Helmet…check. Spare tubes…check. Sense of adventure…check. If you’re looking for a bicycling destination that offers a variety of picturesque landscapes and delectable wayside stops, pack your gear and head to the Shenandoah Valley. With Waynesboro, Virginia, as your base camp, you’ll have an abundance of on-road and off-road routes to choose from, taking you everywhere from the peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the historic towns nestled below. Start your adventure rested and well-fed with a night at the Belle Hearth Bed & Breakfast or the bike-friendlyIris Inn, then spend your day exploring one of these suggestions.
n.The activity of traveling in the fall to areas wooded with deciduous forests to view the changing color of the leaves.
No doubt you’ve heard that the iconic Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway are famous destinations for leaf peeping, and anyone who’s visited Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley in autumn will attest that fall motor touring is spectacular. For those looking for a dash of adventure to round out those scenic drives, Waynesboro, Virginia is the perfect place to start. Here are some ways to take your leaf peeping to a whole new level of fun!
EXPERIENCE A NATIONAL TREASURE
With the southern entrance to Skyline Drive located just three miles from Waynesboro, start your autumn adventure with a drive through Shenandoah National Park, a designated National Scenic Byway and Historic Landmark. Over 300 species of wildlife and more than 1,400 species of plants are found in the Park. An extensive network of trails and 75 strategically-placed overlooks provide ample opportunity to experience this protected wilderness. Ranger-guided tours of President Hoover’s summer retreat, Rapidan Camp, visitor center exhibits, and park programs give visitors an up-close look at the natural and cultural history of the Park.
ADD HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE
For a mix of scenic beauty and historic perspective, follow the Civil War Trails Route 250 Corridor from Waynesboro’s Plumb House to Camp Allegheny at the West Virginia border. Landmarks, activities, and interpretive signs along the route include a wartime farmstead, overlooks, a walking trail, and quaint towns to explore. Additional Valley Campaign driving tours will help you take full advantage of October’s gorgeous autumn days.
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE LANDSCAPE
ON FOOT. Get off the roads and into the wilderness with a family-friendly hike to Saint Mary’s Falls. Virginia’s largest designated wilderness area, Saint Mary’s Wilderness is over 9,800 acres of vistas, waterfalls, fern forests, meadows, and wetlands. With seventeen miles of trails, this is also a destination for those hikers looking for a challenge.
ON HORSEBACK. Travel under, through, and above autumn colors on horseback with a half-day, full-day, or overnight adventure in George Washington National Forest with North Mountain Outfitter. Their gorgeous mountain trail rides include the region’s highest points, ridges, streams, & valleys. Reserve your saddle today to experience the Shenandoah Valley’s fall foliage from a whole new perspective.
This October 13 & 14, the Fall Foliage Art Show and the Virginia Street Arts Festival team up to fill the streets of Waynesboro with live mural painting, fine art sales, public art installations, plus beer, food, and music all weekend.
The Fall Foliage Art Show is a 48 year tradition that brings over 150 juried fine artists to a Main Street festival, transforming downtown into a lively outdoor market of paintings, pottery, jewelry, woodworking, and more. From 10am to 5pm Saturday and noon to 5pm Sunday, traveling world class artists will share their stories, sell their work, and help decorate your home with memories for years to come.
Sharing the streets, the Virginia Street Arts Festival will bring two renowned muralists to transform a vacant brick building into a celebratory splash of color and culture. Watch artists at work 30 feet in the air, help the Blue Ridge Children’s Museum paint giant cubes for an interactive public art installation, or join chalk artists leaving their marks on the streets and sidewalks of downtown Waynesboro.
One block over in Lumos Plaza, find the best eats at food trucks and the festival beer garden. Live music performers will be announced in the weeks leading up to the festival, so check back often for musician and guest artist announcements.
WHEN: October 13 (10am to 5pm) and October 14 (noon to 5pm)
WHERE: The two festivals will converge in downtown Waynesboro, running from the intersection of Arch Avenue and Main Street up the hill towards the Wayne Theatre Performing Arts Center. Bring your walking shoes to take in the full effect — multiple blocks will be filled with art and activities.
COST: Both events are free to the public. Bring your wallet to purchase art, food, beer, and more from festival vendors.
Are you a big believer that variety is the spice of life? The weekend of September 21-23 in Waynesboro, Virginia will fire you up with options! With a music festival, park adventure, craft-beer run, and gem and mineral show all packed into the same weekend, consider your life spiced!
