This Getaway Weekend Sizzles with Variety

Are you a big believer that variety is the spice of life? The weekend of September 21-23 in Waynesboro, Virginia will fire you up with options! With a music festival, park adventure, craft-beer run, and gem and mineral show all packed into the same weekend, consider your life spiced!

Heat, Beats, & Beer

Virginia Chili, Blues n Brews Festival photo by Norm Shafer

There might be a nip in the air as fall approaches, but this festival puts some “heat” in the season change! Pro and amateur chili chefs compete for prize money and the title of People’s Choice. They’re joined by thousands of lovers of spice, music, and beer at the Virginia Chili, Blues n’ Brews Festival. Now in its 11th year, the downtown Waynesboro event is September 22 from 3-9pm. Staged against backdrop of the South River and sweeping mountain views, the festival promises a marvelous mashup of sensory experiences.

 Recharge at Shenandoah National Park

from Shenandoah National Park facebook page

Restoration and resilience are the focus of the 25th anniversary of National Public Lands Day on September 22, and if you’re looking to personally recharge, Shenandoah National Park is fee-free that day and filled with renewing vistas, waterfalls, or quiet glades. One of Virginia’s most beloved natural wonders, the 200,000-acre Shenandoah National Park boasts more than 500 miles of trails. Just three miles from the park’s southernmost Rockfish Gap Entrance, Waynesboro makes the perfect starting point for an exploration of its wild southern section.

A Run with a View—and a Reward

If a physical challenge is your spice, brace yourself for the Basic City Burn. Featuring a just under three-mile course that climbs a quad-burning 300 feet to the highest point in Waynesboro, the stunning view of the valley is just part of the event’s allure. Runners and walkers also get treated to cool swag and a post-race party with beer tastings at Basic City Beer Co. and food by Hops Kitchen.

 Not Just Any Old Rocks

from Shenandoah Valley Gem & Mineral Society facebook page

Second in age only to South Africa’s Barberton greenstone belt, the Blue Ridge Mountains are a perfect destination for rock hounds, nature lovers, and history buffs alike. The weekend of September 21-23 will allow you to feast your eyes on the fascinating and beautiful rocks and minerals found in the Shenandoah Valley (and beyond) at the 51st Annual Gem & Mineral Show. The whole family will be enthralled with the mix of unique shopping, treasure-hunting (for kids), educational talks, and demos like panning for gold and cabochon making.

Local Food & Fowl

The weekend options don’t stop there. Every Saturday through September 29, 9am-1pm, you can also visit the Waynesboro Farmer’s Market, both a marketplace and a community gathering space, in the heart of downtown Waynesboro. Visitors can shop, play along the river banks, or stroll along the nearby South River Greenway.

Autumn brings thousands of migrating raptors to the mountain pass of Rockfish Gap at the juncture of Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Manned by volunteers collecting raptor data for global research and education, the Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch is open to the public and easily accessible without hiking or climbing. Novice birders can witness this awesome natural event between now and November 30, although the peak migration occurs mid- to late-September.

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!

Cool Summer Gallery Cruising

Art Destinations in Waynesboro, VA

Looking for a way to beat the heat during the remaining dog days of summer? Here are a few places to cool off  in Waynesboro whether you’re an art collector or the aesthetically curious.. We’ve compiled several destinations to fill the last days of summer with artistic inspiration.

Buckley Moss Gallery

Drawing her imagery and visual style from the Shenandoah Valley, Pat Buckley Moss has reigned as an artistic legend for decades. In the words of her gallery website, “she considers the landscapes, lifestyles, cultures and traditions of the area to hold an important message for modern society.” At her downtown Waynesboro Gallery, which boasts the most extensive collection of her work available, visitors can gain insight into both the artist’s evolving creative career as well as the geography from which her message and inspiration flows.

Moss is a highly-prolific artist, and her P. Buckley Moss Waynesboro Gallery offers paintings, prints, and a complete selection of accompanying ornaments and collectibles. Situated in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley and Waynesboro’s revitalized downtown, the gallery is a convenient walk to coffee shops, restaurants, and specialty retailers. For those seeking an arts inspired country tour, historic destinations such as CrossKeys Vineyards, Virginia Military Institute, Mary Baldwin College, Monticello, University of Virginia, and many other P. Buckley Moss featured locations are an easy drive away. See an image that strikes your fancy? Ask the friendly caretakers at the gallery if they can direct you to its nearby location. 

Hours: Visit the P. Buckley Moss Gallery Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm, or Sunday 12pm to 4pm. During the late winter (January 1 through March 31st) the Gallery closes on Mondays. Find them at 329 West Main Street, Waynesboro, VA.

 Shenandoah Valley Art Center

Autism Spectrum by Jan Rapacz at Shenandoah Valley Art Center

Voted a Best of Virginia destination in 2018 by Virginia Living Magazine, the Shenandoah Valley Art Center is a destination gallery that combines rotating exhibitions of original artwork with classes open to the public, workshops, cultural trips and even musical performances. Their in-house studio spaces for artists also means that visitors may find opportunities to interact with working artists in addition to the gallery’s latest series of exhibits.

