Live Here

At Home in Ashland with RCI Builders

RCI Builders has produced well-crafted, high quality homes at an affordable price in the Ashland/Hanover area since 1999. With local founders that call Hanover home themselves, and four communities currently available for building, RCI is committed to Ashland and the community’s future.

Downtown Ashland is thrilled to welcome RCI as a 2019 Ashland Train Day sponsor. To learn more about this dynamic company with local roots, we recently spoke with RCI’s Emily Porter.


Who are the founders of RCI Builders and how has it grown over the years?

The company has been locally owned since the start thanks to our founders, Todd Rogers and Mike Chenault. Patrick Ashley joined the RCI team in 2012 bringing 15 years of home building experience with him and soon after became the third owner.

RCI Builders has grown to become one of central Virginia’s largest locally owned construction companies. We have land positions in over 18 communities and run a highly successful build on your lot program. With 30+ full time employees, RCI does more than 50 million in business per year.

Why did RCI choose to create communities in and around Ashland?

Because we believe this is a great place to live and do business. Not to mention that many of our employees and contractors call Ashland and Hanover home, too.

What communities do you currently have or have planned in Ashland? What makes them unique?

Currently in Ashland we have four communities, Ashland Park, Haley Farm, Hickory Hill, and Lakeview at Luck Farm.

Ashland Park has a few lots remaining in its Village section, which features single family homes from the low $340’s. This quaint neighborhood features walking trails throughout the community with a neighborhood pavilion.

Haley Farm is one of RCI’s newest communities featuring large homesites starting in the $470’s. This is a horse-friendly community, welcoming your family and beloved companions - whether they be canine or equine!

Hickory Hill features single family homes on large lots in Hanover County. Large lots, quiet cul-de-sacs, and a modern neighborhood vibe, Hickory Hill provides the amenities homeowners look for. Only 9 lots remaining in our new section that just opened this year!

Lakeview at Luck Farm features single family homes just outside the town of Ashland, starting in the $500’s. The 1+ acre lot size combined with the ample common space this community offers will give you plenty of elbow room.

RCI is sponsoring the “Touch-a-Truck” area this year. Why did you choose to support Ashland Train Day?

RCI is supporting Train Day because we adore the Town of Ashland! This community has been home to our employees, contractors, and the folks who build with us. We’re thrilled to support a day dedicated to the history and heritage of this town.


Downtown Ashland Association thanks RCI Builders for supporting Ashland Train Day on Saturday, Nov. 2nd. Event participants will find heavy equipment, dump trucks, fire truck, ambulance, and much more. We hope you’ll join us!

Fall Brings Fun & Fresh Starts to Downtown Ashland

Diane Stoakley - DSC_9147e (1).jpg

Fresh starts and fall fun have Downtown Ashland bustling all season long. Join us for family-friendly events, exciting opening celebrations at downtown businesses, and track progress on three dynamic projects that Downtown Ashland Association has dubbed #Ashland2021.

“Looking to the future, while preserving the past: that’s the central idea behind #Ashland2021,” said Maggie Longest, Executive Director of Downtown Ashland Association. “Downtown Ashland Association is proud to join the Town of Ashland and Amtrak to invest in our historic downtown.”

As part of #Ashland2021:

1) The Town of Ashland is investing in its Town Hall to improve public meeting spaces, make a new home for the Ashland Farmer’s Market, create a public park, and more.

2) Amtrak is investing in Ashland’s historic train station to improve accessibility (ADA compliant), preserve historic character, create more seating, and replace landscaping. These improvements ensure that Ashland can accommodate and welcome ALL travelers. 

3) Downtown Ashland Association is investing in planters to make Downtown Ashland more inviting and walkable. The finished project will link Ashland Theatre, Randolph-Macon College, and other amenities to restaurants, shops, and lodging.

More information on all projects, including renderings, timelines and project-specific contact information can be found at here.

Diane Stoakley - DSC_8796e.jpg

Fall is also full of fantastic events for the entire family. Whether you’re a train-lover, a beer-lover -- or both -- Downtown Ashland is the place to be for fall fun!

Festivals & Events

· Sept. 27th & Oct. 25th (5-8pm): Ashland Fourth Fridays
A celebration of arts and culture in Downtown Ashland, featuring special events the fourth Friday of every month.

