Chill Out in the Shenandoah Valley

12/03/19

Chill Out in the Shenandoah Valley 

It’s a time-honored American tradition to go home for the holidays, but don’t underestimate the lure and excitement of leaving home for the holidays. As winter returns to the Shenandoah Valley and the surrounding mountains, and with the possibility of snow in the air, shops, restaurants, cabins, bed & breakfasts and hotels, motels and inns merrily welcome guests during the holiday season. Walking the festively decorated main streets of the charming, historic towns of Luray, Shenandoah and Stanley while window shopping, and stopping for a warm bite to eat or a sip of hot cocoa is sure to put even “The Grinch” in the holiday spirit. The Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center’s December calendar is packed with events that will without a doubt make this holiday season, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

Winter brings a stark beauty to the Shenandoah Valley. The peace and serenity wished for at this time of year can be found tucked away in a clearing alongside the Shenandoah River, on a mountain top in Shenandoah National Park, in a Blue Ridge hollow, under the trees in the George Washington National Forest,  or wherever exploration and adventure leads.  Leafless trees and cooler temperatures improve visibility, making the valley and mountain views more spectacular than ever.  Sound may be cushioned by a dusting of snow, and for a brief time, an escape can be found from the frenzy of the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The solitude of winter in Shenandoah National Park affords visitors an increased chance of seeing woodland animals such as white-tailed deer, squirrels and turkeys, as they forage for food. Snow makes it easier to spot tracks from rabbits, foxes and bobcats. Hiking in the solitude of winter can be restorative for the soul.  There’s no better medicine for a hectic lifestyle than being alone with nature. The winter season is the optimal time to breathe in fresh crisp air and surround yourself with wide open spaces and scenic views as far as the eye can see. While many services in SNP close during winter, the park is always open. Lodging, food services, campgrounds and most facilities are closed from late November through March, with the exception of Byrd Visitor Center, at mile marker 51, which remains open weekends.  Fuel is available through self-pay at Big Meadows but it is best to enter the park with a full tank of gas. Portions of Skyline Drive, the only public road in the park, are periodically closed during inclement weather. Visitors may still enter the park on foot for hiking or backcountry camping even when Skyline Drive is closed. The most current Skyline Drive status can be obtained by calling a recorded information line at (540)999-3500 or visiting https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/alerts.htm.

December normally kicks off the winter sports season in the valley. At Massanutten Resort, skiing, snowboarding and tubing are typically available from mid-December through mid-March.   Although the resort makes its own snow, sustained periods with temperatures below 32° are required for optimum snowmaking.  This year’s abnormally low temperatures have allowed the resort to get a jump start on snow making and to kick off the season before Thanksgiving.  For those willing to embrace the cold chill, instead of staying tucked away indoors, winter provides a savory flavor that will satiate your appetite for adventure. Visitors preferring an indoor experience will enjoy the cozy atmosphere at one of our vineyards, distilleries, or our local brewery . Folks looking for some friendly competition will enjoy the challenge and excitement of racing against the clock with family and friends, to solve a mystery at Escape 211 , in the Town of Luray, or achieving the highest score bowling a game or two at T-Bowl Lanes, in the Town of Shenandoah. Guests looking to “hibernate” in the ultimate relaxing experience will enjoy grabbing a book or some earbuds, and heading over to the fireplace or hot tub of their cabin rental or bed & breakfast and let the world drift away.

 As families travel near and far to see loved ones for Christmas, most are too focused on gift giving and catching up, that they forget to make plans to stay in touch after the holiday season. Christmas gatherings and festivities provide the perfect outlet to gather together and discuss warmer musings of potential vacation plans, where everyone can get together, relax, have fun, and recover those lost moments by creating new memories, vacationing in the Shenandoah Valley. The best time to plan for spring and summer is during the winter. Many people have a hard time planning because they wait until the last moment. Rushing creates a stressful atmosphere when trying to plan a vacation. By planning over Christmas, not only will you find the best travel deals when you plan early, you’ll be able to plan better, budget better and ultimately have something to look forward to as you battle through the cold snowy months of the new year.

The Shenandoah Valley is ideal for outdoor lovers as well as homebodies, craft beer drinkers as well as wine connoisseurs, adventure seekers and risk takers. Those seeking an amazing experience will love the breathtakingly beautiful mountains. Every mountain jutting out into the sky represents a challenge and something to be conquered. The mountains conjure up images of smoky, misty forests, rocks, earth and other elements that are good for the soul. Vacationers can visit breweries, vineyards, distilleries and restaurants while having the option of recreational activities like hiking, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, swimming, horseback riding, zip lining, ATV riding, golfing and visiting Luray Caverns or Shenandoah Caverns. Visitors looking for an authentic experience that is suitable for all ages will find all their vacation needs fulfilled in Luray-Page County, in the Shenandoah Valley.  There is no better escape, where adventure waits around every corner. No matter where you spend your holiday season, it’s always a good time to plan your next adventure in the Shenandoah Valley!

An Insanely Concise Guide to November in Luray-Page County

11/01/19

An Insanely Concise Guide to November in Luray-Page County

Autumn’s colors may be ebbing in the Shenandoah Valley, but the remnants still linger in the breezes beginning to usher in the sharp bite of autumn. November's average high temperature of 52° in Shenandoah National Park  is a welcome respite for serious nature lovers, who can still hike to their hearts’ content on the 500 miles of trails in the park, or explore the 1 million acres in George Washington Nation Forest. As a bonus, Monday November 11th is  Fee-Free Day at SNP. Enjoy free entry into the park, with the per car fee waived in honor of Veteran’s Day. Those looking to take in some trails on horseback can visit Fort Valley Ranch, Jordan Hollow Stables, or Skyland Stables.  Visitors who prefer to bring their own horses can head over to River Hill Stables.  All offer miles of scenic, well maintained trails, for wonderful horseback riding experiences. November also affords hunting enthusiasts a bounty of opportunity in Page County. Before heading out to a favorite hunting site, hunters will find all their sporting needs at Patton Gunsmith Works, Steve’s Archery and Guns, or Tactical Speed Shop.

 

As the days turn cooler, there are plenty of events to keep visitors and locals entertained. On November 1-3 and 8-10, Performing Arts Luray is featuring “The Sunshine Boys,” a show about a successful vaudeville comedy team. The event promises to brighten up the season with a lighthearted presentation that will have everyone laughing at the antics of this disgruntled duo. On Saturday, November 2nd, The Mimslyn Inn is hosting a Harvest Dinner, featuring Copper Fox Distillery, and offering a tasting, dinner and live music. The event will take place outdoors on the lovely grounds and will feature a locally sourced menu. On Saturday, November 9th, Shenandoah Caverns is hosting the 10th Annual Shenandoah Uncorked. The event will feature 14 Virginia wineries, along with local food and craft vendors. On Friday, November 15th- Sunday, November 17th, River’s Bend Ranch is hosting its First Annual Shenandoah Hemp Harvest Festival & Workshops. Historically hemp was one of the earliest grown crops in Virginia, even planted by George Washington. Spend  the weekend  celebrating the 2019 hemp harvest and get advice and insight on growing hemp in 2020. (Reservations are required.) On Saturday, November 16th, Page County Public Schools and Page Alliance for Community Action is hosting the annual Luray Turkey Trot 1K/5K  at the Hawksbill Greenway/Mechanic Street parking lot. Also on November 16th, enjoy a 4 course, sunset dinner prepared with fresh seasonal ingredients by Main Street Bakery and tastefully paired with distinguished wines from Ducard Vineyards  and hosted in historic Hotel Laurance’s beautiful parlor. The Mimslyn Inn is offering an all you can eat Oyster Party on Friday, November 22nd and an Oysterfest on Saturday, November 23, with live music out on the patio.

 

Veteran’s Day, a federal holiday, is Monday, November 11th. Make sure to put aside time in your busy schedule to honor the men and women who have served our country and have fought to protect the values and liberties on which our nation was built. On Saturday,  November 9th, join the Town of Stanley at Ed Good Memorial Park as they celebrate our veterans and thank them for their dedicated service. On Friday, November 8th, Mount Carmel Regular Baptist Church is offering a Veteran’s Day breakfast, along

with a special Veteran’s Day Service on Sunday, November 10th. Also on November 10th the Town of Shenandoah will be holding their 7th Annual Veteran’s Service at Veteran’s Park.

 

Thanksgiving, another federal holiday, is Thursday, November 28th. Thanksgiving originated as a harvest festival celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for blessings. Setting aside time to give thanks for one’s blessings, along with holding feasts to celebrate a harvest are both practices that predate the European settlement of North America. Practices such as expressing gratitude, sharing and giving away are integral to most cultures and communities. As early as 1607, Thanksgiving services were routine in what became the Commonwealth of Virginia, years before the most prominent Thanksgiving event in American culture, the 1621 celebration at Plymouth Plantation. Carrying on the Thanksgiving tradition Sunday, November 3rd, the Shenandoah Heritage Association will be serving a full Thanksgiving meal at Stevens Cottage in the Town of Shenandoah. There is a variety of dinner choices on Thanksgiving Day. Moonshadows Restaurant is featuring a special Thanksgiving Dinner. Reservations by telephone are required. Skyland is featuring a bountiful Thanksgiving Day Buffett, reservations are strongly encouraged. Circa 31 at The Mimslyn is offering a Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner. Reservations are encouraged. Gather at Faithbrook Farm and Vineyard  as they host a special Thanksgiving benefit dinner with sponsors Bijou’s Sweet Treats, Main Street Bakery and Catering, Hank’s Smokehouse and West Main Market . In the spirit of Thanksgiving 100% of proceeds will go to Page Free Clinic.

 

Perched between the long lines of Black Friday and the online deals of Cyber Monday is a relatively new holiday spotlighting the value of American small businesses. Small Business Saturday, the national holiday, first celebrated in 2010, calls to attention the importance of shopping at the small businesses that serve as the backbone of the American economy and local communities. The holiday aids small businesses by drawing attention to their importance in our economy. It also helps customers who want to access unique products and experiences in their community, and local economies that benefit from successful small businesses. Each year Small Business Saturday draws people to main streets across the country, with deals on unique products and services, and events that encourage shopping locally. Great things happen when consumers shop locally. For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $68 will stay in the community. When that same $100 is spent at a national chain, only $43 stays in the community. Shopping locally helps create and increase the number of local jobs. Buying from a locally owned business conserves energy and resources in the form of less fuel for transportation and less packaging. A sense of community is nurtured. Local businesses know their shoppers and their shoppers know them. Studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains. It’s their way of giving back and supporting the people who support their businesses. Spending locally instead of online ensures that sales taxes are reinvested back into the community.  Locally owned businesses carry a wider array of unique products because they buy for their own individual market.  Creativity and entrepreneurship are what the American economy is founded upon. Nurturing local business ensures a strong community. The more interesting and unique your community, the more it will attract visitors. Small Business Saturday and shopping locally in general is a win-win, with both business owners and shoppers reaping the benefits.

As of this writing several Page County businesses have plans to participate in this year’s Small Business Saturday, taking place Saturday, November 30th.

Appalachian Outfitters- Special discounts on a wide variety of in-store items

Compass Tea Room- Buy 1 full price item, get 2nd item of equal of lesser value at ½ price

Copper Fox Distillery

Custom Touches by Christi

D & L Trophy Awards and Custom Gifts-Booth at Hawksbill Trading Post-25% off items on display

Domino’s- Large 3 topping pizza for carryout for $7.99

Frame Boss Avio Galleries

Mama’s Treasures

Massanutten Country Corner- Scavenger hunt with prizes, drop-in workshops (fee for materials), kids’ activities, door prizes

Moonshadows Restaurant- Free strawberry lemonade or blackberry limeade made onsite, with purchase

Page Valley Arts Council- Holiday Market at American Legion Hall, enter to win door prize

Patton Gunsmith Works- 10% discount on services performed on items dropped off or purchases made in shop

Rainbow Hill Shops

Rudy’s Diner

Shenandoah General Store- Chance to win Santa in Sleigh ($300 value) with retail purchase of $25 or more

Shenandoah Moon- Free drinks and snacks, 20% off all “Shenandoah Valley Made Jewelry” by Susan Rocke

Steve’s Archery & Guns- In-store bows and crossbows on sale

The Pottery Lady- free teabag/teaspoon holder with purchase

 

The Valley Cork- 15% off all retail (including bottles to go)

Virginia Gift Shop

The month of November is overflowing with an abundance of activities. It’s your call; be as active or as chill as you choose in spectacular Luray-Page County.

‘Tis the Season for Leaf Peeping and Wine Sipping

10/01/19

October is the perfect time to slow down, relax and recharge in the Shenandoah Valley. The hectic holiday season is just down the road, with preparations that can quickly become overwhelming and stressful.  On the other hand, there is not much that October asks from us, other than to enjoy the splendor of the 31 days it offers. As October greets the Shenandoah Valley, most of us will barely notice the changing landscape and views, but with each passing day, the beauty intensifies, until we cannot help but be amazed by the dazzling beauty surrounding us.  October is a gift to the Shenandoah Valley, meant to be savored.

                                                               

During October, whether leaf peeping along one of Page County’s scenic roadways, or hiking any of the trails in Shenandoah National Park, visitors will enjoy the Shenandoah Valley at its spectacular best. As shorter days and cooler temperatures usher in brilliant foliage, for many, the ultimate fall experience starts on Skyline Drive, named one of “America’s Best Fall Foliage Drives”, by Travel & Leisure Magazine. “Shenandoah National Park, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is the quintessential fall foliage destination for southeast travelers and Skyline Drive has been called one of the top 10 scenic mountain drives in the U.S.”  Skyline Drive, the National Scenic Byway, running north to south though the park, at the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a particularly good place to view fall colors. The steep slopes afford visitors an opportunity to view the kaleidoscope of color that begins at the peak and slowly works its way down to the Shenandoah Valley to the west. In early October, fall colors develop above 3500’, with peak colors occurring at mid and lower elevations by the third week of October.  However, there are so many variables that exact dates are impossible to predict. The best way for visitors to monitor the fall foliage and plan their visit is to check Shenandoah National Park Fall Color Weekly Updates. While visiting SNP, visitors can stop by Harry F. Byrd Visitor Center and Dickey Ridge Visitor Center  to view featured informative displays on the history of the park, or take part in ranger programs and guided hikes offered throughout the day. Lodging options for visitors looking to spend a few days hiking and exploring in the park include Big Meadows Lodge, Lewis Mountain Cabins, and Skyland, along with five beautiful campgrounds

 

Fall foliage is bursting with color at the same time wineries in the Shenandoah Valley are celebrating the grape harvest. October 2019 marks the 31st Anniversary of Virginia Wine Month. Our roots run deep in Virginia, a commonwealth where tradition and revolution go hand in hand. Virginia may be considered one of the up and coming wine regions in the United States, but its vinicultural history predates the country itself. In 1619, each male colonist in the Jamestown settlement was required to plant and tend to a minimum of 10 grapevines. 400 years later, Virginia is home to over 300 wineries and in terms of wine grape production, Virginia is the 5th largest wine producing state in the nation. While scenic routes and wineries abound throughout the commonwealth, one of the prime locations that combines noteworthy views and vines can be found near the Blue Ridge Mountains, running down the western spine of Virginia.

 

The Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop, featured in Wine Enthusiast Magazine, provides a convenient map and travel plan that snakes along scenic routes of the northern Blue Ridge Mountains and the northern half of Shenandoah National Park, with stops at local attractions and vineyards.  Page County is home to Wisteria Farm & Vineyards, one of the stops on the Whiskey Wine Loop. The vineyard follows sustainable agricultural practices and all wine is crafted from 100% estate grown grapes. There are a variety of places around the farm to sip wine and enjoy a picnic. Whether the choice is to head down to the creek, hang out by a fire pit, sit on the deck equipped with outdoor heaters, or lounge by the fireplace in the cozy tasting room, guests are sure to enjoy the colorful October landscape, along with a taste of Virginia wine. Guests looking to be a bit more active, are welcome to lend a hand in harvesting the grapes. Harvesting takes place on most Saturdays through October. It is suggested to call ahead, since the grapes and Mother Nature will determine the actual harvest. River Hill Distillery, another stop on the Whiskey Wine Loop is a wonderful choice for groups consisting of both wine lovers and whiskey lovers. Their country wines, crafted from fruit grown onsite or in their orchard, include blackberry, strawberry, mixed berry, peach and apple. The Valley Cork , also on the Whiskey Wine Loop, is a wonderfully eclectic wine bar and bottle shop located in the heart of historic downtown Luray. Guests will enjoy sipping Virginia wines, as well as wines from around the world. Delicious light fare is always available, with live music scheduled throughout the month. Castle Vineyards, a wine tasting room and vineyard, offering both indoor and outdoor seating, continues to grow, with plans to expand and plant additional vines in spring of 2020. Guests can enjoy a glass of wine and some light fare, as they take in the brilliant October views from the front porch or patio. Visitors who are crunched for time but still looking to try some local wine, can purchase a bottle of Virginia wine by visiting Rainbow Hill Shops, Brookside Gift Shop, or Fairview Grocery.

