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September
12

Autumn Adventures: 7 Shenandoah Valley Places to Visit

Autumn Shenandoah Valley

Autumn is around the corner, and it's one of the best times to explore all that the Shenandoah Valley has to offer. Whether you're in the mood for art, culture, outdoor adventures, or family fun, there are countless attractions to enjoy around Shenandoah Valley communities this fall. Our real estate agents have all of the exciting details on 7 places in the Shenandoah Valley where you can enjoy autumn adventures for all ages.

  • Frontier Culture Museum – 1290 Richmond Ave., Staunton, VA 24401
    Educational family fun awaits at the Frontier Culture Museum, which is located on 200 acres of land near Staunton homes for sale. The museum recreates early frontier settlements from around the world, with traditional rural structures from Europe, Africa, and America. While you're exploring, see traditional artisans, including blacksmiths, woodworkers, tailors, and yarn spinners in action, using tools authentic to different historical eras. This living history museum is a fun way to show the kids what life was like in centuries gone by, with both guided and self-guided tours available.

  • Showalter's Orchard & Greenhouse – 17768 Honeyville Rd., Timberville, VA 22853
    What could be more fitting for fall than a family day at the apple orchard? Showalter's Orchard & Greenhouse is a farm, orchard, cidery, and event venue close to Timberville homes for sale, where you can enjoy classic outdoor autumn activities. Explore the orchard, pick your own apples, sample delicious drinks for kids and adults from the cidery, and visit the Orchard Market to pick up fresh, local ingredients for all of your autumn culinary creations.

  • Massanutten Indoor WaterPark – 1200 Adventure Dr., Massanutten, VA 22840
    Searching for some fall family fun? Massanutten Indoor WaterPark is located around the corner from Rockingham County homes for sale, allowing you to enjoy an authentic indoor waterpark experience no matter what the weather is like outside. The indoor waterpark is truly a sight to behold, with play areas for kids, slides for all ages, a relaxing river where you can float the day away, and even a FlowRider Endless Wave where you can learn to surf.

  • Luray Caverns – 101 Cave Hill Rd., Luray, VA 22835
    First discovered in 1878, Luray Caverns has been a favorite destination for local explorers for more than a century. Today, you can visit the location near Luray homes for sale to explore the underground caverns, discover truly amazing rock formations, and learn all about the underground world of the Shenandoah Valley. There are some fun above-ground attractions to enjoy here as well, including the Rope Adventure Park, Garden Maze, Toy Town Junction, and the Shenandoah Heritage Village.

  • R.R. Smith Center for History and Art – 20 S. New St., Staunton, VA 24401
    If you like your autumn adventures to include local history and culture, then the R.R. Smith Center for History and Art is well worth a visit. It's home to facilities for the Augusta County Historical Society, Historic Staunton Foundation, and Staunton Augusta Art Center, all of which host events here throughout the fall. Plan your visit around a special event for one of those organizations, or stop by to visit the historic building, beautiful garden, and art gallery when they're open to the public on Wednesday through Saturday afternoons.

  • Shenandoah Autumnfest – 300 Fairground Rd., Woodstock, VA 22664
    A popular annual event held near Woodstock homes for sale at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds, Shenandoah Autumnfest is the perfect place to celebrate the sights, sounds, and flavors of the season. Stop by on October 1, 2022, for traditional Virginia BBQ demos & tastings and the Autumnfest Flippin' Chicken Cook-Off, then sample craft wine, beer, and spirits from local Virginia producers. There will be live music all afternoon from the Seven Bends Band, and you can even take in some competition at Virginia's Golden Axe Log Splitting Contest.

  • Cave Ridge Vineyard – 1476 Conicville Rd., Mt. Jackson, VA 22842
    For a relaxing autumn adventure close to Shenandoah County homes for sale, try a visit to the beautiful Cave Ridge Vineyard. Family-owned and operated, Cave Ridge Vineyard is located in the foothills, with stunning scenery and even better wine. Stop by for a wine tasting in the lovely tasting room, share a charcuterie board with your friends, and spend some time soaking in the views from the scenic outdoor courtyard. The new Reserve Tasting Experience, which requires reservations in advance, includes tastings of award-winning Cave Ridge wines in the Barrel Room, led by one of the knowledgeable Wine Educators on staff.

Are you searching for the perfect home in between your autumn adventures? Our team is here to help with all of your Shenandoah Valley real estate needs. Contact us to buy and sell homes in Shenandoah Valley communities.

February
14

6 Places in the Shenandoah Valley for Equestrians

Shenandoah Valley Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is a personally rewarding activity that pays physical and emotional dividends. Plus, the Shenandoah Valley offers some beautiful scenery perfect for exploring on horseback. When our real estate agents want to recharge, they saddle up at these wonderful places around Shenandoah County homes for sale.

  1. Secret Passage Ranch - 321 Spring Mountain Way, Fort Valley, VA 22652
    While Secret Passage Ranch may sound mysterious, its philosophy is warm and welcoming to all. They believe each ride should be a completely personalized experience, so they go the extra mile to satisfy every person's needs. Horses are carefully matched with riders, and trails are chosen to accommodate the least experienced rider in the group. Before hitting the trail, riders are given time in the arena to get acquainted with their horse. Located just 30 minutes from Woodstock homes for sale, the ranch also has a beautiful guest house built in the 1740s that can be booked by the room or by the entire house.

  2. Fort Valley Ranch - 299 S. Fort Valley Rd., Fort Valley, VA 22652
    Do you love exploring new areas? At Fort Valley Ranch, nestled in the Massanutten Mountains near Fort Valley homes for sale, no two rides are ever the same. In addition to trails located on the ranch grounds, riders have access to hundreds of miles of trails in the scenic George Washington National Forest. Choose from one-hour, 90-minute, half-day, or full-day guided horseback rides. Bring your horse or ride on one of theirs. Little ones can get in on the fun with hand-led horse rides. Fort Valley Ranch is open year-round, and reservations are required.

  3. Double H Stable - 5197 Reliance Rd., Front Royal, VA 22630
    With a name that holds echoes of cowboys and the Old West, Double H Stable honors the place horses hold in our national history. Double H, not far from Front Royal homes for sale, has gained recognition from the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and several national publications for the beauty of their grounds and superior riding experiences. Unlike many other riding facilities, trotting and cantering are allowed on the trails that criss-cross their 250 acres. Group and private rides are available, accommodating riders as young as 6.

  1. Jordan Hollow Stables - 657 Pine Grove Rd., Stanley, VA 22851
    When you arrive at Jordan Hollow Stables, just minutes from Stanley homes for sale, you may be greeted by an array of animals. Dogs, goats, roosters, and rabbits are only a few of the critters you might encounter on the grounds. The 90-minute guided rides are offered at a walking pace or a walk/trot pace, based on your personal preference and skill. Ride with a group that shares your level of experience or assemble a private group of family and friends. Surprise your significant other with a private ride for a romantic date night. Jordan Hollow Stables is open year-round, and reservations are required.

  2. North River Gorge Trail - George Washington National Forest
    Many of nature's spectacular features can be seen along the North River Gorge Trail, making it a popular spot for horseback riding. Just under five miles long, the trail winds through the gorge between Lookout and Trimble Mountains. Completing the trail involves fording the river a total of nine times. The trail is rated as easy, with minimal elevation and gentle grades, so it's a good place for beginners to get some saddle time. North Fork connects to the 26-mile Wild Oak Trail, which has a rating of moderate, providing an additional option for riders. Both trails are open year-round, with no fee for use.

  3. Little North Mountain - George Washington National Forest
    Little North Mountain is an eight-mile stretch along the Tuscarora Trail, which was established in the 1960s as an alternative to the iconic Appalachian Trail. Spanning 250 miles, the Tuscarora branches off from the AT near Mathews Arms Campground in Shenandoah National Park, merging back atop Blue Mountain near Duncannon, PA. The Little North Mountain section ascends from Fetzer Gap to the mountain's ridge, then proceeds south to Sheffer Gap. After crossing Cedar Creek, it once again ascends, this time to the ridge of Paddy Mountain. The trail is open year-round, with no fee for use.

