Appalachian Trail Memories: Ming's in Waynesboro, VA

New Ming Garden Buffet and Grill in Waynesboro, Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

New Ming Garden Buffet and Grill in Waynesboro, Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Whether you've hiked two miles, 200 miles or 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail, you probably have a favorite spot along the Path that comes to mind when life's hassles hassle you a tad too much. Might be a cliff with a magnificent panorama; where you met you-know-who; where you ran out of water or into a bear; where you "found" yourself (does that even happen?); or where you learned to fear lightning. There are also a few spots off the Trail that become favorites for hikers. One, undoubtedly, is simply known as "Ming's."

Please Note: "Dances with Lightning" would be a cool Trail name. Thank you.

When making introductions, it's best to begin with exchanging names. For example, "I'd like to introduce to you 'New Ming Garden Buffet and Grill' in Waynesboro, Virginia." You'd say, "Hello, 'New Ming Garden Buffet and Grill,' my name is [insert your name here]." Then, you'd probably say, "My friends call me [Dances with Lightning]." After which you'd hear, "Call me, Ming's."

Ming's Facebook page offers this historical note:

In 2008, New Ming Garden open its beautiful new Restaurant offering our Patrons more than 100 items to choose from. Today is considered the Best Chinese Buffet in Augusta County, Nelson County, Waynesboro and Staunton. Thanks to you, our Community, we serve and we cook, food to be delightful, eye appealing and satisfying for all tastes and ages.

If you love sushi, like I love sushi, you'll love New Ming Garden Buffet and Grill in Waynesboro, Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

If you love sushi, like I love sushi, you'll love New Ming Garden Buffet and Grill in Waynesboro, Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Anyone -- especially famished, smelly, hungry, stinky, ravenous, pungent hikers -- will immediately take issue with the statement that Ming's is the best Chinese buffet in two adjacent towns and/or counties. Technically, that's true, but let's be honest.

The New Ming Garden Buffet and Grill in Waynesboro, Virginia is the best Chinese buffet in all known galaxies. Nothing comes close. No, nothing. And if you think something comes close in San Francisco's Chinatown, you probably haven't been there. (Unless they put one in since I was there.)

I do not understand how Ming's makes any money. Maybe you shouldn't tell anybody about this story or they might raise their prices.

Coolest buffet table ever, at New Ming Garden Buffet and Grill in Waynesboro, Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Coolest buffet table ever, at New Ming Garden Buffet and Grill in Waynesboro, Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Hikers have been known to stay so long that they should have been charged by the hour. There have been no known sightings of tents or hammocks being pitched, but after the first person breaks that barrier it'll be like stepping through camp at Trail Days in Damascus after midnight. Without the food.

The Appalachian Trail will be 2,189.2 miles in 2015, due to rerouting and reblazing that is always going on.

Kind of like the Golden Gate Bridge. They're always painting it. When they're done at one end, they just go back and start over. But I digress.

They could make the AT 20,000 miles long and Ming's would still be the best Chinese buffet and one of the Top Five meals from Georgia to Maine.

Miles of food at New Ming Garden Buffet and Grill in Waynesboro, Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Miles of food at New Ming Garden Buffet and Grill in Waynesboro, Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

The buffet from Monday through Saturday is about six bucks. That'd be a good deal at $12.

There's only one possible amenity that Ming's lacks: an automated sidewalk like they have at the Atlanta airport.

That way you could conserve Trail Energy by not walking back and forth from your table to the food so many times, which (if you believe the rumors) can add up to a couple of miles per meal.

One unimpeachable source, famed AT Facebook moderator, Rick "Bearfoot" Hatcher, once related a tale about a flip-flop thru-hiker who began and ended his trek at Ming's -- just to get two meals there.

Please Note: If that factoid didn't come from Bearfoot, it should have. Thank you.

Hikers who are a bit out of shape leave Ming's stronger than ever by trying one simple trick.

New Ming Garden Buffet and Grill in Waynesboro, Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

New Ming Garden Buffet and Grill in Waynesboro, Virginia ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

They put "a little something" from each of the 100+ foods offered and try to carry it back to their table using only one hand. Helps with balance too, they say.

Full Disclosure: Yes, I ate at Ming's, took these pictures, paid my tab and left a tip. Yes, I would gladly accept a "Free Meals Forever" card, but nobody there paid me anything to write this story.

Appalachian Trail Wisdom

Hike your own hike. Experience the Trail, don't just blast over it. Never quit on a bad day. Be good to your body.

And ... eat at Ming's. Life is too short and the Appalachian Trail is too long not to have a meal at the best Chinese buffet anywhere.

While you're in Waynesboro, stop by the local park in this beautiful Appalachian Trail Community. They have free outlets for recharging your gizmos.

Click Here for Ming's Chinese Buffet

Waynesville, VA, has lovely creekside parks with picnic tables and spots to recharge yourself and your electronic gizmos. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Waynesboro, VA, has lovely creekside parks with picnic tables and spots to recharge yourself and your electronic gizmos. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland


Tags: Attractions, Appalachian Trail, Appalachian Trail Community, News, and Robert Sutherland Travel Writer

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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