The Shenandoah Valley is located in the western part of Virginia and the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. The region is best known for its natural beauty, many wineries, and Civil War history.
Cities and townsEdit
Central and SouthEdit
- 8 Basye
- 9 Bridgewater
- 10 Edinburg
- 11 Harrisonburg
- 12 Luray
- 13 New Market
- 14 Staunton
- 15 Strasburg
- 16 Stuarts Draft
- 17 Warm Springs, Bath County
- 18 Waynesboro
The Shenandoah Valley is formed by two mountain ranges, the Blue Ridge on the east and the Appalachian on the west. Another mountain ridge, the Massanutten, runs down the middle, as does the Shenandoah River. The Shenandoah Valley is believed to have been named by a lost Native American tribe. The meaning of the name is disputed, but the most popular interpretation is “daughter of the stars”.
Intrepid Englishmen began to explore and settle the valley in the early 18th century. Germans and Scots-Irish first entered the valley from the north in the 1730s. A young George Washington worked in the area as a surveyor for Lord Fairfax. Locals such as Daniel Morgan, Peter Muhlenberg, and George Rogers Clark distinguished themselves during the War of Independence.
During the American Civil War, the Shenandoah Valley was the site of many battles, primarily because the region’s moniker, “the breadbasket of the Confederacy”. If Union troops could control the valley, they would cut off a large portion of the Confederate troops’ rations. Most notably, during the Peninsula campaign, the first large scale Northern offensive to capture Richmond, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and his men managed to draw away vastly superior Union numbers, that ended up unable to aid McClellan's ultimately failed attempt to capture Richmond. The city of Winchester, at the northern end of the valley, traded hands over 80 times during the war. The most important battle fought in the region was the Battle of New Market.
Most residents of the Shenandoah Valley speak only English. There is a local dialect to the valley. It ranges from an Appalachian (apple-ATCH-in) twang to a southern drawl.
- Interstate 66 West from Washington, D.C.
- Interstate 64 West from Richmond, Virginia
- Interstate 64 East from West Virginia
- Greyhound operates bus stations in 1 Charlottesville, and 2 Lynchburg. Buses connect with Washington, D.C., and Richmond, with transfers available for further destinations.
- Amtrak operates train stations located in 3 Staunton, 4 Clifton Forge, and 5 Charlottesville. Trains connect with Washington, D.C., and Chicago.
- 6 Washington Dulles International Airport, 1 Saarinen Cir, Dulles. Washington, D.C.'s airport, with scheduled commercial flights from many cities around the world. It is about a one-hour drive (65 mi, 106 km) from the northern area of the Shenandoah Valley.
- 7 Charlottesville–Albemarle Airport, 100 Bowen Loop, Charlottesville. A small airport with scheduled commercial service from several cities in the U.S. It is about a 30-minute drive (35 miles, 55 km) from the central area of the Shenandoah Valley.
- 8 Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, 77 Aviation Cir, Weyers Cave. A small airport with scheduled commercial service from Washington, D.C., and Chicago only.
- 9 Luray Caverns Airport (KLUA), 1504 Airport Rd, Luray, ☏ . A small general aviation airport with charter flights but no scheduled commercial flights. Free courtesy transportation is provided to and from certain area sites. Rental cars may be arranged in advance.
A car is essential for touring the region.
- Interstate 81 runs the length of the valley
- Skyline Drive, one of the most scenic routes in the country, is in Shenandoah National Park.
- 1 Luray Caverns, 101 Cave Hill Rd, Luray (near Route 340 Lee Highway), ☏ . Daily 9AM-6PM. The wealth of limestone in the Shenandoah Valley has created many caverns, Luray being the most famous. Along with various stalactites, stalagmites, and other formations named after gods and goddesses, the cavern boasts an organ that taps stalactites to produce different notes. Highly recommended. You will never forget it.
- There are many lovely waterfalls in the area, including 2 Dark Hollow Falls, 3 White Rock Falls, 4 Wigwam Falls, 5 Crabtree Falls and 6 Apple Orchard Falls. Most require a hike of up to 3 miles (5 km), which may be moderate or difficult. Proper footwear and water are highly advisable.
- 7 New Market Battlefield and Virginia Museum of the Civil War, 8895 George Collins Pkwy, New Market (Interstate 81, exit 264), toll-free: . Daily 9AM-5PM. The site of a famous Civil War battle, in which the young cadets of the Virginia Military Institute marched for four days to challenge and defeat Union troops moving down the valley. A state park, two museums, and a yearly reenactment bring their story to life.
- 8 Natural Bridge, 6477 S Lee Hwy, Natural Bridge (Natural Bridge State Park, near Route 11), ☏ . Daily 8AM-8PM. Worshipped by the Monacan Indians, owned by Thomas Jefferson, and defaced by a young George Washington, this limestone arch is a natural wonder and historic site rolled into one. A beautiful area to walk around.
- Winchester. This great old town was the first colonial town in the Valley. It has a wonderful historic district with a nice pedestrian mall. The town is full of excellent restaurants, shops and museums. There is one very old inn downtown with a pineapple sign hanging on the porch, plus there is the restored George Washington Hotel. George Washington spent much of his time in Winchester. The town was important during the French and Indian War, the Revolution, and Civil War. Winchester was also home to country music legend Patsy Cline.
- 1 Shenandoah National Park. Provides many opportunities for hiking, including a portion of the Appalachian Trail, fishing, and horseback riding.
- 2 Tubing Down the Shenandoah River, 90 Millville Road, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, ☏ . hours and dates vary; see schedule online. Sit in a one-person inner tube and spend an hour or two slowly drifting down the picturesque Shenandoah River. There are several outfitters to choose from, such as River & Trail Outfitters, which provides the tube, a life jacket, and a bus to the site. $21-$45 per person.
