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

Puppet theater performance in Martinsburg, W.Va.

412 W. King St. Cinderella`s Soc Hop. Runs on Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 30  at 1 p.m. Tickets: $5 for 2 years and up, free admission for ages under 2.  Sock hop dancing after the show, doors open 20 minutes before the show. For more information, call 304-258-4074 or visit

Belle Grove in a Box at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park

336 Belle Grove Rd. Belle Grove Plantation front yard. 30 minute interactive orientation for all ages about the history and settlement of the Shenandoah Valley, the Battle of Cedar Creek and the impact of the Civil War on the Valley. Various props from a box to visually interpret surrounding landscape features. August schedule: Aug. 1, Aug. 3-8, Aug. 10-15, Aug. 17, 19, 21,22, Aug. 24, 26, 27-29 at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 at 2:30 p.m. 1862 Cedar Creek and Belle Grove in a Box program on Aug 11 at 2:30 p.m.

Battle of Cedar Creek Tour at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historic Park

Starting at Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Headquarters, a two-hour, 13-mile, guided car-caravan tour following a park ranger vehicle. Chronologically inteprets the Battle of Cedar Creek, visiting key landmarks. Aug. 2, 5, 7, 9, 14, 16, 23, and 28 at 2 p.m.

Theater performance at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va.

10 S. Market St. The Winter`s Tale. For more information, call 1-877-682-4236 or visit

War Comes to the Valley event at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park

45 minute program examines Shenandoah Valley military campaigns and battles, and their effect upon the local communities. For more information, call 540-869-3051. Aug. 2 and 9 at 12 p.m.

Art exhibition at Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville, Va.

95 Chalmers Ct. Silk, Satin and Lace: A Collection of Historical Garments. Runs June 28 through Aug. 2. Wedding gowns, dresses, trimmings, and accessories from Clermont and Clarke County residents. Hours Tuesdays through Saturdays 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and by appointment. Closed Mondays. Opening reception June 28 from 3 to 5 p.m. Refreshments. Lecture by Melissa Webb: Conservation and restoration of historically-significant clothing. Free Admission. For more information, call 540-955-2004 or visit

The Miller-Kite House Museum open for season in Elkton, Va.

310 E. Rockingham St. Gen. Stonewall Jackson Headquarters in 1862. Sundays only, from 1 to 5 p.m. through Labor Day weekend. Air conditioned, Free admission, open to the public. For more information, call 540-578-3046 or visit

Victorian Tea at Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville, Va.

95 Chalmers Court. 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Live harp music, programs by local author and milliner. Locally-catered light fare and tea. Admission: $15 in advance until 11 a.m. the day of event, $20 at the door. For more information, call 540-955-2004.

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

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