More Than a Scenic Drive Waynesboro is Divinely Placed for LEAF PEEPING ADVENTURE

Sherando Lake photo by Brad Johnson of Impulse Image

leaf peeping

n.The activity of traveling in the fall to areas wooded with deciduous forests to view the changing color of the leaves.

No doubt you’ve heard that the iconic Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway are famous destinations for leaf peeping, and anyone who’s visited Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley in autumn  will attest that fall motor touring is spectacular. For those looking for a dash of adventure to round out those scenic drives, Waynesboro, Virginia is the perfect place to start. Here are some ways to take your leaf peeping to a whole new level of fun!

 

Blue Ridge Parkway from Humpback Rocks photo by Brad Johnson of Impulse Image

EXPERIENCE A NATIONAL TREASURE

With the southern entrance to Skyline Drive located just three miles from Waynesboro, start your autumn adventure with a drive through Shenandoah National Park, a designated National Scenic Byway and Historic Landmark. Over 300 species of wildlife and more than 1,400 species of plants are found in the Park.  An extensive network of trails and 75 strategically-placed overlooks provide ample opportunity to experience this protected wilderness.  Ranger-guided tours of President Hoover’s summer retreat, Rapidan Camp, visitor center exhibits, and park programs give visitors an up-close look at the natural and cultural history of the Park.

Photo by Brad Johnson of Impulse Image

ADD HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE

For a mix of scenic beauty and historic perspective, follow the Civil War Trails Route 250 Corridor from Waynesboro’s Plumb House to Camp Allegheny at the West Virginia border. Landmarks, activities, and interpretive signs along the route include a wartime farmstead, overlooks, a walking trail, and quaint towns to explore. Additional Valley Campaign driving tours will help you take full advantage of October’s gorgeous autumn days.

 

Photo of Crabtree Falls from Fun in Fairfax – 8 More Great Fall Hikes in Virginia https://www.funinfairfaxva.com/great-fall-hikes-in-virginia/

IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE LANDSCAPE

ON FOOT. Get off the roads and into the wilderness with a family-friendly hike to Saint Mary’s Falls. Virginia’s largest designated wilderness area, Saint Mary’s Wilderness is over 9,800 acres of vistas, waterfalls, fern forests, meadows, and wetlands. With seventeen miles of trails, this is also a destination for those hikers looking for a challenge.

ON HORSEBACK. Travel under, through, and above autumn colors on horseback with a half-day, full-day, or overnight adventure in George Washington National Forest with North Mountain Outfitter. Their gorgeous mountain trail rides include the region’s highest points, ridges, streams, & valleys. Reserve your saddle today to experience the Shenandoah Valley’s fall foliage from a whole new perspective.

BY BIKE. When it comes to autumn bike rides, you have a lot of choices near Waynesboro. For a scenic ride along some of our county’s flattest road miles, Bike the Valley recommends this Waynesboro to Grottoes loop. Up for a bigger challenge? Check out the Big Levels / Sherando mountain biking trail system!  Recommended by the outdoor pros at Rockfish Gap Outfitters, the Sherando Lake Recreation Area in George Washington and Jefferson National Forests offers mountain bikers 20 miles of single track trails and dirt/paved roads.  Reward your efforts by taking the fire road over to the Blue Ridge Parkway and sailing down 6 miles of “America’s Favorite Drive (Ride).”  You also have the option of connecting with U.S. Bicycle Route 76.

To time your Waynesboro visit for peak leaf peeping, check in on the Virginia Department of Forestry’s weekly fall foliage update.

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!

4 Blue Ridge Brunches: The Perfect Pairing to Your Springtime Weekends

Each year, May brings the annual search for the perfect brunch. Warm days invite late morning lounging, families gather for Mothers Day, and weekend drives in the country remain incomplete without a favorite meal and relaxation stop. We’ve compiled the four best places that serve up a seasonal brunch of laughter, friendship, and amazing food.

Continue reading “4 Blue Ridge Brunches: The Perfect Pairing to Your Springtime Weekends”

Two-Wheeled Touring Near Waynesboro – Bicycle and Motorcycle Itineraries

Sometimes the ride is as exhilarating and beautiful as any destination. If you’re looking for sweeping turns, windswept mountain vistas, or country roads to cruise, these bicycle and motorcycle itineraries are sure to inspire.

Pedaling on Pavement

Day Trip Tours from Waynesboro are plentiful. Beginners and family-friendly options include the South River Greenway, stretching from Constitution Park and meandering along the South River, which on Saturday mornings features the Waynesboro Farmers Market. Or stretch a little further with the 12.5 mile Waynesboro-to-Dooms Day Loop, which takes you along the South River as it flows north towards its confluence with the North River. Intermediate riders may love the Waynesboro-to-Grottoes Loop which, over the course of 35 miles, can include a tour of Grand Caverns in the town of Grottoes and passes the renowned horticulturalist André Viette’s extensive perennial garden and nursery on Long Meadow Road.  Don’t be shy about exploring other options, as Bike the Valley’s database of On Road rides remains extensive.

Continue reading “Two-Wheeled Touring Near Waynesboro – Bicycle and Motorcycle Itineraries”

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”