Fall in the Heart of the Shenandoah Valley
With four distinct seasons, each offering an unparalleled experience, plan an unforgettable trip— any time of year—to the heart of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.
Day 1: Take in the fall foliage
Just 20 miles from downtown Staunton lies the entrance to both the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. These scenic routes make for a great driving tour offering scenic overlooks with breathtaking mountain views ideal for photo ops and picnics. They also provide access to a number of the area’s most popular hiking destinations for all ages and abilities. From Skyline Drive try Blackrock Summit, a geological wonder that’s an easy 1-mile loop. From the summit of boulder-strewn Blackrock enjoy views that extend for miles in multiple directions.
From the Blue Ridge Parkway, try Humpback Rocks; a challenging two-mile hike offering amazing views from the top of this popular rock outcropping. For those looking for an easy leg-stretcher start at the Humpback Visitor Center and take the Mountain Farm Trail (.25 mile) leading to the Outdoor Farm Museum where you can tour a 19th century log cabin and outbuildings complete with costumed interpreters providing demonstrations of subsistence farmers. Another nearby hike, Catoctin Trail, starts at the Humpback Rocks picnic area and is an easy walk (.3 mile) leading you to an overlook of the Shenandoah Valley. Spend the afternoon discovering the region’s flora and fauna culminating in a picnic lunch. On your back to Staunton stop in at Stable Craft Brewing for brews and light bites. Experience a true working farm brewery as you take a behind scenes tour, see the hop fields, and visit with the horses.
Day 2: Discover Downtown
Discover the life and legacy of the 28th President at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum. Take a guided tour of the Presbyterian Manse where Wilson was born and spent the first year of his life. Next stop is the museum which includes Wilson’s Pierce-Arrow limousine, an interactive World War I trench and seven exhibit galleries which represent through historic photographs, documents and objects, the life and public service of Woodrow Wilson.
Enjoy a tour of downtown Staunton — board your coach or do a walking tour — as you visit Staunton’s Historic Districts with stops at Trinity Episcopal Church to see the original Tiffany stained glass windows; Sunspots Studios to watch live glass blowing demonstrations; and finally, the R.R. Smith Center to visit the visual art and history galleries. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring this charming downtown. Guided tours provided by the Historic Staunton Foundation or Staunton Guided Tours.
Head back to your hotel and freshen up for a night out! Enjoy dinner at one of our local restaurants in downtown Staunton. Visit Emilio’s for its authentic Italian taste; Aioli’s for its Mediterranean fare; Mill Street Grill for their barbecue ribs; or The Depot for American inspired dishes.
Then it’s off to the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse for an award-winning performance. This fall choose from Shakespearean staples like As You Like It and Richard the III or contemporary works like The Man of Mode.
Day 3: Enjoy the Flavors of Fall
Spend the last day enjoying the flavors of fall at Showalter’s Orchard and Greenhouse. Pick-your-own apples, tour the greenhouse full of seasonal favorites like: mums, pansies, gourds, and pumpkins and stop by the tasting room to try a glass of Old Hill hard cider or enjoy their sweet cider with hot donuts from the store.
Next, visit one of the area’s natural wonders: Luray Caverns. Discover the largest series of caverns in the East with cathedral-sized rooms featuring ceilings 10-stories high with towering stone formations of stalactites and stalagmites.
On your way home stop for dinner at the ever-popular Mrs. Rowe’s for home-style cooking and scratch made pies.
OTHER ACTIVITIES & EVENTS
If time allows, be sure and check out these other popular fall activities and events:
- Frontier Culture Museum - visit working farmsteads from Africa, England, Germany and Ireland as you learn about daily life of the Valley’s earliest settlers. The Museum’s Oktoberfest features authentic German food, drinks, and entertainment.
This getaway was submitted by Visit Staunton