What’s New in the Shenandoah Valley: Lodging and Dining
2020 was a tough, tough year for everyone, even established businesses, but we’re proud to say that we’ve seen a lot of growth in the Shenandoah Valley region. Not only have we added more than 20 new restaurants, but we’ve also welcomed 25+ new accommodations and more than twenty new attractions.
Read on for a taste of what’s new in the Valley.
There’s so much to do in the Shenandoah Valley, and you won’t be able to fit it all into a day. You’ll want to stay awhile so you can go on more hikes, photograph more views, sample more farm-to-table dining, drink more microbrews, and explore more of our attractions. Fortunately, there are lots of accommodations, and we’ve added more choices in the past year.
Staunton’s historic Blackburn Inn has always pampered its visitors, but this year, it opened a 10,000-square foot conference center and a new spa. The Spa at the Blackburn Inn offers a variety of nail and skin care, massage, and reflexology services designed to relax and restore. Book just one, or multiple for an indulgent spa day or half-day. You can also expect special treatment at The Georges (Lexington), which Travel + Leisure Magazine designated as the #2 U.S. City Hotel in 2020. Currently offering 18 designer accommodations, the thoughtfully restored 200-year-old inn will add three more guest rooms this year. Natural Bridge Historic Hotel & Conference Center (Natural Bridge) became a member of the Trademark Collection by Wyndham hotel brand and will undergo a $750,000 renovation including guest-room renovations and upgrading, exterior upgrades, and some redesigned public spaces.
The Blackburn Inn, Staunton
Harrisonburg’s soon-to-open Hyatt Place will boast a rooftop restaurant with a wide view of the valley, daily fresh breakfasts, modern social and workspaces, and 24-hour in-room dining for those who want their privacy. Tru by Hilton, Comfort Inn & Suites, and Best Western Plus have also all opened (or will be opening) new hotels in Harrisonburg. Avid Hotel (Staunton) is a new brand by IHG where “the essentials are done right.” Premium pillow-top mattresses and blackout roller shades assure you of sound sleep and you’ll wake up to a high-quality grab-and-go breakfast and friendly service. Also new to Staunton, Holiday Inn Express features an indoor pool, fitness facility, hot breakfast at the Express Start Breakfast Bar, and more. Finally, the new Microtel by Wyndham is under construction and is slated to open in mid-2021.
Hyatt Place, Harrisonburg
If it’s tranquility you’re after, book a weekend in one of three rooms at Meadowlark Ridge Bed and Breakfast. This log home sits surrounded by 16 acres of meadows and private forest in the Augusta County countryside. You’ll enjoy a delicious breakfast that emphasizes local ingredients, including herbs grown on the farm. A second Waynesboro-area option is Cider House Bed and Breakfast, a 1790 farmhouse with stunning views of the Blue Ridge. Three guest rooms are available and the full gourmet breakfast features locally sourced meat, fruit, and produce.
Meadowlark Ridge, Mt. Solon
You’ll also be able to relax at Lexington’s Serenity Cottages. “Heaven Sent Cottage” and “Amazing Grace Cottage” are situated on 18.5 acres with wooded and mountain views. The cabins have open floor plans, king beds, fireplaces and fire pits, and soaking tubs with tiled showers. The Wayside Inn in Middletown has been serving travelers since 1797, and it is the oldest continually operated inn in America. New owners have taken over and are renovating the space for an expected reopening date of mid 2021.
The Wayside Inn, Middletown
Page County is known as the Cabin Capital of Virginia, and new and unique places to stay are opening up all year long. These lodgings are located near some of the Valley’s best attractions, including Shenandoah National Park, Luray Caverns, and the Shenandoah River. Shenandoah County is another wonderful place to rent a cabin, and visitors can choose home bases in historic downtowns, the scenic countryside, the mountains, or by the river. New opportunities include The Family Farmhouse, an 1830’s restored Victorian home in Mt. Jackson, and Earls’ Place at Shenandoah Caverns, which at seven bedrooms can sleep large families or parties of friends.
Earl’s Place at Shenandoah Caverns
Glampers will rejoice when Bally Brook Farm opens this spring. Deep in Shenandoah County’s George Washington National Forest, the farm perches on a historic hill with sweeping views of the mountains. Amenities will include pre orders of local food and beverage baskets, cooking onsite, and yoga classes. Reimagine camping!
It’s been an especially challenging year for the restaurant business, but a number of new dining opportunities have risen to the challenge and are thriving.
If you could top a donut with anything, what would it be? Glazed and Confused Donuts is Winchester’s destination for donuts of your dreams. This family-owned store specializes in handmade custom donuts, locally sourced ingredients and locally roasted coffee.
Glazed and Confused Donuts, Winchester
Bridgewater’s Sugar & Bean Café serves breakfast, lunch, soups and salads, smoothies, and bakery items, including a bakery box filled with a variety of sweet treats. Another good place to fuel up is Woodstock’s Flour and Water Bakery, where you can get both a tasty lunch menu with fresh sandwiches, soup, and quiche, and a once-a-month Sunday Afternoon Tea Service. They bake bread and handmade pastry like cruffins, cookies, turnovers, and seasonal scones each morning. All of this can be enjoyed with coffee from local coffee roasters Crazy Fox Roasting Company and Broad Porch Coffee Co. A fourth spot to score breakfast and lunch is Magpie (Harrisonburg), which dishes up breakfast and lunch from a menu of diner-inspired items. Their coffee is brewed from beans roasted right next door at Chestnut Ridge Coffee, and the in-house bakery turns out fresh breads and pastries daily. Coffee lovers should check out the new Luray location of Broad Porch Coffee Co., where you can sit and sip from a menu of brewed coffee and espresso drinks or buy roasted beans to take with you.
