Train Day 2019 Arrives in Downtown Ashland on Saturday, Nov. 2nd


Ashland Train Day, a signature event of Downtown Ashland Association now in its 17th year, is set to take place in the heart of historic downtown Ashland on Saturday, Nov. 2nd from 10am-5pm. Ashland Train Day is a free and family-friendly event.

With a list of activities and attractions that continues to grow each year, Ashland Train Day brings thousands of families and railfans into downtown each November to share in Ashland’s love of trains.

“This November we will host all of the Ashland Train Day favorites -- live CSX and Amtrak trains rolling right through the middle of our event, real railroad equipment, model trains, touch-a-truck, live music, food, and more,” said Maggie Longest, Executive Director of Downtown Ashland Association.

“New this year, thanks to a grant from American Evolution as part of the 2019 Commemoration, we are excited to partner with Ashland Museum and The Hanover County Black Heritage Society to present a scavenger hunt and new exhibits to take visitors on the journey of building Virginia’s railroads and the communities like Ashland that were shaped and impacted,” Longest added.


  • LOCOMOTIVES: Up to 18 CSX freight trains and Amtrak passenger trains will pass through the center of the event.

  • RAILROAD HISTORY & LORE: Two museums, three storytellers, and a 10-stop scavenger hunt bring Virginia’s railroad history to life. (Sponsored by the 2019 Commemoration)

  • MODEL TRAINS: 17 model trains on display—every size and scale, including lego and racing trains. Plus, vintage railroad equipment and a red caboose!

  • TOUCH-A-TRUCK: Gear heads of all ages will be amazed at the display of heavy equipment, fire truck and ambulance, dump trucks and tractors.(Sponsored by RCI Builders)

  • KID ZONE: A world of fun with a bouncy house, obstacle course, and games. (Sponsored by McKinney & Company)

  • LIVE MUSIC STAGE: Bluegrass, country, and old-time musicians take center stage. (Sponsored by CSX)

  • CHILDREN’S TRAIN RIDES: Two kiddie trains invite families to tour the festivities. All aboard! (Sponsored by Carey Construction Services)

  • ASHLAND TRAIN DAY AMBASSADORS: Cinder and Tinder, the lovable train engineer bears will be on hand for hugs and photos.

  • VIRTUAL RAILFAN: 7 million viewers tune in every month to watch trains live-streamed and Ashland is one of the site’s most popular locations. Wave to thousands watching on Train Day!

  • HEADQUARTERS: More than 100 community volunteers make the event possible, along with first responders from Ashland, Hanover, Randolph-Macon College, and CSX. (Sponsored by Wawa)

A detailed schedule, map (including parking and trolley pick-up locations), and full list of vendors will be made available closer to the event on the Train Day page.

Fall Brings Fun & Fresh Starts to Downtown Ashland

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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.

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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

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



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


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?


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.



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 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.



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


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 Train Day Awarded 2019 Commemoration Finale Grant

Photo: Diane Stoakley

Photo: Diane Stoakley

Downtown Ashland Association has been awarded a 2019 Commemoration Finale Grant for Ashland Train Day. Train Day, now in its 16th year and one of Downtown Ashland Association’s signature events, is a free and family-friendly festival that draws thousands of visitors to Ashland’s historic downtown each year. Ashland Train Day 2019 will take place Saturday, November 2nd from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

“Downtown Ashland Association is thrilled to receive this support, especially in light of our recent re-branding efforts and expanded mission to encourage tourism downtown,” said Maggie Longest, Executive Director of Downtown Ashland Association.

Photo: Diane Stoakley

Photo: Diane Stoakley

The 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution Finale Grants were awarded for 16 events statewide taking place in November. Ashland Train Day and other recipients will be promoted as part of the Virginia Customs, Cultures and Cuisine Festival. The program is administered by Virginia Tourism Corporation.

Through a partnership with The Hanover County Black Heritage Society and the Ashland Museum, Downtown Ashland Association will utilize the grant to launch new permanent exhibits that focus on Virginia’s railway evolution and history, the impact on Virginia’s towns and communities, and stories of local and state railway figures. In addition, a scavenger hunt will bring the evolution of Virginia’s railroads and trackside communities to life for participants of all ages.

“Through these new exhibits, we hope to encourage our visitors to look deeper at the resulting social communities, laborers, travelers, tycoons, and towns,” Longest added. “The Hanover County Black Heritage Society will showcase the impact of railway development in the black community to highlight the experiences of African Americans who worked, and were impacted by the rail industry, including laborers, porters and travelers.”

Photo: Diane Stoakley

Photo: Diane Stoakley

The month-long Virginia Customs, Cultures and Cuisine Festival, presented by TowneBank, will be filled with local, regional and statewide events honoring early Virginia history with cultures and styles that have shaped America over 400 years. This special capstone to the 2019 Commemoration will foster statewide participation, tourism, marketing and promotion, and public events to create a contemporary experience for all ages.

The Virginia Customs, Culture and Cuisine Festival is a strategic part of the larger 2019 Commemoration, that recognizes the 400th anniversary of pivotal 1619 Virginia events that forever changed the trajectory of Virginia and America’s history. These 1619 events include the first official English Thanksgiving in North America, the arrival of the first recorded Africans to English North America, the recruitment of English women in significant numbers to the Virginia colony, the launch of entrepreneurship and innovation in the Commonwealth and more.

We look forward to welcoming you for Ashland Train Day 2019 on November 2nd!