    Imagine life with the splendors of the Shenandoah Valley surrounding you. Now make that dream a reality when you contact us at Old Dominion Realty. 

    December
    20

    Candy Shops Near the Shenandoah Valley for Your Sweet Tooth

    Candy Shops Shenandoah Valley

    When our real estate agents crave sweets, they fill up at these wonderful candy shops around the Shenandoah Valley. These local shops are great stops at any point in the year, but during the holiday season, they make great options for stocking stuffers. Find something sweet at these candy shops!  

    • Luray Fudge Company - 970 Hwy. 211 W., Luray, VA 22835
      How good are the rich, creamy treats at Luray Fudge Company? This past October, they hit a milestone of 100 tons of fudge sold. As one delighted customer put it, the generous servings of fudge are "the size of bread slices." Other delicious goods include cookies and fresh-squeezed lemonade. The shop is just inside the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum at Luray Caverns, but with its close proximity to Luray homes for sale, you don't need an excuse to visit. Hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily.

    • Shenandoah General Store - 119 Maryland Ave., Shenandoah, VA 22849
      Remember how exciting it was to be a kid in a candy store? Recapture that feeling at Shenandoah General Store, right down the street from Shenandoah County homes for sale. Have fun with your family as you each choose your favorites from the selection of classic candy. The shop is also a great place to pick up home decor, jewelry, bath products, and other specialty items for gifts or for yourself. Shenandoah General Store is open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Friday.

    • Warfels Chocolates - Dayton Market, 3105 John Wayland Hwy., Dayton, VA 22821
      By the time Warfels Chocolates hit the market near Dayton homes for sale, they already had an established name. Their chocolate pecan toffee, perfected at Elaine Warfel Stauffer's bakery and chocolate shop in Alma, KS, had been featured on the shelves of Bloomingdale's nationwide, giving a boost to the small family business. Since moving to the Shenandoah Valley, Elaine Warfel Stauffer still makes the dipped pretzels, chili chocolate, and other confections by hand in a health department-approved "chocolate room" in her own home. Hours are 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

    • The Valley Pantry & Deli - 15451 Old Spotswood Trl., Elkton, VA 22827
      Find both quality and quantity at the Valley Pantry & Deli, not far from Elkton homes for sale. Their bulk food section includes a wide range of candy to please anyone looking for a sugar fix. No one will judge if you just want sweets, but if you want an actual meal to go with your candy, you can't beat the Valley's deli counter with their made-to-order sandwiches. Follow them on Facebook for information about their weekly meat and cheese specials. The Valley is open Monday through Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m., and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

    • Cocoa Mill - 114 E. Beverly St., Staunton, VA 24401
      Who knew eating candy could be a socially responsible activity? Cocoa Mill, that's who. Their artisan candy is made with fair-trade chocolate, fresh cream and butter, and natural flavors and liqueurs. As a result, Cocoa Mill has been included in the ranks of top chocolatiers such as Godiva. Treat yourself or a chocoholic on your gift list with one of Cocoa Mill's "survival kits," which combine a variety of their most popular items. Stop in after a day of viewing Staunton homes for sale. Hours are 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

    • The Vine and Leaf - 477 E&F South St., Front Royal, VA 22630
      This charming spot, just minutes from Front Royal homes for sale, started out as a tea and chocolate shop before rounding out their selection with wine. Curl up in one of the comfy armchairs in their cafe as you sip on a glass of wine or cup of tea. In addition to chocolates, you can enjoy a snack or light meal of soups, salads, sandwiches, and flatbread pizzas. Looking for a special gift? The Vine and Leaf creates custom, personalized gift baskets based on your choices of wine, chocolate, tea, and unique gift items. Hours are 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon - 4 p.m. Sunday.

    How sweet it is to live in the Shenandoah Valley! Whether you're buying or selling a home, contact us at Old Dominion Realty and let our friendly, experienced agents help you attain your goal.

    November
    8

    Take a Scenic Tour Near Luray

    Luray Scenic Drives

    What makes Luray homes for sale so special? Part of their appeal is how close they are to a wide range of spectacular outdoor scenery and attractions. When they're in the mood for a leisurely day of sightseeing, our real estate agents hit the road and head on out to these scenic spots. 

    • Appalachian Waters Scenic Byway - Route 39, Lexington, VA 24450
      While its official name is Route 39, this road is better known as the Appalachian Waters Scenic Byway. Beginning just minutes from Lexington homes for sale, the route parallels the Maury River, one of the top whitewater rafting locations in the state, which makes for stunning views from one of the many overlooks along the way. The real showstopper is Goshen Pass, a 3.7-mile gorge carved out by the Maury. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy as you take in the scenery at Goshen Pass Natural Area Preserve.

    • Crossroads - Route 11, Lexington, VA 24450 
      Today's vehicles are a far cry from the covered wagons that first traveled the Crossroads in the 1700s. This highway that runs from Staunton to Salem is part of the legendary Wilderness Road. European immigrants who disembarked in Philadelphia forged their way south along this route, eventually turning Roanoke into a major hub. Don't miss the Natural Bridge, the most well-known attraction along this route. The 200-foot tall, 90-foot wide limestone arch still ranks as one of the country's most impressive natural landmarks. Be sure to spend some time exploring Lexington's charming Main Street, which includes the Stonewall Jackson House.

    • Skyline Drive - 3655 US Hwy. 211 E., Luray, VA 22835
      Shenandoah National Park, Virginia's crown jewel, is frequently found on lists of the country's top parks. Skyline Drive bisects the park from north to south, offering convenient access to Shenandoah's numerous scenic views, hiking trails, and attractions. The 105-mile-long highway is studded with nearly 70 overlooks, but take time to venture further into the park for a truly fascinating experience. Keep your eyes peeled for appearances from deer, bears, coyotes, foxes, birds, and other wildlife that inhabit Shenandoah. Finish with a relaxing stop in Waynesboro, home to three of the breweries on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail.

    • Blue Ridge Parkway - Afton, VA 22920
      Where Skyline Drive ends, right down the road from Afton homes for sale, the Blue Ridge Parkway picks up. Spanning 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park through the forests of North Carolina to the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, the route is often referred to as, "America's Favorite Drive." The Virginia portions of the Parkway, from Afton to Fancy Gap, encompass the Ridge and Plateau regions. You could spend an entire day exploring the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Other attractions include Humpback Rock and Peaks of Otter, which features Johnson Farm, a working farm restored to its 1930s appearance, with costumed interpreters conducting discussions and programs.
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    • Route 501 - Lynchburg, VA 24501
      If you want to explore further into Virginia, use the Blue Ridge Parkway as a jumping-off point. One such route comes at mile marker 63.7, where you can turn off onto Route 501. Spend a delightful 30 minutes viewing the pleasant countryside until you end up in Lynchburg, one of the many cities in Virginia that's rich in history and culture. There's fun for the whole family at Amazement Square, an interactive learning museum near Lynchburg homes for sale. Don't miss the CityArts Mosaic mural, right across the street, that took seven years to complete. Too nice to be indoors? Rent some bikes and check out downtown's Riverfront Park or stop by the Lynchburg Community Market to pick up fresh fruit, vegetables, and baked goods. 

    • Luray Caverns - 101 Cave Hill Rd., Luray, VA 22835
      By itself, Luray Caverns, dubbed, "Geology's Hall of Fame," is well worth the trip. The Caverns form an incredible underground world of 10-stories-high cathedral-sized rooms with impressive stone formations. But this popular attraction also includes Shenandoah Heritage Village, a seven-acre recreation of a 19th-century farming community with artifacts from Native American days up to the 1920s. Still want more? The Car & Carriage Caravan Museum chronicles the history of transportation, with more than 75 historic vehicles on display. Toy Town Junction features an exhibit of the comprehensive collection started by Dr. Richard Worden in 1941 when he was a five-year-old boy receiving his first toy train. Hours are 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on weekends. Tickets, which include admission to all three attractions, are $32 for adults and $16 for ages 6-12. 

    Whether you're buying or selling a home in Luray, we can put you on the road to success. Contact us at Old Dominion Realty to get started. 

    November
    1

    Shenandoah National Park Photography Guide

    Shenandoah National Park

    Shenandoah National Park offers stunning views! And when you take a camera along with you, you can share the views with others after your trip. Delight family and friends with postcard-ready shots of the stunning scenery near Shenandoah homes for sale. Visit these majestic locations scouted by our real estate agents around Shenandoah National Park. 

    • Dark Hollow Falls
      The trail to Dark Hollow Falls is only about a mile-and-a-half round trip, but its steep inclines require a bit of effort. Nevertheless, it's one of the more well-traveled trails in the park, with stunning views of the 70-foot cascading waterfalls making it worth the trip. Continue past the trail to reach Lower Dark Hollow Falls, which is smaller in size but considered by many to be more photogenic. For best accessibility, head out early in the morning before the crowds arrive.

    • Big Meadows
      With its seemingly endless vistas of open land, Big Meadows is a surprisingly pleasant contrast to the landscape in the rest of the park. The meadows are a popular location for couples who are taking engagement photos, especially during fall when the fields come alive with vivid reds, yellows, and oranges. The Point Overlook, just a few miles south of the lodge, is known for great shots of the sunset. And the photos don't have to stop when the day is over. Big Meadows offers breathtaking views of the Milky Way and other objects in the night sky.

    • Natural Bridge
      Located at the southern tip of Shenandoah, Natural Bridge has been the subject of innumerable photos, yet the sight never gets old. The organic limestone formation, which measures 215 feet high by 90 feet across, has been named both a state and National Historic Landmark. As a top Virginia attraction since the 18th century, Natural Bridge is itself the centerpiece of a state park with Instagram-worthy sites such as Monocan Indian Village, Lace Falls, and Virginia Safari Park.

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    • Skyline Drive
      Thanks to digital cameras, you no longer have to worry about running out of film when traveling 105-mile-long Skyline Drive. The route is a continuous sequence of picturesque scenes that demand to be photographed. Almost 70 outlooks along the way provide different views at every stop. Be sure to check out Hogback Overlook, the longest one along the drive, at milepost 20.8. Watch for deer, turkeys, and other photogenic wildlife crossing the road to "star" in your photos.

    • Stony Man Summit
      Even though it's the second-highest peak in Shenandoah, Stony Man Summit is one of the easier trails, making it a nice destination for a family photo session. The entire round trip is less than two miles, but the summit features glorious panoramas of the Valley, Massanutten Mountain, and points beyond. You may even be able to spot New Market homes for sale from a distance! As the name implies, the peak is covered with a number of rocks and stones, which you can use to get several different perspectives.

    • Hawksbill Summit
      You can literally see for miles atop Hawksbill Summit, the highest peak in Shenandoah. Take your pick of three different trails, ranging from 1.6 to 2.8 miles round trip, each with its own special features. Once you reach the top, 360-degree views of the Valley, Blue Ridge Mountains, and Virginia Piedmont will keep your head on a swivel. The beautiful balsam firs on the summit, more commonly associated with Canada and New England, are a fairly unusual sight near Broadway homes for sale

    Tips for Taking Photos Like a Pro

    • Film may no longer be a concern, but don't forget to take extra batteries and memory cards so you won't miss a shot.

    • Sunrise and sunset provide the most flattering natural light.

    • When photographing landscapes, wide-angle and telephoto lenses are a must-have. A UV lens filter will produce darker, richer colors.

    • Overlooks are convenient locations for photo ops, but don't stop there. Go off-road and walk the trails for a greater variety of subjects.

    • Don't let the big picture keep you from seeing what's right in front of you. Look for details such as trees, birds, flowers, and other small-scale subjects that make for equally interesting photos.

    • Be prepared for changes in weather. No matter how sunny the day may start out, clouds and fog can roll in anytime, especially at higher elevations. The good news is that darkness can add a moody, dramatic element to your photos. 

    • Remember that photography is an art form. Put your individual stamp on your photos by experimenting with different angles and effects. Trust your creative eye!

    There's nothing like the view from the backyard of your own Shenandoah County home. Contact us at Old Dominion Realty to speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable agents. 

    October
    18

    How to Warm Up Your Home's Entryway

    Entryway tips

    So many of the beautiful Rockingham County homes for sale have impressive entryways. Often, this is one of the features that captivates potential buyers. However, if your entryway is cold and sterile, it can have the opposite effect - detracting from your home's overall appeal. 

    Luckily, it's easy to make your entryway warm and welcoming. Whether it's drafty and freezing or just needs some TLC, the following tips will help turn your entryway into one of the best features of your home. 

    Entryway Lighting

    1. Keep the Cold Air Out
      If your entryway is physically cold, you'll want to take care of that first. You may need to add some additional insulation and put weatherstripping around your windows and under the door. This will help stop cold drafts, keeping the heat indoors and the chilly weather out. In extreme cases, you may even consider adding a small space heater to your entryway. Just make sure you pay attention to safety concerns and only use it when someone is home to keep an eye on it.

    Home Entryway

    1. Add a Rug
      Placing a rug in your entryway will add some softness and bring a splash of color and texture to the space. It can also help define the space, giving the area its own unique sense of style. While the look and feel of a rug is certainly important, you'll also need to make sure the carpet you choose is durable enough to stand up to this high-traffic area. If it's close to the door, also make sure the rug is low enough so it won't interfere with your ability to open and close it. When adding a rug to your entryway, it's also important to make sure you have a doormat on the outside. This will help keep guests from ruining your rug by tracking in dirt and moisture from the outdoors.  

    Entryway

    1. Layer the Lighting
      The right lighting can go a long way towards making a space feel welcoming. Most entryways have an overhead light, but this usually isn't enough. If you want to warm up the space, you'll need to layer in some lighting. Try adding a table lamp, some wall sconces, or even some lanterns to help give your space a warm glow. You can also make a statement by choosing an attention-grabbing chandelier or pendant light. Just make sure the combination you choose sufficiently lights up the entire space. 

    2. Keep it Clutter-Free
      Your entryway is the first impression of your home, so make sure it's not a mess. The best way to do this is to add a chest of drawers, a storage bench, or a console table to the space. This will give you a place to stash mail, keys, and other essentials so they're handy when you need them but still neatly out of sight.

      Entryway Style
    3. Give it a Sense of Style
      Our real estate agents love showing homes that have entryways with a big, bold style. Whether you chose a piece of statement art, a large mirror, or some plush stools, adding interesting decor to your entryway is the perfect way to set the tone and give guests an idea of what they can expect from the rest of your home. Don't be afraid to add bright colors to the walls, paint the inside of your front door, or experiment with wallpaper. All of these things can add style and make the space more inviting. You can also use your entryway decor to ease the transition between the outdoors and the inside of your home. Adding elements like large plants, rich wood, and stone accents can help turn the space into a transitional area.  
    1. Pay Attention to Scale
      Whether you have a large, grand entryway or one that's small and quaint, it's important to choose pieces that match. A tiny table will look strange in a huge foyer, and pieces that are too large will make a small entryway feel claustrophobic. Make sure you get the scale right, then add some accent pieces to pull it all together. 

    Entryway Tips

    1. Add a Personal Touch
      To give your entryway even more warmth, be sure to incorporate your unique personality. Consider adding a vase of your favorite flowers, a piece of art you truly love, or a framed photo of people who mean a lot to you. This will make the area feel homey and give you a warm, fuzzy feeling every time you walk in the front door. 

    Are you looking for your dream home? There are many beautiful Rockingham and Shenandoah County homes for sale, and the experts at Old Dominion Realty are here to help! Contact us today to discuss your goals and learn how to get started. 

    October
    11

    Where to See Fall Foliage Around the Shenandoah Valley

    Shenandoah Valley Fall

    When Mother Nature brings out her fall paintbrush, the spectacular scenery around Shenandoah County homes for sale bursts with vivid color. Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway are especially noted for their impressive landscapes. Our real estate agents point out where to see stunning fall foliage around the Shenandoah Valley.

    • Skyline Drive - Shenandoah National Park, 3655 U.S. Hwy. 211 E., Luray, VA 22835
      Perhaps the best way to take in the glory of Shenandoah National Park is a three-hour journey along the iconic Skyline Drive. With nearly 70 overlooks along the way, you can create your own personal tour near Luray homes for sale. If you prefer sightseeing on two wheels, sign up for the Shenandoah Fall Foliage Bike Festival, returning on the weekend of October 15-17.

    • Mabry Mill - 266 Mabry Mill Rd. SE, Meadows of Dan, VA 24120
      Enjoy some classic fall scenery at Mabry Mill, located at Milepost 176 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The once-functioning mill and adjoining pond are favorite subjects for both professional and amateur photographers. Hike the half-mile Mabry Mill Trail for great views of the sawmill and blacksmith shop as well as Matthew's Cabin, an authentic building that was relocated to add to the classic setting. 

    • Sky Meadows State Park - 11012 Edmond Ln., Delaplane, VA 20144
      The 1,860 acres of Sky Meadows State Park were once part of a family farm back in our country's colonial time. Today, the woodlands and gently rolling pastures are home to nine miles of bike trails and 22 miles of hiking trails, including a portion of the Appalachian Trail. Kids will have fun watching for the red-headed woodpeckers and other species that make Sky Meadows a renowned spot for birdwatchers near Delaplane homes for sale. Park hours are 8 a.m. - dusk daily.

    • Peaks of Otter - Milepost 85.6, Blue Ridge Pkwy., Bedford, VA 24523
      Sharp Top, Flat Top, and Harkening Hill make up the charmingly named Peaks of Otter, overlooking the town of Bedford along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Ties to the past include Johnson's Farm, a living farm where visitors can play games and work in the garden, and Polly Wood's Ordinary, a cabin that provided the first lodging for travelers in the mid-1800s. Afterward, make a side trip to Bedford homes for sale or one of the many wineries not far from Peaks of Otter.

    • Hanging Rock Overlook Trail - Potts Mountain Rd., Potts Mountain, VA 24131
      You'll feel on top of the world when you take in the breathtaking vistas from Hanging Rock Overlook Trail. Thanks to the out-of-the-way location, Hanging Rock flies under the radar for many sightseers, allowing you to enjoy the viewing in relative solitude. Amazingly, the journey to the top is less than a mile, making it easily accessible for hikers at any level of experience and a great place to take in the scenery. The reward is 360° panoramas of the Appalachians and Blue Ridge Mountains. 

    • Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest - 1542 Bateman Bridge Rd., Forest, VA 24551
      Can't decide between cultural activities or outdoor adventures near Forest homes for sale? No need to choose. Visit Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest for a nice blend of history and nature. Get a fascinating look at the ongoing restoration of Jefferson's private retreat, designed to be "the best dwelling house in the state" and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1971. The two-mile drive to the house affords a beautiful overview of the property while walking trails wind along roads and through fields for a look at the land Jefferson loved. From March 15 through December 30, Poplar Forest is open daily from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. with weekend hours during winter. Admission is $18 for adults, $10 for ages 12-18, and $6 for ages 6-11.

    • Natural Bridge State Park - 6477 S. Lee Hwy., Natural Bridge, VA 24578
      As the name implies, the highlight of Natural Bridge State Park is an incredible 215-foot limestone gorge carved out by Cedar Creek. The bridge has been recognized as a National Historic Landmark and named to the National Register of Historic Places. Tourists have been drawn to the site as far back as the 1800s when European visitors to the new country traveled by horse-drawn carriages to view the bridge. Don't miss Lace Falls, a 30-foot cascade that's even more delightful when framed by fall colors. Be sure to stop by after looking at Natural Bridge homes for sale. Park hours are 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily. Admission is $9 for adults and $6 for ages 3-12.

    The Shenandoah Valley is truly a home for all seasons. Contact us at Old Dominion Realty to learn more about Augusta County homes for sale

    August
    23

    About the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail

    Shenandoah Valley Wine TrailLooking for an all-new way to experience the Shenandoah Valley? Our real estate agents have it!

    Shenandoah Valley homes for sale run the gamut of styles, but beautiful surroundings are the norm no matter your architectural tastes. From across Virginia and all throughout the country, people visit year-round to drink in the sights and unique culture of the Shenandoah Valley area.

    The Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail helps show it all off in an experience you'll never forget!

    Shenandoah Valley's Unique Wine Trail Helps You See All That Makes the Area Great

    The Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail is full of surprises on its 200-mile stretch of wineries, breweries, and cideries. As you venture from one end to the other of this north-south trail, you'll see so much of what makes Virginia unique. 

    Nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and Allegheny Mountains to the west, the Valley runs from the state line of West Virginia down to the James River. The Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail provides a family-friendly (and largely pet-friendly!) opportunity to explore it all.

    Not surprisingly, the wine trail is an epicenter of family-owned businesses. In addition to the different beverage-makers, you'll also find plenty of antique stores, art shops, and housewares vendors. 

    You'll pass through many communities if you're determined to see all the trail has to offer. Small, historic villages are plentiful, as are college towns. 

    While winery visits reach their height in the fall, most businesses along the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail are open year-round.

    Unique growing conditions and soil of the Shenandoah Valley have given rise to a profusion of grape varietals. Rocky, fertile soil, and a mild, relatively dry growing season have attracted wineries of all sizes and styles. Virtually all of them have gotten in on the fun and now offer tours and tasting rooms open to the public.

    Let's take a closer look at some of the wineries you can stop at on the trail!

    The Winery at Kindred Pointe 3575 Conicville Road, Mt. Jackson, VA 22842
    Owners Amy and Bruce Helsey bought the property for The Winery at Kindred Pointe in 2005 and named the spot after one of Amy's favorite books, Anne of Green Gables. What started out as a horse boarding business has grown into a beloved winery near Mount Jackson homes for sale. Pick up a bottle of wine from their historical series, which features artwork of local historical significance by artist John Paul Strain.

    Barren Ridge Vineyards  – 984 Barren Ridge Road, Fishersville, VA 22939
    In the late 1800s, a small apple orchard was planted, which became the modern-day Barren Ridge Winery we know and love. Located near Fisherville homes for sale, this winery offers stunning views of West Virginia and the Alleghany Mountains. Take in the views and sip on local wine from their tasting room.

    12 Ridges Vineyard – 24981 Blue Ridge Parkway, Vesuvius, VA 24483
    12 Ridges Vineyard is a cool climate vineyard and tasting room where your palate will dance with flavors from the Shenandoah Valley and around the world. The brand focuses on a traditional sparkling wine with the goal of becoming the foremost in Virginia. Tastings can be done on the terrace or outside on the scenic hilltop, all within driving distance from Vesuvius homes for sale.

    Honey & Hops Brew Works – 212 East Main Street A, Front Royal, VA 22630
    Honey & Hops Brew Works will introduce you to mead, a trend that's sweeping the nation. Using familiar principles of fermentation with honey rather than grapes, Honey & Hops offers rich, award-winning flavors: The favorite may be Black Trails blueberry mead. "Mead and Chocolate" events are popular for couples. Check them out after looking at Front Royal homes for sale

    Sage Bird Ciderworks – 325 North Liberty Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22802
    Sage Bird Ciderworks is a local producer of small-batch, handcrafted cider using local ingredients. The apples are the key to this iconic "Apple-Achian" cider, including a curated selection of a dozen distinctive Shenandoah Valley varieties. Most Sage Bird ciders are dry, but there's something to suit every taste. All this within minutes of Harrisonburg homes for sale.

    Contact us to find out more about Shenandoah Valley real estate.

