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!
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”
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!
One of the advantages of living in a modestly sized city like Waynesboro is the abundance of hometown events that pull the community closer together. Often celebrated with regularity each year, these gatherings create space for multiple generations to rub elbows with each other, for a city’s culture to be shaped and maintained, and—inevitably—for adults to cross paths with their former middle school teachers.
May showcases some of Waynesboro’s best hometown charm! From local theater to music on the mountain, Waynesboro strives to make its citizens and visitors feel right at home.
Roller-skating, romance, and retro music—the royal combination for an entertaining stage production! Based on the 1980 movie starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly, this Tony Award-winning musical is sure to inspire audiences to dream big. Familiar hits like “Suddenly,” “Strange Magic,” and “Evil Woman” will have both young and old rocking in their seats. And if that’s not enough, each Saturday performance will be followed by a dance party!
Now in its 24th year, the Blue Ridge Classic Soapbox Derby is a gravity car race that unites children, parents, and grandparents in a collaborative effort. Participants between the ages of 7 and 20 team up with family members and sponsors to create their own derby cars over the course of several months. On May 6, the cars are pitted against each other down the long hill on Main Street. Come out and cheer for the young competitors and their sponsors!
May 6, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Waynesboro Public Library
The Blue Ridge region grows beautiful dogwoods this time of year, but it also grows literary talent. Over 30 published writers from the area will gather at Waynesboro Public Library to showcase their works and autograph title pages. Books will be on sale at the event so that you can support your new favorite writer. Read more about some of the attendees on our blog.
Meet the neighbors you never knew you had at this block party and potluck featuring fire trucks, inflatable bounce houses, face painting, and local gospel music. Hot dogs and drinks are provided by the City of Waynesboro, and the Rosenwald Community Center will be open for basketball.
Let’s not forget that our community has furry members, too! Coyner Springs, the City’s designated dog park, rolls out the green carpet for your canine companion at an event that places dogs at the center of attention. Have Fido’s caricature made, treat him to a game of Musical Sit, and share lunch from any of the food trucks while you watch a jaw-dropping performance of The Marvelous Mutts. Donations are accepted, and all proceeds benefit Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center.
May 28, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Humpback Rocks Mountain Farm & Visitor Center, Milepost 5.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Not long ago, an Appalachian family might gather with neighbors on a Sunday afternoon to enjoy homespun music and fellowship. The Humpback Rocks Mountain Farm maintains this tradition by offering Sunday afternoon concerts on the farm grounds throughout the summer. May 28 marks the first concert of the season and features the band “Sunny Side.” Bring a lawn chair and a picnic and enjoy the shady trees while relishing authentic bluegrass music.
The hometown events don’t stop in May. Check out our full calendar of events for other celebrations throughout the summer!
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When you’re surrounded by ski trails, hiking trails, and scenic trails, every season offers an outdoor playground. And that is certainly the case when winter visits the mountains and valleys of Waynesboro, VA. Quench your cabin fever—and your thirst—with these 4 winter wonderland adventures.
#1 Battle the Best of the Blue Ridge
It’s no wonder Waynesboro’s Mad Anthony Mud Run has repeatedly been crowned “Best of the Blue Ridge.” This 4.8 mile course is not your typical mud run! You’ll be running, climbing, and crawling through swamps, tunnels, obstacles, and off-road terrain.
The event pays homage to our city’s namesake, General “Mad” Anthony Wayne, and is held each year on the last Saturday of February. The weather can be as unpredictable as the General, with temps in the low digits or as high as the 60s. Whether a snow run or a mud run, it’s guaranteed a fun run!
Get a glimpse of the messy fun and “battles” you may be in for with this official race video.
Elaborate costumes are “optional but rewarded” during the post-race party and awards ceremony. Continue your party at Seven Arrows Brewing Company. Over pints of local brews, relive your battle victories (and your flops) as you exchange stories with your comrades.
#2 Hit the Slopes
Take a day trip up to Massanutten Resort! Just 40 minutes from Waynesboro, Massanutten offers outdoor fun for everyone in your family. Skiing, snowboarding, tubing, or ice-skating – take your pick!
When you head down off the slopes, warm up at Stable Craft Brewing. Their farm-fresh ales and locally sourced menu are Waynesboro favorites. Time your trip just right, and you can partake of their Thursday Small Batch Beer Release or Sunday Craft Beer Brunch!
Waynesboro is not only Virginia’s Top Trout Town but also home to Basic City Beer Co. After a day on the water, you’re sure to find refreshment in this taproom. Craft combines with natural spring water at Basic City Beer Co., and you’ll want to sample their whole lineup. Take your time – food trucks and live music pair nicely with a night of microbrews!
