Shenandoah Things to Do – Potatoes and Parks

The Shenandoah Valley has something for everyone. From beautiful views of mountaintops to underground excursions in caverns… civil war battlefields, fly fishing, apple picking, fairs, potato chips…

If you’re planning a trip to the Shenandoah Valley and you aren’t sure where to start, the below parks provide a good jumping-off point. And why start your trip on a hungry belly? Why not start at…

covered bridgeRoute 11 Potato Chips in my new home of Mount Jackson, Virginia. Call ahead to find out when they’re making chips and you can view the frying. We visited on a non “chipping” day, but the friendly staff were happy to set out samples of any we wanted to try. Let me warn you — they are delicious. We purchased a sample box which had a bag of most flavors (at a very good price), and my office mates helped with the taste test. The Salt and Vinegar, Sweet Potato, and Barbecue were the favorites. Mama Zuma’s Revenge has a wonderful flavor, but my mouth burned for hours. FIERY!  The drive from Route 11 also takes you right through the famous covered bridge.

Now that your tummy is full of potato goodness, check out the following:

Natural Resources, Parks, and Site-seeing

shenandoah state parkShenandoah River State Park in Bentonville, Virginia.  It’s official name is a mouthful (Raymond R. “Andy” Guest Jr. Shenandoah River State Park), but this park of 1,600 acres is on the banks of the south fork of the Shenandoah, and it’s a wonderful way to spend an afternoon or weekend — river access, campground, picnic areas, and a chance to see some Virginia wildlife. (This view of the river is from one of the park’s overlooks.) I know I’m not objective, but I truly believe that Virginia’s state parks are the most beautiful and varied state parks in the country!

Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive.  There is more to the park than Skyline Drive, so I recommend you enjoy the drive but also get out and hike, take pictures of wildflowers, or do some birdwatching. If you stick to Skyline Drive, you can start near 66 in Northern Virginia, move to the Blue Ridge near Waynesboro,  and end up at Cherokee in North Carolina. I’ve traveled most of the drive more than once, and I enjoy it every time.

Shenandoah Caverns in Quicksburg, Virginia.  My home state has quite a few caverns  accessible by the public, but Shenandoah has the distinction of being the only one with an elevator.  This allows for greater access by everyone in your family. Getting our new home ready has kept me from visiting, but it’s on my to-do list!

If you’d like to learn more about Shenandoah Valley from others who live and blog here, check out Shenandoah Blogs.

I’ll add other resources at time permits. The weather is warming, so priorities are shifting!

*** This personal blog is comprised solely of the opinions, views, projects, and travels of its author, Stacey Morgan Smith. She is lucky enough to have loving family and friends whom she drags along with her on her adventures and whom she puts to work on her little farm. She uses this blog to help promote living in the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, from Roanoke to the Potomac River.**

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