View Full Version : Lexington, VA and Roanoke VA?

May. 31, 2011, 11:32 AM
Anyone here live in or near Lexington, VA or Roanoke? We visited there this weekend and really liked both areas. Wondering about living in Lex and working in Roanoke since I don't know how prevalent postions would be in Lexington.

Does it snow buckets up there? Do you lose your ability to ride and/or turn out for a big chunk of the winter. Is it true it doesn't seem to snow in Roanoke as much as outside?

How is the H/J "community" in those areas?

Anything you guys can contribute would be helpful. The weather for us and a horse that has been raised in the deep south is a concern. We don't want to be shut in for weeks at a time. I do understand that the past two winters have been abnormal for everyone.

Thank you.

May. 31, 2011, 12:22 PM
I did my undergrad in Roanoke, at Hollins and frequented W&L up in Lexington . .both are lovely areas . .big Horse Country. . loads of H/J facilities and Lexington has the Virginia horse center that has shows often. Lexington to Downtown Roanoke would probably be an hour commute? maybe a little more. There are also tons of great horse country in between (fincastle, smith mountian, troutville, botetourt).

As for snow, depends on your elevation . .at Hollins (valley) I never saw more than a couple inches, but the higher elevations had much more.

May. 31, 2011, 02:48 PM
Lex to Roanoke is like forty-five minutes to an hour, and in winter after five that would be on VERY dark mountain roads, and by roads I mean I-81.

Lex gets snow and ice--a few inches, not feet, but the ice is the nasty part. It is VERY hilly in town and in the area so any ice on the roads and it's a death trap. I nearly wiped out just crossing the ravine from the student apartments up to the college one winter. However, winters there are NOTHING as compared to winter in, say, Michigan, where I grew up and where I live now, or New England. It's very, very mild by comparison. (And for reference, unless your horse is a total hothouse flower, he'll live. Lucky is Florida-bred and never wintered anywhere else until I bought him, and besides one bug-eyed brain break when he first saw snow, he's handled fine.)

The area's quite horsey in Rockbridge county.

I would, in all honesty, not live in Lex and commute to Roanoke. We would drive down there quite a bit (as there is nothing to do in Lexington after 6pm unless you go to Lee-Hi or the Super Wal-Mart) but as I said, it's a long drive on a mountain interstate with very few exits and in the winter it's a very dark drive. I don't usually mind late driving, but when I had a late flight into Roanoke, I made it one exit before realizing I was going to drive off the mountain in the dark and pulled over to a hotel. In the winter, or if there were bad storms in the summer, it would be a PITA to commute.

May. 31, 2011, 03:19 PM
I wouldn't want that commute daily either. 81 can be pretty bad, and the tractor trailer traffic on that stretch is very heavy. I live in Botetourt county just north of Roanoke and it's a pretty nice area. I'm off of 460 which can also get pretty congested but even on the worst days it's only 30 minutes to downtown Roanoke, 15 on good days. I spend more time in Lynchburg which is 45 minutes and a super easy, never congested drive.

Winters aren't horrible depending on your farm location. I wish I were in Bedford county and less into the mountains because my place is always in shadows over the winter and gets brutal winds too. If you're a hunter rider, you will be in heaven. If you do jumpers, you'll be a little lonely. Franklin county is also fairly close but 220 can be a pain. The Huddleston area of Bedford county is near Smith Mountain Lake, a pretty easy drive to Roanoke, and still within an hour of the Horse Center. That'd be my pick, but I'm an open terrain kind of girl and a water lover. :)

Check out www.swvhja.org for local shows.

May. 31, 2011, 04:22 PM
Thanks you guys. This is exactly the kind of information I need. We really like the small town vibe of Lexington. That's what we are going for, but still want access to civilization. On first pass, Lexington seemed to be a strong possibility. However, there are plenty of surrounding areas to Roanoke that we didn't see. I really like Roanoke, but would not want to live in a city. Just outside vs. an hour away would be even better. Are there any good H/J barns and/or mini-farms to rent around Roanoke? Goal is to have her at home, not boarded. We spent some time in Lynchburg. I really couldn't get a feel for the city since we were there on a Sunday and holiday Monday. Would you consider Lynchburg or an area just outside to be horsey? It really didn't feel that way whereas Lexington did. I'm open to all suggestions and advice.

