We enjoy our meandering along different Snowbird routes – each trip we take time to explore new places and try to soak up some of the local sights, food and culture. Every single city, town and hamlet has special places they are proud of – they remain hidden if we speed by too quickly – Fort Chiswell RV Park and Wytheville, Virginia are no exception.
The name Fort Chiswell comes from a frontier fort built in 1758 as an outpost during the French and Indian War. The fort, which was of strategic importance during the American Revolution, was the guard-post over a small deposit of lead used to mold bullets. Unfortunately, they covered over the fort when they built the I-77 Interstate in the 70’s but there are two other significant places worth seeing in the vicinity.
One is BIG WALKER LOOKOUT located at 8711 Stoney Fork Road in Wytheville.
It’s the designated overlook of the Big Walker Mountain National Forest Scenic Byway. This is one of the few accessable places in the east where you have a 360 degree view of the mountain valleys and farm-scapes of the Appalachian Mountains. Big Walker Lookout features the BW Country Store with 25+ artisans & crafters’ handmade works. Big Walker is a historic pass where, during the Civil War, Molly Tynes traveled to Wytheville to warn of the impending Toland’s Raid. It is a Virginia Birding and Wildlife view area and a raptor migration path. Located just 21 Miles from the campground.
Another place to visit is WOLF CREEK INDIAN VILLAGE & MUSEUM at 6394 N Scenic Highway in Bastian, VA.
The Wolf Creek Indian Village will introduce you to the life led by the Eastern Woodland Indians who inhabited the land 500 years ago. The recreated village is the size and layout of an actual archeological evacuation known as the Brown-Johnston site. Interpretive guides lead you on an exploration of skills needed by the inhabits to survive and thrive.
Located 25 Miles from the Fort Chiswell Campground.
Just down the road from Fort Chiswell is the County Seat – the Town of Wytheville (with-vil) – with a couple of big attractions worth noting like the really BIG PENCIL located on the Wytheville Office Supply building at 146 W Main Street in Wytheville.
For almost 50 years visitors have made it a “point” to see Wytheville’s Main Street landmark. The late John Campbell Findlay (the original owner of Wytheville Office Supply) had the “Big Pencil” constructed in the early 60’s. Made of metal, it is approximately 30 feet long.
Wytheville is also the birthplace of EDITH BOLLING WILSON, First Lady and wife of President Woodrow Wilson. There is an Edith Bolling Museum located at 145 E Main Street in Wytheville.
Many people are unaware that while she was caregiver to the President when he suffered a stroke in 1919 leaving him partially paralyzed, and though the First Lady publicly minimized her involvement in the affairs of state, her stewardship of government duties earned her such titles as “The First Woman President” and “The Secret President.”
Unfortunately, on this stopover the rain and cooler weather finally caught up with us and especially to Niki’s degenerative osteoarthritis so we were limited on our exploring and picture taking.
We did have dinner the first night at the Denny’s in Fort Chiswell which was mostly forgettable with my bland spaghetti and meatballs and Niki’s “second” so-so chicken avocado Caesar salad (the first came with spoiled avocado and a testy waitress!). We have found Denny’s restaurants can run hot and cold and we wouldn’t recommend this one – though the gasoline from the local Flying J was quite economical.
We’re back home in Bob Evans Country! Many restaurants to choose from in the area but one of our favorite chains in the South is Bob Evans and this being the first one we have found since heading back South, we had to go. We enjoyed a couple of our favorite meals – the service was good – and we also happened to have a 30% coupon to make it all taste even better!.
Final word – Wytheville is an important point on both I-77 and I-81 and lies amidst a wrong-way concurrency of I-77 and I-81. In the near future, Interstate 74 will go through Wytheville in addition to the two other interstates. (A road “concurrency” occurs when two or more numbered highway routes are signed in opposite, conflicting directions on the same stretch of physical roadway.)
Click our entire
Snowbird RV Route Plan
with facts, links and costs
on our website & updated
as we travel.
See our printable listing of
Interstate Rest Areas
for this entire RV Route.