Civil War Driving Tours

Bordered by the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains, the Shenandoah Valley acted as a north-south passage for travelers during its settlement and growth, and at no other time was its location so critical than during the Civil War. Union and Confederate troops clashed along its length as the two armies sought to gain ground while driving the enemy backwards. Today, Civil War buffs can experience those costly battles through a variety of museums, films, tours, battlefields, and re-enactments. Since any point in the Shenandoah Valley is easily reached within an hour or two of Waynesboro, the region is ripe for day trips and driving tours.

A cavalryman rides across the battlefield during Waynesboro at War’s Civil War Weekend. Photo by Katie Ford, courtesy of Waynesboro at War.
  1. Battle of Waynesboro Driving Tour

 Waynesboro was the site of the last Civil War battle fought in the Shenandoah Valley. On March 2, 1865, Confederate General Early faced off with Union General Sheridan in a brief skirmish that ended in a Confederate defeat. Just two months later, General Lee would surrender at Appomattox.

Start your driving tour by visiting the Plumb House Museum at 1012 W. Main Street (open Thurs-Sat, call 540-943-3943). The house, built between 1802 and 1804, stood just opposite the battle site and has the holes in its walls to prove it. From there, ascend the hill to 301 Pine Avenue to stand on the Confederate defensive line, which ran roughly the same direction as Pine. Next, drive to Ridgeview Park at the end of Magnolia Avenue. Here, a surprise attack was staged by the Union army along the gravel alley connecting the baseball fields to the end of Locust Avenue, which marked the left end of Early’s Confederate line. You can park at the baseball fields and walk the gravel alley, as motorized traffic is prohibited. For your final stop, head to the Waynesboro Heritage Museum at 420 W. Main Street in downtown Waynesboro. Here, Confederate Colonel William H. Harman was surrounded by five Federals and gunned down. The museum now stands as a wealth of information on the battle and general history of Waynesboro, so be sure to stop in.

A more detailed printed guide of this tour is available at the Waynesboro Downtown Visitor Center or by calling 540-942-6512.

Expand Your Experience

September 16-17, 2017: Waynesboro at War presents a Civil War Weekend. Held annually at Coyner Springs Park, the event highlights the Civil War action seen in Waynesboro. Spectators are invited to meet soldiers from each army, taste camp life, witness the battle, and even participate in an 1860s “Blue vs. Grey” baseball game.

Soldiers occupied tents such as these during the war. Photo by Katie Ford, courtesy of Waynesboro at War.
  1. Winchester Driving Tour

At the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester endured numerous battles as the armies fought over its key position. Here, Stonewall Jackson established his headquarters for his famous 1862 Valley Campaign, and here generals Lee, Early, and Sheridan saw action during their own campaigns. A generous number of sites—more than can be mentioned in this driving tour—can be visited here.

Begin your tour at the Old Courthouse Civil War Museum at 20 N. Loudon Street (open Wed-Sat). This 1840 courthouse was used as a prison and hospital during the war and now exhibits over 3,000 artifacts from the Winchester area as well as soldiers’ graffiti on the walls. Next, stretch your legs along the many miles of interpretive trails through the Third Winchester Battlefield Park at 541 Redbud Road. This area saw some of the fiercest fighting of the whole war! When you’re ready to come indoors, head to Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters Museum at 415 N. Braddock Street, where you’ll find one of the largest collections of Jackson memorabilia. Wrap up your day at the Kernstown Battlefield on the Pritchard-Grim Farm at 610 Battle Park Drive (open May-October, weekends only). This 315-acre farm was the center of the First and Second Battles of Kernstown and now houses a visitor center and exhibits.

Expand Your Experience

September 16: Friendly Fire, Murderous Fire: The Fight for the Middle Field – Third Winchester. Find out why this particular skirmish was called “that basin of hell.”

September 23: Civil War Era Ball. Hosted by the Kernstown Battlefield Association, this second annual ball will feature live music and dances called by the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Era Dancers.

