If you need even more evidence on why everyone loves Rockbridge so much, we have it all right here. In this section of the site you will find pages and pages of facts and figures about our community organized and inventoried for your convenience. To help to speed your search for any one topic, please click on the closest subject matter listed here:

Who We Are:

Overview

Location and Logistics

  • Rockbridge is centrally located in the scenic Shenandoah Valley of west-central Virginia.
  • Distance to other metropolitan areas:
    • The area is approximately 50 miles north of Roanoke, 135 miles west of Richmond, 180 miles southwest of Washington DC, and 200 miles northwest of Hampton Roads. This translates into drive times of approximately 1 hour to Roanoke, 2.25 hours to Richmond, 3 hours to Washington DC, and 3.5 hours to Hampton Roads (travel times from Google Maps). Over 40% of the US population and greater than 200,000 manufacturers are located within a 500 mile radius of Rockbridge.
  • Airports:
    • Approximately 1 hour or less from three regional airports: Lynchburg Regional Airport, Roanoke Regional Airport, and Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport.
    • In less than three hours, two international airports may be reached: Richmond International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.
    • A drive of between 3 and 4 hours reaches four more international airports: Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, Norfolk International Airport, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
  • Ground transportation:
    • Major interstates, highways and roads:
      • Interstates 64 and 81 traverse Rockbridge County, providing both north-south and east-west travel routes. I-581 is 28 miles away.
      • There are 10 4-lane US highways located within the area: Highways 11, 39, 42, 48, 56, 60, 130, 251, 252 and 501.
      • 38,000 cars pass the intersection of US 60 Inland Trail and I-81 every day, or about 14 million per year (VDOT, 2012).
    • Public transportation:
      • Maury Express: the Maury Express offers a deviated fixed route service to the citizens of Lexington and Buena Vista, VA.
      • Traveller Safe Ride Program: Traveller offers safe rides to the Washington and Lee University community and serves 2,000 students each week.
      • Rockbridge Area Transit System (RATS): RATS provides on demand, door-to-door service by trained and certified drivers, using safe, reliable vehicles.
    • Rail services:
    • Ports:
      • Virginia Inland Port: located 75 miles north in Warren County.
      • Port of Virginia: the gateway for international freight on the East Coast, located approximately 245 miles from the area in Norfolk.

Demographics

Unless otherwise noted, data in this section was obtained from the Regional Data Center for Virginia’s Central Shenandoah Valley.

  • Rockbridge population (2010): 35,999.
  • Median age and age distribution (2010): (reference: 27% of the US population > 55 yrs.)
    • Rockbridge County: 46.5 years (38% > 55 yrs.)
      • Under 5: 5%
      • 5-20: 17%
      • 21-24: 4%
      • 25-44: 21%
      • 45-54: 16%
      • 55-59: 8%
      • 60-64: 8%
      • 65-74: 12%
      • 75-84: 7%
      • 85+: 3%
    • Buena Vista: 37.6 years (28% > 55 yrs.)
      • Under 5: 6%
      • 5-20: 22%
      • 21-24: 7%
      • 25-44: 23%
      • 45-54: 13%
      • 55-59: 6%
      • 60-64: 6%
      • 65-74: 9%
      • 75-84: 5%
      • 85+: 2%
    • Lexington: 22.8 years (24% >55 yrs.)
      • Under 5: 3%
      • 5-20: 34%
      • 21-24: 18%
      • 25-44: 14%
      • 45-54: 7%
      • 55-59: 4%
      • 60-64: 4%
      • 65-74: 7%
      • 75-84: 6%
      • 85+: 3%
    • Gender distribution (2010):
      • Rockbridge County:
        • Male: 49%
        • Female: 51%
      • Buena Vista:
        • Male: 47%
        • Female: 53%
      • Lexington:
        • Male: 56%
        • Female: 44%
      • Ethnic and race distribution (2010):
        • Rockbridge County:
          • White: 93%
          • Black: 3%
          • American Indian or Alaskan Native: <1%
          • Asian or Pacific Islander: <1%
          • Hispanic Origin: 1%
          • Other: 2%
        • Buena Vista:
          • White: 90%
          • Black: 5%
          • American Indian or Alaskan Native: 1%
          • Asian or Pacific Islander: 1%
          • Hispanic Origin: 2%
          • Other: 2%
        • Lexington:
          • White: 82%
          • Black: 9%
          • American Indian or Alaskan Native: <1%
          • Asian or Pacific Islander: 2%
          • Hispanic Origin: 4%
          • Other: 3%
        • Educational attainment (2010, highest attainment for population 25 years and over):
          • Rockbridge County:
            • 9th Grade: 8%
            • 9th-12th: 12%
            • High School: 35%
            • Some College: 17%
            • Associate’s: 6%
            • Bachelor’s: 14%
            • Graduate or Professional: 8%
          • Buena Vista:
            • 9th Grade: 14%
            • 9th-12th: 14%
            • High School: 34%
            • Some College: 16%
            • Associate’s: 6%
            • Bachelor’s: 10%
            • Graduate or Professional: 7%
          • Lexington:
            • 9th Grade: 9%
            • 9th-12th: 9%
            • High School: 21%
            • Some College: 13%
            • Associate’s: 3%
            • Bachelor’s: 21%
            • Graduate or Professional: 24%
          • Residence one year ago (for population one year and over, from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2008-2012 American Community Survey):
            • Rockbridge County:
              • Same house: 91%
              • Different house in Rockbridge County: 4%
              • Different county or city in Virginia: 3%
              • Different state: 2%
              • Abroad: <1%
            • Buena Vista:
              • Same house: 76%
              • Different house in Buena Vista: 12%
              • Different county or city in Virginia: 7%
              • Different state: 5%
              • Abroad: <1%
            • Lexington:
              • Same house: 81%
              • Different house in Lexington: 4%
              • Different county or city in Virginia: 6%
              • Different state: 7%
              • Abroad: 2%
            • Many studies and theories suggest that the more stable and less transient an area, the safer the community.

