The saying here is that “Augusta County lives outside.”
Indeed, County Marketing Coordinator Rebekah Castle cited “the breadth of our outdoor options” as one of the most important things tourists should know about the area. Nearby are portions of George Washington National Forest, Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. With hiking, cycling, fishing, swimming, camping, horseback riding and skiing all being easily accessible, one hardly has to spend much time at all inside.
But the opportunity for both is there, and Castle was also quick to point out “the quality restaurants in our region.” In Augusta County, thriving urban hubs like Staunton and Waynesboro offer all the dining choices you could want. Staunton is particularly well known to foodies; downtown restaurants run the gamut of American, Mexican, Asian, Caribbean, British, Italian, Gourmet and more. Augusta County has a deeply rooted agricultural background, too, and meals using the freshest possible local ingredients can be relished at many restaurants. Additionally, Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, local baked goods, sandwiches, coffee, and 300 kinds of local craft beer and wine are just some of the delights available at the Valley Pike Farm Market (Exit 234 off I-81).
The county is bordered by the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and the Allegheny Mountains to the west. It is the second largest county in Virginia–and history buffs are quick to tell you that in the mid-1700s, it was considered to encompass all of current southwestern Virginia, most of present West Virginia and even west t0 the Mississippi River.
Preserving the past is important in Augusta County, as evidenced by plans to move the historic Fort Defiance Train Depot. The private Shenandoah Valley Railroad had been trying to find a current way to use the depot but various factors made that impractical. So Valley Pike Farm Market purchased it and is re-constructing it next to a historic barn they also relocated and rebuilt. Valley Pike’s David Gardner told Augusta County’s News Leader, “We are very fond of the historical heritage, having grown up here. It would be a great way to preserve the train station and fit in with what we’re doing.”
Mark the Calendar
Castle also told us October is a great month for local festivals—many of which can be found at the Augusta Expo in Fishersville. A few events coming up at the Expo this month and next include:
–65th Shenandoah Antiques Festival, October 11 – 12
–Shenandoah Valley Fall Fun Open Horse Show, October 27
–All American Indoor Music Festival, October 31- November 2
–Fall Arts and Crafts Fair, November 9-10
And while it’s over for this year, Castle mentioned that the second Virginia Cider Festival, benefitting a local charity, was held in July at Valley Pike Farm Market. It drew 18 Virginia cideries serving more than 50 hard ciders, and food trucks were on hand, too.
Drink It In
Stable Craft Brewing and the Inn at Meadowcroft are two Augusta County businesses taking part in a variety of beer packages offered by the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail. For example, at Stable Craft Brewing, one can opt for the “Beercation for Two;” add-ons include a Beer Lover’s Deal or Beer Gear Deal. The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail is a network of 15 breweries from Harrisonburg to Natural Bridge—all within a scenic hour’s drive of each other.
On the subject of drinking, Augusta County is also home to Barren Ridge Vineyards. The Tasting Room is a converted apple packing shed; the views—and the wine— will captivate you.
Where to Stay
Cabins, B&Bs, hotels large and small all await visitors to August County. Just a few we suggest: