The cultures, both of southern and northern origin, of central Virginia blend ever so gently among the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which appear as wholesome and fruitful shadows upon the bright horizon – softly caressed with curvaceous hills and clean grassy pastures of expansive valleys, including Shenandoah. A town like Warren (within a hundred mile radius of where many of America’s most popular president’s were born, such as James Madison) embodies flourishing farms, apple orchards, and successful small businesses, which grants it the aura of a historically thriving community belonging to northern states like Pennsylvania – even though it was a conclave of Robert E Lee during the rule of confederacy in the state. On the other hand, a miniscule but beautiful town like Sperryville (just thirty miles south of Front Royal) is embellished with antique shops and family-owned businesses, as well as small-scale cattle ranches – making the town more of a reflection of southern traditions in an isolated country setting.
Local attractions are also of this wide variation, such as grungy but convivial bluegrass-performing cafes found within Roanoke and nearby areas, as well as illustrious “honeymooning” bed and breakfasts found between Charlottesville and Winchester. Shenandoah River Trips of Front Royal offers kayaking and whitewater rafting excursions, tubing and canoeing, and reasonable camping rates along with satisfactory fishing conditions year-round. There are several different caverns scattered, like beacons signaling the most valuable points of interest, throughout the area, including Luray Caverns (which also provide tours to an antique auto museum) and Skyline Caverns. Another fascinating land formation, further to the south near Lexington, is the Natural Bridge. Valley Star Farm, offering pumpkin patch tours in the fall as well as fresh produce, is a place where a family can go to cut down their own Christmas Trees, as some traditions dictate.
Even for those who are only passing through central Virginia from the north or south, desiring to avoid major interstates to the east and west, a simple cruise along Skyline Drive (part of the Blue Ridge Parkway) would prove to be a pleasurable experience that is well worth the slower trip along excessively winding roads. Even a quicker route, such as Highway 231 running from Madison to Sperryville, would be enough to catch the eye-popping scenery of the Shenandoah region and experience the rustic isolation of southern farming communities, while only taking thirty minutes to do so. Whether in the sweet valleys below or the cloudy peaks of the Blue Ridges, visitors of this multi-cultured region can find both stimulating adventure and ravishing hospitality in every direction they feast their eyes upon.