Civil War Driving Tours

Bordered by the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains, the Shenandoah Valley acted as a north-south passage for travelers during its settlement and growth, and at no other time was its location so critical than during the Civil War. Union and Confederate troops clashed along its length as the two armies sought to gain ground while driving the enemy backwards. Today, Civil War buffs can experience those costly battles through a variety of museums, films, tours, battlefields, and re-enactments. Since any point in the Shenandoah Valley is easily reached within an hour or two of Waynesboro, the region is ripe for day trips and driving tours.

A cavalryman rides across the battlefield during Waynesboro at War’s Civil War Weekend. Photo by Katie Ford, courtesy of Waynesboro at War.
  1. Battle of Waynesboro Driving Tour

 Waynesboro was the site of the last Civil War battle fought in the Shenandoah Valley. On March 2, 1865, Confederate General Early faced off with Union General Sheridan in a brief skirmish that ended in a Confederate defeat. Just two months later, General Lee would surrender at Appomattox.

Start your driving tour by visiting the Plumb House Museum at 1012 W. Main Street (open Thurs-Sat, call 540-943-3943). The house, built between 1802 and 1804, stood just opposite the battle site and has the holes in its walls to prove it. From there, ascend the hill to 301 Pine Avenue to stand on the Confederate defensive line, which ran roughly the same direction as Pine. Next, drive to Ridgeview Park at the end of Magnolia Avenue. Here, a surprise attack was staged by the Union army along the gravel alley connecting the baseball fields to the end of Locust Avenue, which marked the left end of Early’s Confederate line. You can park at the baseball fields and walk the gravel alley, as motorized traffic is prohibited. For your final stop, head to the Waynesboro Heritage Museum at 420 W. Main Street in downtown Waynesboro. Here, Confederate Colonel William H. Harman was surrounded by five Federals and gunned down. The museum now stands as a wealth of information on the battle and general history of Waynesboro, so be sure to stop in.

A more detailed printed guide of this tour is available at the Waynesboro Downtown Visitor Center or by calling 540-942-6512.

Expand Your Experience

September 16-17, 2017: Waynesboro at War presents a Civil War Weekend. Held annually at Coyner Springs Park, the event highlights the Civil War action seen in Waynesboro. Spectators are invited to meet soldiers from each army, taste camp life, witness the battle, and even participate in an 1860s “Blue vs. Grey” baseball game.

Soldiers occupied tents such as these during the war. Photo by Katie Ford, courtesy of Waynesboro at War.
  1. Winchester Driving Tour

At the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester endured numerous battles as the armies fought over its key position. Here, Stonewall Jackson established his headquarters for his famous 1862 Valley Campaign, and here generals Lee, Early, and Sheridan saw action during their own campaigns. A generous number of sites—more than can be mentioned in this driving tour—can be visited here.

Begin your tour at the Old Courthouse Civil War Museum at 20 N. Loudon Street (open Wed-Sat). This 1840 courthouse was used as a prison and hospital during the war and now exhibits over 3,000 artifacts from the Winchester area as well as soldiers’ graffiti on the walls. Next, stretch your legs along the many miles of interpretive trails through the Third Winchester Battlefield Park at 541 Redbud Road. This area saw some of the fiercest fighting of the whole war! When you’re ready to come indoors, head to Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters Museum at 415 N. Braddock Street, where you’ll find one of the largest collections of Jackson memorabilia. Wrap up your day at the Kernstown Battlefield on the Pritchard-Grim Farm at 610 Battle Park Drive (open May-October, weekends only). This 315-acre farm was the center of the First and Second Battles of Kernstown and now houses a visitor center and exhibits.

Expand Your Experience

September 16: Friendly Fire, Murderous Fire: The Fight for the Middle Field – Third Winchester. Find out why this particular skirmish was called “that basin of hell.”

September 23: Civil War Era Ball. Hosted by the Kernstown Battlefield Association, this second annual ball will feature live music and dances called by the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Era Dancers.

Belle Grove Plantation, Middletown
  1. Signal Knob Area Driving Tour

Signal Knob served as a key lookout point on the 60-mile long Massanutten Mountains, which split the Valley in two from Strasburg to Harrisonburg. Hikers may enjoy the aggressive 10-mile hike to the top of the knob, but for those content to stay on level ground, start your tour at the Visitor Contact Station at 7712 Main Street, Middletown. Here, you will gain an overview of the history of the valley and the war, enhanced by a fiber optic map. Next, drive to the stately Belle Grove Plantation (336 Belle Grove Road). The plantation paints a picture of valley life prior to and during the war. The Battle of Cedar Creek was fought on and around the plantation’s grounds. For more in-depth interpretation of the Cedar Creek Battle, visit the CCB Foundation Headquarters, at 8437 Valley Pike. Finally, head to Hupp’s Hill Civil War Park at 33229 Old Valley Pike, Strasburg, where you’ll find a museum interpreting the 1864 Valley Campaign.

Expand Your Experience

September 23: Fisher’s Hill Bus Tour. Historian and author Scott Patchan will lead this in-depth bus tour of the Fisher’s Hill battlefield, covering both well-known and seldom-seen battlefield sites.