Heat, Beats, & Beer
There might be a nip in the air as fall approaches, but this festival puts some “heat” in the season change! Pro and amateur chili chefs compete for prize money and the title of People’s Choice. They’re joined by thousands of lovers of spice, music, and beer at the Virginia Chili, Blues n’ Brews Festival. Now in its 11th year, the downtown Waynesboro event is September 22 from 3-9pm. Staged against backdrop of the South River and sweeping mountain views, the festival promises a marvelous mashup of sensory experiences.
Recharge at Shenandoah National Park
Restoration and resilience are the focus of the 25th anniversary of National Public Lands Day on September 22, and if you’re looking to personally recharge, Shenandoah National Park is fee-free that day and filled with renewing vistas, waterfalls, or quiet glades. One of Virginia’s most beloved natural wonders, the 200,000-acre Shenandoah National Park boasts more than 500 miles of trails. Just three miles from the park’s southernmost Rockfish Gap Entrance, Waynesboro makes the perfect starting point for an exploration of its wild southern section.
A Run with a View—and a Reward
If a physical challenge is your spice, brace yourself for the Basic City Burn. Featuring a just under three-mile course that climbs a quad-burning 300 feet to the highest point in Waynesboro, the stunning view of the valley is just part of the event’s allure. Runners and walkers also get treated to cool swag and a post-race party with beer tastings at Basic City Beer Co. and food by Hops Kitchen.
Not Just Any Old Rocks
Second in age only to South Africa’s Barberton greenstone belt, the Blue Ridge Mountains are a perfect destination for rock hounds, nature lovers, and history buffs alike. The weekend of September 21-23 will allow you to feast your eyes on the fascinating and beautiful rocks and minerals found in the Shenandoah Valley (and beyond) at the 51st Annual Gem & Mineral Show. The whole family will be enthralled with the mix of unique shopping, treasure-hunting (for kids), educational talks, and demos like panning for gold and cabochon making.
Local Food & Fowl
The weekend options don’t stop there. Every Saturday through September 29, 9am-1pm, you can also visit the Waynesboro Farmer’s Market, both a marketplace and a community gathering space, in the heart of downtown Waynesboro. Visitors can shop, play along the river banks, or stroll along the nearby South River Greenway.
Autumn brings thousands of migrating raptors to the mountain pass of Rockfish Gap at the juncture of Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Manned by volunteers collecting raptor data for global research and education, the Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch is open to the public and easily accessible without hiking or climbing. Novice birders can witness this awesome natural event between now and November 30, although the peak migration occurs mid- to late-September.
Mid Atlantic Art Foundation‘s On Screen/In Person is a film series designed to bring the best in new independent American films to the Mid-Atlantic region and the Wayne Theatre plays host as Virginia’s exclusive venue for this series made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts. Six films tour annually with their filmmakers including a public screening, pre- or post-screening discussion with the visiting filmmaker, and a community activity to provide context and a greater appreciation for the film.
The Wayne Theatre’s screening of this series is done as Pay What You Will admission. Advance tickets are recommended and may be reserved at no cost. All screenings begin at 7 p.m.
Like your travel adventures wrapped in historical context? Are you the person always wondering “How and why did this place come to be what it is today?” Most seasoned travelers would agree that destinations that have a deep dedication to history create the most vivid and memorable travel experiences, and a visit to Waynesboro, Virginia, won’t disappoint!
Immerse Yourself in a History Weekend
Step back into Civil War history at the annual Waynesboro at War educational and interactive event, September 15 and 16, 2018, at Waynesboro’s Coyner Springs Park. Waynesboro at War highlights the Civil War action seen in Waynesboro. Spectators can participate in a Civil War town ball game and Civil War Dance Social, as well as talk with soldiers from both armies and experience camp life, cavalry, and artillery demonstrations. Ticket information and details can be found at https://www.waynesboroatwar.com/
Examine the Foundations of a Modern City
There are historic landmarks around every corner in Waynesboro, so the curious among you can easily meander through the pages of Waynesboro’s story from early settlement in the 1700s, through to the Civil War, and on to the industrial boom in the late 1800s. Waynesboro’s historic districts and seven independently-listed properties on the National Register of Historic Places paint a vivid picture of the underpinnings of the city as it stands today.
