mine & Museum
- The Crooked Road/Virginia's Heritage Music Trail
For more information on regional attractions, contact the Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority at 276-762-0011.
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