The Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel is part of a regional greenway system. Hikers, bikers, railroad enthusiasts, and history buffs will be amazed at the trails through the restored tunnel. Visitors can jog, walk, or bike while admiring the raw, exposed rock, brick walls and ceiling. There’s another surprising twist to this attraction- those who enter must bring flashlights and headlamps. That’s right- the tunnel isn’t lit! What’s more, there are plenty of activities and interesting places to visit nearby; you can pack a whole day full of fun experiences before or after visiting the tunnel.
After visiting the tunnel, if you still feel like taking a stroll, Waynesboro’s Ridgeview Park is an excellent option. The 85-acre park offers views of the South River. Everyone can enjoy a day at the park; there are many places for picnics fun with the family. If you’re a gardener, you’ll like viewing one of Ridgeview Park’s many gardens. Nature lover? Take a walk on one of the nature trails.
Another nearby recreational area is the South River Greenway. Greenways are often found near urban areas, and they’re created for both recreational use and as a refuge or corridor for wildlife. The South River Greenway, aptly named, runs for miles along the South River. The trail offers exercise stations, benches for relaxing, and ample room for fun with the family.
If you need a cup of something delicious, head over to The French Press, which offers a variety of beverages, including delicious, iced soy chai lattes. To further treat your taste buds, go see The Waynesboro Farmers Market between May and September. They’re open rain or shine! The marker features locally grown vegetables, baked goods, fruits, herbs, and crafts, along with much more. Shoppers can head to the Waynesboro Farmers Market in-person or online.
If you can’t get enough Farmers Markets, visit the seasonal Farmer’s Market Cooperative in nearby Nelson County. Over two decades ago, local farmers in Nelson County decided to form a private cooperative to help local residents have better access to fresh local produce. The rest is history. Today, the Nelson Farmers’ Market Cooperative has grown to over 50 vendors and continues to bring a wonderful variety of produce, baked goods, plants, flowers, crafts and more. Enjoy live music as you enjoy the outdoor shop!
Once you have your fresh produce secured in the car, head south to Nelson County’s Route 151. Affectionately called “Virginia’s Long Weekend Address,” this famed craft beverage trail includes breweries, cideries, wineries, distilleries and a meadery. Enjoy award-winning craft beverages and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the historic Rockfish Valley.
After visiting Nelson’s craft beverage producers, take a ride on the Nelson Scenic Loop. The Loop is a 50-mile auto and bike tour that includes four Virginia-designated scenic byways. The drive winds around the Rockfish Valley, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Tye River Valley in beautiful Nelson County. There’s a lot of freedom in the Loop, you can design your own tour to include a hike to Crabtree Falls or along portions of the Appalachian Trail. If you don’t want to get out of the car, no problem! A drive along Nelson’s scenic loop includes views of vineyards, farmland, and the mist-shrouded Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Nelson Scenic Loop includes The Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469-mile scenic drive that winds along the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy some of the best mountain views in the world. If you decide to take a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll be in good company- it’s the most visited unit in the United States’ National Park System. View the springtime blooms as they pink up the Blue Ridge, the rich green carpet spread across the mountains in summer, the blaze of fall, or the simple, silent majesty of winter from The Blue Ridge Parkway.
As you enjoy the new Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel, you’ll find amazing opportunities on either side of The Blue Ridge Mountains. For more information, call the Nelson County Visitors Center at 434-263-7015.