Good Nature is Only a Step Away in Waynesboro, VA

Recreation is a way of life in Waynesboro, Virginia.  Residents and visitors to this beautiful Appalachian Trail Community have countless options for enjoying nature year-round.  And Waynesboro is proactive in expanding its Outdoor Recreation Network to provide easy, interconnected access to the hundreds of miles of trails, routes, and waterways running through and around the city.  Whether you like to walk, bike, run, or paddle, you’re only a step away in Waynesboro!

Walk the Greenway

Waynesboro’s South River Greenway gives walkers a beautiful 1.2 mile stretch along the river from the YMCA near Rife Park, north through Constitution Park and on to the Port Republic Road Historic District.

Get walking with this route that will guide you from the Waynesboro Public Library to Constitution Park and back.  If you’d prefer a loop, take the Waynesboro Walkabout, a 2-mile route that includes both a long section of the South River Greenway and parts of the Historic Downtown District.  The city is currently expanding the Greenway to extend to North Park with plans to later add connections to Ridgeview Park, Basic Park, the future Sunset Park, and the Crozet Tunnel. Continue reading “Good Nature is Only a Step Away in Waynesboro, VA”

Waynesboro, VA: The Perfect Day Trip/Getaway from Richmond, VA

Stuck in your Richmond office daydreaming about wide open spaces and cool mountain streams?  Idling in traffic and wishing you were high above it all?  Want to trade in that concrete jungle for a forest path? You’re only 90 minutes away from a rejuvenating getaway.  Hop on I-64 West, set your sights on those Blue Ridge Mountains, and before you’ve finished your playlist, you’ll be in Waynesboro, VA, the playground of the Shenandoah Valley.  Here are 6 reasons to jump in the car this weekend.

Continue reading “Waynesboro, VA: The Perfect Day Trip/Getaway from Richmond, VA”

Waynesboro,VA: An Inspiring Playground for All Ages

School may be out, but recess is in!  If you’re an outdoor lover, there’s no better place to spend your summer than in Waynesboro, Virginia.  We’ve got the peaks, the valleys, the water, and all the good nature your body and spirit crave.  Can’t decide where to start?  Check out these summer events you won’t want to miss, then pack those hiking boots, bike helmets, or racing shoes and escape to the Blue Ridge Mountains for an adventure-filled getaway!

Continue reading “Waynesboro,VA: An Inspiring Playground for All Ages”

Give Mom the Gift of the Great Outdoors This Mother’s Day!

On May 14th, treat the mothers in your life to a getaway in Waynesboro, VA. Mother’s Day has roots in the Shenandoah Valley, so there’s no better place to celebrate!  Our quaint bed & breakfasts, scenic mountain trails, and farm-to-table dining offer endless opportunities to pamper your loved ones.  Explore one of these three delicious pairings or design your own outdoor adventure.

Mother’s Day Group Hike + Basic City Beer Co.

hiking
Credit: Blue Ridge Outdoors Facebook event

Enjoy some of the best views and brews of our region! This beginner-friendly group hike will be led by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and the pros from Waynesboro’s Rockfish Gap Outfitters. This casual and guided hike will lead you to the summit of Turk Mountain in Shenandoah National Park where you can snap some photos with Mom.  After a morning on the trail, the group will convene at Basic City Beer Co. where you can recharge with a refreshing hibiscus infused lager or Dry Town Nitro Coffee. 

Brunch at Veritas Vineyard & Winery + Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

brunch
Credit: Veritas Vineyards

Veritas Vineyard & Winery knows how to celebrate.  With a wine-paired menu that includes the phrases “blackberry reduction”, “duck confit”, “rosemary tuile”, and “lemon creme”, this will be a Mother’s Day Brunch to remember. If a four-course meal specially prepared for you and set against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge sounds like bliss… make those reservations today!

Keep the zen flowing with an afternoon on the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail.

mtj

The Thomas Jefferson Loop is a must for visitors to Waynesboro.  Along this loop’s mountaintops, forests, and wetlands are a treasure trove of wildlife and birding opportunities.

