Roanoke Pinball Museum, 1 Market Square SE, Roanoke, VA 24011
Walking around Market Square early on a Friday evening in summertime, the town seemed so alive. My eyes were drawn to a million and one places, but not one of them had any sign of pinball. Hrmpf. I even asked a local cop if he could point me in the direction of the pinball museum, but he tried to send me across town which I knew was not true. A true hidden gem! Eventually I remembered a small detail *second floor* and we entered the large building on the corner. The pinball museum is located on the second floor of a gorgeous mini-mall with an upscale candy shop, piano, and fish tanks.
One filled jelly fish. I wish we had more time to explore the mall which I believe had a rooftop garden, but we had dinner reservations so we were on a time frame. This place was worth the hunt. We entered and paid the hourly rate, I instantly adored the excellent retro décor.
There are over 50 games, some I had never seen before which always excites me. There were a lot of machines with multiple layers, basements levels (especially the Haunted House machine) – so cool.
There were also a lot of the old school machines dating from back to 1932 and a TV to play retro video games with controllers. I womped Jeff at Street Fighter, I will never know if he let me win because it was my birthday or if I truly perfected Chun-Li’s special kick as a child.
Local Roots, 1314 Grandin Road, Roanoke, VA 24015
On a whim, we made a dinner reservation (hallelujah, open table!) here instead of driving a few extra hours hangrily to Richmond which was our final destination of the night. I was not sure if I made the right decision to have dinner in the small town, instead of the big city. Right when we walked in the door, I had a good feeling.
It is a farm to table restaurant with great ingredients, but graciously lacking that icky pretentious nature. There was a really welcoming host who made us laugh from the instant we got there, great service, interesting art in windowpanes, warm bread, and good wine. Yes, it was a fine birthday feast. We got two fish dishes to split, both were fabulous! Neither of us had ever had tilefish so we were excited to try that, the sauce it rested upon was exquisite. The trout dish was superb, and oh my goodness those peaches were divine!
An epic dessert cosmos was to follow, a pound cake with pistachio ice cream, candied nuts, and all sorts of goods – along with one of the most delicious bread puddings known to mankind.
I wish I had more than just a few hours to explore Roanoke, a town that seems so promising, but I am exceptionally happy I got to experience these gems!