The Scenic and Historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
The presidential elections in 1916 and 2016 … were they really that much different?

As the 100th Anniversary of the First World War is commemorated, it neatly ties in with the history of a famous Shenandoah Valley native who was the 28th President of the United States: Thomas Woodrow Wilson. Wilson was born in the city of Staunton in 1856, and today his birthplace is home to the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum.

The museum opened an exhibit this past June entitled, “I Believe In Democracy.” It contrasts the presidential election that is going now with the one that occurred exactly 100 years ago, marked by Wilson's successful bid for a second term.

The exhibit shows how much U.S. presidential elections have changed since then. …Or have they, really?

In 1916, Wilson was running as an incumbent Democrat. He was running against a divided Republican Party. The GOP had been trying to heal the wounds from the previous election, when Teddy Roosevelt challenged the sitting Republican president, William Howard Taft. The split allowed Wilson, then a relatively fresh face in national politics, to squeak by with enough electoral votes to win in 1912.

By 1916, Republicans had regrouped. They rallied to oust Wilson, but by this time he had picked up a number of the Republican voters who had gone for Roosevelt in the previous election. Wilson narrowly defeated Republican Charles E. Hughes, of New York.

So the political landscape then was certainly different than it is now in 2016. Like today, however, the election did not involve just two main political parties. Teddy Roosevelt's new “Bull Moose” Progressive Party was on the ballot as it had been four years before, as were the Prohibition Party and the Socialists.

History is home-made in the Shenandoah Valley
Heritage Museum in Dayton, Virginia

So much of America’s past can be discovered here. We’re no stranger to the Civil War, and our scenic battlefields are still here. It’s a place of annual living history reenactments and so many fascinating indoor and outdoor historical programs. The days are getting cooler. Time to transport yourself back into a bit of genuine Shenandoah Valley history.

  Happening today

A capella music concert at James Madision University

Concert Hall, Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. Throw Your Head Back and Sing: A Tribute to Maya Angelou Performances by more than 20 acclaimed poets and vocalists, including Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Rutha Mae Harris, Sonya Baker and New Song a cappella singers. Presented by the Furious Flower Poetry Center in partnership with poet Nikki Giovanni, distinguished professor of English at Virginia Tech. For more information, visit

Art exhibition at James Madision University

Memorial Hall. Ninth Annual Area Youth Art Exhibition. Runs July 1-Dec. 14. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Artwork by K-12 students from Harrisonburg Public Schools, Woodland Montessori School and Redeemer Classical School. Supported by JMU College of Education. Free admission. For more information, visit

Outdoor program at Blandy Experimental Farm in Boyce, Va.

Blandy Experimental Farm library and grounds. Introduction to proper pruning and tree care, then outdoor demonstrations and hands-on practice, Q and A session. Dress for the weather. Reservations required. Admission: $10 Foundation members, $12 non-members. For more information, call 540-837-1758, extension 224 or visit

Weekly open jam session Thursdays in Berryville, Va.

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

Theater production at the Apollo Theater in Martinsburg, W.Va.

128 East Martin St. Rock Of Ages. Community Theatre productions. Shows on Sept. 23, 24, 25, 30, and Oct. 1 and 2. For more information, call 304-263-6766.

Art exhibition at Carrier Arboretum in Harrisonburg, Va.

780 University Blvd. Frances Plecker Education Center. Art in the Arboretum: Martha Crider Henderson, Shenandoah Valley artist. Runs Sept. 9 through Oct. 31 , 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Free admission. For more information, call 540-568-3194 or visit

National Bus RV Rally at Glen Maury Park in Buena Vista, Va.

101 Maury River Drive. Sept. 26-Oct 2. For More Information, call 540-261-7321 or visit

Weekly old-time music jam at the Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville, Va.

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

Play performance at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va.

10 S. Market St. Twelfth Night performance at 10:30 a.m. Talk-back performance. The Rise of Queen Margaret - Henry VI, Part 2 performance at 7:30 p.m. Talk-back performance. For more information, call 540-851-1733 or visit

Farmers Market in Falling Waters, W.Va.

Kitchens Orchard and Farm Market, 1025 Kitchen Orchard Rd. Spring hours: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fresh produce and fruit, homemade goods, jams and local and state wines and spirits. For more information, visit

Film screening at Shenandoah County Library in Edinburg, Va.

514 Stoney Creek Blvd. Youth-oriented film. Angry Birds. Bring Blanket or stuffed animal. Free popcorn. For more information, visit

Click here to see more things to do...


You’ve just landed in the scenic and historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia, USA.
“The daughter of the stars.” 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.

Two legendary rivers meet at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

The Shenandoah River joins the Potomac River about a mile downstream at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

About William I. Spinrad, Jr - Land Matters Photography

William I. Spinrad, Jr. resides in Frederick County, Va. and is a former Park Ranger with the National Park Service, as well as a Land Resources Officer. He has a degree in Geology and working towards a Masters in Recreation Resources Management. He works part time as a Visitor Assistant at the Virginia State Arboretum/Blandy Experimental Farm in Boyce, Virginia, and believes in conserving land and natural and cultural resources. Photography is both a hobby and a professional pursuit. Mr. Spinrad owns and operates Land Matters Photography. by William I. Spinrad, Jr - Land Matters Photography