Close out the special day with photo ops at Sherando Lake and Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch.  

Wildflowers + Brunch along Skyline Drive

flowers
Credit: NPS

Rather than buying Mom a vase of flowers, give her 150 miles of wildflowers! There are more than 850 species of flowering plants in nearby Shenandoah National Park, and each wildflower season offers colorful diversity.  Meander north along Skyline Drive and dogwood, trillium, azaleas, and pink lady’s slipper are bound to catch your eye.

Make reservations now so that you can pause on your Sunday drive for Mother’s Day Brunch. This annual holiday buffet at Skyland (Skyline Drive mile 41.7 and 42.5) serves panoramic views alongside a mouth-watering selection of appetizers, salads, entrées, and desserts.  After brunch, continue along Skyline Drive or check out one of the trails or waterfall hikes on your leisurely way back to Waynesboro.

Another Mom-pleasing idea:

May 14, 1-6pm Wine + Massage at Barren Ridge Vineyards 

2017-Mothers-Day

On Sunday, May 14th, join us for an afternoon of relaxation with your mom! Treat her to our Mother’s Day special for $15: a 10-minute neck-and-shoulder massage with certified massage therapist Mary Kay Heberling, and a glass of wine to enjoy with her family in front of this gorgeous view. No reservations–massages are first come, first served.

One weekend in Waynesboro’s great outdoors and you’ll be hooked.  So many trails and so little time!  But not to worry… Mom’s birthday will be here before you know it.

Spring Hiking in National Parks Near Waynesboro VA

One Visit, Two National Parks

This spring, make Waynesboro, VA your destination for outdoor recreation.  The city is located just 3 miles from the junction of the Blue Ridge Parkway to the south and Skyline Drive heading north through Shenandoah National Park.  You’ll have hundreds of miles of trails to choose from, and with a little planning you can experience two National Parks over one weekend. Continue reading “Spring Hiking in National Parks Near Waynesboro VA”

Waynesboro, VA: Good Trails Meet Good Nature in this Appalachian Trail Community

Waynesboro, VA has long been a destination for outdoor adventurers.  Residents and visitors alike share an enthusiasm for the city’s unique access to the beauty and opportunities of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley. One of those nearby natural treasures is the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), the longest hiking-only footpath in the world.

Two Thousand Miles and the Adventure of a Lifetime

September 23-24, 2006. Lightweight backpacking gear has changed the face of hiking and camping. Garry Lenton demonstrates how new technology has provided for lighter weight gear, thus allowing older men and women to more easily handle the rigors of longer hiking trips. In this photo, a hiker passes by a trail marker for the Appalachian Trail.
September 23-24, 2006. Lightweight backpacking gear has changed the face of hiking and camping. Garry Lenton demonstrates how new technology has provided for lighter weight gear, thus allowing older men and women to more easily handle the rigors of longer hiking trips. In this photo, a hiker passes by a trail marker for the Appalachian Trail.

What began as a proposal in 1921 is now a federally-protected national scenic trail stretching 2,190 miles between Maine and Georgia and crossing 14 states. Those miles of trail are protected and managed by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.  It can take 5-7 months to hike the entire A.T., and every year thousands attempt the physically and mentally strenuous journey.  Only 1 in 4 will complete a “thru-hike,” but most will agree that time spent on the A.T. is a life-changing adventure. Continue reading “Waynesboro, VA: Good Trails Meet Good Nature in this Appalachian Trail Community”

Live Like a Local: 5 Winter Hikes on the AT

 

I almost turned back. The fog had settled on Afton Mountain like a heavy sleep, as it often does without notice. This was the kind of fog that keeps people off the mountain and at home with a good book. But I had driven from the valley to the mountaintop and had brought all my hiking gear along, so resolutely I parked along the Blue Ridge Parkway at Rockfish Gap. Fog or no, I was going to keep my New Year’s tradition of hiking.

I chose, as my hike du jour, the stretch of the Appalachian Trail that runs from Rockfish Gap to the Paul C. Wolfe Shelter (5 miles one way). The Wolfe Shelter is a popular destination for Boy Scout troops and others interested in a short backpacking trip. Given my time limitations, however, I was planning to hike only two of the five miles then turn around. This section of the AT is relatively level and therefore perfect for those not adapted to strenuous climbs.

