December in the Shenandoah Valley
Winter brings a stark beauty to the Shenandoah Valley. The summer crowds are gone, and the peace and serenity so often wished for at this time of year can actually be found in a quiet cabin tucked away in a Blue Ridge hollow. Sound may be cushioned by a dusting of snow and for a few days, one can escape the frenzy of those four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Rental cabins may be found throughout the Valley, fitting into every price range and offering accommodations from Spartan-basic to true luxury. Their settings are invariably beautiful, with spectacular mountain views or deeply wooded privacy. Many cabins can give you a needed break from free Wi-Fi; others can provide it if you just have to stay connected. Be sure to check with individual cabin owners about road conditions, cell service, what to bring, and pet policies.
Cabins are only one lodging option, of course. Cottages and B&Bs have popped up like morning muffins all up and down the Valley, and often offer dining that is more of an experience than a meal. If five-star hotels are more your style, the Valley’s vibrant cities—Winchester, Harrisonburg, Staunton and others—have them ready and waiting with off-season rates. Holiday festivals and Virginia shopping opportunities thrive in those cities, and in the charming smaller areas like Bedford, Lynchburg, Front Royal and Martinsburg in West Virginia. Click Explore the Valley for more information on all the notable destinations, and Places to Stay for more on accommodations.
No matter where you stay, you’ll find plenty to do, from climbing a mountain trail to schussing down a ski slope. December kicks off the winter sports season in the Valley (although it’s still often mild enough for hiking, cycling and horseback riding). You can ice skate at Massanutten Resort right now and their ski slopes will open December 16th. Snowboarding and tubing are also on the slate at Massanutten, just 20 minutes from Harrisonburg.
On the other hand, you don’t have to do much at all. December in the Shenandoah Valley can bring a whole new meaning to the term “chill factor.”
Lead photo courtesy Shadow Mountain Escape, Luray