Highland County Visitor Center Moving to Main Street in Monterey

The Highland County Visitor Center is moving to Main Street in Monterey for more visibility with extended hours to now include weekends.  The Highland County Chamber of Commerce will be the lead organization to independently stock the Visitor Center that will be located within the new Highlander restaurant at 27 West Main Street, formerly known as Ernie’s Market.  Highlander staff will be at the building seven days a week with the hours of Mondays through Thursdays from 11 am – 8 pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 am – 9 pm, and Sundays from 11 am – 6 pm.  The Chamber will maintain the inventory of the Visitor Center and provide training education to specific staff at the Highlander to answer questions and be informed of upcoming events and activities in the community.  The Highlander has offered the dedicated space to the Chamber free of charge. The agreement will be reviewed on an annual basis.


The Highland County Visitor Center is currently located in The Highland Center and is only open on weekdays Monday through Friday during the working hours of the Chamber.  A lack of a steady influx of visitors at the current location has led to a lack of a steady base of volunteers to keep the Visitor Center open for longer hours and weekends when it would most likely be utilized.  The Highland County Chamber of Commerce is grateful to The Highland Center for providing space for a Visitor Center for many years, but now there will be a new opportunity with potential rental space at that location to fit The Highland Center’s goals as a catalyst for cultural and economic development.


“For years, the Highland County Chamber of Commerce has thought that the ideal location for a Visitor Center would be at the intersection of Highland County’s two main roads of Rt. 220 and Rt. 250 that would capture traffic that otherwise will just keep driving on without stopping.  The opportunity has now arrived, and we look forward to more and more people learning about all our community has to offer,” says the Chamber’s Executive Director Chris Swecker.  “At this more visible and convenient location with staff available seven days a week, visitors and residents will learn more, purchase more, and invest more in the area.  This move will be beneficial for all of our Chamber Members and for tourism and economic development efforts.  This change fits right in with the Chamber’s mission to lift up local businesses and entrepreneurs, promote Highland County, and champion economic prosperity and quality of life.  This is a win-win scenario for everyone.”


Members of the Highland County Chamber of Commerce will have a dedicated section in the Visitor Center to display materials as a benefit of their Membership.  The Chamber will also continue to work with the Highland Tourism Council to supply general Highland County brochures such as the popular Highland County Barn Quilt Trail, which is planned to be updated later in 2024.  A new standout centerpiece brochure and Tourism Map holder will also become a part of the Visitor Center experience, paid for with ARPA funding distributed by the Virginia Tourism Corporation.  Finally, the new location with extended hours and staffing will allow the Chamber to pursue the Highland County Visitor Center becoming a VTC Certified Tourist Information Center, with benefits for the entire community that will include more visibility such as a free Highland County brochure placement at 11 Virginia Welcome Centers year-round.


The Highland County Chamber of Commerce plans to provide a retail sale policy of some of its current merchandise to all Chamber Members if they would like to sell items such as posters, ornaments, and other official Chamber memorabilia.


The Highland County Visitor Center plans to be open in its new location by early July. 

Story By


Brit Chambers

Brit Chambers is a resident of Highland County, Virginia and a news reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio. She loves living in a small town and relishes the outdoor adventures and community feeling that Highland has to offer. Brit has a background in journalism, marketing, and public relations and spends her free time reading good books, baking sourdough bread, and hiking with her family.

Current Weather