Between 2007 & 2008, familiarization (FAM) tours were taken by each of the seven participating counties to become more familiar with the proposed route through their county. Below is a review of what was seen on the tour through Lee County.

The Lee County Tourism met at the Food City in Big Stone Gap, Virginia and traveled to Appalachia. Those who attended the tour were: Tim Long, Director of Lee County’s Tourism, Linda Tate, Heart of Appalachia, Sarah Love, Margie Douglas, Tazewell County, Ginger Branton, Tazewell County and Samantha Landingham, Heart of Appalachia.

The Tour left Big Stone Gap, Virginia and traveled on Alt 58 and BR 23 to Appalachia. At the red light in Appalachia, the tour made a left on Hwy 606 and traveled through Exeter, one of Wise County’s old coal mining towns. We then traveled to Keokee and saw the old Coal Mining Commissary which was converted into an elementary school gym. The tour continued to St. Charles, Virginia which is another coal mining town and we viewed the coal temples called Bonnie Blue and Monarch.

The tour continued to the Stone Face which is one of the counties local wonders. Folklore says that the face was carved by Cherokee Indians honoring their chief at that time. The name of the Chief is unknown. Others believe that the face was wind carved. Nevertheless it is a sight to behold for any traveler looking for something different.

The tour left Stone Face and went through Pennington Gap, Virginia where at the height of the coal mining boom was a very successful coal mining town.

Once the tour was completed the tour continued to the Old Fugate Estate in Rose Hill, Virginia where Chairman Daryl Long of the Tourism Committee hosted lunch. The tour ended with everyone commented on an enjoyable tour of Lee County’s Coal Heritage Trail.   

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