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.

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

Outdoor program at Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane, Va.

11012 Edmonds Ln. Recurring monthly program. Settle`s Kettle. First Saturday of the month from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 540-592-3556 or visit

Pops music concert at James Madision University

JMU Convocation Center. JMU Pops. JMU Wind Symphony, Brass Band, Chorale and Steel Band. For more information, visit

Community Yoga Classes at Carrier Arboretum in Harrisonburg, Va.

780 University Blvd. Sept. Every Saturday, through Oct. 22, 8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. All levels. Bring your own mat, water and towel. For more information, visit

Weekend Fall Bulb Sale at Carrier Arboretum in Harrisonburg, Va.

JMU Godwin Field. Oct. 1-2, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sale closes with the football game kickoff. JMU Colors Annual Bulb Collection, plus selection of other bulb varieties. For more information, call 540-568-3194 or visit

Music concert at Shenandoah University

Goodson Chapel - Recital Hall, 1400 L.P. Hill Dr. A musical adaptation of the seminal play, Spring Awakening reveals the angst and frustration of teenage life. Oct. 1 at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., Oct. 2 at 2:30 p.m., Oct. 4 at 8 p.m. Admission: $20. For more information, call 1-800-432-2266 or visit

Waynesboro Farmers Market in Waynesboro, Va.

Parking Lot alongside Arch Ave., 215 W. Main St. Saturdays, May 7-Oct. 8 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, visit

Open Art Studio Tour in Clarke County, Va.

Headquarters: Clarke County visitor center at the Barns of Rose Hill. Clarke County Studio Tour. Oct. 1 and Oct. 2. Self-guided tour through rural Clarke County and the towns of Berryville, Bluemont, Boyce, Millwood, and White Post. Thirty artists and 22 stops located along tour route. Artist studios will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Demonstrations, refreshments, and items for sale at most stops, including woodwork and furniture. Watercolor, pastels, acrylics, and oil painting artwork. Pottery, sculpture, fiber art, jewelers, floral design, antiques and more. For more information, visit

Play performance at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va.

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

Hite of Excellence program series at Belle Grove Plantation in Middletown, Va.

336 Belle Grove Road. Special events scheduled throughout 2016. Octoberfest at Historic Birdwood, 1880s home of Belle Grove family decendants. German music, food and drink. For more information, call 540-869-2028 or visit

Farmers Market in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Butlers Farm Market, 1793 Dry Run Rd. Open through November 10, Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fresh produce and fruit, homemade goods, jams and local and state wines and spirits. For more information, visit

Star-gazing at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park

Thoburn Redoubt property, located on Bowman`s Mill Road, in Warren County. National Park Service events, held in partnership with the Shenandoah Astronomical Society and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. Rain date Oct. 29. Free admission. For more information, call 540-869-3051 o visit

Staunton Augusta Saturday Farmers Market in Staunton, Va.

Wharf Lot. Runs every week through November. Saturdays: 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesdays: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Producer-only market with fresh foods, baked goods, plants and more. Free parking available. For more information, visit

Saturday Guided Walking Tours in Staunton, Va.

Emily Smith House porch at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library at 24 North Coalter St. Saturdays from May to Oct. 10 a.m. Hosted by Historic Staunton Foundation. Includes four of six historic districts, with volunteer guide. Covers history and architecture. Approximately two hours. No reservations required. Casual dress, wear comfortable walking shoes. Rain or shine. For more information, call 540-885-7676 or visit

Centennial Quilt exhibit at Shenandoah National Park

Centennial Quilt Collage: 13 art quilts, created by Fiber Works, a group of textile artists from the Lincoln-Omaha, Nebraska area, celebrates National Park Service Centennial. The quilts are on a year-long tour of the 13 chosen parks. Runs during October. For more information, visit

Autumn Celebration in Dayton, Va.

Downtown Dayton. 36th Annual Dayton Days. Arts and crafts festival held annually on the first Saturday in October. Over 300 vendors from numerous states. Food available, shop at specialty shops, visit he Heritage Museum, tours of Fort Harrison (Daniel Harrison House c. 1749), Silver Lake Mill. Youth activities. Fred shuttle service from nearby school parking lots. Handicap-accessible, with handicap parking and restroom facilities. No bicycles, skates, skateboards. No pets except service dogs.Free admission. For more information, call 540-246-4272 or visit

Centennial concert at Shenandoah National Park

Byrd Visitor Center. National Park Soundscapes. Composer Jill Haley and guitarist David Cullen perform an instrumental concert of music written about 12 National Parks, including Shenandoah National Park. The music will be performed on oboe, English horn, guitar and keyboard. For more information, visit

Ghost tours in Staunton, Va.

Weekend Ghost Tours around Downtown Staunton. Weekends through October. For more information, call 540-448-2743 or visit

Outdoor run in Luray, Va.
4th Annual Blue Ridge Mountain Mudurance 5K Mud Run. Partially benefits Page County Fire and EMS. For more information, visit
Pumpkin Patch and Hayrides in Winchester, Va.

Wilsons Wild Animal Park, 985 W. Parkins Mill Rd. Pumpkin patch and hayrides on weekends, through October. For more information, call 540-662-5715

Harness Racing Festival at Shenandoah Downs in Woodstock, Va.

Shenandoah County Fairgrounds. Wine and Trotter Festival. 4th annual event. Oct. 1 and 2. Parimutuel Harness Races on newly-renovated track. Food, crafts and wine-tastings. Up to 10 races. Gates open at 11 a.m., racing starts at 1 p.m. Tickets available online. Admission: Up to $20. For more information, visit

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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.

Shenandoah Valley Apple Orchard in Winter, Frederick County, Va.

A wintertime orchard snowscape near Winchester, Va. where the surrounding Frederick County countryside is known as Apple Country.

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