The fall color may be ebbing, but its remnants are still there, and you can just begin to feel the sharp bite of autumn.
The average high temperature in Winchester is 55 F. While most canoe outfitters close at the end of October you can still hike, bike, backpack, or horseback ride till your heart’s content. There are 500 miles of trails to hike in Shenandoah National Park, and 1.8 million acres to explore in George Washington and Jefferson Nationals Forests. (Find these and more outdoor jaunts here.)
An outdoorsman’s fall itinerary in the Valley is often based in a rental cabin or B&B. Looking for seclusion? To reach some cabins you will need four-wheel-drive, and don’t expect to see any neighbors. City dwellers may be slightly unnerved at first by the quiet, then thrilled to see the brilliance of stars over a less populated countryside. Other lodging is easily accessible in or near towns offering all amenities. B&Bs serve food that will delight you and make the perfect accent to a romantic getaway. Check our lodging options here.
The Valley is also an ideal place to let someone else do the work on Thanksgiving, as scattered families come together for a day or weekend in a setting of iconic beauty. Many restaurants and resorts offer enticing Thanksgiving specials. A Thanksgiving weekend can of course be combined with holiday shopping. Small Business Saturday is November 26th — a perfect time to hunt for bargains. You will find “mom and pop” shops throughout the Valley, owned by experts who know their wares and still understand what customer service means. Antiques, locally made art and crafts, clothing you don’t find in catalogs and many other gifts await savvy shoppers.
Despite all the fun, there is a serious side to November. Veterans Day parades in many communities will stir our patriotism as we honor all those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Visits to the Valley’s museums, battlefields and monuments bring military history alive. And that history runs deep in Virginia. The Civil War saw more battles take place in the Commonwealth than any other state—many in the Shenandoah Valley–from the Field of Lost Shoes at the Battle of New Market to the conflict at Cedar Creek/Belle Grove National Historic Park.
Tour these and other battlefields as a reminder of how important our military history is. You can almost hear the sabers being drawn.
Entrance to any of Virginia’s National Park Service sites is free on Veterans Day.