 

Folks looking to round out an autumn weekend in the Shenandoah Valley can enjoy some special October events. The 50th Annual Page County Heritage Festival, scheduled for Saturday, October 12th and Sunday, October 13th, celebrates the heritage of Page County. The festival features over one hundred crafters with demonstrations for basket making, wheel-thrown pottery designing, wool spinning, blacksmith works and more. Guests will enjoy a variety of live entertainment, homemade country cooking and kids’ activities. Also, on Saturday, October 12th, Massanutten Resort’s, Massanutten Fall Festival offers a family friendly event featuring live music, arts and craft vendors, beer, wine, kids’ activities, scenic chairlift rides and more. The Mimslyn Inn, in the Town of Luray, offers a special Harvest Dinner on Saturday, October 19th. The event will feature a locally sourced menu, crafted cocktails, local wines and live blue grass music. The inn also offers a $5.00 corkage fee for guest looking to enjoy a local bottle of wine with dinner or while relaxing on the front porch. Folks looking to end the month with some Halloween fun can stop by the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center to purchase tickets to Kings Dominion’s Halloween Haunt. Ticket holders can venture through haunted mazes, take in heart stopping shows and ride thrilling rides.

It’s your call! Choose how you would like to spend the spectacular month of October in the breathtakingly beautiful Shenandoah Valley!

If Your Guests Want to Stay After the Wedding…

08/31/19

If Your Guests Want to Stay After the Wedding….

 

According to bridalguide.com, June, September and October are the most popular months to hold a wedding.

June is a traditional favorite, and October’s searing autumn color is an obvious draw, but what about September? What makes it a great month to get married, especially in Luray or Page County?

One of the main reasons does not just apply to you and your fiancé—but to your wedding party and guests as well.

September is an ideal season for those guests who want to turn your wedding into a long weekend or maybe even a full-blown vacation. 

Typical temperatures in Luray this month hover between a low of 54 and a high of 79; with six days of rainfall considered normal.  Either before or after the ceremony, your friends and family can enjoy a wide variety of indoor and outdoor pursuits. Outdoors, you can float the Shenandoah River in a canoe, kayak, raft or tube; you can ride horses, hike in Shenandoah National Park or George Washington National Forest, or hang from a zipline. Cycling at this time of year is nothing short of superb. You can explore historical sites, tour Skyline Drive, or visit a vineyard.

A wide choice of accommodations in and around Page County can host various size groups, with a wide range of services. At Massanutten Resort,  for example, about a 40-minute drive from Luray, you can combine numerous outdoor sports—hiking, mountain biking, golf, ziplining, horseback riding and swimming in a state of the art waterpark—along with spa visits and a variety of dining options.

Hotels in Page County book up quickly this time of year, but some excellent choices are listed here.

As Page County is the Cabin Capital of Virginia, there are hundreds of such options to choose from. Stay in town, on the river or in the mountains. Explore what they have to offer here.

Want something smaller and more intimate? Try a Bed and Breakfast, several of which are in or walking distance to Luray’s Main Street/Downtown. This is where you will find many bargain shops dealing in locally made crafts, gifts, jewelry, antiques, second-hand treasures, art, and furniture.

Downtown Luray is also the site of a growing arts and entertainment scene. For example, free Evenings on Main concerts are held every other Friday until October 25, featuring talented local pop, rock, bluegrass and folk bands.

Of course you are putting months of planning into your own wedding—and a great deal of help and wedding services can be found here—but it’s worth remembering that your guests might want to take advantage of all that Luray/Page County has to offer, and to stay around a few days after the ceremony. The staff at the Visitor Center will be glad to help you find accommodations and activities to ensure your guests have all the options they want—after your special day.

September in the Shenandoah Valley

08/30/19

September in the Shenandoah Valley

September might signal the end of summer, but this transitional month comes with some wonderful perks, that it can claim all to itself.  It boasts the pleasant midpoint between the end of summer and the start of autumn that eases us into the cooler months. So, if you are feeling down about the end of summer, we have a few reasons to convince you that September is actually one of best months to enjoy the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

For the most part, September boots out the dog days of summer, yet it will be a couple of months before we are plunged into colder weather.  September tends to have more favorable weather for outdoor activities than other months. As a midpoint between summer and autumn, we get the best of both worlds. September is a last hurrah before it really starts to feel like autumn.

With all that being said, there is no better time to get out and hike with the family. The kids are back at school, adults are back at work, and the whole family is itching to get outside to burn off some energy. Everyone wants to hang on just a little bit longer to those warm days and warm weather activities.

A rewarding and enjoyable way to make the most of the tail end of summer, or the start of autumn, is to head to Shenandoah National Park and take on one of its hiking trails. Several of these trails lie within Page County and offer hikes for the whole family to enjoy. Hawksbill Mountain marks the border between Page County and Madison County. With an elevation of 4,050’, it is the highest point in Shenandoah National Park. A moderate hiking trail leads up to its craggy summit, where on a clear day you can take in breathtaking views that go on for miles. Stoney Man Mountain climbs to 4011’, with a beginner friendly trail leading to picturesque views. Mary’s Rock, with a height of 3,514’, is the nearest hiking trail to the Town of Luray, in Shenandoah National Park, with the peak just south of Thorton Gap Entrance. Knob Mountain, also in Page County, is family friendly and climbs to 2,271’.

After a hike, take the family to the Shenandoah River to cool off. September water temperatures can sometimes be warmer than those in the summer months. Stop by Downriver Canoe Company, Shenandoah River Adventures, Shenandoah River Outfitters, or  Appalachian Adventures and take off on a tube, canoe or kayak and enjoy the views, as the river snakes its way north through the valley. To add a bit of excitement, there are a few small rapids along the way. Compton’s Rapids is a class 2 rapid, along one of the most beautiful parts of the Shenandoah River. Not far beyond the rapids, is a swimming hole with magnificent towering orange and gray limestone cliffs.

After an exciting day of hiking or floating, head back to your cabin, campgroundinn or bed & breakfast and enjoy the cool September night. Relax by a campfire or soak in a hot tub, as you chat about the highlights of your day in Shenandoah National Park or the Shenandoah River. While you’re out in the night air, take a look up at the sky; you’ll be amazed how many stars you’ll see. Cooler nights bring clearer skies for stargazing; and that’s one more reason September is a wonderful time to take in all the Shenandoah Valley has to offer.

When Will the Leaves Peak?

08/29/19

When Will the Leaves Peak?

Within the next few weeks, Chamber staff will be hearing the same question over and over: “What day will the leaves peak?”

Well, unfortunately nobody can tell you the exact day. However, in this area, the third week in October is often a very good bet to see the autumn leaves in their full splendor.  So if you are looking at a calendar now, block off that week in October as at least tentative. As we get closer to autumn, you can also check Shenandoah National Park’s Mountain View Webcam to keep an eye on changing color.

And if you’re planning to stay the weekend, the earlier you book your room the better.

But before we even get to the leaf color, keep in mind the many reasons to visit Page County in September.

On September 6, 19 and October 4, enjoy some nightlife with the Night Skies viewing program in Shenandoah National Park.   Amateur astronomers will talk about controlling light pollution and offer telescopic views of the crystal clear skies above the park.  Held at the Big Meadows Area (mile 51, outside the Rapidan Camp Gate), and free to all park visitors. A blanket, chair, and flashlight are recommended.

Moving back to daytime, consider the Luray Half Marathon on September 7.  This 13.1 mile run starts and ends in downtown Luray. You can see entire course in an online video, but it takes advantage of Luray’s Greenway and several scenic back roads. You’ll see numerous mountain and farmland views but the course is relatively free of hills and is completely paved—no dirt or gravel to negotiate. There will be an after-party immediately following at Hawksbill Brewing Co., conveniently located at the race finish.  Registration and more info may be found here.

This is a new event for Luray, but It’s organized by Racine MultiSports, the same stalwarts who run the well-known Luray Triathlon.

Another new event, scheduled for September 14 is the first annual Sunflower Festival from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. held both in Ralph Dean Park and Downtown. Start with a 1K Fun Run at Ralph Dean Park (starting at 10:30 a.m.) Also count on food, music, sunflowers, pony rides, a petting zoo, a hay maze, and pumpkin paint. You can also clip sunflowers for a small donation. There will be live performances all day at Warehouse Art Gallery, plus dining and shopping specials Downtown. Proceeds benefit the Page Alliance for Community Action, a group promoting healthy life choices for the youth and families in Page County.  Ralph Dean Recreation Park is located at 625 Sixth St., Luray.

Yet another event in Shenandoah National Park, this one on September 14, is the 20th Apple Butter Festival at Skyland from 11:00 to 5:00 p.m. At this popular celebration, you can watch and participate in the process of making apple butter the old fashioned way, and take home some fresh-from-the-kettle jars of apple butter. Many other items on the menu as well—not to mention wine tastings, pony rides, and live entertainment.

 

A much different kind of event will be held at Ralph Dean Park on September 28—the 6th Annual Blue Ridge Mountain Mudurance. The Mudurance is a challenge for individuals, pairs, and teams.  Racers will negotiate 5K (3.1) miles of obstacles plus lots of mud and water—all in the shadow of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.  Kids as young as 8 years old can sign up, as long as accompanied by an adult. If you have multiple kids who want to run together, they can sign up as a team, too! The race is conducted by the Chamber, and co-hosted by the Page Alliance for Community Action (PACA). Not only will they assist with the race, while promoting their mission for healthier, drug-free youth and the community as a whole, but they'll also receive a portion of the event proceeds to continue support their mission. Register or find out more about the Mudurance here.

Also of note on September 28—that is National Public Lands Day, and admission to all national parks is free that day.

Once you’ve recovered from the Mudurance, plan on enjoying the 50th Page County Heritage Festival October, 12-13 at the Page County Fairgrounds.

Organizers are pulling out all the stops for the 50th anniversary festival! It will run from 10:00 to 5:00 p.m. both days and feature craft vendors, antique tractors and equipment, demonstrations, live entertainment, and delicious food at every turn! More than 100 vendors will put on demonstrations of spinning, crochet, apple-butter boiling, oil painting, basket making, wheel-thrown pottery, blacksmiths, and more! A family-oriented event throughout its history, the festival will offer numerous activities for kids such as face painting, pony rides, and a pedal tractor pull.  Organized in 1969, the Page County Heritage Association is a nonprofit devoted to preserving the rich historical tradition of Page County. The Heritage Festival is their major annual fundraiser. For more information, visit their website.

All this in Luray and Page County, even before the leaves change.

The Cabin Owner’s Perspective

08/28/19

The Cabin Owner’s Perspective

Page County cabin/cottage owners bend over backwards to help ensure their guests have a good vacation or a great long weekend—and that’s how it should be. Tourists are customers, and deserve to get value for their money.

Having said that, it’s not unreasonable to expect that tourists behave responsibly in a cabin.  It’s also a good idea for all concerned that tourists read the cabin owner’s policies and rules—usually found online and/or available in hard copy. These cover important aspects of cabin rental such as deposits, pets, number of guests, amenities provided, check-in/check-out times, quiet hours, cleanup and trash removal, etc. The policies typically spell out exactly what you need to bring, and what will be provided. Reading these first avoids confusion and misunderstandings later.

We asked some of our cabin owners to give us their perspective on the owner/guest relationship—and how to make cabin rental the most positive experience possible.

“We think it's so important to properly set up expectations,” said Karen Riddle of Shadow Mountain Escape.  “It's important for guests to review cabins’ social media and see recent photos so they are getting the experience they expect.  Also, we have a four day classic itinerary we offer guests before they come, along with all events/activities for their time-frame.  A hot tip for visitors is to start their vacation the second they get into their car…there is so much to see and do on the way to our cabins, too!“   

“We expect our guests to treat our cabins as they would if they were visiting a relative or friend,” said Lisa Franceschini, of Luray Mountain Cabins. She added, “We love our guests, we are very happy that they chose to stay with us, and we go out of our way to make them happy!  Most of our guests are wonderful!”

It’s also important for guests to get a reliable contact number for the owner/operator in the unlikely event something does go wrong.  Zory Glaser of Cardinal Cottage confirmed the importance of reporting a legitimate problem in time to fix it. “The message I would send tourists is to call me quickly with any questions or issues—not to wait until their drive home. One person waited until Monday morning to complain he had trouble tuning the satellite TV. Had he called me earlier, I probably could have talked him through how to do it. Call me and let’s solve the problem!”

On the other hand, one has to ask if the following issues were really emergencies:

Nancy Sottosanti of Shenandoah River Log Cabins and Bella Vista Cottage told us, “A guest called and said, ‘The crickets were too loud’ and another said, ‘The moon was too bright.’  As a cabin owner, I would like the guests to respect the property as if it were their own; to respect their neighbors—about loud noise late at night; to follow house rules on washing dishes and removing trash so the cabin can be made ready for the next guests quickly—and to enjoy the area!! Relax without cell phones!

Ben Price of The Country Place cabins on the Shenandoah River, related this:  “A guest called the office one day to complain that a large flock of geese had landed in the front yard of Captain’s Lodge and asked if I could I send someone down to do something about it.  I replied that most people would consider it a blessing or at least a great photo opportunity for the kids by having the geese there. I explained that the geese were there because the area was so beautiful and rural. “

Another sore spot with cabin owners is guests who “redecorate.” Zory Glaser said, “One frustration is when people decide to rearrange the furniture, or unplug lamps and clocks so they can plug in their cell phone—then don’t put anything back. Or they unplug lights that are on timers, which I want to come on for when the cabin is unoccupied. It takes my housekeeper extra time to put it all back in a semblance of how we want it.  On one occasion, the housekeeper had to call her husband to come and help her move a 200-pound sofa bed where it belonged.”  He related another instance where a guest had booked for four people, but when Glaser rode by the cabin that evening (on his way to his weekend home) there were about 12 cars parked there.

Cabin owners also mentioned feedback and reviews on social media. One cabin got a poor review for “not having a hair dryer in each bathroom” when no such offer had ever been made. Another cabin was blasted for lack of shampoo, even though the cabin’s policies clearly said to bring all such personal items and toiletries.

An honest criticism or suggestion is fine—cabin owners want constructive feedback. But frivolous negative comments can do a great deal of damage to a business.

Page County is Virginia’s Cabin Capital for a reason. Vacationers have rented cabins in Page County for generations. Most cabin owners who operate here know the business inside and out, and they are eager to help you experience an area they love. Often, vacationers book a cabin year after year—and understanding just a bit about the cabin owner’s perspective will help ensure that you are welcome, year-in and year-out.

Luray-Page County Summer Athletics

07/30/19

Luray/Page Co. Summer Athletics

In Luray and Page County, August and September have become months of true athletic challenge.

First we host the Luray International Triathlon and Duathlon, August 17, followed by the Luray Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon on August 18. All the distances and course descriptions are fully explained on the website.

Now in its 14th year, this event has grown steadily in participation and prestige; in fact, it’s been chosen by USA Triathlon as the Virginia Age Group Championship and is widely considered one of the best triathlons on the East Coast. The cycling and running stages take place on Page County’s scenic, uncrowded roads while the swimming portion is held at Lake Arrowhead, in the shadow of Shenandoah National Park. The International and Sprint Triathlons are now capped at 700 entrants each, but friends, family and spectators easily double that number. Many local residents volunteer at the event, which is strongly supported by Page County, the Town of Luray and local businesses. The triathlons are conducted by Racine Multisports.

If a tri is a little much for you, try the Luray Half Marathon instead. On September 7, this 13.1 mile run will start and end in downtown Luray. There are some rolling hills but the surface is paved the whole way. There will be an after-party immediately following at Hawksbill Brewing Co. Sign up online.

Then on September 28, still more tough individuals will show up for the sixth Blue Ridge Mountain Mudurance held at Ralph H. Dean Recreation Park. Hard, messy and thoroughly enjoyable, this fitness challenge is 5K (3.1 miles) through obstacles such as: a 6- foot climbing wall, 200-foot water slide, mud trenches, sandbag and cinderblock carries, balance beams, hay bale climb, tunnels, and muddy army crawls. The event is conducted by the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce. You can sign up online here.

But the fun doesn’t end with athletics….

Reminders from Last Month!
On August 10-11 at the Shenandoah Speedway, see the cars and stars of the Dukes of Hazzard, plus country music special guests at. Cooter’s Good Ol Boys Fest. From the Dukes cast will be Tom Wopat (Luke Duke), Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke), Ben Jones (Cooter), Sonny Shroyer (Deputy Enos) and Rick Hurst (Deputy Cletus). If you’ve never seen the General Lee in flight, this is your chance. General admission tickets are $45 for a two-day pass, $35 for a single day pass, and $15 for a two-day kids pass (3-12 years old).

Page Valley Agricultural and Industrial Fair— From August 17 – 24, at the Page County Fairgrounds, celebrate the many aspects of rural life: youth livestock shows, fresh local produce stands, arts and crafts, live music from Blue Ridge Thunder and many others, tractor pulls, a wine festival, and dozens of other exhibits, races, pageants and performances.      

A New Festival!
For something new, join the fun at the 1st Annual Sunflower Festival, September 14 at Ralph H. Dean Recreation Park. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. with a 1k fun run around the fitness trail. From 11 a.m.-6 p.m., come out and enjoy clipping sunflowers for a great cause. All donations benefit Page Alliance for Community Action. There will also be kids’ activities, entertainment including music, a petting zoo, pony rides, and food from concessions.

Elsewhere during the festival, hear live music by local and regional talent on the lawn behind the  Warehouse Art Gallery, tentatively scheduled from 4-9 p.m.

This event is conducted by the Page Alliance For Community Action, Luray Downtown InitiativeTown of Luray, and Page Valley Arts Council.

A New Entrance!
Of course, no visit to Luray is complete without a stop at Luray Caverns, and a brand new entrance—decades in the making—is now open.

