A common travel route for Virginia residents and visitors heading to, from, or maybe just through the Blue Ridge Mountains, Interstate 64 from Richmond to Staunton winds through 108 miles of scenic countryside. While the scenery may be beautiful, you’ll find a lot more to love about the route if you get out and explore! Here are a few detours off this western portion of the Interstate to avoid any monotony in your next trip.
St. John’s Church
We mentioned a few museums in Richmond that allow for a quick stop off of I-64 East, but there is so much more to do in the River City. Reach Virginia’s Capital city by exits 185, 186, 187, or 190 off of I-64.
– Stroll along the Canal Walk, or for a more leisurely experience, hop on one of the Canal Cruises for a historically narrated tour of the canal.
– Get a little “gothic” (at least in the literary sense) at the Edgar Allen Poe Museum, which is housed in the oldest standing structure in Richmond.
– Imagine one of history’s greatest moments at St. John’s Episcopal Church, where founding father and Virginian Patrick Henry gave his famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech.
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery
A small county of only about 22,000 people, Goochland may not be big, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in beauty and charm. Take exits 167 or 175 off of I-64 to reach Goochland.
– Sample a flight of much-loved Virginia craft beers at Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery.*
– Make an appointment at Jackson Blacksmith Shop to learn about the history and significance of this ancient craft while viewing a live demonstration.
Rockville sits on the western border of Hanover County and is another small yet lovely town. Exit 173 will get you to Rockville off of I-64.
– Visit the tasting room at Midnight Brewery to savor popular year-round craft beers as well as some seasonal favorites.*
15 miles west of Rockville and almost at the halfway point between Richmond and Charlottesville, Gum Spring can be reached by I-64 exit 159.
– Have a picnic, walk the nature trails, and let the kids hang out on the playground while the adults taste some Virginia wine at Grayhaven Winery.*
Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum
Although Gordonsville is about 15 minutes off of I-64 exit 136, the Virginia town is worth the detour! Plus, you can loop around and get back on the Interstate at exit 129 in Keswick.
– Learn about the medical advancements made during the Civil War and tour the only Virginia battlefield receiving hospital left standing from the era at the Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum.
– Sit where General “Stonewall” Jackson did during the Civil War (they preserved his pew!) at historic Gordonsville Presbyterian Church, which dates back to 1855 and is the oldest church in the area.
– Discover the Barboursville Ruins, the expansive residence designed by Thomas Jefferson but largely destroyed by a fire in 1884, and then grab a glass of wine at Barboursville Vineyards.*
Home to the Wahoos (the affectionate nickname for UVA students and alum), Charlottesville blends natural beauty with city living, resulting in one of the most beloved cities in the state. Take exits 124, 121, 120 and 118 to reach Charlottesville off of I-64.
– Walk to the UVA Rotunda and Central Grounds, an impressive building and landscape designed by Thomas Jefferson, and head over to the Lawn, where you’ll find Edgar Allen Poe’s college dormitory still preserved (although not open for tours).
– Dine in 18th century style at Michie Tavern, a historic restaurant that serves delicious fare that Charlottesville natives rave about.
– Pick apples and other fresh fruit at Carter Mountain Orchard.
The community of Afton straddles both Albemarle and Nelson Counties, with a spectacular view of the Blue Ridge Mountains creating a scenic backdrop for the community. Use exit 107 to reach Afton.
– Get the animal farm experience at Misty Mountain Accoyo Suris Alpaca Farm, where you get to experience alpaca farming firsthand.
– Take a step back in history at Wayfarer Forge, a classic blacksmith shop where owner Gerald Boggs continues to create everything by hand, from small bottle openers to one-of-a-kind furniture pieces.
– Experience the opulence of living in a mansion (okay, pretending to live in a mansion) at Swannanoa Palace. Built in 1912 by railroad executive Major James Dooly, the palace is modelled after the Ville de Medici in Rome.
– Get some exercise that ends with a beautiful view when you hike to Humpback Rocks.
Plumb House Museum
In the fertile Shenandoah Valley, Waynesboro has many attractions for history lovers. Exits 99, 96, or 94 from I-64 will all take you into the city.
– Learn about the history of the area at the Waynesboro Heritage Museum, which tells the story of Waynesboro through nine walk-through galleries.
– Study Native American and Civil War artifacts at the Plumb House Museum, built in 1802 and recognized as the oldest frame dwelling in Waynsboro.
– If you or your traveling companions enjoy trains, stop by the Augusta County Railroad Museum to see four model train layouts, one of which you can operate, as well as historic railroad memorabilia.
Frontier Culture Museum
Recently recognized as one of the “Best Small Towns in America”, Staunton sits at the intersection of I-64 and I-81. Use exit 87 to reach this small but significant Virginia locale.
– Make a pit stop at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum and view the personal belongings of President Woodrow Wilson, including his limousine. The museum also houses a state-of-the-art interactive WW1 trench exhibit.
– Visit the largest camera museum in American, at the Camera Heritage Museum, which boasts a collection of 2,000 historic images and 4,500 cameras and accessories that were developed as far back as 1840.
– Explore both America and Europe’s past through agriculture at the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia. The educational destination features four different historic farms moved from their country of origin and reconstructed at the museum site in Staunton.
Long trips often get tedious for everyone in the car, not just the kids! Take a break while venturing through the state on Interstate 64 to find these interesting Virginia detours.
*Designated drivers are required for these activities. Don’t drink and drive.
One of my ancestors was on the first vestry of St. John’s Church when it was built.
I visited Swannanoa years ago when Lao Russell would give private tours.
Thanks for the mention of Michie Tavern! We love seeing all of our visitors from around the world.
The Frontier Museum shouldn’t be missed-great explanations of early VA history.
I didn’t post: Your comment…….
I Love Virginia….and the SHENNENDOAH VALLEY area…
Swannanoa is a very cool place to visit, but please don’t think it is glorious…far from it. While it once was, the current owner has allowed it to creep into disrepair. Sad, very sad! Much of the mansion is blocked off and has had nothing at all done to preserve it.
The best part is the enormous Tiffany stained-glass window and the carriage (mansion) house. Enjoy it for sure, but don’t expect much beauty.
I know it well… we used to stay close to it in Waynesboro VA…..
Hi Carol, from what I’ve read about Swannanoa, its falling into disrepair started before Lao and Walter Russell leased it in 1949. It had been unoccupied since the Great Depression. Cheers, Mike
You left out Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro – the oldest (and smallest) Virginia military school still in operation.
Im a big civil war person..I heard the Military school has buildings still in operation with no AC…
My mother grew up in Fishers illegal. You forgot the historic Tinkling Springs Presbyterian Church.
That is Fishersville. Darn auto correct