The Scenic and Historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
 
Connecting with nature, calming the spirit

 

The Shenandoah Valley continues to grow as a national and international visitor destination. Although annual visitor numbers have long run into the millions, there’s still a lot of space here, such as in numerous national parks, in protected forests and around certain unpopulated bends of the Shenandoah River.

What makes the Valley so unique is the variety of options available for experiencing its natural and scenic beauty. It’s home to a number of four-season resorts with convenient, bundled lodging and hosted activities. Then there is the huge Shenandoah National Park, a protected wilderness that also offers plenty of lodging, camping and dining services that are open for all but the coldest times of year.

While the trails and access roads of George Washington National Forest are much more freely accessible than at Shenandoah National park, they provide relatively limited lodging opportunities and other visitor services.

Roughing it is not the only option. Pamper yourself at a luxurious bed and breakfast or stay at a developed camping area. Hang out at a hotel or plug into some real AC at an RV park. It’s all about whatever pops into your mind and matching it up to your own degree of comfort level.

It’s certainly still possible to get back in touch with nature in open areas on public lands. Although the national forest supports many other kinds of purposes that could possibly interrupt a meditative interlude, such as timber harvesting projects, ATV and horse trail activity, and during hunting season.

But as the region rightly promotes itself as a world-class tourist destination, it attracts more and more crowds of people …especially on pretty weekends. That's a good thing. Folks who arrive with bikes or kayaks – or fiddles – bring along their own special kind of energy and excitement. There’s plenty of room here for everybody, and there is always some new place to discover that, at least for the moment, is yours alone.

Even for some us who have lived in the Valley for decades, we often still find interesting places hiding there, right in front of our eyes. 

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Be cool!
Heritage Museum in Dayton, Virginia

The midsummer sun is bright, life’s a splash of fun. It’s nearly always cooler up on the ridges, where a summer thermal can carry a hang glider for miles. Paddle or tube from one shady patch to another on the Shenandoah River. Or head down for nature’s air conditioning at any one of our world-famous caverns. Above ground or below, July is the perfect time for chillin’ in the Shenandoah Valley!

  Happening today

Quilt Show at Bowman Shannon Cultural Arts Center in Mt. Jackson, Va.

5998 Main St. Runs July 1-31. Presented by The Shenandoah Valley Quilters Guild. Locally made quilts of all sizes will be displayed for sale along with other items by local artists. Open 12 p.m. To 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday. For more information, visit theartgroup.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.


First Friday at Bowman Shannon Cultural Arts Center in Mt. Jackson, Va.

5998 Main St. Live music, food and drink. Original art work for sale by local artists.Live music by The Hatcher Boys. Grilled hotdogs will be available, optionally bring food to add to the refreshment table. Donations appreciated. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and listen to music on the back lawn. Free admission. For more information, visit theartgroup.org


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.Old Frederick County Court House Old Court House Civil War Museum on the downtown mall. Harmonious Wail.. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket. Picnics encouraged. No pets, alcohol or smoking. Rain 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, call 540-955-8186 or visit www.bluemont.org


Art exhibition at James Madision University

Memorial Hall. Ninth Annual Area Youth Art Exhibition. Runs July 1-Dec. 14. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Artwork by K-12 students from Harrisonburg Public Schools, Woodland Montessori School and Redeemer Classical School. Supported by JMU College of Education. Free admission. For more information, visit www.jmu.edu


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


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 July 15, Aug. 19, and Oct. 14. Reservations required. Admission: $5. For more information, call 540-542-1326 or visit www.visitwinchesterva.com


Art exhibition at OASIS Fine Art and Craft in Harrisonburg, Va.

103 S. Main St. Jewel Yoder Hertzler: Recent Paintings. Runs July 1 - July 31. Artist reception on July 1 with live music, light refreshments. Free admission. For more information, call 540-442-8188 or visit www.oasisartgallery.org


Civil War history program at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park

336 Belle Grove Rd. Belle Grove Plantation front yard. 30 minute interactive orientation for all ages about the history and settlement of the Shenandoah Valley, the Battle of Cedar Creek and the impact of the Civil War on the Valley. Various props from a box to visually interpret surrounding landscape features. July 1, 2, 5-9, 11-16, 18-23, and 25-30 at 11:30 a.m. July 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31 at 2:30 p.m.