If you’ve never tried an American bowl restaurant, you’re in for a treat at Augusta Kitchen (Fishersville). The bowls feature “Southern Fresh” ingredients and you can choose something suggested by the staff, or construct your own from a long list of ingredients. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating in addition to take out. 101 West Bev in downtown Staunton opened in late 2019, and also dishes up a version of bowl food “inspired by Hawaiian poke bowls but integrated with local foods and flavors from around the world.” If you’re looking for some food on the go, swing by the Backyard Gourmet in Waynesboro. This new food truck opened in December and serves delicious meals like crab cake sandwiches, bang bang chicken, and salad. Look for a menu that changes seasonally.
Augusta Kitchen, Fishersville
If you’re craving burgers, try Old 33 Beer & Burger Grill in Elkton, where they serve icy beer and craft burgers made with grass fed beef. Waynesboro’s The River Burger Bar also takes pride in their deliciously handcrafted burgers, tasty appetizers, and a wide variety of wine, craft beer, and cocktails. Another Waynesboro newcomer is Los Panchos, a new Mexican restaurant offering delicious food and ingredients at affordable prices. And if the only thing that will sooth your hunger is pizza, Your Pie Pizza in Penn Laird features six signature pies, but customers can build their own. You’ll also like their pasta, panini, and salad, but make sure you leave room for gelato in flavors like key lime cream pie! If you’re the type of person who just can’t pick a flavor of ice cream, you don’t have to at Sugar Creek Snowy and Sweet, which just opened a second location in Woodstock. You can actually order a flight of ice cream from a wide variety of homemade flavors.
The upscale chef-inspired American fare Paladin Bar & Grill is opening a second location just north of Winchester, called Paladin Woolen Mill, and Lexington’s family-owned Gin Hotel, which dates from 1926, aligned with Choice Hotels’ Ascend Hotel Collection to rebrand and showcase local art, amenities, and flavor. The in-house restaurant is now a gastro-pub named Juniper Lounge, which appropriately features several gin inspired entries and cocktails. Tonic Restaurant and Inn was also rebranded with a focus on healing and therapeutic vibes. The updated outdoor dining patio offers a new drink list built around herbal remedies, bubbly tonics, and Italian-style gins. The menu presents local ingredients with East Asian and Central American influences.
Paladin Woolen Mill, Winchester
Juniper Lounge at The Gin Hotel, Lexington
Wineries, Distilleries, Breweries, & Cideries
We need to brag about our seven Virginia Governor’s Gold Cup gold medal-winning wineries. Make sure to stop by for a tasting or a glass and find out what all the fuss is about!
- Barren Ridge Vineyards
- Bluestone Vineyard
- Cave Ridge Vineyard (where they’ve just opened new igloos to keep you cozy in the cold.)
- CrossKeys Vineyards
- Muse Vineyards
- Rockbridge Vineyard & Brewery
- Shenandoah Vineyards
It’s been a busy year for wineries, distilleries, breweries, and cideries in the Valley. Lightwell Survey Wines (Waynesboro) is now open for tastings by appointment, and Rockbridge Vineyard & Brewery has expanded its wine operation by adding a craft brewery. There’s usually live music on Sunday afternoons, so find a seat, indoors or out, and enjoy fine wine or small-batch brews. Rockbridge Vineyard & Brewery is the newest member on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail, which also welcomed Elkton Brewing Company and Cave Hill Farm Brewery in 2020. Elkton Brewing Company’s delicious beers are named for local stories or connections. You’ll enjoy visiting the taproom in a restored historic mill building, drinking the beer, finding landmarks on the mural of local imagery, and listening for the trains that signal the start of the “Chugga chugga discount.”
Elkton Brewing Company, Elkton
Another brewery along the Beerwerks Trail, Basic City Beer Co., opened a new venue called The Showroom in an 1800’s farmhouse known for its association with Virginia Metalcrafters. Enjoy Basic City Beer Co. draft beer, wine, cider, cocktails, and a Southern style tasting menu in an old-world tavern ambiance layered with a new world vibe. Basic city is now serving new brick fire pizza in the taproom and plans to expand to provide a large, spaced out indoor dining area for the near future, and an indoor music venue in the long-term.
Luray’s River Hill Wine and Spirits impressed spirit influencers in 2020 by winning the East Coast Craft Spirit Award Gold Medal for their River 100 Bourbon. River Hill’s ingredients are grown either on the farm or nearby. This small, family-owned distillery also sells 100% corn whiskey and various flavors of country wine.
River Hill Distillery, Luray
Winchester’s Old Town Cidery opened early January 2021. The Glaize family, having grown apples in Winchester and Frederick County for 4 generations, have now opened their own hard cidery in Old Town Winchester, just next to Winchester Ciderworks. The tasting room has outdoor space, six ciders at a time on their taps, and regular food trucks on site. Harrisonburg’s first cidery, Sage Bird Ciderworks uses locally sourced, freshly picked apples and other fruit to produce small-batch, hand-crafted hard cider that honors tradition and welcomes the future. The taproom has both indoor and outdoor seating and sells standard, seasonal, and specialty ciders. Stop by for a taste, grab a bottle or growler to go, or even take a tour of the cider-making facilities.
Sage Bird Ciderworks, Harrisonburg
Warren County’s first meadery, Honey & Hops Brew Works (Front Royal), burst onto the scene last year and has already won gold and silver medals. The Brew works offers a variety of flavors (both dry and sweet) of honey wine for tastings and by the glass.
Honey & Hops, Front Royal
Check back next month for What’s New in the Shenandoah Valley: Attractions and Shopping!
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