I’m Obsessed. The Shenandoah Valley is a Score!

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American Celebration on Parade

What are you obsessed with? We all have those one or two things that keep us searching and yearning. The things that aren’t easily attainable but are fun to find when we’re out and about. The Shenandoah Valley has cool things that excite people. Things that are a delight to encounter and some that are sought out. Are any of these on your list? If not, they could be.

1. Quilts

Quilts are treasures in many households. They’re handed down through generations, tattering along the way. Their weight is substantial and the needlework is often intricate. The patterns aren’t always beautiful, themed, or even color coordinated, but that doesn’t mean they are less loved.

Quilt lovers will be enraptured by the century-old quilts on display at the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg, Virginia. A new exhibit hits the floor January 9 and will run through May 16, 2024. “Elegance in Quilts: Historical Applique Quilts from the VQM Collection” will feature an array of samples from various periods. Indeed, these are not the quilts made for warming, but the ones made for admiring and appreciating.

Virginia Quilt Museum Permanent Collection

For those who are quiltmakers, consider visiting some of our favorite Valley quilt shops:

  • Liberty View Quilt Shop in Capon Bridge, WV
  • Patchwork Plus in Dayton, VA
  • The Quiltery in Fairfield, VA
  • Quilting Keepsakes in Gerrardstown, WV
  • Sew Classic Fabrics in side Shenandoah Heritage Market in Harrisonburg, VA
  • Stony Run Quilting in McGaheysville, VA
  • Cross N Threads Quilting in Middletown, VA
  • Boxer Craft House in Ranson, WV
  • Cloth Peddler Quilt Shop in Stephens City, VA
  • The Scrappy Apple, Quilts & More in Winchester, VA
  • Quilter’s Cabin in Woodstock, VA

2. Cameras

The Camera Heritage Museum is located in the heart of downtown Staunton, Virginia and is repeatedly recognized with a Travelers’ Choice award on TripAdvisor. Why? It’s actually the largest camera museum in the United States with more than 7,000 pieces in their collection. You’ll find extension field cameras, lenses for Daguerreotype, early flash bulbs, nostalgic 1950s box-size cameras and their 1930s predecessors that were actually called Box, and then some exciting ones, indeed! Ask to see the spy cams, like the Expo Watch Camera, the Suzuki cigarette-lighter camera used by KGB spies, and the various Minox models. The novelty cameras are also fun, like the 1961 Snoopy-Matic, the 1978 Bugs Bunny, and the 1990s Totally Juicy juice box camera.

More than just homage to the technology of capturing a moment in time, many of the cameras you’ll see at the Camera Heritage Museum have stories. Additionally, the museum has a vast collection of old photos of the area, and shine a spotlight on local photographers.

A Portion of the Camera Heritage Museum Collection

3. Miniatures

The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Virginia offers so much, but one very cool thing tucked inside the 1790s Glen Burnie House is the R. Lee Taylor Miniatures Gallery. The collection includes intricately detailed rooms amid 14 houses created by R. Lee Taylor, occupant of the house from 1960 until his death in 2000. One of the miniature houses is a replica of Glen Burnie House itself. The exacting detail, functionality of the furnishings, and refined touches Taylor incorporated will amaze you.

The R. Lee Taylor Miniatures Gallery is a permanent exhibit at Glen Burnie House.

 

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4. Dinosaur Land

Dinosaur Land

Dinosaur Land

Dinosaurs aren’t just for kids, but also for kids at heart. Whichever you are, you’ll be intrigued with Dinosaur Land in White Post. It’s a fun spot with plenty of roadside touristy nostalgia, since it dates to 1963. Peruse the acres that are home to more than 50 dinosaur statues. They soar, they stretch, and they’re so much fun for photo ops! Please note that you may not climb, sit, or hang on the dinosaurs as they are made of fiberglass and not meant for such antics. Do seek out the big shark with his mouth open wide for you to hop inside!

5. Dukes of Hazzard Memorabilia

If you’re a child of the 1980s, you probably know all about The Dukes of Hazzard. Luke and Bo Duke, cousin Daisy, Uncle Jesse, Sheriff Roscoe P. Coletrane, Boss Hogg, and Enos provided many laughs to households across America. But did you know you’ll get to meet Ben Jones, AKA “Cooter,” right here in the Shenandoah Valley? Cooter’s of Luray, Virginia is a Dukes of Hazzard museum featuring a replica of Cooter’s Garage and all the vehicles that go with it. Yes, even the General Lee. Each Saturday, Ben Jones and Cooter’s Garage Band plays a free concert from 1 to 3 p.m. It’s an ideal time to meet Ben Jones while checking out all of the memorabilia. Enjoy a meal at Daisy’s Diner before heading out.

6. Old Parade Floats

Whether it’s the artistry or the memories that pull you in, old parade floats are a thing. Each has a story to tell, whether it was part of a Thanksgiving Day Parade, a Bowl Parade, or a Presidential Inauguration Parade, it’s history to be seen up close and in person at American Celebration on Parade in Shenandoah, Virginia. There are more than 20 to take your time perusing. Don’t miss the gigantic American Flag (60′ x 40′) that has been used in Presidential Inaugurations, including those of Reagan, Bush, and Obama.


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