Flavor, Festivals, & Fitness – Top 3 Reasons to Visit Waynesboro, VA in 2018

Infuse more flavor, more nature, and more play into your new year!  If work-life balance is on your 2018 wish list, head to Waynesboro, Virginia.

The Shenandoah Valley: Your Passport to Flavor

Our craft beverage producers take “fresh” to the next level.  They’re using hops, grains, water and fruits sourced right here in the Shenandoah Valley.  And with a focus on conscious and sustainable practices, they make it easy for the rest of us to savor local flavor packed with purpose.

Take Blue Ridge Bucha, Virginia’s first kombucha producers.  With big flavor and a small footprint, the team at Blue Ridge Bucha hand crafts delicious, organic kombucha that is distributed in refillable bottles.  Just one of many sustainable practices, this commitment alone has saved more than 675,000 bottles…and counting.  You can find Blue Ridge Bucha on draft in over 50 locations in the Mid-Atlantic.  And in 2018, Blue Ridge Bucha is set to open a Waynesboro taproom complete with outdoor patio!

For a Blue Ridge high-octane experience, head up the mountain from Waynesboro to Silverback Distillery, an industry leader in “green” distilling and production methodologies. Mixing tradition, pure ingredients, and modern craftsmanship, Silverback Distillery produces ultra-premium vodka, gin, rye whiskey, honey rye whiskey, and bourbon. And like distillers of old, Silverback Distillery sources its grains from local farmers and then returns the spent mash back to farms as animal feed and fertilizer.

On the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail you can Drink in the Valley with stops at 14 breweries all located within an easy hour’s drive from one another.  Along the way, stamp your Beerwerks Trail Passport to win cool stuff!  Waynesboro’s three breweries, Seven Arrows Brewing, Stable Craft Brewing, and Basic City Beer Co. all serve up locally sourced, scrumptious meals for hungry adventurers.

The Festival Scene

Red Wing Roots Music Festival

We take our music, brews, and food seriously, and for serious fun you don’t want to miss these festivals in and around Waynesboro.  Kick off your summer at the annual Shenandoah Valley Blues & Brews Festival. In July, festivities at Waynesboro’s Summer Extravaganza include a morning 5K & 10K followed by a day packed with family entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, live music, hot air balloon rides, lots of great food, and a large fireworks display as the grand finale.

If you haven’t yet experienced the Red Wing Roots Music Festival, get your camping and event tickets pronto!  This popular three-day Americana music festival is held each July in nearby Natural Chimneys Park.  Set against the backdrop of towering limestone formations, this festival offers an incredible musical lineup, amazing outdoor recreation opportunities, and wonderful food and craft brews.

In September the temps may be cooling down, but the festivities in Waynesboro are still heating up.  Pro and amateur chili chefs and 3,000 lovers of spice come each year to the Virginia Chili, Blues n’ Brews Festival for the the chili competition, legendary blues line-up, and flow of micro- and mega-brews.

Run the Valley, Bike the Blue Ridge

Park to Park Half Marathon. Photo by Norm Shafer.

Running, cycling, hiking, aqua-blazing, snowboarding–what’s your pleasure?  With the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park on our doorstep, adventure is only a step away in Waynesboro.  A good place to start is the Run the Valley Race Series, destination races designed by runners for runners.  There’s something for everyone–mud run, half marathon, 5Ks, and 10Ks.  If speed is your thing, challenge yourself to the scenic Tour de Valley Century & Metric Century or hit the slopes at nearby Wintergreen Resort.  Whatever your fitness level or interests, recess here can come in many forms.

This year, find the flavor, nature, and play your soul craves: Plan a getaway to Waynesboro, VA!

Good for the Sole – Heartwarming Stories from an Appalachian Trail Community

The 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail (A.T.) travels through 14 states on its course from Georgia to Maine.  A thru-hike along the length of the A.T. challenges hikers both physically and mentally and is frequently described as “life-changing.” 540 miles of the A.T. wind through Virginia, more than through any other state, and hikers often refer to the infamous “Virginia Blues” – the feeling that they’re not making progress and the state will never end.  Appalachian Trail Communities like Waynesboro, Virginia, know how important support and rejuvenation are to the weary hiker.

