Waynesboro, Virginia is known for being the gateway to both Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Typically, the city attracts countless outdoor enthusiasts looking for adventure on the water and mountains surrounding Waynesboro. But Waynesboro is also the perfect place for a leisurely weekend. And we all could use a leisurely weekend tucked away in the peaceful mountains, couldn’t we? Whether you need to rejuvenate after a week at home with the kids or a week at work, come enjoy the simpler things in life: good food and good nature.
The Waynesboro Water Trail is part of Waynesboro’s park system and utilizes the South River. The 6.5 mile stretch of the South River passing through Downtown Waynesboro was designated a Virginia Scenic River in July 2021. It possesses outstanding scenic, recreational, historic, and natural characteristics of statewide significance. The Water Trail has multiple access points that can be found at Ridgeview, Rife, Constitution, North, and Basic Parks so you can pick your desired distance on the river. The South River Greenway runs along 1.2 miles of the South River, from Loth Springs, along the edge of Constitution Park and past Main Street. Here you will see walkers, bikers, runners and other outdoor enthusiasts, including fly fishermen.
Open to kayakers, canoers, waders, and fishermen, and offering views of the mountains and the urban landscape, the water trail is also home to many species of fish and birds. Paddlers who don’t have their own boats can rent kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards from Rockfish Gap Outfitters. This stretch of the river is perfect for beginners or those looking for an easy paddle. Paddlers can expect to encounter class I and class II rapids along the way and enjoy a different perspective of the River City. Those wishing to extend their journey can continue on the South River to takeout points in Crimora, Grottos, and Port Republic. Fishermen should refer to state regulations.
Waynesboro takes pride in its natural beauty. The city’s award-winning horticulture program and focus on urban forestry is evident throughout the streets and parks of Waynesboro. For a lazy afternoon, you have five beautifully landscaped parks to choose from. The Serenity Garden near the south entrance to Ridgeview Park offers a special retreat from the world for stillness and reflection. Ridgeview Park also offers a variety of nature trails, a fishing pier, and wading in the South Rier.
If you’ve had a big day packed with adventure, you’ll certainly want to indulge in delicious food and refreshing drinks. Basic City Beer Co.’s location is close to the South River and lots of hiking, so it gets regular after-adventure traffic. The brewery uses a natural spring to supply the water used in its beers. Housed in a large, historic building that was once a foundry, the space gives off cool, warehouse vibes. There’s plenty of room to spread out in the taproom, outside, or in the new Showroom space. Basic City also offers several food options. Choose between Lost Town Billy Pie Pizza in the taproom, or sandwiches and bar foods (as well as wine, cider, and cocktails) in the Showroom. Check the events calendar for chances to hear live music.
After a day on the water, a visit to a river-themed restaurant and bar is the perfect ending. That’s exactly what you’ll find at The River Burger Bar in downtown Waynesboro. With a wide variety of upscale burgers, salads, wraps, vegetarian and vegan options, plus delicious cocktails and local craft beer, you’re sure to find something to appease your appetite following a fun day in the sun.
Have you tried Blue Ridge Bucha yet? The first of its kind in Virginia, this organic kombucha taproom offers bottles, growler fills, and glasses of hand-crafted kombucha, which is sweetened and fermented tea flavored with ginger, wild pear, black cherry, black raspberry, elderflower, juniper berry, and more. The taproom patio is open for visitors and customers can order onsite or online. Blue Ridge Bucha sells bucha by the glass as well as tasting flights for those who want to try 2 oz. samples of multiple flavors. Seasonal flavors reflect what is seasonally available as well as take advantage of local ingredients.
Come enjoy the simpler things in life in Waynesboro!
All photos courtesy of City of Waynesboro