Blue Ridge Country May/June 2021 - 31

CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT:
Charlottesville's Historic Pedestrian Downtown
Mall is coming back to life.
Historic Mimslyn Inn and Spa is a Luray lure.
The gazebo at the Village Commons is a
welcoming spot in Front Royal.
Waynesboro's Iris Inn overlooks the
Shenandoah Valley.
SANJAY SUCHAK | WWW.VISITCHARLOTTESVILLE.ORG

MIMSLYN INN AND SPA

JUMPING ROCKS PHOTOGRAPHY | VISITWAYNESBORO.NET

Camp at Loft Mountain. The 200-site
campground is situated in the heart of
the park at milepost 80. Expect superlative
primitive camping with a handful of backcountry and RV sites thrown in. The best
spots are cut into the side of 3,379-foot Big
Flat Mountain amid rhododendron forests, overlooking the A.T. A lovely mountaintop amphitheater offers educational
programming and great star and moon
gazing opportunities. Amenities include
a renovated camp store and family restaurant with an adjacent bathhouse and
laundry facility. Primitive sites are $15 a
night.
Riprap-Wildcat Ridge Trail. This challenging 9.8-mile circuit hike begins at
milepost 90 and includes both a 2.8-mile
section of A.T. and notable rock formations like Calvary Rocks and Chimney Rocks. Follow spring-fed streams
through a pair of hollows and a small
gorge where you'll encounter a 20-foot
waterfall. Catch views of the Shenandoah Valley from ridgelines and 2,940-foot
Rocks Mountain.

AGNOSTICPREACHERSKID | WIKIPEDIA

DOWN THE MOUNTAINSIDES

Another great thing about the SNP is its
proximity to trail towns. Small, quirky
cities bookmark its beginning and end;
bisecting rural highways deliver further
cultural adventures.
Front Royal. This 15,077-person city sits
at the confluence of the north and southern forks of the Shenandoah River, and is
routinely praised as one of the East Coast's
best midsized trail towns. Head downtown for an array of interesting shops,
boutiques and restaurants. Front Royal
Brewing Company offers pub fare and a
lineup of fresh craft beers. James Beard
Foundation award-winning chef Alain
Borel dishes up farm-to-table fine-dining
just beyond the town limits, at L'Auberge
Provencale.
Luray. Take U.S. 211 west from the
park's Thornton Gap Entrance at milepost 31.5 into this charming 5,000-person
town. Take a 1.25-mile walking tour of one
of America's top underground treasures,
Luray Caverns, or indulge a paddling adventure on the Shenandoah River's sce-

nic southern fork with Shenandoah River
Outfitters. Catch lunch or dinner at Circa
'31, which offers New American cuisine in
the historic Mimslyn Inn and spa.
Waynesboro. Head west at the park's
southern terminus at Rockfish Gap for
more mountain town delights. Sample
craft brews and grab burgers at Basic City
or Stable Craft breweries. Book an awardwinning guided fly-fishing tour on the
South River with South River Fly Shop.
Treat yourself with a stay in a luxury treehouse overlooking the Shenandoah Valley
at the Iris Inn.
Charlottesville. One of the Southeast's
top foodie destinations is less than 25
miles east of Rockfish Gap. Pub-hop at
more than a dozen craft distilleries, breweries, cideries and wineries along celebrated Route 151. Cruise into town for comestible delights at five-star eateries like the
Alley Light, Mas Tapas, or Fleurie. Venues
like The Paramount Theater, The Southern Café and Music Hall and The Jefferson
Theater provide ample music and entertainment options.

MAY/JUNE 2021

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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2021

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