“We had a great trail magic moment on Mother’s Day when we were hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway. A local woman brought an amazing spread of sandwiches, pastries, chips, fresh fruit, and drinks to a place where the trail crossed the Parkway. She kept saying, ‘Call your mothers and let them know that there’s another mother out here taking care of you!’ It was so sweet.”  ~ Staige Davis and Andrea Parra, thru-hikers

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What’s Your Getaway Type? Killer Winter Ideas for Foodies, Artists, Frazzled, and Nature-Loving Travelers

Unforgettable Waynesboro Winter Getaways

What does the ideal winter getaway look like for you?  Some of us eagerly anticipate cold weather sports and recreation.  Others look forward to spending the dark evenings in the company and laughter of friends. For many, a winter night should be paired with a good book and a strong fire. This winter season, find the joy and comforts you crave in Waynesboro, VA!

The Foodie

Eggs benedict…Iris Inn-style. Photo by Jumping Rocks Photography.

For the Foodie, enjoying rich flavors and colorful dishes is the perfect way to spend a winter weekend.   Start your mornings sipping coffee or hot chocolate by the fireplace in the Iris Inn’s sunlit Great Room, then savor a relaxing and fulfilling breakfast designed by the Iris Inn’s Chef and full kitchen staff.  For a real treat add a Sip and Simmer Cabin Dinner to your stay.  the Iris Inn’s Chef  will prepare a seasonal dinner where you add the finishing touches, pair with local wines, and enjoy right in the privacy of your own cabin.

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Heritage in Every Step: The Figures Behind Waynesboro Street Names

Waynesboro, Virginia, is well known as the crossroads of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. An ideal launching point to enjoy the trails of the Shenandoah Valley, the city itself also holds much to explore. A look into the street signs crisscrossing the city reveals a deep and lasting appreciation for the rich history, art, industry, and musical culture that deeply infuses Waynesboro.

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Live Like a Local: Holiday Events for the Traditionalist

Are you a traditionalist that insists on turkey at Thanksgiving and ham at Christmas? Is there a favorite holiday movie you have to watch every year? Do your grandmother’s antique decorations still adorn your Christmas tree? Then you’re sure to enjoy these familiar and well loved traditions in Waynesboro!

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Honoring Veterans and Celebrating Heritage at Fishburne Military School

Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley and at the heart of Waynesboro, Virginia, stands a vibrant testament to the values of integrity and citizenship.  For over 135 years, historic Fishburne Military School has prepared young men for college and a life of leadership.  The oldest and smallest of all military schools in Virginia, Fishburne Military School enrolls 200 student cadets each year into its distinguished academic curriculum built on the structure of an Army JROTC program.  

Founded in 1879, by Professor James Abbott Fishburne, the history and heritage of Fishburne Military School is steeped in rich traditions that honor the past, engage the present, and prepare for the future.  The school’s focus on honor and service shines brightly in Waynesboro as the Fishburne Military School Corps of Cadets actively participates in service projects, review and demonstrations, parades, and poignant ceremonies throughout the community and region.

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Live Like a Local on Your Next Outdoor Adventure with these Waynesboro, VA “Secret Spots”

When you make Waynesboro, Virginia, your basecamp for outdoor adventure, you have hundreds of trails and acres of natural goodness to explore. Where to start? For some quiet solitude with Mother Nature, pack a lunch and head to one of these less-traveled fishing holes, scenic vistas, or picnic spots.

Land a Quiet Fishing Hole

Backcountry fly fishing with South River Fly Shop.

Waynesboro’s renowned urban fishery is a destination for anglers around the world.  We’re also centrally located for fishing adventures throughout the Shenandoah Valley. For less-traveled fishing holes, pack your hiking boots and head to Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness or the Mill Creek and Coles Run Reservoirs tucked back in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.

Or book a backcountry fly fishing trip with South River Fly Shop, and you’ll experience some of the Shenandoah National Park’s best secluded fishing holes with the benefit of full service guiding and instruction!

