As if a visit to the Salatins’ farm in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley wasn’t reason enough to load up the kids and take a road trip, read on. Virginia is absolutely one of the most beautiful, history-laden regions of the United States. Whether your interest is in Colonial history, Civil War sites, natural splendor, agricultural history . . . you’ll find it within a stone’s throw of the farm.
Staunton & the Shenandoah Valley
Polyface Farm is located just a few minutes south of Staunton, Virginia. Staunton is the home of the Museum of American Frontier Culture. The extraordinary museum features four authentic working farms illustrating the rich European influence on American traditions. The three international farms are from Germany, northern Ireland and England. The American farmstead, from the Shenandoah, reflects the blending of these cultures, and the agricultural practices of our forefathers.
The restored birthplace of President Woodrow Wilson, in Staunton, depicts pre-Civil War family life.
Country music stars the Statler Brothers call Staunton home and offer tours of their complex.
About a half-hour south is Lexington, home of Virginia Military Institute and Washington & Lee University. Visit Lee Chapel, the burial site of General Robert E. Lee.
A little more to the south is the phenomenon of Natural Bridge. This rock formation spans 90 feet some 215 feet in the air. See George Washington’s initials, left when he surveyed the site as a young man in 1750. And of course there are souvenirs to buy.
North of Staunton lie the amazing Luray Caverns and the New Market Battlefield.
Blue Ridge Mountains
Just 20 minutes to the east of Polyface lie the Blue Ridge Mountains and the famous Skyline Drive. Cruise along this winding road through some of the prettiest terrain around. You’ll feel as though you can really reach for
the stars as you drive along the crests of the Blue Ridge, Allegheny, Shenandoah and Massanutten mountains. Explore the great outdoors in thousands of acres of national forest and at a number of state parks.
Charlottesville & Central Virginia
Crossing the mountains (still less than an hour from Staunton) is historic Charlottesville. Home of the University of Virginia, the city is best known for one of its founders, Thomas Jefferson. His home, Monticello (pictured on the back of every nickel), is a must-see, particularly for farmers. Preservationists have now restored his extensive gardens using the heirloom plants described in his extensive diaries.
Minutes from Monticello is Ash Lawn-Highland, home of President James Monroe. These two friends would often meet at the historic Michie Tavern just minutes from Monticello, and you can too. And James Madison’s Montpelier is a short drive north. Also, wineries are flourishing in Virginia and many are open for tours and tastings.
For More InformationElsewhere in Virginia
Driving just a few hours can take you to Washington, D.C., the Atlantic Ocean, historic Williamsburg, the Southwest Highlands, numerous Civil War sites, mountains, caverns, museums . . . enough to see to fill a few weeks.
Here are the phone numbers or websites of a few major attractions and tourist bureaus. Contact them and you’ll be deluged with in-depth information, guidebooks, discount coupons, etc. to help you plan your trip.
- Virginia Tourism Corporation, 1-800-VISITVA, www.virginia.org
- Staunton Convention & Visitors Bureau, 1-800-332-5219
- Museum of American Frontier Culture, 540-332-7850
- Charlottesville/Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau, www.visitcharlottesville.org
- Lexington Visitors Center, 540-463-3777
- Shenandoah Valley Travel Association, 540-740-3132
- Monticello, 434-984-9800, www.monticello.org
- Williamsburg Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, 804-253-0192
- Virginia State Parks, 1-800-933-7275