View from Iris Inn
Picture a place of scenic beauty, historic heritage, outdoor pursuits, and lively downtown areas, and you’ll begin to get a sense of Augusta County.
All Augusta, All Outside
For outdoor recreation, one can spend endless hours exploring Sherando Lake Recreation Area, George Washington National Forest, or Shenandoah National Park. The southern entrance to Skyline Drive and the northern entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway are both easily accessible. Hiking, cycling, canoeing, swimming, camping, and horseback riding are all popular.
The independent cities of Staunton and Waynesboro are the central hubs of the Augusta County region. Both have a great deal to offer.
American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton is a landmark of performance art. This summer the American Shakespeare Center is partnering with Mary Baldwin University, performing at their private, vine-covered brick courtyard known as the Rose Terrace. This open, yet intimate experience is the perfect backdrop for Shakespeare’s mystical and bloody tragedy, Macbeth.
As for dining opportunities, Staunton and Waynesboro have a wide variety of restaurants to select from featuring American, Italian, Mexican, Contemporary, Steakhouses and more.
Here’s a quick look at some other points to explore in the area:
Traipse the Murals
Waynesboro has a Traipse tour featuring street art and the many dynamic murals found in Downtown. Traipse is a smartphone app for “puzzle hunt” tours of local attractions and businesses.
Go to the Theater
The Wayne Theatre has a full calendar of in-person events such as behind-the-scenes sessions to learn about acting, singing, and design, classic films, and exhibits. And events are being continuously added to the growing calendar.
Waynesboro is home to the P. Buckley Moss Gallery. The Gallery, located in the heart of historic downtown Waynesboro, features an extensive range of works by the renowned Waynesboro artist. The nearby P. Buckley Moss Barn hosts special events throughout the year at which the public is invited to meet the artist and have prints personalized.
Paddle or Walk
Waynesboro has a four-mile Water Trail on the South River and a 1.2-mile South River Greenway.
Taste the Wine
Once your list of outdoor thrills is satisfied, try something more sedate like visiting Barren Ridge Vineyards. The scenery alone will calm you. The Tasting Room is a converted apple packing barn, and an ideal place to sample the wine selection.
Grand Caverns (originally called Weyers Cave) opened for tours in 1806–making it the oldest continually operating show cave in the country. Guided tour opportunities include the traditional tour, about 70 minutes, the Historic Trail Tour (2-1/2 to 3 hours) and the Fountain Cave—2 to 2/12 hours of more challenging climbing and scrambling.
Find a Bargain
Factory Antique Mall
Thought to be the largest antique mall in the country, Factory Antique has more than 200 vendors displaying furniture, tools, military memorabilia, glassware and kitchen essentials of all types, and much more. With 135,000 square feet of floor space to explore, plan on a long day of shopping for bargains.
Hoist a Glass
Virginia’s craft beer industry has grown by 36 percent since 2015, placing it among the top five fastest-growing states in that industry. Several stops along the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail are located in Augusta County—Stable Craft Brewing, Seven Arrows Brewing, and Skipping Rock Beer to name just a few. Check the link above to see the full list of 17 craft breweries, all within about an hour’s drive of each other. Food is usually available, often in the form of food trucks; a few offer light fare or full-service menus. Visit your choice’s website to find out more.
Where to Stay
Augusta County, Staunton, and Waynesboro offer all the lodging options anyone could ask for. One sure bet is The Blackburn Inn & Conference Center is a beautiful restored historic property. The Inn was formerly Building 12 or the Main Administration Building for the Old Western State Hospital which was constructed between 1825 – 1828. The Inn officially opened in June 2018 as Virginia’s newest, luxury boutique hotel.
The historic Hotel 24 South and Conference Center, formerly the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and originally opened in 1924, restored in 2005 and now reintroduced with a stylish renovation in 2018. Located in the center of Historic Downtown Staunton, they are a proud member of Historic Hotels of America & Stash Hotel Rewards.
Another outstanding location is the Iris Inn in Waynesboro. The Iris Inn is a purpose-built Virginia bed and breakfast. Each building was placed on the property with care to afford you the best view from each room of the beautiful mountain terrain that surrounds the inn on all sides.
Other options include the Hampton Inns in Staunton and Fisherville, the Best Western Plus and Residence Inn in Waynesboro. Find more lodging options throughout the Shenandoah Valley by clicking here.