Just a few miles from our cabin in Bland off highway 52, is Big Walker Mountain Country Store and Lookout Tower. The tower is visible from our deck and our house from the tower. But so is a whole lot more!

The site hugs the border of Wythe County and Bland. And from its vantage point, the valley below is visible as is the old train trestle that Toland’s brigade tore down to stop the advancement of material making its way south to the Confederates.

History aside, the old store is the kind I would have loved wandering through as a child and still enjoy as an adult. Toys line the shelves, souvenirs as well, gems, preserved jams and sauces, locally made organic soaps and fragrances, jewelry, arts and crafts and bric-a-brac. A small, squat wood stove gives off much appreciated heat. The man we see there often who works behind the counter says it has become his best friend over the harsh winter.

He smiles when he says this and we know he appreciates every minute of his time here. He always has freshly popped popcorn, cold drinks, fudge, snack cakes, ice cream, old fashioned stick candy, chocolate covered pretzels. And you can enjoy your treats at one of the octagonal picnic tables that line the gorgeous overlook.

It’s a little gem that offers country music, bluegrass on the porch during warm summer evenings, and bulletin boards for locals to post information. On weekends, demonstrations by artisans and craftsmen are often offered. You can call ahead for the schedule, 276-663-4016 or check their website: http://www.scenicbeauty-va.com

When you come to Southwest Virginia, stop in for a step back in time and a friendly greeting. From I-81 take exit 70 and proceed north 12 miles. From I-77 take exit 52 and proceed south for 9 miles.

Big Walker Mountain Country Store and Lookout Tower

Big Walker Mountain Country Store and Lookout Tower

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