Before you head out on the water, you can find the latest information on licenses and regulations at Fish Virginia First.

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Base Camp for Fall Bike Rides in Waynesboro, VA

Base Camp for Autumn Bike Rides in Waynesboro, VA

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 Iris Inn or Belle Hearth Bed & Breakfast, then spend your day exploring one of these suggestions.

Sample the Fruits (and Grains) of the Valley

Flying Fox Vineyard

This Waynesboro to Nellysford loop will bring you past some of our region’s delicious offerings. There’s something for everyone’s taste. You’ll find stunning wines to match the views at Veritas Vineyard and Winery, the internationally acclaimed craft spirits of Silverback Distillery, and the cold taps at Wild Wolf Brewing Company.   Wild Wolf’s farm-to-fork restaurant makes this the perfect rest stop on your tour. Refreshed, pedal south to Flying Fox Vineyard to sample one of their Virginia Vermouths or premium wines. And no Nellysford loop would be complete without a stop at Bold Rock Hard Cider! For an abundance of additional grain, grape, berry, and fruit adult beverage options on your route, be sure to check out this map.

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Leaf-Peeping Off the Beaten Track near Waynesboro, VA

Waynesboro, Virginia, is a popular destination for outdoor lovers regardless of season. But there’s definitely something about autumn in the Shenandoah Valley that fires up the senses. You’ve got the invigorating sunshine, the crisp mountain air, and rolling vistas of dazzling fall foliage – all beckoning you to come out and play. In addition to the famous Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, Waynesboro offers an abundance of options for those looking to leaf-peep off the beaten track.

Witness Peak Color & Aerobatics at Rockfish Gap

Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch

Every autumn, thousands of raptors soar high above the juncture of Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway as they migrate through Rockfish Gap. Broad-winged hawks, ospreys, bald eagles, and peregrine falcons are just four of the 16 species you may witness gliding from thermal to thermal.

The Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch, located on the grounds of the Inn at Afton, is easily accessible by car and offers 180 degree panoramic views of both the migration and the fall foliage of the Shenandoah Valley to the west and the Piedmont Region to the east. Local volunteers are at the watch from August 15 to November 30 to collect raptor data for global research and education. If the volunteers are in the midst of counting and unable to chat “raptors”, please direct your curiosity to the educational panel on the site. Songbirds, Monarch butterflies, and dragonflies also migrate through Rockfish Gap. Pack a picnic and enjoy a colorful aerial show above and around you!

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The High-Octane Life in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Waynesboro, Virginia, is renowned for an abundance of high-octane thrills, with mountain biking and rock climbing often highlighted. A spirited heritage runs deep in these Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, and an exploration into the region’s rich lore and mystique is itself an adventure!

These Spirited Mountains

Photo credit: Blue Ridge Institute & Museum of Ferrum College

“Mash,” “granny fee,” “singlings,” “mountain dew,” and “a bootleg turn”… the language, mystique, and modern media portrayals of Blue Ridge moonshining have created quite a body of lore.

For the real scoop on the history and culture of untaxed liquor in the mountains of Virginia, there’s no better resource than the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum’s online exhibition, “Moonshine – Blue Ridge Style.

Settlers to the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains in the 1700s brought their traditions with them, including distilling grains into whiskey and fruit into brandy and using the leftover “slop” from the process for livestock feed. The United States government first began taxing alcohol to help pay for the Revolutionary War. Those distillers who chose not to get a license nor pay tax on their whiskey became known as “bootleggers” and “moonshiners.

Photo credit: Blue Ridge Institute & Museum of Ferrum College

When Virginia banned alcohol in 1914, the demand for moonshine only increased, and previously licensed distillers and bootleggers alike found illegal, but highly creative means to continue to produce and deliver their liquor.

For firsthand accounts and tall tales of moonshine’s role in mountain life, search the online issues of “The Mountain Laurel – The Journal of Mountain Life.” From “medicinal uses” and working a still before school to a story about a gorilla protecting the still of one moonshiner, this collection is a treasure trove of memories and stories!

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