Start your exploration at the Waynesboro Heritage Museum, 420 West Main Street (open Tues-Sat, 9-5pm, call 540-943-3943) which houses permanent galleries of relics from the town’s founding, industries, and educational institutions, as well as stories of how land was acquired under King George II of England in 1797, of when Waynesboro as stagecoach stop called Teasville (Teesville), and of how Waynesboro’s namesake, Brigadier General “Mad” Anthony Wayne got his nickname.
Next, visit the Plumb House Museum at 1012 W. Main Street (open Thurs-Sat, 10-4pm, call 540-943-3943) to view additional collections of Civil War and Native American artifacts, a historic garden, summer kitchen, and outbuildings. The Plumb House was built during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency and was later caught in the middle of the Civil War Battle of Waynesboro, standing just opposite the battle site. The house still bears the scars of gunshots and a cannonball that entered a chimney and rolled across the room.
Then call ahead (540-836-0024) for a tour of Waynesboro’s African-American Heritage Museum. The museum houses a small but rich collection that weaves a tapestry of revered figures in the community. Waynesboro’s Rosenwald School was one of many built across the South as the result of the partnership and friendship between Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington. Rosenwald’s philanthropy and contributions to the African-American community was the subject of an award-winning film “Rosenwald.”
Take a Self-Guided Tour of Historic Architecture
While visiting the African-American Heritage Museum, be sure to take in the Port Republic Road Historic District, Waynesboro’s principal historic African-American neighborhood. The area includes significant architectural and cultural landmarks including Rosenwald School and Grounds, Fairview Cemetery (1885-present), and Shiloh Baptist Church (1924).
Another notable Waynesboro architectural landmark is also the oldest and smallest of all military schools for boys in Virginia. Fishburne Military School is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and architectural highlights include the 1915 library (Virginia’s second-oldest Carnegie library) and the 1916 barracks designed in the castellated Gothic style by T.J. Collins & Son.
Whether you prefer your travel memories via full immersion, curated collections, or self-guided exploration, Waynesboro has something exciting and enduring for you. Stop by one of our Visitor Centers or request a brochure today to get started!
Your body is not a temple. It’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.
– Anthony Bourdain
Nothing frames a spectacular adventure better than great food and drink. And if you’re a particularly adventuresome foodie, you’re in luck! Waynesboro, Virginia serves up the perfect mix of fresh tastes, cultural amenities, and thrilling sights and experiences to make your next trip truly unforgettable.
Divinely placed at the intersection of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive, and the Appalachian Trail, Waynesboro’s historic downtown boasts a trophy trout river, an extensive park system, and walkable performing and visual arts venues. Top those adventure-rich options with a thriving community of Shenandoah Valley farms and imaginative food entrepreneurs, and you’ve conjured up foodie paradise. Fresh, locally produced craft beverages are plentiful with the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail and Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail, and the Fields of Gold Farm Trail is a fun way to visit many producers within an easily navigated area.
Discover Crafty, Artisanal Flavor Combinations
Hops Kitchen in Basic City Beer Co. after a day of fly fishing, paddling Waynesboro’s Water Trail, or hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains will feel like divine intervention. Dishes are infused with award-winning Basic City beer and inspired by Chef Mike’s global travel. With choices as varied at pierogis, shomai, duck wings, and Philly beer cheese steak, accents like bacon jam, and desserts like stout chocolate brownie, there’s no doubt you’re embarking on a serious food adventure. Chef Mike also serves up a whole hog roast featuring Autumn Olive Farms’ Berkabaw pork, raised just outside Waynesboro and a superstar of restaurants through the mid-Atlantic! Add the eclectic entertainment and restored industrial vibe that Basic City Beer’s digs impart, and you’ve got the makings of a “fish tale” that will be totally true.
And speaking of fish, The Fishin’ Pig will have you hooked on its savory comfort food, ranging from pulled pork to beef brisket and every Southern favorite in between. Try the melt-in-your-mouth catfish, moist and meaty fillets fried crisp in the restaurant’s trademark breading, or the pulled pork, smoked on site and served up Memphis-style in honor of owner Matt Hurley’s Tennessee roots.