Member exhibits ensure regular rotations of art from regional creatives, while the Center’s featured exhibits focus on special themes and nationally recognized artists. Their gift shop features affordable local and regional artists’ works including jewelry, prints, cards, pottery, glass, and more. The Center notes: “The work changes frequently so come soon and come often!”

Hours: The Shenandoah Valley Art Center’s summer hours run Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 4pm and Saturday 11am to 2pm. Special events including artists talks and receptions are announced on their website. They are located at 122 South Wayne Avenue in Waynesboro, Virginia.

Wayne Theatre Exhibit Gallery

One at a Time by Jeffrey Stockberger from Painting Virginia exhibition

The Wayne Theatre Exhibit Gallery pairs perfectly with an evening of live performance at the Wayne Theatre Performing Art Center. This summer until August 26th, their exhibit Exceeding Expectations: Staunton, Augusta County, and World War I focuses on the Shenandoah Valley’s history in the War, including over 1,000 local men serving and the local birthplace of wartime president Woodrow Wilson.

 

TimePiece by Joan Dreyer

Beginning August 30, the gallery will feature the contemporary fiber arts exhibit 13 Perspectives that challenges members of the metropolitan area New Image Artists juried group to explore a personal perspective through the lenses of fiber.

Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10am to 2pm, as well as during all performances at the Wayne Theatre Performing Arts Center. The gallery is located at 521 West Main Street, Waynesboro, Virginia.

Coming this October: the Fall Foliage Festival

Waynesboro Fall Foliage Art show and festival. Photo by Norm Shafer.

Every year the Blue Ridge Mountains turn red with the autumn breeze, and the Fall Foliage Arts Festival graces the streets of downtown Waynesboro.  This October 13th and 14th, join more than 150 artists and artisans who will showcase paintings, printmaking, woodworking, pottery, sculpture and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crush Friday, VA! 7 Stress-Busting Weekender Ideas

Friday is the day for rolling down the windows and rolling out of town, headed for adventures that relax and invigorate. These seven stress-busting weekend ideas will help you fully rejuvenate, but they come with a warning: with this much fun, you may never want your weekend to end.

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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.”

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Music for Your Ears: Your Guide to the Summer Music Events near Waynesboro, Virginia

Summer unleashes music, and lots of it in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley! You won’t have trouble finding live performances most any night of the week in Waynesboro, and the Valley’s summer festival season rolls in like a heatwave, with the hottest bands and coldest brews lining up for a season of entertainment. From free and relaxing nights in the park to big-name festivals nearby, we’ve compiled a musical score to keep your summer humming all season long.

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Taste Bud Tempting Food & Brews to Power Your Next Outdoor Adventure

Outdoor adventures are fueled by more than good cheer: Great food and delicious hydration all contribute to the perfect day in the woods. From mountain treks to parkway picnics, we’ve paired the flavor of local food with the taste of adventure for every style of outdoor recreation.

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The Darker Side of the Shenandoah

The Darker Side of the Shenandoah – The Legends & Stories Waiting for You Near Waynesboro, VA

Coming to the Shenandoah Valley for the spring wildflowers and a gentle stroll?  This isn’t the trip planner for you. But if you’re looking for a little mystery to go with your outdoor explorations, read on! Like every beautiful place, the Shenandoah Valley is also home to a whole series of legends and stories of a darker nature – sightings and encounters that defy explanation, handed down over generations of adventurers. Here are a few ideas for a walk on the wild side near Waynesboro, VA.

The Dreaded Wampus of the Blue Ridge Mountains

“A piercing scream.”  “An awful smell, like a skunk and a wet dog.”  “Five feet tall.”   “An unholy hybrid of canine and feline.”   “It was holding my pal with a hand.  Then it hissed and took off – on two legs!”

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Unconventional Valentine’s Gifts for Your One-of-a-Kind Sweetie

Let’s face it. They broke the mold when they created your fun-loving, hard-playing, adventure-seeking sweetheart. So why would you stoop to another ho-hum dinner or lame box of chocolates this Valentine’s Day for someone so spectacularly stellar? Surprise him/her with one of these truly unique gifts, experiences, or weekend adventures in Waynesboro, VA, and the two of you will be talking about this Valentine’s Day for years to come.

Picnic on the Summit

Humpback Rocks

Waynesboro is smack in the middle of Virginia’s most wild and beautiful playground.  There’s no better place to find solitude and to spend quality time together.  And that’s really what your sweetie wants from you, isn’t it?

For “wow!” factor there’s nothing like a picnic along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. Nature lovers will want to grab an Osprey or Yeti at Rockfish Gap Outfitters. Then, take a detour to Greenwood Gourmet Grocery to fill it with local edibles like Simply Cheddar, Ula Tortillas and chips and craft beverages such as Blue Ridge Bucha.

There are hundreds of miles of trails in the park, each with unique terrain, vistas, and rock formations to explore.  To get you started, take a look at Blackrock Summit Trail with its panoramic views or Riprap Trail to Chimney Rock with its rocky outcroppings.

Of course, before you go check out this Winter Hiking Guide from Shenandoah National Park so you two don’t find yourselves stuck somewhere with too much solitude!

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