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

Open Doors at Dominion Energy Innovation Center

Beginning this month, Dominion Energy Innovation Center will open its doors to be a coworking space and hub for local entrepreneurs. DEIC will hold an Open House on September 12 from 4-6pm at 201 Duncan Street, inviting the community to visit the space and meet the team.


DEIC previously focused on technology startups, and will continue that important work. In addition, professionals of all stripes are invited to utilize the space as a coworking environment, including flexible work space, private offices, conference rooms, and a media studio.

Below, DEIC Director Adam Sledd shares his perspective on the organization’s new programs.

Adam Sledd, director of Dominion Energy Innovation Center in Downtown Ashland

Adam Sledd, director of Dominion Energy Innovation Center in Downtown Ashland

My family and I moved back to the Richmond area three months ago after nine years in Washington D.C., and it’s been amazing to spend the summer re-learning the Richmond region.

Every corner of our community has sprouted something new while I was away, whether that’s the budding of a local industry like the brewery scene or major residential and commercial developments cropping up all across Hanover County. Every time I sit down with an old friend to catch up I hear about a new business or project that has its own plan to help grow some piece of the region’s economy. Ultimately, this is why I’ve moved back -- because while this has always been a great place to work and raise a family, it’s also continually evolving as a fantastic place to grow a business.

I joined the Dominion Energy Innovation Center because I am excited about playing a part in this region’s continued economic growth story, and because DEIC is just beginning to define the next stage of its impact in Ashland and beyond. …

What I’ve found in the past three months is that entrepreneurship resources don’t all extend from the downtown Richmond area out into the rest of the region. Not every new business will build around a high-tech model, and not every entrepreneur will find time to drive to Short Pump or downtown for a coworking space, a networking event, or a panel on how to improve your digital marketing. There needs to be a bridge that connects the abundance of resources downtown with entrepreneurs—and future entrepreneurs—in Ashland, Hanover, and further out.

DEIC is expanding outward to be that bridge. In addition to myself, Ian Ragland has joined DEIC as our Program Manager and marketing expert. Ten years into DEIC’s mission we are going to open our doors a little wider, develop new programs to serve the business community, and continue to be a place for entrepreneurs to build the future.

We hope that you’ll join us in that endeavor as a member, a mentor, or an event participant. If you would like to learn more about the space and what we’re working on please check out the website at www.dominnovation.com or come visit us on Duncan Street.

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: yogaoncenterva.com.

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 railroadradio.net. 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.