VIEWS: 15 PAGES: 5 POSTED ON: 4/3/2010
S h e n a n d o a h Va l l e y Tr a v e l A s s o c i a t i o n 277 West Old Cross Rd ! PO Box 1040 ! New Market, VA 22844 (540) 740-3132 ! Fax (540) 740-3100 www.visitshenandoah.org Plan a Unique, Magical Wedding in the Beautiful & Historic Shenandoah Valley Breathtaking scenery, extraordinary history, abundant natural resources – words that can only begin to describe the beautiful and historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia. Truly a four-seasons wedding destination, this picturesque 200-mile region stretches from Harpers Ferry, WV south to the Roanoke Valley of Virginia, and lies between the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and the Alleghenies to the west. Rich in Civil War history, this region was nicknamed "The Breadbasket of the Confederacy,” but today the Shenandoah Valley is more commonly referred to as its Native American meaning implies, “Daughter of the Stars.” The Shenandoah Valley features picture-postcard farms and inns along country roads, and the popular Skyline Drive (within Shenandoah National Park) and Blue Ridge Parkway, two of the most beautiful scenic byways in the nation. One of the seven natural wonders of the world can be found here – the 100-million-year-old Natural Bridge, located just south of Lexington, VA. And there are underground wonderlands in the form of caverns scattered throughout the region, including the world-renowned Luray Caverns; the east’s largest and most popular. So why get married in the Shenandoah Valley? In short, there are literally hundreds of unique wedding opportunities in the region offering something for everyone’s taste and budget. Beginning with the obvious, the Valley offers some of the most spectacular landscapes in the eastern U.S. – the perfect backdrop for all those wedding photos. The majestic Shenandoah National Park rises over the Valley with peaks exceeding 4,000 feet within its 300-square miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This range of elevation, slopes and aspects, rocks and soils, precipitation, and latitude create a unique mix of habitats and unparalleled scenery. Let’s explore some of the Shenandoah Valley’s unique wedding sites. Imagine heading deep underground for a subterranean ceremony in one of the regions many caverns. As mentioned, Luray Caverns is the largest and most popular, and boasts the world’s only ‘Great Stalacpipe Organ’ within an underground chamber large enough to accommodate your guests. One of the large double columns in Luray Caverns is aptly named the Bride and Groom Formation because it’s the site where couples tie the not. And you’ll never have to worry about the weather in the caverns because the temperature remains a constant 54 degrees all year long. Or what about taking your vows beneath the 215-foot-tall Natural Bridge of Virginia, a grand rock arch formation taller than Niagra Falls, once owned by Thomas Jefferson himself? There is a full-service hotel on site with beautiful ballrooms and great accommodations, and a professional staff who can tend to all your needs. Consider one of their all-inclusive, themed wedding packages that simplify your planning for smaller, intimate weddings and vow renewal ceremonies. These packages can be quickly arranged and can be ordered within days or weeks of your affair. At American Celebration on Parade at Shenandoah Caverns, you and your guests will have exclusive access to this 40,000-square-foot attraction. Comfortably seating 250, this facility houses a unique collection of stunning parade floats, props, and stage settings from famous presidential inaugurals. Over 30 floats from the Rose and Thanksgiving Day parades are on display. The Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns offers visitors a whimsical look at the Valley’s agricultural heritage and rural life with historical displays that include restored antique farm wagons, equipment, carriages and vehicles. An indoor beehive depicts the social life of honeybees, and a mineral cave pays homage to the caverns. A Country Store Gift Shop and a Virginia Wine Shop are all part of the Barn experience. This facility can seat up to 400 guests and includes use of a state-of-the-art kitchen, commercial refrigeration, convection ovens, steam table, ice machine, commercial sinks, ample stainless steel prep- counters, and three buffet tables. The 24-foot rotating stage, stage lighting, and microphone system are also available for your ceremonial use. Springtime in the Shenandoah Valley means flowers, glorious flowers, and there are some great wedding locations in the area that make for a spectacular garden-themed wedding. Investigate the Glen Burnie House and Gardens at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, VA. The Glen Burnie Gardens provide a number of spaces for a beautiful natural setting, from intimate garden rooms to a spectacular Grand Allée – the most dramatic space in the gardens, accommodating 300 guests for a standing reception, 350 guest for a seated ceremony, or 200 guests for a seated dinner. The museum’s reception hall accommodates 80-100 guests for a seated dinner, and a special occasion tent can easily be added to accommodate larger numbers. You’ll also want to check out the area’s two arboretums for garden-themed weddings – the Edith Johnson Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Garden at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, and the State Arboretum of Virginia in Boyce, VA. Climate conditions in the Shenandoah Valley, with an average annual rainfall of 32 inches, create just enough drought stress on grape vines to produce intense flavors and aromas, making the region a prime winemaking location. Thus, with winemaking comes beautiful tasting rooms and facilities perfect for any bride’s dream wedding. At CrossKeys Vineyards & Estate in Mt. Crawford, VA, you can expect beautifully appointed event rooms, the natural beauty of rolling vineyards and sweeping mountain views, and lovely terraces with café-style tables and chairs. Of course, there won’t be any shortage of authentic