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Towns of Virginia's Western Highlands - View from Trimble Knob in Monterey, Virginia
Towns of Virginia’s Western Highlands

We believe that every small town is like a precious gem — all are unique and the closer you look, the more mesmerized you become.

Virginia’s Western Highlands boasts several wonderful towns, each with charm, history and hospitality, yet each with their own distinct personality.

Courthouse in Monterey, VirginiaMonterey

The town of Monterey is located along Route 250, which is part of the historic Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike that linked the Shenandoah Valley with the Ohio River. At an elevation of 2,894 feet, its streets are lined by numerous grand Victorian homes built by timber barons between 1875 and 1920. Along with shops and restaurants, Monterey is home to the historic Highland Inn, The Highland Center, and a variety of lovely unique lodging facilities.

McDowell North by Blue Ridge GeoGraphics, LLCMcDowell

Also located along the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike approximately 10 miles east of Monterey, the village of McDowell is rich in Civil War history. The scene of a major clash between Union and Confederate forces, it is host to a well-preserved battlefield and hiking trail with interpretive signage. To learn more about the battle or other events in county history, be sure to stop in at the Highland County Museum. You’ll find the charming Sugar Tree Country Store, Grant’s Grocery and Mountain Oasis nearby as well.

Downtown Hot Springs, VirginiaHot Springs

Hot Springs is a unique blend of resort chic and idyllic small town. The classic Main Street features restaurants, shops and a Bacova Beer craft brewery, all surrounded by beautiful mountain views. Visitors flock to Hot Springs for fresh mountain air, hiking, world-class golf, rejuvenating spa experiences, and impeccable hospitality at a local B&B or The Omni Homestead Resort, which has been welcoming guests since 1766.

Warm Springs PoolsWarm Springs

Warm Springs is a postcard-like village, featuring historic buildings, wonderful restaurants, award-winning B&Bs, an art gallery and Troddenvale Cidery. Warm Springs, just five miles from Hot Springs, is best known for the historic Warm Springs Pools, natural mineral springs that remain at a constant 98 degrees. The restored pools re-opened in late 2022. They are owned by The Omni Homestead Resort and are open to the public for a nominal fee. Reservations are required.

Masonic Theatre in Clifton ForgeClifton Forge

The town of Clifton Forge features a picturesque, pedestrian-friendly downtown where the streets are lined with locally-owned shops and restaurants. The town embraces both its arts and culture and railroad heritage. Clifton Forge is home to the Alleghany Highlands Arts & Crafts Center, Clifton Forge School of the Arts, the beautifully restored Masonic Theatre and several independent art galleries. It’s also home to the C&O Railway Heritage Center. It’s fitting that visitors can arrive in downtown Clifton Forge via Amtrak.

Covington, VaCovington

The wonderfully unique personality of the City of Covington is forged from various historic influences. First, is its location in the beautiful Allegheny Mountains along the banks of the Jackson River. Second, as the county seat and a center of commerce in the Alleghany Highlands, Covington is located on the historic Midland Trail National Scenic Byway. Third, the largest employer in the region is WestRock, whose plant in Covington produces paperboard and packaging material. Today, Covington is a welcoming community with exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities, a charming farmers market and plenty of terrific restaurants.

Historic town of Paint Bank, VirginiaPaint Bank

Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains of northern Craig County, the historic railroad town of Paint Bank offers travelers from all over the world great accommodations, award winning dining, eclectic shopping and “sweet as southern tea” hospitality. Once bustling with mining and timbering operations, Paint Bank is now an ‘experience destination’ with awesome recreation opportunities just minutes away. Hollow Hill Buffalo Farm raises champion American buffalo, available at Swinging Bridge Restaurant, and the state Fish Hatchery is just down the road.

Downtown New Castle, VaNew Castle

Tour log cabins, the 1850’s era county courthouse and the Old Brick Hotel. Do family research in the Genealogy Library. Shop and dine in eclectic home-grown businesses and restaurants. Relax at New Castle Town Park. Plan your trip to include a Mud Run or a Demolition Derby. The Christmas parade is the first Saturday of every December, and the July 4th parade begins at 10 am. New Castle is conveniently centered in Craig County, where Virginia Scenic Byways meet and there’s something for everyone.