Your Waynesboro Foodie Adventure

Your body is not a temple. It’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.
– Anthony Bourdain

Hops Kitchen by Kate Simon Sebring

Nothing frames a spectacular adventure better than great food and drink. And if you’re a particularly adventuresome foodie, you’re in luck! Waynesboro, Virginia serves up the perfect mix of fresh tastes, cultural amenities, and thrilling sights and experiences to make your next trip truly unforgettable.

Divinely placed at the intersection of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive, and the Appalachian Trail, Waynesboro’s historic downtown boasts a trophy trout river, an extensive park system, and walkable performing and visual arts venues. Top those adventure-rich options with a thriving community of Shenandoah Valley farms and imaginative food entrepreneurs, and you’ve conjured up foodie paradise. Fresh, locally produced craft beverages are plentiful with the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail and Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail, and the Fields of Gold Farm Trail is a fun way to visit many producers within an easily navigated area.

Discover Crafty, Artisanal Flavor Combinations  

Chef Mike Pustai brulees dessert.

Hops Kitchen in Basic City Beer Co. after a day of fly fishing, paddling Waynesboro’s Water Trail, or hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains will feel like divine intervention. Dishes are infused with award-winning Basic City beer and inspired by Chef Mike’s global travel. With choices as varied at pierogis, shomai, duck wings, and Philly beer cheese steak, accents like bacon jam, and desserts like stout chocolate brownie, there’s no doubt you’re embarking on a serious food adventure. Chef Mike also serves up a whole hog roast featuring Autumn Olive Farms’ Berkabaw pork, raised just outside Waynesboro and a superstar of restaurants through the mid-Atlantic! Add the eclectic entertainment and restored industrial vibe that Basic City Beer’s digs impart, and you’ve got the makings of a “fish tale” that will be totally true.

And speaking of fish, The Fishin’ Pig will have you hooked on its savory comfort food, ranging from pulled pork to beef brisket and every Southern favorite in between. Try the melt-in-your-mouth catfish, moist and meaty fillets fried crisp in the restaurant’s trademark breading, or the pulled pork, smoked on site and served up Memphis-style in honor of owner Matt Hurley’s Tennessee roots.

Have a Kombucha Awakening

Blue Ridge Bucha taproom. photo credit Cappy Phalen

And what would your adventure be without a ground-breaking, big-flavor beverage? Blue Ridge Bucha will awaken your taste buds to a whole new craft beverage exploration. Brewing with the same culture that owner, Ethan Zuckerman, began working with over a decade ago the team at Blue Ridge Bucha handcrafts flavorful organic kombucha in such palate-pleasing flavors as Wild Pear, Elderflower Sunrise, and Jasmine Grape. Their eco-friendly bottles can be refilled at more than 50 mid-Atlantic locations. The Waynesboro Tap Room is open Wed.–Sat. and offers other locally produced items, as well, such as Ula Tortilla chips and Gearharts Fine Chocolates.

Bank a Chef-Led Culinary Experience

BlueOregano photos by Kevin Blackburn

For the foodies that want a truly unique take-away culinary experience for the memory banks, Chef Caitie Maharg from BlueOregano is your ticket. Specializing in pop-up dinners, cooking classes, and bakery selections that wow (Gooseberry Pie, anyone?), Chef Caitie is a Waynesboro native with deep local food knowledge. Her business is a stop on the Fields of Gold Farm Trail, which features 218 farm-oriented activities, markets, experiences, and lodging focused on the Valley’s food production. With newly acquired skills from a seasoned pro like Caitie, you can take your food adventure to the next level when you return home!

See the Birthplace of Lunatic Farming  

Joel Salatin with his pigs at Polyface Farms

True foodies will get a charge out of visiting nearby Polyface Farms, the Shenandoah Valley farm where the pioneer of non-industrial food production, Joel Salatin, and family fulfill their farm’s mission “…to develop emotionally, economically, environmentally enhancing agricultural enterprises and facilitate their duplication throughout the world.” In addition to raising critically acclaimed products that are served in establishments and homes throughout the region, Polyface has an open door policy, so visitors are welcome to do a self-guided tour Monday-Saturday, attend one of their regularly scheduled “Grass Stains” or “Lunatic Tours,” and visit their store during posted hours. Want to sample some items? In addition to the on-farm store, a list of places that carry, serve, and use Polyface products is on the website.

If exploring the world of food is your idea of heaven on earth, start planning your visit to Waynesboro now. A truly unique foray into creative, sustainable artisan fare awaits. Enjoy the ride!