On May 20th, Luray Caverns completed a project to eliminate the remaining steps on the 1.25-mile tour route in the world-renowned attraction. The only steps leading from the Entrance Lobby into the caverns have been bypassed by excavating a 164-foot tunnel into the hillside adjacent to the Entrance Building. A looping covered walkway connects the existing building to the new entrance. The exterior appearance of the historic Entrance Building has not been altered, and the new entrance and walkway maintain the cosmetic elements of the existing structure for a consistent outward appearance.

The 141-year-old attraction began removing steps and improving walkways with brick, concrete and ramps throughout the caverns in 1954 — a process that was completed in 1975. A major component of this undertaking in order to totally finish the effort – the steps into the building – remained elusive due to uncertain methods and cost.

Over the past several years, renewed efforts to achieve this monumental goal were undertaken. With new technology in construction and improved environmental safeguards, Racey Engineering of Luray and Lantz Construction of Broadway, VA provided a workable plan in March 2017 and the first tour to use the new entrance was on May 20th.

Luray Caverns currently is one of the few underground wonders providing tours on lighted, all-paved walkways with step-free entry, making the attraction more accessible to visitors.

Cabin Rental Deals and Discounts

07/29/19

Cabin Rental Deals and Discounts

Page County cabin owners put a great deal of effort and creativity into making a stay very special—and affordable for guests.

A program launched late last year is a good example of that.

“Pay for Your Stay,” initiated by the Page County Economic Development and Tourism Office, focuses on increasing tourism in the winter months. Through the program, participating Page County cabins and lodging partners extend free midweek stays to guests in certain winter months.

The promotion does require a guest staying during the winter to book a summer midweek stay. Of course, midweek is the best time to avoid crowds at major attractions.

“We want to see you in winter and will sponsor your stay up to $300,” said Liz Lewis, Page County Economic Development and Tourism Coordinator. In many cases during the winter months, “We have the same attractions offering the same activities as in the summer. You just need to bundle up.”

About 18 cabins participated in the 2018-2019 program (now expired). “But the “Pay for Your Stay” campaign will happen again this winter!” said Lewis. The 2020 winter participants are in the process of being lined up right now. Click here for more information, and to find a list of accommodations participating in the program as they sign up.

Military discounts are common at cabins, and many range from five to 15 percent off. Police and fireman discounts may be available, too and there are other deals during mid- week stays, or for senior citizens, government employees, and repeat guests. Be sure to inquire about these and other possibilities as you research which cabin to rent.

Because special discounts and promotions from cabins often pop up quickly, stay on top of special deals by checking our Promotions page often.

Here’s a thumbnail guide to a few of the other discount packages currently available in Page County. Be sure to click on the link for complete details, pricing and restrictions.

Rent Seven Nights, Get Two of the Nights Free at Old Wagon Ridge. Old Wagon Ridge Cabin is located on six scenic, private acres. Enjoy their five-person outdoor hot tub!

Stay Four Nights this Summer and Save! Cabins and Campsites are 20% off with the promo code, found on the web page, at the family-oriented Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park. The four night deal ends September 1; but there is a five-night discount offered all season. Swimming pools and elaborate waterslides make this attraction especially inviting this time of year.

Variety of Virginia Wine Packages  at Shadow Mountain Escape. This cabin complex is bordered by Shenandoah National Park, and the owners spearhead the Blue Ridge Whisky—Wine Loop. They know and appreciate wine and offer several options to tempt your palate. Shadow Mountain Escape also has, honeymoon/anniversary packages and romantic getaways.

Special Requests at Lazy Bear Lodge can include a bottle of wine from Wisteria Farm & Vineyard, a dozen red roses , Flower Arrangement, Rose Petals or even a Bouquet of Balloons (Birthday or Anniversary). Discount offered for County residents!

Midweek Off-season Special: Stay 4 nights for the price of 3 (some restrictions apply) at Cardinal Cottage.  Winter Special: Free 2-night winter stay with pre-paid minimum 2-night stay (at regular rate) during Spring season! A few limitations.

Romance Package at Helm’s Mountain Hideaway. Enjoy privacy and wonderful views combined with these elements of a perfect romantic interlude: Two nights’ lodging, champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival, a  dozen long-stem red roses in your room, rose petals strewn around the room and a couple’s massage in the privacy of your cabin for an hour.

Low Season/Mid-Week (Sun-Thurs), Rent 2 Nights Get the 3rd Night Free, at A Lazy River Cabin, about eight miles outside Luray. Thrill to panoramic views from the comfort of the hot tub.

Honeymoon Suite/Romantic Getaway and Customized Packages at Edensview.  Some package options include local winery tastings for two, delicious specialties from Main Street Bakery, on-site massages, and tickets to Luray Caverns. Enjoy beautiful mountaintop views from six acres on Piney Mountain.

Party Packages, including Pony Parties  at Rivers Bend Ranch. In this classic Shenandoah Valley setting, make your kids’ birthday party unforgettable with handheld pony rides for children eight and younger. Or, opt for customized trail rides and/or picnics for older kids and adults, along the tranquil Shenandoah River.

Romantic Couples in search of Adventure Stay at a riverfront cottage and let outdoor specialists Appalachian Adventures guide you to thrills in canoeing, on horseback, or a jaunt on an ATV. 

Don’t Sweat It - You Can Have An August Wedding!

07/28/19

Don’t Sweat It—You Can Have an August Wedding

The mere mention of “August” as a wedding month can send the most resilient bride into palpitations. Images of wilted hair, thunderstorms, and groomsmen sweating in stifling tuxes can all spoil your special day.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

According to The Knot, 34.5 percent of all weddings take place in June, July or August. As a month to hold a wedding ceremony, August actually has a lot going for it, at least in Luray/Page County.

If you’re looking at this month for your wedding, the following considerations ought to part of your planning:

Mountaintop Climate or Deep Underground — The higher elevations of Shenandoah National Park are usually about 10 degrees cooler than the valley below. And, yes, you can get married in Shenandoah National Park, although it requires a Special Use permit and a number of rules apply. You can also get married in the cool underground of Luray Caverns and small wedding parties can stay at their Shawnee Farms Estate.

Contingency Venue—One great attraction of Page County as a wedding site is the number of splendid outdoor venues for the ceremony—but the majority of wedding sites have adjacent indoor facilities should the weather turn bad and the congregation have to be moved inside at the last minute. Ryan Kelly with the Sales Department at the Mimslyn Inn said, “We always have an option, a contingency, of moving indoors in case the weather turns bad.”  Study many other venue options here.

Time of Day—An evening ceremony with the sun setting behind the mountains combines mild temperatures and a tremendous photo op. A sunrise ceremony does the same thing, though of course, not everyone wants to get up that early.

Canopy/Cover—Depending on how long the ceremony is, the bride, groom, officiant and wedding party could be standing in front of guests quite a while. A canopy placed over the point where they gather will provide a good bit of shade.

Lightweight Wedding Outfits—for both brides and grooms—will look perfectly acceptable in August (and most likely be less expensive than alternatives). On your invitations, you might even suggest to guests they dress appropriately for a hot day.

Scheduling—One nice thing about August is that there are no major conflicting holidays; plus if your guests need time off from work, employers are accustomed to people taking leave in August.

Amenities—Have small samples of sunscreen available for both you and your guests. A small hand fan—maybe even with the program printed on it—makes a useful keepsake. At the reception, spritz bottles of water on each table will go over well.

Food—Working with Page County caterers, you will find an abundance of fresh, local fruits and vegetables for your reception.

Photography—August in Page County is a time of lush farms, vineyards, wildflowers and mountain views. Photo opportunities are endless.

The wedding industry in Page County is positively thriving. Regardless of the time of year you want to hold your ceremony, professionals are standing by to help you with virtually every aspect and service associated with it. Click here to find all the help you need.

Spend Your Honeymoon in Luray/Page County!

07/27/19

Spend Your Honeymoon in Luray/Page County!

As Luray and Page Country have become more and more popular as a wedding destinations, the area’s appeal as a honeymoon site is gaining attention as well. In fact, no less an authority than Cosmopolitan named the Shenandoah Valley  “the Most Popular Honeymoon Destination in Virginia.”

They cited “…the easiness of a small town with epic horseback rides and kayak tours through an expansive, made-for-sunsets landscape.”

All that, and a lot more, is available for honeymoon couples here in Page County. Here are four good reasons to consider Luray/Page County as not only your wedding destination—but the site of your dream honeymoon.

SAVE BIG!
While a week in Hawaii might be a great way to launch a marriage, what you’d spend on the trip would divert a down payment on a house. A week in Luray won’t include an ocean view, but it will leave you enough left over to help get a van once you start a family.  Depending on various factors, it isn’t hard to book five romantic nights of lodging in Luray for $1,000. Plus, if you’re getting married in Page County, anyway, why spend two or three days of your precious honeymoon time traveling or fighting jet lag?

WHERE TO STAY IS EASY
A wide choice of accommodations gives couples any lodging they want. All newlyweds want some degree of privacy, and secluded cabins on the river or in the mountains are abundant in Page County (Virginia’s Cabin Capital).  

Watch the sunset from your room at Skyland or Big Meadows Lodge, in the heart of Shenandoah National Park, or just nestle back in the woods and relish the sounds of a bubbling creek or the gurgle of the hot tub.

 If a B&B is more to your taste we have those, too, and if you want to splurge a bit on a high end hotel you have that option. The Mimslyn Inn and Hotel Laurance are two of several options to consider.

 

PACKAGES
Cabins, inns, lodges, B&Bs and most hotels in and around Luray make an effort to offer affordable honeymoon or romantic packages for couples virtually all year.  Check individual lodging listings to explore these fully. Just a few you might consider include:

The South Court Inn’s “Romantic Dinner for Two,” (and don’t overlook the Couples Massages, either)

The “Romantic Getaway” at Hotel Laurance

The Romantic Packages at Piney Hill B&B

The Honeymoon Package at Shadow Mountain Escape

Roses, picnic lunches and in-suite massages at River Dell B&B

Skyline Sweetheart Package, Shenandoah National Park

COUPLES FUN
Would a visit to a vineyard make your honeymoon to do list? Wisteria Farm and Vineyard is minutes south of Luray in Stanley. Sample authentic Virginia wine and listen to Music Under the Arbor—in view of Shenandoah National Park. How some beach time? Take a dip in Lake Arrowhead.  Want to explore excellent dining and search for local antiques? Stroll Main Street.

You’ve put a ton of planning into the perfect wedding. The honeymoon is the time to de-stress, and start your married life. It should be easy, affordable, romantic, and memorable. Those are four aspects of Luray/Page County you’ll have no trouble finding.

Entertainment Tonight!

07/26/19

Entertainment Tonight!

While outdoor adventures for visitors are abundant in this area, it would be a mistake to overlook the concerts, stage performances, movies, and other festivities we offer.  Here are some entertainment highlights to choose from, if you feel the urge to leave your cabin.

JULY 4th FESTIVITIES
In Luray, Independence Day frivolity includes: an annual Children’s Parade at Inn Lawn Park from 5: 00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Fireworks Display at dusk on Mechanic Street and the Greenway; and a free Party on the Plaza at Performing Arts Luray, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. featuring classic rock from Thundergun.

July 3 – 6 is the 53rd annual Stanley Homecoming. Expect a carnival, live bands, pageants, rides, food, games and more. (Students of Shenandoah National Park history will want to know that Stanley’s Ed Good Memorial Park is the site of a monument to 135 Page County families, who once lived or owned land in the mountains now within the Shenandoah National Park boundary.)

STAGE AND SCREEN
Concerts, plays, comedy acts and other stage productions are all on the schedule this summer at Performing Arts Luray. Catch the Summer Comedy Special July 6 or the Wizard of Oz starting August 9. See the full lineup here.

Community theater at its best can be found at Trackside TheaterThis summer see Annie Jr. performances July 26-28 and August 2-4 (at 7:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 3:00 pm on Sundays). Keep an eye on their Facebook page for more.

Movies on Main—Free outdoor movies on selected dates at Ruffner Plaza, all starting at 8:30 p.m. See: ET on July 11, Up on July 25, Charlotte’s Web on August 8, and the Wizard of Oz on August 22nd.

LIVE MUSIC
Evenings on Main
—Starting in June and held on alternate Fridays until October 25th, the Evenings on Main Concert Series is held at Performing Arts Luray, on Main Street, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. A great (free) opportunity to hear local musicians in a casual outdoor setting.  See the performers here

Cooter’s Good Ol Boys Fest—On August 10-11 at the Shenandoah Speedway, see the cars and stars of the Dukes of Hazzard, plus country music special guests. From the Dukes cast will be Tom Wopat (Luke Duke), Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke), Ben Jones (Cooter), Sonny Shroyer (Deputy Enos) and Rick Hurst (Deputy Cletus). If you’ve never seen the General Lee in flight, this is your chance. General admission tickets are $45 for a two-day pass, $35 for a single day pass, and $15 for a two-day kids pass (3-12 years old).

On selected dates all summer, sample superb Virginia wine and hear “Music Under the Arbor” at Wisteria Farm and Vineyard, a few minutes south of Luray. Everything from Bluegrass and Country to Irish folk tunes, all played in the idyllic setting of a working farm and vineyard.

 

Page Valley Arts Council
This all-volunteer group celebrates and advances the arts and cultural heritage of the area. Live music and other artistic exhibits, fairs, shops, etc. are all promoted on their calendar. Live music can be heard at a number of local restaurants, the Warehouse Art Gallery and other venues. See their listings here.

The Speakeasy and the Mimslyn Inn
Enjoy excellent casual dining and hear authentic local music at The Speakeasy frequently,  and plan on some special festivities upstairs at the Mimslyn—a Dinner Show and Dance featuring Elvis on July 6; the Blackberry Festival with live bands on July 20; and a Motown Dinner and Show on July 6.

Page Valley Agricultural and Industrial FairFrom August 18 – 24, at the Page County Fairgrounds, celebrate the many aspects of rural life: youth livestock shows, fresh local produce stands, arts and crafts, live music from Blue Ridge Thunder and many others, tractor pulls, a wine festival, and dozens of other exhibits, races, pageants and performances.       

You’ve Rented a Cabin-Now What?

07/01/19

You’ve Rented a Cabin—Now What?

Using a rental cabin as a base is a perfect way to spend a few days exploring Luray/Page County’s multiple outdoor recreation opportunities—not by car—but by canoe, horseback, bicycle and boots on the ground.

Outdoor recreation in the area can be as challenging or as moderate as you choose. While many organized events are available—including adventure races, triathlons, and mud runs—a purely recreational hike, float or ride at your own pace can make for an epic adventure. Here’s a sample itinerary:

Day 1—Float the River

The Shenandoah River has silently witnessed generations of American history—from Indians who built fish traps in it to explorers who crossed it, to the soldiers who fought near it. It is a changeable river, with a character that can be flat, calm and serene or loud, fast and bumpy.

For your exploration, rent a canoe, kayak, raft or tube from Shenandoah River Outfitters, Shenandoah River Adventures, or Downriver Canoe Company and drift the South Fork of the river. Typically you choose from several distance options, and the outfitter shuttles you upriver where you put in and float back at your pace.  Trips can range between three and 40 miles. During mid- to late summer, remember to ask the outfitter about the water levels before booking a trip.

If you want to do some serious fishing on the river, contact Long's Hunting and Fishing Outfitters/Guide Service.  They can set you up with all the necessary gear, licenses, bait and advice you’ll need to stretch your line.

In the market for river gear? River and Peak Outfitter in nearby Front Royal sells quality kayaks, paddles, accessories, apparel, camping supplies of every stripe, etc. They can even ship gear to you while you are hiking the Appalachian Trail, or any other long trail within the U.S.

Finally—canoeing, swimming and a sandy beach in the shadow of Skyline Drive can be enjoyed at Luray’s Lake Arrowhead.

Day 2—Mount Up!
Fort Valley Ranch offers guided horseback trips, with their mounts or yours, in the pristine Massanutten Mountains of the National Forest. You can ride miles of marked trails on the Ranch as well. In addition to riding, multi-day Ranch Packages in their bunkhouse cabins are available.

Jordan Hollow Stables is located in Stanley, just a bit south of Luray. Owner Lisa Cubbage said, “Your experienced guide will take you on well-maintained 150 acres of winding trails through a beautiful wooded area near the border of Shenandoah National Park. Our quiet, breathtaking trails are shared by various wildlife that roam the property. Cross the pure waters of Hawksbill Creek and ride through beautiful country fields surrounded by a panoramic view of the Blue Ridge.”

 Horseback and pony rides are also available at Skyland Stables (mile 42.5 on Skyline Drive) seven days a week until November, weather permitting

If you rent a horse there you must ride the guided trip—no going off on your own. But you can also bring your own horse and go off on other trails. With more than 180 miles of trails open to horseback riding (yellow-blaze trails only) count on finding spectacular views, deep woods and seclusion.

Need to look into horse boarding or instruction/training—Contact River Hill Stables.  

 

Day 3—Choose Your Hike
Up for a hike? George Washington National Forest is minutes west of Luray, and Shenandoah National Park (including the Appalachian Trail), is nine miles east of town. In the national forest, one rewarding jaunt near Luray is a 5.2-mile up and back on Kennedy Peak Trail, where you can climb into a fire tower and see spectacular views of Page Valley and the Shenandoah River.