Have a Kombucha Awakening
And what would your adventure be without a ground-breaking, big-flavor beverage? Blue Ridge Bucha will awaken your taste buds to a whole new craft beverage exploration. Brewing with the same culture that owner, Ethan Zuckerman, began working with over a decade ago the team at Blue Ridge Bucha handcrafts flavorful organic kombucha in such palate-pleasing flavors as Wild Pear, Elderflower Sunrise, and Jasmine Grape. Their eco-friendly bottles can be refilled at more than 50 mid-Atlantic locations. The Waynesboro Tap Room is open Wed.–Sat. and offers other locally produced items, as well, such as Ula Tortilla chips and Gearharts Fine Chocolates.
Bank a Chef-Led Culinary Experience
For the foodies that want a truly unique take-away culinary experience for the memory banks, Chef Caitie Maharg from BlueOregano is your ticket. Specializing in pop-up dinners, cooking classes, and bakery selections that wow (Gooseberry Pie, anyone?), Chef Caitie is a Waynesboro native with deep local food knowledge. Her business is a stop on the Fields of Gold Farm Trail, which features 218 farm-oriented activities, markets, experiences, and lodging focused on the Valley’s food production. With newly acquired skills from a seasoned pro like Caitie, you can take your food adventure to the next level when you return home!
See the Birthplace of Lunatic Farming
True foodies will get a charge out of visiting nearby Polyface Farms, the Shenandoah Valley farm where the pioneer of non-industrial food production, Joel Salatin, and family fulfill their farm’s mission “…to develop emotionally, economically, environmentally enhancing agricultural enterprises and facilitate their duplication throughout the world.” In addition to raising critically acclaimed products that are served in establishments and homes throughout the region, Polyface has an open door policy, so visitors are welcome to do a self-guided tour Monday-Saturday, attend one of their regularly scheduled “Grass Stains” or “Lunatic Tours,” and visit their store during posted hours. Want to sample some items? In addition to the on-farm store, a list of places that carry, serve, and use Polyface products is on the website.
If exploring the world of food is your idea of heaven on earth, start planning your visit to Waynesboro now. A truly unique foray into creative, sustainable artisan fare awaits. Enjoy the ride!
Looking for a way to beat the heat during the remaining dog days of summer? Here are a few places to cool off in Waynesboro whether you’re an art collector or the aesthetically curious.. We’ve compiled several destinations to fill the last days of summer with artistic inspiration.
Drawing her imagery and visual style from the Shenandoah Valley, Pat Buckley Moss has reigned as an artistic legend for decades. In the words of her gallery website, “she considers the landscapes, lifestyles, cultures and traditions of the area to hold an important message for modern society.” At her downtown Waynesboro Gallery, which boasts the most extensive collection of her work available, visitors can gain insight into both the artist’s evolving creative career as well as the geography from which her message and inspiration flows.
Moss is a highly-prolific artist, and her P. Buckley Moss Waynesboro Gallery offers paintings, prints, and a complete selection of accompanying ornaments and collectibles. Situated in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley and Waynesboro’s revitalized downtown, the gallery is a convenient walk to coffee shops, restaurants, and specialty retailers. For those seeking an arts inspired country tour, historic destinations such as CrossKeys Vineyards, Virginia Military Institute, Mary Baldwin College, Monticello, University of Virginia, and many other P. Buckley Moss featured locations are an easy drive away. See an image that strikes your fancy? Ask the friendly caretakers at the gallery if they can direct you to its nearby location.
Hours: Visit the P. Buckley Moss Gallery Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm, or Sunday 12pm to 4pm. During the late winter (January 1 through March 31st) the Gallery closes on Mondays. Find them at 329 West Main Street, Waynesboro, VA.
Voted a Best of Virginia destination in 2018 by Virginia Living Magazine, the Shenandoah Valley Art Center is a destination gallery that combines rotating exhibitions of original artwork with classes open to the public, workshops, cultural trips and even musical performances. Their in-house studio spaces for artists also means that visitors may find opportunities to interact with working artists in addition to the gallery’s latest series of exhibits.
Member exhibits ensure regular rotations of art from regional creatives, while the Center’s featured exhibits focus on special themes and nationally recognized artists. Their gift shop features affordable local and regional artists’ works including jewelry, prints, cards, pottery, glass, and more. The Center notes: “The work changes frequently so come soon and come often!”
Hours: The Shenandoah Valley Art Center’s summer hours run Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 4pm and Saturday 11am to 2pm. Special events including artists talks and receptions are announced on their website. They are located at 122 South Wayne Avenue in Waynesboro, Virginia.
