It’s rural, it’s quiet, and the views of rolling hills, mountains and farmland are amazingly uncluttered. Traffic is nearly non-existent and the country roads are perfect for meandering and taking in the fresh air.
Shenandoah County is linear as its borders to the East and West are defined by the Alleghenies and The Blue Ridge mountain ranges. Interstate 81 runs through the center if you need to get somewhere in a hurry, but we recommend following the Old Valley Pike (Route 11) which parallels 81 and is the string that connects six charming historic towns like pearls on a strand.
Begin your scenic drive at the North end of the County in the vibrant and colorful Town of Strasburg. You’ll understand immediately why this town is considered the Arts and Culture center of the region. Vast colorful murals painted by world-renowned artists can be seen throughout the town’s center and you will also find the Shenandoah Museum of Contemporary Art. Stick around for a while and hear about Strasburg’s “Pot Town” History in the Strasburg Museum across the street.
Cruise south along Route 11 for a few miles and welcome to the town of Woodstock which is often considered central to many great shops and restaurants, but also terrific hiking trails, river access, and biking. One of the favorite gathering places for the locals is the Woodstock Café right in the center of town. It’s no surprise that lunch time draws a big crowd. The sandwiches are divine, the soup’s homemade and the specials are always exciting. If you’re around Thursday evening through Saturday, Dinner is served at the Woodstock Café and the menu switches to fine dining and handcrafted pasta dishes.
From Woodstock it’s easy to continue down Route 11 Southbound and see more wonderfully charming and historic towns, a covered bridge and beautiful rolling hills of farmland, but your next stop MUST be the Town of New Market which is steeped in rich history. If you have an interest in American History, New Market is home to the Virginia Museum of the Civil War. There you can learn about the final battles within the confederacy and interesting stories of the VMI Cadets who served.
For additional nostalgia, pop into Southern Kitchen in New Market where the 50’s style lunch counter is as authentic as the batter fried chicken and homemade pies. It certainly feels like a step back in time, and the food is delicious.
In just a day, you can cover a lot of ground in Shenandoah County.