Tour 7 -- Edinburg to Mount Jackson, via Singers Glen and New Market
Ancient roads, old mills, a musical village, and mountain vistas
This tour begins in Edinburg, in the central part of the Shenandoah Valley, and continues past the site of a tragic 1758 Indian massacre of settlers. It heads south and west for a gorgeous drive, with grand views of the mountains on all sides. It passes through the old Valley Pike towns of New Market and Mount Jackson, where it ends near I-81, just a few miles from where it began.
Edinburg is best known for its famous mill, which narrowly escaped being burned to the ground by General Sheridan’s troops in the Civil War. After several years of careful renovation, this spacious old building has reopened as a museum. Dozens of grist mills operated in this part of the Valley from the late 1700s until 1864, when most were torched by Union troops. Many were rebuilt after the war, while a handful of originals survived. This tour passes by a few of the survivors (Touring the Shenandoah Valley Backroads tells their stories). It also travels through areas of very old Indian settlements.
Singers Glen, the next stop, is a charming little village of white gingerbread houses and long green lawns that seems to have forgotten what century it is. Here, in the early 1800s, a school teacher’s love of music was the genesis of today’s Shenandoah University in Winchester. From Singers Glen, the tour winds through country roads into the villages of Edom and Linville. Near Edom, along Route 42, is an old home called the Lincoln Homestead; Abraham Lincoln’s father was born in an earlier house on that site.
The tour then meets up with U.S. 11, the Old Valley Pike, at Mauzy and continues north toward New Market. On the way, you’ll cross the Fairfax Line, the southern boundary of Lord Fairfax’s extensive colonial landholdings in Northern Virginia. New Market dates back to the 1700s and has several interesting old homes and buildings still standing. Most people come here to visit the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park, where teenage cadets from Virginia Military Academy were called in to help fight in the famous 1864 battle here. The VMI Hall of Valor Museum in the park tells the story of that battle and the Civil War in Virginia.
From New Market, the tour passes by one of the eight remaining covered bridges in Virginia, just south of Mount Jackson. This one crosses the Shenandoah River at a particularly lovely spot. It sits in an area called Meems Bottom, where archeologists have found evidence of a Senedo Indian settlement here from around the 1600s. Of course, Indians had been traveling along a trail that roughly follows the Valley Pike for hundreds of years before that. The tour ends in Mt. Jackson, named for the U.S. president, who was popular here in the 1820s. The lovely old brick Union Church and a Civil War cemetery at the north end of town remind visitors of the impact of the Civil War in this area.
To learn more about the Shenandoah Valley’s history and its scenic backroads, and for detailed driving directions and more in-depth information for the tours on this website, get a copy of Touring the Shenandoah Valley Backroads (2nd ed., 2010; ISBN 978-0-89587-3-866; $19.95) by Andrea Sutcliffe.
It’s available through your favorite bookseller (go to www.indieBound.com to find an independent bookstore near you), at many Shenandoah Valley gift shops and museum stores, or directly from the publisher, John F. Blair www.blairpub.com, 1-800-222-9796.
Original text and photographs for the tour descriptions on this website © 2012 by Andrea Sutcliffe