Rolling Through Roanoke

Find Trains, Traditions And Mountain History In Star City

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Once, the crew headed to Norfolk, says store employee and series star Tay Whiteside. “We went to a big, ship salvage yard, and that’s where we found the S.S. Zuni, which was a Coast Guard Cutter. It was kind of what we do but Marine-related on a huge scale. It was kind of cool to see.”

Another time, the Salvage Dawgs cruised to a Norfolk landmark known as The Painted Lady in Ghent. “It was an old tea room, and the whole place was painted pink and purple,” Whiteside says. “It was cool. There was this big bar and really kind of elegant-looking tea room. We took out the bar.”

Salvaging and refurbishing could also be a theme for the Center in the Square— a seven-story, 200,000-square-foot cultural complex——with a new deck that overlooks the skyline of Roanoke, including the 21-story Wells Fargo Tower and the Hotel Roanoke. The Center in the Square houses the Mill Mountain Theatre, a professional acting company that stages shows in its 340-seat Trinkle Auditorium. This institution celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014 with a season of shows featuring The Wizard of Oz, opening on Aug. 1; To Kill a Mockingbird, opening on Oct. 1; and Children of Eden, opening on Dec. 3.

Center in the Square reopened in 2013 thanks to a $30 million renovation, which helped breathe new life into the city’s museums celebrating mountain history, African-American culture, and science, including dinosaurs.

Today, an indoor butterfly garden is housed on the fourth floor of Center in the Square inside the Science Museum of Western Virginia. Each week, butterflies are added from places across the world.

“The butterflies themselves have a lifespan averaging a few days up to a couple of weeks, although some of them—especially the fruit-eating butterflies—can go on for several weeks here,” says Jim Rolling, the executive director of the Science Museum of Western Virginia. “The nectar-errs, the ones who feed off of flowers, they’re essentially getting sugar water, which is about the nutrient quality of Kool-Aid. So if you’re Kool-Aid drinker, you won’t live too long. If you’re a fruit-eater, you’ll do better.”

Extending Your Getaway
Black Dog Salvage

Center in the Square

Hotel Roanoke

O. Winston Link Museum

The Roanoker

Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau

Texas Tavern

Virginia Museum of Transportation

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