Summer unleashes music, and lots of it in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley! You won’t have trouble finding live performances most any night of the week in Waynesboro, and the Valley’s summer festival season rolls in like a heatwave, with the hottest bands and coldest brews lining up for a season of entertainment. From free and relaxing nights in the park to big-name festivals nearby, we’ve compiled a musical score to keep your summer humming all season long.
Free Concerts in the Park
Love spontaneous and FREE? No need to book tickets for a major music festival in advance when there’s live and free outdoor music all June and July in Waynesboro. Join groups like the Judy Chops every Thursday in June for the Groovin’ at the Greenway series, or swap parks in July for the Rock n’ Ridgeview line up that includes Gaby Haze and Chamomile and Whiskey. These events are all free to the public and organized by Waynesboro Parks and Recreation.
Sounds of the Beerwerks Trail
There’s no better summer combination than music, brews, and food — and the Shenandoah Valley Beerwerks Trail breweries are happy to carry that vibe through every weekend this summer. Check out Stable Craft Brewing for the rolling hills of a working horse farm, Basic City Beer Co for the saw-toothed windows and industrial architecture of a former foundry, or Seven Arrows Brewing for weekly releases of new beer infusion flavors. From open jams, featured artists, to karaoke nights, this schedule of events will keep you smiling, toasting, and tapping your toes all summer long.
Stage Performances Not to Miss
From the music of beloved animated films to performances by the rising classical stars of the Heifetz Institute, country music trio the Quebe sisters, and the big band sound of The Glenn Miller Orchestra 2018, there’s always a plethora of LIVE musical events to choose from on the historic Wayne Theatre calendar.
Around the Region
The Music Fest Line-Up
Book it fast, because the June 16th Shenandoah Valley Blues and Brews festival is right around the corner. This one day event will feature the widely touring Samantha Fish along with local favorites like Sun-Dried Opossum and Kiz Carter and Juke Jackson. Sponsored by Blue Ridge Beverage and Miller Coors, the event is sure to keep you hydrated and happy.
On its heels comes the Valley-wide July 13-15 sensation, the Redwing Roots Music Festival, featuring Trampled by Turtles, Josh Ritter, Steep Canyon Rangers, The Secret Sisters, The Steel Wheels, and many more. With the tagline Great Music, Great Outdoors attendees will be treated to a stellar line up of more than 40 bands, plus gorgeous camping at Natural Chimneys, hiking and biking options throughout the weekend, and even free morning yoga to keep your dancing limbs limber.
The season won’t slow down there, with LOCKN’ Music Festival arriving on August 23-26 in Arrington, Virginia. Nestled in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, LOCKN’ says “Our goal is not only to offer fans mind-blowing lineups but also to present the best in local and regional cuisine, craft beers and wines, and opportunities to explore our picturesque setting.” If you love their location, be ready to return six weeks later, as the next door Festy Experience featuring Gillian Welch and Railroad Earth arrives October 5-7 to offer craft beer, food trucks, camping, and outdoor adventures.
For those who miss the June Blues and Brews Fest, full redemption arrives September 22nd with the Virginia Chili, Blues, and Brews Festival in downtown Waynesboro, featuring a similar blues line up with the spicy addition of a chili cook-off along with a curated selection of micro- and mega-brews.
Late spring is the season of long evening daylight and beckoning weather. Luckily, Waynesboro offers the perfect mountain-town amenities for a sunset jog, a quick afternoon float, or an evening cycle through the Valley. These five adventures promise the mood-boosting benefits of time in nature, while utilizing the accessibility of local parks and backyard trail systems.
(1) Paddle the Waynesboro Water Trail
The Waynesboro Water Trail links five City parks in a four-mile run that includes a mix of Class I and II rapids, wilderness-level solitude, industrial skylines, and downtown take outs. With its surprising views into many unexpected corners of Waynesboro, it’s a unique way of exploring the City while staying cool, shaded, and on the water. Allow 2-3 hours to float the full South River Blueway from Ridgeview Park to Basic Park. A wide diversity of take out options help paddlers break the float into smaller sections or extend their trip to include Grand Caverns Park or the Port Republic confluence with the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.
