The Scenic and Historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
 
American history was shaped on Shenandoah Valley Civil War battlefields

Union Civil War troops in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

 

The solid 19th century stone houses and buildings that still stand in the Shenandoah Valley, as well as in other places in America, could illuminate what the Founding Fathers had in mind with their “built to last” U.S. Constitution.

It may be true that the American “checks and balances” form of government has always appeared to operate with a kind of steampunk inefficiency, but it reflects something that may be flexible enough to survive unanticipated twists and turns in the lives of successive generations of Americans.

Yet the United States had not even reached its centennial when it faced its biggest crisis of unity. National political processes began to boggle down in the mid 1800s, largely over the issue of slavery. Talking through the problem wasn’t working. The only means of settling the issue took the form of Balkinization and military violence. Thus began the American Civil War, a national tragedy. From that experience, parts of the national psychology even by now have not fully recovered.

Abraham Lincoln’s successful reelection in 1864 finally provided real assurance that the Union would in fact endure. After four years of death and destruction, the outcome had still not been clear. Had the “Peace Democrat,” George B. McClellan defeated Lincoln, the U.S. undoubtedly would have steered toward recognition of the Confederate States as an independent nation.

As late as the summer of 1864, Lincoln himself had begun to fret aloud that he may not win. The result was a landslide in his favor. Two very eleventh-hour Union battle victories had occurred just before the election: Atlanta in July and the Shenandoah Valley’s Cedar Creek in October. They proved to be a critical boost that the Northern cause had needed at this watershed moment.

In a war as complex as the Civil War, it may be hard to point to a single tipping point toward its resolution. The tide had indeed started to turn a year earlier at Gettysburg. But there is no doubt that at least part of what had happened in the Shenandoah Valley immediately before the 1864 election helped Lincoln win his second term of office. The imporant thing was that the Union had been preserved.

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Hot summer, cool fun!
Shenandoah Valley in June

The midsummer sun is bright, life’s a splash of fun. It’s nearly always cooler up on the ridges, where a summer thermal can carry a hang glider for miles. Paddle or tube from one shady patch to another on the Shenandoah River. Or head down for nature’s air conditioning at any one of our world-famous caverns. Above ground or below, July is the perfect time for chillin’ in the Shenandoah Valley

  Happening today

Music and Dancing in Raphine, Va.

Clarks Ole Time Music Center, located at Clarks Lumber Co., 1288 Ridge Road. longtime Friday-night tradition of old-time music and dance from 7:30-10 p.m. Admission: $8 per person, $15 per couple. For more information, call 540-377-2490.


Outdoor concert downtown in Luray, Va.

Ruffner Plaza. Evenings on Main Concert Series. For more information, visit townofluray.com


Night Skies skygazing program at Shenandoah National Park

Big Meadows Area mile 51, inside the Rapidan Camp Gate. Night Skies. 8:30 p.m., July 21, Aug. 12, Sept. 22, Oct. 20. Blanket, chair, and flashlight recommended. Look at unpolluted night sky through telescope. Weather permitting. Free admission. For more information, call 540-999-2222 or visit www.goshenandoah.com/activities-events.


Outdoor music concert in Staunton, Va.

Sunspots Pavilion, Byers St, in the Wharf district. April through October, music and other types of live performances on outdoor stage. Schedule available online. For more information, call 540-885-0678 or visit www.facebook.com/sunspotspavilion


Theater production at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va.

10 S. Market St. Love`s Labour`s Lost. Hosted by American Shakespeare Center. For more information, call 540-851-1733 or visit www.americanshakespearecenter.com


Film screening at Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville, Va.

95 Chalmers Ct. Film: Keiths Blues: My Life with Parkinsons. Live music by Keith Harrington and Friends precedes film. Doors open at 7 p.m. Benefits Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research. Ages 12 years and younger, free admission. Advance tickets: $25. $30 at the door. For more information, call 540-955-2004 or visit BarnsofRoseHill.org


Winery event in Fishersville, Va.

Barren Ridge Vineyards, 984 Barren Ridge Rd. Fourth Friday Sunset concert series. Vick Hill. Food available. Wine-tastings. Admission: $10, includes wine glass. For more information, visit www.barrenridgevineyardsva.com


Outdoor music concert in Orkney Springs, Va.

Shrinemont, Orkney Grade. Arlo Guthrie. Hosted by Shenandoah Valley Music Festival. For more information, call 540-459-3396 or visit musicfest.org


Outdoor music concert in Winchester, Va.

Taylor Pavilion, 125 N. Loudoun St. Friday Night Live festival series concert, summer block party. Robbie Limon Band. Beer and wine garden. For more information, visit oldtownwinchester.org


Kayak river trip series in Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

RiverPalooza. 14 paddle events in 4 months, ending on World River Day on Sept. 24 at National Harbor. Shenandoah Float-Fishing. For more information, visit www.potomacriverkeepernetwork.org


Blues music concert at Bright Box Theater in Winchester, Va.

15 N Loudoun St. The Nighthawks. Doors open at 7 p.m. Show at 8 p.m. For more information, call 540-665-2878 or visit brightboxwinchester.com


Civil War battlefield tour at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park

Meet at the National Park Service Visitor Contact Station, 7712 Main St.Two-hour, guided car-caravan tour led by ranger vehicle: Chronological interpretation of the Battle of Cedar Creek. Stops at key landmarks. Presented by Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. July 21, 22, 24, 21, 22, 24, 28, 29 and 31 at 2 p.m. For more information, call 540-869-3051 or visit nps.gov/cebe


Bluegrass music concert in Lexington, Va.

607 Borden Rd. Summer 2017 concert series. The Festy Presents: The Infamous Stringdusters. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.. Tickets: $18-25 at the door. For more information, visit www.limekilntheater.org


Auto race at Natural Bridge Dragstrip in Natural Bridge, Va.

168 N. Dry Well Rd. Fast and Furious Friday Nite, Bike Night-Dragon Style MC. Racing schedule subject to change. For more information, call 540-291-3724 or visit naturalbridgedragstrip.com


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About ShenandoahValley.com


You’ve just landed in the scenic and historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia, USA.
“The daughter of the stars.”

ShenandoahValley.com 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.

Church Ruins overlooking Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

The Harpers Ferry historic district offers foot travelers much to discover

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.

...photo by William I. Spinrad, Jr - Land Matters Photography