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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
2016 was certainly the Year of the Brewery for Waynesboro and the surrounding region! Not only did the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail open, but Waynesboro gained two new breweries. Taps are now flowing at all three of the city’s breweries: Seven Arrows Brewing, Stable Craft Brewing, and Basic City Beer Co. The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail also connects craft beer lovers to the other treasures of the region – fresh foods, outdoor adventures, music festivals, and local communities.
2. “O” is for “Outdoor Adventure”
For the outdoor adventurer, there’s no place like Waynesboro. Through the Parks and Recreation Department’s Run the Valley Race Series, runners can challenge themselves throughout the year with 5K’s, 10K’s, and the award-winning Mad Anthony Mud Run.
Waynesboro is a destination for cycling enthusiasts as well. On-road and off-road routes abound in the region, providing opportunities for all levels. Serious cyclists won’t want to miss the annual Tour de Valley, a century and metric century autumn tour of the Shenandoah Valley.
And we mustn’t forget the wealth of hiking opportunities that abound around Waynesboro. As a designated Applachian Trail Community, Waynesboro understands hiking inside and out, and offers a wide-range of options for all skill levels of hikers, whether it’s just a peaceful stroll in one of its beautiful local parks, exploring a historic rails-to-trails path, or embarking on a more extreme outdoor adventure in nearby Shenandoah National Park.
Coming soon! A reconstruction project is also underway at the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel, an abandoned historic railroad tunnel through Afton Mountain, linking Waynesboro to Nelson County. The project may be completed by the end of 2017, and once the tunnel is reopened, hikers and cyclists will have a new unique trail to explore!
3. “R” is for “River Adventure”
Nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Waynesboro’s downtown is graced with the meandering waters of the South River. The city has always been known for her natural beauty, and with the 2016 opening of the Waynesboro Water Trail, anglers and paddlers can now explore that beauty further. The 4-mile scenic water trail stretches from Ridgeview Park to Basic Park and was awarded the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award.
2016 brought new paving, trees, and a pedestrian bridge to the South River Greenway. Part of the city’s extensive park system, the Greenway is providing additional recreational opportunities and access to the South River.
On the following weekend, April 29, 2017, Riverfest will be celebrated at Constitution Park. This free annual event is dedicated to environmental conservation and watershed stewardship and offers hands-on activities like the popular stream safari, reptile shows, canoe rides, and the Great South River duck race.
4. “O” is for “Outstanding Performances” at the Wayne Theatre / Ross Performing Arts Center
2016 marked the Grand Reopening of The Historic Wayne Theatre. Originally built in 1926 as a vaudeville house, the theatre was saved from demolition and underwent a massive restoration. This virtual tour gives a wonderful overview of the extensive technical capabilities, rental opportunities, and unique features of the “new” Wayne. The theatre’s 2016 schedule was packed with entertainment of all genres and programming for all ages, including dance, music, lectures, film, art exhibits, and an Arts Education series. Visit the Wayne Theatre / Ross Performing Arts Center Calendar of Events for a glimpse of the exciting 2017 season!
With so much to taste and to do in Waynesboro, Virginia, how will you spend your vacation days in 2017?
When the weather outside gets frightful, you still have plenty of options for fun in Waynesboro. Check out these winter-friendly activities to make your spirits bright!
Sledding at the Park
When snow falls in Waynesboro, kids beg their parents to drive them to the hill at Ridgeview Park. This monster-of-a-hill offers a steep, long sled run and a wild ride on a toboggan. Enjoy the view of the beautiful South River from the top before you push off. Then hold on tight, because you’re sure to hit some bumps on the way down. For kids, that makes it all the more exciting! There’s plenty of room at the bottom for snowball fights and snowmen. When your mittens get soggy, head to Waynesboro’s newest coffee shop, the Farmhaus on Main, for hot beverages and pastries.
Hike on the AT
As a designated Appalachian Trail Community, Waynesboro makes a great launching point for an AT hike. One of the easiest places to access the Trail is Rockfish Gap, a mere three miles from Waynesboro, where the Blue Ridge Parkway meets the Skyline Drive. Here, hikers can park just off I-64 and trek south on the AT for five miles to the Paul Wolfe Shelter. An old mountain homestead and a family cemetery are landmarks along the way. If five miles is too far, make it a shorter out-and-back hike. Either way, the bare trees give the trail its own winter beauty. Additional hikes and maps available through the Waynesboro Tourism Office at (540) 942-6512.
Just because the thermometer is dropping doesn’t mean you have to stay holed up inside. Waynesboro’s park system invites outdoor play any season of the year. Each park has its own flavor, so read on to find the perfect park for you this fall and winter.
Highlights: Play structure, tennis courts, ball fields, forest trail, sledding
Ridgeview Park hosts numerous festivals and concerts during the summer months and lures crowds to its 50-meter outdoor swimming pool, but when fall comes, a whole new beauty emerges. Cross the iron footbridge and watch the autumn leaves drop into the South River. Enjoy a nature walk through the wooded trail that borders soccer field #3 (across the bridge). Play a game of catch in one of the sunny baseball fields or simply enjoy the gazebo overlooking the serene river. Kids will love the elaborate play structure even on cooler days. And in the winter months, the bare trees and snowy landscape make a lovely backdrop for a walk—a paved path cuts through the center of the park, connecting two neighborhoods and making it easy to access even during snowy weather.
If it snows: Bring your sled, tube, or snowboard and try out the steep sledding hill that has been drawing thrill-seekers since the park’s creation.
Forget the pumpkin lattes and eggnog! Add real spice to your holidays with a family trip to Waynesboro, Virginia. Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, this city’s vibrant heritage of arts, adventure, and community as well as its close proximity to lots of Shenandoah Valley attractions, makes it an extraordinary backdrop for creating family memories.
Waynesboro has been called “trout central in the Old Dominion” and aptly so. With the South River flowing through downtown and quality trout fishing available year-round, Waynesboro has become a destination for anglers around the world.
This centrally-located, urban fishery also has an allure for families planning their vacation. “There’s something here for everyone,” say South River Fly Shop co-owners Tommy Lawhorne and Kevin Little. “Within 30 minutes whatever lodging you want is here,” says Kevin. “From backcountry camping in the National Forest all the way to RV to cabins to B&Bs to hotels. Same thing with food, same thing with culture, mountain biking, paddling, and hiking. And in the middle of that, we have a trout stream that is large enough to be a destination that can support numerous people a day and is year-round viable.” Continue reading “Waynesboro VA: A Fishing Destination for the Whole Family”
I grew up in Waynesboro in the 1970s, when the manufacturing giant DuPont presided over the city like a godfather. Everyone knew someone who worked at the plant, and the research and development that went on there was a matter of pride for the whole community. The critical but silent partner in DuPont’s success was its water source, the South River, which wound its way gracefully through the city. Because DuPont extended its arms along a one-mile stretch of the river, there were only a handful of places within city limits that the public could enjoy the river’s beauty. Ridgeview Park was one—with its duck population and fun steel bridge—but I don’t recall ever dipping a toe into the water, and I never saw anyone paddling a kayak.
Fast forward to the present day, when access to the South River has changed dramatically. In 1987 DuPont donated riverfront land to create Constitution Park along Main Street, opening up a section of river that had previously been restricted; more recently, Parks Recreation installed an adjoining Greenway Trail for pedestrians; wading areas were developed in Ridgeview Park; fly fishing took off; and festivals lauding the river’s majesty began to sprout up. The river changed from an industrial asset to a tranquil spot for rest and relaxation. Continue reading “#LiveLikeaLocal: R&R on the River”