The Scenic and Historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
 
Everyone's a cousin at Brocks Gap Heritage Day

Brocks Gap in the Shenandoah Valley

 

There was a time when the “great American frontier” was right here in the Shenandoah Valley. At that time, the size of the North American continent may likely have simply been too big to deal with for most of the newly-arrived colonists. How could they ever wrap their minds around such a vast, unexplored expanse?

For many of these Europeans who wonderingly landed on eastern seaboard city wharves in New York or Philadelphia, it seemed that the farther out west you went, it just got tougher and tougher.  

For one thing, sooner or later you'd likely run into a wall of mountains. Roads were bad or non-existent. And a short time later, at least partially thanks to French efforts to turn Native American goodwill against the British, many of the longtime inhabitants out there were definitely not friendly to newcomers.

Colonists who followed the Great Wagon Road south from Pennsylvania – now historic U.S. Route 11 – were able to find a only a precious few passes into and through the imposing and seemingly unending Allegheny mountain range. The challenge would be to somehow get a wagon to the Ohio River and then hopefully be able to push farther westward from there.

One such passage through the Alleghenies exists in the Shenandoah Valley, beginning at Brocks Gap. There, the North Branch of the Shenandoah River flows out into the Valley from a circular vale ringed with rugged mountains, forming Virginia's boundary with West Virginia. Brocks Gap is located in Rockingham County, Va., northwest of the city of Harrisonburg, Va., and a few miles west of the town of Broadway.

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It’s Springtime in the Shenandoah Valley!
Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia

In April, the Valley shakes off the coldness of Winter for good.  The ridges green up, the days get even longer and warmer. Our regional parks swing into gear, offering hiking, fishing, cycling and sightseeing. History, music, fun. Outdoor festivals. Sparkling days, cool nights. April is simply a great time to be livin’ good in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia!

  Happening today

Monthly Book Club meeting at Blandy Experimental Farm in Boyce, Va.

Blandy Library. Fourth Thursday of the month, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. April 28: The End of Night, by Paul Bogard, May 26: Buzz in the Meadow, by Dave Goulson. Participants should read book before then meeting. Free admission. For more information, visit blandy.virginia.edu.


Restaurant week festival in Harrisonburg, Va.

Downtown. Taste of Downtown runs April 24 through April 28. New, innovative menus. Restaurant collaborations, chef expos and culinary events. For more information, visit www.downtownharrisonburg.org/events/taste-of-downtown


Youth Fiddle Workshop at Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville, Va.

95 Chalmers Ct. Kids Fiddle Workshop with David Van Deventer. Every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Music theory, ear training. Sing and play in the old-time music tradition. For more information, visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.


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 www.firehousegalleryva.com


Spring Gardening Season at Blandy Experimental Farm in Boyce, Va.

Public gardening activities in the Perennial Garden. No experience is necessary, tools provided. Registration required. For more information, call 540-837-1758, extension 246 or visit blandy.virginia.edu


Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, Va.

Winchester and Frederick County. Apr 22-May 1. Largest annual festival in the region. Dances, parades, a 10K Race, the Coronation of Queen Shenandoah, carnival, celebrity appearances and much more. For more information, visit www.thebloom.com


Art show at Burwell-Morgan Mill in Millwood, Va.

15 Tannery Lane. Art at the Mill: Spring Show. April 23-May 8. Artists and buyers from over a dozen states. For more information, call 540-837-1799 or visit www.clarkehistory.org/art-at-the-mill.html


Madison Institutes Collaborative Exhibit at James Madison University

Lisanby Museum, Room 1108, Festival Conference and Student Center. James Madison. Curated by Outreach and Engagement Madison Institutes in conjunction with James Madison Week. Part of James Madison Week. Free admission. For more information, visit www.jmu.edu


Concert Band concert at Shenandoah University

Armstrong Concert Hall, 702 University Drive. The Shenandoah Conservatory Concert Band. Free admission. For more information, visit ShenandoahPerforms.org.