Shenandoah National Park has more than 500 miles of hiking trails.  (Be aware there is a $30 per vehicle fee to enter the Park, good for seven days.) A breakdown of many trails  appears here. You can also find many maps and trail guidebooks at Visitor Centers on Skyline Drive (Dickey Ridge, between MPs 4 and 5, and Byrd Visitor Center, MP 51.)  One of the most popular family hikes in the Park is Dark Hollow Falls. Find the trailhead at MP 50.7 on Skyline Drive. The trail is a bit steep, but only 1.4 miles down and back. The view of the waterfall will thrill you and your children.

For more information about hiking, or to shop for any outdoor gear you need, stop in at Appalachian Outfitters in Luray. This is a particularly good resource for AT thru-hikers, or virtually any other outdoor endeavor.

 

Day 4—Wheels Up!
If you’ve got time for a fourth day, try mountain biking at Massanutten Bike Park, about 30 minutes from Luray. The park’s downhill trails begin near the top of Massanutten Peak (2,922 feet) and are divided into Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Advanced plus jumping skills, and Expert. Use the chair lift to get up high and start a descent. There is a fully stocked bike shop on the premises, plus about 30 miles of wooded trails on the western slope of the mountain–best suited for intermediate to advanced riders. Bike rentals, shuttles and lessons are all available, too.

Scenic roads and sparse car traffic make it easy to plan casual bike rides almost anywhere in Page County, and you can always hop on the Greenway for an easy two-mile ride.

And Don’t Forget:
You’re not done yet! Get an aerial view of Luray with a visit to Bear Mountain Ziplines. They have a “Mama Bear” course that includes 7 ziplines stretching a total of 2700 feet—at speeds of up to 35 miles an hour. The last 1000-foot stretch brings you out over a meadow to land on the tower above the 3-story Bear Scramble climbing wall. There’s also a Baby Bear High Ropes course your kids will love. 

Rent a Cabin and Reconnect With Family

06/30/19

When is the last time you felt a true, joyful connection with your whole family?

A 2018 study concluded that Americans are spending just 37 minutes of “quality time” as a family on weekdays. Long work hours, after-school activities, and screen time on social media all compete with family togetherness.

In another study, parents of children 8 to 12 years old reported their kids spend three times as many hours on computers and watching television as they do playing outside.

With the coming of June, and the long-awaited dismissal of school, there are realistic chances for parents and kids to reconnect—and to have wonderful outdoor experiences. Renting a cabin in Luray/Page County is one of the most effective ways.

Largely due to the sheer number of cabins available to rent—in the neighborhood of 400—Page County was formally designated the Cabin Capital of Virginia in 2009. With a great number of choices comes a great diversity of amenities. Renting a cabin in Page County takes a bit of research. This site’s Cabin pages provide general information on what each offers, but clicking through to a cabin’s individual web site is important. While cabins commonly have hot tubs, fireplaces, wi-fi, spectacular views, and are pet-friendly—what each cabin can offer varies widely.

It might also be wise to first decide on the general setting you want—mountain ridge, deep woods, riverfront or close to town?  Some cabins are quite luxurious, some more casual. Start with these broad considerations to help you make the best choice.

Virtually all Page County cabins are walking distance or a short drive to a meaningful outdoor experience. Walk the two-mile Greenway, which meanders along Hawksbill Creek through Luray. Hike to a waterfall in Shenandoah National Park, or take a bike ride on the dirt and gravel roads of George Washington National Forest. Swimming, canoeing, zip-lining, golf, horseback riding, fishing, or just picnicking are some of the other possibilities.

And if a cabin is not exactly what you’re looking for, be aware that Page County offers many campground options as well. Again, there is diversity here as some are highly organized, allow RVs, and have camp stores and services on the premises, while others are more basic.

Inns and B&Bs may not be “cabins” but Page County has plenty of both and they can be memorable experiences in hospitality—click here to begin your research.

Finally—keep your eyes open for special packages and discounts some cabins and B&Bs may offer. Romantic escapes, vineyard tours, massages, tickets to Luray Caverns, mid-week rates, and other promotions are often underway.  Check our Promotions page https://www.cabincapital.com/pro/ or study individual websites.

Staff at the Luray-Page Chamber of Commerce will be happy to help you connect with the cabin, B&B, inn or campground that suits you best. In season it is always wise to plan ahead and make reservations early.

10 Reasons to Visit Luray/Page County

06/01/19

June in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains is a lavish display of color as violets, wild geranium, coral honeysuckle and mountain laurel come into bloom, all set against a backdrop of endless evergreens.

While the visual splendor of the mountains this time of year is excitement enough in its own right, June is the month when outdoor recreation heats up and Page County’s calendar starts filling up with events and openings.

While Luray and Page County are alluring any time of year, here are just 10 compelling reasons to visit in June:

  1.  Perhaps the biggest news this month is the long-awaited completion of the West Main Bridge. This $3.5 million construction project is a welcome improvement to a busy street. The formal opening is scheduled for June 27.
     
  2.  Schools are letting out, and there is no end of ways to keep your kids active and happy.  Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park offers organized fun like a huge water park, miniature golf, volleyball, arts and crafts, wagon rides and playgrounds. Less structured time with your kids can be had hiking—a short jaunt on the Greenway or a longer trip in Shenandoah National Park or George Washington National Forest. The Rope Adventure Park at Luray Caverns is another good bet.
     
  3.  Rent a canoe, kayak, raft or tube and float the Shenandoah River. Services like Shenandoah River Outfitters, Shenandoah River Adventures, and Downriver Canoe Company provide shuttles and all the gear you need to get started. (June 7, 8, 9 are Virginia Free Fishing Days. You don’t need a license on those dates.) Did you hear that last March, an angler landed a 20-1/4  inch brook trout—a new state record—fishing in Cub Run, in Page County?
     
  4.  Live music is easy to find in Page County. Evenings on Main Free Concerts begin June 7 at Performing Arts Luray, and run every Friday at 7:00 until Oct. 25.  Additionally, The Page Valley Arts Council fosters the arts and cultural heritage of the local community. Their calendar lists many live performances at local restaurants and community centers. And at Cooters Place, the Cooters Garage Band hosts “Live in Luray” every Saturday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Looking a bit ahead, Cooters will rock the track at Shenandoah Speedway August 10-11with the  “Good Ol’ Boys Fest.  (More to come on this next month.)
     
  5.  Lake Arrowhead’s white sandy beach is open June 1st to August 18th, daily— Monday – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, noon – 6:00 p.m. Swim, fish, hike, paddle or picnic at the scenic 34-acre lake, all in the shadow of Skyline Drive. http://www.townofluray.com/luray-parks.html#lakearrowhead
     
  6.  Swim Fest Luray is June 15. You can sign up right until Race Day for this event, which offers three different distances. Swim all three and you go 2.8 miles. Expect to see some serious athletes along with more casual fitness enthusiasts.
     
  7.  The second annual Taste of the Valley Wine, Beer and Spirits Festival will be held June 29 at the Page Valley Fairgrounds. Sample the bounty of local vineyards and the increasing number of craft breweries. Ticket available for General Admission and for Designated Drivers.
     
  8.  Several different Astronomy Events allow you to experience the glorious night skies from Shenandoah National Park. These include:
  • Let's Talk About Space—Presentations led by NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador Greg Redfern, held at Skyland and Big Meadows Lodge on selected dates.
  • Night Skies—Amateur astronomers discuss controlling light pollution; gather at Big Meadows/Rapidan Camp Gate.
  • Twilight Hiking—Guided hikes starting at 7:00 p.m. Reservations required; $20 per person. Some dates are already sold out so book now
     
  1. Virginia’s reputation as a wine producer is growing, and the Skyland Whisky Wine Shuttle transports you to a number of local vineyards and a distillery. Enjoy tastings at Copper Fox Distillery, Desert Rose Winery, and Rappahannock Cellars during your stay at Skyland, Big Meadows or Lewis Mountain Cabins in Shenandoah National Park. A picnic-style lunch is included. On Mondays and Thursdays, from June 3 to Oct. 28.
     
  2. June 15 in Shenandoah National Park is a fee-free Neighbor Appreciation Day.  Something new in the park this year—one hour Wagonette Rides, on Saturdays until August 31. Hear about the history of the park as a team pulls you from Big Meadows, over Skyline Drive, and down the Rapidan Road.
Photo from Blue Ridge Outdoors article.

Perspective: The Benefits of Horseback Riding

05/23/19
Photo from Blue Ridge Outdoors article.

This just came across my desk last night and as someone who has been around horses off and on my entire life, I 100% agree with the fundamental basis of this article from Blue Ridge Outdoors: horseback riding is great for the mental and physical health of children. For that matter, I think there is something truly unique and breath-taking about being on the back of a horse.

I think I was 7 when I rode for the first time in my neighbor’s paddock. I remember clearly being a little hesitant about the size of the beautiful animal in front of me, but as soon as I was in the saddle and was being led around the enclosure, I felt like an adult. After all, it’s basically a quintessential little girl’s fantasy to ride a horse and make a best friend with one of these sleek and majestic creatures. Plus, there’s just something about being in sync with another being that makes you feel like you can overcome anything.

When I was older, my fiancé, now husband, received a job offer at a ranch in Texas helping to care for the property and all of the animals there. We jumped at it and moved to the West Texas mountains. It was glorious, dozens of horses made their home on the acres we oversaw and there were numerous opportunities to ride, whether it be for ourselves, to exercise the restless horses, to introduce children to their first horseback riding experience, or to take a small group in the backcountry for a leisurely ride. From what I’ve seen, horses help both adults and children to connect with another being on a different level on a mental and physical level.

As this article from Blue Ridge Outdoors states, riding is “a way to connect with animals while learning a new skill, and it can be a great workout - only it’s not just a physical work out.” The study in the article touches on how the vibrations caused by riding increase the brain’s cognitive ability, “making it a workout for the brain as well,” thusly helping the brain to improve learning, memory, and problem-solving skills.

So, if you’ve been thinking that a ride is just what you and/or the kids need, you might be onto something. The stables and ranches in Luray and Page County offer everything from classes to trail rides to weekend-long campouts on the trail. With spring arriving and summer just around the corner, this is the perfect opportunity to make that first priceless memory on horseback while helping the kids, and yourself, to grow and continue developing to their full potential.

Horseback Riding in and around Luray & Page County:

Fort Valley Ranch
Jordan Hollow Stables
Massanutten Resort
River Hill Stables
River’s Bend Ranch
Shenandoah National Park

Visit Luray-Page in June 2019

05/22/19

Welcome summer! If the kids aren’t out of school yet, they’re wrapping up their classes and final exams and will be ready for a few weeks and months of sunshine and playtime outside with the whole family. Gorgeous weather is just around the corner! June is typically a month of adventure! With solitary trips outdoors, like hiking in the Shenandoah National Park, and family excursions, like exploring beneath the surface in the Luray Caverns, adventure can be whatever you want it to be. Big or small, once in a lifetime, ziplining at the base of the Blue Ridge or Massanutten Mountains, or making fond memories, petting and feed the goats at the Luray Zoo and now at the Massanutten Country Corner, adventure can be for an individual, a couple, or the whole crew.

The return of warm weather brings outdoor events back to our towns and county! The Town of Shenandoah's monthly cruz-ins provide friendly competition between antique car owners and times of appreciation for car lovers. The monthly events are held along Historic First Street in Shenandoah and the evenings include food, a live DJ, and lots of cars and car aficionados.

Additionally, the combination of warmer evenings and the break from school and nightly routines before early bedtimes herald the return of the Page County Outdoor Movie Nights! The movie nights are coordinated by a committee of local officials from the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center, Page Alliance for Community Action, the Town of Luray, Stanley, and Shenandoah, and other interested persons. The nights will be monthly and rotate to each of the towns to show a family-friendly new release. For the month of June, the movie will be held at the Town of Luray's Ralph Dean Recreation Park and will provide a free showing of Wonder. The story follows a young boy who has a facial deformity and his struggle to adapt to public school, 5th grade, and making friends. And is known for inspiring the sentiment that “If you have the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.”

If that isn't enough for your summer movie needs, the Town of Luray is also going to be hosting a series of movie nights of Ruffner Plaza. The events will showcase a series of classic movies including The Jungle Book, E.T., UP, Charlotte's Web, and The Wizard of Oz. The nights run from June 27th through August 22nd and will begin at 8:30 PM each scheduled evening and include free popcorn from PACA.

The 2nd Annual Taste of the Valley returns to the Page Valley Fairgrounds on June 29th from 12:00-5:00 PM. The event showcases a variety of local brews, wines, and spirits from around the Shenandoah Valley and state of Virginia. The event was a ton of fun for attendees last year and organizers are going to keep it up for the second year. Entry into the event includes tickets to be used for a tasting/glass at the vendor tents of your choice.

There are hundreds of ways to get outside, make memories, try something new, and simply relax this month. And, it all wraps up at the end of the month with preparations for the 4th of July and Stanley Homecoming festivities!

The Town of Luray's 4th of July festivities are always a hit with the kids. A family-centered event, the celebration includes  and ends with a large fireworks display. Held at the Mechanic Street Parking Lot, across from the Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative, and along the Hawksbill Greenway, there's always a variety of food and sweets for sale. Bringing the kids early for dinner means more time to play games and on the inflatables before slurping down some ice cream as you watch the fireworks.

The Town of Stanley's 53rd Annual Stanley Homecoming falls just after the 4th and includes back-to-back evenings of live music and fun. A great excuse to visit the Town of Stanley, Homecoming welcomes back those who used to call the area home and anyone else who loves the serenity and peacefulness of the town and county and is looking for a reason to celebrate it. The celebration concludes on Saturday evening with the parade, more live music, carnival rides for the kids, and a huge fireworks display. With elephant ears, a dunking booth, Miss Virginia, and so much more, the Town of Stanley knows how to show each of us a good time!

The fun will continue next month in Luray and Page County! As always, we're just a call or email away and our Chamber & Tourism Assistants are happy to answer any questions you may have. We'll see you soon in the valley!

June:  The Wedding Month

05/20/19

June: The Wedding Month

June has been a popular month for weddings for quite a long time, and it still is today, though for different reasons.

Historically, the name of the month “June” comes from Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage and fertility. So that link goes back a really long way.

In the Celtic tradition, young couples would often pair up on the Cross-Quarter Day of Beltane, May 1. (Cross Quarter days divided the calendar into four quarters.) They would court for a few months before holding a ceremony on the next Cross-Quarter Day, August 1. But as young couples throughout history are, they often became impatient, so the timing was accelerated to the middle of June.

Today, June remains a perfect month for your wedding. Schools are letting out, so guests can bring their children. Father’s Day weekend is about the only date that might “compete” with your ceremony, so planning is a bit easier than months with multiple holidays. Flower availability gets better and flower prices may actually start to go down a bit as inventories increase. Even the longer daylight will help, especially if your photographer likes to shoot in natural daylight.

And of course, there’s always the weather.  In Luray last year, the average high temperature was a fresh 83 degrees, and there were 22 days of sunshine.

While not necessarily connected to any particular month, the cost of a wedding in Luray-Page County can be the most powerful motivator of all to hold a wedding here. 1n 2017, in the Washington, DC metro area, the average cost of wedding was about $44,000, assuming 130-140 guests. While exact comparisons are difficult, and travel costs should be factored in, a storybook wedding in Page County can easily cost more like $12,000—or a great deal less.

Were you even aware you can get married in Shenandoah National Park? Or Luray Caverns? Other possibilities include hotels grand and intimate, B&B, inns, vineyards, and out-of-the-way cabins.  Investigate many of those options here.

Of course, a great advantage of a destination weddings is to turn it into a short vacation for you and your guests. Once the wedding is over, choose from a multitude of outdoor recreation options—canoeing on the Shenandoah River, horseback riding, hiking in Shenandoah National Park or George Washington National Forest, or swimming at Lake Arrowhead. Luray’s Main Street offers a splendid venue of theater, live music, and local dining options.  

Wedding photos where the Blue Ridge Mountains are the backdrop for the ceremony make for priceless memories. And the growth of wedding venues in the Valley has generated all the planning and wedding-service help you will need. The Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce even holds an annual forum for those in various aspects of the wedding business to exchange ideas, share experiences and learn from each other.

Regardless of what month you plan to hold your wedding, give Luray and Page County serious consideration.

Brookside Cabins in Spring in Shenandoah Valley

Visit Luray-Page in May 2019

04/19/19
Brookside Cabins in Spring in Shenandoah Valley

The colors of spring swirl around - the pinks, the yellows, and the purples of flowers blooming in the warm air. The trees budding with the help of more sunshine and longer days, green grass ready to be cut, and festive garden decorations like flags wave proudly in the light breezes. The scent of freshly turned earth and mulch as it heats in the sun; the sound of birds chirping in the morning hours and past dusk; the early sunrises and time for a cup of coffee as you watch the day bloom before you in vibrant clarity. There are many songs, plays, and movies that reference spring and the rebirth of trees and flowers and the feelings those evoke. It's a time for growth and change and new experiences, a time to visit and take a vacation with friends and loved ones. It's the perfect time to shake off the winter cold and head to Luray-Page County.

I love May. May means that summer is just around the corner and that the air is getting warmer, less heavy, less frost-filled, and all around more pleasant for spending days out in the sun. People have begun making their way into our downtown areas checking out the sights and really just soaking up the longer days with picnic lunches, meals on patios and under umbrellas, and breaks for locals and visitors to walk their dogs on the Hawksbill Greenway in downtown Luray.

