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Landscape in Bloom

April 15, 2020
Stories, Outdoors, Arts & Culture

Wildflowers are blooming all over the Shenandoah Valley, and trees are bursting with fresh fragrant foliage. April and May are wonderful months to experience the beauty of Virginia’s roadside buds and blooms. Come tour with us along this 36-mile loop (and see for yourself some of the views that inspired renowned American artist P. Buckley Moss.)

 

 

Start in downtown Waynesboro and drive Route 250 south to climb the Blue Ridge Mountains toward Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Right away you’ll pass our friends at Basic City Beer Company who are offering curbside growler pick-ups. Note the fantastic murals completed during the 2017 Virginia Street Arts Festival, including “Isabelle” by Nils Westergard (a celebrated street artist, whose works can be found across the US, Europe, and Australia).

 

 

Continuing along Route 250, turn onto Route 610 (Howardsville Turnpike). The Blue Ridge Parkway is currently closed for the first 13 miles or else we’d send you to Ravens Roost, subject of P. Buckley Moss’s 2013 painting of the same name. Fortunately, Route 610 parallels the Parkway for a bit and offers the same higher elevation breeze and roadside spring blooms. Keep an eye open to the right for a wide opening of meticulously landscaped greens. That’s Swannanoa Golf and Country Club, currently closed, but ever lovely.

 

 

Not far past the golf course Route 610 narrows and makes for a lovely country drive, though mostly wooded. Keep an eye out for shade-loving spring wildflowers in this environment, like Bloodroot, False Solomon’s Seal, Large Trillium, and Dutchman’s Breeches. If you notice pink flowered trees, those are likely Redbud while white flowered trees are likely Dogwood.

 

 

 

Route 610 leads into the Sherando community. When you reach the stop sign, turn right onto Route 664 (Reeds Gap Road) to drive through Lyndhurst, where Waynesboro Nurseries occupies both sides of the road with saplings and other plants. Just ahead is Route 631 (Ladd Road); take a left to connect with Route 340 (Stuarts Draft Highway). As you’re approaching Route 340, note Bethlehem Lutheran Church (circa 1854) on your right. It has been a subject of P. Buckley Moss in her painting “Sunday Ride.”

 

 

Move through the intersection on Ladd Road, which parallels Interstate 64 and leads to Tinkling Spring Road. When you reach the intersection, turn right, cross over the interstate, and turn right onto Tinkling Spring Drive where you’ll see Tinkling Spring Presbyterian Church. Founded in 1740, it is one of the oldest churches in Augusta County and the subject of “Tinkling Spring Ride” by P. Buckley Moss.

 

 

Follow along Tinkling Spring Road to reach Route 250 (Jefferson Highway) and take a left. Drive under the overpass and take the following right to pick up Route 698 (Long Meadow Road). This is a lovely country drive through farms and past a few homes. On your left will be Andre Viette Nurseries, home of the famous “In the Garden Radio with Andre Viette.”

 

 

Cross route 254 (Hermitage Road) and watch for Route 785 (Madrid Road) on your right. Follow that around until you come upon Stable Craft Brewing Company, also offering growlers to-go. Take one or two to add to your cooler and then backtrack on Madrid Road to pick up Route 820 (Coleytown Road), which takes you back to Route 254 (Hermitage Road).

 

 

Turn left and follow Route 254 into downtown Waynesboro. A left onto Route 340 (W. Main Street) will show you the last two P. Buckley Moss references of this scenic drive: The Wayne Theatre on Main Street and Fishburne Military School as viewed from S. Wayne Avenue (a right off of Main Street just past The Wayne Theatre).

 

 

 

We hope you enjoy this loop as much as we do. We’d love to see any photos you might share socially along the way, so be sure to tag @VisitWaynesboro on Instagram.