· Oct. 19th (1-7pm): Off the Rails Craft Beer Festival
Sip craft brews trackside under a shady canopy of trees in historic downtown. This event is family-friendly and a fun fall day full of craft beers, local food, & great bands! Sponsored by Hanover Arts & Activities Center.

· Oct. 20th & Nov. 10th (3pm): Richmond Symphony Metro Collection
Join Richmond Symphony at Randolph-Macon College for intimate, chamber orchestra concerts that allow you to get up close and personal with the musicians.

· Nov 2nd (10am-4pm): 17th Annual Ashland Train Day
A signature event of Downtown Ashland Association, Ashland Train Day is a FREE event for the whole family. More information, including a schedule of the day’s events will be available soon.

· Nov. 30th (all day): Small Business Saturday
Support your community and #shopsmall in Downtown Ashland. Stroll Ashland’s historic small town streets lined with independent shops, markets, eateries, and find unique gifts for everyone on your list.

Openings & Celebrations

· Sept. 5th: Opening -- Yoga on Center
Owner Lorie Lower celebrated the grand opening of her sun-filled, historic trackside studio at 403 S. Center Street. The studio welcomes yogis of all abilities for classes seven days a week.

· Sept. 12th (4-6pm): Opening -- Dominion Energy Innovation Center Coworking Space
Beginning in September, DEIC will open its doors as a coworking space and hub for local entrepreneurs. Tour the space and meet the team at this open house.

· Sept. 20th (6-8pm): Opening -- ReAwaken Spa
Join owner Shanda Hileman for a grand opening of her new full-service spa in the re-vamped space of the former Herald-Progress building.

· Oct. 16th (5-6pm): 2nd Anniversary Celebration -- Calm Air Pain Therapy
Celebrating the second year in Downtown Ashland, John Colletti owner of Calm Air Pain Therapy offers therapeutic treatments to stop nerve pain, an innovative alternative to opioid pain killers.

· Oct. 26th: Ribbon Cutting -- Center of the Yarniverse
After a successful first year in business, Center of the Yarniverse is moving to a bigger and better location across the tracks! Join owner Stacey Williamson for a ribbon cutting and to see the ample new space at 100 N. Railroad Avenue.

· Nov. 9th: Opening -- Ashland Coffee and Tea & More
Join owner Cate Hawks as she launches ACT&More under a new and innovative business model -- operating collaboratively among six female entrepreneurs, including Center of the Yarniverse, CaryTown Teas, Pearl's Bake Shoppe, and JuiceBar.

For more exciting events taking place in Downtown Ashland, visit Downtown Ashland Association’s Events Calendar and subscribe to “Get Centered” -- Downtown Ashland Association’s monthly enewsletter.

Relax at ReAwaken Spa

ReAwaken Spa owner Shanda Hileman bases her business on wellness. As a massage therapist, she believes that successful service focuses solely on the wellness of the client—rather than profit for the company. She trusts that the positive results will bring new and repeat clients to her door.

That is the mission of ReAwaken Spa -- offering personalized therapeutic care at “Ashland’s gem of peacefulness.”


Opening the front door, you walk into lavender, vanilla and cherry wafting from the soaps and candles displayed for sale. “All of our products are chemical free - pure and simple,” Hileman said proudly.


Inside the spa, you will see fun and sassy t-shirts, reasonably priced jewelry, and Arbonne and Juice Plus products available for purchase. Each month, Hileman showcases a different product line. She swears by the Juice Plus supplement line saying, “I never get sick, which is amazing because I never even get a flu shot.” 

As you walk toward the back, you will see several peaceful massage rooms and an infrared sauna. Hileman explains that infrared technology is “seven times more detoxing than a traditional sauna.”

Want to experience this gem of peacefulness for yourself? The Grand Opening of ReAwaken Spa is September 20 from 6:00-8:00pm and is open to all. Come and enjoy refreshments and music on the outside patio!

Plus, don’t miss weekly specials and membership benefits year-round.


ReAwaken Spa
112E Thompson Street
Ashland, VA 23005
(804) 299-2385

Yoga in the Center of the Universe

Yoga on Center celebrates its Grand Opening today from 5-7pm at 403 S. Center Street!

Tour the sun-filled studio and historic, trackside building. Meet owner Lorie Lower and her team of teachers who welcome yogis of all abilities for classes seven days a week.