One of the most frequent questions we receive at the Visitor Center is what visitors can do outside and/or where a nice place is for a walk or to have lunch. Lot of visitors to our county are looking for beautiful views; they want to see what the town has to offer and to do some people-watching to get to know who the townspeople really are. Having just driven in from DC and Northern Virginia, finding a way to stretch legs and work out stiff joints is a fantastic way to begin a stay in the Shenandoah Valley. It’s a great first stop for families with kids and pets as it allows both to get out and burn off some of the energy they’ve been storing up during the trip across the Blue Ridge or Massanutten Mountains. The Luray Greenway is an award-winning walkway to simply enjoy the beauty of downtown Luray and the Shenandoah Valley is a whole. The Greenway is a hot spot for both locals and visitors and on beautiful spring, summer, and fall days, it’s frequently filled with anyone looking to get in a little exercise or a leisurely walk. Locals will pause to greet one another and everyone exchanges friendly waves and nods with words of hello and welcome to bolster one another.

May is well-known to our springtime visitors as the month that hosts the annual Festival of Spring in downtown Luray. This annual event brings in artisans and crafters from around the Shenandoah Valley and beyond to showcase their talents and their products to our locals and visitors. The festival is back this year on Mother's Day weekend right along East Main Street in downtown Luray. I've always found the date choice to be the perfect time to buy mom a little gift to show appreciation for everything she does throughout the year. Whether mom likes flowers, pottery, paintings, jewelry, or something completely different, the festival brings out an amazing variety of talents and products for everyone to window-shop or take home. Not only that, there's always a ton of food from local vendors, food trucks from around the area, and restaurants. The kids can find plenty of entertainment with a variety of kids activities for young and old at the Chamber and Inn Lawn Park. Plus, with the centralized location in the downtown area, it’s the perfect time to pop into the boutique and antique shops lining Main Street.

The end of the month showcases the Town of Shenandoah’s annual Memorial Day Festival and parade. Memorial weekend is known for barbecues, cookouts, and time off with family to celebrate outdoors in nature’s beauty, but there’s more to it than just that. The Town of Shenandoah keeps the real meaning of the holiday alive for our locals and visitors, through their annual celebration and remembrance on Saturday morning, before they kick off all of the festivities. This multi-day event includes kids activities, a carnival, car shows, antique tractor shows, a parade with hundreds of entries, and so much more.

You can always see the complete list of events happening in Page County on our website, www.visitluraypage.com, or by contacting our friendly and knowledgeable Chamber & Tourism Assistants at (540) 743-3915 or info@luraypage.com.

Happy Spring,

Katie Long
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce

Visit Luray-Page in April 2019

03/15/19

April is just around the corner! It heralds with sunshine breaking through overcast skies in miniature spotlights illuminating here and there. It showcases chilly mornings around freezing burning off into days of 50, 60, and 70 degree warmth. April is the perfect time to shake off the winter blues and get back outside for daily walks through town, especially on the Luray Greenway. Locals and visitors blend into a procession of smiling faces, people greeting each other, and friends and acquaintances stopping to briefly catch up on one-another’s lives.

The warmer days lean towards picnics on the weekends or a random weekday off of work. Of picking up lunch from a local deli or sandwich shop and heading to one of the numerous parks in each town. Of gazing at the Shenandoah River as it meanders along the banks and listening to the soothing sounds of it bubbling over rocks and other natural byways. Of throwing scraps to the ever-friendly ducks and quacking at them in conversation. Of listening to the squeals of laughter as children get out from school and soak up the fresh air and lingering sunlight now that daylight savings and spring have both arrived.

April also kicks off the start of our festival season. The Town of Stanley welcomes their 3rd Annual Spring into Stanley event at Ed Good Memorial Park in downtown Stanley on April 27th. The event includes a variety of vendors, products, and food celebrating the area and springtime’s arrival to the Shenandoah Valley. Artisans and crafters from Page County and the surrounding areas come together for a fun event benefiting the Stanley Homecoming Committee and their future events, especially the annual Stanley Homecoming days in July.

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park and lodging accommodations such as Lewis Mountain Cabins, Big Meadows Lodge, and Skyland Resort begin reopening around this time as well. This seasonal lodging is open spring through fall with winter closed for upgrades and maintenance. The opening of Yogi Bear means the waterpark, mini golfing, and other activities are close to opening for locals and visitors, whether they’re staying on the property or not. Yogi is a family’s playground with themed weekends and weeks, a variety of outdoor activities and scheduled programs, and a community atmosphere where it’s not just the family vacationing together, but also vacationing with the other families in surrounding sites.

Shenandoah National Park’s lodging and accommodations opening mean that the concessions, activities, and events along the Skyline Drive are also kicking off for the season. From educational ranger talks and night sky events to horseback riding along the trails or hiking on your own through the national park to live music, performances, wine tastings, and white oak basket making, there are a variety of programs for kids and adults of all ages and interests.

More than just lodging; April also means that our towns and county are kicking off the fishing season as well. With a variety of fishing spots at the smaller ponds and lakes or alongside the Hawksbill Creek or in the Shenandoah River, fishing is a great pastime in the Shenandoah Valley. Fishermen and women can cast their line at their leisure. Kids looking to enjoy a little fishing competition should check out the Town of Luray’s upcoming Youth Trout Derby on April 13th. Hosted by the town, Parks & Rec, and Police Department, the event includes prizes for a variety of categories and encourages youngsters to spend some downtime outside with their family.

Plus, April also claims the Easter holiday this year. Bring the whole family for Easter Brunch at the Mimslyn Inn or up along the Skyline Drive to Skyland Resort for their annual event. Get gussied up and enjoy some delicious food with the whole family from the kids to grandma and grandpa. 

Check out our monthly calendar for additional events or visit our website's community calendar for up-to-the-minute details.

We cannot wait to see you soaking up the sunshine along the creek and riverbanks this month! Don’t forget your sunscreen and fishing licenses!

Happy Spring,

Katie Long
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce

Visit Luray-Page in March 2019

02/15/19

Spring is on its way to the Shenandoah Valley. More often than not, the day awakens to the sound of birds chirping in welcome of the rising sun. The day progresses with sunshine and warmer temperatures, encouraging you to take a break and outside feeling the warmth of the sun soak into your pores and embrace the fact that warmer weather is just around the corner. Or, if, in true spring fashion, rain invades, seek refuge in the nearest shop, coffee shop, or boutique as the cold winds and drizzling rain rears its head and announces spring is officially blending with winter. Warmer days are on their way. Spring means the blooming of flowers, summer birds returning to the Valley from their winter getaways, and our tourist community flocking back to our shops, restaurants, and accommodations around the county. It's the rebirth of the season, the time when our youth begin pursuing their summer jobs and looking forward to summer vacation, shorter days, longer nights, and freedom.

This March, Luray and Page County are very excited to welcome the first-ever Restaurant Week to the Page Valley. Next month we will celebrate the local talents of our chefs, including their integration with the agriculture industry to bring in fresh produce for specially crafted and designed meals to tantalize the taste buds of our locals and visitors. The week will celebrate not only our brick-and-mortar restaurants, but also our caterers, sweet shops, and all of the wonderful grab-and-go delis, sandwich shops, and coffee places that make Luray and Page County the unique and delicious destination it is. The new website and Facebook pages honoring this event tell the different ways you can dine out in Page County. The founders hope to grow not only Restaurant Week itself as an event, but also the culinary experiences of the Page and Shenandoah Valley throughout the coming year. Keep up with our culinary experiences at www.dineoutpagecountyva.com.

The arts continue to thrive this month with performances at the Performing Arts Luray and Trackside Theater. The Warehouse Art Gallery continues to showcase local artisans who work with pottery, paints, sculpture, and other creative means to bring to life their own unique vision of the area. Organizations like the Page Valley Arts Council are gearing up for the year's festivals showcasing talented local artists including jewelry makers, basket weavers, potters, painters, and artists of all kinds. There are multiple ways to enjoy not only the spring like sunshine of March but also to seek refuge from the March rains that lead locals and visitors to these artistic hubs. These hubs include the different restaurants and venues featuring live music from local performers around the Shenandoah Valley and beyond.

March is also Virginia’s Wine & Dine Month! Which means if you have been looking for an excuse to try our two local wineries, you have found the perfect one. Whether you like the comfortable and cozy atmosphere of Castle Vineyards or the open outdoor spaces of Wisteria Farm and Vineyard, both wineries are ready to welcome guests to taste their full-bodied reds, buttery whites, and delicious sweet wines. Lovers of sweet wines, particularly country wines, need to visit River Hill Distillery. More than just Bourbon and Corn Whiskey await you. This working farm and stable also grows a variety of fruits including peaches, apples, and blackberries, which they work down into sweet country wines. So, however your wine tastes guide you, Luray and Page County have the perfect thing to drink this month. And, if you are looking for an experience that doesn’t have to be 100% in Page County, the Blue Ridge Whisky Wine Loop circles through the surrounding counties. Wind your way through the rural towns and counties that touch and are home to the Shenandoah National Park. The loop is a wonderful, multi-day experience for tastings, food, lodging, and so much more.

Check out our downloadable monthly calendar and website calendar for special events and to learn more. If you have additional questions, we are just a phone call or email away to answer and provide suggestions for your next vacation to the Shenandoah Valley, Shenandoah National Park, and our cozy corner of Virginia.

All the Best,

Katie Long
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

Visit Luray-Page in February 2019

01/15/19

Breath mists the in air. Chilled winds blows across the back of your neck and whips around your face. Fingertips tingle from the cold as you dash from the house to your car without your mittens. These chilly sensations can only mean one thing…winter is in the air in Luray and Page County. Mornings that make you want to stay in bed, bundled beneath the covers, in a cocoon of warmth with your loved one. Days that beg for lunches out with friends or family to bring festivity to the gray, overcast skies. Long winter nights with more time to binge-watch your favorite Netflix shows and play board games with the family rather than spending the evening out and about. During February, winter days and nights provide the perfect opportunity to stay in front of the warmth of a wood fireplace, curl up with a good book, roast marshmallows, or learn a new card game. The month encourages downtime and relaxation before the busyness of spring and summer.

As the Cabin Capital of Virginia, over 400 cabins, country homes, cottages, and vacation rental properties provide solace from the cold. With features including gas or wood burning fireplaces, DVD libraries, stocked board game cupboards, and hot tubs, there are plenty of ways to stay warm and entertained in our corner of the Shenandoah Valley. Adventurers are just a short drive from all the skiing, snowboarding, and tubing they desire at Massanutten Resort. And our local beer, wine, and spirits are open every weekend to keep you warm and toasty from the inside out.

February also plays host to the holiday of love and romance. Spread the love this Valentine's Day by bringing your special someone out to one of our amazing restaurants or hit the brewery, wineries, or distillery for a locally-grown treat. If you're still looking for a gift, the shops throughout our downtowns are filled with a variety of chocolates, cards, jewelry, and more to make your loved one feel special. And, if you want to treat him/her to something a little more relaxing, there's no better time to schedule a spa package than around Valentine's Day! Feel free to contact our office at info@luraypage.com or (540) 743-3915 for a personal recommendation if you're still on the fence about what to gift or where to make your reservation. Otherwise, we look forward to seeing you out and about in the coming weeks.

As always, attached is our downloadable monthly calendar and website calendar and we are just a phone call or email away.

All the Best,

Katie Long
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

2018 - A Year in Review

01/01/19

Happy New Year! One of the best things about a new year is that it’s a fresh start, a chance to better yourself and your business and to grow in some way throughout the coming months. The other thing is that it gives you a chance to look over everything you have accomplished in the last year.

So, here we go. This is our look at 2018 in review!

We gained 68 new members this past year! These members included newly-opened businesses, such as Camino Real, Mr. Garcia’s Mexican Grille & Cantina, Country Road Family Medicine and Acupuncture, Custom Touches by Christi, Compass Tea Room, Happy Mini Mart & Deli, The Valley Cork, CoxFedLaw, Hawksbill House Inn, SunRiver Designs, Escape 211, and Stanley Antique Mall & Indoor Flea Market. Long-standing businesses and organizations such as Uncle Buck’s, Mama’s Treasures, Zane’s Locksmith Shop, Steve’s Archery & Guns, Page County Girl Scouts, Alzheimer’s Association Central & Western Virginia Chapter, Luray Little League, and Masonite. Businesses from outside of the county, such at Copper Fox Distillery, CBM Mortgage, Massanutten Timeshares, and Rivercrest Farm and Event Center. Patrons including: Eric and Becky Smith, Vaunice Conway, Faris Hamarneh, Audra Beers, Nancy Krause, and Edward Dwyer. And so many more: Shenandoah Community Library, Lori’s Pic-A-Place Travel, Cabins at Deer Run, Mattie’s Soft Serve, Integrated Bodyworks, Quality Inn of Luray, First Street Apartments, Burger King, Signs R Us, Harmany DJs, Arctic Fox, Mavins, Apexnetwork Physical Therapy, Xpression Photography, Rudy’s Diner, Page Valley Getaways, A Desk 4 Me, HUBZone Staffing Solutions, Healing Oasis & Bella Donna Skincare, Younce Enterprises, Lydia J. Designs, Fedscale, Living Legacy, CUED-IN, Old Wagon Ridge, Green Mountain Landscaping and Trail Construction, Mayne Construction Services, Page County Public Forum, Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging, OPTAVIA - Certified Health Coach, Page Valley Arts Council, Burner’s Beef, The Appraisal Center, Arise of Page County, Shenandoah Mutual Fire Insurance, Hearing at Home, Grandstaff Insurance Agency, and Green Hill Cemetery Association.

We hosted 74 events over 52 weeks, meaning our staff had approximately 1.4 events each week, not including FAM tours, non-member ribbon-cuttings, appreciation events, and other forms of outreach. Our 74 events included: monthly Business After Hours, bi-monthly Business Networking Breakfasts, Women in Business, Young Professionals, LeadShare, member ribbon-cuttings and grand openings, and monthly radio shows. It also included our Job Fair and Non-Profit Expo, Wedding Forum, Cabin Forum, Annual Banquet, Blue Ridge Mountain Mudurance, Movie Nights, Small Business Saturday, Small Business Week, Holiday Open House, Calendar Planning, and Elf on the Shelf campaign.

This year we also broke a record! Our Business After Hours events continue to grow in popularity and attendance. This year we had 757 members and guests sign in at these events, ensuring that we easily had between 800 and 1,000 attendees between all 12 events (since we know we always miss some people and some choose not to sign in when they arrive). This year, we had 130 registered attendees at the Valley Cork Business After Hours in October, which broke the previous record of 112. This was a close first place as the Mimslyn Inn’s December BAH with 121 registered attendees. It was truly a great year for our Business After Hours events with lots of new and exciting locations, we cannot wait to see what 2019 brings in terms of attendees, networking, and moments shared.

We hosted 16 ribbon-cuttings throughout the year with the help and support of the towns of Luray, Stanley, Shenandoah, and County of Page! These events didn’t include the non-member ribbon-cuttings hosted by our community partners. Meaning that over 2 dozen new, moved, and anniversary ribbon-cuttings were hosted between the three localities. This includes: Free Range Psychiatry, Downtown Studios Unlimited, Appalachian Outfitters, Camino Real, ALCOVA Mortgage, Compass Tea Room, the Healing Oasis, and The Valley Cork in Luray. Burger King, Emily’s Essential Massage, Signs R Us, Mr. Garcia’s Mexican Grille and Cantina, Custom Touches by Christi, WigWam Village Playground’s Expansion Part I, and CoxFedLaw in Shenandoah. And, the Kibler Library’s Room for More Expansion in Stanley. We also participated in ribbon-cuttings for SoLace Studios Fine Handcrafts in Elkton and Brown Edwards & Company, L.L.P. in Harrisonburg.

The 5th Annual Blue Ridge Mountain Mudurance 5K Mud Run hosted approximately 300 runners. Thanks in major part due to our over 100 volunteer, countless photographers, and dozens of spectators cheering on our participants as they made their way through the course and conquered the challenge we set for them. 300 people took on 22 obstacles, 3.1 miles of varied terrain, 9 water/mud challenges, and each other to build a stronger team, make memories, prove to themselves they could, and, overall, just have fun! We expanded our categories this year to include winners for: Best Corporate Team, Police, Fire and Rescue Team, Overall Team, Youth Team, Youth Male (ages 8-12), Youth Female (ages 8-12), Adult Male (ages 13-18), Adult Female (ages 13-18), Adult Male (ages 19-35), Adult Female (ages 19-35), Adult Male (ages 36 and up), and Adult Female (ages 36 and up).

Additionally, 2018 saw continued support from the Page County Board of Supervisors for our marketing programs. The towns of Luray, Stanley, and Shenandoah also supported the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center monetarily and through their support of our 8th consecutive grant from Virginia Tourism Corporation. We also applied for and received a specialty grant from VTC highlighting the ways to Crush Friday in Luray and Page County. We utilized the funds to create a new radio commercial for our annual digital radio campaign and are in the process of creating short video clips highlighting the different things to do and see in Luray and Page County, including, canoeing on the Shenandoah River, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, shopping antiques and old-fashioned decor, and so much more. We’re looking forward to wrapping up and utilizing these new digital marketing tools in 2019 and cannot wait to share their with our members, community, and visitors.

Overall, it’s hard to believe that 2018 is already behind us and we are already halfway through the first month of 2019. It’s fun looking back on everything our staff, volunteers, businesses, and community accomplished in 2018. And, it’s even better to see it as a challenge to out-do, overperform, and get an even better turnout for 2019! Thanks for coming along with us!

