The High-Octane Life in the Blue Ridge Mountains

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

Photo credit: Blue Ridge Institute & Museum of Ferrum College

“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.

Photo credit: Blue Ridge Institute & Museum of Ferrum College

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!


And Speaking of Gorillas and Whiskey…

Silverback Distillery, photo credit: Stephen Wassermann

To get your taste buds on premium Virginia spirits, there’s no need to hazard a brush with the law – just head up the mountain from Waynesboro to Silverback Distillery! Mixing tradition, pure ingredients, modern craftsmanship, and a fully licensed establishment, Silverback Distillery produces ultra-premium vodka, gin, rye whiskey and honey rye whiskey, with bourbon on the way. And as distillers of old, Silverback Distillery sources their grains from local farmers and then the spent mash returns to farms as animal feed and fertilizer.


Full Throttle Adventure

Photo credit: Blue Ridge Institute & Museum of Ferrum College

The connection between the illegal liquor trade and stock car racing is not what you may think. While legend has it that moonshiners were the forefathers of racing, according to the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum, very few bootleggers were oval track drivers. Rather, it’s the mechanics who are the moonshine connection. High-performance engines and modified suspensions were valuable to racers of all stripes as they attempted to outrun their pursuers. And while organized racing didn’t routinely call for a bootleg turn to avoid capture, the legends of the day needed every trick of the trade to take home the night’s purse.

Check out Living Legends of Auto Racing for stories of the men and women pioneers of racing.   And get a look at the speedways, advertisements, and cars of this region’s racing history with this extensive photo collection.


The Tradition Speeds On

Photo credit: Eastside Speedway

From the beginning, stock car racing has been a community and family affair, from the racing team to the spectators. Speedways became community hubs for entertainment, competition, holiday celebrations, and charity events.

Raceways across Virginia continue to be community gathering places. Eastside Speedway in Waynesboro is a prime example, with yearly activities that include nostalgia drag races, championship car shows, and family-friendly events, in addition to their full schedule of races.

Before you go, brush up on your hot rod terms so you’ll know your “stock” from your “mini-mod!” But when in doubt, just ask your new friend standing beside you cheering their driver. Waynesboro is, after all, renowned for our Good Nature!

Your Kids Will LOVE these Waynesboro Activities

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.

Wildlife Center of Virginia Tour

Maggie is one of several education animals at the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

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.

Continue reading “Your Kids Will LOVE these Waynesboro Activities”

Good Nature is Only a Step Away in Waynesboro, VA

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!

Walk the Greenway

Waynesboro’s South River Greenway gives walkers a beautiful 1.2 mile stretch along the river from the YMCA near Rife Park, north through Constitution Park and on to the Port Republic Road Historic District.

Get walking with this route that will guide you from the Waynesboro Public Library to Constitution Park and back.  If you’d prefer a loop, take the Waynesboro Walkabout, a 2-mile route that includes both a long section of the South River Greenway and parts of the Historic Downtown District.  The city is currently expanding the Greenway to extend to North Park with plans to later add connections to Ridgeview Park, Basic Park, the future Sunset Park, and the Crozet Tunnel. Continue reading “Good Nature is Only a Step Away in Waynesboro, VA”

Waynesboro, VA: The Perfect Day Trip/Getaway from Richmond, VA

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.

Continue reading “Waynesboro, VA: The Perfect Day Trip/Getaway from Richmond, VA”

Waynesboro,VA: An Inspiring Playground for All Ages

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!

Continue reading “Waynesboro,VA: An Inspiring Playground for All Ages”

Savor the Summer with Outdoor Dining in Waynesboro,VA

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.

NOBOS

Photo: Nobos Facebook

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!

Heritage on Main

Photo credit: Heritage on Main Facebook

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.

Basic City Beer Co.

Photo credit: Basic City Beer Co. Facebook

“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 the food truck schedule to see what’s on the menu to pair with your Frying Pan Stout and Waynesbeeroh Lager.

The Purple Foot

Photo credit: Trip Advisor

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.

The Fishin’ Pig

Photo credit: Trip Advisor

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!

