The Darker Side of the Shenandoah – The Legends & Stories Waiting for You Near Waynesboro, VA
Coming to the Shenandoah Valley for the spring wildflowers and a gentle stroll? This isn’t the trip planner for you. But if you’re looking for a little mystery to go with your outdoor explorations, read on! Like every beautiful place, the Shenandoah Valley is also home to a whole series of legends and stories of a darker nature – sightings and encounters that defy explanation, handed down over generations of adventurers. Here are a few ideas for a walk on the wild side near Waynesboro, VA.
The Dreaded Wampus of the Blue Ridge Mountains
“A piercing scream.” “An awful smell, like a skunk and a wet dog.” “Five feet tall.” “An unholy hybrid of canine and feline.” “It was holding my pal with a hand. Then it hissed and took off – on two legs!”
Let’s face it. They broke the mold when they created your fun-loving, hard-playing, adventure-seeking sweetheart. So why would you stoop to another ho-hum dinner or lame box of chocolates this Valentine’s Day for someone so spectacularly stellar? Surprise him/her with one of these truly unique gifts, experiences, or weekend adventures in Waynesboro, VA, and the two of you will be talking about this Valentine’s Day for years to come.
Picnic on the Summit
Waynesboro is smack in the middle of Virginia’s most wild and beautiful playground. There’s no better place to find solitude and to spend quality time together. And that’s really what your sweetie wants from you, isn’t it?
For “wow!” factor there’s nothing like a picnic along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. Nature lovers will want to grab an Osprey or Yeti at Rockfish Gap Outfitters. Then, take a detour to Greenwood Gourmet Grocery to fill it with local edibles like Simply Cheddar, Ula Tortillas and chips and craft beverages such as Blue Ridge Bucha.
There are hundreds of miles of trails in the park, each with unique terrain, vistas, and rock formations to explore. To get you started, take a look at Blackrock Summit Trail with its panoramic views or Riprap Trail to Chimney Rock with its rocky outcroppings.
Of course, before you go check out this Winter Hiking Guide from Shenandoah National Park so you two don’t find yourselves stuck somewhere with too much solitude!
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
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!
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.
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
“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.”
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!
Recreation is a way of life in Waynesboro, Virginia. Residents and visitors to this beautiful Appalachian Trail Community have countless options for enjoying nature year-round. And Waynesboro is proactive in expanding its Outdoor Recreation Network to provide easy, interconnected access to the hundreds of miles of trails, routes, and waterways running through and around the city. Whether you like to walk, bike, run, or paddle, you’re only a step away in Waynesboro!
Good nature and good dining pair naturally in Waynesboro, VA, making it easy to slow down and savor every moment of summer. Experience our gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley by mountain trail, water trail, or farm trail. Then kick back and enjoy a leisurely afternoon or evening on the patios and hammocks of one of these dining destinations.
Located at Seven Arrows Brewing Company, NOBOS serves up a full delicious menu made from scratch. You can enjoy a locally-sourced burger paired with your favorite locally-sourced brew all while relaxing on their spacious deck!
After playing in the sun, unwind in the cool comfort of Heritage on Main’s covered patio. Catch the sports game, swing to live music, share some laughs on trivia night, or simple sit back and sip a custom cocktail or cold craft brew.
“Hammock Lounge.” Need we say more? At Basic City Beer Co. you’ve got the best of all worlds – a 6 tap outdoor draft station complete with hammocks and picnic tables and ping pong, shuffleboard, a pool table, and a full tap lineup waiting for you indoors. Check out Hops Kitchen to see what’s on the menu to pair with your Frying Pan Stout and Waynesbeeroh Lager.
Looking for a quiet lunch among friends? The patio garden at The Purple Foot is the place for you. With a delectable menu that includes Quiche Du Jour and Crepe Cod Bay, you’ll want to sample everyone’s plate. Good thing you’re with friends! Just be sure to leave room for the daily sinful dessert. After lunch, swing into The Purple Foot’s gift shop and wine shop to pick up a little something for later.
