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Spotlight: Shenandoah Valley

Wine, natural wonders and Civil War history are among the treasures here

Along the western stretch of Virginia lies the Shenandoah Valley, composed of a handful of communities with a rich history and culture that embody the spirit of America. From Roanoke to Martinsburg, the Shenandoah Valley has more in store than you can uncover in a single road trip.

Open Air Fun

Folks in the Valley know how to have fun under open skies. Come to the Valley in late summer and enjoy live music at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival in Orkney Springs. The intimate outdoor setting and great performances have brought in crowds for more than 50 years.

Kick off spring at the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in the northern stretch of the valley, where arts and crafts share equal billing with musical guests and television personalities. The 10-day festival features a parade, a coronation for the festival queen and a talent show, along with many other family-friendly activities.

©Virginia Tourism Corporation

©Virginia Tourism Corporation

Get to know native and non-native animals that reside at Natural Bridge Zoo in Natural Bridge. In addition to viewer-friendly exhibits and a petting zoo for visitors, park guests can ride elephants and experience close encounters with other friendly species.

Kids are the special guests at Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum in Winchester. In addition to interactive science-based activities, children and families can enjoy programs such as astronomy night and the family engineering challenge.

Valley Vineyards

Toast your Shenandoah Valley experience at any one of the vineyards along the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail. At North Mountain Vineyard & Winery, you can sample handcrafted wines in the tasting room and pack a picnic to enjoy on the grounds of this family-friendly destination. Tour Barren Ridge Vineyards before enjoying one of the award-winning vintages on the patio while the sun sets.

Awaken your inner artist at the Shenandoah Valley Art Center in Waynesboro. Here you can take a class or just enjoy the work of local artisans as well as live music throughout the year. Nature’s creations are on display year-round in Shenandoah National Park, which runs along the eastern edge of the valley and continues to attract visitors with opportunities for birdwatching, canoeing and kayaking, hiking and camping.

Shenandoah National Park’s sightseeing gems include two peaks that rise more than 4,000 feet above sea level, high-elevation streams that tumble over rocks to create rapids, cascades and waterfalls, and stands of chestnut and red oak.

Going Deep

Beauty also lives below the surface in Grand Caverns, America’s oldest continuously operated show cave. Rare shield formations provide the centerpiece for underground adventure and entertainment, but other attractions include hundreds of signatures left by Civil War troops who used the caverns for shelter during the conflict. The caverns are part of a multi-use park that has trails for hiking and biking, a swimming pool and a miniature golf course.

Take an elevator 60 feet down to the floor of Shenandoah Caverns and step into a strange world where the walls seem to be melting. This phenomenon is called “bacon” and is formed by water running down walls and depositing minerals over time. The bacon’s “stripes” are the result of various types of minerals found in the water. Peer up at the towering wall of flowstone in the Grotto, the room where the Caverns were first spotted through a natural opening at the surface.

©Virginia Tourism Corporation

©Virginia Tourism Corporation

Valley Waters

Shenandoah River Adventures in the town of Shenandoah promises a wild ride or a lazy day on the water—whichever floats your boat. Canoeing, kayaking and tubing are popular ways to enjoy the beauty of the Shenandoah River. If you’re angling to catch some fish, Shenandoah is prime bass territory. The smallmouth species is plentiful in the river—so much so, many anglers find they can snag at least two fish an hour. You’ll also have luck with crappie, muskies and channel catfish.

Stop in the town of New Market for a history lesson, courtesy of the Virginia Museum of the Civil War and New Market Battlefield. The museum focuses on the battle at New Market, where young cadets from the Virginia Military Institute fought alongside Confederate troops to push back Union forces and secure the battlefield for the Confederacy.

For More Information

Shenandoah Valley Inc.
800-847-4878
www.visitshenandoah.org
Virginia Tourism Corporation
800-847-4882
www.virginia.org