- 3 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, Winchester. Held each spring, usually in late April or early May, this festival includes carnivals, pageants, parades, and a circus as part of the celebrations.
- 4 Jefferson Pools, 11 Bath St, Warm Springs, ☏ . Named after early visitor Thomas Jefferson, these 98 °F (37 °C) hot springs offer year-round soaking in two historic bath houses.
- 5 Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, 19 W Cork St, Winchester (Route 50), ☏ . W-Sa 9:30AM–11:30AM and 1:30PM–3:30PM, Su-Tu closed. Interactive, hands-on museum for families, which focuses on the science, mathematics, humanities and the arts.
- 6 Old Rag Trail, Nethers Rd, Etlan (from Sperryville, Route 211 to Route 522; right on Route 231; right on Route 601), ☏ . Very strenuous 9-mile (14-km) hike up to the summit of a mountain. Includes portions where the only way up is by scrambling up rocks. Stunning views from the top. Recommended only for people in great shape, wearing appropriate hiking boots and with sufficient water and snacks on hand.
- 1 Route 11 Potato Chips, 11 Edwards Way, Mount Jackson, ☏ . M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su closed. Potato chip factory. Visitors can watch the potato chips being made at the factory. They sell delicious potato chips in a variety of flavors.
- 2 PaveMint Spokin' Taphouse, 9 S Commerce Ave, Front Royal (Route 522), ☏ . F Sa 11AM-10PM, Su-Th 11AM-9PM. Located in a former gas station, it serves comfort food with an international twist. Plenty of great beers available. Has both indoor and outdoor seating.
- 3 Griffin Tavern, 659 Zachary Taylor Hwy, Flint Hill (Route 522), ☏ . Restaurant in the style of an English pub. The menu includes burgers, shepherds pie, and fish and chips.
- Shenandoah Valley Apples Though many of the valley's orchards have shut down, you can still find excellent apple cider, apple sauce, and fresh, crunchy apples in autumn. White House Foods, based in Winchester, processes many of these products.
- 4 Orleans Market & Pub, 6855 Leeds Manor Rd, Marshall (Route 688), ☏ . F Sa 8AM-10PM, Su 9AM-7PM, M Tu 8AM-7PM, W Th 8AM-9PM. Simple, inexpensive sandwiches with live outdoor music on many Friday evenings and Saturday evenings.
- 5 Red Fox Inn and Tavern, 2 E Washington St, Middleburg (Route 50), ☏ . Lovely American restaurant featuring good quality meals in a comfortable setting.
- 6 Hunter's Head Tavern, 9048 John S Mosby Hwy, Upperville (Route 50), ☏ . Daily 11:30AM-9:30PM. English-style restaurant and pub with a lush backyard patio.
- 1 Glen Manor Vienyards, 2244 Browntown Rd, Front Royal, ☏ . W-Su 11AM-5PM, M Tu closed. Taste many different varietals of wine that have been produced on their 17-acre vineyard. Beautiful view of the vines, pasture, and mountains. The farm has been owned and farmed by five generations of their family for over 100 years.
- 2 Chester Gap Cellars, 4615 Remount Rd, Front Royal (near Route 522), ☏ . F-Su 11AM-6PM, M-Th closed. Scenic winery that grows its grapes on-site. Lovely view of the surrounding area. Well-behaved dogs are welcome outside.
- 3 Lovingston Winery, 885 Freshwater Cove Ln, Lovingston (near Route 29), ☏ . Sa Su 11AM-5PM, M-F closed. Winery operated by an expert from South Africa who makes wine in the South African style, which is unique in the area.
- 4 Mountain Cove Vineyards, 1362 Fortune's Cove Ln, Lovingston, ☏ . W-Su noon-6PM, M Tu closed. The oldest continuously-operating winery in all of Virginia. Owned and operated by Al Weed, who enjoys sharing many stories about the early days of grape-growing in the area.
- 5 Bold Rock Nellysford Cidery, 1020 Rockfish Valley Hwy, Nellysford, ☏ . F Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-8PM, M-Th noon-9PM. The best hard cider in the area, founded by an American and a New Zealander. Large place with plenty of seating, a backyard meadow, and picnic tables.
- 6 Mount Defiance Cidery and Distillery, 207 W Washington St, Middleburg (Route 50), ☏ . Daily noon-6PM. Local distillery, making and serving bourbon, rum, absinthe, agave spirit, amaretto liqueur, apple brandy, cider, and more. Have a taste on-site, and take away a few bottles for late.
- 7 Happy Creek Coffee & Tea, 6485 Main St, The Plains (Route 55), toll-free: . Daily 8AM-5PM. Strong locally-roasted coffee and a variety of teas, served in a comfortable cafe. Snacks available too.
- 1 Goodstone Inn, 36205 Snake Hill Rd, Middleburg (Route 626), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11:30AM. Located on a 265-acre working farm, this elegant country inn has a spa, an outdoor pool, a golf course, a fitness center, and an outdoor hot tub. Everything on the menu of the on-site farm-to-table restaurant is an absolute delight.
Much of the Shenandoah Valley is inside the National Radio Quiet Zone, approximately 13,000 square miles (34,000 km²) of land where radio transmissions are strongly restricted in order to protect the Green Bank Observatory. The result is that cell phone service is mostly nonexistent. Where signals are not prohibited by law, there may be mountains that block signals. As a result, it is advisable not to depend on cell phone service. It is advisable to have directions in advance. It is best to download a local map onto a cell phone ahead of time or to buy a paper map of the area. Radio stations are limited, too, with just the Allegheny Mountain Radio network operating a handful of low-power FM rebroadcasting stations.