The Scenic and Historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
 
The Shenandoah Valley’s “Dayton”

Rooftops of Dayton, Virginia

 

From its very beginning, a southern Rockingham County, Va. town originally known as “Rifetown” may have had a slight identity issue, starting in 1828 with the name on a new post office sign reportedly identifying the town as “Rifeville.”

Then in 1832, the Virginia General Assembly renamed the town to Dayton.

Meanwhile, a Revolutionary War veteran who had ratified the New Jersey constitution in 1787, Johnathan Dayton, had a town named after him, but his town was the well-known Dayton, Ohio. With no discernible connection with Dayton, Virginia.

Whatever the name, one thing about the spot that had quickly attracted early settlers was the inviting confluence of spring-fed creeks and land just waiting to be farmed.

It also had captured the attention of Daniel Harrison, brother of nearby Harrisonburg, Va. founder Thomas Harrison. He too must have seen so much potential in the abundant springs and fertile land along a road that in the early 19th century would become the Harrisonburg-Warm Springs Turnpike — now US Rt. 42.

In 1749, Harrison built a sturdy, stone house at the north end of the new settlement. Fort Harrison, as it is called now, is one of the oldest houses in the Shenandoah Valley.

The house became a fort during the French and Indian War and it remained in the Harrison Family until 1821. Fully restored in 1978, it‘s now one of Dayton‘s main historic attractions.

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Yep! It's Summertime in the Valley!
Heritage Museum in Dayton, Virginia

The sun is out, the foliage is green. The Shenandoah Valley is alive with scenic beauty, outdoor fun and cultural festivities. It's the right time to spread out a blanket and listen to some down-home music or watch an outdoor movie. Head out on a walking tour. Living history festivals bring the rich heritage of the Shenandoah Valley to life. Kick back and chill, or gaze out at it all from up on high. June only comes once a year. Live it up!

  Happening today

New Voice Play Festival at Old Opera House Theater in Charles Town, W.Va.

16th year. June 24, 25, and 26. A series of four one-act plays performed and evaluated by a panel of judges. Tickets: $15 for adults, $12 for students. For more information, call 304-725-4420 or visit www.oldoperahouse.org


Historic House Tours in Dayton, Va.

Fridays and Saturdays: Guided tours of Fort Harrison, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 540-879-2616.


Historic mill hours of operation in Dayton, Va.

Thursdays through Saturdays: Silver Lake Mill 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 540-879-2616.


Comedy show at Bright Box Theater in Winchester, Va.

15 N Loudoun St. Bright Box Comedy. June 24-25. For more information, visit www.brightboxwinchester.com


Bluemont Concert Series concert in Winchester, Va.

Old Frederick County Court House Old Court House Civil War Museum on the downtown mall. 40th Anniversary Season. Pan Masters Steel Orchestra performs traditional island calypso, reggae and soca music and more. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket to sit on, optional picnic. No pets, alcohol or smoking. Bad weather location: Winchester First Presbyterian Church, 116 S Loudoun St. Admission: $5 per person, $4 for Bluemont friends and seniors, $2 for ages under twelve. For more information, visit www.bluemont.org


Music and Dancing in Raphine, Va.

Clarks Ole Time Music Center, located at Clarks Lumber Co., 1288 Ridge Road. longtime Friday-night tradition of old-time music and dance from 7:30-10 p.m. Admission: $8 per person, $15 per couple. For more information, call 540-377-2490.


Guided walking tours in downtown Lexington, Va.

Meet at the Lexington Visitor Center. Every Friday at 3 p.m., from April through November. Rain or shine. No reservations required. Wear comfortable shoes. For more information, call 540-463-3777.


New Market Farmers Market in New Market, Va.

Behind the 7-Eleven store at I-81 interchange. Fridays from May 13 through October from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 540-740-3432 or visit newmarketvirginia.com


Play performance at the Schultz Theatre in New Market, Va.

9357 N. Congress St. Elvis Has Left the Building. Comedy. June 24-25 at 7 p.m. June 26 at 3 p.m. Tickets: $13 for adults and $11 for students and seniors. For more information, visit schultzetheater.org. For more information, call 540-740-9119 or visit www.schultztheatre.com


Guided Civil War Walking Tours in Winchester, Va.

Loudoun St. Walking Mall. Meet guide at 2 N. Cameron St. Hosted by Old Town Winchester. Every Friday through October, excluding June 3, July 15, Aug. 19, and Oct. 14. Reservations required. Admission: $5. For more information, call 540-542-1326 or visit www.visitwinchesterva.com


Scottish pipe music concert at Shenandoah University

Armstrong Concert Hall, 702 University Drive. Scottish National Piping Centre Concert. World champion piper, Willie McCallum, Drumming Capt. Stuart Sampson. Rrecording artists John Mulhearn and Matt MacIssac. Thistle Dancers of Alexandria Va. Tickets: $20, $10 for students. For more information, call 540-247-4109. or visit www.cowpad.org/recital


Guided Civil War walking tour in Winchester, Va.

