It is no secret that much of the scenic allure of the Shenandoah Valley has to do with how its landscape and environment changes are so dramatically visual from season to season – but most so whenever Autumn arrives.
As days get shorter and cooler, you can always count on seeing more and more out-of-state plates on scenic byways and up on Skyline Drive, the world-famous Shenandoah National Park highway that meanders for miles and miles among spectacular Valley vistas and Blue Ridge Mountain peaks.
In fact, about 23 percent of the yearly number of Shenandoah National Park visitors arrive during the month of October, the same month that the annual fall foliage colors tend to be the brightest.
A portion of Skyline Drive traffic comes from the nearby Washington, D.C. - Baltimore area. And as increasing numbers of cars, motorcycles, campers, bicycles and joggers converge on a two-lane, limited access ribbon of winding road with a 35 m.p.h. speed limit, city escapees can often find themselves in the middle of the one thing they were trying to get away from back home: gridlock!
Autumn traffic congestion does exist on peak foliage days, but with a little bit of planning it's also something that can be avoided. First and foremost: Avoid the weekend crowds and plan to come during the week.
Then try heading in a direction from south to north on Skyline drive, instead of entering via the northernmost gateway, just off I-66 at Front Royal, Va.
Virginia's scenic Shenandoah Valley is a great place to visit during any season, but Autumn is extra special. World renown mountaintop vistas, countless Valley backroads with a myriad of visual experices. It's also a time for flavorful festivals, thrilling live performances and inspiring living history ... all set against a flaming backdrop of Fall colors and natural beauty.
Trumpet and organ music recital at Shenandoah University
Christ Episcopal Church, 114 W Boscawen St. Professor of Trumpet Chuck Seipp and organist Randall Sheets, who serves as ceremonial organist for Arlington National Cemetery. Free admission. For more information, visit ShenandoahPerforms.org.
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 www.americanshakespearecenter.com.
Civil War history exhibition in Lexington, Va.
Brownsburg Museum, 2716 Brownsburg Turnpike. Civil War Brownsburg: A Community`s Civil War Story. Sat 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sun 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission. For more information, call 540-348-1600 or visit brownsburgva.wordpress.com/museum-news.
SPCA fundraiser festival at Wisteria Vineyard in Stanley, Va.
Page County SPCA fundraiser. Glass of wine, light appetizers, music, and a silent auction. Tickets: $20.
Historical exhbition in Staunton, Va.
20 South New St., History Gallery. Mapping Americas Early Years - A Tribute to the Vision of the Early Explorers and the Founding Fathers With a special emphasis on Virginia. Runs through December. Hosted by Augusta County Historical Society. Opening reception on Sept. 5, 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.augustacountyhs.org.