May. 31, 2011, 04:34 PM
I don't know of too many good h/j places to board in Roanoke - everyone I know who lives in Roanoke boards in or near the Lexington area - better facilities and trainers and closer to horse center and No. Va if you want to go outside the area to show (Warrenton, Culpeper, Charlottesville).

Both Lynchburg and Bedford are ok - they have their pockets of horse people and activities. A commute from either to Roanoke would be better than hauling up and down I-81 twice a day in any kind of weather.

May. 31, 2011, 09:32 PM
I live in Bedford and it's 30 minutes from Roanoke. We go over the mountain to get to the Horse Center.

Feel free to PM me for additional questions. :)

Jun. 1, 2011, 07:46 AM
We lived in Fincastle for several years before being transfered to GA. Lovely area with several large farms. Good commute to both Roanoke and Lexington via I81. I remember some fairly big snows, but usually the snow melted rather quickly. The mountains and views are beautiful.

Jun. 1, 2011, 08:18 AM
DH and I live in Lexington about a mile and a half from the VA Horse Center on a 17 acre mini-farm. Two winters ago we had lots of snow, but that was unusual. We can get ice storms, but they have not been numerous in the past few years. Our four horses get turned out daily, and miss very few days stuck in the barn. The Horse Center holds many hunter/jumper shows, and there are several trainers in the area. It is hilly, but we find it keeps our horses fairly fit without much effort from us. :lol: Rockbridge Hunt is quite active, and there are hunter paces at several facilities. Our horse community is very friendly and quite varied with different disciplines represented. We love it here.
When are you planning on moving? We have land in Aiken and will be retiring there in a couple years. :winkgrin: Feel free to PM me for more info.

jody jaffe
Jun. 1, 2011, 06:06 PM
We chose to move from DC to Lexington five years ago for its beauty, affordable land and proximity to the Virginia Horse Center. I don't know what mountain roads Dancer on Ice is talking about between here and Roanoke, where we commuted once a week to teach at Hollins. It is however, 81, which is worse than any mountain road. We used to commute to Lynchburg as well, which is over the mountain and to me, that was a less harrowing drive. No aggressive 18 wheelers.

I wouldn't want to do that drive every day, but I know people who do. There are four colleges in the Lexington area, which helps with employment options.

Since we've been here, we haven't had any significant ice storms. We did get hit with snowmaggedon, but that was a freak happening. The weather is similar to Washington DC. Winter generally arrives in December and can leave as earlyy as late Feb or March. I'm a weather weenie and I rode throughout this winter. It was cold, but do-able without an indoor.

I have horse friends in Roanoke who commute up to Lexington to train with Gordon Reistrup, who is also the riding coach with W and L. This is not the most hunter-y area, compared to Northern Virginia. But the Horse Center is a terrific resource. You can go there every weekend and watch some kind of horse event.

The SWVHJA shows are great. Everyone's friendly and welcoming. The same goes for the Thoroughbred Celebration shows.


Jun. 1, 2011, 06:52 PM
Bedford is adorable, I love Lexington. Roanoke is great. Since I have nothing nice to say about Lynchburg, I will refrain from saying anything other than giving out a little warning. It is home to Liberty U and Jerry Falwell. It is a big part of the city.

Jun. 2, 2011, 07:22 AM
Since I have nothing nice to say about Lynchburg, I will refrain from saying anything other than giving out a little warning. It is home to Liberty U and Jerry Falwell. It is a big part of the city.

Pretty sure Jerry died a few years back...so unless he is Elvis, he is no longer in the 'burg. :yes:

Jun. 2, 2011, 08:20 AM
Bedford is adorable, I love Lexington. Roanoke is great. Since I have nothing nice to say about Lynchburg, I will refrain from saying anything other than giving out a little warning. It is home to Liberty U and Jerry Falwell. It is a big part of the city.

Liberty University is a huge part of Lynchburg now. The college has grown quickly and continues to. They are creating a new riding program so I've heard. The church is now headed by Jerry's son Jonathan.

