Raising Girls

A Family Trip Near Shenandoah: Where to Stay, Go + Eat

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I normally plan our vacations about a year out but I didn’t do that for this year so we were pressed for choices for Spring Break. My procrastination led to a gem that is practically in our backyard, Fort Valley in Virginia, which sits on the northeastern perimeter of the Shenandoah Valley.

Where to Stay

I always jump on Airbnb (you can save up to $55 on your first stay) to check out houses in the area where we’re heading. This time it was no different. For us, we can find an entire house to rent for about the same price as a night at a hotel but we get, well, an entire house.

In this case, my search on Airbnb is what led me to find Fort Valley in the first place!

We found an amazingly charming, warm + welcoming secluded creek side farmhouse to stay right in Fort Valley. We were in the country but were a short drive to towns like Luray, Edinburgh + Woodstock. Just a few miles up the road is a horse farm, where you can horseback tours of the valley.

(Unfortunately, our kiddos were too young so we didn’t actually get to horseback ride but we did try.)

Where to Go

Fishing

One of the first things my husband + kids did when we arrived was put their fishing lines in the creek. The fishing is plentiful there + in the surrounding areas. We stopped off at a fishing point on the Shenandoah River for a little bit one afternoon (river fishing to the left).

We had a picnic at a small pull-off park along the side of the road in Luray. It had a creek complete ducks + all. We picnicked at one of the creek-side tables + then in the water the fishing lines went. (Unfortunately, we didn’t catch anything but it was still a lot of fun for my husband + the girls.)

One of the charming perks of this area are the off-the-beaten path parks (mini-parks, really). It’s usually just a creek, a few picnic tables + ducks, really, but it’s so charming + green + natural.

My husband is also determined to learn how to fly fish so he stopped into Murray’s Fly Shop in Edinburg. My husband enjoyed a conversation with the owner, learned about his upcoming lessons + bought one of his books on fly fishing + 3 t-shirts.

Luray Caverns

We also spent half a day at Luray Caverns. Talk about nature’s beauty. This underground cavern is ah-mazing. It baffles me that nature can create something as breathtaking as the caverns are.

I have tons of photos but of course the photos do not do it justice–at all. Even the baby seemed to enjoy the hour long tour + stroll through the caverns. We bought our tickets ahead of time + the kids were free so we skipped the pretty lengthy line to buy tickets.

Your tickets also get you into the museums that surround Luray Caverns, so a toy museum, car museum + Luray Valley Museum. I took some photos of these fascinating Indian heads while in the Luray Valley Museum.

Edinburg Mill Museum

The Edinburg Mill Museum is three floors of history on the Shenandoah Valley. They have old telephones (that my girls kept calling old cell phones) that the girls were fascinated by.

They were also fascinated with a bee hive that was donated by a local couple from their property, all of the Red Cross uniforms + patches from throughout the years + the train village they have set up to help tell the story of the railroads in Shenandoah County.

(My girls LOVE trains!)

This doesn’t even begin to cover ALL of the wonderful items the museum has + all of the neat stories it all tells of Shenandoah County. On the bottom floor is a restaurant (see the Where to Eat section for more information).

Hiking

This area is full of national forests + hiking trails, including a section of the Appalachian Trail. We did spend a little time on a family hike through the woods, baby stroller + all. Since we were there in April for Spring Break, the weather was perfect for all outdoor activities — not too hot + not too cold.

The Luray Zoo

We also enjoyed a trip to the Luray Zoo. The Luray Zoo is a rescue zoo so the animals are either surrendered by their owners, adopted from other zoos, or abused animals. It also has a petting zoo where the kids can pet + feed the animals.

We were able to see animals that I have honestly never seen in person before. We saw porcupines, a wallaby, an emu + a BENGAL TIGER! My favorite by far was Star (yes, that is her name) the Bengal Tiger. She was amazing. She was majestic. She was definitely a STAR!

Where to Eat

Sal’s Italian Bistro

We checked into our Airbnb after 3 pm. While I got us settled in, my husband picked up takeout from Sal’s, a delicious Italian restaurant in Edinburgh, just a short distance from the farmhouse.

Sal’s Italian Bistro offers genuine Italian cuisine made by Sal himself. I had a shrimp + veggie linguine. The kids had pizza + my husband had a grilled chicken salad. We also had homemade chicken soups + bread. It was delish!

Edinburg Mill Restaurant

I mentioned earlier that the Edinburg Mill Museum has a restaurant on the bottom floor. After our visit to the museum we stopped off at the restaurant for lunch. I had a delicious hot sandwich on a nice fresh roll + the service was amazing.

Woodstock Cafe + Shoppes

We had breakfast here one morning. My ham, egg + cheese croissant was delicious. So was my orange cranberry muffin. That is the extent of their breakfast menu — breakfast sandwiches + pastries — but it looked like they had a pretty extensive sandwich menu for lunch.

(The shoppes part is mostly wine + some other goodies.)

Southern Kitchen Restaurant

My husband has a knack for finding great little, out of the way places to eat whenever we travel or are on vacation. Southern Kitchen Restaurant wasn’t any different + did NOT disappoint. It’s in New Market.

They are known for their fried chicken + pie, which is indeed out of this world amazing. The ladies that work here are also amazing.

They also have a fun old soda fountain where you can order shakes + floats. My husband liked this place so much that we ate there for breakfast, lunch + dinner (not all in the same day).

Springhouse Tavern

We picked Springhouse Tavern for our last dinner on our vacation + I for one am so glad we did. The food was the absolute best I had during our entire vacation.

I had the sunburnt chicken pasta. OMG…It was so delicious. They give you a heaping portion so I was able to enjoy an encore for lunch the following day 🙂

XOXO, Kristie
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