Inspired by the groundbreaking “Virginia is for Lovers” ad campaign, which turned 50 last year, the 200+ LOVEWorks signs that now dot the state are both incredibly popular photo ops and landmarks of creativity. Created by both tourism departments and private businesses, the signs symbolize important aspects of the local area, community strengths, and local history. As you travel the Shenandoah Valley—perhaps for Valentine’s Day—plan to visit these signs, shoot a fun couple’s photo, and explore the surrounding attractions each area has to offer. A statewide map of the signs may be found here. Below we guide you to a few of note in the Shenandoah Valley. Be sure to share your photos on Facebook.com/VirginiaisforLovers.
Named “Logs of Love,” the LOVEWorks sign at Luray Caverns (see banner photo at top) is built from wooden logs to symbolize Luray-Page County’s designation as the Cabin Capital of Virginia. (Find even more romantic Valentine’s Day cabin rentals here, or contact the Luray Page County Chamber of Commerce. The sculpture is located on the grounds of Luray Caverns. A ticket for the Caverns tour includes admission to the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum, Toy Town Junction, and the Luray Valley Museum.
Nearby lodging options include The Mimslyn Inn and Luray Caverns Motel, plus Shenandoah National Park Lodging (in season) isn’t far away.
The Town of Luray also displays seasonal LOVE signs in front of the Visitor Center, such as the one above focusing on the area’s agricultural heritage.
The Town of Woodstock LOVEWorks sign was constructed by Public Works and a local quilter. You can see it at 614 South Main Street. The L represents the Swiss Guard, a town symbol. The O is a hot air balloon, an exciting and growing activity in (or above) Woodstock. The green vines of the V indicate the Town’s commitment to keeping Woodstock green through the planting of trees, perennials, and annuals and maintaining its long standing status as a Tree City USA. The Woodstock Tower is seen in the E; the well-known tower provides a stunning 360 degree view of the Town of Woodstock, Fort Valley, and the bending Shenandoah River at 2000 feet above sea level.
Don’t leave the Woodstock area without having lunch at Woodstock Café, or the Edinburg Mill Restaurant a bit farther south in Edinburg.
Harrisonburg and Rockingham County embrace a diversity of ethnic backgrounds, a rich agricultural heritage, an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities, and a vibrant and growing arts scene. Each letter in their sign represents one of those four areas and was built of locally sourced and repurposed materials.
While in Harrisonburg, explore: Crosskeys Vineyards, the Hotel Madison, the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail, and nearby Massanutten Resort, where four-season fun includes golf, mountain biking, swimming in a state of the art waterpark, plus skiing, snowboarding and many other activities.
DuCard Vineyards (Blue Ridge Whisky-Wine Loop)
The LOVEWork at DuCard Vineyards is made of empty cobalt blue wine bottles with a beautifully detailed welded frame and sits in front of the tasting room and patio with great views of Shenandoah National Park. Sculpted by noted local artist Tomas Fernandez, the sunlight catches the translucent bottles and literally glows at different times of the day. DuCard is part of the Blue Ridge Whisky-Wine Loop, a self-guided tour of 15 vineyards, distilleries and breweries through some of the most scenic parts of the Valley.
Waynesboro’s sign is reflective of its popularity with fly fishermen; it was designed and crafted by local artist Mark Cline. The L represents wading boots; the O is a reel; the V is two trout and the E is made out of oars. While in Waynesboro, try to time your visit to see a performance at the Wayne Theatre.
You can also easily hop on either the northern entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway or the southern entry onto Skyline Drive. (Check the website of each for possible weather closures at this time of year.) Plus, the Iris Inn will hold a Wine Weekend Feb. 7-9, and the Mad Anthony Mud Run in Coyner Springs Park is Feb. 29.
A creative design at Peaks of Otter Winery was made by local artists and orchard staff representing the elements of this 6th generation family farm. Built primarily out of repurposed pallets and empty wine bottles, it also includes a six- foot tall fiberglass apple created by the famous Mark Cline of Enchanted Castle Studios. Visit here and stay (in season) at Peaks of Otter Lodge.
Also in Bedford, at the Welcome Center, see the LOVEWorks designed by students from Liberty High School and Bedford Science And Technology Center to highlight some of the area’s many tourism attractions, including Smith Mountain Lake, the Peaks of Otter, the Blue Ridge Mountains, orchards, wineries and the National D-Day Memorial. Must-see sites near Bedford include Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson’s personal retreat. In season, plan to stay at Peaks of Otter Lodge.
*More LOVEWorks sign locations in the Shenandoah Valley include:
Virginia Welcome Center at Clear Brook, 146 Moreland Lane, Clear Brook, VA, 22624
Showalter’s Orchard, 17768 Honeyville Rd, Timberville, VA 22853
Turner’s Body Shop, 201 Tannery Rd., Luray, VA 22835
Hearthstone School, 11576 Lee Highway, Sperryville, VA 22740
Oasis Fine Art and Craft, 103 S. Main St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Back Home on the Farm, 2915 Willow Run Rd., Harrisonburg, VA 22802
Loveworks at Dayton, 382 High St., Dayton, VA 22821
Loveworks in Broadway, 145 Turner Ave., Broadway, VA 22815
*Note that some LOVEWorks signs may be displayed seasonally or on a temporary basis.
Banner photo at Luray Caverns courtesy Virginia Tourism Corporation