The Scenic and Historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
History still a big part of everyday life in Shenandoah County

Seven Bends of the Shenandoah River in Woodstock, Va.


The 1930s Great Depression brought a new level of hardship to the American experience, where daily life could often be summed up in one word: Desperation.

The U.S. economy was on the ropes after 1929 and by the early 1930s, many American workers had gone from the assembly line to breadlines or marching in union picket lines. Poverty was everywhere.

By 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s answer to the crisis was the New Deal. That program included a national citizen’s relief effort that, among other governmental actions taken, resulted in the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC.

The CCC provided hundreds of thousands of unemployed men with a way off the streets and into military-style work camps whose locations were spread all across the country. The camps were open only to males.

The sites were headquarters for supervised work crews that labored on a variety of public works projects, including the Shenandoah Valley’s Shenandoah National Park and its ambitious Skyline Drive mountain roadway.

The CCC “boys,” as the camp enrollees were called at the time, led a vigorous outdoor life. The camps insulated them from the danger of falling into a state of hopelessness, with no future to look to back home, and kept them away from various sorts of prevailing disreputable behaviors and unhealthy temptations.

Most importantly, they could work hard and send their pay money back to needy families. Whenever they left the camps for good, they often took along newly-acquired job skills. The CCC program continued until the outbreak of World War II.

The very first CCC camp, Camp Roosevelt, had been built on one side of a forested mountain ridge, in eastern Shenandoah County, Va. On the other side, Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park were waiting to be built.

Driving up to see the Blue Ridge foliage?
…Remember to thank the CCC
Heritage Museum in Dayton, Virginia

Spectacular mountaintop fall scenery has always been here, but it wasn’t always so accessible. The National Park Service celebrated its hundredth birthday this year. It brings to mind the Civilian Conservation Corps “boys” who built Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive and other public works during the 1930s. The first CCC camp in the nation, Camp Roosevelt, was located right here.

  Happening today

Art exhibition at James Madision University

Institute for Visual Studies, Room 208, Roop Hall. Playing Pictures: Graphic Notation in the 20 Century. Oct. 3 to Nov. 4, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment Free admission. For more information, call 540-568-5656 or visit

Art exhibition at Mary Baldwin University

Hunt Gallery, 101 E Frederick St. Light Box: New Work By Carrie Patterson. Runs Oct. 3 through Oct. 28. Opening reception: Oct. 3 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 540-887-7019 or visit

Full moon walk at Blandy Experimental Farm in Boyce, Va.

Meet at Blandy Experimental Farm Library. Walk through the Arboretum under the full moon. Wear comfortable shoes, bring a flashlight. Reservations required. Admission: $10 Foundation members and UVa. Alumni, $12 for non-members. $20 for member/Alumni families, $25 for non-member families. For more information, call 540-837-1758, extension 224 or visit

Symphonic band concert at James Madision University

Concert Hall, Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. JMU Symphonic Band. For more information, visit

Health workshop at Mary Baldwin University

Understanding Energy Chakras: Blockage and Flow MBU Well By Choice Series. For more information, visit

Art exhibition at James Madision University

Institute for Visual Studies, Room 208, Roop Hall. Playing Pictures: Graphic Notation in the 20th Century. Sept. 13 through Nov. 4, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and by appointment.  Free admission. For more information, call 540-568-5656 or visit

Weekly Tuesday evening bingo in Shenandoah, Va.
Shenandoah Volunteer Fire Company, Shenandoah Community Center. Doors open at 5 p.m. Games start at 6:30 p.m.
Lecture program at Wayne Theatre in Waynesboro, Va.

Ross Performing Arts Center, 521 W Main St. Founding Fathers Series, President Madison Signature Speaker Series: historical interpreter John Douglas Hall. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit

Art exhibition at Staunton Augusta Art Center in Staunton, Va.

20 South New St. Ronald Neill Dixon: First Things. Ecclesiastical designs and working drawings. Runs through Oct. 29.

Click here to see more things to do...


You’ve just landed in the scenic and historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia, USA.
“The daughter of the stars.” is owned and operated by Shenandoah Valley Productions, a little “mom-and-pop” business, but one that’s located right here in the region. Our mission has long been to showcase the area’s visual beauty, unique “Valley” people and culture and, of course, some really, really rich history.

We first fell in love with Virginia in 1970, courtesy of the U.S. Navy, stationed in Norfolk. That was the year Virginia officially declared itself “for lovers.” But for us, the real love affair started in 1977, when we first visited the Shenandoah Valley on our wedding night. We moved here a year later, and well ...we are still here!

So it’s kind of a long story how we got from 1978 to this website, but here it is.

Website background photos are provided by a select group of photographers from across the region who share their own love of the Valley through the lenses of their cameras. Words alone may not really describe the place.

Our regional events listings are always up to date, and we’re not really selling anything on here. In fact, we get no outside funding, but are wholly independent. Like many of our friends and neighbors who also feel blessed to live here, free and independent, surrounded by peace and beauty.

Each month we head out to some part of this diverse region and do a feature story and travel video about it -- some cool event, piece of history or special place that makes the name "Shenandoah" so uniquely known worldwide.

So, come and set a spell, and please also consider making a donation. Either way, we’re glad you stopped by. Come on back to see us again!

Oh, and please visit our Facebook page, too.

Farmscape at Long Branch Plantation in Clarke County, Virginia

Long Branch includes a 200-year-old historical home and nearly 400 preserved farm acres, open to the public.

About William I. Spinrad, Jr - Land Matters Photography

William I. Spinrad, Jr. resides in Frederick County, Va. and is a former Park Ranger with the National Park Service, as well as a Land Resources Officer. He has a degree in Geology and working towards a Masters in Recreation Resources Management. He works part time as a Visitor Assistant at the Virginia State Arboretum/Blandy Experimental Farm in Boyce, Virginia, and believes in conserving land and natural and cultural resources. Photography is both a hobby and a professional pursuit. Mr. Spinrad owns and operates Land Matters Photography. by William I. Spinrad, Jr - Land Matters Photography