Big Stone Gap is the epitome of the small, Southern mountain town, nestled in Virginia’s southwest corner. Big Stone Gap hasn’t gotten as much publicity as Cumberland Gap, but the little town holds its own, with lots of beautiful nature, tasty eats, interesting history, and a comfortable night’s sleep. If you’re looking for a short family getaway or even a relaxed, romantic weekend for two, you can find it in Big Stone Gap. Here’s the perfect day trip to the town, from where to eat breakfast to the best place to get some shuteye.
To start your day in Big Stone Gap, pass up the chains and head instead to Little Mexico. The restaurant opens at 8am and serves American breakfast, including pancakes, omelets, and the like, with nearly all entrées coming in at under $10. The service is great, and their friendliness will have you feeling like a local, no matter how far you’ve traveled to get there.
After you’ve filled your belly with the requisite eggs, bacon, and coffee, drive the five minutes to Big Stone Gap’s downtown. Your first stop should be the check if it’s open before you head over.
If you still have time before lunch, you can stroll the 8 or so blocks down to the Natural Tunnel State Park is 18 miles south of Big Stone Gap and offers a lot of both. The spectacular 850 foot tunnel, now used to house a railroad pass, was created by natural erosion over time. William Jennings Brian called the tunnel the “eighth wonder of the world,” so don’t doubt its impressiveness. The park itself also offers swimming and hiking opportunities along with the beautiful surroundings. It’s $2 to get in ($3 on weekends), and $3 for a roundtrip ride on the park’s scenic chairlift to the mouth of the tunnel. The visitor center operates from 10am-5pm on weekdays, ‘til 6 on weekends.
You want to eat again already? Ok, ok. After swimming, hiking, and feeling the serenity of nature, head back into Big Stone Gap to find yourself a delicious dinner. I recommend the Poplar Hill Cottage is just the ticket. This quaint house has 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, perfect for a big family vacation. And, it comes with a ready to use kitchen, towels, and all the amenities you’ll need. If you’re not a Virginia resident, this home away from home will run you about $150 a night in the prime season, and $110 in the off-season. Weekly rates are also available.
Well, there you have it, the perfect day trip to Big Stone Gap, with all the must see sights and dining. Well, what are you waiting for?!