The Wayne Theatre Exhibit Gallery pairs perfectly with an evening of live performance at the Wayne Theatre Performing Art Center. This summer until August 26th, their exhibit Exceeding Expectations: Staunton, Augusta County, and World War I focuses on the Shenandoah Valley’s history in the War, including over 1,000 local men serving and the local birthplace of wartime president Woodrow Wilson.
Beginning August 30, the gallery will feature the contemporary fiber arts exhibit 13 Perspectives that challenges members of the metropolitan area New Image Artists juried group to explore a personal perspective through the lenses of fiber.
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10am to 2pm, as well as during all performances at the Wayne Theatre Performing Arts Center. The gallery is located at 521 West Main Street, Waynesboro, Virginia.
Coming this October: the Fall Foliage Festival
Every year the Blue Ridge Mountains turn red with the autumn breeze, and the Fall Foliage Arts Festival graces the streets of downtown Waynesboro. This October 13th and 14th, join more than 150 artists and artisans who will showcase paintings, printmaking, woodworking, pottery, sculpture and more.
Looking for a home-base from which to launch a nature-centered vacation? Waynesboro offers a combination of hiking, paddling, fishing, and outdoor relaxation, all a short and convenient drive from its small-town charm. Check out these eight can’t-miss nature experiences that begin at your Waynesboro doorstep.
(1) Chase Waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park
A national treasure in its own right, the Shenandoah National Park invites visitors to sweeping mountain views, easy access to hiking trails, and an incredible density of waterfalls.
Every year, visitors arrive from all over the world to visit the Park, but you’ll find its entrance mere minutes from downtown Waynesboro. In between dipping your toes, don’t forget to check out their all-summer Ranger programming.
(2) Cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway snakes along mountain ridges from the southernmost tip of the Shenandoah National Park to the Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Hiking opportunities abound, but those seeking adventure with less exertion won’t be disappointed with the breathtaking overlooks accessible by car or the stellar driving offered by ribbons of ridgetop pavement. Bring your camera or sketchbook; these views are for sharing and remembering.
(3) Fly Fish an Urban Trout Fishery
What happens when the river, the fly shop, and the brewery are all one short walk from one another? Regardless, we promise not to tell that fishing story! For a local- and expert-led introduction to South River trout fishing, the South River Fly Shop offers full-service guiding and instruction.
(4) Picnic by the River
With a multi-use greenway, miles of water trail, and six parks that follow the South River waterway, you don’t need to leave town to enjoy nature. Spread out under the pavilion at Constitution Park, let your dog run free at Coyner Springs, or reserve the shelter at Ridgeview for by-the-river summertime grill outs.
Waynesboro’s many parks also offer convenient canoe and kayak launch points into the South River Water Trail. Turn your picnic into an opportunity to wade in the river or float away the afternoon.
Red-tailed hawks, black bears, barred owls, white tail fawns, bobcats, and eastern box turtles are just some of the creatures you may find inhabiting the Blue Ridge Mountains. Most are happy to share the trail with you, as their sightings are common from the Valley floor to the mountain ridge tops.
(7) Climb Above your stress
Let stress and worry fade to the valley floor below. This list of suggested hikes includes panoramic views, granite scrambles, and overhanging cliffs. From the Shenandoah National Park to the Blue Ridge Parkway, gorgeous drives parallel the Appalachian Trail, allowing frequent and beautiful access to this 2,000+ mile trail system that travels from Georgia to Maine. Pick your mountain, begin the climb, and join a community of explorers who have been finding peace and relaxation in these mountaintops since Trail construction began in the 1920s.
(8) Hang Out with the Locals
Looking for that infamous local fishing hole or rumored backwoods adventure? There’s a whole City waiting to share its secrets. Rockfish Gap Outfitters promises to outfit every style of adventure with bikes, kayaks, and backpacking gear while swapping outdoor adventure stories. South River Fly Shop hosts “Ties and Lies” to share fishing advice and too-good-to-be-true epics. Trail Angels give Appalachian Trail thru-hikers rides to town, and the Beerwerks Trail combines the best of craft brews and good-natured friendliness.
This summer, we look forward to creating new outdoor memories with you in Waynesboro, Virginia!
Friday is the day for rolling down the windows and rolling out of town, headed for adventures that relax and invigorate. These seven stress-busting weekend ideas will help you fully rejuvenate, but they come with a warning: with this much fun, you may never want your weekend to end.