A Trail of Two Waynesboros

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.

Main Street in downtown Waynesboro, VA.

Town Trivia
  • Both Waynesboros were named after General “Mad” Anthony Wayne, hero of the Revolutionary War and native of Pennsylvania. Apparently, many other cities in PA carried the name Waynesboro, too, until 1831 when the federal government declared that the names of post offices within a single state could not be duplicated.
  • Waynesboro, PA, just north of the Mason-Dixon Line, was under Confederate rule for 15 days in 1863 when Rebel troops camped there en route to Gettysburg.
  • Both Waynesboros have been shaped by textiles and manufacturing. Waynesboro, VA was once home to General Electric, DuPont (Lycra/Spandex was invented here), and Wayn-Tex (now Mowhawk), while Waynesboro, PA claims the Frick Company, Geiser Manufacturing, Waynesboro Knitting Mill, Landis Machine Company, and Landis Tool Company.
Good Ol’ Mad Anthony

With a nod to their common namesake, both Waynesboros host a Mad Anthony run.

The general takes a leap over one of the obstacles at Waynesboro, VA’s Mad Anthony Mud Run.

Mad Anthony’s Run Through the Park 10K (PA): May 19, 2018—The run hits historic downtown and the local parks and coincides with the Brewmaster Beer Festival, which showcases live music and over 30 beers from 20 breweries.

Mad Anthony Mud Run (VA): February 23, 2019—This more rugged foot challenge features obstacles named after famous skirmishes in General Wayne’s past. You’ll face mud and possibly even snow at this popular event that kicks off the Run the Valley race series.

For the Hiker
Hikers are welcome at both Waynesboros! (Photo by Sandy Schroeder)

Waynesboro, VA goes the extra mile for hikers with two hiker hostels, a thru-hiker campground, amenities like a shoe repair service and post office, a strong network of shuttle drivers, and several all-you-can-eat restaurants to satiate a hiker’s enormous appetite. Rockfish Gap Outfitters will supply hikers with anything they need on the trail, while nearby craft-beverage experts, Blue Ridge Bucha and Basic City Beer Co., will quench their thirst. Within an easy walk of the hiker campground and the two hostels, downtown Waynesboro offers casual dining and locally roasted coffee.

Nationally acclaimed Zoe’s Chocolates concocts truly unique chocolates, many using local ingredients.

Greater Waynesboro Area, PA boasts six access points to the A.T. within Washington Township alone! The closest post office, Blue Ridge Summit, offers a “Hiker Supply Box” courtesy of a local Girl Scout troop who keeps it stocked with a variety of snacks, toiletries, and even duct tape. Burgundy Lane B&B’s proprietors cater to hikers, offering shuttle service as well as warm and personalized hospitality.  Bring an appetite to Red Run Grill in Waynesboro, where mouth-watering pit beef and BBQ promises to please your taste buds. For dessert, stop at Zoe’s Chocolate Co. whose handcrafted chocolates appeared at the 2013 Oscars and the 2011 Emmy Awards. During the summer, al fresco music fills the air on Fridays and Saturdays.

Signature Events

A.T. hikers may want to time their arrival in town to catch one of these Waynesboro events:

Waynesboro, VA

Groovin’ at the Greenway (Thursdays in June). Waynesboro’s idyllic Greenway Trail comes alive with music Thursday evenings in June. The Greenway Trail conveniently abuts the city’s thru-hiker campground and follows the contours of the South River.

Waynesboro’s Summer Extravaganza. (Photo by Norm Shafer)

Summer Extravaganza (July 14, 2018). A longtime summer tradition, the Extravaganza features live music at Ridgeview Park amphitheater, carnival rides, midway games, food trucks, and crafts for sale. The day is capped off by a spectacular fireworks display over the South River.

Fall Foliage Art Show (October 13 & 14, 2018). Now celebrating its 47th year, the Fall Foliage Art Show transforms downtown Waynesboro into an outdoor fine-art festival for the weekend. Art aficionados will also enjoy gourmet food trucks, craft beer, and lively local music.

Greater Waynesboro Area, PA

Father’s Day Weekend Car and Truck Show (June 16, 2018). Downtown comes alive with shiny cars and trucks of all makes and models. Food, music, and pop-up shops make it a full day of fun.

Waynesboro Borough Hall, PA

Market Day (October 6, 2018). Crisp fall weather marks Main Street’s annual Market Day, always on the first Saturday in October. The event features all-day entertainment, including live music, dancing demonstrations, sidewalk sales, children’s activities and dozens of craft, specialty and food vendors. Entries in the annual Scarecrow Contest are displayed along Main Street lamp posts.

Art at Its Heart

If art is your scene, you’ll want to visit both Waynesboros.

The Wayne Theatre. (Photo by Kevin Blackburn/kevinblackburn.com)

Waynesboro, VA

Catch top-notch music, drama, arts education at the Wayne Theatre.  Built in 1926 as a vaudeville theater, the Wayne has long been a recognizable fixture of downtown Waynesboro. Fully restored in 2016 into the state-of-the-art Ross Performing Arts Center at The Wayne Theatre, the facility hosts local, regional, and nationally acclaimed music and drama acts and educational programming.

Meander the heART and Soil of the Shenandoah Valley Artisan Trail.  From traditional crafts to the explosive innovations of modern artisans, a trip along the heART and Soil Artisan Trail offers a glimpse into the unique melding of art, history, and agriculture that is Waynesboro’s cultural birthright. A great place to start is the Shenandoah Valley Art Center in downtown Waynesboro.

Destination Arts ensures that the art scene is lively in Waynesboro, PA.

Greater Waynesboro Area, PA

Formed with the conviction that a strong arts community is vital to a city’s health and growth, Destination Arts began when a group of visionary volunteers began turning vacant commercial buildings into curated art galleries. Thanks to those efforts, there are now five permanent art galleries in downtown Waynesboro. These provide free musical performances, artistic demonstrations, and educational workshops, in addition to a broad selection of hand-crafted items for purchase.

North or South of the Mason-Dixon Line, Waynesboro welcomes outdoor enthusiasts eager to experience the local flavor!

Author: Liza Peltola

Liza Peltola grew up in Waynesboro, VA, and after living overseas and on the west coast, returned to the Shenandoah Valley, where rolling farmland and Blue Ridge Mountains foster a thriving arts and agriculture scene.