Follow the stone stairwell off the Blue Ridge Parkway to discover the trailhead for this section of the AT.
The AT is well marked, especially at Rockfish Gap.

Waynesboro’s proximity to the Appalachian Trail (AT) means that the city draws the rugged thru-hiker who needs to resupply, the adventurous resident who wants to hit the trail, and the curious tourist hunting for a place to set foot on the AT. The point at Rockfish Gap is one of the easiest and most visible access points for the AT. Near the busy junction of the Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, Interstate 64, and Route 250, the AT quietly emerges from the woods and crosses these thoroughfares before slipping back into the woods again. Even in the fog, the trailhead is easy to spot at Rockfish Gap. A post with double white blazes painted on it signifies the point at which the trail drops away from the Blue Ridge Parkway and heads south into the woods. A newly installed set of stone stairs makes the path even more evident.

After parking the car within sight of the trailhead, I zipped up my waterproof jacket, found the stairwell, and descended into the mist. A few yards further, I encountered the trail kiosk where a kind soul had left a sturdy walking stick. “Trail magic,” I thought to myself, using the term that AT thru-hikers use for such serendipitous provisions. I took the stick.

Winter hikes have a way of scouring the soul the way we scour our houses at the start of a year. The instant I set foot on the trail, I was glad I had come. I was enclosed in a white world where only small sections of the trail were revealed to me at a time. The trees varied in their shades of gray and black—and some on the outskirts of my vision were but the suggestion of trees. Nearly all their leaves had dropped by now; they were narrow, graceful hands reaching to the sky. The forest was completely hushed except for the sound of dripping and the occasional chirp of a bird. The air was so moist, my eyelashes accumulated droplets of water. Closed in like this, one is not preoccupied with vistas, with landscapes far off, but rather focused on the trail ahead, on the pattern of fog and trees and stones in a very small frame of vision. A natural time for introspection and soul searching.img_5078

The AT is always designated by a white blaze or, when the trail changes direction, by two white blazes.

My thoughts were soon interrupted by the tumbling sound of a nearby water feature. Sure enough, I crossed a soggy patch of mud and rocks where a stream passed through. The trail continued at what felt like a gentle loss in elevation, then climbed again, and then shifted in direction (marked by a double white blaze, as opposed to the usual single white blaze). Another larger stream lay before me, strewn with large rocks to make it easy to cross. I was grateful at these junctures for the walking stick, which provided an extra balance point.

 

Occasionally I passed the remains of a decaying log where squirrels had sat to eat their lunch, leaving scatterings of hickory shells behind. Otherwise, my hike—just under two hours total—disclosed neither people nor wildlife. However, upon checking the time at the halfway point, I was somewhat irked to find I had perfect cell coverage. Civilization is never very far away these days.

Streams with fallen logs take on an ethereal quality in the mist.
Streams with fallen logs take on an ethereal quality in the mist.

On my return, the clouds began to lift slightly and lighten in color. If the day were clear, I would have had stunning views of the Rockfish Valley. I enumerated to myself the benefits of winter hikes: unobstructed views; invigorating temperatures; austere beauty in nature; tranquil, solitary stretches for thinking. All the things that I’d experienced in the past two hours. The fog hadn’t lessened the pleasure at all; only heightened it.

As I passed the kiosk, I returned my trusty walking stick to its post so it will be ready for the next hiker—maybe you!

Ready to try a winter hike on the AT?

