The Scenic and Historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
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Visit the Valley
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Visit the Valley
Visit the Valley
Visit the Valley
Visit the Valley
Visit the Valley
The Euphrates Valley: Shenandoah



September 6, 1716, John Fontaine

“We crossed this river which we [named]… I got some grass hoppers and fished. And another and I ‘catched’ a dish of fish… The others went a hunting and killed deer and ‘turkies...’ The highest of the mountains we named Mount George, and the one we awed over Mount Spotswood.”

John Fontaine and his leader, Governor Alexander Spotswood, believed they were the first Europeans to see this great valley, its river, and the bordering Blue Ridge Mountains. Little did they know their 1716 expedition had been preceded by at least 47 years, and the names of the river and mountain peaks they christened would be forgotten.

In 1710 Spotswood was appointed Her Majesty's Lt. Governor, and Commander in Chief of the Colony of Virginia. We often hear Spotswood titled “Royal” Governor, but these officials almost all stayed in England during the Colonial period, not wishing to suffer the rigors of life in the New World’s “backwater wilderness.” However, Spotswood thrived in Virginia and its small, but beautiful capital- Williamsburg.

Alexander had been an adventurous military man in England and served under the Duke of Marlborough. As with many men who rose in stature, he met the “right people” and eventually found himself in Virginia, commissioned as England’s “on-site Royal Governor.”

One hundred years after Jamestown’s settlement, Virginians still lived within a hundred miles of the Atlantic Coast while areas to the west remained unexplored. Hostile Indians and thick, impenetrable forests made it risky to live, or even explore, far from eastern settlements.

Spotswood wanted to develop those western lands and possibly compete for the rich fur trade that Frenchmen had established. In 1716 he decided to take matters into his own hands and lead the first great western expedition.


[Article originally appeared on during October, 2007.]

It’s Summertime in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley!
May Flowers

Hiking on Blue Ridge Mountain trails, canoeing and kayaking on the Shenandoah, catch an outdoor concert or sip Virginia wine or craft beer at a huge variety of festivals. Shenandoah is the place to be in the Summer!

  Happening today

Bluemont Concert Series concert in Winchester, Va.

 Old Frederick County Courthouse Old Courthouse Civil War Museum on the downtown mall. Martinsburg Jazz Orchestra. Final of nine summer evening concerts for 2015. Bring your own  lawn chair or a blanket. Picnicing. No pets, alcohol or smoking allowed. Indoor rain location: Winchester First Presbyterian Church, 116 S. Loudoun St. Admission: $5 per person, $4 for Bluemont friends and seniors, $2 for ages under twelve.For more information, call 540-955-8186 or visit

Belle Grove in a Box at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park

336 Belle Grove Rd. Belle Grove Plantation front yard. 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. Various props from a box to visually interpret surrounding landscape features. August schedule: 27-29 at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 30 at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 3-5, Sept. 11, 16, 18, 26 and 30 at 11:30 a.m.

Battle of Cedar Creek Tour at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historic Park

Starting at Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Headquarters, a two-hour, 13-mile, guided car-caravan tour following a park ranger vehicle. Chronologically inteprets the Battle of Cedar Creek, visiting key landmarks. Aug. 28 at 2 p.m. Sept. 4, 11, 13, 18 and 25 at 2 p.m.

Theater performance at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va.

10 S. Market St. A Midsummer Night`s Dream. For more information, call 1-877-682-4236 or visit

Horse shows at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Va.

Wiley Arena. U.S. Hunter Breeding East Coast National Championship on Aug. 28. Sallie B. Wheeler East Coast Breeding Championship on Aug. 29. For more information, call 540-464-2950.

Comedy show at Bright Box Theater in Winchester, Va.

15 N. Loudoun St. Dan Wilson and Dionne Alexander.Aug.28, Doors open at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. VIP doors open at 6:30 p.m. Ayg. 29, early show: Doors open at 6 p.m., show at 7 p.m. VIP doors open at 5:30 p.m. Late Show: Doors open at 9 p.m., show at 9:30 p.m.$ AdmissionL $15 in advance, $18 at the door, $20 VIP. For more information, call 1-800-838-3006 or visit

Music in The Garden series at Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Garden in Lexington, Va.

963 Ross Road, Meadow Stage area. Carrington Kay plays original acoustic music. Bring-your-own picnic at 5:30 p.m. followed by performance at 6:30 p.m. Free admission. For more information, call 540-463-2697.

Art show in Millwood, Va.

Duvall Designs Gallery, located near historic Burwell-Morgan Mill. Monthly rotation of featured artists. Open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call: 540-336-9632.

Shenandoah Market Place Farmers Market in Shenandoah, Va.

Stevens Cottage, 201 Maryland Ave. First Thursday of the month, 3-7 p.m., through October. Locally-grown produce and handmade items.

Click here to see more things to do...
Southern University in Buena Vista

Founded in 1867 as a school for girls. It now offers co-ed liberal arts education in a Latter-Day Saint environment. Historic main building overlooks the town.

About Hank Zimmerman

Hank Zimmerman owns and operates Shenandoah Valley Productions LLC, publisher of by Hank Zimmerman