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Welcome to Bristol, A Visitors Guide

It's never too early to start planning your 2016 vacation

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In September 2016, Virginia Tech will travel to Bristol to take on the Tennessee Volunteers.   This game is going to be unique for many reasons.  Being held at Bristol Motor Speedway, it has the potential to be the biggest college football game ever in terms of attendance.  For a race it can hold 160,000 Nascar fans.  For the football game they are expecting 150,000.  While this game is not until next year, it's never too early to start looking at making this a long weekend getaway.  Tickets aren't on sale yet, but the tickets will start around $40 apiece, and average around $96.  That still seems like a good value on this quasi-bowl game experience.  Since you can't buy tickets for this matchup yet, I decided to look at what else Bristol has to offer.

Bristol sits directly on the Virginia/Tennessee state line. It is bisected by the aptly named State Street. State street is the main street of this small city.  Lodgings are available to suit most budgets.  A recent survey of showed what fans can possibly expect to pay in 2016. I used the upcoming spring race dates as a guide, and selected a Friday check in, and a Monday checkout.  I used the race as the model, since this is a similar special event.  On the high end of the scale, the Courtyard by Marriott will run you $334 per night.  On the low end the Red Carpet Inn will be around $127 per night.  Most were around $200 per night.  The good news is that none of the listings were too far from the Speedway, but parking is going to be at quite a premium.  It would be to your advantage to try and book your lodgings as soon as possible.

Now that we have your theoretical tickets and lodging taken care of, what else to do in Bristol?  Like many other small southern towns, Bristol is trying to revitalize its downtown scene.  They have a bunch of cool bars and eateries on State Street  and Piedmont Avenue.  Set to open this spring, Bristol Brewery will quench your pre-game thirst will locally crafted beverages.  620 State offers Asian fusion, and American cuisine, as well as a sushi bar.  KP, located on 520 State Street offers fine dining and a weekly farm to table event.  If you are looking for a lighter fare, there is also a Macado's on State Street.  There is plenty of live entertainment choices for the night owl crowd.  Nashville might be the home of country music, but Bristol is considered the birthplace.

This will be a memorable weekend for sure. With its recent recruiting success under Butch Jones, the Vols look like they are going to be ready. It will be a tough matchup for the Hokies, but the fans and players alike are looking forward to making history. I am assuming this will be a "maroon effect" situation for us as to stand out from the "Big Orange". I look forward to seeing 80,000 or so of my fellow Hokies in a year and a half!