    August
    16

    7 Ways a Real Estate Agent Can Help You in a Hot Market

    Real Estate Agent Tips

    A combination of low-interest rates, limited nationwide inventory, and pent-up demand has made this year's real estate market one of the hottest in history. In a competitive seller's market, buyers often lose some negotiating leverage and are forced to enter into bidding wars.  

    However, if you're looking for a home in today's real estate market, all hope isn't lost. The key to finding the right home for the right price is a combination of patience, dedication, and working with an experienced real estate agent. 

    Our real estate agents are working with clients to help them navigate the complexities of today's hot market. Below are some ways we can help you:

    closing tips

    1. Agents Can Help Minimize Issues During Closing
      After putting weeks of work into looking for the right house, securing financing, and negotiating terms, the last thing you want is for the deal to fall apart at closing. Title problems and financing issues are the things that most commonly delay closings. An experienced real estate agent can establish a realistic closing timeline and knows how to spot problems before they arise.

    2. Agents Are Expert Negotiators
      Buyers can lose some negotiating leverage in a hot seller's market, which is why is the expertise of your agent is more important than ever. As a consumer, negotiating with a home seller can be an emotional process. Agents are able to remove emotion from the equation entirely. They also don't have any issue with being persistent and aggressive when asking for contingencies. Buying a new home is an emotional process, which is why it's important to have a good agent negotiating on your behalf.

    competitive offer

    1. Agents Can Help You Make A Competitive Offer
      In a hot market, the key to winning a bid is making your offer as competitive as possible. Luckily, there are many things you can do to help your offer stand out without drastically exceeding the asking price. For example, you may consider waiving the appraisal contingency, putting down a higher earnest money deposit, and making your offer as straightforward as possible in order to increase the chance of your offer being accepted. The bottom line, your agent can work with you to create a compelling offer.

    Market Tips

    1. Agents Know The Market
      Not only can your agent help you find homes that meet all of your criteria, but they're also familiar with current market trends as well as specific neighborhoods in your area. If you're considering one of these beautiful Shenandoah County homes for sale, your agent can provide you with insights about homes and locations that you may not be able to find on your own. They can also help you gauge whether a particular property is over or underpriced.

    2. Agents Can Act Quickly
      Buyers need to act fast when looking for a home in a seller's market, especially if you're considering one of these great Augusta County homes for sale. If you find a property you absolutely love, a good agent will be willing to turn around an offer in a matter of hours. 
      real estate paperwork

    1. Agents Can Handle The Paperwork
      A real estate transaction requires an immense amount of paperwork, which an average consumer likely can't handle on their own. Between the offer, counteroffer, and contingencies, there is a lot riding on the accuracy and completeness of the paperwork. Your agent will not only ensure everything is documented correctly, but that all pages are signed and initialed.

    real estate resources

    1. An Agent Can Connect You To Resources
      A standard real estate transaction often involves several third parties who perform various services throughout the process. If you need a mortgage broker, home inspector, or notary public, your real estate agent likely has a wide network of trusted resources. Real estate agents often manage multiple closings each week, so chances are, they've had ample opportunity to vet the efficiency of the service providers in their network. Since your agent can connect you with the services you need to ensure a smooth transaction, you can avoid a lot of stress and headaches along the way.

    While a hot seller's market can present a number of challenges for buyers, working with a good agent is the best way to mitigate risks and secure the home of your dreams. For more tips on how to make a competitive offer, contact us today.

    August
    9

    Summer Rain: What is a Rain Garden?

    Summer Rain GardenA rain garden is one of the most attractive and effective ways to handle runoff on your property, protect groundwater, filter impurities, and improve landscaping aesthetics. Our real estate agents have seen beautifully designed rain gardens in Shenandoah County homes for sale and thought it'd be great to put together a beginner's guide to creating a rain garden.

    What is a Rain Garden?

    A rain garden is a shallow, bowl-shaped depression in the landscape designed to collect and soak up rainwater. Rain gardens typically slow the flow of water runoff from impervious surfaces such as roofs, downspouts, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, and lawns. Typically, heavy rain pours so quickly that the water doesn't get enough time to soak into the ground. This also means the soil does not absorb enough water for plants.

    The shallow depression is usually 6 to 8 inches deep, has loose soil, and can be placed at any point along the runoff pathway. The rain garden creates a "trap" for runoff water, which slowly filters into the ground instead of entering the storm sewer system and our waterways. When designed properly, a rain garden should soak up to 30% more water than a conventional lawn. Also, the water should not stand for more than 48 hours. Rain gardens can be large or small and can complement any style of landscape.

    Why Are Rain Gardens Important?

    What do you gain when you collect runoff water? Aside from being beautiful and creative, a rain garden serves a functional purpose in maintaining the natural water cycle and protecting the local environment. As cities and suburbs grow, they increase impervious surfaces, which create increased stormwater runoff problems. A rain garden allows water to be absorbed into the ground, reducing drainage problems and the potential for flooding.

    Here are more benefits of a fully functional rain garden:

    • Reducing the amount of water that runs off to a storm drain
    • Keeping your home's foundation and basement safe by diverting water away from it
    • Helping protect the community from flooding, stream bank erosion, and drainage problems
    • Attracting beneficial and pollinating birds, insects, butterflies, and mosquito-consuming dragonflies
    • Enhancing the beauty of yards and surrounding neighborhoods

    Choosing Plants for Your Rain Garden

    The best plants for rain gardens need to be able to withstand temporary standing water and dry conditions, reduce erosion, increase water absorption, and look beautiful. Native plants are always recommended, and it's a good idea to mix up different species to help manage stormwater and create a beautiful garden.

    Large shrubs and trees: These slow down rainfall before it reaches the ground, preventing it from running off immediately and allowing it to better soak into the soil.

    Shorter, deeply rooted plants: Direct water into the ground and hold the soil.

    Tall grasses: Trap pollutants, suck up water, and prevent silt from being carried by stormwater to rivers and ponds.

    Some of the best plants for a rain garden include:

    Black Eyed Susan

    • Black-Eyed Susan
    • Joe Pye Weed
    • Switchgrass
    • Oakleaf Hydrangea
    • River Birch
    • Bald Cypress
    • Black Willow

    Scarlett Bee Balm

    • Scarlet Bee Balm
    • Southern Blue Flag
    • New England Aster
    • Summersweet
    • Astilbes
    • Purple Coneflower

    Marsh Marigold

    • Marsh Marigold
    • Swamp Oak
    • Sweetgum
    • Red Maple
    • Buttonbush

    Spike Rush

    • Spikerush
    • Smooth Alder
    • Swamp Rose
    • Cardinal Flower

    Daylily

    • Daylilies
    • American Beautyberry
    • Red Osier Dogwood

    The exact plant for each rain garden will vary based on the soil conditions, sun exposure, and how much water the garden will hold.

    Build Your Own Rain Garden

    How big your rain garden will be depends on the size of the impervious area draining into it. As a general rule of thumb, make the bed 20% to 30% the size of the area from which the water is funneled. For example, if you have a 1000 sq. ft. roof, create a 300 sq. ft. rain garden to accommodate runoff water. Here are tips for creating a successful rain garden:

    • Dig out dirt from a dry area that's downhill from the water source and at least 10 feet away from your home's foundation.
    • Don't plant your garden over septic systems, under trees, or in areas that already get standing water. You may want to do an infiltration test to determine how fast the soil allows the water to drain. Dig a hole about 10 inches deep and fill it with water. The water shouldn't take more than 48 hours to drain.
    • Amend the soil to improve drainage. Replace heavy soil with sand, compost, and good-quality topsoil.
    • Add a few small stones to the garden to protect the soil from being washed away and create a bowl where water can pool to about 6 inches deep.
    • If the water doesn't naturally flow to your garden, consider digging a trench to direct water from one or more gutter downspouts to the garden.
    • Planting your rain garden is the final step. In the center of your garden, plant perennials and native plants that tolerate flooding. These should be followed by plants that tolerate short periods of standing water. The outer edges should have plants that prefer a drier soil. Ensure you don't plant the roots too deep into the soil and leave enough space to avoid overcrowding when the plants mature.
    • Once all your plants are in, mulch the inside of the rain with compost or shredded hardwood to give the garden a tidy appearance and keep out weeds.

