Lexington: Showcase of Virginia History

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If you could define the classic Shenandoah Valley city it would be a diverse mix of: natural beauty, American history, arts and culture, a lively downtown and progressive thinking. Lodging options would include romantic B&Bs, out-of-the-way cabins, and trusted hotel chains. You could hike, bike, fish or kayak all day and enjoy a superb Virginia wine or a frosty beer afterwards.

Welcome to Lexington, which has all this and more. Let’s look at what makes it special.

“Lexington, Buena Vista and Rockbridge County are ideal locations to explore natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities,” said Patty Williams, Director of Marketing for Lexington & Rockbridge Tourism. “With fast and easy access to 64,000 acres of National Forest lands and two rivers – the James and the Maury – outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels can hike, bike, fish, climb and camp. And after the perfect day on the trail or paddling on the river, folks can grab a craft beer at three of our breweries on the newly launched Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail,” Williams added.

“We’ve had some exciting additions to our area’s outdoor experiences that visitors will want to discover for themselves – Natural Bridge State Park and the Upper James River Water Trail,” said Williams.


Natural Bridge, long privately owned and now a Virginia State Park, has been attracting awe-struck observers for centuries. Six miles of hiking trails allow exploration of the area, and a living-history Monacan Indian village add to the bridge experience. The adjacent Natural Bridge Historic Hotel and Conference Center (not part of the state park) offers an excellent main restaurant, plus a tavern, a deli and a pavilion/grille. It is a popular site for weddings, and family reunions, and has 10,000 square feet of meeting space for conferences.

Not to be missed near Natural Bridge is the Virginia Safari Park, a 180-acre “drive-through” zoo that may be the perfect family fun adventure.  Elk, tigers, giraffes, zebras, kangaroos, and dozens of other species from around the world will keep you, and your children, wide-eyed.


In Lexington, you can’t escape it. Devote time to Stonewall Jackson’s home on Washington Street and the VMI Museum. Go to VMI on Fridays and you may catch the Cadet parade – a more stirring, patriotic display would be hard to find. Move into another phase of history at the George C. Marshall Museum and Library.

“General Marshall was the organizer of victory and the architect of peace during and following World War II,” said Rick Drake, Director of Communications and Development, the George C. Marshall Foundation. “His career touched on many of the key events of the 20th century—as a new Army officer following the Philippine insurrection, as a member of the staff of General of the Armies John J. Pershing during World War I, as U.S. Army Chief of Staff during World II, as Secretary of State following WWII, and as Secretary of Defense during the Korean War. He is the only person to have served in these three highest positions,” Drake concluded.


Far too many options to describe here, but we urge you to consider:

Steele’s Tavern Manor and Alpine Hideaway Cottages  

Country Inn and Suites of Lexington

Fox Hill Bed and Breakfast Suites 

Applewood Inn and Llama Trekking  

For more information, visit the Lexington & Rockbridge Tourism Office. 

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