Katie Long
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

Visit Luray-Page in January 2019

12/31/18

Ice crystals on the grass; little shimmering blades of green standing tall and proud in their ice capes reflecting and shining in the morning sunlight. Winter has its own beauty. From frosty mornings to snow and ice storms crusting over the trees in the Shenandoah National Park and the valley below, winter can be as breathtaking in its beauty as it is through its below freezing temperatures.

This winter has been particularly interesting for our part of the Shenandoah Valley. We’ve had three snowstorms to count so far and more are expected as the season progresses. Yet, between each there has been a warm reprieve, a chance for our locals and visitors to emerge from our houses, cabins, and country homes into blinding sunlight and above freezing days that feel like mini springs. With the winter solstice behind us now, we’re already looking forward to days of more light, to enjoy the beauty of the valley as it’s covered in fluffy snow and crystalline ice.

January falls in the heart of winter, with the holiday celebrations coming to a close. New Year’s Eve is a time of festivity and celebration no matter where you are and celebrating in the Shenandoah Valley is no different. Our locals and visitors merge at our delicious restaurants, sip local wines and beers, and enjoy conversing with old and new friends at the conclusion of another year. The historic Mimslyn Inn’s annual event includes two styles of dining, drinks, and an evening of laughter and festivities in downtown Luray. The event wraps up with fireworks at midnight, which are enjoyed by attendees and everyone in and around the downtown area. Moonshadows Restaurant has also pulled out all the stops with a mouth-watering menu of lobster tail, scallops, shrimp, black angus filet, and a variety of sides, drinks, and such.

January is also known by winter lovers as a snow month. The expectation is that by January we’re through a lot of the rain snow that comes with fall turning into winter in December and most of the winter weather we expect in the Shenandoah Valley happens in January and February before the spring takes hold of March. It’s a wonderful month for cold lovers to experience the outdoors through skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. It’s the perfect time for outdoor recreation lovers to take a day, weekend, or week at Massanutten Resort to enjoy winter sports. Known as a four-season resort, Massanutten Resort, has plenty of activities for spring, summer, and fall, but they are most known for their winter activities. From live concerts at Encounters Lounge during the weekends to occupy the evenings after a day on the slopes, to delicious casual or gourmet food at their numerous on-site restaurants, Massanutten has activities to keep you busy during your whole stay. Located on the mountain range it’s named after, the Massanutten Mountains, Massanutten Resort is a premier winter destination in the Shenandoah Valley. And, to make it even better, it’s just a short jaunt from downtown Luray and Page County destinations.

Massanutten Resort also hosts a New Year’s Eve event throughout the day/evening before with dinner specials, a teen night section, live music and dancing, and more. For them, January and New Year’s Day are more of a kick-off and start to their winter festivities and entertainment than the closing of another year.

For those looking for some time inside and out of the cold, the Performing Arts Luray ramps up their 2019 season with a local favorite, their annual Poetry Slam on January 11th. The event showcases the work of Luray High School seniors in a public setting to give these students a chance to share their voice with the community. Then, on January 19th, comedian Derrik Knopsnyder comes to the stage. A standup comedian renowned as one of the best in the business, Derrik’s show is sure to be a treat for comedy lovers of any age.

While the performing arts are thriving in Page County and the Shenandoah Valley, so are the visual arts. Shenandoah Moon continues with their weekly and bi-weekly classes and workshops to teach locals and visitors new techniques and crafting styles. And, the Page Valley Arts Council is continuing with their Saturday art events at the Warehouse Art Gallery, monthly Second Saturday events at Stevens Cottage in Shenandoah, and more as they gear up for the spring and their second annual Festival of Arts in Page County.

Winter has officially arrived in Luray and Page County and we are embracing the winter outdoor recreation, inside arts, and more. While things seem to drop off in the winter months and inside activities become a focus for many, we look forward to seeing you in Luray-Page over the coming weeks to experience it all in the Shenandoah Valley. As always, attached is our downloadable monthly calendar and website calendar and we are just a phone call or email away.

All the Best,

Katie Long
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

Visit Luray-Page in December 2018

11/26/18

It’s been such an amazing year! It’s so hard to believe that the year is almost over and we’re about to enter into our final month of 2018, and all the festivities that that brings. This time of the year is all about the heart, making Virginia the absolute best place to spend December! With extra holidays providing excuses to spend more time with family and friends, to hunt for the perfect gift for someone special, and to feel the joy and love of just being with family and the family you choose, December is all about small things. Small annual events, small get-togethers, and small ways we show people we care, and all of it in a small town setting makes it even more perfect.

 

Now that we’ve made it through Halloween and Thanksgiving, have shopped our way through the big stores on Black Friday and locally on Small Business Saturday, it’s time to set our sights on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and all other holidays in December. This is the time to set your sights on experiences, chances for catching up with old friends via a holiday card or through a brief weekend getaway in the mountains, for extra time for cookie baking and another cup of hot cocoa while you share your plans for the future and the highlights from the past year. These are all things that I, personally, look forward to each year.

 

One of the best things about being in the Cabin Capital of Virginia is that even the name this time of the year inspires visions of a roaring fireplace, fuzzy socks, and delectable smells and rolling laughter from a kitchen as you relax surrounded by the love of your family. Whether your vision evokes timber-framed cabins, painted white cottages, or a vacation property of another design, the Cabin Capital has approximately 500 cabins available to suit your winter escape.

 

In the weekends leading up to the end of the year, the towns of Luray, Stanley, and Shenandoah will host a variety of tree lightings, window decorating contests, parades, and other festive occasions in which locals and visitors can embrace the coming holidays. In fact, the Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center kicks off our holiday season this Friday with our annual Holiday Open House. A free event for kids, families, and kids at heart, we offer Christmas cookies, photos with Santa, hot cocoa, gingerbread house decorating, coloring sheets, trains, and so much more. We love using this time to give back to our community, both business and the community as a whole, by hosting this event for Page County.

 

Then, we immediately move onto the Town of Stanley's Christmas Parade and 3rd Annual Christmas in Stanley event! We’ll have a float celebrating the season and theme and be tossing out candy and glow sticks to all attendees. The night is always festive with a huge turnout of kids and families looking to watch the lights, wave at friends and family, and share in the moments that make the holidays so special, including fireworks at the end of the night.

 

On the 8th, we’ll join the Town of Luray for their Christmas Parade and the Holiday Reception afterwards at the Performing Arts Luray. With dozens of parade floats, marching bands, and other entries making their way along Main Street in Luray, the Town of Luray’s parade is just as festive, bright, and filled with love and laughter as the Town of Stanley’s. Bringing your kids to both gives them a chance to see an entry that may have previously missed or that was unable to be entered into both. The post-parade reception at PAL is a chance to get inside and warm up a bit after the floats and, if you’re so lucky, it’s a chance to redeem your golden ticket for a special gift from the town.

 

The month is filled with small church plays, visits and photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and plenty of musical performances around the county. With specials benefiting our local non-profits, like the Warm, Mulled Wine at Wisteria each weekend and a canned food drive for Page One, there are numerous opportunities to feel good about shopping local and giving back at the same time.

 

At the end of the month, celebrate Christmas Eve dinners, Christmas Day brunches, and New Year Eve’s at one of our amazing restaurants, such as the historic Mimslyn Inn or the delectable Moonshadows Restaurant in Luray. A meal at these restaurants means amazing service, mouth-watering food, and a chance to skip the prep and cleanup.

 

Check out our complete calendar of events for December here or visit our website for the continuously updating calendar. And, as always, we wish you all the very best as your make your plans for the coming month. Please feel free to contact our office for additional information at (540) 743-3915 or info@luraypage.com.

 

All the Best,

 

Katie Long
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce

Visit Luray-Page in October 2018

10/05/18

It’s was a very busy September for us at the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center. We wrapped up the month with our 5th Annual Blue Ridge Mountain Mudurance and it kept us out of the office and on the course the week before for marking, flagging, and an overall setup of the course as a whole. Not that the event has passed and everything has been broken down and returned to our amazing sponsors and our storage unit for another year, we’re ready to dive head-first into the month of October and there’s no better weekend.

This weekend is the 49th Annual Page County Heritage Festival! If you’re a short drive or weekend trip away from the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and were thinking about taking a short trip somewhere this weekend, we encourage you to visit Luray & Page County for this annual event. Held every Columbus Weekend, the Page County Heritage Festival celebrates fall and all that that entails. From homemade apple butter, jams, jellies, and local honey to chicken and dumplings, BBQ, and many more ways to celebrate the flavor of fall, the festival always seems to be greeted with misty, overcast and chilly mornings highlighting the season. More than just food, there are hundreds of crafters and artisans who bring their talents in the form of products to buy and demonstrations, such as the Luray Potterylady, blacksmith guild, woodworkers, basketweavers, carvers, knitters, and more. My family and I always bring some extra cash to do a bit of shopping for birthdays and the holidays because it’s one of the best places to find a one-of-a-kind, handcrafted piece that will be as special and unique as the giftee. The festival runs both Saturday and Sunday and is a treat for both locals and visitors to the area with just a nominal fee to get in.

This month I’m also very excited about the Page Valley Arts Council’s art exhibition “COLOR,” which has officially opened at the Warehouse Art Gallery. Showcasing a variety of mediums, including watercolors, photography, sculpture, and so much more,  from artists in and around the valley, the show continues all month long and is a wonderful excuse to revisit the warehouse for your 1st, 2nd, or 10th time.

As October’s biggest holiday is Halloween, there are a variety of events in the county and downtown areas to celebrate this holiday with festivities for kids, adults, and families as a whole. Not right in Luray-Page, the Shenandoah Caverns’ museum, American Celebration on Parade, begins hosting their American Fright Night on the weekends. And, while you may find masques and the giant parade floats scary enough in the dark, that’s not all that will await you around every bend. A truly unique and terrifying way to enjoy a good haunt this season, Shenandoah Caverns and their staff enjoy the event and all the locals and visitors who come for a scare.

If you’re bringing the whole family for a little extra decor and trick-or-treating with a few less scares, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park goes all out each season with their Halloween-themed weekends. From werewolves to witches to vampires and more, Yogi provides families with daily wholesome fun including pumpkin painting, hayrides, and more before the chance to get decked out in this year’s costume for an extra chance to trick-or-treat amongst the campsites.

Whether it’s the season, the arts, the holiday, or just a chance to get away into nature or for some outdoor recreation, Luray-Page has everything you want and need this October for your day trip, weekend, or extended stay in the Shenandoah Valley. We look forward to seeing you here! Check out our calendar of events as you plan your trip or download and print our monthly calendar for ease of access. And, as always, we’re just a phone call or email away if you need us!

Happy Fall Yall,

Katie Long
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce

Visit Luray-Page in September 2018

08/22/18

September is the cusp of fall…not fully ready to commit to the cooler temperatures and not ready to give up the beautiful, sunshiny heat of August. A more mellow middle of the two with cooler evenings and mornings and the heat of the day still coming through to burn off the dew.

The return to school heralds light sweater weather and the coming drop in temperatures, changing leaves, and eventual holiday celebrations. September is the last chance to vacation in the “summer” until next year. For students returning to their studies after Labor Day, it means last-minute trips and a lessening of the crowds. For those already back to their studies, Labor Day weekend is like the last sigh before losing yourself in the every-day. The holiday provides the perfect summer mini vacation to Luray-Page to dive into nature and see everything in bloom before the plants start dropping their leaves and buds for fall. Birdsong Pleasure Gardens are still in bloom and provide a beautiful and unique escape into the trees and flowers of summer before the next season takes hold. For adventure seekers, the weather’s just right for sailing through the treetops at Bear Mountain Ziplines and feeling the breeze cool your skin from the heat of the sun.

As with every month in Luray-Page, September plays host to a variety of things happening in and around the Shenandoah Valley. For wine lovers, kick off the month with Castle Vinayard’s 1-Year Anniversary. Celebrate the growth of the grapes and vines with some wine, live music, and food. And, while October may be Virginia Wine Month, it’s never too early to start sampling and savoring.

If you’re looking for a special wine event that includes a hand-picked and designed menu, Big Meadows Lodge along the Skyline Drive is hosting a multi-day event with Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery from Leon, VA. Wednesday is the main day with a cooking demonstration from one of the Shenandoah National Park chefs and the 5-course vintner dinner in the evening. The event leaves gaps in the schedule for a hike or to sit outside and soak up the sounds of the mountains.

If you like to drink your wine and do some good at the same time by giving back to local causes, Page Paws is back at Wisteria Farm & Vineyard at the end of the month for their Wine & Whiskers event! Have a glass of wine and participate in the silent auction to help these Page County volunteers reduce the cat population through their “Trap, Neuter, and Return” program.

Wine not your cup of tea? How about a little bargain shopping! The second Saturday of September plays host to the Route 340 Yard Crawl. Hundreds of locals line Rte. 340 with their yard sales trying to entice treasure hunters to stop and shop. From Grottoes to Luray, you never know what new-to-you items you might find: candlesticks, a bicycle, cleets for the kids, clothing, power tools, and so much more.

Not a shopper? How about some locally grown, handmade apple butter? The Shenandoah National Park’s annual Apple Butter Celebration lands right in the middle of the month and showcases the applebutter boiling process with apple-infused dishes. The event brings both locals and visitors together to welcome fall with the spicy, apple flavor we all know and love. Moreover, the event includes childrens activities, live entertainment, and cider tastings from Old Hill Cider, making it great for families and kids of every age.

For athletic, outdoor lovers, our 5th Annual Blue Ridge Mountain Mudurance rounds out the end of the month. This 5K mud and obstacle race is devoted more to fun and team/relationship building rather than competition. Hardcore racers can compete for the medals and 1st place victory at the event, but we encourage teams, businesses, and organizations to bring together their members for a bonding experience full of laughter, fun, and overcoming challenges. Racers look forward to a 6’ climbing wall, 200’ water slide, mud trenches, blanace beams, and muddy army crawl, among other obstacles. The course is challenging, but provides a great opportunity to make memories, push yourself, and accomplish something with the help of friends and family.

Looking for more information on other events to fill your week, weekend, or overnight stay in Luray & Page County, Check out our monthly calendar or look online for our community calendar, which is updated daily. As always, feel free to reach out to the staff at the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center for more information or help in booking your stay in the Shenandoah Valley.

Happy Planning,

Katie Long
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

Visit Luray-Page in August 2018

08/03/18

August has dawned a little sloppier than anticipated with plenty of rain in the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding areas. Still, we’re holding on to the last vestiges of the summer with flip-flops, outdoor movie nights, and blossoming produce!

The agricultural industry is thriving with gardens coming back after a very soggy spring, which left a few of our local growers washed out. The crops are coming in full-force now with cucumbers, zucchini and squash, and tomatoes bursting from the ground. Our local growers and farming-based businesses, such as Survivor Farm and Willow Grove Farm Market, are in their busy season. If you’re not from the area and are interested in berry picking or seeing what a full garden looks like and the taste of tomatoes still warm from the sun and ground, this is the month to visit us in Luray-Page. The flavor of store-bought produce doesn’t even come close to the fullness of the flavor that is produced by vine-ripened fruits and vegetables.

Our restaurants are tapping into the local produce scene and utilizing the freshest, local ingredients in their fare. Moreover, the Mimslyn Inn’s annual Farm-to-Table Dinner has changed up their format for this year and is designing their menu for the September 8th event around a Facebook vote! Therefore, popular opinion will determine the menu via Facebook vote.

As fall begins to creep into the picture and the evenings provide a little cool respite from the heat of the day, the evening activities take on more appeal for both our locals and visitors. The chance to sit outside on the plazas or the patio at the historic Mimslyn Inn to listen to music and sip a cocktail to take the edge off the receding heat are one of the biggest draws for people looking to kick up their feet for a little and enjoy the evening. The Town of Luray’s Evenings on Main series bring in different music including variety, funk, and rock music and encourage dancing and grooving on the Hawksbill Greenway’s Ruffner Plaza.

As for the cooling evenings, this is the last month to fully enjoy the Shenandoah River via tube. Most of the time, the air and river begin to cool off next month and most people begin to see September and beyond as a time for kayaking and canoeing, rather than tubing. So, if you've been thinking about taking a leisurely, relaxing float up the river, make your plans and reservations to visit one of our awesome outfitters. The recent rains may have raised the levels a little, but it takes just a day or two for them to return to normal, so there's no time like the present to book. 

Still, the biggest event of the month is the 66th Annual Page Valley Fair from August 18th-25th. If you love fairs with their carnival rides, food, truck and tractor pulls, demolition derbies, and so much more, this is the event for you. Every night from 4:00-11:00 PM on July 20th-25th, the gates will open for the public to celebrate the hard work of the local 4Hers and the end of the summer. For many, this event symbolizes the start of a new school year and the coming of fall. Kids’ Night returns on Monday with free entry for all school-age children, senior citizens over 60, veterans, military, and first responders. Rhonda Vincent and the Lonesome River Band will be the big musical attraction in the Grandstand this year on Thursday night. So, whether you want to ride the rides, check out the 4-H submissions, grab some traditional fair food, or catch the nightly entertainment in the Grandstand, this event is a huge draw for people in and outside the county.

Check out what else is happening in and around the county on our community calendar or see our monthly printed calendar, just keep in mind that it is always changing and we are constantly adding new events to the one on the www.visitluraypage.com website. We can't wait to see you all this month to celebrate the end of summer and start to the fall season! Here's to one last hoorah before the kids return to school and the summer sunsets cool off and the leaves begin to change and fall.

