Roanoke and Virginia’s Blue Ridge

July 7–10, 2021

Discounted hotel rooms available to members July 4, 5 and 6 and July 10, 11 and 12

Roanoke is the largest city along the Appalachian Trail and Virginia’s section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, also known as “America’s Favorite Drive.” Find exceptional paddling and fishing in Virginia’s Blue Ridge and a wide variety of amenities, unique attractions, and a surprising diversity of history, arts, and culinary experiences.

Stay in a luxurious AAA rated Four Diamond historic hotel in Downtown Roanoke and a 5 minute walk to local shops and nearly 60 local restaurants and breweries.

Take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Shop at the markets and boutiques in Downtown Roanoke and Salem. Hike on a trail in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Go for a ride in America’s East Coast Mountain Biking Capital. Discover wildlife while kayaking on the Upper James River Water Trail. Dine at a local restaurant and enjoy fresh, amazingly prepared ingredients and sample the craft beverage scene. Watch the sunset aboard a boat at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia’s second largest lake. Enjoy vibrant nightlife with live local entertainment. All these things to do and more can be part of your summer adventure in Virginia’s Blue Ridge!

Roanoke and Virginia’s Blue Ridge is easily accessible via Interstate-81, The Blue Ridge Parkway, Amtrak’s Northeast Regional Route and Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA).

Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge COVID-19 Pledge


Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center
The elegant Tudor-style Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center has been the lodging of choice in Virginia’s Blue Ridge since 1882, when it opened to welcome travelers arriving aboard the Norfolk and Western Railroad. Now part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, the hotel is a National Historic Landmark. The property is ideally situated within walking distance of the attractions of downtown Roanoke and is an ideal gateway to a host of metro mountain adventures. The hotel boasts 329 newly renovated guest rooms and suites as well as four restaurants, multiple outdoor patios and a spa. The attached conference center offers 63,000 square feet of flexible meeting space with the latest in meeting and conference technology.

Hotel Info

Hotel Roanoke COVID policies


Core Meeting

July 7–10, 2021

Registration Fee
Includes conference events and most meals

Active: $65
Associate: $90
Emeritus: $115

Hotel Rate, All Members: $99 per night (includes Wi-Fi; self-parking is available at a discounted rate of $5 per night; there is no resort fee)*

One-day meeting fee: $150 (July 8)
Includes Marketplace, lunch and professional development (includes self-parking)

Meeting Hotel Add-On
July 4, 5 and 6
Rate is $99 per night plus tax (includes Wi-Fi; self-parking is available at a discounted rate of $5 per night; there is no resort fee) based on availability

Post-Meeting Hotel Extension
July 10, 11 and 12
Rate is $99 per night plus tax (includes Wi-Fi; self-parking is available at a discounted rate of $5 per night; there is no resort fee) based on availability

*All conference attendees must stay in conference hotel, with the exception of one-day meeting attendees.


The following events, meals and admissions will be available to each member registered for the entire chapter meeting.*

    • SATW Welcome Reception at Hotel Roanoke (members only)
    • One VIP Attractions and Dining Pass (members only)
    • SATW Breakfast on July 8 (members only)
    • SATW Lunch on July 8 (members only)
    • SATW Closing Reception and Dinner on July 9 (members only)

*Note that guests do not attend SATW events or receive complimentary admission or meals beyond those that are included in the room fee for any hotel guest.


All Day Arrivals and registration
12:00–5:30 p.m. Self-guided tours (with complimentary VIP Attractions pass for
members attending full meeting)
6:30–8:30 p.m. SATW Welcome Reception at Hotel Roanoke (members only)

Thursday, July 8

8:00 –9:00 a.m. SATW Breakfast at meeting location in Hotel Roanoke (members
8:00–9:00 a.m. Marketplace setup
9:15–10:30 a.m. Marketplace
10:45–11:15 a.m. Keynote Speaker (videotaped)
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Professional Development Session 1: Turning Expertise into Entrepreneurship
12:15–1:30 p.m. SATW Lunch at meeting location in Hotel Roanoke (members
4:30p.m. Professional Development Sessions 2 and Tour Offsite at Black Dog Salvage, with heavy appetizers and craft beverages (members only)

Evening Self-guided touring and dinner on own (with VIP Attractions and
Dining Pass)

Friday, July 9

7:30–8:30 a.m. Breakfast on own (with VIP Attractions and Dining Pass)
9:30 a.m. Professional Development Session 3 (offiste): Passion and Purpose in Community Building
10:30 a.m. –5:30 p.m. Touring on own (with VIP Attractions and Dining Pass)
6:30–9:00 p.m. SATW Closing Reception and Dinner (members only)