Virginia wine for your guests, either! Further north in Maurertown, VA is North Mountain Vineyard and Winery, another fantastic ‘storybook’ option. Facilities are available for the bride and bridesmaids to prepare, and you can choose either the picturesque vineyard or the Woodland Garden for your ceremony. Photos may be taken in the gardens or the vineyards with the panoramic views of the mountains as a backdrop. North Mountain can accommodate gatherings up to 500 persons on the spacious grounds, or up to 65 for an indoor event. The list of Shenandoah Valley wedding options wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a ceremony at one of the region’s historic sites (and there are a lot to choose from!) How about an 18th-century plantation? Built for gracious entertaining and family life by Isaac Hite, Jr. and his wife, Nelly Madison Hite, between 1794 and 1797, Belle Grove Plantation in Middletown, VA is a National Historic Landmark and a center for Virginia history and cultural heritage. For more than 200 years, Belle Grove has been the site of countless celebrations, including the early 19th-century weddings of all six of the Hite family's daughters. Imagine you, your family and guests enjoying Belle Grove's lawns and gardens, sweeping mountain views, and its historic Manor House, an architectural gem of the Shenandoah Valley. Long Branch Historic House & Farm, a beautifully restored manor house located in the picturesque surroundings of Millwood, VA has been a place of memorable weddings since 1913. The stately manor house built in 1811 provides the perfect backdrop for elegant wedding ceremonies, vow renewals, receptions, anniversaries, and other special events. Outdoor ceremony locations include the south porch overlooking the beautiful Sheila Macqueen Gardens, the Centerpiece Gardens with the mountain vistas, or the rose garden with the views of the sparkling lake with fountain. The Grand Hall of the mansion is available for intimate weddings of 50 people or less and during inclement weather. After the ceremony, the bride and groom can make arrangements to use the manor house for photos while guests are given a guided tour. The landscaped terrace is a lovely location for tented receptions. The quiet dignity of the Lee Chapel in Lexington, VA, especially dear to those who are associated with Washington and Lee University and the local area, lends itself to a unique and special wedding. It is a privilege to be married at this significant historic site. Since the days of Robert E. Lee, the “College Chapel” has been at the heart of campus life at Washington and Lee University. As evidenced by its architecture, it was initially designed as a place of worship, although it was never consecrated. Today, the Lee Chapel acts as a non-denominational facility and host to a variety of ceremonies and activities; it carries on the tradition, established by President Lee, of being a gathering place for the University's most important events. Other historic sites worth considering for a memorable Shenandoah Valley wedding are: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in Harpers Ferry, WV; the Frontier Culture Museum in historic Staunton, VA; and the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum, also in Staunton, VA. So consider a unique wedding in the beautiful and historic Shenandoah Valley. You'll be singing "Oh, Shenandoah!" when you arrive and experience this magnificent place for yourself. For more information about any of the wedding locations in this article, visit the Shenandoah Valley Travel Association’s website at www.VisitShenandoah.org. GARDENS Edith Johnson Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Garden at James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA http://www.jmu.edu/arboretum/programs/weddings.html 540-568-3194 or email: email@example.com Glen Burnie House & Gardens (at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley) Winchester, VA http://www.shenandoahmuseum.org/occasions/ 540-662-1473, Ext. 227 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org The State Arboretum of Virginia – The Commonwealth’s Public Garden Boyce, VA http://www.virginia.edu/blandy/weddings/weddings.html 540-837-1758 Ext 223 or email: email@example.com MUSEUMS & HISTORICAL SITES Belle Grove Plantation Middletown, VA http://www.bellegrove.org/rentals.html 540-869-2028 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Frontier Culture Museum Staunton, VA http://www.frontier.virginia.gov/rentals.html 540-332-7850 or email: email@example.com Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Harpers Ferry, WV http://www.nps.gov/hafe/planyourvisit/weddings-at-harpers-ferry-national-historical- park.htm 304-535-6162 Historic Long Branch House & Museum Millwood, VA http://www.historiclongbranch.com/weddings.htm 877-868-1811 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Lee Chapel & Museum Lexington, VA http://chapelapps.wlu.edu/secondary.asp?ID=23&NavOrder=45 540-458-8768 or email: email@example.com Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum Staunton, VA http://www.woodrowwilson.org/visit/visit_show.htm?doc_id=399605 540-885-0897, ext. 106 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org NATURAL WONDERS The Natural Bridge of Virginia Natural Bridge, VA (Lexington area) http://www.naturalbridgeva.com/wedding.html 800-533-1410 or email: email@example.com Luray Caverns Luray, VA http://www.luraycaverns.com/index.html 540-743-6551 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Shenandoah Caverns’ Family of Attractions – American Celebration on Parade & The Yellow Barn Shenandoah Caverns, VA http://www.shenandoahcaverns.com/v.php?pg=83 540-477-4300 or email: email@example.com WINERIES CrossKeys Vineyards Mt. Crawford, VA http://www.crosskeysvineyards.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=34&Ite mid=8 540-234-0505 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org North Mountain Vineyard & Winery Maurertown, VA http://www.northmountainvineyard.com/weddings.html 540-436-9463 or email: email@example.com
"Shenandoah Valley Travel Association"