The Scenic and Historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
 
History still a big part of everyday life in Shenandoah County

Seven Bends of the Shenandoah River in Woodstock, Va.

 

The 1930s Great Depression brought a new level of hardship to the American experience, where daily life could often be summed up in one word: Desperation.

The U.S. economy was on the ropes after 1929 and by the early 1930s, many American workers had gone from the assembly line to breadlines or marching in union picket lines. Poverty was everywhere.

By 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s answer to the crisis was the New Deal. That program included a national citizen’s relief effort that, among other governmental actions taken, resulted in the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC.

The CCC provided hundreds of thousands of unemployed men a way off the streets and into military-style work camps whose locations were spread all across the country. The camps were open only to males.

They were headquarters for supervised work crews that labored on a variety of public works projects, including the Shenandoah Valley’s Shenandoah National Park and its ambitious Skyline Drive mountain roadway.

The CCC “boys,” as the camp enrollees were called at the time, led a vigorous outdoor life. The camps insulated them from the danger of falling into a state of hopelessness, with no future to look to back home, as well as kept them away from various sorts of prevailing disreputable behaviors and unhealthy temptations.

Most importantly, they could work hard and send their pay money back to needy families. Whenever they left the camps for good, they often took along newly-acquired job skills. The CCC program continued until the outbreak of World War II.

The very first CCC camp, Camp Roosevelt, had been built on one side of a forested mountain ridge, in eastern Shenandoah County, Va. On the other side, Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park were waiting to be built.

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Driving up to see the Blue Ridge foliage?
…Remember to thank the CCC
Heritage Museum in Dayton, Virginia

Spectacular mountaintop fall scenery has always been here, but it wasn’t always so accessible. The National Park Service celebrated its hundredth birthday this year. It brings to mind the Civilian Conservation Corps “boys” who built Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive and other public works during the 1930s. The first CCC camp in the nation, Camp Roosevelt, was located right here.

  Happening today

Historic House Tours in Dayton, Va.

Fridays and Saturdays: Guided tours of Fort Harrison, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 540-879-2616.


Music and Dancing in Raphine, Va.

Clarks Ole Time Music Center, located at Clarks Lumber Co., 1288 Ridge Road. longtime Friday-night tradition of old-time music and dance from 7:30-10 p.m. Admission: $8 per person, $15 per couple. For more information, call 540-377-2490.


Guided walking tours in downtown Lexington, Va.

Meet at the Lexington Visitor Center. Every Friday at 3 p.m., from April through November. Rain or shine. No reservations required. Wear comfortable shoes. For more information, call 540-463-3777.


New Market Farmers Market in New Market, Va.

Behind the 7-Eleven store at I-81 interchange. Fridays from May 13 through October from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 540-740-3432 or visit newmarketvirginia.com


Puppet theater performance in Martinsburg, W.Va.

412 W. King St. Rabbit Saves the Day, Based on the story Sody Sallyratus. Runs Sept. 10 through Oct 30, every Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Doors open 12:40 p.m. Pre-show activities. Admission: $6 for ages two years and older, under age two admitted free. For more information, call 304-258-4074 or visit www.wondermentpuppets.com


Art exhibition at OASIS Fine Art and Craft in Harrisonburg, Va.

103 S. Main St. Julie Clay: Abstract Notions. Runs through Sept. 30. Free admission. For more information, call 540-442-8188 or visit www.oasisartgallery.org


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.


Civil War history program at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park

Belle Grove Plantation Manor House 336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown, Va. History at Sunset: The Long Gray Trail: History of the Valley Turnpike. The route played a critical role throughout the entire history of the Shenandoah Valley, including during the Civil War. Park ranger-led program and car-caravan tour of park. For more information, call 540-869-3051 or visit www.nps.gov/cebe


Dance concert at James Madision University

Wilson Hall Auditorium. Feet Don`t Fail Me Now. Tap dancing, brass band music. Part of JMU Family Weekend.  For more information, visit www.jmuforbescenter.com


Guided Civil War Walking Tours in Winchester, Va.

Loudoun St. Walking Mall. Meet guide at 2 N. Cameron St. Hosted by Old Town Winchester. Every Friday through October, excluding Aug. 19, and Oct. 14. Reservations required. Admission: $5. For more information, call 540-542-1326 or visit www.visitwinchesterva.com


Theater production at Shultz Theater and Performing Arts Center in New Market, Va.

9357 N. Congress Street. My Fair Lady. Sept. 30-Oct. 2, Oct. 7-9 and Oct. 14-16. For more information, call 540-740-9119 or visit www.schultztheatre.com


Guitar music concert at Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville, Va.