History of the Region

Rockbridge County is named for Natural Bridge, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. As a young man, George Washington surveyed the arch, and visitors can still see his initials carved in the rock. In 1774, Thomas Jefferson bought Natural Bridge from King George III. A few years later in 1778, Rockbridge County was created from parts of neighboring Augusta and Botetourt Counties. The county seat, Lexington, was named for the town in Massachusetts where one of the first battles of the American Revolution took place.

Read more about our history

How We Live It:

Cost of Living

  • Cost of living in Rockbridge (third quarter 2015)
    • It is less expensive to live in Rockbridge:
      • 94.3 Rockbridge (100% composite index)
      • 95.6 Richmond, VA
      • 99.2 Asheville, NC
      • 104.3 Charlottesville, VA
      • 145.9 Washington, DC

Climate

  • Climate (Rockbridge County, 1948-2000):
    • Average precipitation: 44.73 inches
    • Average snow: 18.60 inches
    • Average temperatures in January (min-max): 20-39o F
    • Average temperatures in July (min-max): 63-87o F

Housing

  • As of 2014, there are 16,716 housing units in the Rockbridge area.
  • Median sales price (2013)
    • Central Valley Region: $217,000 (8.5% increase over 2012)
    • Central Virginia: $195,000 (7.1% increase over 2012)
    • Northern Virginia: $360,000 (5.9% increase over 2012)

Healthcare

  • Hospitals:
    • Local:
      • Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital: 25-bed critical access facility in Lexington providing a full range of inpatient and outpatient services, specializing in imaging services, surgical services, and therapy services.
  • Within a 1.5-hour drive:
    • Sentara RMH Medical Center: 200+ bed hospital in Harrisonburg that serves a seven-county area with comprehensive health services.
    • Augusta Health: 255-bed community hospital in Fishersville offering comprehensive services.
    • Bath County Community Hospital: 25-bed hospital in Hot Springs offering family health care, emergency services, diagnostic services, skilled care, outpatient services, and physical therapy.

Education

The Rockbridge Region is blessed with a rich array of educational resources with over a dozen public and private elementary schools, middle schools and high schools and four post-secondary institutions: Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, Virginia Military Institute, Southern Virginia University and Washington &Lee University.

Following is a brief overview on each school. The information presented comes from each school’s respective web site. Please use the provided link to each school’s web site for the most recent, up to date information.

Lexington City Schools

Lexington City Schools consist of Harrington Waddell Elementary and Lylburn Downing Middle School. Like many other schools in the area, Lexington City Schools have small class sizes, which provide an excellent environment for student-teacher interaction. According to the school board’s mission statement, Lexington City Schools aim to provide “progressive educational opportunities” while being “responsive to the needs and talents of all students.”

Harrington Waddell Elementary

Harrington Waddell Elementary is a public elementary school located at 100 Pendleton Place, Lexington, VA 24450. The school serves grades Pre K – 5 and enrolls approximately 350 students a year. The school’s academic curriculum includes classes in science, social studies, math, and language arts. Per their website, Harrington Waddell seeks to provide “progressive educational opportunities” that “create life-long learners.” They reinforce this commitment by placing an emphasis on ability-based work groups and frequent group discussions in the classroom. Harrington Waddell posted above average passing rates relative to other state elementary schools for the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) tests.

For more information,please visit their website.

Lylburn Downing Middle School

Lylburn Downing Middle School is a public middle school located at 302 Diamond Street, Lexington, VA 24450. The school serves grades 6- 8 and enrolls approximately 190 students each academic year. The school’s principal, Mr. Richard Dowd, advocates personal and academic growth for middle school students and has been actively expanding the curriculum. Academic classes include math, science, World and United States History, reading and English, Spanish, and Latin. Like Harrington Waddell, the school posted above average SOL test passing rates relative to other public middle schools in Virginia.

Lylburn Downing also has an extensive music program, which gives students the opportunity to participate in either jazz or honors band. The school emphasizes athletics and extracurricular activities to develop teamwork, skills, and self-esteem, and consequently features various sports teams, clubs, and student organizations. Lylburn Downing has both Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball, a Cheerleading Squad, and Girls’ Volleyball. The school also features a Ski and Snowboard Club, Boys’ and Girls’ Tennis Club, as well as Boys’ and Girls’ Lacrosse Club, which was funded by the Lexington City Schools Foundation. In addition to athletics, Lylburn Downing also has Drama Club and Beta Club. Beta Club is a student organization that promotes fundraising and community service. The club’s members frequently volunteer for Washington and Lee Campus Kitchens, along with various other community organizations.

For more information on Lylburn Downing Middle School, please visit their website.

Rockbridge County Public Schools

Rockbridge County is home to various public schools at the elementary, middle, and high schools levels. In the paragraphs that follow, we present an overview of Natural Bridge Elementary, Fairfield Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, Central Elementary, Maury River Middle School, and Rockbridge County High School.

Natural Bridge Elementary School

Natural Bridge Elementary is a public elementary school located at 42 Natural Bridge School Road, Natural Bridge Station, VA 24579. The school serves grades Pre K – 5 and enrolls approximately 275 students every academic year. According to the school’s web site, Natural Bridge seeks to “provide students with a nurturing learning environment and help them develop intellectually, socially, emotionally, and mentally.” The school met state accreditation benchmarks for math, science, and history for the 2013 – 2014 academic year, but was not able to do so for English.

For more information on Natural Bridge Elementary School, please visit their website.

Fairfield Elementary School

Fairfield Elementary is a public elementary school located at 20 Fairfield School Road, Fairfield, VA 24435. The school serves grades Pre K – 5 and enrolls approximately 360 students during the academic year. According to the school’s web site, Fairfield’s administration places a strong emphasis on student development. The school exposes students to a wide variety of activities to ensure they have a well-rounded experience during their elementary years. Fairfield students participate in musicals, science and geography fairs, book buddy programs, and character building education. They are also exposed to a variety of Spanish and art classes. Fairfield Elementary takes pride in its music and physical education programs, which give students access to guitars, keyboards, and hand bells, as well as a rock climbing wall and nature trail.

For more information on Fairfield Elementary School, please visit their website.

Mountain View Elementary School

Mountain View Elementary is a public elementary school located at 20 Burger Circle, Buena Vista, VA 24416. The school serves grades K – 5 and enrolls approximately 125 students every academic year.

For more information on Mountain View Elementary School, please visit their website. 