*Remember, always consult the websites for Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway for updated travel information and closures. *
  1. Rockfish Gap to the Paul Wolfe Shelter. Easy to moderate, 10 miles roundtrip—or may be hiked in smaller increments as I did. An easy-to-access, well maintained section of the AT. Especially suited to city dwellers who want to taste the wilderness but keep civilization close at hand.
  2. Humpback Rocks. Strenuous, 2 miles roundtrip. One of the most popular hikes in the area. Park at MP 6.0 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This trail has a steep ascent but amply rewards with breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley at the top. Like the Riprap Trail, it only connects with the AT for a small portion of the hike, but ambitious hikers can extend that.
  3. Glass Hollow Overlook. Moderate, 2.5 miles roundtrip. Park at the same lot for Humpback Rocks. Rather than ascending to the rocks, however, you will descend through the woods for ¼ mile until meeting up with the AT. Take the AT north to Glass Hollow Overlook for a view of the Rockfish Valley. Backtrack to your car or add the Dobie Mountain Loop to extend your hike.
  4. Riprap Trail to Chimney Rock. Moderate, 3.4 miles roundtrip. Although only using the AT a short distance, this hike offers landmarks and viewpoints, making it a perfect day-hike.
  5. Blackrock Summit Trail. Easy, 1 mile roundtrip. A great hike for families. The trail culminates in a large outcropping of rocks that kids—both the mountain-goat and human variety—will want to scale. Panoramic views.

In addition to these, Shenandoah National Park offers a long list of suggested hikes, complete with detailed maps.

 

Live Like a Local: 5 Waynesboro Parks You’ll Love Any Season of the Year

 Just because the thermometer is dropping doesn’t mean you have to stay holed up inside. Waynesboro’s park system invites outdoor play any season of the year. Each park has its own flavor, so read on to find the perfect park for you this fall and winter.

Family Fun

Ridgeview Park

Ridgeview Park. Photo by Stephen Black.
Ridgeview Park. Photo by Stephen Black.

Highlights: Play structure, tennis courts, ball fields, forest trail, sledding

Ridgeview Park hosts numerous festivals and concerts during the summer months and lures crowds to its 50-meter outdoor swimming pool, but when fall comes, a whole new beauty emerges. Cross the iron footbridge and watch the autumn leaves drop into the South River. Enjoy a nature walk through the wooded trail that borders soccer field #3 (across the bridge). Play a game of catch in one of the sunny baseball fields or simply enjoy the gazebo overlooking the serene river. Kids will love the elaborate play structure even on cooler days. And in the winter months, the bare trees and snowy landscape make a lovely backdrop for a walk—a paved path cuts through the center of the park, connecting two neighborhoods and making it easy to access even during snowy weather.

If it snows: Bring your sled, tube, or snowboard and try out the steep sledding hill that has been drawing thrill-seekers since the park’s creation.

Constitution Park’s Greenway Trail.

Continue reading “Live Like a Local: 5 Waynesboro Parks You’ll Love Any Season of the Year”

Walk/Cycle/Learn/Relax on a #WaynesboroVA Rails-to-Trails Adventure

60-rails-of-autumn-1-with-creditWhat’s a rail trail and how can the lore of a railroad-rich destination contribute to a cool walk/cycle/learn/relax getaway? Rail trails are conversions of disused railways to multi-use paths for walking, cycling and sometimes horseback riding. Rail trails are growing in popularity around the country, not only because of unique features, but because they can be enjoyed by families and people of all fitness levels. There are several in the Shenandoah Valley worth investigating, and combining the stories of a region’s railroad history with treks along the mostly flat, often shaded, scenic railways can be a fun way to explore. There are plenty of ways to do just that from a base camp in Waynesboro, Virginia. Continue reading “Walk/Cycle/Learn/Relax on a #WaynesboroVA Rails-to-Trails Adventure”

48 Hrs. of Blue Ridge Extreme Sports & Epic #WaynesboroVA Watering Holes

Design Your Own Adventure: Hike, Bike, Paddle, Climb, Crawl 

If you are an extreme sports enthusiast, there is no better place to test your strength, endurance and adventurous spirit than the mountains, rapids and cliffs near the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Whether you come fully equipped to head out on your own, or you need a guide or outfitter, make Waynesboro, Virginia, the base camp for your next outdoor getaway.

Pick two of the following high-octane adventures. Paired with our suggested watering holes, you’ll have 48 hours of spectacular sights, tastes, sounds, and memories. Continue reading “48 Hrs. of Blue Ridge Extreme Sports & Epic #WaynesboroVA Watering Holes”