Bounded by a national park on one side, a national forest on the other, with a historic river carving out the middle, Page County combines the best of Shenandoah Valley pastoral beauty with a thriving Downtown.
Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce President Gina Hilliard characterized the county this way: “Page County is open with miles of social distancing. Small towns. Big wide open spaces. Come get away from it all and find yourself again.”
Page County’s three picturesque towns all have something to offer. Just outside Stanley is the lovely Wisteria Farm and Vineyard. In the Town of Shenandoah you can rent canoes, kayaks, etc. from Shenandoah River Adventures and float one of the most scenic rivers in Virginia.
But the best-known town is Luray, and especially its alluring Main Street/Downtown area. Start your visit at the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. It’s located in a renovated train depot and houses a Railroad Museum. Staff there can give you all the information you need about the area, and it’s a short stroll from there to Main Street.
The Downtown/Main St. area is casual, friendly and diverse. Scenery? You can look east from almost anywhere on the street and see the deep blue mountains of Shenandoah National Park, or look west and see Massanutten Mountain. Turn a corner or stroll the Greenway and see more than 30 giant, colorful murals painted on the side of buildings, reflecting local scenes, history and culture.
Popular draws for visitors Downtown combine art, entertainment, antiques, dining discoveries, and more. Some highlights include: the Warehouse Art Gallery, Performing Arts Luray, Virginia Gift Shop, Gathering Grounds Pâtisserie & Café, the Hawksbill Brewing Company, Potterlady, and Appalachian Trail Outfitters. Looking for a pumpkin? Try the new Fairview Fun Farm. “They’ve got a pumpkin patch, hay rides, barrel train, games, slides, corn maze, playground, fishing and more,” said Hilliard.
Access to Downtown is planned to be even easier next summer with the help of a $25,000 Virginia Main Street grant, and other projected funding. With the goal of encouraging visitors and locals to “get out of their car,” plans call for new parking spaces, a car charging station, a bike rack, picnic tables and benches, and a designated photo op area.
Outside of Downtown Luray, Page County’s many other options await. Just a few ideas for you to consider as autumn foliage sears the Valley with color.
Skyline Drive —The Thornton Gap entrance is just nine miles from Luray. This 105-mile drive though Shenandoah National Park will be busy in October, but beautiful beyond words.
Shenandoah River Outfitters— Rent cabins right on the river or float canoes, kayaks, rafts or tube with an outfitter now in business more than 50 years.
Fort Valley Ranch—Stay in a bunkhouse cabin and take a guided horseback trip into the national forest.
Bear Mountain Ziplines—Located between Luray and Shenandoah National Park, Bear Mountain offers white-knuckle ziplining through 50 acres of untouched forest.
Luray Rescue Zoo—In addition to more than 80 exhibits of reptiles, you’ll find an array of animals including: primates, felines, birds, and mammals.
Blue Ridge Whisky-Wine Loop—Several of the Loop’s 14 vineyards, breweries and distilleries may be found—and enjoyed—in Page County.
Willow Grove Farm Market – Located just south of the Visitor Center, Willow Grove offers fresh, locally raised beef, chicken, eggs, pork, lamb, goat, and produce. Virginia seafood, milk, cheese, butter, ice cream and other food items in season may be had as well.
Page County is the Cabin Capital of Virginia—secluded, romantic hideaways abound and can be studied here as well as these listings that cover the whole Valley. “Our lodging (especially cabins) are doing fantastic,” commented Hilliard. “I mean back to back bookings.”
The Mimslyn Inn, including the popular Speakeasy with a pub atmosphere, and the more formal Circa ’31 restaurant, is highly regarded for its gracious atmosphere, personalized service and historic surroundings. The Mimslyn properties now include The Manor House and Cottage Collection—historic and luxury accommodations clustered together to create an intimate setting for couples, families and gatherings.
Hotel Laurance—Right at the corner of Main Street and scenic South Court, Hotel Laurance is a 12-room boutique hotel; the original structure was built in 1830 as a mercantile establishment.
Of course, it’s impossible to discuss Luray and Page County without mentioning Luray Caverns. It is a true “can’t miss” attraction—just don’t overlook all the other attractions after your tour underground.