Theater production at James Madision University

Mainstage Theatre, Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. Pretty Theft. April 26-May 1, 8 p.m. all shows except 2 p.m. on Sunday. Drama. Performed by students from JMU School of Theatre and Dance. For more information, visit www.jmuforbescenter.com


Apple Blossom Festival midway in Winchester, Va.

Ward Plaza Shopping Center, 2258 Valley Ave. April 22 through May 1. Open and closing dates vary daily. April 24 discount for rides and drinks. Carnival closed on April 25.


Wool Days at Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Va.

1290 Richmond Ave. Learn how raw materials were into finished products during early Frontier times. Scheduled events include traditional sheep-shearing techniques, cleaning, carting, dyeing, spinning, weaving and flax processing used for linen and clothing. Tickets: General admission rates: $10 for adults, $6 for children, ages 5 and under admitted free. Free admission for annual pass-holders. For more information, call 540-332-7850 or visit www.frontiermuseum.org


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 www.barnsofrosehill.org.


Theater performance at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va.

10 S. Market St. The Life of King Henry the Fifth TalkBack discussion session follows performance. For more information, call 1-877-682-4236 or visit www.americanshakespearecenter.com.


Historic Garden Week in Staunton, Va.

Tour private homes, guesthouses, cottages, and gardens. April 23 through  April 30. Performances by the Heifetz Institute and the American Shakespeare Company. Artists en Plein air. Garden design lectures, flower arranging demonstrations. Hosted by the Garden Club of Virginia.


Arts Education series program at the Wayne Theatre in Waynesboro, Va.

Ooey Gooey Poetry presented by Barefoot Puppets. Open to the public. Tickets: $7.50 per person. Box office is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or one hour before performance. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit www.waynetheatre.org


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 www.kitchensfarmmarket.com.


Dramatic presentation at Carrier Arboretum in Harrisonburg, Va.

Ampitheater. Two medieval plays performed at the amphitheater by JMU English Department sudents. Bring a brown bag, non-alcoholic picnic lunch, lawn chair, or picnic blanket. Weather permitting. For more information, visit jmu.edu/arboretum


Art Show in Port Republic, Va.

Newly-renovated Port Republic Town Hall, 8597 Water St. April 28 through May 1. Hosted by Village Artisans of Port Republic, LLC. April 28 is Seniors Day. Art show guests can also tour the Port Republic Museum, stroll through the historic village. Hours: April 28, 29 and 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on May 1. For more information, visit www.villageartisansofport.com


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About ShenandoahValley.com

Visiting this website, you've just landed in the scenic and historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia, USA. ShenandoahValley.com is owned and operated by a small, independent business located right here in the region. We know the place. Our mission is to showcase its visual beauty, but we've also got some things to share about the people who live here, the culture and, of course, some really rich history and heritage.

Visit this place and it can seem like you are coming home. Our 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.

While we provide a regional events listing that is always up to date, ShenandoahValley.com is not an encyclopedia about the Valley or a travel guide. In fact, we're not really selling anything on here. You can find location-specific tidbits about the Valley, particularly on our events page.

Each month we feature a Home page feature story and video that highlights something special about events, history and people.

Much of what is on here simply comes from our love for this world-reknown spot, the Daughter of the Stars, O Shenandoah, Shenandoah River... Shenandoah Valley.

If you like our website, consider making a donation ...we'd certainly tip a glass of Virginia-made beer or wine to your kindness! Either way, we're glad you stopped by. Come back to see us again!

Antique shop landmark in Lexington, Virginia

A rooster outside an antique shop captures the eye along U.S. Route 11 in Lexington, Va.

About Christy McKee

Christy McKee is a professional portrait and wedding photographer since 2011, based in Staunton, Virginia. She lives there with her husband and hopes to raise her children within the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley. Mrs. McKee uses both film and digital photography to capture the details of daily life, She also is involved with landscape and macro photography.

...photo by Christy McKee