It is no secret that much of the scenic allure of the Shenandoah Valley has to do with how its landscape and environment changes are so dramatically visual from season to season – but most so whenever Autumn arrives.
As days get shorter and cooler, you can always count on seeing more and more out-of-state plates on scenic byways and up on Skyline Drive, the world-famous Shenandoah National Park highway that meanders for miles and miles among spectacular Valley vistas and Blue Ridge Mountain peaks.
In fact, about 23 percent of the yearly number of Shenandoah National Park visitors arrive during the month of October, the same month that the annual fall foliage colors tend to be the brightest.
A portion of Skyline Drive traffic comes from the nearby Washington, D.C. - Baltimore area. And as increasing numbers of cars, motorcycles, campers, bicycles and joggers converge on a two-lane, limited access ribbon of winding road with a 35 m.p.h. speed limit, city escapees can often find themselves in the middle of the one thing they were trying to get away from back home: gridlock!
Autumn traffic congestion does exist on peak foliage days, but with a little bit of planning it's also something that can be avoided. First and foremost: Avoid the weekend crowds and plan to come during the week.
Then try heading in a direction from south to north on Skyline drive, instead of entering via the northernmost gateway, just off I-66 at Front Royal, Va.Read more...
Virginia's scenic Shenandoah Valley is a great place to visit during any season, but Autumn is extra special. World renown mountaintop vistas, countless Valley backroads with a myriad of visual experices. It's also a time for flavorful festivals, thrilling live performances and inspiring living history ... all set against a flaming backdrop of Fall colors and natural beauty.
41-F Court Square. Five individually curated, Spanish language films from Sept. 30 through Oct. 4. English subtitles. Each film has two showtimes. See website for schedule. Celebrates Hispanic Culture, films from Cuba, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Spain and Mexico. Tickets: Adult, $9.50. Seniors and students, $8.50. Matinees before 5 p.m., $8. Festival pass for all five Screenings: $35. For more information, call 540-433-9189 or visit www.valleyarts.org.
Taylor Pavilion. May 16 weekly through Oct. 31, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 13 weekly farm and food vendors, three additional vendors on rotating basis. In-season fruits, vegetables, artisan breads, cookies, cheese, grass fed beef, gluten free bread, cured meats, jam, eggs, honey and more. All items grown or produced within a 60-mile radius of Winchester. Restrooms available.
Haunted History And Legends Tours. Walk through old town and visit a former hospital, a theater, graveyard, an old hotel and the former childhood home of Confederate spy Belle Boyd. Tours run every Saturday night from April through November, starting at 9 p.m. in June, July, and August. 7 p.m. in September, October and November. Adult entertainment for ages of 13 and older. Reservations required: $12 per person. For more information, call 304-261-7470.
Virginia Horse Center, 487 Maury River Road. Every Saturday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Featuring local produce, honey, baked goods, meats, eggs, crafts, and more. For more information, call 540-463-6841.
Fort Valley Nursery, 1175 Hisey Ave. Open every Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., rain or shine Under a canopy within the nursery. Runs through October. For more informtion, call 540-459-4917.
Constitution Park, 215 W. Main St., Under the Pavilion by the South River. Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hosted by Project GROWS.
10 S. Market St. Shakespeare`s Joan of Arc (Henry VI, Part 1). For more information, call 1-877-682-4236 or visit www.americanshakespearecenter.com.
Middleburg Community Center, 300 W. Washington St. 18th annual Conference on the Art of Command in the Civil War. Hosted by the Mosby Heritage Area Assocation. Oct. 2 through Oct. 4. July 2, 1863: Gettysburg, the Second Day. Civil War historian presentations and battlefield tours, including the Gettysburg Battlefield at 8 a.m. on Sunday Friday evening reception, Saturday lectures and panel discussion are scheduled for Saturday. Admission: $425 for all events, $200 for Friday and Saturday talks only. For more information, call 540-687-6681 or visit www.mosbyheritagearea.org.
Armstrong Concert Hall, 702 University Drive. Shenandoah Conservatory Wind Ensemble: European Vacation, works by Bruckner, Respighi, Holst and more, with trombonist Matt Niess. Tickets: $12. For more information, visit ShenandoahPerforms.org.
10 S. Market St. A Midsummer Night`s Dream. For more information, call 1-877-682-4236 or visit www.americanshakespearecenter.com.
Living history reenactors demonstrate the daily life of Civil War, WWII, and Vietnam War soldiers. Military and civilian vehicles and much more will be included. Period clothing and food, including authentic BBQ, bean pot, kettle corn, gourmet pancakes and more. Flintlock firearm demos, soap-making and craft vendors. Artifact identification with the Virginia Archeological Society: Bring your arrowhead, point and other collections. Free admission to daytime activities. Candlelight tour and authentic ball in the Grand Ballroom inside the cave from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with live period music. Period clothing encouraged, not required. Light refreshments available. Advance tickets only, limited to 100: $20 per person. For more information, call 540-249-5705 or 540-290-0849.
107 Center Street. The Miracle Worker. Drama. Friday and Saturday hows at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 2 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17. Sunday shows at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 4, 11 and 18. For more information, call 540-982-3972 or visit www.theatreshenandoah.org.
Downtown restaurant district. Rocktown Bites, Saturdays at 2 p.m. Self-guided tours: Six restaurants, food shops, and local businesses. Sample food, drink and behind-the-scenes sessions with local restaurateurs and chefs.
Taylor Pavilion at 119 N. Loudoun St. Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., May 16 through Oct. 31.
Fort Shenandoah, 480 Chalybeate Spring Road. North-South Skirmish Association Fall National Competition. Sept. 30 through Oct. 4. Live-fire matches with original or authentic reproduction Civil War period weapons. Largest event of its kind in the U.S. with 3,000 living history reenactors in 200 member units. Sutler area, food available. Military and civilianCivil War period dress, lectures. Open to the public, free admission. For more information, call 248-258-9007 or visit www.n-ssa.org.
Bridge Gallery, 8566 Shepherdstown Pike. TeMahoa Love - A Life in Art: retrospective of artwork by Tem Love. Linoleum block prints and ceramic tiles. Runs Sept. 12 through Oct. 3, Wednesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Free admission. For more information, call 304-876-2300 or visit www.Bridgegalleryandframing.com.
Hugh Morrison Jr. photographed the people and places of Shenandoah County, Virginia, during the first half of the 1900s, until 1950. He compiled an immense body of work, now archived by the Shenandoah County Historical Society. The collection includes more than 25,000 digital images.