Jun. 2, 2011, 08:52 AM
My aunt lives just outside of Lexington towards Natural Bridge (Glasgow), and all my cousins live in Roanoke. Until they retired, both my aunt and uncle commuted every day to Roanoke with no complaints. Personally, I don't think 81 is all that bad. I, for one, would much rather be on a road full of big rigs than other drivers--they're overall better, more considerate drivers than the "rest of us."

As for the horse scene--awesome! The weather isn't much different than it is anywhere else in the mid-Atlantic. It just depends on the track of any particular storm.

And Lexington itself? One of my favorite towns--if not my favorite--in the state of Virginia :)

Good luck!

Jun. 2, 2011, 10:26 AM
I would not want to drive 81 (which is in the mountains, unless you're from out West) and has very few lights and exits, except in good weather and daylight. It is not a fun drive in the winter. Or a major t-storm.

Truckers aren't the problem, it's the idiots around them who don't understand that big rigs cannot stop on a dime (for real fun with that, drive the West Virginia Turnpike.)

Lynchburg...uh, it's not bad to drive through, and that's all I have to say about that.

As for work in Lexington, there ARE the schools....

Jun. 2, 2011, 11:52 AM
I live in Roanoke but choose to keep my horse in Lexington. I wouldn't have it any other way. The commute is not bad at all. I have lived in both Lexington and Roanoke, so would be happy to help you answer any questions you may have about either location and riding facilities in the region. Feel free to pm me.

Jun. 2, 2011, 02:11 PM
Pretty sure Jerry died a few years back...so unless he is Elvis, he is no longer in the 'burg. :yes:

The mindset still pervades. And I believe the college was his idea, so his legacy and influence continue in that area.

jody jaffe
Jun. 2, 2011, 04:30 PM
Originally Posted by TrakeGirl
Pretty sure Jerry died a few years back...so unless he is Elvis, he is no longer in the 'burg.

Have to agree with other posters about Lynchburg. Liberty is a huge, defining part of Lynchburg. So if you follow those beliefs, it's a good place to be. Plus there's that unfortunate name which actually has a connection to lynching. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Lynch_(jurist). Some of our African American students at Randolph found that hard to swallow.

That said, it's a beautiful city in parts and there are some gorgeous old houses.

Most people love Lexington. It's one of Virginia's most charming little towns. The downtown is adorable, with interesting little shops (some of the best chocolate in the country, according to the Wall Street Journal) and several coffee houses. During the school year, you can even get an authentic Lox and Bagel at the newly opened W & L Hillel House cafe. This is a definite plus for someone like me who was raised on deli food. Also, there are always interesting speakers who come to both W &L and VMI, along with sophisticated entertainment.

PM me if you want more info or would like to come over and I'll show you around. The Rockbridge Hunt is running a Poker Ride on June 18 (part of it probably across some of my property) with a lunch afterward. That would be a good way to meet local horse people and talk to them in person to gather more information.

Jun. 3, 2011, 11:14 AM
Thanks to all of you who have responded. I really appreciate your insight. This has been very helpful.

Jun. 10, 2011, 09:56 PM
As someone who lives in Franklin County, I consider the area south of Roanoke as an equine wasteland. I spend lots of time on 81 going to and from Lexington for shows and lessons! I am 1 hour and 15 minutes from the Horse Center, wish it were closer!

Jun. 10, 2011, 10:56 PM
I went to Hollins and DH went to VMI, so pretty familiar with the commute you are considering. :lol: It is not a bad drive in good weather (big rigs never bothered me) but boy, it can be an experience in a t-storm or winter weather! I drove it in all kinds of weather - winds and torrential rain made it a little too exciting!

Also considering the price of gas, I would think twice before committing to that commute.

Both areas are lovely and have much to recommend them, horsey and otherwise. In my years there snow was never an issue - maybe got a few inches once or twice but it wasn't much of a problem. I think school was closed due to ice storms a total of 2 times in 4 years.

I suppose that's not much help, other than to say - in my opinion, you can't go wrong with either area! Good luck!