Depending on the destination, the Shenandoah Valley Blue Ridge Mountains is an hour from the beltway. The perfect excuse to get away from the traffic and hustle of the city and indulge in relaxation or adventure depending on the mood, here are Go Blue Ridge Travel’s Hot Happenings in May.
Goodbye to gray skies and cold days, the sun is out, the apple trees are blooming, and gardeners are donning their gloves and digging in the dirt to plant new things. The vineyards will see green sprouting on the vines soon beginning another growth season here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Shenandoah Valley.
With the coming of spring, historic home garden tours and flower shows launch the Spring season. A must attend garden show is the Shepherdstown Back Alley Garden Tour and Tea. Be prepared because the main street of downtown Shepherdstown will be packed with vendors and gardeners.
“This is a special garden event since it is not often you are invited into someone’s garden thru their back yard. Shepherdstown is a 250 year old small town divided by alleys that run between the main streets which allows for backyard entrances and exits for the tour. Truly a garden lover’s dream, the event is very laid back and relaxing letting you take it at your pace. There is a wonderful tea and this year there will also be a garden fest with garden vendors,” said Nancy Craun, a past president of the tour. Tickets may be purchased on line thru Go Blue Ridge Travel as well as in local shops. Plan to stay at the beautiful Hillbrook Inn for a wonderful relaxing weekend in West Virginia.
Spring is also the time for Virginia wineries to pop the corks and take the fun outside of the tasting rooms. On the Saturday before Mother’s Day, enjoy the Wine and Trotter Festival at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds. What sets this wine festival apart from the many others here in Virginia is the harness racing. Shenandoah County Fairgrounds is the only fairgrounds in the state with its own harness race track.
“When we looked to do a wine festival, we wanted to set ourselves apart from the many others here in Virginia. First, the festival will only offer wines from the vineyards belonging to the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail which takes in wineries from Berryville to Roanoke. This is also a harness race sanctioned by the United States Trotting Association. Once a horse wins here at the Wine And Trotters Festival, they can compete in the much larger northern races”, said Tom Eshelman, General Manager of Shenandoah County Fair Association. “This means you can drive an additional thirty minutes and enjoy new wineries you do not get to taste at the festivals closer to the DC area, plus you can be educated to a new sport – ‘Harness Racing’.”
Perhaps the oldest of the Spring Wine Festivals at 28 years and certainly the largest is the Virginia Wine and Craft Festival in Front Royal, Virginia on Saturday, May 18th. “The huge difference that sets this festival apart are the 150 Artisans and Crafters. We will have twenty wineries from all over Virginia, ” said Nikki Foster, Executive Director of the Front Royal and Warren County Chamber of Commerce.
The Virginia Wine and Craft Festival is a great day trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley. The festival opens at 10 am and closes at 6 pm. The festival takes over the historic downtown Front Royal area with musical entertainment and over 20 Virginia vineyards covering seven blocks. A great place to stay for this festival is the Lackawanna Bed and Breakfast Inn.
Artisans and crafters travel to the festival from all over the east coast. From fine handmade jewelry, handcrafted musical instruments, pottery, clothing, original paintings, antiques, there is certainly something for everyone to find that is unique to their individual taste. Food vendors will also be out in full force. Information about the most popular cabins and bed and breakfasts in this area can be found at Go Blue Ridge Travel’s Accommodations. “It is the great atmosphere of good wines, good music and excellent artisans,” said Foster.
It is easy to extend a visit here in the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Go Blue Ridge Travel has over 95 activity categories and showcases events happening each weekend – a must-see website showcasing the Blue Ridge Shenandoah Valley.