(2) Stroll through the Parks
There’s not much more satisfying than a run with man’s best friend through open fields past freshly blooming parklands. Coyner Springs Park offers a rustic 145 acres that include nature trails, a leash-free dog park, kite-flying skies, disc golf, and enough wilderness to offer up frequent sightings of red-tailed hawks, woodpeckers, and foxes.
Joggers, baby strollers, and evening walkers find their riverside delights along the South River Greenway, a mile-long stretch of paved walking and biking surface that includes a river overlook, picnic shelter, and downtown access to after-walk drinks and dinner options.
(3) Cycle the Valley
Follow the South River along the base of Sawmill Ridge and the Blue Ridge Mountains in this evening, 12.5 mile bike ride called the Waynesboro Dooms Loop. For a longer, 35-mile pull, the Waynesboro to Grottoes Loop also hugs the river, offering a tour of the inflection between the Valley bottom and Blue Ridge topography, while still promising some of the flattest roads in Augusta County.
Both loops begin and end in downtown Waynesboro, promising enough in-town, gourmet calories to replenish the toughest ride. Cyclists are welcome along all three of Waynesboro Beerwerks Trail brewery destinations.
(4) Downtown Fly Fishing
The dinner-to-adventure jaunt can be shorter than a bike ride, as the South River’s Urban Trout Fishery offers fly fishing opportunities within a block of the downtown cultural core. Rare is the springtime day that a fisherman can’t be seen wading near the improved trout habitat and rock cascades of Constitution Park. Nearby South River Fly Shop offers equipment, gear, guided tours, and “big fish stories,” including a weekly Ties and Lies night. The South River itself offers spring-fed waters, ripping whitewater, easy parking, and exceptional catch-and-release trout fishing opportunities.
(5) Catch the Perfect Sunset (Sunset Park, Humpback Rocks)
Sunset Park, with sweeping views overlooking all of Waynesboro, remains under construction — but don’t be surprised to find weekly contingents of local mountain bikers building trails and readying its amenities for prime time. Outdoor enthusiasts seeking panoramic views needn’t wait, however. The Humpback Rocks trail system offers granite pinnacles in only one mile of climbing, with spectacular views of the Rockfish and Shenandoah Valleys. Longer excursions to Humpback Mountain (2 miles) and to a developed picnic area (4 miles) allows a choose your own adventure that can fit in an after-work nature-reset or expand to an all-day mountain top excursion.
Humpback Rocks trail includes both blue and white blazes, proof of its intersection with the nation’s “premier hiking path,” the 2,000 mile Appalachian Trail that runs from Georgia to Maine. “Day hikers” may encounter thru-hikers part-way through their adventure, with opportunities to swap stories and marvel that some of the mountains’ most breathtaking destinations are but backyard explorations from Waynesboro.
Meet Your Farmer at the Waynesboro Farmer’s Market
Farmer’s markets are the perfect spot to meet the folks who grow your food. The Waynesboro Farmer’s Market (a producers-only affair, meaning all the farms on-site participate in producing the products they sell) delights with characters, stories, and delicious ways to get to know the growers who are greening our local food shed. Their regular assortment of offerings includes fresh veggies, meat, bread and baked goods, honey, flowers, and a variety of arts and crafts.
Occurring every Saturday from 9 a.m. to1 p.m. throughout the growing season, the Waynesboro Farmer’s Market is a family affair. Located in Constitution Park in the heart of downtown Waynesboro, children and adults are welcome to shop, play along the river banks, or stroll along the nearby South River Greenway.
With so many farms, wineries, bakeries, and local food producers dotting the Valley, there’s no need to wait for a Saturday to explore a regional farmer’s market. The Staunton, North Augusta, Harrisonburg, and Lexington farmer’s markets will keep you munching all week with schedules that include Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.
