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

Old Town Farmers Market in Winchester, Va.

Taylor Pavilion. May 16 weekly through Oct. 31, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 13 weekly farm and food vendors, three additional vendors on rotating basis. In-season fruits, vegetables, artisan breads, cookies, cheese, grass fed beef, gluten free bread, cured meats, jam, eggs, honey and more. All items grown or produced within a 60-mile radius of Winchester. Restrooms available.

Historic district paranormal tours in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Haunted History And Legends Tours. Walk through old town and visit a former hospital, a theater, graveyard, an old hotel and the former childhood home of Confederate spy Belle Boyd. Tours run every Saturday night from April through November, starting at 9 p.m. in June, July, and August. 7 p.m. in September, October and November. Adult entertainment for ages of 13 and older. Reservations required: $12 per person. For more information, call 304-261-7470.

Farmers Market in Luray, Va.

Mechanic St.

Americana music concert at Lime Kiln Theater in Lexington, Va.

607 Borden Road. The Rigs with Grisman, Leslie, Hargreaves and Smith. Admission: $20. For more information, call 540-817-9913, or visit or

Rockbridge County Farmers Market in Lexington, Va.

Virginia Horse Center, 487 Maury River Road. Every Saturday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Featuring local produce, honey, baked goods, meats, eggs, crafts, and more. For more information, call 540-463-6841.

Woodstock Farmers Market in Woodstock, Va.

Fort Valley Nursery, 1175 Hisey Ave. Open every Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., rain or shine Under a canopy within the nursery. Runs through October. For more informtion, call 540-459-4917.

Rockbridge Baths Farmers Market in Lexington, Va.

Rockbridge Baths Fire Department. Featuring locally produced meats, produce, baked goods and more. Every Saturday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., For more information, call 540-348-5084.

Waynesboro Farmers Market in Waynesboro, Va.

Constitution Park, 215 W. Main St., Under the Pavilion by the South River.  Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hosted by Project GROWS.

Theater performance at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va.

10 S. Market St. Antony and Cleopatra. For more information, call 1-877-682-4236 or visit

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

Old Town Farmers Market in Winchester, Va.

Taylor Pavilion at 119 N. Loudoun St. Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., May 16 through Oct. 31.

Farmers and artisans market in Shenandoah, Va.

Stevens Cottage, 201 Maryland Avenue Route #602. Every first Thursday of the month, June 4 through Oct. 1, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Fresh, locally-sourced produce and handcrafted goods. For more information, call 540-652-1401.

Toni Saylor Summer Concert Series in Martinsburg, W.Va.

War Memorial Park, 500 N Tennessee Ave. Every Thursday evening at 7 p.m. through Aug. 13. Hosted by Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation and begin at 7 p.m. at War Memorial Park. Concerts rain or shine when possible. For more information, visit

Birding activity at Boxerwood Gardens in Lexington, Va.

963 Ross Road. Guided birding tours, with members of the Rockbridge Bird Club. Open to birders of all ages and experience levels. Free admission. For more information, call 561-389-9612.

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.

Photo by Hank Zimmerman