Central Elementary School

Central Elementary is a public elementary school located at 85 Central Road, Lexington, Virginia 24450. The school serves grades Pre K – 5 and enrolled 492 students during the 2012 – 2013 academic year. According to the school’s web site, Central is committed to “providing a high quality education for all students” while teaching them “to succeed and contribute to a better world.” Central met state accreditation objectives in English, math, history, and science, and is a fully accredited school.

For more information on Central Elementary School, please visit their website.

Maury River Middle School

Maury River is a public middle school located at 600 Waddell Street, Lexington, Virginia 24450. The school serves grades 6 – 8 and enrolls approximately 345 students every academic year. According to the school’s web site, Maury River is a fully accredited school in the state of Virginia and includes various math, science, English, history, language arts, and civics classes in its academic curriculum. The school also features non-core classes such as band, Spanish, P.E./health, agricultural education, theater, art, and business.

In addition to academics, Maury River Middle School also features a variety of athletic teams. The school competes in Boys’ Football, Boys’ Wrestling, Girls’ Volleyball, Cheerleading, Boys’ Basketball, and Girls’ Basketball. Eighth graders also have the opportunity to participate in sports at Rockbridge County High School that are not offered at Maury River.

For more information on Maury River Middle School, please visit their website.

Rockbridge County High School

Rockbridge County High School is a public high school located at 143 Greenhouse Road, Lexington, Virginia 24450. The school serves grades 9– 12 and enrolls approximately 1,000 students during the academic year. According to the school’s web site, Rockbridge County High “seeks to promote rigor and higher-order thinking” among its student body.

The school continues to place an emphasis on active learning and critical thinking as two of the main pillars of its academic curriculum. Rockbridge County High School’s academic profile consists of core classes such as English, mathematics, science, social studies, fine arts, and health/P.E. The school also has a well-established program for elective-based classes such as business, band and chorus, technology, and foreign languages. The business program includes classes in accounting, marketing, and economics, and the foreign languages consist of French, Latin, and Spanish. Rockbridge County High’s expansive course offerings have allowed achievement at or above the state average passing rate in five SOL test subjects.

As part of its non-core class portfolio, Rockbridge County High also offers classes on career and technical services. This program helps students develop skillsets for careers in agriculture, automotive technology, building trades, and collision repair, among others.

For more information on Rockbridge County High School, please visit their website. 

Buena Vista City Public Schools

The Buena Vista City Public Schools District neighbors the Rockbridge County Public School District and is led by Superintendent Dr. John Keeler. The district features two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school.

Enderly Heights Elementary School

Enderly Heights Elementary is a public elementary school located at 101 Woodland Avenue, Buena Vista, VA 24416. The school serves grades Pre K – 4 and enrolls approximately 225 students during the academic year. According to the school’s web site, Enderly Heights has been actively improving its literacy program by implementing literacy coaches and small group instruction.

For more information on Enderly Heights Elementary School, please visit their website.

F.W. Kling Elementary School

F.W. Kling Elementary is a public elementary school located at 3400 Lombardy Avenue, Buena Vista, VA 24416. The school serves grades Pre K – 4 and enrolls approximately 160 students during the academic year. According to the school’s web site, F.W. Kling promotes students having roles as learners and community members.

For more information on F.W. Kling Elementary School, please visit their website.

Parry McCluer Middle School

Parry McCluer is a public middle school located at 2329 Chestnuts Avenue, Buena Vista, VA 24416. The school serves grades 5– 8 and enrolls approximately 250 students during the academic year. According to the school’s web site, Parry McCluer Middle promotes a learning process that teaches students to become critical thinkers, problem-solvers, and life-long learners.

For more information on Parry McCluer Middle School, please visit their website.

Parry McCluer High School

Parry McCluer High School is located at 100 Bradford Drive, Buena Vista, VA 24416. The school serves grades 9– 12 and enrolls approximately 400 students during the academic year. According to the school’s web site, Parry McCluer High has displayed a commitment to adapting to its students changing needs by offering AP and dual-enrollment classes, career and technical courses, as well as various extracurricular activities. Parry McCluer High’s expansive course offerings have allowed achievement at or above the state average passing rate in four SOL test subjects.

Parry McCluer High School participates in the State A Pioneer District of the Virginia High School League. The school competes in a variety of men and women’s sports at the varsity level. These include the following:

  • Men’s Football
  • Women’s Volleyball
  • Men’s and Women’s Cross Country
  • Men’s and Women’s Basketball
  • Women’s Softball
  • Men’s Baseball
  • Coed Golf
  • Men’s and Women’s Outdoor track

Other teams in the Pioneer District include Craig County High, Bath County High, Highland County High, Covington High, and James River High. In support of its various athletic teams, Parry McCluer High has a well-established marching band.

For more information on Parry McCluer High School, please visit their website.

Private Secondary Schools:

Rockbridge Christian Academy

Rockbridge Christian Academy is a private institution located at 21 Snowy Egret Lane, Lexington, VA 24450. According to the school’s web site, the school was established in 1993 and seeks to provide “an academic education integrated with a Christian view of God.” Rockbridge Christian Academy bases its curriculum on a Beka Book, a publisher affiliated with Pensacola Christian College that produces Christian-based education material. The school provides weekly chapel service for students, parents, and Christian community members in the area. Rockbridge Christian Academy serves grades Pre K – 12 and is a member of the Association of Christian Schools International.

For more information on Rockbridge Christian Academy, please visit their website.

Stuart Hall School

 

Stuart Hall is an Episcopal day and boarding school located in Staunton, VA. It provides a college preparatory education for local day students in grades Pre K- 12 and female boarding students in grades 8 – 12. Stuart Hall’s web site reports that the school is divided into a lower, middle, and upper school, each of which promotes a “rigorous and supportive coeducational academic program in the liberal arts and sciences.” The school prides itself on its extensive liberal arts curriculum, as well as its 100% admission to top colleges and universities. Stuart Hall is a member of Episcopal Church Schools, as well as the Virginia Association of Independent Schools.

For further information on Stuart Hall School’s academics, athletics, or college counseling, please visit their website.

Colleges & Universities:

Washington & Lee University

Washington and Lee University is a private liberal arts university located in Lexington, Virginia.

