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Top Motorcycle Routes from DC for Fall Foliage

Vibrissa Beer

122 East Main Street, Front Royal, Virginia 22630, USA

Andrick's Gifts & Collectibles

21 1/2 West 6th Street, Front Royal, VA 22630, USA

Manor Line Market

401 E Main St, Front Royal, VA 22630-3304, United States Front Royal, VA 22630

Skyline Drive Entrance Station Front Royal

21073 Skyline Drive, Front Royal, Virginia 22630, USA

Woodstock Cafe

117 South Main Street, Woodstock, VA 22664, USA

Flour & Water

Flour & Water Co, 124 S Main St, Woodstock, Virginia 22664, USA

Aioli Meditteranean Cuisine

29 North Augusta Street, Staunton, Virginia 24401, USA

Thorn Hill Inn

1196 Thornhill Rd, Lexington, Virginia 24450, USA

Tonic Inn

35 North Main Street Lexington, VA 24450

Pure Eats

107 North Main Street, Lexington, VA, USA

The River Burger Bar

137 N Wayne Ave, Waynesboro, VA 22980, USA

Kimberly's

135 North Braddock Street, Winchester, VA 22601, USA

Winchester Book Gallery

7 North Loudoun Street, Winchester, VA 22601, USA

Motorcycle enthusiasts, this is your time! There are endless roads, overlooks, cities, and towns waiting to be explored in the Shenandoah Valley. Here are a few recommended routes to maximize a weekend trip and ensure some of the best views during peak season.

Day 1: South Bound Through the Valley

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Photo Courtesy of Front Royal

 

Day 1, Segment 1: Route-50, Route-638 to Front Royal (1hr 16min)

 

Start the day by heading west to Front Royal. We recommend using Route 50, transporting you through quaint towns, rolling fields, stone fences, and wineries into the Shenandoah Valley. We’ve mapped the route going north from Gainesville (map below) but feel free to take whatever route to 50 that works best for you from Maryland, DC, or NOVA. Route 50 will take you through picturesque towns like Middleburg and Upperville. Shortly after passing Paris, VA, head south on a beautiful stretch of State Rte 638 toward Warren County’s relaxing Front Royal.  

 


Route from Gainesville to Front Royal via Route-15 to Route-50

 

Once you arrive, if you’re ready for lunch, fuel up at one of Front Royal’s most loved breweries/restaurants in the heart of downtown, Vibrissa Beer (formerly Front Royal Brewing Company). Here you can find upscale pub food and a great selection of beer all brewed in-house. Order some of their famous wings (choose from buffalo, fury hot, honey bbq, lemon pepper, naked, old bay, or thai chili), and try a pint of one of their craft IPAs, Hefeweizens or Sours. 

 

Photo Courtesy of Vibrissa Beer

 

After lunch, head to Andrick’s Gifts & Collectibles, (0.7 miles) and check out their large selection of collectables, including motorcycle gear! Find unique helmets, gloves, jackets, vintage bikes, and more.

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If you’re looking for a quicker stop to enjoy more time on the road, grab a sandwich, bowl of soup, or another one of their delicious premade bowls at Manor Line Market, just a few blocks away from Vibrissa Beer.

 

 

Day 1, Segment 2: Route 11, Route 42 (2hr 38min)

 

 

After leaving Fort Royal, if you like the road more to yourself, Route 42 (map below) is a great drive with places to stop along the way. Route 42 includes Shenandoah, Rockingham, Rockbridge, and Augusta Counties. 

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Skyline Drive (Warren County, Page County, Rockingham County, Augusta County) is a more well-known alternative, however, it can be slightly more congested during peak fall foliage season. If you want to pick up this road, head just outside of Front Royal to Skyline Drive/Route 522.

 

 

 

Head out VA-55 W to Shenandoah County’s Strasburg and then south to Woodstock on Route 11 to pick up Route 42. If you want to stop over in Woodstock, check out the Woodstock Cafe or Flour & Water on Main Street. Both offer an assortment of pastries, sandwiches and soup of the day.  Grab a hot or cold coffee to go and take a stroll down historic main street to find one-of-a-kind gift shops, restaurants, and more. Head back on Route 42 towards Columbia Furnace and Mount Clifton to continue riding south to Staunton. 

