April 14, 2015

A Weekend Getaway to Lexington, VA

For a quintessentially Virginian mountain town experience, look no further than Lexington.  Nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains off Interstate 81, Lexington showcases beautiful scenic views, various restaurants and micro-breweries, quaint hotels, and enough historic sites to ensure a relaxing, memorable weekend getaway.

There are three ingredients to seeing the best of Lexington:

Virginia Military Institute
1.  History
Lexington has become synonymous with Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, arguably the best known generals of the American Civil War.  Prior to the war, Stonewall Jackson held a professorship position for ten years at Virginia Military Institute teaching Natural & Experimental Philosophy and Artillery.  His house, the only one he ever owned, is open to the public for tours.  General Jackson was killed after the Battle of Chancellorsville due to injuries sustained from friendly fire and is buried just a few blocks from his house in Lexington.  Lemons, rumored to have been Jackson's favorite fruit, are scattered around his grave in homage from visitors.  Robert E. Lee is also buried in Lexington at the Lee Chapel of Washington & Lee University, where he served as president from 1865 to 1870.

Take a tour of Stonewall Jackson's house and walk to his grave.  Venture back through the town and up to the Lee Chapel at Washington & Lee University.  From there, walk next door to VMI and tour the free military museum, which holds the beloved remains of Jackson's horse, Little Sorrel, and the bullet-ridden coat Jackson wore at Chancellorsville.

Foamhenge in all its glory
2.  Natural Wonders
Surrounded by mountain vistas, you will not lack for natural scenery while in Lexington.  But a 20-minute venture outside of town affords the opportunity to visit the awe-inspiring natural masterpiece that is Natural Bridge.  Formed when an underground cavern collapsed, the Natural Bridge is taller than Niagara Falls and boasts association with two American presidents - George Washington, who surveyed the land and carved his initials there as a young man, and Thomas Jefferson, who owned the land and built a cabin as a mountain retreat.

For a quick laugh before heading back into Lexington, make a brief detour at Foamhenge, a life-sized replica of Stonehenge made, unsurprisingly, of foam.  It is open and free to those members of the public with a wry sense of humor.

3.  Southern Charm & Good Eats
Finally, as with all the best places in Virginia, a visit to Lexington should include at least one great meal from a local restaurant, preferably accompanied by a local craft brew.  Lexington is home to Blue Lab Brewing Company, a relatively new player on the Virginia craft beer scene, and also hosts the Outpost location of Devil's Backbone Brewing Company, a mid-sized craft brewing legend of central Virginia.  Blue Lab's Hefeweizen and Devil's Backbone's Gold Leaf lager come highly recommended.  Many of these local brews can be enjoyed at Macado's, a popular sandwich shop along Lexington's Main Street.  With sandwich names like "Bonnie and Clyde" or the "Sherlock Holmes," you'll quickly fall into a lighthearted mood while devouring their delicious food.

Natural Bridge

Have you visited Lexington?


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  1. Great advice and places to go! Didn't know all that history about Lee, Jackson, Washington, and Jefferson. I'm so excited to be on the East Coast this summer and dive into the past! Love the photos!

  2. Love it! I used to live in Virginia, but near Washington, DC. These photos remind me of Alexandria and Old Town. Such a lovely place. I used to work at Anthropologie there. VA is a great state!

  3. I'm planning a lazy weekend exploring south on 81 sometime soon, so these are all perfect!

  4. I have family in Lexington and visited a few years ago for a wedding! Such a lovely place!


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