    If you're looking for Shenandoah homes for sale or Augusta County homes for sale, we can help simplify the process for you and find your dream home. Contact us today to start the process.

    July
    26

    Back-to-School Shopping in the Shenandoah Valley

    Back to School Shopping

    While it might not qualify as retail therapy, back-to-school shopping is an annual summer ritual. Our real estate agents will be getting their kids ready to hit the books with some strategic shopping at these malls and markets around the Shenandoah Valley.

    Valley Mall - 1925 E. Market St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    Looking for top national retailers like H&M, Old Navy, and JC Penney? You'll find them just minutes away from Shenandoah County homes for sale at Valley Mall. Department stores and specialty retailers carrying footwear, cosmetics, accessories, and other school needs are all together in one convenient location. The self-service Visitor Center helps make the most of your shopping expedition. Before your visit, check out the website for information on current sales and promotions. Register for Valley Mall's online Kids Club, a virtual program that uses entertaining activities to promote environmental awareness. Mall hours are 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

    Agora Downtown Market - 165 S. Main St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    In most cities, downtown has traditionally been the primary shopping hub. Agora Downtown Market combines historic Main Street appeal with trendy boutique shops. Everything old is new again at Heartworn Vintage, while Charlee Rose Boutique carries a curated collection of clothing and accessories sourced from women-owned businesses. Handmade bags at Lineage are the brainchild of founder Paul Hansbarger, who was inspired when he couldn't find a diaper bag he was willing to carry. Another modern touch is a focus on fair trade and sustainable items. Tare Apothecary + Refillery, featuring zero-waste goods and supplies for everyday use, is having their grand opening in August. Pick up a latte from Broad Porch Coffee Co., which uses ethically sourced beans from sustainable farms. Hours are 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

    The Dayton Market - 3105 John Wayland Hwy., Dayton, VA 22821
    For more than 30 years, The Dayton Market has been such a popular destination in the Shenandoah Valley that it's become a tourist draw. Nearly 20 independently owned shops are under one roof, providing a casual setting to browse homemade foods along with handcrafted clothing, accessories, gifts, and collectibles. Green Hummingbird Fair Trade Clothing and Tic Tac Toys are two of the top shops for families. You won't be able to resist the tempting aromas coming out of The Pretzel Shop and The Kaffee Klatsch, and no one leaves The Dayton Market without a stop at The Cheese Place. In addition to dozens of savory cheeses and spreads, the shop features an impressive selection of old-fashioned candy such as root beer barrels, gumdrops, and chewy wax bottles. Market hours are 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, while The Cheese Place is also open during the same hours on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    Downtown Staunton
    Take your back-to-school shopping to the next level and spend a fun day with the kids exploring Downtown Staunton. Walk around the downtown area and pop in and out of the local shops and with many shops throughout downtown, you are sure to find what you're looking for on your shopping list. Pick up running shoes for your student-athlete at Sole Focus Running. The Book Dragon Shop makes a great stop if you want to add to your child's library. Or buy some vintage apparel for your fashion-forward teen. Regardless of what shops you stop at, you're sure to have a good time browsing!

    ShenandoahValleyWeb.com
    Do you have a specific shopping list to cover, whether it's for you or the kids? ShenandoahValleyWeb.com has a comprehensive listing of stores, malls, and specialty shops in the area. Entries are sorted into well-defined categories, including bookstores, hobbies and supplies, and sporting goods. One of the entries is University Outpost Bookstore, serving students at James Madison University but open to all. The Outpost is a great source for apparel and accessories for all members of the family, even the four-legged ones. Other helpful features of the website include a map of Shenandoah Valley that indicates significant points of interest, as well as a calendar of events and a listing of attractions and activities in the area.

    Grab your back-to-school shopping list and plan your shopping trip! While the kids are hitting the books this year, are you ready to learn more about what makes the Shenandoah Valley such a hot real estate market? Contact us at Old Dominion Realty for friendly and knowledgeable help buying or selling your home.

    July
    12

    Recipes for Your Garden Fresh Veggies

    Summer Vegetables

    It's easy to eat healthy during summer, whether you shop for fruits and vegetables at the great farmers markets around Shenandoah County homes for sale or grow your own. Our real estate agents share some of their favorite recipes that put vegetables front and center.

    Yellow Zucchini

    • Summer Vegetables Ratatouille
      What better way to get kids to eat veggies than to prepare a dish named for a Disney movie? Well, that's the story you can tell them. Summer Vegetables Ratatouille takes almost no time and effort to make. It's a great side dish or even a light meal if you want to skip the meat. Simply slice up an eggplant, green zucchini, and yellow zucchini along with three tomatoes and a cup of mozzarella cheese. Arrange over a layer of tomato sauce, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 30 minutes.

    • Grilled Vegetable Pizza
      If your experience with pizza doesn't go beyond the traditional pepperoni and sausage, expand your horizons with Grilled Vegetable Pizza. It combines two classic elements of summer eating: fresh veggies and outdoor cooking. Start by slicing up Chinese eggplant, zucchini, cremini mushrooms, red bell pepper, red onion, and cherry tomatoes. Toss with herbs and seasoning, then cook in a grill basket. Crust for the dough can also be grilled. Top with pesto sauce, smoked gouda, and the veggies. Go vegan with plant-based gouda and vegan pesto sauce.

    • Summer Peach Salad
      Fresh fruit adds a welcome touch of sweetness and texture to a green salad. This Summer Peach Salad is perfect for lunch on the patio with family or friends. Toss peeled, pitted, and diced peaches and avocados, blueberries, sliced red onions, chopped pecans, mini mozzarella balls, chopped mint leaves, and romaine lettuce in a large bowl. Serve with a vinaigrette dressing made from balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, onion powder, and sugar. If you want something a little heartier, add a protein such as diced chicken. 

    Summer Veggies

    • Zucchini Tomato Bake
      Fresh tomatoes are delicious as is, but cooking them brings out their innate sweetness, adding another dimension of flavor. Zucchini Tomato Bake takes less than one hour from start to finish. Combine chopped zucchini, halved cherry tomatoes, minced garlic, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper before placing in a baking dish. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan, bake for 30 minutes, and garnish with basil leaves.

    • Caprese Pasta Salad
      You'll feel like you're dining in the Italian countryside when you eat this Caprese Pasta Salad. As a bonus, the only cooking required is boiling the water for the rotini pasta. When it's done, add the pasta to a large bowl with halved grape tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls, and basil. Toss with a dressing of pesto, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. For some extra pizazz, drizzle a balsamic reduction over the top. When tomatoes are out of season, adapt the recipe by substituting sun-dried tomatoes. 

    • Tomato-Lemon Tart
      Wow family and friends with a Tomato-Lemon Tart that makes it look like you've been in the kitchen baking for hours. The secret is frozen ready-made puff pastry that you roll out onto a sheet of parchment paper. After sliding the dough onto a baking sheet, brush with garlic and oil. Place a layer of lemon slices on top, scatter basil leaves, and top with a layer of tomato slices. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with oil and bake until the pastry is browned and crispy. Cut into rectangles and finish each piece with a dollop of crème fraîche.

    • Warm Corn Chowder Salad
      Pick up some farm-fresh corn from a roadside stand near Staunton homes for sale to make Warm Corn Chowder Salad, a summery take on a cold-weather favorite. Cook some bacon until crisp, then set aside and add peeled and diced Yukon Gold potatoes to the pan. Once the potatoes are almost tender, add diced red peppers and corn kernels. After all ingredients are heated through, transfer to a bowl and mix with the cooked bacon along with sliced red onion, cider vinegar, and crushed red pepper.

    • Watermelon, Feta, and Arugula Salad
      Contrasting ingredients turn Watermelon, Feta, and Arugula Salad into an explosion of flavor. Just cube some watermelon and toss it in a bowl with arugula, olive oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Add crumbled feta cheese and mint leaves, then lightly toss again. Serve as is or use as a bed for grilled chicken strips.

