Home » Where Ordinary Ends, Bedford, Virginia, Begins

Where Ordinary Ends, Bedford, Virginia, Begins

by JonPharr

From the magnificent Peaks of Otter along the Blue Ridge Parkway to the shores of Smith Mountain Lake, Bedford offers outdoor adventure and historical treasures!

Bedford has more mileage along the Blue Ridge Parkway than any county in Virginia. Exit the Parkway and explore wineries, orchards, historic attractions, local shopping and dining, and trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The area boasts more than 130 holes of disc golf, in addition to more than 30 miles of mountain bike trails.

Set against a backdrop that includes breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge and a quintessential American home front community, the National D-Day Memorial tells the story of the Allied sacrifice of June 6, 1944. Among the hundreds of thousands of service members positioned off the shores of Normandy on that fateful morning, were 44 soldiers, sailors, and airmen from Bedford. By day’s end, Bedford’s D-Day fatalities totaled 20. In comparison with its wartime population of only 3,200, Bedford suffered the Nation’s highest known per capita D-Day loss, a somber distinction for this rural Virginia community.

Though designated a national monument, it is not part of the National Park Service and does not receive federal or state funding. A groundbreaking was held in 1997, and the National D-Day Memorial was dedicated on June 6, 2001 by President George W. Bush. The 50-acre outdoor site is open daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. In 2024, a special week of commemorative events will be held to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

After visiting the Memorial, take the short drive into historic downtown to the Bedford Boys Tribute Center. Located inside the historic Green’s Drugstore building, where in July 1944, the Western Union telegrams came informing families of the invasion casualties. Here you will find the personal effects of many of the Bedford Boys and learn the stories of these hometown soldiers that were lost on D-Day.

While in downtown Bedford, enjoy shopping for art, antiques, vintage treasures, culinary treats, home décor, and more. There are several restaurants within easy walking distance from each other in a charming atmosphere of 19th century buildings. One option is Beale’s, a craft brewery and full-service family friendly restaurant, featuring indoor and outdoor dining areas with special beer releases throughout the year.

Beale’s is also part of the new Bottled in Bedford Craft Beverage Trail! The trail is a great way to unwind in Bedford, all while sampling high-quality, small batch wine, beer, cider and even mead, the world’s oldest fermented beverage. With 11 stops on the trail, you’ll experience a unique vibe and personality at each place. Some have live music, food trucks, corn hole, disc golf, trivia, and other fun games, while others may be the perfect place to relax and watch the evening sunset.
Smith Mountain Lake makes up the southern border of Bedford and is among the most popular vacation and recreational spots on the East Coast! Enjoy water sports, fishing, and breathtaking sunsets. Smith Mountain Lake State Park offers a public beach, trails, cabins, and camping. Bedford’s only lakefront resort, Mariners Landing, features many amenities including unique restaurants and an 18-hole championship golf course.

While in Bedford, be sure to stop by the Bedford Area Welcome Center. The Welcome Center not only offers information about the area, but also a gift shop, firefighters’ gallery, RV hook-ups, electric car charging station, LOVE sign, and more.  The Center is open daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

You will need more than a day to experience it all! Go to DestinationBedfordVA.com or call (540) 587-5681 to find out more.

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