Situated in the heart of the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains (the Blue Ridge Parkway passes through the area, just east of the city), beautiful Roanoke, population 100,000, ranks among the most up-and-coming centers of dining, arts, and culture in the Southeast. If you've been to Asheville, 250 miles southwest, you may glimpse a bit of the hipster, outdoorsy vibe that's just starting to take hold in Roanoke, especially in bustling neighborhoods like Grandin Village.
Roanoke has also steadily cultivated a growing LGBT community over the years. The largest Pride event in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, Roanoke Gay Pride's Pride in the Park celebration is held in mid-September - the date this year is September 10–11, 2016 (it's expanding into a two-day event this year. It's held two weeks before the state's largest such event, Richmond Gay Pride, which is held in the state's capital city.
The official Roanoke Pride in the Park takes place during the afternoons of Saturday and Sunday, September 10 and 11, downtown's picturesque Elmwood Park and includes local entertainment and a big concert, the PRISM Games, and - on Saturday afternoon at 4 pm - the Roanoke Pride Diversity Parade.
Note that a number of related Roanoke Pride events are taking place in the area during the weeks leading up to Pride weekend, with the fun kicking off on Friday, August 26, with a Roanoke Pride Former Titleholders Show. There's also the Roanoke Pride Pageant on August 28, a drag brunch on September 4, and more. See the full calendar of Roanoke Pride events for details on each party.
Roanoke Gay Resources
Although the region has no GLBT newspaper, you can get coverage about the region by having a look at the very helpful Richmond-based site, GayRVA.com. For information on hotels, attractions, and other travel tips on the area, have a look at the Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau website.
Also have a look at the Charlottesville Gay Nightlife and Restaurants Guide, which has tips on where to go out and eat in that progressive city.