2 N. Cameron St. Experience the Civil War as a civilian in Old Town Winchester. Every Friday through October, excluding June 3, July 15, Aug. 19, and Oct. 14. Reservations required. Admission: $5 per person. For more information, call 540-542-1326 or visit www.oldtownwinchesterva.com


Roanoke Valley Horse Show at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Va.

The horse show was founded in 1972 and continued for 43 years, but was cancelled in 2015. Continuing this year at the Virginia Horse Center from June 20 to June 25. For more information, visit VirginiaHorseCenter.org.


Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre production at Shenandoah University

Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre. My Fair Lady. Romantic musical. shows June 16 through June 26. For more information, call 540-665-4569 or visit www.SSMTVa.org.


Four-wheeler trail ride event at The Cove Campground in Gore, Va.

980 Cove Road. Big Dogs Spring Fling. June 24-26. 98 Intermediate and Advanced trails and 36 Stock and Beginner trails. door prizes, T-shirts, night runs, roll-over jeep, Friday night Mud Pit, Saturday night bonfire party. Family and dog-friendly. Open to the public.


Theater camps at Wayne Theatre in Waynesboro, Va.

Ross Performing Arts Center, 521 West Main St. Spotlight Stage camp. Grades K-12. Experience live performing arts. Theatre Intensive Camp: June 20-24, June 27-30, for grades 6-12, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Snow White and the Prince Summer Workshop: Runs July 11-15, July 18-22, July 25-30, for grades 2-12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fairytale Summer Camp: Runs Aug. 1-4, for grades K-4, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Scholarships available. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit www.waynetheatre.org


Summer Art Program at James Madison University

Duke Hall. 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m., June 20-24. Ages 6 to 17. Ends with a reception on June 24 from 4 to 5 p.m. Courses taught by certified art educators and JMU faculty. Admission: $80. For more information, call 540-568-4304 or visit jmu.edu


Theater production at Winchester Little Theater in Winchester, Va.

315 W. Boscawen St. Winchester Little Theatre for Kids presents: Treasure Island. From the story by Robert Louis Stevenson. June 18-25. Showtimes: Tuesday through thursday at 7 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, visit www.wltonline.org


Music In The Garden at Boxerwood Nature Center in Lexington, Va.

Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Garden. 963 Ross Road. Outdoor music concert series every second and fourth Friday, April through September. Picnicking starts at 5:30 p.m., live music from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Free admission. For more information, call 540-463-2697.


Theater production at James Madision University

Mainstage Theatre, Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. Broadway and Beyond: A Musical Theatre Revue. Variety of selections from musicals written during the 20th and 21st centuries. June 24-25, July 1-2 at 7:30 p.m. June 26 at 2 p.m. For more information, visit www.jmu.edu/forbescenter


Guided tours in Staunton, Va.

Meet at Staunton Visitors Center. Guided trolley and walking tours. Year-round. For more information, call 540-208-1741 or visit www.stauntonguidedtours.com


Outdoor film screening at Natural Bridge Park in Natural Bridge, Va.

Rockbridge Center, 15 Appledore Lane. Kids Movie Night. Every Friday at 7 p.m. Concessions, popcorn, candy, drinks and more available for sale. Rain or shine. Free admission. For more information, call 1-800-533-1410 or visit www.naturalbridgeva.com


Arboretum Explorer Camp at Carrier Arboretum in Harrisonburg, Va.

780 University Blvd. Frances Plecker Education Center. June 20-24. Ages 5-7 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Ages 8-10 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Encourages love of outdoors, fosters environmental stewardship and inspires future scientists. Catch bugs, learn about reptiles, investigate the pond, make crafts and go on daily nature walks. Cost per child: $125 for the week. For more information, call 540-568-3194 or visit www.jmu.edu/arboretum


Biking event in Rockingham County, Va.

Bike Virginia 2016. June 24-29. Over 1,600 participants and volunteers. Six routes totaling 300 miles. Pick from any one of the loops offered each day. Loop sizes and bike routes vary in distances ranging from 20-100 miles.Excursions with shuttles from Rockingham County Fairgrounds to Downtown Harrisonburg on Monday June 27 and Tuesday June 28. For more information, visit www.bikevirginia.org


Biking event in Shenandoah, Va.

Historic Steven Cottage, 201 Maryland Ave. Shenandoah Time Trial Bicycle Race. Hosted by Page Valley Cycling Club. Championship event for the 2016 Virginia Cycling Association racing season. For more information, call 202-365-0186.


Childrens Literature Conference at Shenandoah University

31st year. Words and Pictures: The Art of the Matter. June 20-24. Participants will study with award-winning, best-selling authors and illustrators. Variety of events including solo concert and Family Fun Night at Handley Regional Library. Reservations required. For more information, visit www.su.edu


River and Roots Festival at Watermelon Park in Clarke County, Va.

Watermelon Park. June 24-26. The Keel Brothers and Ragtime Annie, Tim O'Brien, Danny Knicely and Jack Dunlop, Pat Donahue, Circa Blue, the Harris Brothers. Four-day Fiddle Camp. Camping available. For more information, visit www.shepherdsford.com.


