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Appreciating Lexington’s Location W&L's students and visitors will find lots to explore in and around Lexington this year.

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With fall just around the corner, Washington and Lee University faculty and staff are eager to welcome students, alumni and visitors back to Lexington. There are lots of activities and events to look forward to on campus, as well as plenty of off-campus activities to fill a free weekend or evening.

Below are some local favorites, both new and nostalgic, curated with the input of @wluLex, the student-led hub of creativity, information and interaction for the W&L community in Lexington.

A day in Rockbridge County! 

Head downtown to check out local boutiques and galleries. Some new favorites are Mulberry’s DIY WorkshopClover Boutique, Curated Interiors and Sugar Maple Trading Company. While downtown, don’t forget to check out some staples like Pumpkinseeds and Shenandoah Attic. For some delicious nibbles to take back to the dorm or send to loved ones back home, stop into Cocoa Mill Chocolatier or Cheese To You. On Wednesdays, bring a shopping basket and check out the local farmers market located in the parking lot on Jefferson Street from 8 a.m. until noon.

If you’re looking for a delicious meal after a hard day of moving in, check out the newly opened TonicLegendary Eats or The Juniper Lounge for a delightful treat. Or visit a local institution such as The PalmsPure Eats or the Southern Inn, which was voted the best spot for dinner by @wluLex followers. A few favorites outside the Lexington city limits include Lexington RestaurantThe Pink Cadillac DinerBeam Me Up BBQ, Sweet Things and Don Tequila! Find more information about Lexington and Rockbridge County restaurants here.

For an after-meal workout, head back to campus and check out the expanded and improved system of trails on W&L’s back campus, or head down to the Chessie Trail for a scenic walk or bike ride along the Maury River. If the weather is nice, grab a tube, take a student’s right of passage and float down the river. Other top adventure destinations include the summits of House Mountain and the boulders at Devils Marbleyard. State Route 39 through Goshen Pass is a gorgeous cycling route where rocky river views unfurl beside you.

As a student at W&L, club activities include backpacking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, rafting, rock climbing, and mountain biking. First-year students often choose to hike the nearby Appalachian Trail during pre-orientation, and any student who joins the Outing Club can rent from the wide selection of equipment at the OC barn.

A journey to neighboring Buena Vista takes adventurers to the foot of the Blue Ridge Parkway and a free ticket to some beautiful overlooks.

If you’re feeling a road trip, take a drive 30 minutes north and find the “Queen City” of beautiful Staunton, home to Blackfriar’s Theater, Gypsy Hill Park and a robust downtown with a diverse array of quality restaurants. Drive another 30 minutes and experience all that Charlottesville has to offer. A short drive down U.S. 11 south will come out at Natural Bridge State Park, where students can hike the two-mile trail all year round. Stay on 11 a bit longer to reach the “Star City” of Roanoke, home to the Mill Mountain Star, an extensive greenway system and multiple museums and restaurants.

The W&L campus is also about two hours from the state capital of Richmond and three hours from Washington, D.C.

End the day at one of Lexington’s multiple spots for entertainment, including Lime Kiln Theater, the Virginia Horse Center and Boxerwood Nature Center & Woodland Garden. Catch a movie in one of Lexington’s two movie theaters, including the historic State Cinema 3 located downtown or Hull’s Drive-In, a 319-space drive-in theatre. Hull’s is one of only seven drive-in theatres still operating in Virginia, and it is one of only two nonprofit drive-in theatres in the United States.

Keep an eye out for updates to W&L’s Lenfest Center for the Art’s newest season and catch a play or musical performance on campus! Stop in to one of the Museums at W&L, which consists of the University Chapel & Museum, the Reeves Museum of Ceramics and Watson Galleries. The Reeves showcases one of the country’s largest collections of ceramics. The Watson contains a permanent display of Chinese and Japanese ceramics and two changing exhibit galleries that showcase rotating selections from the fine arts and ceramics collections.

The range of activities at W&L is limited only by students’ imaginations. On any given day during the academic year, the weekly calendar of events is full of performances and lectures, athletic contests and organizational meetings, exhibits and intramural sports.

Student Activities at W&L will provide activity reimbursement to students for various excursions in the Rockbridge area this fall. Students can participate as a group or individually, then turn in their receipts to Kelsey Goodwin, director of Student Activities, for full reimbursement. For more information, students are encouraged to reach out to Goodwin directly at kgoodwin@wlu.edu.

Be sure to follow @wluLex on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for more ideas and adventures on campus and around Lexington!