Five Affordable Weekend Escapes in the Shenandoah Valley

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Running away for a weekend or more doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. In the Shenandoah Valley, there are affordable escapes and destinations that you’ll want to come back to over and over again.

Old Town Winchester is just 75 miles from Washington, DC but feels a world away. Walk along the bricks of the Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall, a pedestrian’s dream – full of food and shopping that is also on the National Register of Historic Places. Consider the George Washington Hotel, a landmark grand hotel constructed in 1924. Be sure to set aside time for the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. If offers an outstanding permanent exhibit of the Shenandoah Valley history. Included in the price of admission is access to Glen Burnie Historic House, six acres of spectacular gardens, and the Museum designed by famed architect Michael Graves.

If arts, culture, and architecture are your thing, be sure to explore Staunton. Consider a stay at Stonewall Jackson Hotel or one of the area bed and breakfasts in or near downtown. An evening at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse is more affordable than a show in Washington, DC or New York City, but the quality of entertainment truly stacks up. When it comes to dining, farm-to-table is Staunton’s claim to fame. Seek out acclaimed establishments like Zynodoa or The Shack to enjoy a taste of the Valley’s producers.

Historic downtown Lexington is known for its Civil War history as both Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson are buried there. Jackson’s home is there, too, and open to the public. For the best narrative on the city and its history, sit back and enjoy a guided horse-drawn carriage tour. Experiencing well-deserved growth, Lexington has recently welcomed two downtown hotels to the mix. The Georges Inn and Robert E. Lee Hotel both offer restaurants. They’re right in the heart of downtown on Main Street; you won’t go wrong with either one. Shopping and dining is plentiful with acclaimed restaurants like The Red Hen, Southern Inn, and Pure Eats anchoring the options. Enjoy the art galleries and specialty shops for apparel, gifts, outdoor gear, and even yarn.

Bedford is a mountain town with abundant history and charm. You’ll be struck with pride and appreciation when you visit the National D-Day Memorial, a solemn place located in the city that lost the most soldiers per capita during the landing at Omaha Beach in 1944. After you gather yourself, head to Peaks of Otter Winery for a flight of their fruit wines. Nearby Peaks of Otter Lodge offers lunch and dinner, and a shuttle bus will take you up onto one of the Peaks for a fantastic view of the surrounding area. Downtown, head to Town Kitchen Provisions, a market, bistro, and cellar known for their fantastic craft sandwiches and deli options. Then check out the newly reopened Bower Center for the Arts next door.

A trip to Roanoke offers an eclectic experience as there are so many options for whatever suits you. For an “as see on TV” moment, head to Black Dog Salvage, home of HGTV’s “Salvage Dawgs” stars Robert Kulp and Mike Whiteside. Take in an excellent evening of jazz and fine culinary delights at Blue 5 in downtown, or check out the view from the iconic Roanoke Star. Art lovers will flock to the Taubman Art Museum while train lovers will drive with a full head of steam to the O. Winston Link Museum and the Virginia Museum of Transportation, home of the historic 1950 Norfolk & Western Class J 611, a steam locomotive offering occasional excursions. For shoppers, the Historic Roanoke City Market is a go-to for boutiques and farmers’ wares. When it’s time to finally call it a day, the newly renovated Hotel Roanoke is a sure bet.

With affordable destinations such as these, there’s no reason why you can’t do them all in the next year. We’ll see you soon in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia!

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