The Scenic and Historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
 
American history was shaped on Shenandoah Valley Civil War battlefields

Union Civil War troops in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

 

The solid 19th century stone houses and buildings that still stand in the Shenandoah Valley, as well as in other places in America, could illuminate what the Founding Fathers had in mind with their “built to last” U.S. Constitution.

It may be true that the American “checks and balances” form of government has always appeared to operate with a kind of steampunk inefficiency, but it reflects something that may be flexible enough to survive unanticipated twists and turns in the lives of successive generations of Americans.

Yet the United States had not even reached its centennial when it faced its biggest crisis of unity. National political processes began to boggle down in the mid 1800s, largely over the issue of slavery. Talking through the problem wasn’t working. The only means of settling the issue took the form of Balkinization and military violence. Thus began the American Civil War, a national tragedy. From that experience, parts of the national psychology even by now have not fully recovered.

Abraham Lincoln’s successful reelection in 1864 finally provided real assurance that the Union would in fact endure. After four years of death and destruction, the outcome had still not been clear. Had the “Peace Democrat,” George B. McClellan defeated Lincoln, the U.S. undoubtedly would have steered toward recognition of the Confederate States as an independent nation.

As late as the summer of 1864, Lincoln himself had begun to fret aloud that he may not win. The result was a landslide in his favor. Two very eleventh-hour Union battle victories had occurred just before the election: Atlanta in July and the Shenandoah Valley’s Cedar Creek in October. They proved to be a critical boost that the Northern cause had needed at this watershed moment.

In a war as complex as the Civil War, it may be hard to point to a single tipping point toward its resolution. The tide had indeed started to turn a year earlier at Gettysburg. But there is no doubt that at least part of what had happened in the Shenandoah Valley immediately before the 1864 election helped Lincoln win his second term of office. The imporant thing was that the Union had been preserved.

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A New Year, a New Season

January and a new year offers a time of reflection, a time for some head-clearing. Our region’s weather tends to be a nice mix of cold and snow, and milder days when an outdoor breath of air feels particularly fresh. Whether we’re on an outdoor winter adventure or indoors re-connecting with our roots, the Shenandoah Valley is where we look forward to the promise of 2017. (Photo: Deb Booth, Different Light Studio)

  Happening today

Music and Dancing in Raphine, Va.

Clarks Ole Time Music Center, located at Clarks Lumber Co., 1288 Ridge Road. longtime Friday-night tradition of old-time music and dance from 7:30-10 p.m. Admission: $8 per person, $15 per couple. For more information, call 540-377-2490.


Film screening at Court Square Theater in Harrisonburg, Va.

41-F Court Sq. Lion. Drama. PG-13. Runs two hours. Shows on Jan. 20-22, Jan. 24 and Jan. 26 at 2 p.m., 4:35 p.m. and 7:10 p.m., Jan. 23 at 4:35 p.m. and 7:10 p.m., and Jan. 25 at 2:30 p.m. Members save 20 percent and get free popcorn. Tickets: $9.50 for adults, $8.50 for seniors and students, $9.50 for adults, $8.50 for seniors and students. $8 for matinees before 5 p.m. For more information, call 540-433-9189 or visit valleyarts.org


Play performance at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va.

10 S. Market St. Coriolanus performance at 7:30 p.m. Opening night performance. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. For more information, call 540-851-1733 or visit www.americanshakespearecenter.com


Art workshop in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Judith Becker: Painting cut glass and crystal objects, other glass objects and reflective window glass scenes. Jan. 20 and 27, and Feb. 3 and 10 from 1-4 p.m.  Hosted by Berkeley Arts Council. Limited availability. Reservations required. For more information, visit berkeleyartsWV.org


Collage Concert at Shenandoah University

Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre, 620 Millwood Ave. Part of the Mid-Atlantic Music Invitational, with Shenandoah Conservatory faculty and student ensembles. Free admission. For more information, call 1-800-432-2266 or visit www.su.edu/performs


Youth program at Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum in Winchester, Va.