Cuddle Baby Goats
Nothing says springtime like soft fur and baby goats. Both A Better Way Farm and My Peeps Farm offer goat cuddling sessions that never fail to elicit smiles and shrieks of delight. Pair them with cheesemaking classes, farm tours, or a chance to buy pastured eggs.
My Peeps Farm raises Nigerian Dwarf goats on 10 acres. A Better Way Farm is a small eco-farm and micro-dairy in Augusta County focused on managing their land in harmony with nature. They promise “Happy goats make sweet, delicious milk,” and they let you be the judge by offering goats’ milk cheeses and more in their farm store.
Meet the Cow that Came to Town
The best part of cities nestled in farmland is the locally grown food available to downtown restaurants and retailers. This summer, the City Cow, the latest entrepreneurial initiative of the the owner of the Purple Cow Ice Cream Parlor and Cafe, comes to Waynesboro. Featuring displays from a variety of local vendors, visitors will find farm-fresh produce, items from the Enchanted Apothecary, Stone Cottage Candles, tie-dye, and even cow mugs to match the marketing decor. The City Cow will be one of the first landmarks seen by drivers exiting the Blue Ridge Parkway and heading into Waynesboro.
Visitors will find even more locally grown food at several downtown restaurants. The Farmhaus on Main serves up seasonal salads, sandwiches, coffee, and books, while BlueOregano specializes in catered meals and family cooking classes in their downtown storefront.
However you choose to partake in local food and farms this season, it’s glasses up and cheers to the many growers who are serving up great fare and farm-fresh experiences in the Shenandoah Valley!
Each year, May brings the annual search for the perfect brunch. Warm days invite late morning lounging, families gather for Mothers Day, and weekend drives in the country remain incomplete without a favorite meal and relaxation stop. We’ve compiled the four best places that serve up a seasonal brunch of laughter, friendship, and amazing food.
Weekend warriors seeking the perfect base camp are finding their sweet spot at the intersection of Interstates 81 and 64. Sitting a mere 90 minutes from Richmond and less than three hours from Washington, D.C., Waynesboro offers a weekend of outdoor adventure, cultural excursions, and historic explorations — all within a short country drive of this “divinely placed” getaway.
Some of the best trails in the Shenandoah Valley aren’t steep pitches that are best tackled with hiking boots. Casual walking shoes will carry you through artisan trails, welcoming farms in fields of gold, and even to the best craft breweries and wineries in the Shenandoah Valley. We’ve mapped the five itineraries that promise adventure, culture, sweeping vistas, and a nice cold brew.
(1) Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail
The 14 craft breweries along the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail range from the industrial vibes of Basic City Beer Co. –listed as “truly a brewery to look out for” by the Wandering Gourmand –to the horse farm and mountain views of Stable Craft Brewing. Others like Redbeard Brewing Company offer warm-fermented, unfiltered “real ale,” naturally carbonated in the kegs they are served from in this nearby Staunton nanobrewery. Never more than an hour’s drive from each other, the breweries along this trail will have you exploring the historic architecture and cultural centers of small downtowns, the rolling hills of the Shenandoah Valley, and welcoming tap rooms with plenty of space for friends.
Don’t miss the many live music events scheduled throughout the springtime calendar. Although the Beerwerks Trail is dotted with food trucks and onsite restaurants to fuel your adventure, don’t miss out on the trail’s side tours of local food offerings.
(2) Fields of Gold Farm Trail
While in the search for the finest local fare, the Fields of Gold Farm Trail explores the stories and roots of Virginia’s family farmers. Taste fresh maple syrup with Back Creek Farms, pick daylilies and peonies at Andre Viette’s Flower Farm and Nursery, or learn how to make goat cheese with A Better Way Farm and Goat Dairy. Pick-your-own-fruit and working-farm tour options abound, as do farmers markets, food festivals, and gourmet meals at farm-to-table restaurant destinations.
With over 200 farming venues, the variety of options are more abundant than August tomatoes. The Fields of Gold trail maps allow visitors to explore farms by location up and down the Shenandoah Valley, as well as search for adventures by keyword including farm experiences, trout fishing excursions, on-farm lodging, and more.
