From its very beginning, a southern Rockingham County, Va. town originally known as “Rifetown” may have had a slight identity issue, starting in 1828 with the name on a new post office sign reportedly identifying the town as “Rifeville.”
Then in 1832, the Virginia General Assembly renamed the town to Dayton.
Meanwhile, a Revolutionary War veteran who had ratified the New Jersey constitution in 1787, Johnathan Dayton, had a town named after him, but his town was the well-known Dayton, Ohio. With no discernible connection with Dayton, Virginia.
Whatever the name, one thing about the spot that had quickly attracted early settlers was the inviting confluence of spring-fed creeks and land just waiting to be farmed.
It also had captured the attention of Daniel Harrison, brother of nearby Harrisonburg, Va. founder Thomas Harrison. He too must have seen so much potential in the abundant springs and fertile land along a road that in the early 19th century would become the Harrisonburg-Warm Springs Turnpike — now US Rt. 42.
In 1749, Harrison built a sturdy, stone house at the north end of the new settlement. Fort Harrison, as it is called now, is one of the oldest houses in the Shenandoah Valley.
The house became a fort during the French and Indian War and it remained in the Harrison Family until 1821. Fully restored in 1978, it‘s now one of Dayton‘s main historic attractions.Read more...
The sun is out, the foliage is green. The Shenandoah Valley is alive with scenic beauty, outdoor fun and cultural festivities. It's the right time to spread out a blanket and listen to some down-home music or watch an outdoor movie. Head out on a walking tour. Living history festivals bring the rich heritage of the Shenandoah Valley to life. Kick back and chill, or gaze out at it all from up on high. June only comes once a year. Live it up!
382 High St. Mondays through Sundays: Heritage Museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission fee. For more information, call 540-879-2616 or visit valleyheritagemuseum.org
Ross Performing Arts Center, 521 West Main St. Spotlight Stage camp. Grades K-12. Experience live performing arts. Theatre Intensive Camp: June 27-30, for grades 6-12, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Snow White and the Prince Summer Workshop: Runs July 11-15, July 18-22, July 25-30, for grades 2-12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fairytale Summer Camp: Runs Aug. 1-4, for grades K-4, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Scholarships available. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit www.waynetheatre.org
Restorative Justice in Education Academy. Runs June 27-28. Sponsored by EMU Master of Arts in Education program, Limited availability. Reservations required. Admission: $300. For more information, visit www.emu.edu
Frances Plecker Education Center. Collage on Canvas, Trees of the Arboretum. June 27-30, from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Create a collage on stretched canvas with paint and decoupage medium. Admission: $140. For more information, visit www.jmu.edu/arboretum
Animals, plants, weather, habitats, and more, and include theme-based crafts and games. Wetland Wonders. June 27 through June 29, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Grades 2-4: Eat or Be Eaten. For more information, visit blandy.virginia.edu.
131 W. German St. Robert Altman Double Feature: 6 p.m., Cookies Fortune. Drama. 8 p.m., The Player. Drama. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Donations accepted. Free admission. For more information, call 304-876-3704 or visit www.operahouselive.com
514 Stoney Creek Blvd. Library of Virginia traveling exhibit, celebrates the accomplishment of prominent Virginia women. June 27-June 30 at Shenandoah County Library. Hosted by Shenandoah County Library System Truban Archives. Free admission. For more information, visit countylib.org
For ages 18 and older. Runs from June 6 through Aug. 8. Variety of weekly programs. Weekly prizes, grand prize winner at conclusion of program schedule. For more information, visit www.mrlib.org
Ross Performing Arts Center, 521 West Main St. Theatre Intensive Summer Camp. For students in grades 6-12. Runs June 27-30, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Theater basics, acting techniques, song and dance, improvisation and audition workshop. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit www.WayneTheatre.org
521 West Main St. Every Monday evening at 7 p.m. June 27, The African Queen. Program includes a brief introduction, short intermission, and optional film discussion afterwards led by The Classic Cinema Club. Admission: Pay-what-you-will admission preview season. No advance tickets required. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit www.waynetheatre.org
Taylors Farm Market, 178 Pilgrim St. Mondays through Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fresh produce and fruit, homemade goods, jams and local and state wines and spirits. For more information, visit www.taylors-farm-market.myshopify.com
Yogi Bears Jellystone Park, 2250 US Hwy 211 East. Patriotic Week, June 27 - July 4. Patriotic hair beading, T-shirts tie-dyeing, American Pride parade on July 2. DJ dance party on Saturday night, live music. Fireworks show on July 3. For more information, call 540-743-400.
Woodland Picnic Shelter, Ridgeview Park, 700 S. Magnolia Ave. Family Fiesta in the Park. Schedule concludes on June 27, Chris Campbell ventriloquist and music. Easy access to the playground, pool, or a nice walk along the river. Family friendly.
7 East Gallery, 123 S. Main St. Artist`s Retrospective by Pat and Pete Buynak. Gallery open Monday, Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. For more information, call 540-459-7500 or visit www.vecca.org
Staunton Theatre group. For all ages. Free admission, open to the public.
Shenandoah Community Center. Impressions Theatre performance. For all ages. Free admission, open to the public.
Ross Performing Arts Center, 521 W. Main St. June 27: The African Queen 1951, with Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. All 7 p.m. screenings will include a brief introduction, short intermission, and optional film discussion afterwards led by The Classic Cinema Club. Films are subject to change. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit www.waynetheatre.org
Visiting this website, you've just landed in the scenic and historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia, USA. ShenandoahValley.com is owned and operated by a small, independent business located right here in the region. We know the place. Our mission is to showcase its visual beauty, but we've also got some things to share about the people who live here, the culture and, of course, some really rich history and heritage.
Visit this place and it can seem like you are coming home. Our 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.
While we provide a regional events listing that is always up to date, ShenandoahValley.com is not an encyclopedia about the Valley or a travel guide. In fact, we're not really selling anything on here. You can find location-specific tidbits about the Valley, particularly on our events page.
Each month we feature a Home page feature story and video that highlights something special about events, history and people.
Much of what is on here simply comes from our love for this world-reknown spot, the Daughter of the Stars, O Shenandoah, Shenandoah River... Shenandoah Valley.
If you like our website, consider making a donation ...we'd certainly tip a glass of Virginia-made beer or wine to your kindness! Either way, we're glad you stopped by. Come back to see us again!
The Blandy ginkgo grove is one of the largest collections of ginkgos outside the tree’s native China.