Harrisonburg: The Shenandoah Valley’s Big City Vibe

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Harrisonburg has become a city of accolades. In recent years, it has been recognized as:

  • One of America’s “Top 10 Mountain Bike Towns” by National Geographic
  • The number 6 “Favorite Town in America by Travel and Leisure
  • The number 3 “Happiest Mountain Town by Blue Ridge Country; and
  • The number 15 “Best Place to Raise and Outdoor Kid” by Backpacker.

(Apologies if we have missed a few “Bests,” and no doubt we have.)

“Harrisonburg is the place to live work and play, with a wealth of locally sourced foods and healthy ways to keep your body moving and your mind at peace,” said Brenda Black, Director of Tourism and Visitor Services. “With unique spas and yoga studios and our one of a kind indoor cycling studio there’s always something to keep you moving year-round.”

If you sense a strong recreational theme, it’s true that you can pedal, hike, run, backpack, canoe, kayak, ski, snowboard, etc. till your heart’s content. Plus you can book year-round fishing trips at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing Shop.

On the other hand, you can have a great time in Harrisonburg without even going outside. Known for its ethnic dining options, Harrisonburg is the first Culinary District designated in Virginia. You can find Thai, Indian, German, Cuban, Italian, Mexican, Japanese, Indonesian dishes and more.

Also on the food front and coming soon, according to Black: “The Inaugural Harrisonburg Restaurant Week is set for March 5th – 11th 2017! The week features the popular Taste of Downtown and the introduction to Relish Uptown and Savor on Port with signature dishes, daily lunch specials, brunch bites, sweet treats and specialty drinks from our favorite mixologists. The menu will be abundant as our creative Chefs introduce you to a city bursting with homegrown goodness from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.”

Four establishments in Harrisonburg are also on the new Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail, launched in May 2016. The trail is a multiple-county partnership showcasing 12 breweries within an hour’s drive of each other. In Harrisonburg, the four outposts are: Brother’s Craft Brewing, Pale Fire Brewing Company, Three Notch’d Brewing Company, and Wolfe Street Brewing Company.

Harrisonburg positively buzzes with special events all year; one coming soon that Black emphasized is the annual Ice Bowl Disc Golf Fundraiser, helping the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. “All donations stay local to benefit people in need,” she said. The event is held in any weather conditions, playing one round of 21 holes, January 28th 2017. Of course, you can always make your own event with a romantic weekend getaway like this one at By the Side of the Road — always popular as February approaches.

Your first stop in Harrisonburg should be the Hardesty-Higgins House Visitor Center where you can find all the help you need. For more information, call 540-432-8940, or go to: VisitHarrisonburgVA.com.

In or near Harrisonburg, here are some key attractions to punch into your GPS:

Lodging Options: Country Inn and Suites, Comfort Inn, Hampton Inn Harrisonburg-University, Shenandoah Valley Timeshares, The Village Inn, By the Side of the Road, Clear Spring Homestead, Harrisonburg/Shenandoah Valley KOA

Beer and Wine: Capital Ale House, Pale Fire Brewing Co., Shenandoah Beerwerks, Crosskeys Vineyards

Get Wild: Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive, George Washington National Forest, Wild Guyed Adventures, Massanutten Resort, Massanutten Adventures, Shenandoah River Adventures

Look Back at History: The Heritage Museum, Virginia Quilt Museum, Plains District Memorial Museum

Local Treasures: White Oak Lavender Farm, Shenandoah Heritage Market, Showalters Orchard and Greenhouse, Harper’s Statuary and Water Gardens

Take in a Show: Court Square Theater 

Dine: Watch “Harrisonburg, VA—the Dining Destination of the Shenandoah Valley” 

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