As always, feel free to reach out to the staff at the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center for more information or help in booking your stay in the Page Valley and beyond.

Katie Long
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

West Main Bridge Project

07/20/18

If you’ve been to Luray and Page County in the last week, you’ve noticed a bit of construction going on in our downtown area. That’s because our West Main Street Bridge is officially being replaced. For the safety of our locals and visitors to the Town of Luray, the town officials and council have worked in conjunction with VDOT to proceed with the replacement of the bridge joining East and West Main Street.

The bridge and a portion of West Main Street, just past the light at the intersection of Main and Broad, was officially closed on Monday, July 16, 2018. The current expectation is for the bridge and this portion of the street to remain closed until December 31, 2018 when the new bridge is in place.

The bridge project was officially started in 2014 with public stakeholder and information meetings to introduce the idea and begin working towards fulfilling this need. In February 2017 the anticipated project funding was completed, which was followed in July by an RFP as the town began looking for an architect and construction company. The contractor was hired in February 2018 and on-site preparations began just last month as the plans and permits were finalized and then approved by VDOT. The detours/closures began this past Monday, July 16, 2018, and demolition is planned for this coming Monday, July 23, 2018. The town’s goal is to have the road reopened in December 2018 with the completition of all construction in June 2019 and bridge dedication in July 2019.

Orders Construction Company, based out of Saint Albans, WV, is the bridge construction company. Orders Construction specializes in general contracting and bridge construction and has built a reputation of dependability, honesty, and loyalty. Under the leadership of Earl Adwell, Project Manager, and Bryan Chrisman, Assistant Town Manager for the Town of Luray, the team hopes to remain on track and will vary in size from 15-30 guys. These men will not only be working in our community, but will also be staying during the week at one of our local hotels and eating in our local restaurants.

Gina Hilliard, Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center President, and Meredith Dees, Luray Downtown Initiative Program Director, met with Earl this morning on the bridge in the midst of all the construction equipment to familiarize themselves with Earl and his team. We anticipate working closely with Earl and the Town of Luray to help the Luray-Page community stay in the loop on what is happening with the bridge and in the downtown area as we go through this period of transition. We will do our best to keep the lines of communication open as the project moves forward.

If you are unfamiliar with the area, we highly recommend checking out our map of the construction area and a few of roads surrounding the zone. Remember to obey the detour signs and they will help you get around our temporary mess. And, as always, feel free to reach out to our staff at the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center to answer any questions you may have about the downtown area, how to get around, and the businesses around the construction zone. Our businesses aren't letting the construction ruffle them, they're still open and ready to serve our community and visitors during this project, so don't let the dust keep you away.

Additionally, we will continue to shoot informational videos on the project and share them on our Facebook and YouTube pages, so you can watch them at your own convenience and stay informed with the changes.

 

Happy Friday,

Katie Long
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce

Visit Luray-Page in July 2018

07/02/18

July is the awakening of fireflies as they dance through the sky at dusk. The season of porch-sitting has officially arrived and the weather is glorious in the morning for sipping a cup of coffee outside or taking a glass of pre-dinner wine during sunset.

It’s the month that epitomizes summer. Kids are out of school (whether school starts late or early, it doesn’t intercede during this month), which means parents get more of the morning to themselves. And, rather than having to hustle the kids out of bed and into clothes for the day, adults can savor a few more moments of quiet. It’s a month for splashing in the pool and napping through the heat of the day. A month of adventures and traveling to new places for new experiences.

July is vacation time. People from the northern states are ready to venture south for warmer weather and southerners are looking to escape north or into the mountains for a slightly cooler version of summer. Both merge perfectly in the Shenandoah Valley with our seasonally warm temperatures and the buffer of the mountains’ elevations allowing for cooler mornings and evenings.

Beyond porch-sitting and savoring the summery temperatures, July’s warmth also makes it a great month for swimming and water activities. The Shenandoah River is booming with locals and visitors looking to spend a relaxing day floating with the current and stopping to swim and immerse themselves in the cooler water. The Hawksbill Recreation Park & Pool is also open! With this year’s new addition of night swims, stay late and enjoy the pool for longer hours with the themed events.

Our towns are in full-swing for their yearly events. For those looking to celebrate Independence Day in Luray-Page, the Town of Luray is hosting their annual 4th of July on the Hawksbill Greenway. Geared toward families and people of all ages, the town hosts more than just fireworks at dusk, they have lots of activities from 5:00-9:00 PM including a rock climbing wall, barrel train rides, carnival games, face painting, moon bounces, and meltdown, an inflatable obstacle. Moreover, there is a duck race at 8:00 PM and a variety of food vendors and non-profits descend on the Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative/Greenway’s shared parking lot with lots of delicious food and goodies to keep your who group entertained. The town’s Parks & Rec department will also be hosting Canaveral for live music throughout the event. It’s truly an event to come be a kid again; join the locals and other visitors and get caught up in the meaning of the holiday and the awe of the fireworks show.

If you have no interest in the kids activities, but are looking for a good view of the fireworks, the Performing Arts Luray will have live music from Thundergun on their plaza. Classic rock and access to their cash bar known as “the Vault,” makes this event a huge draw. While no outside beverages are allowed, attendees are encouraged to bring a chair and their favorite eats to enjoy the event to its fullest.

Right around this time, the Town of Stanley is also hosting their 52nd Annual Stanley Homecoming at Ed Good Memorial Park. From Wednesday, July 4th-Saturday, July 7th, play at the carnival, enjoy a variety of live bands, and of course the must-see of the event is the Saturday evening parade and fireworks. Wednesday kicks off with the annual pageant (with two new age groups: Ms. – ages 22-35 & Elegant Ms. – ages 36 and up) local talent at the “I’ve Got A Voice” competition as the participants compete for recording time. On Saturday, locals, natives, guests, and visitors will line Main Street in Stanley to watch as the Page County Baseball and Softball teams – the reigning state champions – lead the cars, trucks, bands, and floats. From musical presentations to candy, glow sticks, and more, the entrants entertain watchers-on before the finale of the “I’ve Got A Voice” competition, live music, and fireworks display.

Moving past the beginning of the month, the towns, county, and local businesses and organizations offer a variety of additional events including more live music, theater, racing, animal shows, and more. The best way to keep up with all the events is on our website’s community calendar, which is updated on an almost daily basis.

As always, we love seeing new and returning faces in Luray-Page. We sincerely hope to see you along our main streets, shopping our downtowns, and breathing in the fresh country air this month!

All the Best,

Katie Long
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

Visit Luray-Page in June 2018

05/15/18

June is a wonderful time of year to visit the Page and Shenandoah Valleys. The cool of spring we weathered through in April is gone and the rainy season in May has passed (mostly) and summer is fully raising its head for the month. The days are sunnier and the nights are becoming shorter and warmer. The weather is perfect for sleeping with windows open or outside in a tent beneath the stars. The bugs haven't fully returned so grilling out is still comfortable, even without citronella candles. There's so much to do and love this month that our office is abuzz with the desire to throw our office windows and doors open to let the light breezes and warmth blow through our work space.

 

For visitors and staycationers, June is an amazing month for camping and floating the river. The Shenandoah is typically flowing nicely after the rains that graced the valley in May and before the full heat of July and August sets in. Canoers, kayakers, and tubers love soaking up the sun as the current brings them north on the Shenandoah River. Locals and returning visitors advise floaters to bring snacks, drinks, and extra sunscreen to enjoy the trip to its fullest, but remind that you should always keep our waterways beautiful and take out whatever you come in with.

 

For fishermen, the local waterways have been stocked by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, so whether you're an avid fisherman or you like to relax on the bank while your line glides through the water, this is the season for you. Make sure you check out each towns' rules and regulations before you cast your line, we like to keep everything on the up and up, whether you're fishing our lakes, creeks, or the river.

 

Last month also saw the return of an event series that is a local favorite, the Town of Luray's Evenings on Main Concert Series. These concerts are held downtown on the Ruffner Plaza along the Luray Hawksbill Greenway. The shows are absolutely free to the public and usually draw a good-sized crowd. Attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair and their dancing shoes if they so choose. The shows feature a variety of musical genres including: 80s, swing, blues, country, classic rock, soul/funk, Americana, and more. This month's shows are June 1st(featuring The Judy Chops) and June 22nd (featuring Tommy Wood). They are a great evening activity for visitors just arriving to town and for locals looking to relax at the end of the workweek. See the full line-up at www.townofluray.com/assets/tol_events_rack_card—final-v2.pdf.

 

At the end of the month, the Town of Stanley is hosting their 52nd Annual Homecoming. The event is a chance for the locals and Stanley natives to gather/return to town to celebrate their hometown with live music, food, fun, and fireworks. One of the largest parts of this almost week-long festival is the parade on Saturday, July 7th at 5pm. Locals and visitors alike will line Main Street in Stanley to catch candy for the kids and enjoy the beauty and talent of the floats, bands, and other entries before heading to ride rides at the carnival. See the week's full schedule on their Facebook event page: www.facebook.com/events/161855247817037.

 

Countless other events fill the days between these larger events; Shenandoah Speedway's races will continue around the 3/8th-mile asphalt track, Shenandoah National Park's dinners, cloggers, and other evening activities are still open to anyone looking to explore the Skyline Drive, and the Hawksbill Recreation Park and Pool has officially opened for sunbathers, divers, and anyone looking for some pool time in the Town of Stanley and County of Page as a whole.

 

For movie lovers and parents looking for some time in the outdoors with the kids, the local Chamber & Visitor Center has partnered for our second year with the local towns and county to host a free monthly movie under the stars. The first event is June 29th at the Shenandoah Memorial Ballpark and will include a showing of Despicable Me 3 with free popcorn, drinks, and a chance to win the movie! Download the flyer for full event details and to plan ahead for the July and August movies.

 

As always, we love seeing new and returning faces in Luray-Page and our local businesses and organizations roll out the welcome wagon for everyone. We sincerely hope to see you along our main streets, shopping our downtowns, and breathing in the fresh country air this month! See the full calendar of events on our website, www.visitluraypage.com, or download a copy of the current event schedule.

 

All the Best,

 

Katie Long

Communications & Marketing Coordinator

Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

14th Annual Festival of Spring Weekend

05/03/18

The Town of Luray’s annual Festival of Spring is upon us and the locals are excited to see this year’s changes. Celebrating the 14th year, the festival has changed a little, not just footprint (which I’ll touch on briefly for all of you who have been here before), but this year it’s also moved forward a weekend. Still, the reason for its creation has remained the same. The festival looks to celebrate the Town of Luray, its local partners, artisans and crafters, and community as a whole while welcoming in the spring season.

Held for the first year right before Mother’s Day weekend, the location of the festival has moved slightly from the main downtown stoplight (at the intersection of Main Street & Broad Street) along the first blocks of East and West Main Streets, with kids’ activities on the Ruffner Plaza of the Hawksbill Greenway. This year’s footprint will go from the main stoplight up along East Main Street to the railroad tracks and back to Inn Lawn Park and the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center. This year, the children’s activities will be located outside of the Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center with additional activities at the Page Public Library. And, nearby, Inn Lawn Park will have a Dog Frisbee Competition from Noon-4:00 PM. The Food Court will remain in its normal location just past Gathering Grounds and between Trackside Theater and Uncle Buck’s along Main Street and the restaurants along Main Street will be open as always to welcome anyone looking to take cover from the anticipated 68° temps.

As you wander through the vendors lining the street, make sure you take time to wander in and out of the businesses that call our downtown district home. If you find yourself looking to break away from the crowds, I encourage you to make your way along the West Main Street sidewalks to window shop and peruse the shops, boutiques, and restaurants along that strip.

Those looking to enjoy the festival by imbibing in alcoholic beverages can partake in the Performing Arts Luray’s annual Beer Garden with live music from local favorite Cazhmiere from Noon-3:30 PM and The Reflex from 4:00-7:00 PM. The plaza at PAL provides a wonderful location to people watch and enjoy the festival away from the mingling crowd. Or, take a break on the plaza to give your feet a break from all the walking with something cold to quench your thirst.

Looking to sample the local craft beer scene, check out the Town of Luray’s only craft brewery, Hawksbill Brewing Company on Zerkel Street. The brewery is preparing to celebrate their 1-Year Anniversary of business in Page County and has made quite an impact on locals and visitors alike. Utilizing local ingredients where possible, the owners grow part of their own hops and use fresh fruits from local farms for some of their specialty beers.

If you’re bringing the kids, make sure you arrive at the festival by 2:00 PM so the kiddos can participate in the annual Maypole tradition. The pole position has shifted from the intersection up the hill to on Broad to the intersection in front of Domino’s, the Warehouse Art Gallery, and the Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. The event will be at the Confederate statue and is a great way to share a little history about May Day with your kids in a fun, interactive way; plus the adults always get a kick out of seeing the kids and brightly colored ribbons make their way around the pole.

As a born and raised local, I can honestly say that the festivals and larger, community-centered events that the towns and other organizations host are some of my absolute favorite things about this county. They not only bring in visitors to experience the beauty and hospitality of our adorable small towns, but they also provide a space for the locals to gather and reconnect with neighbors in a casual setting. More than just a festival where we can shop and support local businesses and artists, I always seem to find myself picking up lunch from one of the vendors and then finding an available seat with someone I know and using the time to catch up on their lives and what their family members are up to. Or, as I wander through the different booths, picking up early Christmas or birthday gifts, I inevitably run into someone and end up chatting away for a while about how their kids are doing or how their job is going. I thoroughly encourage anyone interested in seeing what our community is really like to join us this Saturday from Noon-6:00 PM in downtown Luray! (See some of the fun from last year's event below.)

And, as always, you can contact the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce for additional information on activities in the area, places to stay, and personal recommendations on places to eat. If you want more information or to see the festival map, check out the event website at www.festivalofspringluray.com or see their Facebook event page at www.facebook.com/events/183309115596007.

We hope to see you this weekend!

Sincerely,

Katie Long, Communications & Marketing Coordinator

 

Visit Luray-Page in May 2018

04/17/18

Spring is in the air in the valley and Luray-Page County locals and visitors couldn't be happier! 

With spring and warmer weather comes the chance to get outside in the sun. A chance to explore nature and breathe in fresh mountain air. While winter may seem to have briefly returned to disturb the summer preview we enjoyed last weekend, we know spring will return and we will once more be able to slip into shorts and summer dresses and stroll along the Hawksbill Greenway. There's nothing that encourages you to shake off the winter blues like a warm breeze ruffling your hair and the smell of flowers in bloom.

There are countless events each week to bring visitors and locals outside to enjoy the beauty of the valley. From the kickoff of the Mimslyn Inn's Porch Parties, with live music, cocktails, and views of Main Street from the historic inn's front porch, to the first of the Town of Luray's Evenings on Main Concert Series for the 2018 season at Ruffner's Plaza in downtown Luray, music and the arts abound both indoors and outside in Luray-Page this spring and summer. More than that, the Luray Singing Tower, our 47-bell carillon, is back to providing regular shows every Saturday and Sunday. 

If you're looking for outside events that are more active than musical, the Shenandoah Speedway is now open with weekend races around their 3/8th-mile asphalt track. Additionally, last month kicked off fishing in Luray-Page with the annual Youth Trout Derby Day event on April 14th. Meaning, there's no better time to throw in your line at Lake Arrowhead, the Hawksbill Creek, or even the Shenandoah River.  

Visitors to the Shenandoah National Park can shed their winter coats and enjoy all of the newly re-opened amenities and activities available to guests of the park. Whether it's horseback riding, clogging, white oak basket making, hiking, or just enjoying some good food in one of the dining rooms or tap rooms at Skyland and Big Meadows, there is something to keep everyone in your group occupied while you savor the views of the valley below. 

The two biggest events for the month of May come at opposite ends of the month. For the beginning, May 5th is the 14th Annual Festival of Spring in downtown Luray. The festival brings out vendors selling handmade crafts, artwork, and other goods, food trucks and trailers, live music from Cazhmiere and The Reflex, activities to keep the kids busy and entertained all day long, a canine-thrill show, and more. The festival is free to attend and the traditional May Pole Ceremony at 2:00 PM is a favorite for kids and parents alike. Rain or shine, the Town of Luray pulls out all the stops for this annual celebration of spring. 

For the end of the month, May 25th and 26th play host to the 21st Annual Memorial Festival and Parade in the Town of Shenandoah. The event is spread throughout the town and includes a variety of activities, including the traditional Memorial Service at the VFW Post, car and truck show, tractor show, and more. Those looking to do a little casual shopping can check out the Pentecostal Church's Yard & Bake Sale and the Shenandoah Library's Book Sale. During the middle of the day, attendees are encouraged to gather along Maryland Avenue, First Street, Virginia Avenue, and Third Street to watch the procession of decorated vehicles and tractors in the Annual Parade as it winds through the downtown area. The evening ends with a special Military Night of racing at the Shenandoah Speedway. 

Plus, with Mother's Day right in the middle of the month on Sunday, May 13th, the local businesses are excited to welcome and spoil the special women in your life with garden tours, brunches, and afternoon teas. Visitors and locals in the county for the weekend will be delighted with the activities designed to celebrate and embrace the women who have helped raise each of us. 

As you plan your trip to Luray-Page, we encourage you to peruse the Community Calendar on the Luray-Page website to keep up with the constantly changing events in the valley. You can also utilize our monthly visitors' calendar to see an overview, though not all-inclusive, snap-shot of our events. 

