So, I know this post is late, but having a blog about my travels is a whole new idea for me. Anyway, last weekend, I wound up in Roanoke, meet a friend at a beer festival featuring 120 beers. Try as I might, that was just too many to taste. In fact, after my second, I really couldn’t taste anything.

Roanoke’s Microfestivus is an annual celebration of Virginia’s (and a few of North Carolina’s) finest microbreweries. Who knew there were so many? Apparently, even the President of the United States is into the Microbrewery movement. I was sorry that White House Honey Ale was not one of the 120…

This microbrewery movement is all news to me because before Microfestivus, I’d never been to a beer-focused celebration (my friends’ cookouts only feature beer as a side-show). But, it was just like my friends’ cookouts because there were a lot of drunk people there. That’s fine in my book since I’m unable to claim total sobriety. But I don’t think my buzz was the only cause of the good time I had. The people watching was fantastic. For example, each brewery was giving away stickers with their logos on them. I was surprised by how desperate some of the attendees were for those stickers. I know a few teachers and they’ve often laughed about their students going to great lengths for a sticker. Turns out, beer drinkers fall into the same boat…especially if only a handful remain.

Roanoke is a great town! It’s got a population of about 100,000 and — although I didn’t meet them all — the ones I did encounter were as nice as they could be. The downtown area is concentrated and there’s a lot to see and do.

I stayed at the historic Hotel Roanoke, which is a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel. Its historic facade belied the hotel’s modern amenities. The real highlight of the trip, however, was lunch in the Market Square. Market Square is a cool, indoor eating space with a number of nice-looking lunch counters and plenty of space to eat. I had a “burek” from the Euro Bakery. It was unbelievable (I don’t say that about food very often — especially food from a lunch counter). Essentially, it’s thin, flaky dough, flattened, filled with meat, cheese, and vegetables, and finally folded over and baked. I had a ham and cheese burek and it was delicious. Admittedly, it was probably not the best pre-beer festival food, but so good anyway.

So, in short, Roanoke is a fun town with great people and plenty to do. I can’t wait to get back to visit again.