Mission Statement:

“Washington and Lee University provides a liberal arts education that develops students’ capacity to think freely, critically, and humanely and to conduct themselves with honor, integrity, and civility. Graduates will be prepared for life-long learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, service to others, and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society.”

Acceptance and Attendance Statistics:

Average SAT (class of 2017) 2069
Acceptance Rate (class of 2017) 19.5%
Undergraduate Enrollment 1839
Law School Enrollment 420
Tuition and Fees $44,507
Freshmen Retention Rate 94%
4-year Graduation Rate 88%

Academic Statistics and Information

  • Student-faculty ratio: 8:1
  • Classes with fewer than 20 students: 2%
  • Most popular majors: Business Administration, Economics, Political Science, Accounting and Business Administration, and Biology
  • Majors offered:
    • Accounting and Business Administration, Art History, Biochemistry, Biology (BA and BS), Business Administration, Chemistry (BA and BS), Chemistry- Engineering, Classics, Computer Science (BA and BS), East Asian Languages and Literatures, Economics, English, Environmental Studies, French, Geology (BA or BS), German Language, German Literature, History, Journalism and Mass Communications, Mathematics (BA and BS), Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Music, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Physics, Physics-Engineering, Politics, Psychology (BA or BS), Public Accounting, Religion, Romance Languages (either Spanish or French Emphasis), Russian Area Studies, Sociology and Anthropology, Spanish, Studio Art, Theater
  • Minors offered:
    • Africana Studies, Art History, Classics, Computer Science, Creative Writing, Dance, East Asian Studies, Education Policy, Environmental Studies, Film and Visual Culture, French, German, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Mass Communications, Mathematics, Museum Studies, Music, Philosophy, Poverty and Human Capability Studies, Russian Language and Culture, Studio Art, Theater, Women’s and Gender Studies

Virginia Military Institute

Virginia Military Institute is a state-supported military college located in Lexington, Virginia.

Mission Statement:

“To develop educated, honorable men and women, prepared for the varied work of civil life, imbued with love of learning, confident in the functions and attitudes of leadership, possessing a high sense of public service, advocates of the American democracy and free enterprise system, and ready as citizen-soldiers to defend their country in time of national peril.”

Acceptance and Attendance Statistics:

Enrollment 1664
Acceptance Rate 46.3%
Tuition (in-state) $14,404
Tuition (out-of-state) $35,392
First-Year Retention Rate 87%
4-year Graduation Rate 58%
6-year Graduation Rate 69%

Academic Statistics and Information:

  • Student-faculty ratio: 12:1
  • Most popular majors: Economics, International Relations and Affairs, History, Psychology, Mechanical Engineering
  • Majors Offered
    • Applied Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Computer and Information Systems, Economics & Business, Electrical & Computer Engineering, English, History, International Studies, Mechanical Engineering, Modern Languages & Cultures, Physics, Psychology
  • Minors Offered
    • Astronomy, Business, Chemistry, Computer Engineering, Economics, Exercise Science, History, International Studies, Leadership Studies, Mathematics, Military History, Modern Languages & Cultures, Modern Languages, National Security, Physics, Psychology
  • Concentrations
    • Aerospace Engineering; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Ecology, Conservation, and Organismal Sciences; Financial Management; Global Management; Interdisciplinary Studies in Latin America; Military History; Nuclear Engineering

Southern Virginia University

Southern Virginia University is a liberal arts college located in Buena Vista, Virginia.

Mission Statement:

“Our mission is to prepare leader-servants in the workplace and the world, in the community and the church, and in the home. We serve faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints and welcome all who live our values. We accomplish our mission by providing the finest undergraduate education available in letters, arts, and sciences within a wholesome Latter- day Saint environment. Students, faculty, and staff at Southern Virginia University are committed to being academically or professionally accomplished, spiritually rooted, service oriented, and self-reliant. We embody Southern Virginia’s core values, which are scholarship, discipleship, accountability, enthusiasm, and refinement. Southern Virginia University seeks to establish a replicable self-sustaining model of higher education that can serve Latter-day Saints throughout the world.”

Acceptance and Attendance Statistics:

Enrollment 729
Acceptance Rate 51%
Tuition $18,900
Average GPA of Incoming Freshmen 3.32/4.00
Average SAT Math 523
Average SAT Critical Reading 540

Academic Statistics and Information:

  • Student-faculty ratio: 16:1
  • Majors Offered
    • Art, Biology, Business Management & Leadership, Computer Science, English, Family & Child Development, History, Liberal Arts, Music, Philosophy, Politics, Spanish, Theatre
  • Minors Offered
    • Art, Athletic Training, Biology, Business Management & Leadership, Chemistry, Computer Science, Creative Writing, English, Family & Child Development, History, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Politics, Spanish, Theatre

Graduate Employment Information:

  • Nearly 9-in-10 job-seeking graduates were employed within 12 months of graduation

Dabney S. Lancaster Community College

Dabney S. Lancaster Community College is a community college with campuses in Clifton Forge, Virginia and Buena Vista, Virginia.

The following description of the school is taken from the Dabney S. Lancaster Community College website:

 

“Dabney S. Lancaster Community College (DSLCC) is a two-year public institution of higher education and one of 23 community colleges in Virginia. The college is supported by the Commonwealth of Virginia; the counties of Alleghany, Bath, Botetourt (northern portion) and Rockbridge; the cities of Buena Vista, Covington, and Lexington; and the town of Clifton Forge.

DSLCC provides opportunities for the extension of knowledge, skills and personal enrichment in an environment that maintains high academic standards and respect for each individual. The college strives to keep programs and services financially and geographically accessible for all students.

Credit and non-credit courses are offered to meet life-long learning needs. On-site and distance learning options incorporate up-to-date technologies. Academic advising, mentoring, tutoring, extracurricular activities and cultural experiences are offered to assist all students in achieving their potential and in making the best educational and occupational choices that they can toward the fulfillment of their personal goals.

The College serves the diverse needs of the community. Each year, DSLCC sponsors a wide array of cultural events, offers educational and training programs that address changing workforce demands, and provides facilities for research, recreation and social interaction. Working closely with representatives of business and industry, government, various professions and other educational institutions, DSLCC prepares individuals to experience academic, career and personal success.”

