Discover the Historic Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Park, forever written on the pages of Civil War history. Walk the dusty roads of Clover Hill Village, and witness life in the 1800’s. Experience Cub Creek Pottery, a residential apprenticeship pottery studio. Awe at the thousands of antique German steins on display at Steins Unlimited. Enjoy the unique African artifact collection on display at the Hazel Moon Resource Center. Delight in the unique architecture of our Turn of the Century Walking Tour. Visit the birthplace and grave site of Joel Walker Sweeney, or immerse yourself in history at the Appomattox County Historical Museum.
For those who simply want to relax and unwind, the pristine waters and outdoor recreation of the James River and Holiday Lake State Park await you, along with disc golf, hiking, fishing, golfing and more. Finally, enjoy shopping in this picturesque community offering great antiquing, charming restaurants, romantic Bed and Breakfasts, and true southern hospitality.
Come to the top of Virginia where you can celebrate pink apple blossoms in the spring. Over 30 events await you during the 82nd Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, including the coronation of Queen Shenandoah, a grand feature parade, and much more!
Return in the fall to pick apples from one of our many orchards and enjoy agricultural festivals that celebrate peaches, apples and pumpkins. Our Follow the Apple Trail audio driving tour will guide you through the scenic roads of Frederick County while informing you of our apple heritage.
Union and Confederate forces fought for control of this important Virginia crossroads. The city changed hands more than 70 times during the conflict; 13 times in one day. A Civil War Orientation for the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District is located within the Winchester-Frederick County Visitor Center. The orientation center is a useful tool in planning your visit to local Civil War sites.
Make our home your getaway, by browsing the unique shops in Old Town. Enjoy delicious cuisine whether in a fine or casual setting, and be entertained at our professional theatres, the Wayside Theatre and Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is the very scenic highway that connects Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive in Virginia, with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. The whole trip along the Parkway, which traverses Virginia and western North Carolina, encompasses a 469 mile drive that can take up to a leisurely 10 days, including stops to explore along the way.
It’s a highway and a journey surrounded by natural beauty. The majority of the Parkway in Virginia runs through the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests and into North Carolina along mountain crests. The road itself is a two lane highway with a 45 mph speed limit, but for travelers who enjoy “driving trips,” traveling the Parkway can be a very special experience.
The attractions along the Virginia portion of the Parkway differ slightly from those on the North Carolina side. In Virginia, the recreated mountain farm near Humpback Rocks at the beginning of the Parkway and Mabry Mill, further south, give visitors a glimpse of traditional mountain life in the early days of settlement. In North Carolina, Linville Falls, the Cradle of Forestry, and other natural wonders, feature the natural environment.
In addition to the stops right along the Parkway itself, the road is next to historic towns from top to bottom, making for fascinating exploration of the heritage and culture of the region along the way. The headquarters of the Blue Ridge Parkway is located in Asheville, North Carolina, a city well known to literary figures including Carl Sandburg, Thomas Wolfe and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Exploration of their homes and haunts in the Asheville area presents an interesting side trip and a one or two day break from driving.
Blue Ridge Parkeway – Highlights of Spring & Summer
Diversity is a hallmark of the Parkway and the keen observer will take notice and marvel at the variations in the southern mountains. One reason for the variation is, quite simply, the change in altitude. The Parkway ranges from a mere 650 feet above sea level at Virginia’s James River, to over 6,000 feet south of Asheville in the rugged Pisgah range. For each thousand feet gained in elevation the temperature decreases several degrees.
This means that a trip along the Parkway, in search of spring wildflowers, is ever changing. If you miss the early blooms at lower elevations, rest assured that you will get more opportunities in the higher elevations where the blooming is a bit later. A variety of wildflowers decorate the Blue Ridge most of the year, beginning in late February or early March as May apple, spring beauty, and a variety of violets come into view. Buttercups and bloodroot are common along the roadsides in April. Without a doubt, May is the best overall month for all elevations along the Parkway as trillium, fire pink, and Bowman’s root cover the ground under the purple and white blossoms of redbud and dogwood. Rhododendron, mountain laurel, and a variety of azaleas put on their big show from May through late June. Catawba rhododendron is the purple variety that blooms from early June around the Peaks of Otter in Virginia to the third week of June at Craggy Gardens in North Carolina. Any time between those dates, there are spots of this variety blooming.
Rosebay rhododendron is the larger white variety that begins in mid to late June and blooms into July, primarily through the area of Rocky Knob in Virginia. Flame azalea, pink azalea or pinxter flower bloom early to late May in many Parkway areas. Mountain laurel blooms mid to late May and into June in higher elevations. Don’t think for a minute that wildflower season is over when the calendar turns to summer because you won’t want to miss the fields of black-eyed Susan, ox eye daisy, tall coneflower, andcoreopsis that blanket fields from late summer into autumn.
Fall is the season when the Blue Ridge attracts the most attention. Travelers, nature writers, photographers, and artists come to enjoy the visual display created by hardwood leaves changing from summer green to autumn gold, red, and orange in North Carolina and Virginia. Visiting here in the peak of the fall color season is a sight that few fail to appreciate.
Finding the right “window” of time and the perfect spot can perhaps be nothing more than good fortune, but keeping a few things in mind and exercising some patience can increase anyone’s chances of seeing the Blue Ridge in its autumn glory. Typically, the Parkway experiences the much anticipated change in fall foliage around the middle of October. Some years the color comes a bit early and other years it may be delayed a week or so. Many factors contribute to variations in when and where colors will peak, with moisture throughout the year and the colder temperatures being key factors.
The Parkway is 469 miles north to south and varies over 5,000 feet in elevation. The best plan for witnessing fall color is to drive some distance on the Parkway, changing elevations and north-south orientation. As is always the case with outdoor viewing, early morning or late afternoon light tends to bring contrasts of shadows that will brighten colors.
Whether you come to the Blue Ridge with camera, palette and brush, or simply to take in the richness from an overlook, a little planning and patience in mid to late October will yield at least some of the pretty color that we’re famous for.