Swinging Bridge Restaurant in Paint Bank, Craig County, Virginia
My husband and I had heard about the Swinging Bridge Restaurant in Paint Bank, Virginia for years and I really don’t know what took us so long to go there. It is definitely worth the drive through the mountains to get there. And you will drive a ways from wherever you start because Paint Bank is in the middle of nowhere. You know you have found something special and unique when you drive for miles in the mountains and then–a restaurant appears, with cars and buses filled with people with one purpose: to eat at the Swinging Bridge Restaurant.
The Swinging Bridge Restaurant and Paint Bank General Store
The Swinging Bridge Restaurant is inside of the Paint Bank General Store. It’s only open Fridays and Saturdays from 8am to 8pm and Sundays from 8am to 5pm. They have an extensive menu with large breakfasts, hamburgers, buffalo burgers and sandwiches as well as dinners of Southern comfort foods and daily dinner specials. Check their website for the menu.
This is a popular destination for weekend travelers and you can sometimes have a wait to get a seat, so you can entertain yourself by shopping in the general store, walking around the beautiful property to see the Tingler’s Mill or playing yard games like corn hole or horseshoes provided by the Restaurant.
The Paint Bank General Store has old-timey treats and items for sale from local Appalachian artisan crafters. Upstairs where the bridge is they feature year-round Christmas items for sale.
After you visit the Swinging Bridge Restaurant, check out the Mountain Crafters store in the old post office. They offer handmade products from local crafters.
If you’d like to stay the night in Paint Bank so you don’t miss breakfast at the Swinging Bridge Restaurant, you can stay at The Depot Lodge which offers rooms in their restored depot inn as well as glamping opportunities.
The Drive to Paint Bank
On your way to Paint Bank, be sure to pull over at the lookout points for photo opportunities. The area is gorgeous no matter the time of year.
If you are traveling there from the Blacksburg area and Virginia Tech which takes about 1 hour and 11 minutes to Paint Bank, you have two ways to get there that take about the same time, so I encourage you to take one there and take the other way back. Take Mount Tabor Road up to 311 to Paint Bank, then on the way home, take Route 600, Waiteville Road which twists and turns and ends up on Route 42 to 460. Be sure and map your routes ahead of time just in case you lose signal for a while in the mountains.
Paint Bank is about 1 hour from Roanoke, Virginia, 2 hours from Lynchburg, Virginia and 1 1/2 hours from Beckley, West Virginia.
What to See in New Castle, Craig County, Virginia
Coming from Virginia, you will likely pass through New Castle, Virginia, in Craig County where Roads 42, 311 and 615 intersect. It’s 25 minutes from New Castle to Paint Bank. It’s a quaint little town but a central point for the rural county that surrounds it. When driving through, you might like to stop at The Emporium General Store which serves as a place for locals to get last-minute grocery items in between grocery trips to nearby towns. New Castle doesn’t even have a grocery store. The Emporium also has old-timey treats and it’s fun to look around and buy snacks for the road.
We were full from eating at the Swinging Bridge, but if you find yourself in New Castle at mealtime, you might try the local favorite, Bibo’s Pizza. They serve salads, subs, calzones and more, plus daily specials, so check out their menu before you go.
Next time I go through New Castle I’m going to time it to have breakfast and coffee at Lasterday Market. It serves breakfast only, Tues-Fri 7-11am and Sat 1am-1pm. The place is cute with locally handmade items for sale and seasonal produce, too. They also feature locally-roasted artisanal coffees from Mattie’s Mountain Mud. Can’t wait to try that!
If you time your trip right, you can see inside the Old Brick Hotel and Log homes restored by the local historical society. (It is only open Fridays 1-4pm April through November or by appointment.) The hotel was built in 1840 and served guests into the 1900s. Displayed inside are period pieces, the history of the area and the genealogical library. It is the center of activity during the Craig County Fall Festival the second Saturday of October each year.
Want a place to stay nearby for the whole family? Big Pine Farmhouse and Trout Farm is an upscale farmhouse experience with free year-round trout fishing and guide in the trout stream on the property. It sleeps 8, so if you have a small group, this is a deal.
Traveling through Craig County to the Swinging Bridge Restaurant is a beautiful and fun day trip for all ages. It’s especially nice for adults who don’t need a lot of entertainment. It’s a peaceful drive and Paint Bank is a lovely destination and excuse to go on a short road trip.
You might also like my article, Natural Bridge Day Trip.