Enrollment and Academic Information:

  • Student enrollment: 2700
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 10:1
  • Supported Services and Activities: Academic preparation through tutoring, advising, job placement assistance and student organizations

Continuing Education:

The college offers a wide range of opportunities for individuals seeking additional training that are not interested in obtaining a degree. These offerings include a variety of special interest and non-credit courses designed for personal enrichment or learning new skills.

Workforce Development:

Dabney S. Lancaster offers a workforce training program to assist companies in the task of training both new hires and current employees. The college has representatives available to meet with companies and offer assistance in the following areas: training needs assessment, job analysis, training plan development, course delivery, and evaluation and continuous support.

Police/Fire/EMS

  • City police departments:
  • County sheriff:
  • Fire and rescue departments:
    • Rockbridge County Fire and Rescue Departments: volunteer organizations that rely on local volunteers to staff and serve the community.
    • Local departments include:
      • Effinger Fire and Rescue
      • Fairfield Rescue
      • Glasgow Fire
      • Glasgow Rescue
      • Goshen Fire
      • Goshen First Aid
      • Kerr’s Creek Fire
      • Natural Bridge Fire
      • Raphine Fire
      • Rockbridge Baths Fire
      • South River Fire
      • Walker’s Creek Fire
    • Buena Vista Fire Department: volunteer organization serving Buena Vista and the surrounding areas.
    • Lexington Fire Department: a combination volunteer and career staff department, serving Lexington and the surrounding area.

Utilities

Communication Infrastructure (Telephone, ISDN, DSL) and Providers

A 4,500 square foot co-location center was completed in November 2012. Located on Washington and Lee’s campus, the center allows multiple service providers to co-locate their network equipment, and serves as the central hub of the RANA project.

Regional News Media

  • Regional news and communications:
    • Newspapers and magazines:
    • Online Publications:
      • The Rockbridge Report: weekly broadcast and website produced by Washington and Lee University journalism students.
      • Rockbridge Forum: free public web discussion by and for Rockbridge residents.
    • Radio:
      • WREL-FM 96.7/AM 1450: a news, talk and sports-formatted broadcast radio station serving the Lexington and Buena Vista area.
    • Television:
      • WDBJ 7: CBS-affiliated television station serving the Roanoke-Lynchburg market.
      • WSLS 10: NBC-affiliated television station in Roanoke.
      • WSET 13: ABC-affiliated television station serving the Roanoke-Lynchburg market.
      • WFXR/WWCW 21/27: FOX-affiliated television station serving the Roanoke-Lynchburg market.
      • WBRA 15: the PBS member station for western Virginia. It serves the Roanoke-Lynchburg and Tri-Cities markets from studios in Roanoke.
      • WVPT 11: the PBS member station for the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia. The station is licensed to Staunton, and is located on the campus of James Madison University in Harrisonburg.
      • Any program can be accessed through cable from Comcast, DirectTV and Dish.
    • Regional business news:

Tourism Information Resources and Attractions

  • Visitor and traveler information services:
    • Lexington and Rockbridge Area Tourism: FREE itinerary-building assistance, dining and lodging suggestions, and promotional materials. Guide service also available for individuals, schools and motorcoach buses.
    • Buena Vista Visitor Center: Located conveniently to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the city of Buena Vista with free visitor parking for cars, RVs and buses. Knowledgeable staff are happy to provide maps and brochures of the area with a particular focus on outdoor recreational activities.
    • Lexington Visitor Center: Located in downtown Lexington with free visitor parking all day for cars, RVs and buses. Knowledgeable staff are happy to provide maps and brochures of the area including a self-guided walking tour map. Free guided tours provided by visitor center staff are available at 3pm every Friday from April through October.
    • Visitor Information Desk at the Natural Bridge: Located conveniently to the southern end of Rockbridge County with free visitor parking for cars, RVs and buses. Knowledgeable staff are happy to provide maps and brochures of the area.
  • Tours:
    • Lexington Carriage Company: Discover Lexington with the relaxing rhythm of hoof beats – learn about our unique history and lore via horse-drawn carriage!
    • Haunting Tales – Lexington’s Ghost Tour: Enjoy ghost tales and a downtown candlelit walk following the footsteps of Generals Lee and Jackson.
    • Doc’s Guide Service: Complete professional guide service. Any size group. Specializing in historic, Civil War, architecture and scenic tours.
    • Lexington Heritage Walking Tours: Educational and entertaining walking tour of Lexington by historian and Civil War re-enactor, Frederick Bloom.
    • Virginia Heritage Tours: Tours of Lexington guided by award-winning Civil War author and film producer, Richard G. Williams, Jr. Tours focus on religious heritage.
    • Historic Lexington Walking Tour: Begins at the Lexington Visitor Center with several tour options ranging from .08 mile to a little over 3 miles. Enjoy tree-lined streets, beautiful old homes, college campuses, museums and a vibrant downtown area.
  • Universities:
    • Washington and Lee University: Small liberal arts University emphasizing scholarship, civility, honor and leadership. Boasts a top-ranked law school and accredited business school.
    • Virginia Military Institute: America’s oldest state-supported military college, offering daily cadet-guided tours and regular full-dress cadet parades free to visitors.
    • Southern Virginia University: An independent liberal arts college educating students in a Latter-Day Saints environment. Founded as Bowling Green Female Seminary in 1867.
  • Downtown areas:
    • Downtown Buena Vista: Nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Beautiful Victorian houses and storefronts line the scenic streets. Locally-owned shops offer Virginia wines, formal wear, art, antiques and more!
    • Downtown Lexington: Lexington’s carefully preserved downtown is on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Shops offer fine art, Virginia-made gifts, jewelry and more! Chamber of Commerce gift certificates available.
  • Museums:
    • George C. Marshall Museum: George Marshall – our first 5 star general, known for being the “organizer of victory” in WWII, Korean War, Marshall Plan and his Nobel Peace Prize.
    • Lee Chapel and Museum: Burial site of Robert E. Lee, Lee Chapel houses the Peale portrait of Washington plus other Lee and Washington artifacts.
    • Museum of Military Memorabilia: A unique exhibition dedicated to all who have worn a uniform in the service of their country. American, British, International.
    • Virginia Military Institute Museum: Featuring the history and alumni of VMI. Includes Stonewall Jackson’s horse and uniforms and the Henry Stewart Antique Firearms Collection.
    • Brownsburg Museum: This amazing community run museum is in the heart of the picturesque Village of Brownsburg.
    • Rockbridge Historical Society: Virginia’s oldest, largest county historical society. Museum, reference library, genealogical resources, maps and picnic area.
  • Historic sites and monuments:
    • Stonewall Jackson House: Discover the man who became a legend! Guided house tours on the hour and half hour. Restored 19th century garden.
    • Sam Houston Wayside: A monument of Texas pink granite honors the birthplace in Rockbridge County of Sam Houston, former governor of Tennessee and Texas.
    • Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery: Buried in the cemetery are Stonewall Jackson, 144 Confederate veterans, two Virginia governors and Margaret Junkin Preston.
    • Wade‘s Mill: Working water-powered mill, circa 1750, on the National Register of Historic Places. Kitchenware, gift shop, stone-ground flours and mixes.
    • Cyrus McCormick‘s Farm: Home of Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the mechanical grain reaper. Beautiful grounds, small museum, grist mill, nature trail and picnic area.
  • Other attractions:
    • Virginia Horse Center: Hosting over 400,000 visitors per year, the Virginia Horse Center is 600 acres of picturesque grounds with a 4,000 seat coliseum, barns, show rings, carriage driving courses, campgrounds, and full catering and café services. The VHCF also hosts many non-equine events like dog shows, BMX, agriculture programs, and the Rockbridge Regional Fair and Farm Show.
    • Hull’s Drive-In Theatre: Rockbridge area’s best value for family-friendly entertainment since 1950! Nation’s first community-owned, non-profit classic drive-in movie theatre.
    • Foamhenge: Originally built as an April Fool’s Day prank, this foam replica of Stonehenge is a fun, free roadside attraction.
    • Natural Bridge Speedway: The fastest 3/8-mile dirt track in the Shenandoah Valley! Racing most every Saturday night from April to October.
    • Virginia Safari Park: 180-acre drive-through adventure featuring over 1,000 free roaming animals from around the world.
    • The Greenbrier: luxury resort and national historic landmark located in White Sulphur Springs, WV, about an hour’s drive from Lexington. Offers a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. Notable features include natural sulfur springs, a casino, several professional-grade golf courses, and “The Bunker” (declassified emergency shelter for Congress during the Cold War).

