Sure, you can get your kicks on Route 66, but you’ll get a lot more than that traveling down 81 into the Shenandoah Valley.
Excursions from Shenandoah River Outfitters offer canoeing, kayaking, rafting, and tubing, plus site pickup and drop-off in old school buses (6502 South Page Valley Road, Luray; 540-743-4159).
Hike, camp, bird-watch, or cruise along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, which has more than 500 miles of trails. Visit Natural Bridge, a historical landmark once owned by Thomas Jefferson (15 Appledore Lane, Natural Bridge; 800-533-1410). And for something unnatural, there’s Foamhenge, the Styrofoam replica of Stonehenge (Route 11 South, Natural Bridge).
Tuck in at the charming Joshua Wilton House. The gingerbread-style mansion, built in 1888, was a TKE frat house before being lovingly restored and turned into a cozy inn (412 South Main Street, Harrisonburg; 888-294-5866).
For lunch, The Smokin’ Pig is the place for pork and chicken sandwiches and not-to-be-missed fried pickles (56 East Wolfe Street, Harrisonburg; 540-433-3917).
Opt for a laid-back dinner at Staunton Grocery, where they use local ingredients from area farms in menu faves like sugar snap pea salad and Southern-fried quail (105 West Beverly Street, Staunton; 540-886-6880). Top it off with a milkshake or soft serve from ’50s drive-in Wright’s Dairy-Rite (346 Greenville Avenue, Staunton; 540-886-0435).
Pop into cheery Pumpkin Seeds for homewares like a porcelain tree trunk-shaped table and matching stool and dresses and jewelry from Milly, Trina Turk, Metal Monk, and others (1 North Main Street, Lexington; 540-464-5002). Brother store George and Bob stocks twisted prepster staples from lines like Canterbury of New Zealand and Modern Amusement (20 West Washington Street, Lexington; 540-464-5015).
And if you take your trip in August, plan a detour to the Route 11 Yard Crawl, a 43-mile-long rummage sale through New Market, Strasburg, Woodstock, and several others.
Now get ready for the highs and lows.