Six Underrated Small Town Gems Sparkle with Charm

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Town of Dayton, Virginia

Little towns are such a delight, and these gems are certainly sparkling with charm this holiday season. Without question, the Shenandoah Valley is one of the best destinations for those who love underrated locations and the special vibe found only in small towns.

Strasburg, Virginia

It’s history as home to commercial pottery manufacturing gives Strasburg the beloved nickname “Pot Town.” Stone and earthenware pottery were the predecessors of glass jars, and when glass came into fashion for canning, pottery went by the wayside. Thankfully, much of the Pot Town history is easily at hand at Strasburg Museum, a source for railway history as well. The Museum is housed in a one-time depot of the Southern Railway and still includes an engine, caboose, and passenger cars folks are welcome to explore.

Enjoying the Season

‘Tis the Season Celebration is Strasburg’s kick-off to Christmas. Scheduled for noon to 7 p.m. on December 2 in Strasburg Square, the event includes cocoa tasting, carolers, photos with Santa, a parade, Mistletoe Market and business open houses for shopping, and the community tree lighting. The Christmas in the Valley drive-through light show at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds is a popular addition to those “let’s get hot chocolate and ride to see the lights” excursions. It’s open Friday through Sunday nights until December 31.

Christmas in the Valley. Courtesy of Visit Shenandoah County, Virginia.

Christmas in the Valley. Courtesy of Visit Shenandoah County, Virginia.

Woodstock, Virginia

Woodstock is the home to Harness Racing in Virginia; it’s only location, in fact. Shenandoah Downs runs races September through October every weekend. It’s also an outdoor recreation hot spot. Try hang gliding, if you get the chance! Seven Bends State Park is just five minutes from downtown and is a primary source for aquatic activities.

Enjoying the Season

Let’s Light Up Woodstock tonight! December 1 marks the beginning of all things holiday and beautiful. Light Up Woodstock features choirs on the Courthouse stairs, free cookies, food trucks and restaurant specials, a parade, the unveiling of a new community art piece, and the holiday tree lighting.

Waynesboro, Virginia

A favorite art destination in the Shenandoah Valley is Waynesboro. Their vibrant mural game is on point, plus they’re home to renowned artist, P. Buckley Moss. Visit her museum, Traipse around the Waynesboro Street Arts Trail, shop the Shenandoah Valley Art Center, and then throw some clay at Make Waynesboro Clay Studio. It’s a blast of creativity in what is otherwise known as an outdoor recreation destination.

Enjoying the Season

December 2 brings the Holiday Market to downtown Waynesboro. It’s a great time to shop many vendors and businesses to square away some of our holiday gift-giving. Kids will love visiting with The Grinch, sharing their wish list with Santa, and getting their face painted. Be sure to vote for our favorite downtown merchant window. The winner gets a MAJOR AWARD, if you know what we mean. 😉

Dayton, Virginia

Looking for history? First, it’s everywhere in the Valley. Second, Dayton has a bit of history we think you’ll enjoy. Rocktown History is a great starting point. Our favorite thing to do is look for the horse-drawn carriages. Take care driving through as the vibrant Mennonite population shares the road in their novel mode of transportation.

Enjoying the Season

The Christmas Parade and the Town Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony take place on the same night – December 9. Carol with the choir, meet Santa, and then peruse Dayton to see the decorations. The Holiday Decorating Contest ensures you’ll have plenty to see!

Brownsburg, Virginia

Deliciously tiny, the Village of Brownsburg is but a spec of a destination, but it boasts immense charm with its architecture and careful consideration to preservation.

Enjoying the Season

The annual Christmas Celebration will be held December 9 at the Brownsburg Museum. Santa will make an appearance, of course, and there will be cookies and beverages for everyone. The kids can make a free craft and there will be beautiful decorations for all to enjoy. Carol in the village with stops at welcoming homes. The decorations in Brownsburg tend to be natural and traditional, a nice change of pace from the high adrenaline of LED, we think.

Santa in the Village of Brownsburg. Photo courtesy of Brownsburg, Virginia.

Santa in the Village of Brownsburg. Photo courtesy of Brownsburg, Virginia.

Luray, Virginia

Luray is best known for Luray Caverns. Its second claim to fame is its title as Cabin Capital of Virginia. Indeed, throughout Luray and into Page County there are many, many fantastic cabins … those perched on the side of mountains, those boasting river views, and those tucked away for seclusion. It’s certainly one of the coziest destinations in the Shenandoah Valley!

Enjoying the Season

Luray spreads their holiday cheer across the month of December. Get in the spirit at Luray Caverns with Caroling in the Caverns on December 9. Lit with candles and featuring multiple ensembles, Caroling in the Caverns benefits Shriners Hospital for Children. A showing of The Polar Express at Page Theater on December 12 includes a visit with Santa and free small popcorn for the first 50 guests. Later, Light Up Luray: Holiday Lights Tour is a decorating contest that runs from December 14 through 25.

Header image courtesy of Town of Dayton, Virginia

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