Lexington, a small town brimming with military and Civil War history, is home to Washington & Lee University and Virginia Military Institute, the country's first state military college. You'll get a feel for the town's military roots every time you see a cadet (complete with crew-cut and uniform) amble past, but there's more to this pleasant college town then just battles and barracks.
Though the area is awash with opportunities to absorb military history through sites like Virginia Military Institute Museum, the Lee Chapel and Museum (resting place of Robert E. Lee), Stonewall Jackson House and Cemetery (Jackson's resting place), Military Memorabilia Museum and the George C. Marshall Museum, there are also attractions less war-oriented. Enjoy a peaceful wander through the Boxerwood Gardens (featuring acres of trees and scenic views of the mountains), get in touch with your equestrian side at the American Work Horse Museum and Virginia Horse center, or simply stroll the National Historic Landmark listed campus of Washington & Lee University.
For arts-oriented entertainment catch a performance at the Lime Kiln Theater where plays are presented on the converted ruins of a 19th-century kiln. Those after a little exercise can give legs a stretch on the Chessie Nature Trail, a 7-mile pedestrian trail along the old Chesapeake & Ohio rail line; Woods Creek Park covers two miles, the length of Lexington, and runs into the Chessie Trail at its northern edge. Canoeing, kayaking and fishing on the James and Maury Rivers are popular pursuits, while the Natural Bridge nearby, once owned by Thomas Jefferson, now ranks as one of the area's top tourist attractions, a good place to enjoy a shady amble. When winter arrives bearing snow, travelers in the know make a break for the nearest ski area to the west, The Homestead Resort, which also offers a variety of summer and spring outdoor activities on its flanking slopes.
Lexington is located 55 miles north of Roanoke, VA off I-81 on US 60.