The Scenic and Historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
 
The Shenandoah Valley’s “Dayton”

Rooftops of Dayton, Virginia

 

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.

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Yep! It's Summertime in the Valley!
Heritage Museum in Dayton, Virginia

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!

  Happening today

Biking event in Shenandoah County, Va.

Bike Virginia. 1500 cyclists tour Shenandoah County during weekend of June 25-26. Bikers will be visiting towns and touring on backroads. Event headquarters is at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va. For more information, visit bikevirginia.org/2016-tour/routes


New Voice Play Festival at Old Opera House Theater in Charles Town, W.Va.

16th year. June 24, 25, and 26. A series of four one-act plays performed and evaluated by a panel of judges. Tickets: $15 for adults, $12 for students. For more information, call 304-725-4420 or visit www.oldoperahouse.org


Comedy show at Bright Box Theater in Winchester, Va.

15 N Loudoun St. Bright Box Comedy. June 24-25. For more information, visit www.brightboxwinchester.com


Play performance at the Schultz Theatre in New Market, Va.

9357 N. Congress St. Elvis Has Left the Building. Comedy. June 24-25 at 7 p.m. June 26 at 3 p.m. Tickets: $13 for adults and $11 for students and seniors. For more information, visit schultzetheater.org. For more information, call 540-740-9119 or visit www.schultztheatre.com


Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre production at Shenandoah University

Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre. My Fair Lady. Romantic musical. shows June 16 through June 26. For more information, call 540-665-4569 or visit www.SSMTVa.org.


Sundays on the Deck and in the Barn at Rockbridge Vineyards in Raphine, Va.

35 Hillview Ln. Uncorked and Unplugged. Music by various local artists. Bring lawn chairs. Lunch available for purchase or bring your own picnic. Family-friendly. For more information, call 540-377-6204 or visit www.rockbridgevineyard.com


Four-wheeler trail ride event at The Cove Campground in Gore, Va.

980 Cove Road. Big Dogs Spring Fling. June 24-26. 98 Intermediate and Advanced trails and 36 Stock and Beginner trails. door prizes, T-shirts, night runs, roll-over jeep, Friday night Mud Pit, Saturday night bonfire party. Family and dog-friendly. Open to the public.


Local movie premiere concert at Wayne Theatre in Waynesboro, Va.

Ross Performing Arts Center, 521 West Main St. Texas Rein. Christian drama. Parts filmed locally. Q and A follows film. Tickets: $20 and $25. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit www.WayneTheatre.org


Country music concert at Court Square Theater in Harrisonburg, Va.

41-F. Dress in country attire, sing along with music. Benefits Crossroad to Brain Injury Recovery. Admission: $8. For more information, call 540-433-9189 or visit valleyarts.org.


Biking event in Rockingham County, Va.

Bike Virginia 2016. June 24-29. Over 1,600 participants and volunteers. Six routes totaling 300 miles. Pick from any one of the loops offered each day. Loop sizes and bike routes vary in distances ranging from 20-100 miles.Excursions with shuttles from Rockingham County Fairgrounds to Downtown Harrisonburg on Monday June 27 and Tuesday June 28. For more information, visit www.bikevirginia.org


River and Roots Festival at Watermelon Park in Clarke County, Va.

Watermelon Park. June 24-26. The Keel Brothers and Ragtime Annie, Tim O'Brien, Danny Knicely and Jack Dunlop, Pat Donahue, Circa Blue, the Harris Brothers. Four-day Fiddle Camp. Camping available. For more information, visit www.shepherdsford.com.


Living history program at Belle Grove and Cedar Creek National Historical Park

Vermont at Cedar Creek Weekend. June 24-26. Special ranger-led programs, living history demonstrations and other special events to commemorate the role of Vermont troops at the Battle of Cedar Creek. June 25, 10 a.m.: Re-dedication of the 8th Vermont monument. Living History Demonstrations on June 25 at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., 11 a.m and 1 p.m. on June 26. For more information, call 540-869-3051 or visit www.nps.gov/cebe


Biking event at Shenandoah Speedway in Shenandoah, Va.

Shenandoah Speedway, 301 Precision Drive. Shenandoah Speedway Criterium. Hosted by Page Valley Cycling bicycle club. For more information, call 202-365-0186 or visit www.shenandoahspeedway.com.


Womens History Exhibit at Shenandoah County Library in Edinburg, Va.

514 Stoney Creek Blvd. Library of Virginia traveling exhibit, celebrates the accomplishment of prominent Virginia women. June 24-26 at Historic Shenandoah County Courthouse in Woodstock. June 27-June 30 at Shenandoah County Library. Hosted by Shenandoah County Library System Truban Archives. Free admission. For more information, visit countylib.org


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About ShenandoahValley.com

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!

Downtown Front Royal, Virginia

Downtown Front Royal has several attractions within walking distance of one another: a gazebo park, main street shopping, a visitor center and two Civil War museums.

About Hank Zimmerman

Hank Zimmerman owns and operates Shenandoah Valley Productions LLC, publisher of ShenandoahValley.com.

...photo by Hank Zimmerman