95 Chalmers Ct. Guitar Masters Series concert, featuring Pat Donohue. For more information, call 540-955-2004 or visit barnsofrosehill.org


Fall Plant and Bulb Sale at Carrier Arboretum in Harrisonburg, Va.

780 University Blvd. Frances Plecker Education Center and Tree Terrace. Sept. 23 and Sept. 24. Monday, Sept 26 - Saturday, Oct. 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Selection of easy-to-grow bulbs, perennials, trees and shrubs. Admission: $20 per person. For more information, call 540-568-3194 or visit www.jmu.edu/arboretum


Youth Art exhibition at James Madison University

Memorial Hall. Ninth year. Runs through Dec. 14, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Artwork by local public and provide school students in all grades. Supported by JMU College of Education. Free admission.


Art exhibition at Smith House Galleries in Harrisonburg, Va.

Smith House Galleries 311 S. Main St. Wood Fired Ceramics. Works by John Jessiman, Randy Edmonson, Cricket Edmonson, Steven Glass, Robert Barnard, Takuro Shibata, Hitomi Shibata, and Sukjin Choi. Runs through Sept. 30. Gallery hours: Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m..  For more information, visit www.valleyarts.org rg


Historical program at Belle Grove Plantation

336 Belle Grove Road. Ranger-led program. The Long Gray Trail: History of the Valley Turnpike. Car caravan tour. Free admission, open to the public. For more information, call 540-869-3051 or visit www.nps.gov/cebe


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 www.glenmaurypark.com


Americana music concert at Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville, Va.

95 Chalmers Ct. Pat Donohue. Fingerpicked guitar, interpretations of old blues, swing, rhythm and blues, and original tunes. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets: $15 in advance until 3 p.m. on the day of event, $20 at the door. Ages 12 years and below are free when accompanied by an adult. For more information, call 540-955-2004 or visit www.barnsofrosehill.org


Art exhibition at Berkeley Art Works in Martinsburg, W.Va.

116 North Queen St. THeavy Metal Juried Railroad Art show runs through Oct. 1. Wide range of media and techniques that celebrates the diverse rail heritage in the United States. Closing reception on Oct. 1 from 2 p.m.-4 p.m., artist reception and gallery talk by artist and illustrator James Mann. For more information, visit www.berkeleyartswv.org/artworks


Play performance at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va.

10 S. Market St. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson performance at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 540-851-1733 or visit www.americanshakespearecenter.com m.


Music concert at Shenandoah University

Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre, 620 Millwood Ave. A musical adaptation of the seminal play, Spring Awakening reveals the angst and frustration of teenage life. Free admission. For more information, call 1-800-432-2266 or visit www.su.edu/performs


Blues music concert at Bright Box Theater in Winchester, Va.

15 N Loudoun St. Billy Thompson Band. For more information, visit www.brightboxwinchester.com


Public school student concert at Wayne Theatre in Waynesboro, Va.

521 W. Main St. Kid Pan Alley, performed by local elementary school students. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit www.waynetheatre.org


Guided tours in Staunton, Va.

Meet at Staunton Visitors Center. Guided trolley and walking tours. Year-round. For more information, call 540-208-1741 or visit www.stauntonguidedtours.com


Art exhibition in Winchester, Va.

Gray Gallery, 43 S. Cameron St. Guide Lines exhibition runs from Aug. 5 through Sept. 10.  For more information, visit www.the-gray-gallery.com


Battle of Cedar Creek Battlefield Tour in Middletown, Va.

Meet at the National Park Service Visitor Contact Station, 7712 Main St.Two-hour, guided car-caravan tour led by ranger vehicle: Chronological interpretation of the Battle of Cedar Creek. Stops at key landmarks. Presented by Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. For more information, call 540-869-3051 or visit nps.gov/cebe


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About ShenandoahValley.com


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

ShenandoahValley.com 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.

Edith J. Carrier Arboretum in Harrisonburg, Virginia

A secluded bench faces the arboretum pond. The arboretum has been a part of James Madison University campus since 1985, consisting of 125 acres of unspoiled forest land and hiking trails.

About Manny Jose

Manny Jose has loved the Shenandoah Valley since the mid-1970s when he came to the area as a university student. He moved back to the Valley permanently in 1999. Subsequently, since 2012, he has been passionately taking photographs to capture the scenic beauty, rich history, unique people groups and cultures, and current happenings in the Valley.

...photo by Manny Jose