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.

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

Art workshop series at Carrier Arboretum in Harrisonburg, Va.

780 University Blvd. Frances Plecker Education Center. Collage on Canvas, Trees of the Arboretum. June 20-23 and June 27-30, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 540-568-3194 or visit

Juried Photography Exhibit in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Berkeley Art Works gallery, 116 North Queen St. Photo16, Hosted by the Berkeley Arts Council. Runs June 8 through July 9. For more information, visit

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 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

Art workshop at Carrier Arboretum in Harrisonburg, Va.

Frances Plecker Education Center. Collage on Canvas, Trees of the Arboretum. June 27-30, from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Create a collage on stretched canvas with paint and decoupage medium. Admission: $140. For more information, visit

Film screening at Court Square Theater in Harrisonburg, Va.

41-F Court Square. National Theatre Live: Hamlet. Drama. June 29 at 6:30 p.m., June 30 at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Theater members save 20 percent and get free popcorn. Tickets: Adults: $14, seniors and students: $12. Ages 12 and Under: $10. Groups of 20 or more: $12 each. For more information, call 540-433-9189 or visit

Summer Nature Camp at Blandy Experimental Farm in Boyce, Va.

Animals, plants, weather, habitats, and more, and include theme-based crafts and games. Wetland Wonders. June 27 through June 29, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Grades 2-4: Eat or Be Eaten. For more information, visit

Downtown festival in Stanley, Va.

Stanleys Homecoming. Carnival at 6 p.m., Miss Homecoming Pageant at 6:30 p.m., live music at 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit

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 27-June 30 at Shenandoah County Library. Hosted by Shenandoah County Library System Truban Archives. Free admission. For more information, visit

Bluegrass music jam sessions in Lexington, Va.

Blue Sky Bakery, 16 Lee Ave. Live bluegrass music every Wednesday morning. Bring a musical instrument to jam with, or just listen.

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 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

Farmers Market in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Orrs Farm Market, 682 Orr Dr. Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fresh produce and fruit, homemade goods, jams and local and state wines and spirits. For more information, visit

Staunton Augusta Wednesday Farmers Market in Staunton, Va.

Wharf Lot. Runs every week hrough November. Saturdays: 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesdays: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Producer-only market with fresh foods, baked goods, plants and more. Free parking available. For more information, visit

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.

Summer Family Movie Series at Wayne Theatre in Waynesboro, Va.
Ross Performing Arts Center. Two showings every Wednesday at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Advance tickets not required. Series continues on June 29 with Toy Story. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit
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Visiting this website, you've just landed in the scenic and historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia, USA. 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, 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!

Hugh Morrison Jr. Archives Photo: Brass Band

Hugh Morrison Jr. photographed the people and places of Shenandoah County, Virginia, during the first half of the 1900s, until 1950. He compiled an immense body of work, now archived by the Shenandoah County Historical Society. The collection includes more than 25,000 digital images.

About Hugh Morrison Jr. Archives Collection

The Shenandoah County Historical Society supports historic building and site preservation as well as collects and preserves information about the history of Shenandoah County, Virginia. In parnership with Shenandoah County, SCHS operates a visitor's center and museum in the 1795 Historic Shenandoah County Courthouse in Woodstock, Virginia. by Hugh Morrison Jr. Archives Collection