19 W. Cork St. Fandemonium. Fan-based activities, including Dr. Who, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel Comics and more. Come dressed as your favorite, explore Comic-Con themed evening. Tickets: $10, museum member discounts available. For more information, visit www.discoverymuseum.net


Art exhibition in Martinsburg, W.Va

Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen St. Berkeley Arts Council Members Exhibit, Runs through Feb. 18. Reception Jan. 20 from 5-7 p.m. For more information, visit www.berkeleyartsWV.org


Equestrian event at Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Va.

Stonewall Country Horse Show I. Jan. 19-22. National-rated horse show environment with two indoor rings and many indoor schooling options. USHJA Outreach classes for exhibitors. For more information, visit virginiahorsecenter.org


Community workshop at Handley Regional Library, Va.

Benham Gallery on the Lower Level at Handley Library, 100 W. Piccadilly St. Lunch and Learn Cooking Workshop series. Soup`s On: Healthy soups recipes. Recipes and samples included. Hosted by Handley Regional Library and Virginia Cooperative Extension. Reservations required. Register online. Registration Deadline: Jan. 16. Free admission. For more information, call 540-869-9000, extension 212 or visit www.handleyregional.org


Winery event in Fishersville, Va.

Barren Ridge Vineyards, 984 Barren Ridge Rd. Fourth Friday concert series concert: Firelight, with Jimmy O. Dinners available from local food trucks, souvenir wine glass. Admission: $10, Crush Club members admitted free.  For more information, visit www.barrenridgevineyardsva.com


Art workshop in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen St. Painting cut glass and crystal objects. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. on Jan. 20 and 27, Feb. 3 and 10. For more information, visit www.berkeleyartsWV.org


Downtown festival in Winchester, Va.

Winchester on the Rocks: Cocktail competition among Old Town Winchester restaurants. Runs through Jan. 21. For more information, visit winchesterontherocks.com


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About ShenandoahValley.com


You’ve just landed in the scenic and historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia, USA.
“The daughter of the stars.”

ShenandoahValley.com is owned and operated by Shenandoah Valley Productions, a little “mom-and-pop” business, but one that’s located right here in the region. Our mission has long been to showcase the area’s visual beauty, unique “Valley” people and culture and, of course, some really, really rich history.

We first fell in love with Virginia in 1970, courtesy of the U.S. Navy, stationed in Norfolk. That was the year Virginia officially declared itself “for lovers.” But for us, the real love affair started in 1977, when we first visited the Shenandoah Valley on our wedding night. We moved here a year later, and well ...we are still here!

So it’s kind of a long story how we got from 1978 to this website, but here it is.

Website background photos are provided by a select group of photographers from across the region who share their own love of the Valley through the lenses of their cameras. Words alone may not really describe the place.

Our regional events listings are always up to date, and we’re not really selling anything on here. In fact, we get no outside funding, but are wholly independent. Like many of our friends and neighbors who also feel blessed to live here, free and independent, surrounded by peace and beauty.

Each month we head out to some part of this diverse region and do a feature story and travel video about it -- some cool event, piece of history or special place that makes the name "Shenandoah" so uniquely known worldwide.

So, come and set a spell, and please also consider making a donation. Either way, we’re glad you stopped by. Come on back to see us again!

Oh, and please visit our Facebook page, too.

Sunset near Bridgewater, Virginia

The setting sun touches the Appalachian mountain range bordering Virginia and West Virgina, in the south western part of Rockingham County.

About Manny Jose

Manny Jose has loved the Shenandoah Valley since the mid-1970s when he came to the area as a university student. He moved back to the Valley permanently in 1999. Subsequently, since 2012, he has been passionately taking photographs to capture the scenic beauty, rich history, unique people groups and cultures, and current happenings in the Valley.

...photo by Manny Jose