How do you know spring has arrived in Rockbridge County? Some might say it’s the marquee at Hull’s Drive-In announcing the first double feature of the season. Or maybe it’s the flower boxes popping up beside shops in downtown Lexington. Others might say the true harbingers of spring are Sperry topsiders and Lilly Pulitzer frocks, making their respective debuts on W&L dudes and coeds.
Garden & Art Tours
April marks the beginning of tour season for all things beautiful. Across Virginia, Historic Garden Week, celebrates gardens across Virginia. Lexington joins the fun on Saturday, April 22nd with a garden tour that stops including five homes that share an inviting hallmark of Southern living - delightful porches and patios that gracefully connect home and garden. See diverse interior and exterior architectures dating from 1821 to the present, experience a Labyrinth garden, and visit a home and studio that once belonged to Cy Twombly, an internationally recognized artist from Lexington.
Impressionistic landscapes. Metal works. Mythical icons. Handmade books. And found-art sculptures. All are on view in mid-May, when seven artist studios with a total of 25 artist's exhibiting their work open their doors for the annual Lexington & Rockbridge Studio Tour. The tour is May 13th and 14th.
Relay Race on a Historic Route
Scots-Irish and German immigrants traveled through Rockbridge County in the 1700s on the Great Wagon Road, known today as Route 11. Many pioneers settled in Rockbridge County. Route 11 makes an appearance during the Road & River Relay on Saturday, May 6th. On this four-leg race, sponsored by the Lexington Sunrise Rotary Club, participants follow a 16.1-mile course past local flora and fauna while running, cycling, paddling, and running some more.
Live Music & Outdoor Entertainment
Who’s ready for yelps and hollers in the great outdoors? The Lime Kiln Theater, formerly a limestone quarry, kicks off its spring and summer music series in late May. With a schedule packed with up-and-coming bluegrass talent, high lonesome never sounded so good.
On Friday nights, catch old-time music jams and dancing at Clark’s Ole Time Music Center in Raphine.
Springtime Family Fun
There’s no time for nostalgia at Hulls Drive-In, which opens in mid-March. This non-profit drive-in movie theater is too busy entertaining the crowds cruising in for the weekend double feature. Families and pets are welcome, and you’ll likely see children romping on the lawn before the first show.
There’s one great truth at the Virginia Safari Park: it’s a llama’s world, and you just live in it. You’ll see what we mean on an open-window cruise through this drive-thru zoo where llamas, camels, and zebras approach your car - and your feed bucket - with mouths open wide. The park opens annually in mid-March.
You can enjoy an event every spring weekend at the 600-acre Virginia Horse Center on scenic Hwy 39 on the northern outskirts of Lexington. Stop by for dressage events and shows spotlighting various breeds.
Small farms dot the countryside, providing locally sourced meat and a remarkable variety of fresh fruit and vegetables for local chefs. As winter recedes and gardens rejuvenate, the farm-to-table fare at Red Hen, Haywood’s, and Southern Inn gets downright innovative - and irresistible - as farmers roll out a flavorful array of spring produce.
Breweries and Wineries
What do you see from the lofty patio at Devils Backbone Brewing Company? The Blue Ridge Mountains, historic Route 11, and beer, mmm, beer. Brand new on our craft beer scene is Great Valley Farm Brewery in Natural Bridge. The views are ridiculously beautiful and the beer? A+.
Brew Ridge Taps in downtown Lexington serves 17 craft brews on draft plus a wide selection of bottle beer. And did somebody say wafflewich sandwiches? Check the Brew Ridge Taps website for trivia nights, music and Cards Against Humanity competitions.
Sit outside, savor the chardonnay, and listen to bluegrass, folk, and pub tunes during Unplugged & Uncorked at Rockbridge Vineyard. This concert series runs from 2-5pm on selected Sundays beginning in April.
A spring picnic in Goshen Pass is never a bad idea. If you’d like wine with your picnic, purchase a bottle after the Friday night wine tasting at Washington Street Purveyors in Lexington. Or pick up a bottle of cabernet sauvignon at Jump Mountain Vineyard or a French-American varietal at Lexington Valley Vineyard, both open by appointment, on the way to the Goshen Pass wayside.