Natural and Scenic Beauty and Outdoor Activities

  • Area features:
    • With over 58,000 acres of National Forest in Rockbridge County and over 20,000 acres of state-maintained land, you can hike bike, ride and explore the great outdoors.
    • The area is bounded on the west by the lower elevations of the Allegheny Mountains and on the east by the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The county is situated at the headwaters of the James River and the Maury River.
  • Parks and outdoor areas:
    • Natural Bridge Park, Historic Hotel, and Caverns: Natural wonder, natural beauty! Discover why photos don’t do it justice, and why the awestruck Thomas Jefferson purchased it.
    • Glen Maury Park: 315-acre park offering camping, swimming, fishing, picnic pavilions, hiking, playgrounds and ball fields.
    • Goshen Pass Natural Area Preserve: a 3.7 mile long gorge along the Maury River. The rare Appalachia jewelwing, freshwater cordgrass, marsh vetchling and sand grape can be found here among a hodgepodge of boulders. Numerous access points to the water for swimming and other water activities.
  • Zoos and farms:
    • Natural Bridge Zoo: African elephant rides, white tigers, mountain lions, monkeys, giraffe, zebra, camels, exotic birds, baby animals, petting zoo and baby tiger photos.
    • Virginia Safari Park: 180-acre drive-through adventure featuring over 1,000 free roaming animals from around the world.
    • Cabin Spring Farm: Experience the workings of a small fiber farm. Practice spinning, felting and more.
  • Outdoor sports and activities:
  • Drives and trails:
    • Chessie Nature Trail: a seven-mile, year-round public access walking trail between Lexington and Buena Vista, located along the former Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad right of way. Owned and managed by the Virginia Military Institute.
    • Appalachian Trail: A public footpath within the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests that runs across the Appalachian Mountains from Maine to Georgia. A portion of the trail crosses through Rockbridge County.
    • Appalachia Waters Scenic Byway: Follow Route 39 to Goshen Pass, where you can enjoy stunning views from your car or get out to hike, swim or kayak.
    • Wilderness Road: An epic saga about the early migration and settlement of America. Relive America’s unique history and heritage as you travel.
    • Gems of Rockbridge Geocaching Trail: Participate in this high-tech treasure hunt using GPS coordinates to locate hidden geocaches.
  • Sporting Clays:
    • Quail Ridge Sporting Clays: A sporting clays course that throws various types of targets at different speeds and distances for a challenging shooting course.
    • The Glorious Twelfth: A unique English sporting clay school offering instruction to the novice and experienced shooter.

Arts and Culture

  • Visual arts:
    • Rockbridge Arts Guild: “a community of artists” from Rockbridge County, Lexington and Buena Vista.
    • Downtown Lexington offers eight art galleries within walking distance. Collectively, they offer exquisite oil, watercolor or acrylic paintings, fine photographs, hand-made jewelry, unique pottery, and one of a kind sculptures.
    • Studio Eleven
  • Other Art Galleries:
  • Performing arts:
    • Fine Arts in Rockbridge (FAIR): organization committed to providing opportunities for all persons in the Rockbridge area to pursue their interests and develop their talents in the arts through quality educational and performance opportunities.
    • Summer FAIR: yearly camp providing summer arts enrichment for rising first-graders through adults. In addition to a wide range of classes in music, drawing, dance and acting, the program offers students the opportunity to perform in a fully staged musical theater production.
    • Rockbridge Ballet: a leading dance company in the state of Virginia, which teaches professional levels of movement and choreography in ballet, tap, jazz, modern and a variety of other classical dance forms.
    • Southern Virginia University Dance Company: A student-run organization dedicated to the art of dance. Styles of dance include jazz, ballet, hip-hop, lyrical, modern, Irish and other ethnic styles.
    • Southern Virginia University Shenanigans Comedy Troupe: a performing group that regularly performs improv comedy and comedy sketches both on campus and in the surrounding community.
  • Music:
    • Local musicians and bands:
      • James Leva: a Lexington-based multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter whose music is deeply rooted in Appalachian tradition.
      • Larry Keel and Natural Bridge: a Lexington-based flatpicking guitarist and his band, influenced by Bluegrass and the mountain music culture of Southwest Virginia.
      • Nothin’ Fancy Bluegrass: Buena Vista-based bluegrass band that hosts their own annual festival.