You need a protein fix after a day on the trails! Head to The Fishin’ Pig for a hearty selection of BBQ, seafood, and southern cuisine. Peruse the menu while sipping a signature cocktail or local craft brew out on the patio. If you can’t decide between Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos, a mouthwatering pork BBQ Cuban, or beef brisket you may need to order one of each and share around the table. Or order Grady’s Smoke Shack Sampler and Kelly’s Pork N’ Fish Dish to cover your bases!
The sizzling flavors of Mexico. An icy, cold margarita. Fresh, homemade guacamole. Mix in a mariachi band and live entertainment. There’s no place like Plaza Azteca for relishing the tastes and ambiance of a beautiful summer evening!
Coffee is only the beginning at the Farmhaus! Start your day on the front porch with a specialty coffee and a homemade berry pop tart. Then stay for lunch and treat yourself to Haus-made lemonade and a gourmet salad on the back patio!
Get your farm fresh beer, locally-sourced burger, and beautiful mountain views all-in-one! Hang out in the pavilion or on the patio and relax under the setting sun. Or time your visit for Sunday evenings and you could be sitting around the firepit toasting with brews and s’mores!
Don’t let this summer pass you by. Savor every moment and every bite – plan your stay in Waynesboro,VA today!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
On May 14th, treat the mothers in your life to a getaway in Waynesboro, VA. Mother’s Day has roots in the Shenandoah Valley, so there’s no better place to celebrate! Our quaint bed & breakfasts, scenic mountain trails, and farm-to-table dining offer endless opportunities to pamper your loved ones. Explore one of these three delicious pairings or design your own outdoor adventure.
Mother’s Day Group Hike + Basic City Beer Co.
Enjoy some of the best views and brews of our region! This beginner-friendly group hike will be led by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and the pros from Waynesboro’s Rockfish Gap Outfitters. This casual and guided hike will lead you to the summit of Turk Mountain in Shenandoah National Park where you can snap some photos with Mom. After a morning on the trail, the group will convene at Basic City Beer Co. where you can recharge with a refreshing hibiscus infused lager or Dry Town Nitro Coffee.
Brunch at Veritas Vineyard & Winery + Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
Veritas Vineyard & Winery knows how to celebrate. With a wine-paired menu that includes the phrases “blackberry reduction”, “duck confit”, “rosemary tuile”, and “lemon creme”, this will be a Mother’s Day Brunch to remember. If a four-course meal specially prepared for you and set against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge sounds like bliss… make those reservations today!
Keep the zen flowing with an afternoon on the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail.
The Thomas Jefferson Loop is a must for visitors to Waynesboro. Along this loop’s mountaintops, forests, and wetlands are a treasure trove of wildlife and birding opportunities.
Wildflowers + Brunch along Skyline Drive
Rather than buying Mom a vase of flowers, give her 150 miles of wildflowers! There are more than 850 species of flowering plants in nearby Shenandoah National Park, and each wildflower season offers colorful diversity. Meander north along Skyline Drive and dogwood, trillium, azaleas, and pink lady’s slipper are bound to catch your eye.
Make reservations now so that you can pause on your Sunday drive for Mother’s Day Brunch. This annual holiday buffet at Skyland (Skyline Drive mile 41.7 and 42.5) serves panoramic views alongside a mouth-watering selection of appetizers, salads, entrées, and desserts. After brunch, continue along Skyline Drive or check out one of the trails or waterfall hikes on your leisurely way back to Waynesboro.
Another Mom-pleasing idea:
May 14, 1-6pm Wine + Massage at Barren Ridge Vineyards
On Sunday, May 14th, join us for an afternoon of relaxation with your mom! Treat her to our Mother’s Day special for $15: a 10-minute neck-and-shoulder massage with certified massage therapist Mary Kay Heberling, and a glass of wine to enjoy with her family in front of this gorgeous view. No reservations–massages are first come, first served.
One weekend in Waynesboro’s great outdoors and you’ll be hooked. So many trails and so little time! But not to worry… Mom’s birthday will be here before you know it.