In September, I started feeling a little landlocked, so I booked several local trips: (this one to Outer Banks) and also two nights in a cabin in the Shenandoah Valley for the weekend after Thanksgiving. I figured a couple of nights of peace and quiet would be just what we needed after a busy holiday spent with family!
I wasn’t sure how to find a cabin, and when I checked the National Parks nearby, a lot of them had a minimum requirement for holiday weekends. So next I looked on AirBnB, and found several to choose from within 2 to 4 hours’ drive from our house. We found a reasonably priced one that had both a heater and breakfast included, and I booked it (if you’ve never used it before, click on my AirBnB link for $40 off your first booking!).
On our way down, we stopped in the town of Harrisonburg, Virginia first. Harrisonburg is home to two universities- James Madison and Eastern Mennonite. It also is the home to Rosetta Stone (the learning software company), and if you’ve seen those multilingual “Welcome Your Neighbors” signs in some neighborhoods, they originated in Harrisonburg as well.
We ate lunch at Cuban Burger, in the tiny downtown, and it was DELICIOUS. We had a Cuban sandwich and the Cuban Chop Chop with pork and they were both so good, I wish we could have ordered two of each. We topped them off with a Presidente and a Salva Vida, and reminisced about our years living in the Caribbean and Central America.
After lunch we checked in to our “Bunkie“, a small off-grid cabin owned by David and Rachel. We met the owner and he walked us through the amenities such as the propane heater, the bathroom, the fire ring, and our breakfast order. We said hello to the two goats and three cats. As dusk approached, we gathered some firewood and I prepared some mulled wine (thanks to FreshOffTheGrid for their recipe that came to my inbox last week!).
The next day, we went up to New Market, just a few miles up the road, to see the Virginia Museum of the Civil War. It was fairly interesting- I loved the old museum building with the rotunda in the middle. The gently rolling hills and the Blue Ridge Mountain and Shenandoah Mountain backdrop was really pretty, and Chris spent a while working on his photography skills (he provides a lot of the great pictures on my blog. In fact, if it’s a really good picture, just assume he took it).
After the museum, we ate lunch at Bella Luna Wood Fired Pizza and tried some of their craft beers from nearby breweries. The Shenandoah Spirits Trail is a fun network of breweries, cider houses, wineries, and distilleries in this beautiful region- I wish we had time to visit them all! In addition to local craft brews, Bella Luna also sources all their pizza toppings from local farms- and they were all delicious!
On the way back to our cabin, we took the back roads and drove through green farmland and wooded hills. We stopped in the hamlet of Singers Glen and looked at some homes that were built as early as 1810! Our host had prepared a book of local activities and the tour of Singers Glen had caught my eye. Later, we played dominoes and built another fire, and then read for a while by lantern-light.
In the morning, we breakfasted on yogurt, granola, coffee, hard boiled eggs, and oranges (compliments of our host, which was great, because I didn’t want to have to worry about packing breakfast or leaving early to go get some), we packed up, tidied the cabin, and headed out. Chris spent some time taking some photos, and then we drove home, ready for the week and the final count to Winter Break and our next trip: Oman and Qatar.
Have you been to Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley? What’s your favorite stop in those parts?