We decided to take the scenic route down to our main destination this year – Gatlinburg, Tennessee. On our way down the eastern coast, we found ourselves two small stop-over towns along the Shenandoah, Luray (LOO-RAY) and Staunton, Virginia.
This quaint little town was the perfect location to begin our southern adventure! Located right next to the Shenandoah river, this small but adorable town boasted several local attractions and more than one delicious place to eat.
Shenandoah River Outfitters
In a last minute decision we actually choose to extend our vacation by one extra day so that we could spend a little extra time exploring at our first stop. In doing so we decided to sign up for a trip down the Shenandoah River with the Shenandoah River Outfitters. Located just a few minutes out of town, this little excursion provided beautiful views and more than a few laughs (let just say my crew was not build to paddle together)!
Luray Caverns was an unexpected, but beautiful natural adventure. Located right off of Main Street, this famous attraction is one of the most visited caverns in America. Featuring just an hour self guided tour, this is a must see if staying in Luray.
Hotel Laurence and other Localities
This boutique little hotel was as pretty as it was jam packed with history. Build back in the 1800s as a hotel and merchandise, it was transformed into a number of different entities before eventually being turned back into a hotel in the 2000s. Featuring a number of unique rooms, the atmosphere and service at this establishment could not be beat.
Additionally, this little hotel is located right on Main Street, meaning it is in walking distance to several different restaurants, boutiques, and coffee shops! If you happen to stop in Luray, make sure you visit Baby Moons or Gathering Grounds for breakfast, Nest and Hive for a hand crafted souvenir, the Ollie Cat Cafe for dinner, and the Valley Cork for an after dinner night cap!
Skyline Drive and Stauton,VA
One of the shining gems of the Blue Ridge Mountains is the Shenandoah National Park. Covering an expansive trail one of the main attractions of the park is the famous Skyline Drive . This trek features numerous pullover outlooks, hiking trails and picnic areas. Visiting this early in the morning was key, as the Virginia heat made the views a little hazier as the day went on.
The Road to Stauton
Though the Skyline Drive continues for miles and miles, we decided to hop on at Thornton Gap entrance and off at Swift Gap Run entrance/exit. This decision lead us to a scenic cruise to Stauton and an unexpected stop at several local winery’s along the way! One of our favorite pit stops was at White Oak Lavender Farm and the Purple Wolf Vineyard. This local winery featured a small lavender farm and gift shop (which we natural picked up a few products at!) and a open air wine barn and tasting room. For only 12 dollars you can try 12 different Virginia wines, many of which are infused with lavender from the farm.
On the same road we also stopped by the Marceline Vineyards for a quick wine flight as well. This Silver winner of the Shenandoah Valleys 2021 best of the valley contest certainly did not disappoint.
After our stops along the way, we got Stauton a little later than predicted. Unfortunately this did not leave much time to explore this lovely historic town and it local stores. We did, however, have time for a delicious dinner at a local Italian restaurant, Emilios, and breakfast the next morning at the By and By. It is safe to say that Stauton is our list of places to return to!
~For more photographs of Virgina, check out Travel Along’s Photo Gallery.