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

Old Town Farmers Market in Winchester, Va.

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.

Historic district paranormal tours in Martinsburg, W.Va.

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.

Farmers Market in Luray, Va.

Mechanic St.

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

Americana music concert at Lime Kiln Theater in Lexington, Va.

607 Borden Road. The Rigs with Grisman, Leslie, Hargreaves and Smith. Admission: $20. For more information, call 540-817-9913, or visit or

Rockbridge County Farmers Market in Lexington, Va.

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.

Woodstock Farmers Market in Woodstock, Va.

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.

Rockbridge Baths Farmers Market in Lexington, Va.

Rockbridge Baths Fire Department. Featuring locally produced meats, produce, baked goods and more. Every Saturday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., For more information, call 540-348-5084.

Waynesboro Farmers Market in Waynesboro, Va.

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.

Theater performance at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va.

10 S. Market St. Antony and Cleopatra. For more information, call 1-877-682-4236 or visit

Music Under the Arbor at Wisteria Farm and Vineyard in Stanley, Va.

1126 Marksville Rd. Me and Martha. For more information, call 540-742-1489 or visit

Theater performance at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va.

10 S. Market St. A Midsummer Night`s Dream. For more information, call 1-877-682-4236 or visit

Summer Restaurant Week in Lexington, Va.

Downtown. July 26 to Aug. 1 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Local Restaurants and Retail Shops offer meal specials and special sales.For more information, call 540-319-4181.

Praise and Worship music concert at Shenandoah County Fairgrounds in Woodstock, Va.
300 Fairground Road. Third Day. For more information, call 1-800-965-9324 or visit
Old Town Farmers Market in Winchester, Va.

Taylor Pavilion at 119 N. Loudoun St. Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., May 16 through Oct. 31.

Farmers and artisans market in Shenandoah, Va.

Stevens Cottage, 201 Maryland Avenue Route #602. Every first Thursday of the month, June 4 through Oct. 1, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Fresh, locally-sourced produce and handcrafted goods. For more information, call 540-652-1401.

Toni Saylor Summer Concert Series in Martinsburg, W.Va.

War Memorial Park, 500 N Tennessee Ave. Every Thursday evening at 7 p.m. through Aug. 13. Hosted by Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation and begin at 7 p.m. at War Memorial Park. Concerts rain or shine when possible. For more information, visit

Birding activity at Boxerwood Gardens in Lexington, Va.

963 Ross Road. Guided birding tours, with members of the Rockbridge Bird Club. Open to birders of all ages and experience levels. Free admission. For more information, call 561-389-9612.

Fishers Hill Picnic at Fishers Hill Battlefield in Fishers Hill, Va.

1864 Battlefield Rd. Commemoration of Civil War veterans reunion picnics often held at this area in the late 1800s to 1900s. Special programs highlight Shenandoah Valley Civil War histori. Battlefield tours at 4:30 and 6 p.m, historical photographs and artifacts on display, guided walking tour for youth ages 5:15 p.m. Live period music. Food will be available for purchase or bring your own picnic, also bring lawn chairs or blankets. For more information, visit

Community Hymn Sing Benefit in Shenandoah, Va.

Big Gem Park Picnic Shelter. Free-will offering benefits Page One and Grace House. For more information, call 540-652-6155.

Civil War history Battlefield Series progam in Middletown, Va.
Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Headquarters 8437 Valley Pike. The Historic Heater Farm: A House Divided. The divided loyalties of the Valley during the Civil War. Park ranger-led program.
Frederick County Fair in Clear Brook, Va.

Frederick County Fairgrounds, 155 Fairground Road. Continues through Aug. 1. Carnival rides, food, demolition derby, beauty pageants, lawnmower racing, livestock shows, a petting zoo, and more. Admission: Adults 12 and older, $7. Ages 6-11, $3. Ages 5 and under admitted free. All night ride tickets: $20.

More things to do..
Hupps Hill Museum and Visitors Center in Strasburg, Virginia

Hupps Hill overlooks Strasburg, Virginia. The hill is still fortified with Civil War trenches that still exist today, along with a museum and visitor center.

Photo by Hank Zimmerman