The number of parks and museums in the area may actually be endless. Here is an incomplete list by order of distance from Martinsville-Henry County. I’ve used Google Maps and the phrase “from Martinsville” to get the times. These are the lowest times shown:
In Martinsville-Henry County
Virginia Natural History Museum (Martinsville)
The VNHM is connected to the Smithsonian in some way and is an active museum in Martinsville, having frequent events and changing displays. It will take about an hour to take in the exhibits and is well worth stopping by.
Reynolds Homestead (Critz, VA) – 28 minutes
Reynolds Homestead is the home/plantation that was built in 1843 by the Reynolds family. Yes, you recognize the name from tobacco products and aluminum foil. This home and the surrounding grounds are now managed by Virginia Tech and are open to the public. They host events throughout the year and offer tours of the main house at scheduled times. They have a convention center and a university extension. There are beautiful walking trails. This is also used as a wedding venue. 2020
Blue Ridge Parkway/Mabry Mill (Meadows of Dan) – 53 minutes
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic Parkway that starts a bit south of Asheville, North Carolina and meanders up to just short of Charlottesville, Virginia. It seems that the majority of the pictures I see on the Internet are along the North Carolina stretch, unless you count Mabry Mill. If the signs aren’t a dead giveaway, you’ll know that you are on the Parkway because the speed limit is 45 mph on the top end. There are places to stop and take in a view every few miles. Don’t forget to look for special historic locations and communities along the Parkway like Mabry Mill and Floyd (2015) and Meadows of Dan and Mayberry (2016). We typically access the BRP in Meadows of Dan.
Hanging Rock State Park (Danbury, NC) – 50 minutes
Korner’s Folly Home Tours (Kernersville, NC) – 54 minutes
Korner’s Folly – Less than an hour away, Korner’s Folly is an 1878 22-room Victorian house museum. The owner was an interior designer and also made furniture and he used his house as a kind of catalog to show off his work. As a result, I hear that the house is a mish-mash of different elements, making is unique and maybe even a work of art in its own right.
Guilford Courthouse National Military Park (Greensboro, NC) – 54 minutes
This is an amazing park in Greensboro, North Carolina, that commemorates the Revolutionary War. This is actually a National Park and can be found listed on the National Parks Service as the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. There is a museum with short films and exhibits and sprawling park grounds with beautiful statues and walking paths. 2016
Booker T. Washington National Monument (Hardy, VA) – 56 minutes
The Booker T. Washington National Monument is close to Smith Mountain Lake and is the plantation site where Booker T. Washington was born as a slave and from which he was freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. Give yourself some time for this one and bring your walking shoes and a camera. There is a small museum with a film, a few exhibits, and a gift shop. The main house is gone but everything else is still standing – slave cabin, smoke house, blacksmithing shed, tobacco barn, etc. The grounds are very pretty and there is a 1.5 mile walking trail on the back if the property. This is very educational and is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. 2015
Virginia Museum of Transportation (Roanoke) – 1 hour, 9 minutes
This museum in downtown Roanoke is packed with displays that include classic cars, a large model railroad diorama of Roanoke, rail cars and train engines, and a nod to aviation. It may sound dull but it is actually a lot of fun. Take a camera and give yourself plenty of time. You can easily spend a couple of hours here. 2017
The National D-Day Memorial (Bedford, VA) – 1 hour, 27 minutes
The D-Day Memorial – In Bedford, VA, this is about an hour and a half away and looks like it might be a several-hour activity.
Natural Bridge Caverns (Natural Bridge, VA) – 1 hour, 45 minutes
Natural Bridge Caverns – Natural Bridge is just under 2 hours away, between Roanoke and Lexington.