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

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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 ShenandoahValley.com during October, 2007.]

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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

Lexington Wednesday Farmers Market in Lexington, Va.

McClure Parking Lot behind Southern Inn. Every Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Locally-produced seasonal produce, plants, eggs, meats baked goods, coffee and handcrafted goods using natural materials from local farms. For more information, call 540-463-9234.


Patsy Cline Music Festival in Winchester, Va.

Sept. 2 to Sept. 6. Sponsored by Celebrating Patsy Cline Inc. and the City of Winchester. Preview documentary, Patsy Cline, Remembering Patsy, free admission, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 2 in the Handley Library auditorium. Sing-along contest winner Maria Price of Berryville sings Patsy songs before and after the film. Following film: Refreshments, souvenir items and books for sale. Kickoff event Sept. 4 from 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Apple Blossom Mall with live vocal music. Free block party will be held Sept. 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in front of the Patsy Cline Historic House, 608 S. Kent St. Discounted Patsy Cline House tours. Rock n roll dance from 7 to 11 p.m. at Best Western Lee-Jackson, live band: $15 for single and $25 a couple, hors d`oeuvres and a cash bar. A Rockin` in the Park Concert 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on  Sept. 6, Bridgeforth Field in Jim Barnett Park with music by the Drifters, Bill Haleys Comets and other live band. Free car show before concert, food vendors. General admission: $18 in advance and $22 after Aug. 15. Reserved: $20 in advance and $30 after Aug. 15. Benefits the Patsy Cline House. for more informatio, visit celebratingpatsycline.org.


Theater performance at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va.

10 S. Market St. Julius Caesar. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. For more information, call 1-877-682-4236 or visit www.americanshakespearecenter.com.


Grandstand music concert at Shenandoah County Fair in Woodstock, Va.

Cole Swindell. Tickets: Track access, standing room only, $46. Reserved grandstand seats, $42. For more information, visit www.shencofair.com.


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Grand Caverns in Grottoes, Virginia

Grand Caverns was discovered in 1804 and was used by both the Confederate and U.S. armies during the American Civil War. The caverns and a surrounding park are now owned and operated by the town of Grottoes, Virginia and are open to the public.

About Hank Zimmerman

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

...photo by Hank Zimmerman