Wilson Field – Washington & Lee Generals
Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86
Wilson Field 100 Stadium Spur Lexington, VA 24450
Year Opened: 1900
Generals in the House
Wilson Field has been home to Washington & Lee athletics teams since it opened in 1900, but has been renovated multiple times since then, most recently in 2008. The stadium is named after William L. Wilson, the 10th president of the University, who passed away the same year the stadium opened. Parts of the stadium were funded by the Cadaver Society, a quasi-secret society on campus which is known for giving large amounts of money to the school, as well as using secret tunnels to travel from place to place around campus.
Food & Beverage 2
Wilson Field has two concessions stands beneath the press box on the home side, but only one is open for most events. The menu is very limited, but the prices are low and they do offer free water, via plastic cups and a water dispenser next to the concessions window. The concessions menu includes hot dogs or pretzels for $5, chips, candy, or a cheese cup for $2, and drinks for $3 (Coke products, hot cocoa, and coffee).
Wilson Field has a track around the playing surface, with the press box and home stands on the west side, and a smaller set of stands on the east side for visitors – the total capacity is around 4,000. There is also a mostly static scoreboard (there is video in the center section which only displays team logos) behind the south end zone, and tailgating set up on the east side of the field instead of in the parking lots, so you can easily watch the game while you tailgate. Washington & Lee does have a cheerleading squad, but it was raining during my most recent visit, so the cheerleaders were not on the field due to safety concerns.
Wilson Field Visitor Stands, Photo by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Because of the rain attendance was pretty sparse the last time I was there, but the Generals do get more of a crowd at Wilson Field for most games. Note that there are a few grey chairback seats in the top middle section of the home stands, and also on the visitors side, if you would rather sit in those than on the bleachers.
Lexington is a small, conservative college town in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, which Washington & Lee shares with the FCS’ Virginia Military Institute (the two schools abut each other, but depending on which way you drive in you may not even see the other schools’ buildings). The town only has a population of seven thousand, and is known by some as Lex Vegas.
There are several restaurants near Washington & Lee’s campus – Bistro on Main is a great choice, with a menu that includes southern dishes such as gumbo or shrimp and grits, but also some farm-to-table type items. During the pandemic the restaurant limited its hours and still has not fully recovered in terms of capacity, so be sure to check its hours if you want to visit. Or if you happen to be a Star Trek fan (and who isn’t), check out Beameup BBQ & Café (the owner’s name is Scotty); this is a fantastic place to get a bite, but also has limited hours as they do a lot of catering – check their Facebook page to see what days they are open.
Besides food, like much of the state Lexington is a hotbed for military history, and there are several attractions of this type in the area. First is the Stonewall Jackson House, where the famed Confederate general resided prior to the Civil War. You can also visit the gravesite of Robert E. Lee, inside University Chapel on Washington & Lee’s campus (Lee served as president of the school after the Civil War, after which time his name was added to Washington’s in the school’s name); the Virginia Museum of the Civil War is also nearby.
As mentioned there were not very many fans in attendance on my most recent visit, due to the rain, but I was impressed by the number wearing Generals blue, and also by how many showed up at all in the cold, wet weather.
Wilson Field is easy to get to and easy to move around – not far from I-81 and I-64, you can park for free within a short walk of the stadium, either in a parking deck on the south side behind the tennis courts, or in surface lots to the northeast. There are plenty of bathrooms on the concourse, and even small tables with chairs which you can use to sit and eat while watching the game.
Return on Investment 5
Attendance is free at Washington & Lee football games – tickets are not even sold. Adding in the free parking and low-cost concessions, this is as cheap a sporting event to take family or friends to as you will ever find.
A plus for the military history in the area, and another plus for the beautiful scenery – the field is surrounded by lots of trees and plenty of greenery, so is a great place to get away from it all.