Belle Grove Plantation, Middletown
  1. Signal Knob Area Driving Tour

Signal Knob served as a key lookout point on the 60-mile long Massanutten Mountains, which split the Valley in two from Strasburg to Harrisonburg. Hikers may enjoy the aggressive 10-mile hike to the top of the knob, but for those content to stay on level ground, start your tour at the Visitor Contact Station at 7712 Main Street, Middletown. Here, you will gain an overview of the history of the valley and the war, enhanced by a fiber optic map. Next, drive to the stately Belle Grove Plantation (336 Belle Grove Road). The plantation paints a picture of valley life prior to and during the war. The Battle of Cedar Creek was fought on and around the plantation’s grounds. For more in-depth interpretation of the Cedar Creek Battle, visit the CCB Foundation Headquarters, at 8437 Valley Pike. Finally, head to Hupp’s Hill Civil War Park at 33229 Old Valley Pike, Strasburg, where you’ll find a museum interpreting the 1864 Valley Campaign.

Expand Your Experience

September 23: Fisher’s Hill Bus Tour. Historian and author Scott Patchan will lead this in-depth bus tour of the Fisher’s Hill battlefield, covering both well-known and seldom-seen battlefield sites.

October 13: History at Sunset—Treating the Wounded at Cedar Creek. Join Ranger James Horn as he examines the treatment of wounded and the general practice of medicine during the Civil War.  This special program will be held at St. Thomas Chapel, which was used as a hospital by the Union army following the battle.

October 14-15: Battle of Cedar Creek Reenactment and Anniversary. Relive the largest Civil War battle in the Shenandoah Valley held on the original battlegrounds in Middletown, VA.

For more information on these or other Shenandoah Valley Civil War sites, visit Shenandoah at War.

 

 

Your Kids Will LOVE these Waynesboro Activities

Waynesboro,VA is the greatest playground a kid (and their adult) could ask for!  Fresh mountain air, family-friendly venues, and engaging hands-on fun, provide endless outlets for curiosity, creativity, and energy.   The kid in your life will love these favorite Waynesboro activities.

Wildlife Center of Virginia Tour

Maggie is one of several education animals at the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

Celebrating a birthday?  Looking for a unique family outing?  Schedule a tour of the renowned Wildlife Center of Virginia!  Kids will learn about the inner-workings of a wildlife hospital and have a close-up experience of one of the resident non-releasable owls, hawks, or eagles.  A guided nature hike led by a Wildlife Center educator will give children a fresh look into the animals and habitat of the adjoining George Washington National Forest.

Continue reading “Your Kids Will LOVE these Waynesboro Activities”

Frosty Treats in Waynesboro

Have you mowed the lawn until the grass is sticking in your throat? Are you slaving over an outdoor grill, flipping hamburgers while the sweat trickles between your shoulder blades? Do you drive a car without air conditioning, peeling your thighs off the seats and sporting a windblown hairstyle? Then make a beeline to Waynesboro for one of these throat-soothing, spine-chilling frosty treats!

Micah’s Frozen Mocha includes homemade whipped cream.

Frozen Mocha

Micah’s Coffee. 1000 West Broad Street. When the weather turns hot, Waynesboro’s popular drive-thru coffee stand whips up cold espresso drinks and frappes. One of their most popular treats is the Frozen Mocha, blended with Ghiradelli chocolate, espresso and milk, topped with homemade whipped cream. Kids will enjoy a Frozen Hot Chocolate, the same recipe without the espresso.

Continue reading “Frosty Treats in Waynesboro”

Waynesboro, VA: The Perfect Day Trip/Getaway from Richmond, VA

Stuck in your Richmond office daydreaming about wide open spaces and cool mountain streams?  Idling in traffic and wishing you were high above it all?  Want to trade in that concrete jungle for a forest path? You’re only 90 minutes away from a rejuvenating getaway.  Hop on I-64 West, set your sights on those Blue Ridge Mountains, and before you’ve finished your playlist, you’ll be in Waynesboro, VA, the playground of the Shenandoah Valley.  Here are 6 reasons to jump in the car this weekend.

Continue reading “Waynesboro, VA: The Perfect Day Trip/Getaway from Richmond, VA”

Waynesboro,VA: An Inspiring Playground for All Ages

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!

