The Virginia Highlands Tour info on Jul 19, 2019 (347865) |

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The Virginia Highlands Tour

The Virginia Highlands Tour

PCA - Potomac, The Founders' Region - Drive & Dine

Friday, Jul 19 — Sunday, Jul 21, 2019
The Inn at Gristmill Square, Warm Springs, Virginia

Registration closed July 18, 2019 11:59 PM on July 18, 2019 11:59 PM EDT Registration ends July 18, 2019 11:59 PM on July 18, 2019 11:59 PM EDT Registration opens March 31, 2019 12:00 AM on March 31, 2019 12:00 AM EDT Registration runs from March 31, 2019 12:00 AM to July 18, 2019 11:59 PM


12th Annual VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS TOUR - Warm Springs, VA

19-21 July 2019

the whole mill

Are you ready for The Inn at Gristmill Square?

See the article about previous years’ tours here: 

THIS IS A DRIVERS TOUR.  It’s a solid 2+ days of driving – usually 6 hours / day of nothing but turns - so be advised.  This is the point.  If you don’t want to turn, just let me know and peel off and meet us there using Interstates.  There will be rest stops every 90 mins or so.  No whining, smiles mandatory, topless encouraged.  And there is always a surprise.

There is a registration fee of $100 per person who will be traveling which covers: the Friday night band and group tips for staff at the hotel, plus souvenir shirt!


  • Friday, July 19:  Haymarket, VA.  Depart by 10:15 am driving mostly back roads by way of the Shenandoah and George Washington National Parks. Arrive to Warm Springs, VA by @ 5 pm.  Group Dinner Friday $60 pp charged separately.
  • Saturday, July 20:  Warm Springs, VA to a 6 hour drive through Bath and Alleghany counties in westernmost Virginia.  Tour includes Lake Moomaw, Gathright Dam, Ingalls Field and Airport Road (Virginia’s “Teeth of the Dragon.”)   Dinner at several different places nearby is self-organized and paid separately.
  • Sunday, July 21: Warm Springs, VA to home.  No plans.  Leave when you want, however you want.  Bath County Art show is going on – wonderful local, national, and international art.  I bought some last year.


We have 18 rooms reserved at the historic Inn at Grist Mill Square at the rates of $130 - $160 per room.  There is one suite for 3-4 people for $225/night.   TO BOOK YOUR HOTEL ROOM, CALL THE INN AT GRIST MILL SQUARE AT  (540) 839-2231.  Do not book on the web. 

Other nearby hotels include The Homestead – America’s Resort since 1766.


Friday 7/19:

  • 930 am - Meet in Haymarket, VA. Make sure cars are full and bladders are empty. Bring extra oil and coolant.  The closest dealer is 150 miles- a long flatbed away.  Air up and gas up at the Sheetz next door. 
  • Bring small radios if you have.  Sign insurance forms. Go over maps and rules.  Depart by 1015.
  • 1:00 ish pm - Stop for lunch at the Depot Grille in Staunton VA 42 Middlebrook Ave, Staunton, VA 24401 .   Park in the lower lot – much easier to get out of.  Go see glass blowing next door.
  • 5:30 ish pm - we should arrive to the Gristmill in time for Happy hour, then music and dinner. 
  • Dinner 6:30 – 9:30:  Casual and outside if it’s nice.  Inside upstairs if it rains.  Bluegrass will be playing:  .  A fancy buffet will be served which is @ $60 pp plus any extra apps and tip and gratuity and which will be charged to your rooms on checkout.  Everyone eats here and it is lovely.  Those not staying at the Inn will need to pay at dinner.  The cash bar is open and you can pay directly.  Sample Menu below:


Saturday 7/20:

  • Breakfast on your own 
  • 9 am meet at cars for group picture and gas. 
  • 9:30 am – depart for a group drive for about 7 hours (with breaks every 90 mins or so over the best roads of Bath and Allegheny counties.) 
  • Tour Lake Moomaw, Gathright Dam and “Bath Beach”:  Note there is a low-speed 2 mi gravel road section which I have done in a Corvette with less clearance than yours (so cowboy up).  Drivers’ cars get dusty J
  • 1:00 pm ish - meet for lunch in Covington, VA
  • Afternoon – Ok here the driving gets really interesting…  Airport Road, going uphill from the backside of Clifton Forge (elevation 1,083 feet) to Ingalls Field at the summit (3,792 feet and the highest airport east of the Mississippi) may be the toughest, most interesting, fun, nutty, beautiful, sneaky strip of asphalt in Virginia.  Imagine Deal NC’s “Tail of the Dragon” except empty, with tighter turns, with a stream flowing next to it, and while gaining 2,709 feet of altitude!  
  • Note there is a low-speed 2 mi beautiful gravel road section alongside a trout stream which I have done in a Corvette with less clearance than yours.  Drivers’ cars get dusty but have not had issues.
  • We will briefly visit Ingalls Field while doing our best to work around The Alleghany Gran Fondo Cycling Event which is run in downtown Covington and Clifton Forge, Virginia. The event includes the Piccolo, 29 miles, the Medio, 72 miles, and the Gran, 107 miles. If you are a cyclist, it’s a big deal.  Share the road.  VA State Police are advised we are there too...  I HATE to do avoidable paperwork.
  • 5:30 ish  - arrive back at Inn at Gristmill Square. 
  • 6:30 pm to 8 pm:  meet at the Inn bar and mingle. 
  • Saturday night dinner is unplanned by me and you are encouraged to make reservations with your (new) friends to eat at the Gristmill again - or elsewhere for Saturday dinner. Popular and wonderful nearby places to eat and explore are all within 15 mins away in either Hot Springs or in Warm Springs:

- The Homestead Resort – America’s Resort since 1766

- Sam Snead's Tavern – I have a table for 8 reserved at 8 pm – first come, first served.  Let me know if you want slots. They also accept opentable – great reviews

- The Warm Springs Inn – lovely and next door to the Inn at Warm Springs

- Les Conchon d' Or - note I have a reservation here for 8 people at 8 pm on Sat night.  Please let me know.  They also accept opentable - great reviews.

- Here's a list  The Best 10 Restaurants near Hot Springs, VA 24445 

Sunday 7/21:

  • Sunday is a free day so enjoy and go home whatever fun way you can find
  • Other Things to Do:
    • Nothing :)
    • The Homestead – America’s Resort since 1766.
    • Do a spa day – make sure to book ahead of time as they always fill up. ask for Linda  540.839.6600  CLOSED SUN L
    • Do a hike / bike trip – Jackson river is beautiful
    • Do a 60 min drive to Snowshoe, WV and see Cass mountain railroad
    • Do a 60 min drive to the NOAA Green Bank, WV Radio Astronomy Observatory – home of the largest moving thing on earth – The 500 ft Byrd radio telescope (and reason there is no cell coverage for the surrounding 600 sq miles)


Have Fun.  Explore.  Drive.              – Alex Lunsford, your host.  202.360.0599

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PCA - Potomac, The Founders' Region - Drive & Dine

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The Inn at Gristmill Square
Location Warm Springs, Virginia
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