Food Scene

  • Local food and farm-to-table:
    • Lexington Coffee Roasters: Daily tasting flight of coffees from nationally acclaimed local roaster. Come learn how to select and brew great coffee!
    • Cheese to You: Artisan cheeses cut to order. Gifts for gourmands. Tastings available.
    • Orchardside Farm: Pick your own thornless blackberries.
    • Broadview Ranch: local family owned and operated farm providing grass-fed beef, pastured pork, and cage-free eggs. Provides tours to visitors.
    • Virginia Gold Orchard: Producer of gourmet Asian pears, jujubes and chestnuts.
    • Buena Vista Community Market: local growers who have the following items to offer for sale: fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, annuals, perennials, fresh cut or dried flowers, honey, baked goods, jams and jellies, homemade soaps, candles, jewelry, garden art and nature crafts.
    • Lexington Farmers Market-open Wednesday mornings in April through November.
    • Rockbridge Farmers Market: Saturdays at the Virginia Horse Center.
  • Wineries and breweries:
    • Devils Backbone Outpost Brewery: Winner of 8 medals at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival! Visit the Tap Room (beer only) and enjoy an honest pint or a sampler paddle of inspired, award-winning craft beer.
    • Rockbridge Vineyard: The fruition of a dream to make fine wine in Virginia. Knowledgeable and friendly staff offers tours and wine-tastings year-round.
    • Blue Lab Brewing Company: Superior handcrafted micro-brewery. Tasting room offers samples of beers on tap. Buy beer by the growler or keg.
    • Lexington Valley Vineyard: Bring a picnic and enjoy beautiful scenery as you relax on the winery’s deck. Free tastings of handcrafted Virginia wines!
  • Restaurants:
    • The area includes restaurants spanning various genres of food, including American, Asian, bar-restaurants, BBQ, cafes, contemporary cuisine, fast food, fine dining, Italian, Mexican, organic and vegetarian. The area also includes other non-restaurant food establishments, including a bakery, a chocolatier, coffee shops and ice cream shops.

Events and Festivals

Sports

Rockbridge County has a diverse set of athletic assets to offer families living in the area. The Area is home to a rich array of youth athletics, a multitude of offerings for the recreational athlete, and accessible and affordable events for those that enjoy athletic entertainment.

Youth Athletics

Within the county, the Rockbridge Area Recreational Organization (RARO) offers a multitude of sports for boys and girls through the age of 17. RARO’s mission statement reads, “The mission of RARO is to serve the citizens of Lexington and Rockbridge County through community- minded offerings of wholesome recreational activities which promote betterment of mind, body and spirit; to encourage volunteer involvement and to foster qualities of fair play, teamwork, and inclusiveness.” In addition to the staple youth sports programs such as baseball, basketball, soccer, football, and tennis among others, RARO offers many programs not found in all towns throughout the country. Flag football offers young children the opportunity to experience competitive organized football without the excessive risk of concussions and other injuries associated with contact sports. Cheerleading, wrestling, and volleyball are among the other offerings one may not find in all communities. Below is a chart listing all of RARO’s current athletic offerings.

Gender Ages
Fall Sports
Soccer G&B 5-13
Flag Football B 5-8
Football B 8-13
Cheerleading G 8-13
Winter Sports
Wrestling B 5-12
Basketball G&B 5-13
Spring/Summer Sports
Volleyball G&B 11-13
Tee-Ball G&B 5-6
Baseball G&B 7-12
Softball G 7-14
Tennis G&B 6-17

Having three universities within the county borders, the area certainly has a collegiate feel, and this extends itself to the realm of youth athletics. Student athletes from schools such as Washington and Lee University frequently take time to volunteer in the youth athletic programs and mentor young athletes. Children look up to the collegiate athletes as not only a great source of instruction and coaching, but also as role models.

Once children become too old for RARO athletics, they can participate in local sports at the junior high and high school levels. For a breakdown of additional athletics by school and level, please refer to the Primary and Secondary Education sections.

Rockbridge County is great for any budding lacrosse players, as both Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute host reputable camps and showcases. Washington and Lee’s Play Great Lacrosse is run by W&L Coach Gene McCabe, and offers top flight instruction from outstanding coaches. Play Great Lacrosse offers several camps and showcase. The various camps run by Play Great Lacrosse include general lacrosse camps as well as a Defense Only Camp, The Goalie Academy, and a Shooting Skills Academy for midfielders and attack men.

Barron Russell of Cape Fears Academy Lacrosse attests to the quality of the program,

“I would just like to write to say how impressed I was with the way you ran your camp this summer. It was well organized, and the activities were well thought out and had purpose…I felt our kids got every bit of “their money’s worth” at your camp.”

Virginia Military Institute is home to Stonewall Lacrosse camps. Among Stonewall’s offerings are the Stonewall Showcase, which is a recruiting tournament for top-level lacrosse players, and Stonewall Lacrosse Boot Camp, which is a general camp offering individualized instruction and conditioning.

Recreational Athletics

For adults interested in recreational sports, the Area has several physical assets of note. Lexington is home to a public outdoor pool as well as a year-round indoor community pool. The pool offers competitive swimming, lifeguard training, swim lessons, kayak roll lessons, aquacise, aqua therapy, and time devoted to family swim.

The area is home to two different golf courses. Both Vista Links and the Lexington Golf and Country Club. Vista Links is an 18 hole, par 72 course located in Buena Vista. The course is designed by Rick Jacobson and has 5-sets of tees ranging from 4,941 yards to 6,925 yards, a deluxe driving range, and Pro-Shop for all your golfing needs. Jacobson comments that the course is a, “links style course, with feel of a mountain course; many elevation changes with panoramic views; and rock outcroppings. Traditional set up with 4 par fives, 10 par fours and 4 par threes and five sets of tees for enjoyment of all levels of golfers.” Vista Links also offers instruction, etiquette and rules programs with special emphasis on junior golfers, clinics, leagues, tournaments, outings, and mixers.

