Afton is a small community west of Charlottesville in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where the northern entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway lies. The town is rural, with opportunities for dog lovers and their canine companions to enjoy the outdoors. There are many dog-friendly activities and communities near Afton as well.
Humpback Rocks at the Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 5.8 is a prominent outcrop that affords fantastic views year-round. It also contains several dog-friendly trails from the “stretch-your-legs” easy walk of .3 miles, to longer, more strenuous hikes. Note that pupsters must be leashed and under control in all parts of the Shenandoah National Park. About 4 miles into the trail is the Humpback Rocks picnic area, which will typically take 4 hours to reach on foot from the Humpback Gap parking area. For those up for a challenging climb, a spur trail from the main path offers a 700-foot climb to Humpback Rocks for a spectacular view of the Rockfish and Shenandoah Valleys. Barktiful! Continuing straight, hikers and their furry friends will reach the Humpback Mountain summit for views of ridges to the north. Part of the Appalachian Trail joins with the Humpback Mountain Trail here and can be identified by white blazes on trees.
Once a vacation destination that offered leisurely escapes from the muggy summer city heat, Afton has evolved into a place for outdoor activity that can be enjoyed by both you and your furry bestie!
The Afton Town Center is home to Blue Mountain Brewery, a dog-friendly brewery and restaurant that provides shaded outdoor tables with a spectacular view of the mountains to share a meal with your fur-baby. This hands-on brewery grows its own hops, and features beers that drift slightly from the routine, but not too far, and are truly unique and delicious. Their menu for lunch and dinner includes typical pub fare, and their Sunday brunch offers varying items that change weekly. Burgers, tacos, wings and nachos are always on the menu! Try one of their unique pizzas or a sandwich, and don’t forget to share. Arf! In addition to beer, they serve local wines, ciders and kombucha. Bone appetit!
Waynesboro is a town adjacent to Afton, and in its Oak Hill neighborhood lies the dog-friendly, 145-acre Coyner Springs Park and Dog Park. The park features vast, well-landscaped green areas, as well as a picnic shelter area with tables and a grill, walking/hiking trails and the leash-free dog park. The dog park is not fenced, but is so large that unless Fido is an escape artist, he will naturally stay with the other dogs inside the boundaries. The dog park boasts a mile-long trail within it, and ample grassy meadow for running and romping. Amply shaded with mature trees, this is a pleasant place to exercise and socialize your fur-baby without her feeling forced to interact. It’s perfect for play with a ball launcher or a frisbee! Pawsome!
This neighborhood in Waynesboro is home to Constitution Park, which features soccer facilities for the human family members, and plenty of grassy area for walking, playing and relaxing for everyone, including the fur-puppies. The park contains 2 pavilions for dining, and the larger one hosts the weekly Waynesboro Farmer’s Market where your leashed dog is welcome. If all the exercise has made everyone hungry, Waynesboro boasts several dog-friendly restaurants with outdoor tables where Fido can join you for a meal. McAlister’s Deli serves up casual eats including soups, salads and sandwiches, along with yummy desserts. Fido would love a handout from your plate, or even a plate of his own!
Crozet is a town approximately 8 miles to the north of Afton which is host to the Claudius Crozet Park, a 1.5-acre playground for pups. Completely fenced, it is divided into large and small dog sections. This popular dog park provides drinking water, waste bags and receptacles, benches for the humans, and a grassy surface to play on. There are also lots of trees placed around inside the park for much-needed shade in the hot summer months. After your dog park romp, head over to the nearby Southern Way Café for a bite and a beverage at your choice of one of their dog-friendly outdoor tables. The Café offers breakfast, lunch and dinner including authentic Southern sandwiches, entrees and sides.
Nellysford is a community on the edge ofAfton that is home to 3 dog-friendly eateries, all featuring outdoor tables for sharing with your favorite Fido or Fifi. Stoney Creek Bar and Grill boasts 12 dog-friendly tables on their lovely patio facing the Blue Ridge Mountains, and a menu that offers sandwiches and small plates during the week, and more substantial eats at Sunday brunch. How about steak and eggs for two? Arf! Basic Necessities offers a European flair, with starters of wine and cheese, followed by paella and other continental fare. There is no outdoor service at this restaurant, so Fido must stay tied while you go in to order. Lastly, there is Wild Wolf Brewing Company where hand-crafted beers and scrumptious food items will lure you to their outdoor tables.