Continue reading “Waynesboro,VA: An Inspiring Playground for All Ages”

Live Like a Local: Hometown Events in May

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.

Xanadu the Musical rocks the Wayne Theatre May 5-14. Photo courtesy of the Wayne Theatre Facebook page.
Xanadu the Musical rocks the Wayne Theatre May 5-14. Photo courtesy of the Wayne Theatre Facebook page.

Xanadu the Musical

May 5-14

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!

The Blue Ridge Classic Soapbox Derby will take place May 6 in downtown Waynesboro. Photo by Norm Shafer.
The Blue Ridge Classic Soapbox Derby will take place May 6 in downtown Waynesboro. Photo by Norm Shafer.

Blue Ridge Classic Soapbox Derby

May 6, 7:30 a.m.,Downtown Waynesboro

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!

Patsy Asuncion will be among the authors at Author Fest. Photo courtesy of the author's website.
Patsy Asuncion will be among the authors at Author Fest. Photo courtesy of the author’s website.

Author Fest

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.

Firetrucks join the festivities at the Rosenwald Community Block Party. Photo courtesy of Waynesboro Parks and Recreation website.
Firetrucks join the festivities at the Rosenwald Community Block Party. Photo courtesy of Waynesboro Parks and Recreation website.

Rosenwald Community Block Party

May 6, 1:00-4:00 p.m., Rosenwald Community Center

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.

Catch the amazing antics of the Marvelous Mutts at Petpawlooza. Photo courtesy of Marvelous Mutts.
Catch the amazing acrobatics of the Marvelous Mutts at Petpawlooza. Photo courtesy of the Marvelous Mutts.

Petpawlooza

May 14, 12:00-4:00 p.m., Coyner Springs Park

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.

Humpback Rocks Sunday Concert: Sunny Side

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!

 

Spring Hiking in National Parks Near Waynesboro VA

One Visit, Two National Parks

This spring, make Waynesboro, VA your destination for outdoor recreation.  The city is located just 3 miles from the junction of the Blue Ridge Parkway to the south and Skyline Drive heading north through Shenandoah National Park.  You’ll have hundreds of miles of trails to choose from, and with a little planning you can experience two National Parks over one weekend. Continue reading “Spring Hiking in National Parks Near Waynesboro VA”

Down by the River: Waynesboro, VA’s Top 3 Water Attractions

In Waynesboro, VA, good nature runs deep.  In fact, it flows right through the heart of our downtown.  With the South River at our doorstep and the Blue Ridge Mountains around us, we’re committed to the care and enjoyment of our scenic waterways and greenways.  Come join us down by the river!  Continue reading “Down by the River: Waynesboro, VA’s Top 3 Water Attractions”

Live Like a Local: Best Burger Joints in the ‘Boro

If a mouth-watering burger is what you’re hankering for, look no further than Waynesboro!

Jake’s Bar & Grill, 137 N. Wayne Avenue

Tumbleweed Burger at Jake's
Tumbleweed Burger at Jake’s

Jake’s is a welcoming watering hole with a cozy, western flair, serving 100% all natural, locally raised, USDA ground beef burgers. Try their award-willing Tumbleweed Burger, featuring a beef patty topped with breaded jalapeño nuggets, cream cheese, apple jelly, and crunchy fried onion strips served on a glossy brioche roll. Once you’ve tasted it, you’ll know why it swept all three categories at the Staunton-Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce Burger Cookoff.  Jake’s also won the attention of Scoutology as being among the best burger joints in the state!

Also try the Sagebrush, a beef patty smothered in grilled onions, peppers, and mushrooms with melted Swiss and homemade Coyote sauce.

Heritage on Main, 309 W. Main Street Continue reading “Live Like a Local: Best Burger Joints in the ‘Boro”

Top Places to Fill Your Bunny Basket near Waynesboro,VA

In Waynesboro, VA it’s easy to find kid-friendly fun.  Our family events, nature trails, and beautiful parks make Waynesboro a playground for all ages.  Join us as we celebrate the return of spring with these community festivities!

spring flowers

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny
Saturday, March 25, 8-10 AM, $4-8 Continue reading “Top Places to Fill Your Bunny Basket near Waynesboro,VA”