 We recently chatted with Lorie about why she chose Downtown Ashland for her home and business.


Why did you choose Downtown Ashland?

My husband, Brad, and I looked to Ashland as we began to consider downsizing from a home in Short Pump.  With one daughter in college and one nearing the end of high school at the time, the idea of a college town and small community appealed to us both.

That said, we failed miserably at downsizing! Our family took on not one, but two historic properties on Center Street. My parents, Peggy and Dick, now live in the purple house next door.

How did you decide to start the business, Yoga on Center?

We were inspired by the bright, airy front room of our home. Plus, I have a degree in Business and Economics from the College of Charleston and a 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher training course from OmOn Yoga. So, it was serendipity!

We started by looking around to see if there was a need, if there were any other studios in town, and asking the neighbors.  Support began to blossom, and we just started teaching classes. If you build it, they will come!

What makes Yoga on Center special?

We focus on the same things that make Ashland unique. We’ve integrated the trains that roll through town and instructors with local roots. We are committed to the community, as you can see from our partnerships with many local non-profits.

It’s what makes Ashland a community, all of us working in harmony.  We support each other, champion each other, and celebrate each other’s successes.  You can feel the happiness on the streets, in the shops and schools, and in the studio.  We are all so proud of Ashland!

Welcome to Ashland, Lorie! For class rates and a full schedule visit:

Volunteer of the Year

Bill Gatewood is an extraordinary volunteer and Ashland community member. On July 24, he was named Virginia Main Street Volunteer of the Year. As seen in the video above, Bill’s volunteerism with Downtown Ashland Association brought the statewide accolade.

Gatewood serves as Chair of Ashland Train Day, a street festival that celebrates Ashland’s love for trains on the first Saturday of November each year. Additionally, he has led Downtown Ashland Association as President and on the Board of Directors since 2012. A retired police sergeant, Gatewood spent nearly 30 years at Ashland Police Department. He is a dedicated public servant, in and out of uniform.

Bill and Cindy Gatewood volunteering at Ashland Train Day

Bill and Cindy Gatewood volunteering at Ashland Train Day

“Bill is the heart and soul of Ashland Train Day,” says Lorie Foley, President of the Downtown Ashland Association. He oversees every aspect, including food vendors, entertainment, sanitation, kiddie trains, signage, history, marketing, public safety, parking, volunteers, and cleanup. Under his leadership, the event grew from a small celebration held inside Ashland Library, to a street festival throughout Downtown Ashland. More than 10,000 people attended Ashland Train Day in 2018.

Gatewood devotes over 400 hours of planning and work for Ashland Train Day each year. One can only imagine the total number of hours Bill has volunteered throughout his tenure. When asked about the workload, his wife Cindy Gatewood states, “It never really stops. Even though July through November is when most of the organizing happens, whenever we go anywhere Bill is always looking for new ideas to improve Train Day.” 

Gatewood explains that he loves the event because “Train Day represents Ashland; so many kids and men and women love trains and what Train Day represents. So, I see it as a way to give back to the town and community.”

It was Bill who first proposed sponsorship of Ashland Train Day to Downtown Ashland Association in 2012. The Board of Directors agreed to take on responsibility for hosting the annual event, so long as Bill joined its ranks. He served for nearly seven years, including as President for 2016 and 2017. 

DHCD Director Erik Johnston and Virginia Main Street Volunteer of the Year Bill Gatewood

DHCD Director Erik Johnston and Virginia Main Street Volunteer of the Year Bill Gatewood

Beyond his involvement with Downtown Ashland Association, Bill serves the community by organizing special events. He serves on the board of Ashland Strawberry Faire and organizes annual Easter and Christmas events for children in Ashland and the Richmond region.

“Bill’s impact on our downtown district is immense.  He is our hero because he is organized, dependable and always cheerful,” says Lorie Foley. “Bill is great at thinking about the little things--the things no one else would ever think about--when putting an event together. And he is a people-person; he can light up a room.”

Cindy Gatewood agrees, “Bill has always been a go-getter and when he sees something that needs to get done, he does it.”

Upon receiving the Virginia Main Street Volunteer of the Year Award, Bill simply stated that he is “happy to have the opportunity to give back,” and “glad I can put smiles on the faces of so many.” Downtown Ashland Association thanks Bill Gatewood for his commitment to our community.