Even the quickest glance at their FB page will show you Bedford offers some of the most diverse events and attractions in the Shenandoah Valley. Postings announce musical events, new restaurants, cyclocross racing, arts and culture news, wineries and orchards and oh yes — the 75th Anniversary of D-Day Commemoration. Here’s a look at some the area’s highlights coming this spring.
Coming March 30th is the 2nd Annual Celtic Festival at Sedalia Center. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the gate. The event includes Highland Games/Athletics, Celtic music and food, and of course libations in the spirit of the Celtic culture. Don’t forget your kilt!
On April 13, students of history can celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s 276th birthday–an elegant evening of festivities and colonial-era dancing, with performance and instruction by the Regency Society of Virginia. Wear your era-appropriate colonial clothing or modern cocktail attire. At Poplar Forest, one of two homes Jefferson designed for his personal use.
With a start date of April 27, Bedford County Parks & Recreation will host the 2nd Annual Taste of the Trails on four dates this year, kicking off at New London Tech Trails. At each event there will be a 5K run/walk and two mountain bike rides (beginner and advanced). Participants will be guided through the four Bedford Trail systems.
This year marks the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, and a week of events will honor WWII veterans. On June 6 for example, the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford is conducting events throughout the day. At 10:00 a.m. there will be an Aerial Tribute to WWII Veterans; at 11:00 a.m. “The Final Salute” Commemorative Observance begins, a ceremony including international dignitaries, special music, and a Normandy veteran roll-call. A number of other On-Site Commemoration Activities will take place from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Nicole Johnson, Director of Tourism for Destination Bedford, commented, “We encourage everyone who can to join us in Bedford this June for the 75th anniversary of D-Day commemoration. It will be a full week of events to honor the Greatest Generation and pay tribute to the veterans. Young people especially need to experience this.”
Also of note is “Tuesday Mourning,” showing June 6 – June 9 at the Bower Center for the Arts. Bedford sent 33 young men off to war. On June 6, 1944, 19 of them died on Omaha beach in the first minutes of D-Day; three more died later. Bedford suffered more losses per capita than any other U. S. city. “Tuesday Mourning” tells the story of one small rural town in Virginia and the sacrifices of its residents.
Additionally, wineries along the Bedford Wine Trail will be offering special deals and discounts to those who show an admission sticker or receipt from the D-Day Memorial during the month of June. And the Peaks of Otter Winery will give a 10% discount off purchases in their tasting room and gift store, an offer valid May through the end of 2019.
Where to Stay:
Peaks of Otter Lodge opens March 22nd for the season. It’s easily accessible from I-81 or the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 86) and is known for its scenic beauty and fine dining with a lake view. If you could measure tranquility it would be high on the scale. The “peaks” refer to three mountaintops overlooking Bedford. They are: Sharp Top (3,875 feet), Flat Top (4,004 feet), and Harkening Hill (3,375 feet). Abbott Lake lies in their shadow. For those who prefer a fast pace, a busy slate of events includes live entertainment, “Let’s Talk about Space” programs, and tours of Peaks of Otter Winery and Orchards, the oldest fruit winery in Virginia.
Outside of events, festivals and historical attractions, Bedford is home to a progressive arts culture as well as a full slate of outdoor recreation activities. “If you can’t be here in June for the D-Day Anniversary, plan a visit for another time during the year. Spring is a beautiful time to visit, as is the fall,” said Johnson.
Bedford is about 135 miles west of Richmond. To start your visit, go to Destination Bedford or stop in at the Bedford Area Welcome Center and Department of Tourism, 816 Burks Hill Road, Bedford, Virginia 24523. Phone: 1-877-447-3257.
Lead photo National D-Day Memorial