Nestled in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Harrisonburg, often affectionately known as “Rocktown” or “The Friendly City,” offers a storybook fall getaway that you’ll cherish. Situated northwest of Charlottesville, Harrisonburg is enveloped by the stunning landscapes of Shenandoah National Park and George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. This small town beckons with a unique blend of natural beauty and urban charm, making it a perfect destination for a slightly sleepy yet delightful escape. In this blog post from Southern Living, we’ll explore the reasons why you should plan a trip to Harrisonburg this fall.
One of Harrisonburg’s gems is the Culinary District, a downtown area brimming with restaurants that promise unforgettable culinary experiences. For those seeking a culinary adventure, Rocktown Bites Downtown Food Toursoffers delightful walking tours of this district and its myriad eateries. Savor the flavors of the Friendly City while exploring the heart of Harrisonburg’s gastronomic scene. Discover more about these delectable experiences at virginia.org.
The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum is a hidden gem located on the James Madison University campus. This public greenspace seamlessly blends nature with art exhibitions and events, offering a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. The best part? It’s open year-round, every day, from dawn until dusk, and it’s absolutely free to visit.
While Harrisonburg offers a wealth of experiences for travelers of all ages, the Explore More Discovery Museumstands out as a fantastic destination for those looking to spark curiosity and creativity. With a myriad of events, projects, programs, and classes, this museum provides both entertainment and opportunities for learning, making it an ideal stop for curious minds of all ages.
Harrisonburg takes its title as the Friendly City seriously. It has welcomed over 2,500 refugees since 2002, thanks in large part to outreach from the Mennonite community and other faith groups. The presence of James Madison University and Eastern Mennonite University further enriches the community with a diverse population of academics. Harrisonburg is a place that welcomes everyone and leaves them wanting to stay.
Harrisonburg has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. What was once a town where young people were eager to leave has become a place where folks want to stick around. One such example is Magpie, a modern restaurant and bakery, which, since its founding in 2020, has become one of the most sought-after dining destinations in town. The menu at Magpie changes regularly, offering a mix of hearty classics and lighter fare. Don’t forget to treat yourself to a pastry or two from the adjoining bakery counter – the rye shortbread cookie is a local favorite.
Fall Activities to Complete Your Harrisonburg Experience
To make the most of your fall escape in Harrisonburg, consider these additional activities:
- Go Apple-Picking: Visit Showalter’s Orchard, a family-owned orchard where you can handpick your own apples and then savor a glass of sweet or hard cider in the tasting room.
- Enjoy Afternoon Tea: Stop by Heritage Bakery & Cafe, an intimate spot next to Harrisonburg’s welcome center,and indulge in whimsical refreshments served on delicate china.
- Take a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride: Explore the western slopes of Massanutten Resort before winter’s arrival.
- Chase the Autumn Foliage: Immerse yourself in the vibrant fall colors by hiking to High Knob Fire Tower, driving to Reddish Knob, or taking the Hightop Summit trail along Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive.
Now that you know why Harrisonburg, VA, is the perfect fall destination, start planning your trip and discover the magic of this charming town. Harrisonburg awaits your visit, ready to enchant you with its natural beauty, culinary delights, and vibrant culture. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable fall getaway!
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