October 13: History at Sunset—Treating the Wounded at Cedar Creek. Join Ranger James Horn as he examines the treatment of wounded and the general practice of medicine during the Civil War.  This special program will be held at St. Thomas Chapel, which was used as a hospital by the Union army following the battle.

October 14-15: Battle of Cedar Creek Reenactment and Anniversary. Relive the largest Civil War battle in the Shenandoah Valley held on the original battlegrounds in Middletown, VA.

For more information on these or other Shenandoah Valley Civil War sites, visit Shenandoah at War.

 

 

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”

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!

 

 

 

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”

Live Like a Local: Best Burger Joints in the ‘Boro

If a mouth-watering burger is what you’re hankering for, look no further than Waynesboro!

Jake’s Bar & Grill, 137 N. Wayne Avenue

Tumbleweed Burger at Jake's
Tumbleweed Burger at Jake’s

Jake’s is a welcoming watering hole with a cozy, western flair, serving 100% all natural, locally raised, USDA ground beef burgers. Try their award-willing Tumbleweed Burger, featuring a beef patty topped with breaded jalapeño nuggets, cream cheese, apple jelly, and crunchy fried onion strips served on a glossy brioche roll. Once you’ve tasted it, you’ll know why it swept all three categories at the Staunton-Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce Burger Cookoff.  Jake’s also won the attention of Scoutology as being among the best burger joints in the state!

Also try the Sagebrush, a beef patty smothered in grilled onions, peppers, and mushrooms with melted Swiss and homemade Coyote sauce.

Heritage on Main, 309 W. Main Street Continue reading “Live Like a Local: Best Burger Joints in the ‘Boro”

#LiveLikeaLocal: R&R on the River

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”

A (Disc Golf) Course in Nature

Fox Disc Golf Course borders the dog park at Coyner Springs Park.

If you were to ask me if I enjoyed Frisbee throwing, I would say Sure. If you were to ask if I was skilled at it, I would say No. When I throw a Frisbee, it usually veers off to the right in a tilt like it’s climbing a skyscraper, then plummets to the ground in a donut roll. My children, on the other hand, can whip out a Frisbee with table-top flatness and bulls-eye accuracy at a speed of 95 mph, creating a missile so deadly, you’re afraid to catch it. They can throw underhand and behind their heads with the same result. So when I was offered a chance to try out Waynesboro’s Fox Disc Golf Course, I naturally took them along in order to see how it’s really supposed to be played. Continue reading “A (Disc Golf) Course in Nature”

48 Hrs. of Blue Ridge Extreme Sports & Epic #WaynesboroVA Watering Holes

Design Your Own Adventure: Hike, Bike, Paddle, Climb, Crawl 

If you are an extreme sports enthusiast, there is no better place to test your strength, endurance and adventurous spirit than the mountains, rapids and cliffs near the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Whether you come fully equipped to head out on your own, or you need a guide or outfitter, make Waynesboro, Virginia, the base camp for your next outdoor getaway.

Pick two of the following high-octane adventures. Paired with our suggested watering holes, you’ll have 48 hours of spectacular sights, tastes, sounds, and memories. Continue reading “48 Hrs. of Blue Ridge Extreme Sports & Epic #WaynesboroVA Watering Holes”

“Drinking In” Waynesboro

Photos of beer from Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co. for the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail. Photo by Pat Jarrett
Photo by Pat Jarrett

In the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park, three craft breweries— Basic City, Seven Arrows, and Stable Craft—grace Waynesboro and Augusta County. Each is a unique experience, showcasing the area’s history, hospitality, and horses. In common, they love all things local.

Basic City Beer Co. occupies the former brass foundry of Virginia Metalcrafters in what was once Basic City before it was annexed by Waynesboro. A trendy industrial space plus the effort to revitalize it equals something absolutely perfect for millennials and baby boomers alike. The brewery opened its doors in 2016, with long-term plans for the warehouse to include a restaurant, farmers’ market, artisan space, and more, making it an exciting destination business for the area. Continue reading ““Drinking In” Waynesboro”

Progressive Dining Downtown

Sip & Saunter in Waynesboro, Va. Tuesday Feb. 23, 2016. (Photo by Norm Shafer).

The misty rain can’t dampen the spirits of the dozen giddy people poised to cross the street at Main and Arch. After all, we’re armed with umbrellas and irrepressible good spirits. We are a small group of strangers, preparing to set out on the first ever “Sip & Saunter,” a progressive dinner innovated by Parks and Rec to introduce residents to the unique restaurants in historic downtown Waynesboro. Our party is one of four that will, over the course of the evening, make its way on foot to five different restaurants, each with a sampling of distinctive cuisine.

Our docent, Kathy Johnson, leads us like a group of schoolchildren across the wet street. The vintage streetlights lining Main Street glow with a cheery brightness. A buzz of anticipation steals over us, and we chatter with each other in excited whispers. Already we can hear the music spilling from the first restaurant.

Continue reading “Progressive Dining Downtown”