OFF the Parkway Visit Shenandoah County

On a long stretch of road through Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a great retreat from the stressful highways which are often packed and full of trucks making it nearly impossible to enjoy the beautiful scenery that Central, and Western Virginia has to offer. Having the ability to take your time as you travel can be as much a part of the fun as the destination itself and just north of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah County is a great place to visit as you travel.

Along Route 11 which parallels the Parkway to the west, you will find wonderful places to stop, from locally owned restaurants, family friendly attractions, and outdoor activities to stretch your legs and breathe in the fresh air.

At the southernmost end of the county in New Market, stop in for a great meal at Southern Kitchen, an authentic 50’s era establishment with great homemade pies and the best fried chicken. Then find your way to Jon Henry General Store where you can stock up on snacks for the car including locally grown produce and organic snack bars, meat jerkies and some of the most interesting and unusual candies. 

A few short miles north on Route 11 will take you to Shenandoah Caverns family of Attractions. A fascinating stop, especially for kids, to see stalactites and stalagmites underground in a cool, hour-long tour led by experts in its history and geology. Above ground, there are fantastical displays of animated scenes that were once department store window displays of a time past, and a 40,000 square foot museum displaying parade floats from presidential inaugurals and Rose Bowl parades through the decades. Other great places to visit while you’re “in the neighborhood” are Third Hill Winery at DeMello Vineyards, Route 11 Potato Chips, and The Meems Bottom Covered Bridge.

Make your way to the town of Edinburg to walk through a historic mill and museum that highlights the history of Shenandoah County from the perspective of its inhabitants from pre-Civil War times through the present. The Edinburg Mill also serves as a Visitor’s Center where you can find maps, brochures and ask questions about the area. In the downstairs area there is a great restaurant, and a wine shop. 

Just north of Edinburg in the Town of Woodstock, you can stop at a number of great locally owned businesses, shops, galleries, and restaurants, but the great gems in this town lie just outside. The newly opened Seven Bends State Park has wonderful trails for hiking, if you have your canoe, kayak or float-tubes with you, you can put in at one entrance and take out at the other with a relaxing 1–2-hour paddle along the lazy North Fork of the Shenandoah River. For a quicker and very satisfying outdoor experience, try taking a visit to the Woodstock Tower which sits atop Massanutten Mountain. Drive up the mountain to a small parking lot and the trail head is there. Walk 0.15 miles to a tower where a three-flight stair climb will take you to some of the most spectacular views of the county. Return to town and enjoy a sweet treat from   Sugar Creek Snowy and Sweetsome of the best hand-dipped ice cream around.

At the top of county is a town called Strasburg which is perfect for a stroll. There are wonderful murals on the sides of many buildings and cute shops to pop into. Stop in Box Office Brewery to enjoy a reel of craft beer samples  and choose from a variety of delicious eateries like Old Dominion Doggery and Burger Shop or Queen Street Diner for delicious home-style comfort food. In Strasburg, divert from Route 11 out Route 55 East for a lovely scenic drive around the northern peak of Massanutten Mountain known as Signal Knob and in ten miles you will find yourself at an entrance to Interstate 66 which will take you back East to the DC and Northern Virginia region

Other Great places to stop or stay:

Inn at Narrow Passage

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