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. We say spring has arrived when the scenic countryside boasts new blooms and color bursts forth everywhere.
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 6. 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.
Of Land & Sea
The annual Bull & Oyster Fest is back after two years of caution through the pandemic. Celebrate with oysters and BBQ, live music, excellent drinks, and more on April 1. This festival is a fundraiser for Rockbridge Area Health Center and held at Virginia Horse Center.
Style & Grace
The Lexington Spring Premiere AA (Virginia Festival of Champions) hunter/jumper horse show returns to Virginia Horse Center April 26-May 7. You won't want to miss these gorgeous horses and talented riders gracefully conquer their courses.
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.
Springtime Family Fun
There’s no time for nostalgia at Hulls Drive-In, which opens March 24. 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 March 4.
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.
April 1 is the big day Lexington Carriage Company's historic tours by horse-drawn carriage, and we're here for it! This slow-paced narrated tour through downtown Lexington is the best way to get the highlights and trivia of our 1778 town. Climb aboard across the street from our Visitor Center.
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.
Beverages for Grown Folks
What do you see from the lofty deck at Devils Backbone Brewing Company? The Blue Ridge Mountains, historic Route 11, and beer, mmm, beer. You're going to want to sip the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail and score more of that - oh, so much more of that - at Great Valley Farm Brewery & Winery in Natural Bridge, Heliotrope Brewery in downtown Lexington, and Rockbridge Vineyard & Brewery in Raphine.
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.
Did someone say cider? Oh yeah we did. Halcyon Days Cider Co. in Natural Bridge is making some of the best cider around. Sample a few, plan to take home a few, and don't forget to make your way to and through the apple tree labyrinth.
Rockbridge County's newest vineyard should be your first destination of the spring wine tasting season. Ecco Adesso Vineyard in Fairfield has quickly grown to include special spaces for special people like you, including overnight accommodations.
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.
If you're visiting to enjoy one of our excellent spring events, you may want to take your time perusing some of our best routes. Have your camera ready, as the views are impressive!
Fresh Air Excursions
More Warm Weather Attractions Reopen
You've waited all winter (okay, we've waited all winter) for these attractions to reopen and it's finally time!
March 1 - Stonewall Jackson House - Open Tuesday through Saturday. Be sure to take the new guided tour, "The Enslaved Experience," when you visit.
April 1 - Wade's Mill, the Shenandoah Valley's oldest continually operating mill, opens for the season.
April 14 - Lavender Fields at Tantivy Farm opens to welcome you to their gift shop and gardens.
TBA - Dinosaur Kingdom is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Memorial Day, then open daily throughout summer.