    Summer in the Shenandoah Valley is a great time to buy or sell a home. Contact us at Old Dominion Realty to get started.

    June
    9

    Sign Up for These Upcoming 5Ks in the Shenandoah Valley

    Summer 5Ks

    Virginia's Shenandoah Valley has spectacular scenery that makes the perfect setting for a 5K or other types of race. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced runner, you'll find several races to choose from.

    Start training, and check out these upcoming 5Ks and other races suggested by our real estate agents:

    Sunrise Spectacular 5K/10K race

    • Sunrise Spectacular 5K/10K race – July 10, 2021 – 600 Northgate Ave., Waynesboro, VA 22980  
      The Sunrise Spectacular 5K/10K, formerly known as the Summer Extravaganza, supports Relay for Life with a portion of its registration fees. It's a challenging run that will take you through some of the town's beautiful neighborhoods and past some Waynesboro homes for sale. After the race, stick around for a celebration with food and drink as well as an awards ceremony.

    Luray Triathlon & Duathlon

    • Luray Triathlon & Duathlon – August 21-22, 2021 – Lake Arrowhead, 265 Lake Arrowhead Rd., Luray, VA 22835  
      The Luray Triathlon & Duathlon gives you the chance to swim, bike, and run in this friendly town. The multisport weekend gets underway on August 21 with an International Triathlon consisting of a 1.5K swim, 41K bike ride, and 10K run that takes you near Luray homes for sale. The Sprint Triathlon takes place on August 22 with a 750 swim, 27K bike ride, and 5K run. Its shorter distance makes the leg of the event beginner-friendly, and if you're new to triathlons, you can run it in a 2- or 3-person relay.

    Luray Half Marathon & 5K

    • Luray Half Marathon & 5K – September 12, 2021 – Hawksbill Brewing Company, 22 Zerkel St., Luray, VA 22835  
      Run the Luray Half Marathon & 5K either in person or virtually from any location. If you're joining the races in person, the course starts and ends in downtown Luray. It was designed by local runners to be appropriate for beginners as well as more experienced runners. The half marathon course is fully paved the entire way, and you'll make your way up and down some rolling hills along the way before hitting a fast six miles before the finish. You can run the half marathon on your own or on a 2- or 4-person relay team. If you're running the 5K, you'll start and finish at the same location as the half marathon and can choose to run or walk. The course is flat most of the way, with a short section or rolling hills in the final half-mile. An afterparty at Hawksbill Brewing Co. will be held immediately after the finish.

    Sgt. Thomas E. Larner Memorial 5K and 10K

    • Sgt. Thomas E. Larner Memorial 5K and 10K – August 21, 2021 – 1 Mill Place, Staunton, VA 24401  
      Choose from a 5K or 10K – or the same races with student participants age 17 and under – in the Sgt. Thomas E. Larner Memorial 5K and 10K. The races are held just around the corner from Staunton homes for sale. Both races start and end in downtown Staunton in front of 1 Mill St. They split at N. Augusta St. and Edgewood Dr. and join again at N. Coalter St. and Statler Blvd. The races serve as a fundraiser in honor of Sgt. Larner, a police officer with the Staunton Police Department who was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic colon cancer. 

    Town of Bridgewater Race to the Bottom 5K

    • Town of Bridgewater Race to the Bottom 5K – September 6, 2021 – Sandy Bottom Park, 602 East College St., Bridgewater, VA 22812
      Starting and ending at Sandy Bottom Park, the town's miniature golf course and par-3 course, the Town of Bridgewater Race to the Bottom 5K is designed for all ages and fitness levels. Prizes will be awarded for overall winners and the winners in designated age groups. Located just around the corner from Bridgewater homes for sale, the miniature golf is closed to everyone except race participants and their families from 9:30 a.m.-noon, and you're welcome to play a free game or mini or par 3 golf then or from noon-10 p.m. The par-3 course will be open to everyone throughout the day.

    Grand Caverns Signature 5K

    • Grand Caverns Signature 5K – September 24, 2021 – Grand Caverns Park, 5 Grand Cavern Rd., Grottoes, VA 24441  
      The Grand Caverns Signature 5K is run on the grounds of the historic park of the same name, located near Grottoes homes for sale. This is the 10th year that the race has been run. A 1-mile fun run (or walk, if you'd prefer) stays within the park's beautiful trails, and the 5K takes a fast, flat course in and around the park. All proceeds from the race will be used toward buying new playground equipment for the park.

    Contact us to learn more about the Shenandoah Valley and how we can help you find your dream home in the area! 

    April
    19

    Exciting Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors Near Shenandoah County

    Shenandoah County Outdoors

    Is it any wonder that Shenandoah County is known for its glorious natural landscapes?

    When our real estate agents hear the call of the great outdoors, they head to these exciting locations and activities not far from Shenandoah County homes for sale.

    • Bear Mountain Ziplines - 2354 US Hwy. 211 E., Luray, VA 22835
      Even after we "grow up," do we ever truly lose our fantasies of being superheroes? The whole family can get the experience of flying at Bear Mountain Ziplines, just minutes from Luray homes for sale. With Mama Bear and Baby Bear courses, the park accommodates nearly every age and any level of experience. If you prefer something a little more solid to hold on to, opt for the three-story climbing wall, which also makes a great finish for the Mama Bear course. Bear Mountain is planning several exciting additions, so be sure to follow them on Facebook. Reservations are suggested, but walk-ins are welcome if space permits. Hours are 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. daily.

    • Rope Adventure Park - 970 US Hwy. 211 W., Luray, VA 22835
      Are you steady on your feet? Test your sense of balance at the Rope Adventure Park at Luray Caverns. There are three different levels to choose from, including one that's only three feet off the ground for kids less than 48 inches tall. Navigate the course while hooked into a full-body harness that allows you to complete the challenges at your own pace and safely pass other participants. Once you're on the course, you can stay as long as you like. Admission is $11 for the Navigator course and $7 for the Sky Tyke course. The park is open 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. on weekends.

    • Harpers Ferry Adventure Center - 37410 Adventure Center Lane, Purcellville, VA 20132
      Between tubing, rafting, canoeing, kayaking, ziplining, and rope courses, your feet literally won't touch the ground at Harpers Ferry Adventure Center. Even sightseeing is done on a Segway! HFAC isn't far from Purcellville homes for sale, but you can keep the fun going with an overnight stay at one of the cabins or campsites. Activities are offered a la carte or as part of a variety of packages. HFAC is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. weekends from May 1 through Labor Day, when they move to a seasonal schedule. 

    • Massanutten Family Adventure Park - 3827 Massanutten Dr., Massanutten, VA 22840
      At Massanutten Family Adventure Park, what goes up must come down. Their newest attractions are a 30-foot climbing wall and Quick Flight, which provides the sensation of a 30-foot free fall. These additions complement an already packed menu of activities, including a Mega Zipline that reaches speeds up to 30 MPH. Head to the mountains for the Ridge Rappel and Climbing Excursion, or go for the breathtaking Canopy Tour, a two-hour trip through the forest via bridges, hanging vines, and ziplines. Between the Kids' Adventure Course and Playland, the little ones aren't left out of the excitement. Advance purchase is required for some activities. 

    • Shenandoah National Park - 22591 Spotswood Trail, Elkton, VA 22835
      One of the biggest benefits of Virginia homes for sale is living near some of the country's most spectacular and accessible natural resources. Shenandoah National Park covers more than 200,000 acres across eight counties, providing infinite variety for different experiences with every visit. Hardcore hikers who climb Old Rag Mountain are rewarded with 360-degree views of miles around, but there's plenty to do closer to the ground. More than 500 miles of hiking trails accommodate all levels of experience, and most permit leashed dogs as well. Other activities include backpacking, biking, fishing, horseback riding, and rock climbing. Families love the plentiful opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting, capturing the results with memorable photos. The park is always open. While the main road is occasionally closed for inclement weather, visitors can still enter on foot. 

