Virginia's Shenandoah Valley
Famous for its natural beauty and historical sites, the beautiful Shenandoah Valley also features rich arts and culture, an abundance of locally crafted beverages, and countless opportunities for outdoor recreation, all wrapped in genuine Virginia hospitality. Come with us on a virtual tour of the southern portion of Virginia's renowned valley.
First stop, Staunton, where you will discover a charming small Virginia town with a wealth of character. The city's downtown is home to a vibrant arts and music scene, a sizzling reputation for local food and dining, and a cool array of independent shops and galleries clustered along the historic main street. Staunton also provides the perfect setting for exciting outdoor adventures and scenic drives, combined with world-class theater and fascinating museums. Come along as we take a virtual walk through the city.
A must-see attraction while in Staunton is the American Shakespeare Center's Blackfriars Playhouse, the only re-creation of Shakespeare's indoor theatre in the world. Shakespeare's original Blackfriars Theatre was housed in a 13th century monastery; it burned in the 1666 Great Fire of London. After years of research and hard work, the Staunton Blackfriars Playhouse was built in 2001. Since then, it has been showing year-round performances of Shakespeare's plays and contemporary works, hailed by The Washington Post as "shamelessly entertaining." Let's go behind-the-scenes of the Playhouse.
American Shakespeare Center's Blackfriars Playhouse
The Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia tells the story of the thousands of people who migrated to colonial America, and of the life they created here for themselves and their descendants. These pioneers came to America during the 1600 and 1700s. Many were farmers and rural craftsmen set in motion by changing conditions in their homelands and drawn to the American colonies by opportunities for a better life. Others came as unwilling captives to work on farms and plantations. The museum has moved or reproduced examples of traditional rural buildings from England, Germany, Ireland, West Africa, and America and engages the public at these exhibits with a combination of interpretive signage and living history demonstrations. Come, let us show you around.
Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia
The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum tells the story of America's 28th President, born in Staunton in 1856. On site, visitor's can explore the President's birthplace, known as the "Manse"; a museum that explores the life and times of Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924); the Research Library, and a gift shop. The President's restored 1919 Pierce-Arrow Limousine is a highlight of the museum, which offers programs for all ages. Take a walk through the museum.
Woodrow Wilson's 1919 Pierce-Arrow Limousine
Exploring Staunton is hungry work. When it's time for a meal break, head to The Shack. Tiny in size but definitely not in taste, The Shack serves the best products from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and surrounding area. Renowned chef Ian Boden has earned two James Beard nominations and a top ranking of Three Stars from the Washington Post. His modern cooking style combines his Jewish eastern European roots with the traditions of the region. Discover more about Chef Boden and The Shack.
Chef Ian Boden
Now it's on to Waynesboro. Located at the intersection of Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Appalachian Trail, this charming town is a great home base for outdoor adventure, whether your tastes run toward biking, hiking and scenic drives, or paddling and fly fishing in the trout-stocked waters of the South River. Waynesboro's walkable downtown features the renovated vaudeville-era Wayne Theatre set among shops, art galleries, and restaurants peppered with murals from the annual Virginia Street Arts Festival. Waynesboro boasts three breweries, all which are part of the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail. Take a quick video tour of Waynesboro.
One of only two urban trout fisheries in the state of Virginia, Waynesboro's South River winds its way through the historic downtown and offers anglers trophy-sized trout. Local fly shops, guides, and annual fishing events make this town a fisherman's haven. Catch more information on fishing on the South River.
Waynesboro's South River
The newly renovated Iris Inn is a great place to lay your head in Waynesboro. This gorgeous 19-acre Blue Ridge Mountain getaway provides incredible views in a relaxing setting. Featuring a main inn and spectacular cabins, the Iris Inn is built to include the personal touches of a bed and breakfast combined with the amenities and high-end services of a boutique hotel.
For a unique craft beverage experience, head to Blue Ridge Bucha for some certified organic kombucha made from pure Blue Ridge Mountain water. It is infused with the finest organic and fair-trade ingredients to create refreshing and unique flavors. Every part of the process - from brewing to bottling to flavoring - is done completely by hand. In 2010, Blue Ridge Bucha was founded with a specific mission: to make delicious, handcrafted kombucha in a refillable bottle. To date, over one million bottles have been saved! Discover more about kombucha - both the non-alcoholic and Blue Ridge versions with a little more punch.
Blue Ridge Bucha
If you are not afraid of adventure (or the dark!), we invite you for an excursion in the Blue Ridge Tunnel. The Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel, a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark beneath Rockfish Gap, Va., was recently dedicated after 18 years of planning and restoration. Known as the longest railroad tunnel in North America when it was completed in 1858, the nearly mile-long route through Afton Mountain is now a pedestrian trail which connects to existing trail systems in central Virginia. Flashlights are definitely required. Take a peak inside the Blue Ridge Tunnel and you'll see why you need a light!