Waynesboro is perfectly situated at the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Head south on the Parkway and you’ll have a vast selection of trails to choose from. Motor vehicles are not permitted on the trails, so you can hike, snowshoe, or cross-country ski surrounded only by the sounds of nature. While winter access to the Blue Ridge Parkway can reward you with vistas and solitude, before you head out, be sure to check the real-time road closure status of the Parkway. If downhill skiing or tubing is more your speed, Wintergreen Resort is off the Parkway and only 23 miles south of Waynesboro.
When you’re done playing in the snow, head back north along I-81 so you can explore a trail of another flavor – the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail. You have a choice of 13 breweries so check out the trail map to help you plan your adventure.
This winter make Waynesboro, VA, your playground. You’ll get the best Nature has to offer and some of the best craft beer in the nation!
2016 was certainly the Year of the Brewery for Waynesboro and the surrounding region! Not only did the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail open, but Waynesboro gained two new breweries. Taps are now flowing at all three of the city’s breweries: Seven Arrows Brewing, Stable Craft Brewing, and Basic City Beer Co. The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail also connects craft beer lovers to the other treasures of the region – fresh foods, outdoor adventures, music festivals, and local communities.
2. “O” is for “Outdoor Adventure”
For the outdoor adventurer, there’s no place like Waynesboro. Through the Parks and Recreation Department’s Run the Valley Race Series, runners can challenge themselves throughout the year with 5K’s, 10K’s, and the award-winning Mad Anthony Mud Run.
Waynesboro is a destination for cycling enthusiasts as well. On-road and off-road routes abound in the region, providing opportunities for all levels. Serious cyclists won’t want to miss the annual Tour de Valley, a century and metric century autumn tour of the Shenandoah Valley.
And we mustn’t forget the wealth of hiking opportunities that abound around Waynesboro. As a designated Applachian Trail Community, Waynesboro understands hiking inside and out, and offers a wide-range of options for all skill levels of hikers, whether it’s just a peaceful stroll in one of its beautiful local parks, exploring a historic rails-to-trails path, or embarking on a more extreme outdoor adventure in nearby Shenandoah National Park.
Coming soon! A reconstruction project is also underway at the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel, an abandoned historic railroad tunnel through Afton Mountain, linking Waynesboro to Nelson County. The project may be completed by the end of 2017, and once the tunnel is reopened, hikers and cyclists will have a new unique trail to explore!
3. “R” is for “River Adventure”
Nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Waynesboro’s downtown is graced with the meandering waters of the South River. The city has always been known for her natural beauty, and with the 2016 opening of the Waynesboro Water Trail, anglers and paddlers can now explore that beauty further. The 4-mile scenic water trail stretches from Ridgeview Park to Basic Park and was awarded the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award.
2016 brought new paving, trees, and a pedestrian bridge to the South River Greenway. Part of the city’s extensive park system, the Greenway is providing additional recreational opportunities and access to the South River.
On the following weekend, April 29, 2017, Riverfest will be celebrated at Constitution Park. This free annual event is dedicated to environmental conservation and watershed stewardship and offers hands-on activities like the popular stream safari, reptile shows, canoe rides, and the Great South River duck race.
4. “O” is for “Outstanding Performances” at the Wayne Theatre / Ross Performing Arts Center
2016 marked the Grand Reopening of The Historic Wayne Theatre. Originally built in 1926 as a vaudeville house, the theatre was saved from demolition and underwent a massive restoration. This virtual tour gives a wonderful overview of the extensive technical capabilities, rental opportunities, and unique features of the “new” Wayne. The theatre’s 2016 schedule was packed with entertainment of all genres and programming for all ages, including dance, music, lectures, film, art exhibits, and an Arts Education series. Visit the Wayne Theatre / Ross Performing Arts Center Calendar of Events for a glimpse of the exciting 2017 season!
With so much to taste and to do in Waynesboro, Virginia, how will you spend your vacation days in 2017?
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.
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.
Waynesboro has been called “trout central in the Old Dominion” and aptly so. With the South River flowing through downtown and quality trout fishing available year-round, Waynesboro has become a destination for anglers around the world.
This centrally-located, urban fishery also has an allure for families planning their vacation. “There’s something here for everyone,” say South River Fly Shop co-owners Tommy Lawhorne and Kevin Little. “Within 30 minutes whatever lodging you want is here,” says Kevin. “From backcountry camping in the National Forest all the way to RV to cabins to B&Bs to hotels. Same thing with food, same thing with culture, mountain biking, paddling, and hiking. And in the middle of that, we have a trout stream that is large enough to be a destination that can support numerous people a day and is year-round viable.” Continue reading “Waynesboro VA: A Fishing Destination for the Whole Family”