Monday, June 16, 2014

In photos: Exploring picturesque Strasburg, Virginia

Today I decided to go off the beaten path a bit and look at road trips in easy reach from the D.C. area. Strasburg, Virginia is a charming town, full of history and fabulous scenic views. A great stop either during a road trip or for a weekend getaway. Located in Virginia's northern Shenandoah County, for those living in the Washington area, it's only about 90 minutes away.

I've only been to this town once, but was happy to have had the opportunity to stay overnight and spend a full day just exploring some of what the town has to offer. It left me wanting to go back to see more, the picturesque views were enough of a draw for me.

Strasburg, Virginia

Strasburg, Va., is full of many picturesque sites, such as this building.

Scenic views driving through Strasburg, Virginia

Scenic views driving through Strasburg, Virginia

After driving around to see what to explore and snapping a few photos, we stopped in the local museum. A historic landmark in itself; the stories shown and told in the exhibits are interesting. The museum is opened seasonally, from May through October, so our trip was good timing. We were able to spend a good amount of time there and learn about the local history.

Strasburg Museum
Exterior of the seasonal Strasburg Museum
Exhibit in Strasburg Museum
Exhibit in Strasburg Museum
One of the interesting things I learned was due to the rich clay in the region, Strasburg has deep roots to pottery. According to the town's website, the pottery industry emerged around 1761 and, at one point, at least 17 potters operated commercially. The last pottery closed down in 1909.

Pottery exhibit at the Strasburg Museum

Strasburg has a rich history in the pottery industry. If memory serves, this book is a ledger from one of the potters that operated in town.

The town is also tightly entwined with Civil War history, being "The Great Train Raid of 1861" occurred there after Stonewall Jackson hijacked several trains in West Virginia and pulled them by horsepower to Strasburg to use for the Confederate cause. Some battles also took place in the vicinity of Strasburg. We'd stumbled upon a Civil War marker when exploring a narrow road somewhere in Strasburg, to be honest I can visualize getting there, but can't remember how we actually did. Some research when we got home told me more about the battle.

Fishers Hill Marker
Fishers Hill Civil War Marker
We stayed at the Hotel Strasburg, which was built in 1902 as a hospital, but eventually was transformed into a hotel. Currently, the hotel has been remodeled to its original Victorian style. I'd highly recommend this hotel as a place to stay if you're in or around Strasburg, the restaurant is great too. The prices are reasonable for the region (especially if you're used to Washington accommodations prices).

Hotel Strasburg, Virginia
Hotel Strasburg

There is also a self-guide walking tour, which unfortunately we did not get to do, but hope to come back and see what other gems are tucked away in Strasburg. Driving in and around Strasburg offered some very scenic views of rivers, mountains, and flora. I found myself imagining this is a great destination for fall foliage, might be a good time to plan to take a ride back.

Strasburg Virginia

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