Christmas shopping in the Shenandoah Valley is much more than just clicking “view Cart” and keying in a credit card number. It’s strolling snow-dusted Main Streets, decked out in holiday trimmings, with seasonal carols playing in the background. It’s delighted children exclaiming, “Grandma will love this!” It’s exploring small, “mom and pop” shops and discovering unique, Virginia-made crafts and jewelry. It’s a long-overdue chance to get out and do something enjoyable after what has been an exceptionally hard year for everyone.
Moreover, shopping can support good causes. Buying gifts at some stores, like New Creation in Harrisonburg, supports fair trade and survivor-made products and combats human trafficking.
When it comes to shopping, small Valley towns like New Market and Luray complement the larger cities like Winchester, Harrisonburg and Staunton. You’ll re-discover personal service and salespeople who can actually answer questions. Below, we break down holiday shopping into several categories and suggest a few notable shops under each where the perfect gift awaits.
Antiques and Jewelry
Factory Antique Mall
Said to be the largest antique mall in America, the Factory Antique Mall in Verona has 130,000 square feet of furniture, artwork, books, collectibles of all types—really a mind-boggling array of treasures. Stop at the café and enjoy a bite when your feet need a break. Their annual Christmas Open House is December 6th this year.
More than 60 dealers and 52,000 square feet of space housing vintage jewelry, rare coins, historic militaria, unique furniture, kitchen ware and much more.
Virginia Gift Shop
Located right on Main Street in Luray, the Virginia Gift Shop is celebrating its 75th year of operation. Virginia-made products including Woodwick Candle, Virginia Diner Peanuts, and Nancy’s Homemade Fudge along with Virginia is For Lovers merchandise. Plus ladies’ fashions by Charlie Paige, MagicScarf and Trimdin and seasonal decor and gifts.
Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester
Located off the Main Lobby, the store is known for its selection of pottery, handmade silk scarves, books, note cards, jewelry, food, and more. Also featured in the store are items that are available exclusively onsite such as exhibition-related souvenirs.
Frontier Culture Museum, Staunton
The museum gift shop is especially proud of its famous fudge but carries a variety of pottery, crafts, books, toys, and foods reflective of the Valley’s heritage.
Visit this site just north of Front Royal and journey back eons in time to see all manner of life-size dinosaurs, from Tyrannosaurus Rex to the 70-foot Apatosaurus. A fascinating playground your children will love. The gift shop features silver jewelry, leather goods, books, T-shirts, jams and jellies, souvenirs, native American pottery, Minnetonka moccasins, wine and beer making supplies, collectibles, and of course, dinosaurs.
Food Specialty Shops
Baked goods, specialty chocolates, seafood, cheeses and coffees; an iconic stop near Harrisonburg.
Valley Pike Farm Market
This market in Weyer’s Cave is home to hundreds of made- in-Virginia wines, beers, confections, meats and cheeses, and more. Their newest addition, The Depot at Valley Pike (pictured left), is set up as a Christmas market, full of American-made gifts that support small businesses across the Commonwealth and the U.S.; the Valley Pike Farm Market carries exclusively made-in-Virginia products.
Warehouse Art Gallery
On display are 1000 creative works by 90 regional artists—paintings, sculptures, photography, glass, pottery, etc., in over 10,000 square feet of floor space. Located in Luray, across the street from the Visitor Center, so stop in there first to find out anything you need know about Luray/Page County.
Shenandoah Valley Art Center Winter Market
In Waynesboro, this is an annual opportunity for local artists to sell jewelry, original paintings and drawings, cards, pottery, wood, glass, textile art, and more. Running Tuesdays-Fridays until January 8.
Staunton/Augusta Art Center Art for Gifts
Until December 31st, find one-of-a-kind artful and thoughtful gifts by 70 regional artists and artisans.
They have six locations statewide with two in the Valley—Harrisonburg and Lexington. They’ve got a wide range of camping essentials whether it’s a weekend car camp or a summer on the AT. Footwear, sleeping bags, mattresses, packs of all types, books and maps, plus expert advice.
Appalachian Trail Outfitters
First established in Luray and now with a second store in Elkton. Vast selection of outdoor clothes, boots, packs, cookware, tents and backpacking supplies. Plenty of help and advice for AT thru hikers and other explorers.
In Front Royal, right off the Appalachian Trail. Shop for adventure clothing, tents, backpacks, stoves, trekking poles, maps, etc. Basecamp provides services for AT hikers. They’ve got a shop in Winchester now, too.
South River Fly Shop—This Waynesboro location offers hammocks, clothing, high-end rods and reels, and is staffed by experts who can help you find the right gear and land your first rainbow.
Harper’s Statuary & Water Gardens
Specializing in beautiful water displays– splashing waterfalls, fountains, ornamental ponds and stone statuary all made on-site in Harrisonburg.
A stroll through Old Town Winchester will take you to shops for antiques, art, apparel, books, jewelry and more, not to mention any number of stops for beer and a meal. (Expect covid precautions to be in place.)
Banner photo courtesy Valley Pike Farm Market