Plaza Azteca

PHoto credit: Yelp

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!

The Farmhaus on Main

Photo credit: The Farmhaus on the Main Facebook

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!

Stable Craft Brewing

Photo credit: Stable Craft Facebook

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!

 

 

 

Live Like a Local: Hometown Events in May

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.

Xanadu the Musical rocks the Wayne Theatre May 5-14. Photo courtesy of the Wayne Theatre Facebook page.
Xanadu the Musical rocks the Wayne Theatre May 5-14. Photo courtesy of the Wayne Theatre Facebook page.

Xanadu the Musical

May 5-14

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!

The Blue Ridge Classic Soapbox Derby will take place May 6 in downtown Waynesboro. Photo by Norm Shafer.
The Blue Ridge Classic Soapbox Derby will take place May 6 in downtown Waynesboro. Photo by Norm Shafer.

Blue Ridge Classic Soapbox Derby

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!

Patsy Asuncion will be among the authors at Author Fest. Photo courtesy of the author's website.
Patsy Asuncion will be among the authors at Author Fest. Photo courtesy of the author’s website.

Author Fest

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.

Firetrucks join the festivities at the Rosenwald Community Block Party. Photo courtesy of Waynesboro Parks and Recreation website.
Firetrucks join the festivities at the Rosenwald Community Block Party. Photo courtesy of Waynesboro Parks and Recreation website.

Rosenwald Community Block Party

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.

Catch the amazing antics of the Marvelous Mutts at Petpawlooza. Photo courtesy of Marvelous Mutts.
Catch the amazing acrobatics of the Marvelous Mutts at Petpawlooza. Photo courtesy of the Marvelous Mutts.

Petpawlooza

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.

Humpback Rocks Sunday Concert: Sunny Side

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!

 

Give Mom the Gift of the Great Outdoors This Mother’s Day!

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.

hiking
Credit: Blue Ridge Outdoors Facebook event

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

brunch
Credit: Veritas Vineyards

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.

mtj

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.

Close out the special day with photo ops at Sherando Lake and Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch.  

Wildflowers + Brunch along Skyline Drive

flowers
Credit: NPS

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 

2017-Mothers-Day

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.

Down by the River: Waynesboro, VA’s Top 3 Water Attractions

In Waynesboro, VA, good nature runs deep.  In fact, it flows right through the heart of our downtown.  With the South River at our doorstep and the Blue Ridge Mountains around us, we’re committed to the care and enjoyment of our scenic waterways and greenways.  Come join us down by the river!  Continue reading “Down by the River: Waynesboro, VA’s Top 3 Water Attractions”

Waynesboro, VA: Good Trails Meet Good Nature in this Appalachian Trail Community

Waynesboro, VA has long been a destination for outdoor adventurers.  Residents and visitors alike share an enthusiasm for the city’s unique access to the beauty and opportunities of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley. One of those nearby natural treasures is the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), the longest hiking-only footpath in the world.

Two Thousand Miles and the Adventure of a Lifetime

September 23-24, 2006. Lightweight backpacking gear has changed the face of hiking and camping. Garry Lenton demonstrates how new technology has provided for lighter weight gear, thus allowing older men and women to more easily handle the rigors of longer hiking trips. In this photo, a hiker passes by a trail marker for the Appalachian Trail.
September 23-24, 2006. Lightweight backpacking gear has changed the face of hiking and camping. Garry Lenton demonstrates how new technology has provided for lighter weight gear, thus allowing older men and women to more easily handle the rigors of longer hiking trips. In this photo, a hiker passes by a trail marker for the Appalachian Trail.

What began as a proposal in 1921 is now a federally-protected national scenic trail stretching 2,190 miles between Maine and Georgia and crossing 14 states. Those miles of trail are protected and managed by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.  It can take 5-7 months to hike the entire A.T., and every year thousands attempt the physically and mentally strenuous journey.  Only 1 in 4 will complete a “thru-hike,” but most will agree that time spent on the A.T. is a life-changing adventure. Continue reading “Waynesboro, VA: Good Trails Meet Good Nature in this Appalachian Trail Community”