Battle of Cedar Creek Battlefield Tour in Middletown, Va.

Meet at the National Park Service Visitor Contact Station, 7712 Main St. July 1-2, 4, 11, 15-16, 18, 22-25, 29 and 31 at 2 p.m.. Two-hour, guided car-caravan tour led by ranger vehicle: Chronological interpretation of the Battle of Cedar Creek. Stops at key landmarks. Presented by Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. For more information, call 540-869-3051 or visit nps.gov/cebe.


Gallery Walk in Lexington, Va.

Downtown Lexington. Tour Washington St. art galleries. April 1, May 6, June 3, July 1, Aug. 5, Sept. 2, Oct 7, Nov. 4 and Dec. 2 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Free admission.


Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre production at Shenandoah University

Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre. Sweeney Todd. Drama. Shows June 30 through July 10. For more information, call 540-665-4569 or visit www.SSMTVa.org.


Guitar music concert at Court Square Theater in Harrisonburg, Va.

41-F Court Square. Stephen Bennett,fingerstyle guitarist. Members save 20 percent and get free popcorn. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $15 in advance, $18 at the door. For more information, call 540-433-9189 or visit www.valleyarts.org


First Fridays Downtown in Harrisonburg, Va.

Hardesty-Higgins House Visitor Center. For more information, visit www.VisitHarrisonburgVA.com.


First Fridays Art Walk in Winchester, Va.

Artists with special gallery events, live music at restaurants and cafes, late shopping hours. Sponsored by the Old Town Winchester Business Association and the Winchester Main Street Foundation. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/FirstFridaysOldTownWinchester


Civil War history program at Belle Grove Plantation in Middletown, Va.

336 Belle Grove Rd. Belle Grove Plantation front yard. Belle Grove in a Box. 30 minute interactive orientation for all ages about the history and settlement of the Shenandoah Valley, the Battle of Cedar Creek and the impact of the Civil War on the Valley. Various props from a box to visually interpret surrounding landscape features.July 1, 2, 5-9, 11-16, 18-23, and 25-30 at 11:30 a.m. July 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31 at 2:30 p.m.


Art exhibition at Smith House Galleries in Harrisonburg, Va.

311 South Main St. Strokes of Distinction, artistic interpretations of conversations with stroke survivors and their care partners. Opens on July 1 from 5-8 p.m. at the Smith House Galleries and will be on display through July 2,8 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Collaborative effort between the Arts Council of the Valley, Sentara RMH Medical Center, artists and others.  For more information, visit www.valleyarts.org rg


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. July 1-2 at 7:30 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


Civil War history presentation at Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville, Va.

95 Chalmers Ct. Mile Twelve performs Doors open at 7 p.m., concert at 8 p.m. Locally-made BBQ available from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tickets: General Admission, $15 in advance until 3 p.m. on the day of event. $20 at the door. Ages 12 years and admitted free when accompanied by an adult. For more information, call 540-955-2004 or visit www.barnsofrosehill.org


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


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.


Bluegrass and BBQ Series concert at Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville, Va.

95 Chalmers Ct. Mile Twelve. Doors open at 7 p.m., concert at 8 p.m. Locally-made BBQ available from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission: $15 in advance, $20 at the door, ages 12 and under admitted free. For more information, call 540-955-2004 or visit www.barnsofrosehill.org


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


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


Holiday celebration in Luray, Va.

Yogi Bears Jellystone Park, 2250 US Hwy 211 East. Patriotic Week, June 27 - July 4. Patriotic hair beading, T-shirts tie-dyeing, American Pride parade on July 2. DJ dance party on Saturday night, live music. Fireworks show on July 3. For more information, call 540-743-400.


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. Series continues on July 1: Monty Python and The Holy Grail. 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!

Stone House, Shenandoah County, Virginia

A stone house stands in a field just north of the village of Hudsons Crossroads, a few miles west of Mount Jackson, Shenandoah County, Virginia. The high doorway is an example of how early Valley settlers built their homes to ward off attacks by hostile Native Americans.

About West Phillips

West Phillips is an international portrait and travel photographer, currently based in Miami, Florida. He began his photography career in 2010 while living in San Francisco, California.

...photo by West Phillips