Saturday, July 10

7:30-9:00 a.m. Breakfast on own (with VIP Attractions and Dining Pass)
9:00 a.m.-5 p.m. Touring on own
All Day Departures

Times subject to change

Professional Development

Keynote Address


Pitch to Payment at Roadtrippers: Successful Storytelling and Travel Trends

Our keynote speaker will take you on a backstage tour of the editorial process at these thriving online travel brands. She’ll share actionable tips for successful pitching for both Actives and Associates, as well as some pet peeves that her editorial team would prefer you avoid. Stephanie will talk about the types of stories that are trending during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the content her team believes will engage travelers through 2021 and beyond.


Stephanie Puglisi

Head of content for Roadtrippers and Togo RV

Stephanie Puglisi is the head of content for Roadtrippers and Togo RV and co-host of The RV Atlas podcast. She has authored the bestselling See You at the Campground: A Guide to Discovering Community, Connection, and a Happier Family in the Great Outdoors and Where Should We Camp Next: A 50 State Guide to Amazing Campgrounds and Other Unique Outdoor Accommodations. Puglisi squeezes in as much travel as possible—in between baseball tournaments and band camps—with her husband and three ‘energetic’ sons.

Turning Expertise into Entrepreneurship

Diane Speaks will talk about her she turned her expertise in international travel into a satisfying new career. Speaks was a flight attendant during the 9/11 crisis; she and her fellow crew members had to remain in Nova Scotia for three days after the terrorist attacks when American borders were temporarily closed. For her, that unsettling experience signaled that it was time for a new career, particularly as she began to think about her retirement plan. That was the beginning of She’s International Boutique, a well-regarded Roanoke shop selling women’s clothing, jewelry, handbags and accessories that opened in 2006. Speaks leverages the international relationships she built during her 30-year airline career to find and purchase fashion-forward items for her store. When the pandemic hit, she capitalized on unique PR and marketing opportunities and landed a feature spot on the QVC channel.

Diane Speaks

Founder and owner of
She’s International Boutique in Roanoke, Virginia.

Passion and Purpose in Community Building

Roanoke businessman and philanthropist Xavier Duckett will introduce SATW members to his nonprofit organization, Humble Hustle, and share what drives him. Humble Hustle has a very simple Vision—Teach Love—and an equally straightforward Mission: Humble Hustle Company empowers black youths and connects diverse communities by creating innovative, inclusive spaces that inspire hope and promote giving. The organization serves youths through programming, community events and other initiatives, including its Humble Hikes program, which offers guided hiking experiences to boys and girls ages 7-18 on trails around the Roanoke Valley and surrounding areas. Duckett also will discuss how he helps to connect diverse communities by creating innovative, inclusive programs and spaces that inspire hope and promote giving. Find Duckett on Instagram @xaviertramaine.

Xavier Duckett

Founder and CEO of The Humble Hustle Company

Turning Trash to Treasure and Bringing Roanoke Into the Spotlight

We will meet with Black Dog Salvage’s Robert Kulp and Mike Whiteside at a unique interactive professional development session and tour at one of their facilities. We’ll enjoy a talk from the pair at “The Dog Bowl,” Black Dog’s outdoor music and event venue, then tour their warehouse and custom fabrication shop, and finally, enjoy an outdoor reception. See how the work of Kulp and Whiteside brought Roanoke into the international spotlight, how Black Dog Salvage became a travel destination, and how it boosted local tourism.

We’ll learn about how starting a salvage business was not intentional for the two men. Mike needed a garage built; Robert came to give him advice and the two found kindred souls in each other, having both served in the Navy. After lamenting the pending demolition of a local 1892 landmark filled with architectural details, they took a chance, made a salvage offer and began saving the house piece by piece.

Within three years, their business outgrew the building, and they purchased a 40,000-square-foot warehouse in Roanoke. Over the last decade, the business has evolved from a down and dirty salvage warehouse to an interior design showroom featuring architectural details, custom designs, local artists and vendors. The two have an endless amount of entertaining stories to share, from how their show came about, to how renovating a 1911 building turned into The Stone House in 2018, a guest house and event venue.

The TV show Salvage Dawgs aired in the U.S. on the DIY Network, HGTV and Great American Country and is currently available on several streaming services You can see some sample episodes here.

Robert Kulp and Mike Whiteside

Owners of Black Dog Salvage and stars of Salvage Dawgs

Photo by Tamra Bolton