A several-hour drive from the D.C. area, this breathtaking valley with its rolling landscape of pastures and historic towns, stretches from the Maryland state line to just south of the city of Roanoke. College towns abound. In Harrisonburg, you’ll discover James Madison University and nearby Bridgewater College and Eastern Mennonite University; in Lexington, Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University; in Roanoke, Roanoke College and nearby Hollins University and Salem College; and in Staunton, Mary Baldwin College. Attractions include numerous small museums, Luray Caverns, Natural Bridge and the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum. You can see Shakespeare plays year-round at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton and take in the early fall Apple Harvest Festival in Winchester. Visits to wineries here make an especially fun travel destination; and at no time is this truer than during the fall when the leaves turn to dazzling reds, oranges and yellows. You’ll find wineries from north of Winchester to south of Roanoke and at points in between.The Valley’s rocky, fertile soil and warm, relatively dry growing season lend themselves to nearly every varietal, including Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Mandolin, Merlot, Norton, Petit Verdot, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Seyval, Vidal Blanc, Traminette and Zinfandel as well as many fruit wines.
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