Don’t Miss These Bucket List Views: Breathtaking Vistas for the Young and the Young at Heart

Where the Skyline Drive meets the Blue Ridge Parkway lies basecamp: an outdoor trail town ready to launch unforgettable adventures, with memories for years to come. You won’t want to miss any of these Bucket List Views, which range from the curbside-accessible to all-day mountain adventure, all a short drive from Waynesboro, Virginia.

Spy Rock: 360 Degrees of Grandeur

Described by some as “the best viewpoint in the central Blue Ridge” Spy Rock offers a fully panoramic view including the neighboring mountain summits of the Priest and the Three Ridges. At nearly 4,000 feet of elevation, visitors will breath fresh mountain air while “standing on top of the world.”

Continue reading “Don’t Miss These Bucket List Views: Breathtaking Vistas for the Young and the Young at Heart”

The Lure of the Outdoors 5 “Ready to Roll” Adventures that Offer Natural Beauty and Easy Access

Late spring is the season of long evening daylight and beckoning weather. Luckily, Waynesboro offers the perfect mountain-town amenities for a sunset jog, a quick afternoon float, or an evening cycle through the Valley. These five adventures promise the mood-boosting benefits of time in nature, while utilizing the accessibility of local parks and backyard trail systems.

(1) Paddle the Waynesboro Water Trail

The Waynesboro Water Trail links five City parks in a four-mile run that includes a mix of Class I and II rapids, wilderness-level solitude, industrial skylines, and downtown take outs. With its surprising views into many unexpected corners of Waynesboro, it’s a unique way of exploring the City while staying cool, shaded, and on the water. Allow 2-3 hours to float the full South River Blueway from Ridgeview Park to Basic Park. A wide diversity of take out options help paddlers break the float into smaller sections or extend their trip to include Grand Caverns Park or the Port Republic confluence with the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.

Recommended water levels for the South River are 2.75’ to 4’ on the USGS Waynesboro Gauge. Or, check with Rockfish Gap Outfitters for the latest water level updates and deals on local kayak rentals.

(2) Stroll through the Parks

There’s not much more satisfying than a run with man’s best friend through open fields past freshly blooming parklands. Coyner Springs Park offers a rustic 145 acres that include nature trails, a leash-free dog park, kite-flying skies, disc golf, and enough wilderness to offer up frequent sightings of red-tailed hawks, woodpeckers, and foxes.

Joggers, baby strollers, and evening walkers find their riverside delights along the South River Greenway, a mile-long stretch of paved walking and biking surface that includes a river overlook, picnic shelter, and downtown access to after-walk drinks and dinner options.

(3) Cycle the Valley

Follow the South River along the base of Sawmill Ridge and the Blue Ridge Mountains in this evening, 12.5 mile bike ride called the Waynesboro Dooms Loop. For a longer, 35-mile pull, the Waynesboro to Grottoes Loop also hugs the river, offering a tour of the inflection between the Valley bottom and Blue Ridge topography, while still promising some of the flattest roads in Augusta County.

Both loops begin and end in downtown Waynesboro, promising enough in-town, gourmet calories to replenish the toughest ride. Cyclists are welcome along all three of Waynesboro Beerwerks Trail brewery destinations.

(4) Downtown Fly Fishing

The dinner-to-adventure jaunt can be shorter than a bike ride, as the South River’s Urban Trout Fishery offers fly fishing opportunities within a block of the downtown cultural core. Rare is the springtime day that a fisherman can’t be seen wading near the improved trout habitat and rock cascades of Constitution Park. Nearby South River Fly Shop offers equipment, gear, guided tours, and “big fish stories,” including a weekly Ties and Lies night. The South River itself offers spring-fed waters, ripping whitewater, easy parking, and exceptional catch-and-release trout fishing opportunities.

(5) Catch the Perfect Sunset (Sunset Park, Humpback Rocks)

Sunset Park, with sweeping views overlooking all of Waynesboro, remains under construction — but don’t be surprised to find weekly contingents of local mountain bikers building trails and readying its amenities for prime time. Outdoor enthusiasts seeking panoramic views needn’t wait, however. The Humpback Rocks trail system offers granite pinnacles in only one mile of climbing, with spectacular views of the Rockfish and Shenandoah Valleys. Longer excursions to Humpback Mountain (2 miles) and to a developed picnic area (4 miles) allows a choose your own adventure that can fit in an after-work nature-reset or expand to an all-day mountain top excursion.

Humpback Rocks trail includes both blue and white blazes, proof of its intersection with the nation’s “premier hiking path,” the 2,000 mile Appalachian Trail that runs from Georgia to Maine. “Day hikers” may encounter thru-hikers part-way through their adventure, with opportunities to swap stories and marvel that some of the mountains’ most breathtaking destinations are but backyard explorations from Waynesboro.

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”