Saturday, April 19, 2014

VA Fly Fishing Festival and Hike to Crabtree Falls, April 12-13, 2014

On Saturday, Kathi and I left early to head to Waynesboro for the Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival.

We arrived around 11:00 and arranged to meet our good friends John and Karen for lunch at a restaurant they recommended, the Green Leaf Grill in Waynesboro.  The food was delicious (I had a shrimp Po'boy) and the company was even better.  Fat and happy, we walked down the street to the Fly Fishing Festival.

The booths were interesting, but I wish there were more.  Kathi was clearly not impressed!

The most interesting thing I saw was a pair of neoprene-foot hip waders from Chota - I'm going to get a pair for fishing this shallow mountain streams in the Shenandoah when full chest waders are unnecessary.

 Of course Lefty is always entertaining.  He's got a thousand quips!

Outside, Kathi, John, Karen and I sampled flights of win from about 8 different vendors.   Kathi and my favorite was a pinot gregio from Knight's Gambit Vineyard.  Happy wife, happy life!

It was late in the afternoon as we left the Fly Fishing Festival and we decided to check into our B&B before going on a scenic drive in the country.  We arrived at the Inn at Old Virginia in Staunton, VA.  What a nice place!  

We got some recommendations for dinner from our host, I got a to-go cup of coffee, and we headed out.  The Inn was on the outskirts of Staunton and Kathi wanted to swing through Staunton on the way to the country roads that awaited.

This being our first time to Staunton, we fell in love with the town immediately.  The home of Mary Baldwin College, Staunton is abuzz with students and full of interesting shops, art galleries, restaurants, and beautiful architecture.  We ditched the country roads and parked the car to explore.

We hit the pavement at around 6:00 pm so we only had an hour to power window shop before most of the stores closed.  We did our best to cram as much in as we could and then moseyed down the hill to the Mill Street Grill for dinner.  The line was huge and they told us it was a 45 minute wait.  We waited outside on the provided benches and cruised the real estate ads.  Within 20 minutes we were sitting at our table ordering.  I had Cajun Shrimp with fried green tomatoes and with garlic potatoes and Kathi had fish and chips.  Both were very good.  Even though they brought us a small serving of sherbet, we had eyed the Split Banana during our explorations so we had to give their gelato a try.  The perfect topper!  

Stuffed, we returned to the Inn at Old Virginia and settled in for the night.

Sunday, we got up early and were first in the dinning room for complimentary breakfast - fruit cocktail, french toast, coffee, and juice.  Nice!

Then we packed up the car and headed south for the Crabtree Falls parking lot where we were rendezvousing with our friends Leslie and Chris for a hike.  Kathi did not like driving over winding, gravel mountain roads on Route 56, but we made it safe and sound.  We actually drove past the trailhead parking lot another 5 miles to a country store to get some snacks for the hike.  We got back just in time as Leslie and Chris were arriving.

Tip:  If you're going to hike to Crabtree Falls on a nice day, arrive early!  The parking lot fills quickly and the trail up will be less crowded and the hiking will be more pleasant early in the morning.

At the beginning of the hike when we were fresh!

The Falls extended way up towards the horizon!  Up we climbed as we traded stories with Leslie and Chris.

Up we go!

And up….

And up….

And up...

And up….

Still smiling at the top!

Summit selfie.

Going down was much easier and seeing all the strained faces headed in the other direction made us feel better about our own aches and pains.

After a short drive, we arrived at our reward, the Devil's Backbone Brewery near Afton VA.  We had a nice lunch with some liquid painkillers (DB's fine crafted beers and blood orange margaritas), and then pointed our chariot south towards Virginia Beach.

Can't wait to do our next day hike and get back to Staunton to do more exploring!