One of the fun and challenging things about living on the road is getting orders from Amazon. When we went to place an order from our campground in Virginia, we learned that the closest Amazon pick up was in Roanoke. While some may find driving 1.5 hours one way to pick up a package a waste of time, we saw it as an opportunity to explore Roanoke for a day.
We did not have high hopes for our adventure, but I turned to my old friend TripAdvisor to find out what there was to do. The top recommended activity was to visit the Star at Mill Mountain. We saw there were hikes up the mountain, but we opted to drive to the top and explore from there – we have done a lot of vertical hiking recently.
It was very strange driving through the city streets of Roanoke, then taking a single turn that took us onto a beautifully forested road winding up the mountain. It was a completely unexpected drive. As we made our way to the top, we knew we were going to have amazing views.
The road took us to a parking lot at the base of the star. According to the sign, this star is the world’s largest man-made star and was built in 1949. The City of Roanoke has built a fantastic park around the star, so we visited the overlook then wandered along some of the many trails around the top of the mountain. Little Bird was in heaven running us all over the place and picking up all the leaves she could find (there were a lot).
As we were getting ready to return to the truck, we took one last look at the star, as no one else was there. When we were at the overlook, we heard some commotion on the trail below and saw a train of horses making their way up the mountain. Little Bird could hardly contain herself as she pointed at each horse and made sure we saw it too. As luck would have it, the trail ended right beside our truck, so as we made our way back, we got to see the horses up close and personal. Bird was in awe all over again.
After visiting Mill Mountain, we picked up some lunch and made our way to another park, this one along the Roanoke River. We enjoyed some delicious barbecue on the tailgate of the truck and then took a short walk along the river. We would have loved to have explored the area a little more, but there was very little shade and it was hot and humid.
We wrapped up our Roanoke adventure with a stop at Ace Hardware, which is where we picked up our Amazon order, and made our way back home. I love that we can take a mundane task like picking up a package and turn it into a day full of giggles, memories, and adventure.