The Lexington Golf and Country Club is designed by Ellis Maples and Ed Seay and plays between 4,845 and 6,500 yards. The two 9-hole loops are situated on 200 acres of undulating Shenandoah Valley hills and dales. The layout is framed by the Blue Ridge Mountains and is insinuated into the natural landscape. The Lexington Golf and Country Club offers much more than golf. The club also has a swimming pool, tennis courts, and fine dining within the clubhouse. Instruction in golf, swimming, and tennis is offered at the club.

The Virginia Horse Center is the epicenter of Virginia equestrian. Founded to promote all disciplines of equestrian sport, its 600 acres of picturesque grounds hold a 4,000 seat coliseum, eight barns to accommodate 1,200 horses, 19 show rings including two large indoor arenas, cross-country and combined carriage driving courses, campgrounds, and full catering and café services. The VHCF also hosts many non-equine events like dog shows, BMX, agriculture programs, and the Rockbridge Regional Fair & Farm Show.

The Virginia Horse Center Foundation is a 501(c)3 non- profit organization that owns and operates the Virginia Horse Center. The Foundation is proud to be a part of the Rockbridge community, an asset to the state’s equine economy, and a resource to the East-Atlantic competition circuit.

Committed to the wellbeing and safety of both rider and horse, the Virginia Horse Center Foundation supports the facility that serves over 500,000 people and 100,000 animals. The VHCF manages 115 events annually, most free and open to the public. Host to the Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center, the Foundation’s mission is to enrich lives with programs focused on recreation, education, and preservation. (www.horsecenter.org)

Athletic Entertainment

For those who enjoy watching athletic competition, the Rockbridge County area offers a wide range of options to choose from. Within the county limits, Virginia Military Institute, Washington and Lee University, and Southern Virginia University offer collegiate athletic competition at the Division I and III levels.

Virginia Military Institute competes in the Big South Conference, Southern Conference, and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). Tickets to athletic events are easily available and very affordable. VMI competes in 16 different varsity sports.

Washington and Lee University has 24 different varsity athletic teams. W&L competes in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), and has won the Commissioners Cup, given to the overall ODAC champion across all sports, in 17 of the last 19 years. Among Washington and Lee’s best programs are football, men’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s tennis. Admission to most Washington and Lee athletic events is free.

Southern Virginia University competes in the Capital Athletic Conference. SVU sports 14 different teams, and admission to many of their athletic events is free.

For major ACC action, both Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia are within an hour’s drive of Rockbridge County. Between the two, one can find the highest levels of collegiate competition in most of the major American sports. For professional athletics, Washington D.C. is a three hours drive. Transportation to D.C. is also possible via train or bus from Staunton. Washington D.C. is home to franchises in all four of the major sports: professional basketball, football, baseball, and hockey. These teams are the Washington Redskins, Capitals, Nationals, and Wizards.

How We Work It:

Workforce

Unless otherwise noted, all data in this section was obtained from the Regional Data Center for Virginia’s Central Shenandoah Valley. 

Local Governments, Taxes and Business Licenses

Business Incentives, Abatements and Grants

  • In 2012, Austin Consulting and Chabin Concepts evaluated the Shenandoah Valley for potential project locations and ranked the region using site selection factors on a 1-5 scale (1 = non-competitive, 5 = competitive). Below are the ranked site selection factors regarding incentives (state and local)
    • Complimentary services (i.e. recruiting, screening): 4
    • Workforce training: 4
    • Cash: 3
    • Fee deferrals, reductions: 3
    • Fast-track permitting: 3
  • Grant Resource Center and Guide: the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission has developed a resource containing regularly updated information on many of the grants available in the region. The Grant Resource Center lists state and federal grant sources, eligibility criteria and requirements, application guidelines and grant deadlines, as well as, links to grant agency websites. The CSPDC also provides grant-writing assistance.
  • The city of Lexington offers real estate tax exemption on rehabilitated commercial or industrial buildings that qualify.
  • Buena Vista Public Private Policy: designed to enhance economic development opportunities by developing partnerships with business and industry that create new wealth and jobs for the future of the community, and that also provide an appropriate return on the city of Buena Vista’s investments.  Typical areas of assistance include:
    • Cash contributions
    • Tax reimbursement
    • Matching funds for incentives provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia
    • Water and sewer line extensions
    • Water, fire and sewer utility connection fees
    • Water and sewer fees
    • Tipping fees
    • Building permit fees
    • Public road construction and required drainage structures
    • Traffic control devices such as signals and related equipment
    • Storm water management facilities
    • Land acquisition for public purposes such as industrial rail, road access, road widening or easement acquisition
    • Extension of fiber optic line to site
    • Fast track approval process
    • Employment and training and retraining
  • In addition to local incentives, Virginia also offers various incentives in the areas of taxes, training, infrastructure, management, technical support and many more. For available incentives, review the Virginia Guide to Business Incentives.

Available Commercial and Industrial Space

  • The Rockbridge region has numerous industrial, office, flex and retail sites of varying sizes available. For the attest current listings, visit the following resources:
    • Rockbridge County government’s website (look at the bottom of the page for “Available Properties.”)
    • The Buena Vista City website also has a helpful directory of available commercial and retail property.
    • Shenandoah Valley Partnership website: search for sites and land in Rockbridge, Lexington and Buena Vista. The price (per square foot or per acre) for any business real estate and land in the area can vary widely based on a number of factors, such as business use, location or infrastructure. Because of this, the limited number of business real estate transactions that occur in the area over a given time period, and the limited information publically available on closed sales, it is difficult to pinpoint an average or representative cost for business real estate and land. Interested businesses are advised to consult a commercial real estate agent for comparable recent sales for the type of business real estate and land they are interested in.
  • The Rockbridge region and Lexington collaborate with Main Street Lexington. There is a comprehensive inventory of space identified by availability, type, cost and size.