What’s New in the Shenandoah Valley: Attractions and Shopping
April 22, 2021
The Valley supplies an almost endless list of attractions to keep you busy. You’ll find plenty of hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, rock climbing, skiing, spelunking, farm tours, and more. Here are some of the Valley’s newest adventures.
If you’re looking for something new and fun to do with the family, you won’t want to miss The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival’s (Winchester) 94th annual celebration, which has been scheduled with an emphasis on outdoor activities. Visitors can enjoy sports and carnival events, music, food, wine, and more. Another great place for kids is the Children’s Discovery Area at Natural Bridge State Park (Natural Bridge). There’s a new .6-mile Kids in Parks Track Trail with self-guided brochures that teach about pollinators, birds, and animals that may be seen in the park. Kids will enjoy The Nature Explore Outdoor Play Area, which uses natural features to engage children and immerse them in an outdoor environment of creative play. The park has also just received designation as a dark sky park with the International Dark-Sky Association to promote stargazing opportunities.
Natural Bridge State Park
Do the kids love animals? Give them an adventure they won’t forget at Mt. Sidney’s Point of View Alpaca Farm. Not only can you buy alpaca fiber products and learn about the process of making them, but you can sign up for a Walk-A-Paca tour! You will get your own alpaca to learn about, bond with, photograph, and lead down the trail. Finally, plan ahead for the fall with a trip to Fairview Fun Farm (Luray). Not only will you be able to get your pumpkins and fall photos, but you’ll get to enjoy fall-themed activities for the whole crew.
Point of View Alpaca Farm, Mt. Sidney
Take a hike through the newly restored Crozet Tunnel (Waynesboro/Augusta County), which recently opened to the public. The trail is just over two miles and takes you through a 4,700’ long abandoned train tunnel. The trail is open dawn to dusk and has something for everyone – railroad enthusiasts, hikers and bikers, history buffs and cave dwellers.
Crozet Tunnel, Waynesboro/Augusta County
Thrill seekers can rejoice: Massanutten Outdoor Waterpark has added several more ways to have fun including an enhanced kiddie area, an observation area, outdoor bar, and three new slides. You’ll be giddy with the free-falling sensation of the Peak Plunge and the tightly coiled spin-for-all of the Valley Vortex. Cling to your tube as you hurtle down MASS Mayhem.
Another way to enjoy the outdoors is along the 3+ miles of The Trails at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. The public art placed throughout the trail system is the largest outdoor art exhibit in Virginia. The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley is also opening the Norman Rockwell’s America exhibit, which will feature six decades of original works from this contemporary American master. For a chance to see more outdoor art, check out the Cloud Mural at Cloud Street & Main Street (Front Royal). The mural was painted by Chris Stephens and Melissa Ichiuji as part of a 2020 Downtown Front Royal program. Art-minded youngsters (and adults) who are inspired to make their own art will enjoy creative clubs and classes at The Oliver Art House in Broadway.
Cloud Mural, Front Royal
The Oliver Art House, Broadway
For those looking for entertainment, Staunton’s American Shakespeare Center will be offering outdoor performances at The Blackburn Inn in 2021. You’ll love lounging on the lawn and getting immersed in the high-quality performances. The Atlantic Union Bank Center at JMU (Harrisonburg) is another excellent venue for entertainment. With a seating capacity of 8,500, state-of-the-art multidimensional technology with 270-degree ribbon boards, dramatic lighting and sound, the center will house the men’s and women’s basketball programs, concerts, and much more.
Atlantic Union Bank Center, Harrisonburg
And if low-key, friendly competition is more your style, you’ll enjoy Bottles, a new “beer-cade” in Waynesboro, with dozens of indoor and outdoor skills games, over 80 different types of bottled beverages to choose from, plus tasty bar food.
History lovers will enjoy new programs and tours at Lexington’s Stonewall Jackson House. New self-guided tours are supported by exclusive video narration and content accessible via QR codes in each room. This includes information about the enslaved people who lived and worked in the house. A new exhibit center and gift shop will display 60 artifacts never seen before by the public. Staunton’s Woodrow Wilson Presidential LIbrary & Museum’s new temporary exhibit is “The Quarantine Museum.” This exhibit features stories of members of the Staunton community as they have navigated the pandemic. The exhibit is displayed in the gallery and also has a virtual component.
Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum, Staunton
You’ll be sure to find something lovely for your home at Nest & Hive (Luray). The store is located downtown and sells gifts as well as vintage and farmhouse-inspired decor. You’ll find art, home accents, women’s clothing, novelty candy, and beautiful floral arrangements. And if you’re a fan of giving older items a new lease on life, Dayton’s Fab Refurbs does just that. Check out their shop for painted and restored furniture, jewelry, and more. Mercy House Thrift Store has opened a new location in Timberville. Treasure hunters will find lightly-used clothing, furniture, housewares, toys, and more, and all purchases support Mercy House shelter-related expenses.
Nest & Hive, Luray
Fashonistas take note! The Buttercup (New Market) boutique sells cool jewelry and women’s clothing. You can also buy hats for men and home decor. And if you’re looking for clothing, shoes, and gear for the trail, Appalachian Trail Outfitters is the place to go. Beginners and experts alike will find lots of advice and everything they need to “thrive outside.” A new location in Elkton makes it a cinch to buy essentials for the trail and then quickly access the Swift Run Gap Entrance to Shenandoah National Park
North River Marketplace (Bridgewater) serves lunch, dinner, and party trays for a crowd. Have them prepare a charcuterie tray for your graduation party or a pork barbeque picnic for six. Grab some fresh, local produce as well special treats. You don’t want to miss the PrePOPsterous gourmet popcorn bar with rotating flavors like caramel, cheddar ranch, cinnamon, and maple. Pick up something delicious at Shenandoah’s Taste: The Southern Market. Purchase farm fresh eggs, milk, meats, and produce to prepare at home or pull up a seat at the dine-in bar for Southern classics like fried chicken, fried livers, chili mac, baked apples, spicy cauliflower, or fried dill pickles.
Taste: The Southern Market, Shenandoah
The market at Cross Keys Farm (Harrisonburg) sells seasonal vegetables and fruit fresh-picked from their fields and trees as well as jellies, jams, and fresh-baked bread. Since they only sell what’s actually growing, you’ll know you’re getting the best and freshest. Check Facebook to see what’s being harvested now, and consider signing up for a Peter Rabbit pass, which entitles you to five anytime visits where you can fill a half-bushel box with whatever’s available. Another place to buy the Valley’s bounty is Heard’s Cedar Hill (Bentonville). This family-operated farm market opened in 2020 and features local meats, local produce, dairy, jams, jellies, and products by local artists. Finally, Luray’s Canna Valley Hemp is dedicated to helping patients find natural healing and pain alleviation through the use of organic craft cannabis.
Heard’s Cedar Hill, Bentonville
Canna Valley Hemp, Luray