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August 22, 2022 / bikesbytesbites

Shenandoah Valley (July 2022)

Potomac Pedalers Touring Club has sponsored a bicycling weekend in the Shenandoah Valley for several years. This year it was based in Woodstock. Unlike previous years, a hotel room is not included in the package. Thanks, Butch, for renting an AirBnB in Edinburg and asking me to join the group. We had the house from Thursday through Sunday.

Thursday

I was going to be obsessive and take buses out to Edinburg. There is a Megabus that runs from DC (Union Station) to Front Royal. Then I could ride to Strasburg and get on a VA Transit commuter bus that runs down the valley. Alas, Megabus does not accept bicycles, even folded bicycles. (According to the driver, they’re afraid of damage claims.) Therefore, I had to drive.

I took the opportunity to stop for lunch at the Apple House in Linden. (Nice mural on an adjacent building.) That afternoon I rode around Edinburg. There is a US Forest Service Ranger Station within a few blocks of our house. The site commemorates the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) which worked on national parks and supporting buildings during the depression. I have a special fondness for the CCC because my father worked for them.

That evening the group drove into Woodstock for dinner at the Brew House. We had time afterwards to walk around town, where I admired a lovely mosaic and several of the decorated bicycles that are found at various places downtown. We even browsed in the one store that was still open, an art gallery. The patchwork (?) fabric works were eye catching and a preview of the visit to the Harrisonburg Quilt Museum I had in mind for Friday.

Friday

The first ride of the weekend was scheduled to start in Middletown. The start time was moved up to 9 AM to try to avoid the predicted rain. I tried to avoid the predicted rain by simply bicycling from Middletown down to Edinburg. (One of my housemates drove me to Middletown.) That strategy was unsuccessful because I took too long to explore downtown Strasburg and Woodstock. Strasburg has some nicely done murals in the historic district, which looks fairly robust. It also has a nice selection of mostly well preserved (and in use) historic buildings.

Talk about historic preservation: I saw this is Mauertown:

I got rained on for the last 5 miles, from Woodstock to Edinburg. Of course, the rain then (mostly) stopped, and it was a mix of sun and clouds for the rest of the day. Catherine and I spent the afternoon touring Harrisonburg. The highlight was a visit to the Virginia Quilt Museum. But the stores along Main Street also had their attractions, especially the Oasis Art Gallery (featuring works by local artists) and the Shops at Agora. (Spend local… and admire the Angora bunny.)

It stayed cloudy for the group’s welcome dinner at Swover Creek Farms Brewhouse.

Saturday

Today was the day for a long ride. The featured rides were variations on “Verdant Valley”. They started in Woodstock, headed south through Edinburg, continued south in a loop that passed through the Meems Bottom Covered Bridge then headed back north and west. I started from Edinburg. I left the route (duh) to see some of the agribusiness along Route 11. Back on the route, I took the time to stop in the Curtain Cafe in Mt Jackson. It’s right next to an old theater that is a candidate for restoration. The cafe is decorated with movie posters and cinema paraphernalia. The proprietor is a big movie fan (duh!), and we chatted briefly about films and his film posters. He was very enthusiastic about Shenandoah Rail Trail Partnership, a coalition formed to promote the conversion of the Norfolk Southern rail line from Front Royal to Broadway into the Shenandoah Rail Trail. (I picked up a brochure.) A bit later in the ride comes the Statue of Liberty! It’s a replica that for some reason is part of the Americana Celebration; maybe it was once part of a parade float.

Sunday

Rain was predicted for Sunday afternoon. Plus I wanted to get back to town to see a movie at the National Gallery. So, I did a short ride starting from the assembly point, a school in Woodstock. The ride basically went down to the Shenandoah River and went through the town on the way back. Once again, the blending of the pastoral (the parks along the Shenandoah), the rural (animals, farms, and agribusiness), and the suburban (Water St in Woodstock) was intriguing.

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One Comment

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  1. Jessica Hirschhorn / Aug 22 2022 10:44 am

    Looks like a great weekend. Will pencil in for next year. AirBB has been a great way to stay for me recently. Was perfect in Lancaster. Regards, Jessica

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