    What's more exciting than a home of your own in Shenandoah County? Contact us at Old Dominion Realty for cheerful and experienced help with your search.

    March
    9

    Where to Go Stargazing in the Shenandoah Valley

    Among Virginia homes for sale, there are plenty of desirable options. Shenandoah County homes for sale have an extra something more for amateur astronomers of all kinds: Access to unique Shenandoah National Park and its unparalleled night sky.

    One of the first things any would-be Copernicus learns is this: If you want a truly phenomenal view of the stars, you need to get away from city lights. Light pollution is the term given to the artificial brightening of night skies because of lights that operate all night long.

    Many people don't realize that a sky free of light pollution "looks like the movies" – the whole Milky Way can be visible at night. While it's possible to see it any time of year from anywhere on Earth, it can be virtually invisible unless you find a good vantage point.

    Luckily, you can get a great view by visiting Shenandoah National Park. It is recognized as one of the best places for stargazing in the United States.

    Discover the Stars at Shenandoah National Park

    A long, narrow park encompassing nearly 200,000 acres, Shenandoah National Park includes part of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River Valley. About 40% of the entire area has been designated a protected wilderness. It is a remarkably serene and quiet place even at the height of the season.

    • Exploring the Skies with Frank Perfetti is a weekly event in May through October led by amateur astronomer Perfetti, who has gathered thousands of dazzling night sky photos over more than 50 years as an aviator. No telescope is necessary, but flashlights are required, and a jacket will protect you from the wind.
    • Night Skies Events are also held weekly throughout the season. Attendees should bring their own binoculars. A limited number of telescopes are available for use during some meetings. A blanket, chair, and flashlight are the other "must-haves" for making the most of this guided tour of the night sky.
    • Twilight Hiking is a journey through the park's "big meadow" at dusk, offering an unparalleled view of the changing mountain sky and emerging stars. Available May through August, it is led by Shenandoah Mountain Guides, who can also tell you about animal signs, seasonal plants, and the local ecosystem.
    • The annual Night Sky Festival will return one weekend in August 2021. Kid-friendly learning activities, ranger talks, and stargazing go on throughout the evening on a selected Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It's a terrific way to introduce young minds to the wonders of the stars!
    • Want to meet more night sky enthusiasts? There are several unofficial astronomy groups around the Shenandoah Valley. The most active group is the Shenandoah Valley Stargazers, which you can find on Facebook or on their official website. Visitors to the area are welcome to contact them to learn about night sky excursions.

    • JMU's John C. Welles Planetarium offers free public shows every Saturday from late August through late June. This is an ideal stop for those who start their journey into Shenandoah Valley National Park from Harrisonburg. Other programs include Science Sunday for Girls and periodic "Star Parties," where you can use the telescopes.

    Where to Start Your Journey to Shenandoah National Park

    Harrisonburg (35 minutes), Waynesboro (46 minutes), and Staunton (54 minutes) are some of the closest towns. Many people choose to start out from one of these communities, using it as a base to enjoy dining, shopping, and local Shenandoah Valley charm between their stargazing trips.

    Here's what to know about them:

    • Harrisonburg
      The home of both James Madison University (a public research university) and Eastern Mennonite University (a private university), Harrisonburg is an iconic college town. The Rosetta Stone language learning software company has its headquarters here, not far from some of the best Harrisonburg homes for sale.
    • Waynesboro
      Waynesboro homes for sale are situated in a community of about 21,000 residents known for a relaxed pace of life. Historic Main Street offers a dazzling assortment of charming locally owned businesses for you to visit. A safe and welcoming town with affordable lodgings for tourists is often the place where local astronomy groups depart on their trips into Shenandoah National Park.
    • Staunton
      Staunton is the home of the American Shakespeare Center, a theater company operating out of a replica of William Shakespeare's own Blackfriars Theatre. In 2011, it attracted the Heifetz International Music Institute, a summer music school and festival focused on classical music. Woodrow Wilson's presidential library is located here. Staunton homes for sale feature some true architectural marvels in a historical setting.

    Looking for a home near this national park? Contact us at Old Dominion Realty to discover real estate opportunities in Shenandoah Valley.

    December
    21

    Give Back This Holiday Season: Local Nonprofits around the Shenandoah Valley

    Shenandoah Valley Nonprofits

    The holiday season is a time of celebration and also a time of reflection. There are people in the Shenandoah Valley who could use some help for the holidays this year, and there are many nonprofit organizations in the area working to provide that vital assistance. Whether you donate your time, money, or both, helping local nonprofits is a great way to make a positive difference in your community and bring a little bit of holiday cheer where it's needed most. Our real estate agents have the details on 7 Shenandoah Valley nonprofits where your donation can make a difference this year.

    • Virginia Quilt Museum – 301 S Main St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801
      The Virginia Quilt Museum is a lovely attraction to visit near Harrisonburg homes for sale, and it depends on donations to keep the doors open for visitors throughout the year. Housed in a beautiful, restored historic home, the museum offers three floors of unique, artistic quilts to explore and is the official quilt museum of Virginia. Financial donations are always welcome at the Virginia Quilt Museum, and you can also volunteer your time to help visitors make the most of their trips to the museum.

    • Shenandoah County Animal Shelter – 268 Landfill Rd., Edinburg, VA 22824
      The Shenandoah County Animal Shelter serves a large number of communities near Shenandoah County homes for sale by sheltering pets and helping them find new, loving homes. Interested in offering your support? There are many ways to help, from adopting a pet yourself to sponsoring a pet by making a one-time donation to cover medical procedures that will help the pet find a home. The shelter is always looking for volunteers to help as well, and you can contact them directly to find out which opportunities are available.

    • Shenandoah National Park Association – 3655 US Hwy 211 East, Luray, VA 22835
      Serving many of the parks near Bridgewater homes for sale, the Shenandoah National Park Association offers a wide variety of educational services to help park visitors make the most of their time enjoying the great outdoors. You can support the cause by shopping at the SNPA Bookstore, which is one of the main sources of fundraising for the organization. Pick up a fun, educational gift for the nature lovers on your shopping list, and support a good cause in the process.
    • Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter – 135 S Main St., Woodstock, VA 22664
      The Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter is located near Woodstock homes for sale, focusing on charitable activities that help prevent homelessness. By providing financial, utility, and housing assistance for families going through difficult financial times, SAS makes it possible for them to enjoy the holidays in a warm, comfortable home. You can offer your support by making a financial donation online.

    • Martha's Meals on Wheels – PO Box 2345, Staunton, VA 24402
      Martha's Meals on Wheels
      has been a fixture among Shenandoah Valley nonprofits for more than 45 years, and the organization's good work is still going strong today. Primarily serving the community around Staunton homes for sale, Martha's Meals on Wheels provides meal support for seniors living at home. The team here is always looking for volunteers to deliver meals to seniors and brighten their day in the process. Unable to volunteer, but still want to contribute? Martha's Meals on Wheels relies on donations to keep providing healthy meals for seniors, and every donation makes a real difference.

    • Page One Food Pantry – 35 N Bank St., Luray, VA 22835
      Page One Food Pantry
      is located near Luray homes for sale and provides meal support for people in need. It's part of the larger Page One organization, including thrift stores and other charitable endeavors. The food bank is supplied by generous donations from local businesses, clubs, and individuals. There are many ways to help, whether you donate food, make a financial donation, volunteer at the food bank, or volunteer to unload large food deliveries.

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    • Staunton Creative Community Fund – 32 N Augusta St., Suite D, Staunton, VA 24401
      Small businesses – and entrepreneurs who would like to launch businesses of their own – have faced many unique challenges this year. The Staunton Creative Community Fund is devoted to helping new small business owners achieve their dreams, and your donation can help make those dreams a reality. Small businesses are an integral part of a healthy community, so your donation has many benefits.

    Still searching for a home in your favorite Shenandoah Valley community? Our team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Shenandoah Valley area.

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