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.Read more...
The midsummer sun is bright, life’s a splash of fun. It’s nearly always cooler up on the ridges, where a summer thermal can carry a hang glider for miles. Paddle or tube from one shady patch to another on the Shenandoah River. Or head down for nature’s air conditioning at any one of our world-famous caverns. Above ground or below, July is the perfect time for chillin’ in the Shenandoah Valley
103 S. Main St. En Plein Air Paintings of the Shenandoah Valley, by Spitzer artists and invited artists. Runs through Aug. 29. July 7 First Friday reception from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. live music. Free admission. For more information, call 540-442-8188 or visit www.oasisartgallery.org
Fire House Gallery, 23 East Main St. Lunchbox Jam Session at 12 p.m. every Thursday. For more information, call 540-955-4001 or visit www.firehousegalleryva.com
382 High St. Greg Clemmer: Why the Civil War Still Lives. Contrasts present day events with those of the Civil War era. For more information, visit heritagecenter.org
Frances Plecker Education Center, 780 University Blvd. Works by Nancy Spahr. Continues through Aug. 31. weekdays during business hours. Free admission. For more information, visit www.jmu.edu/arboretum
15 N Loudoun St. A Very Special Evening with Comedian Dustin Diamond. VIP doors open at 6:30 p.m. General admission doors open at 7 p.m. Show at 8 p.m. For more information, call 540-665-2878 or visit brightboxwinchester.com
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, front lawn. 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaigns in a Box. 30 minute program provides an overview of either the the 1862 or 1864 Shenandoah Valley Civil War campaigns. July 20, 21, 22, 25 and 27-29 at 2:30 p.m. July 23 at 1 p.m. Free admission, open to the public. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/cebe
14-F Court Square. The Hero. Drama. Rated R. 20 percent discount and free popcorn for theater members. Tickets: Adults, $9.50. Students and Seniors, $8.50. Matinees before 5 p.m., $8. For more information, visit valleyarts.org
95 Chalmers Ct. Every Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Play old-time music, or just listen. Family friendly event. Barns bar open untill 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.
315 W. Boscawen St. NEXT for WLT for KIDS series. Into the Woods Jr. Musical, adapted for youth. Shows on July 18-22 at 2:30 p.m. at 7 p.m. Tickets: $9.99. For more information, call 540-662-3331 or visit wltonline.org
10 S. Market St. Much Ado. Talkback session follows performance. Hosted by American Shakespeare Center. For more information, call 540-851-1733 or visit www.americanshakespearecenter.com
Barren Ridge Vineyards, 984 Barren Ridge Rd. Yoga and Essential Oils. Yga class and seminar. Free admission. For more information, call 540-248-3300 or visit www.barrenridgevineyards.com
336 Belle Grove Rd. Belle Grove Plantation front yard. Belle Grove in a Box. 30 minute interactive orientation for all ages about the history and settlement of the Shenandoah Valley, the Battle of Cedar Creek and the impact of the Civil War on the Valley. 17-22, 24-29 and 31 at 11:30 a.m. July 23 and 30 at 2:30 p.m. Various props from a box to visually interpret surrounding landscape features. For more information, call 540-869-3051 or visit www.nps.gov/cebe
15 N Loudoun St. Bright Box Comedy: Mike Burton and Joey Callahan. For more information, call 540-665-2878 or visit brightboxwinchester.com
Constitution Park. Groovin at the Greenway. Southern Explosion Country. Rock music. Bring a blanket or chair for your own seating. For more information, visit www.waynesboro.va.us/251/Groovin-at-the-Greenway
Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre, 1460 University Dr. Hairspray. Runs July 20-30. For more information, call 540-665-4569 or visit su.edu
Luray Singing Tower: Northcott Dr. Carillon music. Every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 8 p.m. through the end of August. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/LuraySingingTower
122 S. Wayne Ave. Summer Art Camps. Two one-week sessions July 17-21 and July 24-28. Clay Camp for kids ages 6-16 on July 17, 18 and 20-21. Family friendly. Reservations required. For more information, call 540-949-7662 or visit www.svacart.com
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.
Virginia apple country includes the mountainous region of the northern Shenandoah Valley where the majority of Virginia apple trees are grown.