Wars, Gardens and Wine This Weekend in the Shenandoah Valley

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Wars, Gardens and Wine This Weekend in the Shenandoah Valley
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Go Blue Ridge Travel

What makes the Shenandoah Valley so fascinating is the variety of lifestyles people can enjoy in the mountains of Virginia. This weekend is a prime example. 

First for the reenactment followers, this weekend is the 150th Anniversary of the New Market Reenactment – New Market, Virginia May 16th, 17th, and 18th

“The beat of a drum rang out as the Confederate and Union soldiers took their positions on the battlefield. On one side the Union army appeared dressed in blue wool government-issued uniforms and carrying an American flag. On the other side the Confederates arrived in homemade outfits, most of which were brown, waving a Rebel flag. Both sides had their guns drawn.

Peering down the barrels of their rifles, the soldiers took aim at each other across the New Market Battlefield in New Market, Va. When they got close enough to shoot, they pulled their triggers without hesitation.

Plumes of smoke billowed out with each shot, and the soldiers yelled with delight as they watched their opponents fall to the ground. Other soldiers rode through the battlefield on horseback and engaged each other with swords, while others fired cannons. All relished in the thrill of the fight.

The combat lasted about an hour before the Confederates overcame the Union troops, forcing them over a hill just as it happened on that very battlefield in 1864 during the Civil War. Only this time no one really died and nothing was really lost. This was a historical reenactment.”  (American Journal – “Marching into the Pass). A fascinating experience of America’s history for both adults and children.

“Bucket” saids YES to this one.


Back Alley Garden Tour and Garden Fest – Shepherdstown, West Virginia May 17th and 18th.

For a more relaxing weekend experience for the family, go to our northern edge of the valley and experience the Back Alley Garden Tour in the quaint town of Shepherdstown, West Virginia.  Considered the Greenwich Village of DC, this is an informal relaxing garden experience allowing the visitors the opportunity to enter historic homes through the back doors. Shepherdstown is 1.5 square mile infusing 250 years of history and today’s modern, immaculant cultivation and playful wildness.

“The garden tour shows off the historic homes of Shepherdstown in intimate ways allowing people to explore both the garden and architectural beauty of a home. “Shepherdstown is a community that supports sustainable gardens, the value of gardening to the individual. You will see formal gardens, vegetable gardens, and native gardens. Many of our supporters volunteer because of their need to learn more about gardening.  Since this is a walking tour, the afternoon tea included with the ticket gives you the opportunity to regenerate before starting your tour again,” said Kathryn Stella, one of the organizers of the Back Alley Garden Tour. “The Back Alley Garden Tour gives the town itself the incentive to spruce up our common areas for the upcoming summer tourism season,” said Jim Auxer, Mayor of Shepherdstown. The Back Alley Tour is a community project of the Shepherdstown Community Club.

This year for the first time, the businesses of Shepherdstown will support the tour with a Garden Fest occurring in the center of the town. “There will be garden vendors and both the restaurants and retailers are supporting the garden theme sporting horticulture products, pottery, garden hats, and more. Even the Old Opera Theater house will be running two movies for kids – It is a Bugs Life and .

One of the treasures for kids is to check out is the ‘smallest house in Shepherdstown. Called the ‘Little House’, the two story house was built in 1929 and has two floors, the supersized doll house known as Little House was a project for Shepherd College for student teachers to study the play habits of children.  Right next to the Little House over the bridge covering the infamous town run is the Community Garden. “Children can enjoy taking the Children Walk in the community garden following a self -guided tour guide for children only”, said Deb Tucker organizer of the Garden Fest.

Again, Bucket gives this event a YES to her 2014 Bucket List of experiences.


Virginia Wine and Craft Festival – Front Royal, Virginia May 17th.

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 17th. “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.

– Downtown Winchester, Virginia – May 17th

Very simply this is for kids only – of course a Bucket choice!

Old Downtown Winchester Kids Fest is an afternoon of fun from 11 – 5 pm on the newly restored Downtown Winchester Mall.  Check it out for a quick fix for the kids on Saturday. Make sure you stop in to the newly opened Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum just around the corner from the fountains on Cork Street!

Have a fun weekend!

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