The Shenandoah Valley and Shenandoah County are synonymous with history, but did you know that they are also a growing destination for craft breweries and outdoor recreation within the region?
Start your journey with a cup of locally roasted coffee and a fresh pastry from Jackson’s Corner Café in New Market. Located in the historic, Lee-Jackson building, this is the only coffee shop in the Central Shenandoah Valley with an on-site roaster and is also home to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Association Offices. Afterwards, take a historic walking tour of New Market and explore the wealth of historic buildings that line S. Congress Street and the surrounding roads. Next, cross the interstate to the Virginia Museum of the Civil War to learn about Virginia’s role in the Civil War and the Battle of New Market. Be sure to also tour the historic Bushong House on the property. Built in 1825, three generations of the Bushong family found shelter in the basement during the Battle of New Market.
Enjoy a scenic drive along the back roads to Swover Creek Farm Brewery. Nestled in the foothills of the Shenandoah Valley, Swover Creek Farms is a Virginia Century Farm that has been in the same family for over 100 years. Enjoy seasonal, small batch beers brewed using many of their own local ingredients including a Blueberry Wheat, Blackberry Shandy or Rye IPA. This pet friendly brewery also features farm crafted sausages and wood-fired pizzas for those looking for a bite to eat.
Travel Routes 42 and 263 beyond Bryce Resort to the historic town of Orkney Springs where you will find Shrinemont nestled in the mountains at the foot of the Great North Mountain in the George Washington National Forest. The medicinal waters and curative powers of the numerous springs throughout Orkney Springs brought travelers to this quaint village for years since the early 19th century. The Virginia House, which was the original Orkney Springs Hotel was completed in 1873 and includes a 5000 square foot ballroom and 40×100 foot dining hall and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Take advantage of the numerous trails that surround the property while you are there to enjoy nature and your surroundings. Shrinemont is also home to the summer music series, The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival where visitors can catch 1st class musical acts in an intimate setting. Pack a picnic, grab a bottle of wine and enjoy music under the stars.
Begin the day with a tour of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove Plantation National Historic Park and learn of General Jubal Early’s surprise attack on the encamped army of Union General Philip Sheridan. Travel just a few miles south to The Hupps Hill Museum and Visitor Center in Strasburg before stopping at Cristina’s Café in Strasburg for a farm to table lunch featuring locally sourced ingredients. Pair your meal with a beverage from their extensive selection of craft beers. While in Strasburg, browse the shops along King Street and peruse the Strasburg Antique Emporium. The building itself was a former textile factory and manufactured parachutes for troops during WWII and is now home to several antiques vendors offering a wide variety of furniture, art, jewelry, books, and much more.
Travel south on Route 11 to Woodstock and explore the Shenandoah County Historic Courthouse. This courthouse remains the oldest courthouse in continuous use west of the Blue Ridge and is now home to a museum and visitor center, but the highlight of this museum is the graffiti that adorns the walls from the Civil War.
If you are lucky enough to visit during September or October, be sure to place your wagers on harness racing at Shenandoah Downs. Located at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds in Woodstock, Shenandoah Downs is home to the only pari-mutuel betting in the Commonwealth. Many weekends include local wine, beer or food events in addition to the horse racing so check the schedule of events in advance.
Start your morning by horseback at Fort Valley Ranch. Located in the “Valley within the Valley” Fort Valley Ranch offers miles of marked trails on the ranch as well as direct access to trails in the surrounding George Washington National Forest. Hourly, half and full day guided rides are available or visitors are welcome to bring their own horses or ride those of the ranch.
After your ride, cross Edinburg Gap into Edinburg for lunch at Sal’s Italian Bistro, Penelope’s Café or Beans BBQ. Continue your trip by exploring the Shenandoah Valley Cultural Heritage Museum at the Edinburg Mill. Built in 1848, The Edinburg Mill was originally a grist mill until 1978 and is one of the few mills in the Valley that was not burned by Sheridan during the Civil War. It is now home to the museum and a wine shop and hosts several events throughout the year.
The best way to experience an area is to do as the locals do and what better way to discover the local flair of Shenandoah County than by experiencing many of our unique finds and local flavors!
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