 

If you’re ready to call it a day once you reach Staunton, stop by Aioli for an early dinner in the historic downtown. Aioli offers Mediterranean food concentrating on the Southern European area Italian style homemade raviolis, southern France provincial cooking, and Spanish classics like seafood paella, served with grilled sea scallops, jumbo shrimp, sautéed mussels, clams, house made tomato sauce, white wine, crushed red pepper, and peas.

 

Paella Photo Courtesy of Aioli

 

If you’re staying in Staunton, check out options like the Blackburn Inn, Hotel 24, or Tru by Hilton. For a complete list go to: visitstaunton.com/stay, and don’t forget to make time to explore all that downtown Staunton has to offer.

 

Day 1 (Extended), Segment 3: Route 42. 39, 646, 11 (2 hrs and 25 min)

 

Views from Route 39 (Courtesy of Visit Lexington, VA)

 

If the light is right and you’re ready to ride further past Staunton, we recommend the scenic route to Lexington. After leaving Staunton, head west on Route 254 to Buffalo Gap. Then, you can get back on 42 for some of the most dramatic and beautiful views the Valley has to offer. Following Goshen, VA, in Rockbridge County, take Route 39 also known as the Appalachian Waters Scenic Byway. You’ll experience stunning views while on this serpentine road which stretches along the Maury River.

 

Scenic Route from Staunton to Lexington

 

Our recommended route winds south and returns north, back to Route 11 through Natural Bridge and then on to Lexington. Treat yourself after a long day and put your feet up at Thorn Hill, built in 1792, a retreat that sits on 17 beautiful acres outside of Lexington with panoramic views, perfect for fall. The property is home to organic farms and gardens, a yoga barn and private gym, and luxurious guest rooms which include a gourmet breakfast. If you prefer to stay in town check out Tonic Inn or view the complete list of Lexington lodging

 

Day 2: Return North – Blue Ridge Parkway Bound

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Courtesy of Visit Lexington

 

Day 1, Segment 1: 60, Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway (BRP)

Fuel up with breakfast in Lexington at Pure Eats and then take 60 east through Buena Vista and head to the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. Stop over at the Buena Vista Overlook to take in the views before heading north to Waynesboro through the Blue Ridge Mountains.

 

 

After Driving about 1 hour and 32 min north you are going to want to stop for some of the best burgers in the Shenandoah Valley at Waynesboro’s The River

 

Photo Courtesy of The River

 

We recommend the Sundrop Burger – a certified angus beef patty topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, spicy mayo and an egg sunny side up. 

 

Day 1, Segment 2: Route 340

 

After lunch in Waynesboro, take Route 340 north. This road, along the Shenandoah River, has views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is the perfect way to head home while still seeing more of the Valley! 

 

 

Head north towards the Town of Stanley, which also offers great mountain views and has a relaxing rural feel. Then make your way through Luray back towards Front Royal. If you have time, take Route 340 to 522 and enjoy the remainder of the afternoon shopping and dining in Old Town Winchester.

 

Photos Courtesy Kimberly’s in Winchester

 

Once in Winchester, for distinctive local apparel and gifts visit Kimberly’s. If you happen to be looking for rare or antique books, you’re also in luck, visit Winchester Book Gallery. For a complete list of shops and restaurants, you can browse the complete Old Town Winchester directory.

 

Want to plan your own route? You’ll definitely want to include:  

  • Route 250 – Waynesboro, Staunton, Augusta County
  • Route 11 – This road connects the Valley and is scenic and historic, running through Lexington, Rockbridge County, Staunton, Rockingham County, Harrisonburg, Shenandoah County, Frederick County, and Winchester.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway – Augusta, Rockbridge County

 

Whichever route you choose, we hope you enjoy the ride! 

 

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