The new Seven Bends State Park near Woodstock is a beautiful park with two entrances. The south entrance is just outside of Muse Vineyards. Both entrances have a low-water bridge, so if there have been recent storms, they are sometimes closed. The park has well-maintained trails that are nice to hike or mountain bike. There are boat launches at both entrances, but the north fork of the Shenandoah is not as deep or wide as the south fork, so kayaks and tubes work when the water is high, but fishing is pretty good (we’re told).
There are LOTS of hikes in the Massanutten Mountains. These trails are usually less busy than the ones you access via skyline drive or Shenandoah National park (other than our back country entrance). Look them up using an app like All Trails or the Hiking Project.
We love hiking up to Kennedy Peak (on the Luray side of the mountains) – it’s a fairly easy out and back from the trailhead parking (just under 5 miles) and the view is incredible. The Woodstock Tower is another great view and an even shorter hike (less than a mile each way) or you can park nearly at the tower and walk up.
Cave Ridge Vineyards (1476 Conicville Road, Mount Jackson)
Cave Ridge has excellent wine, a nice menu of snack foods to accompany them, and plenty of outdoor seating, with fire tables and igloos in the colder months. The igloos are by reservation. They are dog-friendly and often have live music on the weekends.
The Winery at Kindred Pointe(3575 Conicville Rd, Mount Jackson)
Delicious wines, fun, dog-friendly (inside and out) place. Lots of seating, fire pits for your use, comfy couches inside, clever wine-oriented gifts. They have regular tastings in their expansive space, but also have special tastings paired with bites of fancy food held in their ‘stables’ (converted to a gorgeous tasting room) which require a reservation (easy to do via their facebook page). They sometimes have food trucks, but also offer their own snacks. It’s a beautiful drive through the Shenandoah Valley. This is one of our favorite haunts.
Shenandoah Vineyards (3659 South Ox Rd, Edinburg)
One of the oldest wineries in Virginia. Great selection of award-winning wines. They offer cheese/crackers and other nibbles, plus brick-oven pizza on the weekend. Dogs allowed outside only. We love the table under the vines, but there are Adirondack chairs and picnic tables too.
Box Office Brewery (540-465-2609, 177 E King St, Strasburg)(540) 465-2609
Good beer, great setting, plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. They have interesting beers and it’s always fun to get a flight. They also have good food (although nearly no vegan offerings). BOB is right on Main street, but there is a large public parking area directly behind it (the firestation is there too – and if you have little people they might enjoy seeing the big engines). Dogs are welcome inside and outside at BOB.
Muse Vineyard (540-459-7033, 16 Serendipity Lane, Woodstock)
Muse is not just a good winery with yummy food offerings (although I almost always go for the bread/oil), they also have a 2 mile walking path that takes you through the vines and over a suspension bridge! Worth the drive. You can bring a picnic (but you have to eat it outside) or buy their food and there is plenty of outdoor areas to sit. You can make reservations (and I would if you want to sit inside). They can be ‘busy’ (relative term in that area) compared to other wineries in the area (of which there are several). Well mannered dogs are welcome inside and out at Muse, and they usually have an art exhibit featuring a local artist inside the tasting room.
Woodstock Brewhouse (123 E Court St, Woodstock, VA)
Great beer and yummy foods. There is plenty of indoor seating, get a flight and be adventurous! This is a great place to stop after you hit the dog park. Dogs are welcome on their outdoor patio, water bowls provided.
Woodstock Café (117 S Main Street, Woodstock)
Great menu, awesome gift shop, sidewalk seating (and the server loves dogs!), and wine shop that offers most of the local wines. Most days they only serve lunch, but Thurs-Sat, they have a fine dining dinner service with a spectacular, changing menu. You’ll need reservations and it’s about 45 minutes from the cabin, but SO worth it if you’re a foodie.
Springhouse Tavern (325 S Main Street, Woodstock)
Excellent food – especially the salads and (huge) apps! They have a rotating tap menu of craft brews (and offer flights). Consistently voted the best in Woodstock. Be sure to check out the stone hiker statue just outside the tavern – great spot for a picture.
Flour & Water Bakery (124 S Main Street, Woodstock)
There is no better bakery. The bread is incredible, the cookies as large as your head, sinful croissants, delicious sides (especially the lemon orzo!), and they have fabulous sandwiches, coffee, and a selection of gourmet desserts. If you go to Woodstock – don’t miss it! Like many of the shops in Woodstock, it is only open Wed-Sat until 3pm (but on Wednesdays they open again at 5pm for pizza night!). They also sell local beers and wines.
Sugar Creek Ice Cream (150 S Main Street, Woodstock)
Delicious, hand-dipped ice cream and treats. If you’re on the other side, this is a must-stop. It also shares a driveway with Gracie’s Place.
Shopping in Shenandoah County
There are so many thrift shops, emporiums, antique stores, and secondhand places in the county, that ‘thrifting’ is the common verb locals use for spending their day wandering through the stores and ‘stalls’ of various establishments. A quick google search will find at least 30 in a five mile radius. Our favorites are:
Blue Ridge Hospice Thrift Store (Strasburg)
Consign and Thrift (Woodstock and Strasburg)
The Emporium (Strasburg, also houses Bretzels another stellar bakery)
The Clothes Closet (EAST High street, just across main street behind the Citgo)
Sweet Souls Rescue and Emporium (Commerce Street, Woodstock – proceeds benefit rescue)
St John Bosco Catholic Store thrift shop (open Fri/sat 9:30-2, Main Street in Woodstock)
Main street in Front Royal is filled with great little shops and galleries worth visiting, plus a few good restaurants, a locally owned ice cream store (where they make their own inventive flavors and like to good-naturely harass the customers), a wonderful hiking store, the Beer Museum, Vibrissa Brewing, Honey and Hops Brewworks, and The Vine and Leaf wine bar. During the spring/summer/fall there are sometimes festivals and live music, so be sure to check the visitor’s center for updated information (located next to the park).
And of course, you can always visit Skyline Drive – you probably passed the entrance on your way to Chateau Frankie. It’s a beautiful drive with lots of places to stop and hike. Leashed dogs are generally welcome in the National Park areas, but you can get a list at the gate when you entire of the places they are not welcome. It’s not inexpensive and if you plan to visit more than once, it’s smart to get a season pass. You can access Skyline Drive from Front Royal or from 211 in Luray. There are amazing views, lots of great hikes, visitor centers, picnic areas, and if you go south at the 211 entrance, Skyland has a restaurant and taproom.