The Scenic and Historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
 
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The Euphrates Valley: Shenandoah

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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 ShenandoahValley.com during October, 2007.]

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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

Theater performance at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va.

10 S. Market St. The Importance of Being Earnest. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. For more information, call 1-877-682-4236 or visit www.americanshakespearecenter.com.


Patsy Cline Music Festival in Winchester, Va.

Sept. 2 to Sept. 6. Sponsored by Celebrating Patsy Cline Inc. and the City of Winchester. Preview documentary, Patsy Cline, Remembering Patsy, free admission, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 2 in the Handley Library auditorium. Sing-along contest winner Maria Price of Berryville sings Patsy songs before and after the film. Following film: Refreshments, souvenir items and books for sale. Kickoff event Sept. 4 from 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Apple Blossom Mall with live vocal music. Free block party will be held Sept. 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in front of the Patsy Cline Historic House, 608 S. Kent St. Discounted Patsy Cline House tours. Rock n roll dance from 7 to 11 p.m. at Best Western Lee-Jackson, live band: $15 for single and $25 a couple, hors d`oeuvres and a cash bar. A Rockin` in the Park Concert 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on  Sept. 6, Bridgeforth Field in Jim Barnett Park with music by the Drifters, Bill Haleys Comets and other live band. Free car show before concert, food vendors. General admission: $18 in advance and $22 after Aug. 15. Reserved: $20 in advance and $30 after Aug. 15. Benefits the Patsy Cline House. for more informatio, visit celebratingpatsycline.org.


Belle Grove in a Box 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. Sept. 3-5, Sept. 11, 16, 18, 26 and 30 at 11:30 a.m.


Museum Exhibit at George C. Marshall Museum in Lexington, Va.

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.


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Edinburg Mill in Edinburg, Virginia

The Edinburg Mill survived the Burning of the Shenandoah Valley in 1864, now a museum and visitor center in Edinburg, Virginia

About Hank Zimmerman

Hank Zimmerman owns and operates Shenandoah Valley Productions LLC, publisher of ShenandoahValley.com.

...photo by Hank Zimmerman