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.
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!
1. “B” is for “Brews and Food”
The Shenandoah Valley is nationally-renowned for its beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities. But no matter how many trails you hike, bike, and paddle, no visit to Waynesboro would be complete without experiencing the Fields of Gold Farm Trail, the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail, and the new Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail, featuring 13 microbreweries.
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.
Waynesboro has been called “Virginia’s Top Trout Town” and is a destination for anglers around the world. The annual South River Fly Fishing Expo is held at the city’s Constitution Park and will be attracting fly fishers of all ages and levels April 22-23, 2017.
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?
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”