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.
[Article originally appeared on ShenandoahValley.com during October, 2007.]Read more...
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!
10 S. Market St. Antony and Cleopatra TalkBack discussion session follows performance. For more information, call 1-877-682-4236 or visit www.americanshakespearecenter.com.
Loudoun St. Mall, in front of the 1840 Courthouse. Old Town Court House lawn. Movies on the mall, family friendly event. Start at dusk, approximately 8:45 p.m. Bring a blanket or chair. Food available at nearby restaurants. Continuing chedule: July 2 - Dolphin Tale 2. July 9 - Cinderella. July 16 - How to Train Your Dragon 2. July 23 - Big Hero 6. July 30 - Night at the Museum 3. Free admission. For more information, visit www.Winchesterva.gov/parks.
121 S. Main St. Daily presentation at the fly shop in Edinburg, Va. July 30 and Aug. 8. Each day begins with a presentation at the fly shop followed by fishing trip to either the North or South Fork of the Shenandoah River. Fly rod and reel outfits provided for use during school, available for sale. Five students per school with one instructor. Admission: $196 per person, lodging not included. Cancellation Policy: Full refunds for cancellations 60 days before the date of your school, a full refund is issued, otherwise flys shop gift certificate issued less a $50 cancellation fee. For more information, visit www.murraysflyshop.com/smallmouth-bass-fly-fishing-schools/
Virginia Military Institute Parade Ground. The Art Of War Exhibition. Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, $2 for students. For more information, call 540-460-7103 or visit www.marshallfoundation.org.
The Silver Lake Mill was built in 1822, in Dayton, Virginia, a few miles south of the City of Harrisonburg. The mill pond there is a favorite subject for photographers.