Living history program at Belle Grove and Cedar Creek National Historical Park

Vermont at Cedar Creek Weekend. June 24-26. Special ranger-led programs, living history demonstrations and other special events to commemorate the role of Vermont troops at the Battle of Cedar Creek. June 25, 10 a.m.: Re-dedication of the 8th Vermont monument. Living History Demonstrations on June 25 at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., 11 a.m and 1 p.m. on June 26. For more information, call 540-869-3051 or visit www.nps.gov/cebe


Art exhibition at Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Va.

901 Amherst St. Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau will present works from the Dhawan Collection, Los Angeles, one of the largest collections of Alphonse
Mucha work in the United States, in a traveling exhibitioin. Changing Exhibitions Gallery. For more information, call 540-662-1473, extension 240 or visit www.theMSV.org.


Winery event in Fishersville, Va.

Barren Ridge Vineyard, 984 Barren Ridge Road. Vine to Wine 5k. Annual race. Starts and finishes at the vineyard, followed by an after-party with live music, food available for purchase. For more information, call 540-248-3300 or visit www.barrenridgevineyards.com


Womens History Exhibit at Shenandoah County Library in Edinburg, Va.

514 Stoney Creek Blvd. Library of Virginia traveling exhibit, celebrates the accomplishment of prominent Virginia women. June 20-24, at Hupps Hill Civil War Park in Strasburg. June 24-26 at Historic Shenandoah County Courthouse in Woodstock. June 27-June 30 at Shenandoah County Library. Hosted by Shenandoah County Library System Truban Archives. Free admission. For more information, visit countylib.org


Summer theater camp for youth at Wayne Theatre in Waynesboro, Va.

Ross Performing Arts Center, 521 West Main St. Theatre Intensive Summer Camp. For students in grades 6-12. Runs June 20-24, and June 27-30, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Theater basics, acting techniques, song and dance, improvisation and audition workshop. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit www.WayneTheatre.org


Evenings on Main Concert in Luray, Va.

Ruffner Plaza. Cazhmiere. For more information, visit luraypage.chambermaster.com/events/calendar


Art exhibition in Staunton, Va.

Staunton Augusta Art Center galleries in the RR Smith Center for History and Art. Paintings by Jeffrey Stockberger. Opening reception, June 3 from 5-7 p.m. Exhibition runs through July 2. Mondays through Fridays from 10 to 5, Saturdays from 10 to 4. Free admission, open to the public. For more information, call 540-885-2028 or visit www.saartcenter.org


Summer art camp in Staunton, Va.

Staunton Augusta Art Center classrooms in the RR Smith Center for History and Art, 20 S. New St. Week-long art camp for ages 4-5, 6-8, 9-12. June 20-June 24, July 11-July 15 and July 18-July 22. Tickets: $85 per week, $75 member rate, scholarships available. For more information, call 540-885-2028 or visit www.saartcenter.org


Downtown heritage festival in Staunton, Va.

Celebrates 20th anniversary of downtown association. Exhibition items were solicited from the community and include  photographs, documents, and memorabilia that relates to local families, businesses, downtown events, activities, social clubs and more. The exhibition runs through July 31 For more information, call 540-332-3867 or visit stauntondowntown.org


Educational Theater performance at North River Library in Bridgewater, Va.

Bridgewater Town Hall. Night at the Library. Performed by Impressions Theatre.  For all ages. Free admission, open to the public.


Cult Movie Series at Wayne Theatre in Waynesboro, Va.

Ross Performing Arts Center, 521 W. Main St. Doors open at 7 p.m., movie at 8 p.m. No advance tickets required. June 24: Ferris Bueller`s Day Off. Doors open one hour prior to start time for refreshments. Films are subject to change. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit www.waynetheatre.org


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About ShenandoahValley.com

Visiting this website, you've just landed in the scenic and historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia, USA. ShenandoahValley.com is owned and operated by a small, independent business located right here in the region. We know the place. Our mission is to showcase its visual beauty, but we've also got some things to share about the people who live here, the culture and, of course, some really rich history and heritage.

Visit this place and it can seem like you are coming home. Our 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.

While we provide a regional events listing that is always up to date, ShenandoahValley.com is not an encyclopedia about the Valley or a travel guide. In fact, we're not really selling anything on here. You can find location-specific tidbits about the Valley, particularly on our events page.

Each month we feature a Home page feature story and video that highlights something special about events, history and people.

Much of what is on here simply comes from our love for this world-reknown spot, the Daughter of the Stars, O Shenandoah, Shenandoah River... Shenandoah Valley.

If you like our website, consider making a donation ...we'd certainly tip a glass of Virginia-made beer or wine to your kindness! Either way, we're glad you stopped by. Come back to see us again!

Railroad Bridges and Tunnel at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Railroad tracks cross on the north side of the Shenandoah-Potomac Rivers confluence beneath rocky cliffs

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.

...photo by William I. Spinrad, Jr - Land Matters Photography