If you have any questions or are looking for additional information on planning your trip, our Chamber & Tourism Associates are available 7 days a week with information on places to stay and personal recommendations for dinner, adventures, and more. Contact the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center at (540) 743-3915 or info@luraypage.com. We'll see you next month!

3…2…1…The Countdown to Launch

03/01/18

Dear Member or Visitor,

You may be asking yourself: why did the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce need new websites? Well, here’s our story and how this new site came to be.

In the spring of 2016, the staff at the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center began discussing the possibility of designing and releasing a completely revamped website. Between our staff noticing broken links, repetitious pages, and more, hearing from our members that they were noticing the same issues, and recieving communications from visitors who were struggling with the lack of mobile friendliness in the old site, we knew something had to be done. So, we went through months of careful deliberation with the Marketing Committee and a rough outline of the desired website features, content, and purpose was decided upon. Shortly thereafter, the staff began reaching out to website designers in Page County and the surrounding areas before settling on Immerge Technologies, a company based out of Harrisonburg, VA.

Immerge was founded in 2005 and became part of McClung Printing in 2010. With a history of serving clients in the Shenandoah Valley, DC Metro area, and around Virginia for 10 years, and 50 years of web development and technology service and the backing of 70 years as an established print company through McClung, Immerge seemed like the best choice for the project. Additionally, the main staff has a variety of backgrounds, experience, and skillsets designed to bring together the necessary features of a website. From customer service to web development and design and digital marketing to website support, the team at Immerge Technologies had everything the Chamber staff and Marketing Committee deemed necessary to complete our large project.

How did we meet Immerge? Well, Gina and Katie first met William Roy, Director of Digital Sales of Immerge Technologies, at the annual Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Institute in 2016. The ladies were wowed by the overall knowledge and experience of the staff at Immerge for both website development and digital marketing. And, the business’s experience building both Chamber of Commerce and tourism-related websites, and, despite never having conquered a project combining both styles, we felt Immerge was the best to fulfill the unique needs of our combined entity.  

Once we began to get down to the purpose of the revamp, the Chamber staff and the newly-formed Website Committee quickly recognized the need for a redo of not only the main Visit Luray-Page website, but also of the neglected Cabin Capital and Luray-Page Weddings sites as well. Immerge’s suggestion: utilizing a combined platform for all three websites, the staff can go through one login for all and easily add, edit, and change any necessary information in an efficient manner. This ease of access would not only benefit the Chamber staff, but ultimately also benefit our members and the businesses and organizations in Page County by allowing us to transfer information to our visitors as quickly and efficiently as possible. With the new platform, we will be able to recommend the Page Valley and the Shenandoah Valley as a whole even better than before through maintaining updated content, SEO, and keeping up with the backend of the website to make it more user-friendly. 

In conjunction with the staff at Immerge Technologies, the Chamber staff, Marketing Committee, and Website Committee decided the goal for the new sites will be to provide information in a consistent manner with limited duplication. Guided by our members’ desire for leads, and ultimately more business, as well as the Page County Board of Supervisors’ interest in increasing the local Tourism Occupancy Tax (TOT) through increased visitors to the area, one of the goals of the sites is a focus on SEO and maintaining and advancing our Google ranking. Moreover, we recognized the need for great imagery highlighting the beauty, adventure, and outdoor recreation found in the Luray and Page County area. A unanimous decision was made to update and change out these images as-necessary to feature the four-season destination appeal. These images will allow us to showcase each season through the eyes of our members. Lastly, we rounded out our goals with the principle that all three sites necessitated a responsive, user-friendly backend to ensure accessibility through easily understood and searchable navigation and categories.

For content, we began by sorting through all 100+ pages of the current Visit Luray-Page website before tackling the Cabin Capital and Luray-Page Weddings sites as well. With the assistance of Immerge and Cobalt Communications, an associate of Immerge Technologies, we research keywords associated with the area and the most visited pages on each site to determine what our audience was most drawn to. We began consolidating copy and content from the old site in an attempt to highlight and provide the information our target audience was looking for in the most direct and convenient way possible.

Utilizing the Chamber staff and Website Committee’s own experience and expectations when vacationing, we decided to segment our tourism-related businesses to create simplified search categories. Therefore, our “Play & Leisure” primary navigation represents outdoor recreation activities with everything in the valley from exploring the Shenandoah National Park on foot or by bike to tubing the Shenandoah River to touring the stalactites and stalagmites in the limestone caverns of the Shenandoah Valley. “See & Do” highlights museums, shops, and arts for those not looking for the next thrill, but rather a cultural experience. “Eat & Drink” allows visitors to choose which type of culinary experience they are looking for and to narrow down their options to fit these expectations. “Rest & Relax” is home to our various lodging and overnight options. As the Cabin Capital of Virginia, the county is home to approximately 500 cabins, cottages, and country homes. “Plan” is for those who have figured out where they’re staying, what activities they’re seeking out, and which restaurants they’re going to be savoring. “Plan” houses our community-wide events calendar, a downloadable map of the county and towns, information on living in Luray-Page, and more. The last navigation tile is “Chamber of Commerce” and this is the portal for our members and prospective members to peruse Chamber events, personnel, membership directory, news, and more.

So, once we had the organization part of it down, it was time to get down to business. Unfortunately, at this point the spring had arrived which meant the Chamber staff’s focus shifted to our established marketing program and preparations for the tourism season. This slowed our progress considerably and set our launch back a bit, but we prevailed and did a big push in the winter after the annual Chamber events in the fall. Our Chamber staff put in extra hours to try to ensure our members and visitors received the same service and dedication they were used to while working to complete the website. We’ve gone through multiple revisions, changed out dozens of pictures, re-read copy over and over again, and are finally ready to share the finished product with you. With that said, we’re more than aware that, as with every good product, this will be a constantly changing entity. A website with new blogs, updating content, and changing SEO to better suit our Chamber members and visitors to Luray-Page. So, after almost two years of meetings, writings, and work, welcome to the new Luray-Page County, Cabin Capital, and Luray-Page Weddings websites!

Sincerely,

Katie Long, Communications & Marketing Coordinator

Visit Luray-Page in February 2018

01/15/18

February is the height of the winter months and with it comes a desire to cuddle up with in front of a fire with a new movie or a good book. Pop some popcorn, slip on your fluffiest pajamas, and spend the day with the one you love just talking and lazing around the couch in one of our many cabins. When you’re ready for real food, get dressed and head into town for a hot meal at one of the local favorites. Or, if you’d rather not get out of your pajamas, order pizza or pasta straight to your door and never set foot in the cold. As the Cabin Capital of Virginia, we are home to dozens of welcoming places to escape from your house for a few days of quiet relaxation in the mountains. Whether you want to be just the two of you, to bring some friends for an adult retreat, or gather the whole family for a reunion and to reminisce on fond memories, our cabins come in a variety of sizes and amenities to suit your needs. Check out the www.cabincapital.com to look through a few options or contact the Chamber and let us help you find the perfect retreat. 

Still, Luray-Page offers more than just a spot to escape. There are a variety of activities to keep the romance of February going all month long. Our wineries are pouring their different varietals to tempt and please every palate. After all, wine is frequently associated with romance and special occasions and a tasting is a wonderful way to spend the afternoon with a loved one. Stanley’s winery is Wisteria Farm & Vineyard where they grow, press, and pour wines straight from vine to glass. February, and Valentine’s Day in particular, is a great time to visit Wisteria and enjoy some chocolate fondue with assorted fruit and other goodies to dip while you sip on last year’s vintages. If you’re out and about in Luray, the newly opened Castle Vineyards is a must-stop. Sip on Barren Ridge wines by the fire pit and enjoy 360 degrees of stunning views of the Blue Ridge and Massanutten Mountains.

Wine isn’t the only option for adult beverages though. If you and your partner are beer drinkers who enjoy the craft beer scene and enjoy hopping from brewery to brewery during your vacation, Luray’s Hawksbill Brewing Company is the stop for you. Located just off Main Street in downtown Luray, Hawksbill Brewing Company is touted as more than just Luray’s first brewery, they also use the motto “grown here, brewed here” to highlight that the brewers source local ingredients whenever possible and even grow some of their own hops.

If neither of those do it, check out our local distillery for locally-grown and homemade corn whiskey and aged bourbon whiskey. River Hill has been farming the Shenandoah Valley for more than 200 years and their love of the land and their products is reflected in every bottle of their whiskey. Made right on the farm, spirits lovers will fall in love with the views, horses, and, most importantly, the whiskey.

But, more than just finding something to “wet your whistle” as the locals say, the romance isn’t in the beverages themselves, it’s in the time and conversation you’ll find tasting and savoring these products with the one you love. February is a month for romance and there’s no better time to visit Luray-Page and enjoy some activities out of the cold.

If you’re coming around Valentine’s Day and looking for the perfect place and activities for just the two of you or the whole crowd, Page County plays host to a variety of events and special dinners to fit all your needs. From dinner and dancing to live music to an evening on the slopes skiing, snowboarding, and tubing, there are plenty of activities to make the holiday special. Check out our community calendar and download our monthly events calendar for ideas and to keep up with events as they are posted. 

If you have any questions or are looking for additional information on planning your trip, our Chamber & Tourism Associates are available 7 days a week with information on places to stay and personal recommendations for dinner, adventures, and more. Contact the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center at (540) 743-3915 or info@luraypage.com. We'll see you next month!

 

Photo Cred: Shadow Mountain Escape

Visit Luray-Page in January 2018

12/15/17

Cold weather has drifted into the Shenandoah Valley and you know what that means….wintertime adventures! Escape to Luray-Page County and leave behind the daily grind and the stresses of home. Experience the solitude of winter. Here you will find a warm setting to relax and release your tension as you embark on an adventure. There is something for everyone to enjoy in Page County.

Looking for lodging? According to FlipKey, Luray-Page County is one of the  15 Most Romantic Cabin Getaways According to Travelers. There's no doubt that a cabin in Virginia's Cabin Capital makes for a romantic setting, whether it's located close to town, nestled high up in the mountains or next to the Shenandoah River. Just envision it: dawn is quiet, except for the song of a bird. In the morning stillness you can see animals awakening to the sun. You can spend the morning just wandering through the woods or lounge in a hammock by the stream. Laze away the afternoon with your feet up by the fire pit. Allow your tensions to melt away as you surrender yourself to the soothing rhythm of a massage. At dusk stroll downtown for an unforgettable meal and friendly service. Indulge in fine wine, craft beer, or local whiskey. Then retreat to your luxury cabin for a romantic evening or mix up an after-dinner cocktail and feel the tension leave your body as you soak in your personal hot tub or Jacuzzi.

When you've relaxed enough and are ready to get out and see the sites, the Shenandoah National Park is a must-see. Even though most of the services are closed during the winter, the Park is always open and there are many ways to visit and enjoy the spectacular views during the colder months. In winter you'll have a better chance of seeing woodland animals like deer, squirrels, and turkeys as they forage for food. Foxes and bobcats are also active through winter. And, a personal favorite sighting is what my sister and I used to call the Crystal Palace. This is when the park has gotten just enough moisture to wrap the branches of the trees in ice. A slow and leisurely cruise across the mountain on these days creates one-of-a-kind memories as everything appears to be encased in glass and the reflections of light through the crystal clear ice can be absolutely breathtaking. 

If you want to stick to something warmer, the Luray Caverns are the largest caverns in the eastern United States and a U.S. National Landmark. A great winter outing for the family, the caves maintain the same temperature year-round, a constant 54 degrees with very high humidity that makes it feel more like 65 degrees. Open every day of the year, bring the kids to burn off some energy on the 1.25 mile walking tour.

Looking for some snow sports? Look no further than Massanutten Resort. Don't miss the chance to hit some of the best slopes in the state of Virginia! Massanutten is home to wide, groomed trails, a dedicated learner's area, terrain parks and night skiing. Skiers and riders who visit Massanutten will have access to 70 skiable acres, including 14 runs serviced by 8 lifts. If skiing and snowboarding isn't your cup of tea, check out the tubing park or hit the ice skating rink. Their indoor water park is a great escape any time of the year too!

No matter what you're looking for in a day trip, weekend getaway, or week-long vacation, we have what you're looking for in Luray-Page. Check out our monthly events calendar for January 2018 and let us help you get started!

If you have any questions or are looking for additional information on planning your trip, our Chamber & Tourism Associates are available 7 days a week with information on places to stay and personal recommendations for dinner, adventures, and more. Contact the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center at (540) 743-3915 or info@luraypage.com. We can't wait to see you in the valley!

Visit Luray-Page in October 2017

09/15/17

October is one of the best times to visit Luray and Page County! If you've been looking forward to the fall, comfy sweaters, the leaves changing color, and a crispness to the air. If you feel a desire to have a bonfire, savor some homemade apple butter, or hike through a canopy of multi-colored beauty, you have to make plans to visit the Page Valley!

From our annual Heritage Festival on Columbus Day Weekend to the Town of Luray's Halloween Celebration, there's something to keep everyone in your family occupied next month. Come enjoy the outdoors by kayaking up the Shenandoah River and seeing the beauty of the season from a whole new perspective. Celebrate Virginia Wine Month at our two local wineries, have our tours drive you through Page County and the surrounding areas for a sample, or drive the Blue Ridge Whisky Wine Loop yourself and decide where to go, what to see, and when to stop on your own time. Spend the evenings enjoying live music or taking in the acting talents of our locals at either of Luray's community theaters. Shop our boutique stores along Main Street and find something new for your wardrobe or get a jump on Christmas shopping with locally crafted gifts for your friends and family. Coming for a wedding? Celebrate the newlyweds, then immerse yourself in the local activities and truly enjoy your weekend in Luray and Page County.

The Heritage Festival is a personal favorite of mine. Two days of literally savoring and celebrating fall in all of its glory surrounded by local artisans, demonstrations, and home cooking, I mean, what can be better than that? Whether you prefer to watch the blacksmiths demonstrate and sell their wares, feast upon the down-home southern cooking of local organizations as they get in one big last fundraiser before the winter. My family and I love to attend and walk through the barns picking up knick-knacks for birthdays and thinking of you gifts and stocking stuffers for family and friends. I never go home emptyhanded and I always seem to find a one-of-a-kind pair of earrings for my sister or a handmade piece from the local woodworker for my father’s collection. Even if my parents or I end up working a booth for part of the time, my mom and I always find time to wander around and say hi to our friends and neighbors as they support the charity/organization of their choice. My dad on the other hand, favors the antique tractors that are brought for show. They line them up around the Luray Rotarian booth and the owners or their kids take turns driving them around the grounds throughout both days so attendees can see them in action. And, for families, there’s nothing better for the kids than barrel train rides through all the hubbub. Tuck the kids into the seat and stand back as they bump and jostle over potholes and through the milling crowds; it’s a wonderful way to keep them entertained and let them see and feel a part of it all. From the smell of spicy apple butter being cooked on-site by the Page County 4-H club to the feel of fresh clay on your hands from working with the Luray Pottery Lady on her wheel to the demonstrations by the Steam & Gas Engine Show, there is always something to see, do, and experience anew, whether you are a local or a visitor to the area. I always find myself near the kettle corn after they’ve just finished popping a batch and by the chicken and dumplings for lunch, but no matter what stirs your fancy, there is food and entertainment for everyone!

At the opposite end of the month is Halloween and if Halloween is your favorite holiday of the year, book your stay at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Resort. The staff go all out for their Halloween themed weekends with pumpkin painting contests, wagon rides, trick-or-treating amongst the campsites, and more. Make sure you take some time to walk through their Haunted Pavilion and bring a fright or two with you by decorating your campsite. Grab your costume, extra decorations, and get ready to enjoy a Spooktacular weekend in the valley.

Need some inspiration? Check out the town’s go-to place for everything Halloween – Virginia Gift Shop. Located right along East Main Street, the owner’s favorite holiday is Halloween and she goes all out for the occasion with everything you and your family could need to decorate your site and you can even grab a mask for a last-minute costume.

Looking for something in the middle? Leaf peeping is a tourist favorite. The colors are different every year and they always choose to show themselves at different times, locations, and ways. But, with the way the leaves have been going this September, October is going to be a beautiful month for the leaves! We’re already seeing some color and watching the leaves as they make their magical dance to the ground, so we know that the mountain is going to be popping with colors in the next few weeks. In the valley, we typically estimate that peak weekend (the weekend when the greatest amount of leaves are at their peak of the turn cycle, before they fall to the ground) to be toward the end of October, but it’s a very difficult thing to predict.

Our staff’s favorite thing is to keep tabs of what is happening on the mountain through Shenandoah National Park’s Fall Color Reports. These are weekly reports that they post online about the colors and includes access to their Mountain View webcam. If you live close by and are considering a day-trip to the area, we highly recommend following the report online at www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/fall-color.htm to ensure you get to see, what we believe to be, one of the best views in Virginia.

No matter what you're looking for in a day trip, weekend getaway, or week-long vacation, we have it in Luray-Page. Check out our monthly events calendar for October 2017 and let us help you get started! 

If you have any questions or are looking for additional information on planning your trip, our Chamber & Tourism Associates are available 7 days a week with information on places to stay and personal recommendations for dinner, adventures, and more. Contact the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center at (540) 743-3915 or info@luraypage.com. Don’t want to have to search out our monthly calendars? Sign up for our monthly visitors’ calendar with katie.long@luraypage.com. We can't wait to see you in the valley!