The Scenic and Historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
The Autumn Color Carpet Rolls Out

Autumn foliage on Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park


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.

Autumn in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley!

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.

  Happening today

Old Time Music Jam at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Va.

Anderson Coliseum Work Horse Cafe. Mountain music jam session honoring mountain heritage. Musicians welcome to play and audience encouraged to dance and sing along. Concessions available. Sessions held second Tuesday of each month, starting at 6 p.m. More information at 540-464-2950.

Art exhibition at James Madison University

The Little Gallery Underground Gallery, Music Library, Room B59, Music Building. Music Without Sound: Music-inspired Art featuring works by five studio artists from the JMU School of Art, Design and Art History. Runs through Oct. 14 during normal Music Library hours. For more information, visit

Virginia Military Institute Full Dress Cadet Parade in Lexington, Va.

VMI Parade Grounds. Come watch as the full Corps of Cadets marches in formation on the parade ground as part of this VMI tradition. Free admission. For more information, call 540-464-7313.

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

15 Tannery Lane. Bi-annual show sponsored by Clarke County Historical Association. Oover 300 artists from around the region and over 1000 works of art for sale. 25th Anniversary. Runs through  Oct. 18. Monday through Thursday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday frrom 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Lunch available at nearby Locke Modern Country Store or picnic in a meadow. Admission: Adults, $5. Seniors $3. Ages 12 and under, free admission. Free Admission Day Oct. 10. For more information, call 540-955-2600 or visit

Artist workshop at Carrier Arboretum in Harrisonburg, Va.

780 University Blvd. Frances Plecker Education Center. Botanical Illustration in Acrylic Wash Workshop with Lynda Chandler, arboretum artist in residence. Oct. 12 15, and Oct. 19-22, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Order supply kits in advance, will be available day of class. Admission: $200, additional cost for supplies. For more information, visit

Art exhibition at James Madison University

Lisanby Museum, Room 1108, Festival Conference and Student Center. Bridge of Dreams: Buddhism, History and Society in the Ukiyo-e Prints of Edo Japan. Runs through Oct. 16, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission.

Shenandoah National Park flood-related closings

Until further notice, limited parking available in the Whiteoak Canyon Boundary Area due to significant run-off in and around drainage areas due to recent heavy rainfall. Impacts the bridge to the upper Whiteoak parking lot. Pedestrian traffic still permitted. Parking along Berry Hollow road is not allowed. Alternate access to Whiteoak and Cedar Run trails is available. Always check current park status before traveling. For more information, call 540-999-3500  or visit

Celtic music concert at James Madison University

Concert Hall, Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. Julie Fowlis: Music of the Scottish Isles. For more information, visit

Adult art workshop at Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Va.

901 Amherst St. Fall Landscape Photography. Beauty in Botany exhibition closes on Oct. 31. Meet the artists, light refreshments served. Exhibition works available for purchase. Registration required by Oct. 26. Seating is limited. Museum members: $10. General admission: $15. For more information, call 540-662-1473, extension 240 or visit

Art exhibition in Charles Town, W.Va.

Fire Hall Gallery JC Visitors Ctr 108 N. George St. Light Dark Fire. Ginny Fite, Words and Color, Martha LeRoi, Clay, Carol Slovikosky, Glass. Runs through Oct. 27. Works in words and color, clay, and glass. Free admission. For more information, call 304-724-2090 or visit

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Country road near Mount Jackson, Virginia

Mount Jackson is located in Shenandoah County, surrounded by rural farmland and small villages along scenic backroads.

About Charles Oliver

Charles Oliver has been involved with fine art professionally since 1969 when he returned home from Vietnam and the Marine Corps. During the early 70s he worked as an art consultant to fine artists and exhibited his works in many shows in the Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York areas. In 1976, he started his commercial art career and continued to do fine art in his spare time. In 2007 he returned to full-time pursuit of fine arts after moving to a mountaintop home in Mt. Jackson, Virginia. by Charles Oliver