I was thinking last month that Roanoke may be the last major city we had not visited in Virginia. Roanoke has a major St. Patrick's Day party downtown.
Problem solved. Roanoke has been removed from the list of places in VA that we had not visited.I guess we can move out of state now ;)
We got into town kind of late on Friday, around 9:30 PM. I typed cocktails into Google Maps and Google recommended Stellina, a speakeasy themed joint walking distance from the hotel. They serve only top shelf ingredients. The cocktail were fabulous. It's a tiny place that seats maybe 20 people, connected to an Italian restaurant, if you know to walk through the unmarked door. Even the front entrance is unmarked - the whole speakeasy theme. Totally worth it though, but be prepared to spend. These are not $2 well drinks.
Saturday was the official holiday of drunk people that want to be Irish. We started with the Freedom First St. Patrick's Day Parade. I was annoyed that they were turning the day into a patriotic theme, until I realized Freedom First is the name of the bank that is the corporate sponsor of the event. The parade is followed by an all day party in the city market area. This was all within a 5 minute walk of the hotel. When I say all-day party I mean all day party. The beer starts flowing at 12 PM and when we returned to the hotel after dinner, at around 9:30 PM and in heavy rain, there was a still a line to get into Market Square. I don't think I've seen that many drunks stumbling through the streets since homecoming at Purdue. It was kind of impressive; well played Roanoke, well played.
At least they aren't flying a confederate flag off the back of the float. 28th Virginia Infantry was part of the Battle of Fredericksburg, so it's possible they killed actual members of the Irish Brigade in the battle. (The resident expert says probably unlikely as it was Georgians that were the primary resistance in the Irish Brigade's ill fated attack.)
During the day Saturday I checked out the Pinball Museum. It's 40ish classic pinball machines, plus a few other assorted games, all on unlimited free play after you pay to get in. It was the best $12 I've spent in a long time. I kicked ass on the Six Million Dollar Man Machine, and dominated the Metallica table. I remember winning many free games on Gorgar back in the day, but I couldn't figure the machine out on Saturday. The Playboy machine was fun for the kitsch factor, but is's actually a pretty boring pinball game. Unfortunately, the Kiss machine had a bad flipper and was unplayable.
The Deschutes Brewery tasting room was about 100 feet from the front door of the hotel. Yes, we visited. Yes, the beer is very good. I don't think we walked more than 5 minutes to do anything the entire weekend.
Dinner Saturday night was at Blue 5. The shrimp and grits was fabulous, and they had a great beer list. Being March 17th, I drank Guinness.
At some point over the weekend I realized that the Purdue - Butler game was a 12 PM on Sunday. So we timed leaving Roanoke on Sunday so that we'd be near a Buffalo Wild Wings at noon for an extended lunch break to watch the Boilers. That worked out perfectly as the Boilers, down one starter, played impressive team basketball to defeat a Butler team that was probably under seeded at #10. On the sweet 16!
In summary - two thumbs up for Roanoke. Boiler up!