(3) Heart and Soil Artisan Trail
From sheep farms to hand-painted yarn stores, the Heart and Soil Artisan Trail connects travelers to the cultural destinations of craft, tradition, and locally made artwork. Explore artisan studios like Make Waynesboro, which offers hands-on pottery classes and special events for all ages, as well as Appalachian Piecework, a working textile studio that also features handsplit bark baskets and turned wood bowls. At Wintuck Pottery, Lynn Hilton Conyers works as a contemporary potter combining Raku firings with mixed media surface decorations.
The Heart and Soil Artisan Trail also offers art gallery destinations like the Shenandoah Valley Art Center, the P. Buckley Moss Gallery, as well as more classical performance spaces such as the Wayne Theatre, whose bookings range from live music to movie nights to the very grandest of theatre productions.
(4) Virginia is for Lovers Wine Trails
With nearly 300 wineries along trails stretching across the state, Virginia is a unique wine destination and the Shenandoah Valley, with its blue ridges and sparking sunsets, offers some of its finest destinations. Rows of grapes drape rolling hills, beckoning visitors to stroll, explore, and relax.
Wineries within easy striking distance of Waynesboro include Afton Mountain, Barren Ridge, Cardinal Point, Flying Fox, King Family, and Veritas, but the list doesn’t stop there. Explore the the Nelson 151 Trail on the slopes of the Blue Ridge, drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway to discover Virginia’s Mountain Road Wine Experience, or learn how Thomas Jefferson’s home has become the Monticello Viticultural Area in recognition of the region’s distinguished and burgeoning wine industry. The one thing holding you back will be the question of how to pack all possible trail adventures into one loop.
(5) Guided Tours by Local Trail Blazers
With so many trails to explore, working with a local guide can customize your adventures, while providing transportation for a “driving free” winery and brewery experience. Shenandoah Tours offers personalized craft beer tours featuring multiple brewery destinations, multiple tastings at each brewers, and a group lunch as part of the excursion.
To pair wine-sipping adventures with cozy bed-and-breakfasts, the Summer Valley and Vineyards Package at Belle Hearth offers a three-course gourmet breakfast, chauffered tours to award-winning vineyards and cideries, a picnic lunch, and dinner vouchers for two for a night on the town.
Finally, the Iris Inn’s Shenandoah Valley farm tour introduces guests to celebrity farms like Polyface, renowned for ecological and regenerative farming practices, as well as White Oak Lavender Farm for aromatherapy workshops, and Open Gate Farm for baby chick and milk goat petting. By the end of these trails, a relaxing evening in the Iris Inn’s outdoor hammocks will be well deserved–no shoes required!
Sometimes the ride is as exhilarating and beautiful as any destination. If you’re looking for sweeping turns, windswept mountain vistas, or country roads to cruise, these bicycle and motorcycle itineraries are sure to inspire.
Pedaling on Pavement
Day Trip Tours from Waynesboro are plentiful. Beginners and family-friendly options include the South River Greenway, stretching from Constitution Park and meandering along the South River, which on Saturday mornings features the Waynesboro Farmers Market. Or stretch a little further with the 12.5 mile Waynesboro-to-Dooms Day Loop, which takes you along the South River as it flows north towards its confluence with the North River. Intermediate riders may love the Waynesboro-to-Grottoes Loop which, over the course of 35 miles, can include a tour of Grand Caverns in the town of Grottoes and passes the renowned horticulturalist André Viette’s extensive perennial garden and nursery on Long Meadow Road. Don’t be shy about exploring other options, as Bike the Valley’s database of On Road rides remains extensive.
Hikers of the Appalachian Trail may be surprised to find Waynesboro on their map twice—once in Virginia and once in Pennsylvania. Both are designated Appalachian Trail Communities (Waynesboro, PA shares its ATC designation with Washington Township and together they go by “Greater Waynesboro Area, PA”). Hikers visiting both locales can expect a warm welcome when they stop to resupply, and visitors taking a faster mode of transportation will be equally charmed by the small-town culture.