Itinerary

Hidden in Plain Sight: 5 Things to Uncover in Downtown Ashland

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1. MYSTERY

Since its founding in 1858, Ashland has been Richmond’s playground. Lurking just below the surface are secret tales of mystery and intrigue.

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Ashland Haunted History Tours offers a guided evening walk of Downtown Ashland each Friday and Saturday night, while your guide weaves tales of the macabre past and present to delight audiences of all ages.

Red Vein Escape invites you to play the team-building game “Hunt for the Richmond Vampire”. Can your team defeat a legendary subterranean demon of the night?

2. TECHNOLOGY

Downtown Ashland hosts the secret worlds of both Pokemon GO and Wizards Unite. There are lots of Gyms and Poke Stops or Inns, Greenhouses and Fortresses scattered throughout downtown.

Below is a three-mile walk (just enough to open a Portkey Portmanteau) suggested by local aficionado, Margie Gausby. Pokemon and Foundables are everywhere, plus unique local shops and restaurants to visit along the route.

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 3. HISTORY

Downtown Ashland puts its history on display, with historic architecture, public art, and museums. But there is always more than meets the eye!

Ashland Museum offers free walking tours of Downtown Ashland and the historic district. Call ahead to arrange for a local historian to walk the route with you, or download the Ashland, Virginia app from iTunes or Google Play for a self-guided version. The tour will help you to see hidden nuances of the town and its history.

Photo courtesy of Ashland Museum.

Photo courtesy of Ashland Museum.

 4. RAIL

More than 60 freight and passenger trains pass through the heart of Downtown Ashland each day using hidden communications. You can listen in by phone at (712) 432-4216, stream number 405 or on the web at railroadradio.net. Hear the engineers live, and predict the next train coming down our track.

Afterward, stop into Tiny Tim’s Trains & Toys to see modern and historic model trains. The railfans on staff can help you learn more secrets of the rails.

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5. BICYCLE

Downtown Ashland is a hidden gem for cyclists of any ability.

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The United States’ two cross-country bicycle trails, Route 1 and Route 76, intersect here. Whether you wish to cycle for an afternoon or a week, Downtown Ashland is the best place to start!

Don’t miss fresh food and strong coffee at two cycling hotspots, Ashland Coffee & Tea and The Caboose Café & Market. You’re likely to find fellow cycling enthusiasts from the Richmond Area Bicycling Association in both restaurants. The group hosts weekly rides in and around Downtown Ashland, learn more here.

Ashland by Bike: Family-Friendly Itinerary for Summer Fun

Enjoy summer fun with the whole family and explore Downtown Ashland by bike. With trails, shaded streets, and an array of exciting family-friendly stops, we have your pedal-by-pedal guide to taking in all that Ashland has to offer!

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1. PEDAL POWER

Check out the Trains & Brains two-mile bike route. Beginning at Ashland Train Station, follow the tracks north to a designated bike trail and past Railside Park. On the return trip, you’ll pedal the shady streets of Randolph-Macon College. Make sure you stop to enjoy the fountain plaza!

2. SWEET STOP

When you’ve finished the route, it’s a quick jaunt along England Street to sweetFrog for frozen yogurt. The business is tucked into one of Downtown Ashland’s historic properties at 210 England Street, originally built for the Ashland Ice Company in 1921. How fitting!

Image courtesy of    Kiwanis Club of Ashland

Image courtesy of Kiwanis Club of Ashland

3. CLIMB HIGH

Refreshed and refueled, you can pedal west to Kiwanis Pufferbelly Park and enjoy the expansive new playground. Kids can test their skills at the skate park, or find creative ways to climb the spider web and merry-go-round. Little ones will enjoy swings, slides, and a sandbox in the shade.

4. ORDER UP

Once you have conquered the park, cross the street to Sports Page Grill for your choice of American fare. The restaurant honors local youth and college sports teams, alongside televised professional sports.

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5. CATCH A SHOW

For the finale, pedal to Ashland Theatre to catch the 7pm movie. July 19 through August 8, see Disney’s the Lion King in its new live-action version with a celebrity cast (buy tickets here). Spending the evening at the fully-renovated historic theatre is a perfect capstone to an Ashland adventure.