Steeped in charm and blanketed by the rich history of our country, centuries-old stories are just waiting to be told in Lexington. Visit the home of Stonewall Jackson, learn about the nation’s first state-sponsored military college, travel back in time as you tour an antebellum manor or get an up-close glimpse of some of America’s unblemished beauty.
The town of Lexington is the seat of Rockbridge County in the Shenandoah Valley. During the American Civil War (1861–1865), it was home to Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) and the Virginia Military Institute. Although not of great strategic importance, the town nevertheless smoldered in the atmosphere of war long before many other Virginian communities felt the conflict. You can absorb the history of these times by visiting this historic town.
The impressive Jackson Memorial Hall in the VMI Museum.
Artifacts from Stonewall Jackson including the coat he was wearing when he was shot.
Virginia Military Institute Museum
Virginia’s oldest public museum is home to more than 15,000 artifacts. These artifacts tell the story of the nation’s first state-sponsored military college. Cadet-guided tours are offered at noon daily.
Stonewall Jackson House
Stonewall Jackson, a well-known general of the Civil War, made Lexington his home. Today, the house in which he lived is open to the public for guided tours. Start the tour with a brief, 6-minute film before perusing the space and many of Stonewall’s’ personal possessions.
Sam Houston’s cousin, Matthew Houston, built this manor house in 1806. Originally a dry goods store and tavern, eventually it became a plantation. It would be added onto in 1812 but would remain mostly the same until 1916. Today, the 1916 version is what you will see should make a visit to Forest Oaks.
The streets of Lexington are lovely.
Fish in this stream with John Roberts Fly Fishing Adventures.
Natural Bridge State Park
Not far from Forest Oaks you will find Natural Bridge State Park. Believe it or not, Thomas Jefferson once owned this beautiful piece of land. The natural bridge the park is named after stands more than 200 feet tall. Cedar Creek carved out this limestone gorge and today visitors can see the natural bridge in all its glory. Visitors to the park also have access to six miles of hiking trails leading to places like Lace Falls, a 30-foot waterfall within the park bounds.
John Roberts Fly Fishing Adventures, owned by Roberts, an expert fly fisherman, has been hosting fishing for 61 years! Located in Lexington, Roberts fishes trout out of the cold waters of Rockbridge County. Rainbow trout are most common to the area, accounting for 85 percent of the trout in Virginia. Roberts offers full and half-day excursions to those interested. Find out more at vatrout.com.
Cheese To You
Cheese To You started with six cheeses upon moving to Lexington just a few years ago. Today, their most popular cheese is their 10-year-old Quebec Cheddar Reserve. Cheese To You is the place to go for quality, grass-based dairy cheeses. Get more information at cheesetoyou.com.
Barbecue is smoky and served in charming restaurants.
The Farmer's Market offers some tasty homemade pastries!
Cocoa Mill Chocolate Company
Ready for life-changing chocolate?! At Cocoa Mill Chocolate Company, an artisan chocolate shop, they make everything they sell and hone their focus on taste. The chocolate here has been voted the best chocolate in America and is sold to both chefs and restaurants. Check it out at cocoamill.com.
Lexington Coffee Roasters
Lexington Coffee Roasters was first on the scene when they began roasting high-quality coffee more than 25 years ago. Their award-winning craft coffee is all the buzz. Stop by for a cup or place an online order at lexingtoncoffee.com to brew the delicious beans at home.
Virginia Horse Center
Virginia is horse country and at the Virginia Horse Center horses have been trained here since before the Revolutionary War. The center sits on 600 acres and contains nine show rings, eight schooling rings and eight barns. Various events are held here year-round. Check vahorsecenter.org for a calendar of events.
Lexington Carriage Company
Keeping in theme with horses, hop on a horse-drawn carriage as you make your way through downtown Lexington. Narrated tours are offered daily from April through October and last approximately 45 minutes. During your historical tour you will pass the Stonewall Jackson House, the Virginia Military Institute, Lee Chapel, The Lee House and more. For more information, go to lexcarriage.com.
Washington and Lee University
This university, named after George Washington and Robert E. Lee, sees 40,000 visitors annually. The university got its start in 1749 and stayed in operation due in part to a generous endowment from George Washington. The chapel is the main attraction at Washington and Lee University as it is a charming, National Historic Landmark.
Lexington, Virginia, is a college town rich with history, charm and natural wonders. Surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Shenandoah Valley, its bustling downtown offers unique restaurants, artisan shops and galleries. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy mountain vistas on a walk along the Woods Creek trail or on a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. History buffs can follow the Civil War and visit the final resting places of iconic figures like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Enjoy a laid back vacation filled with a hometown touch. To learn more, visit lexingtonvirginia.com.