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!