As much as we all love Harrisonburg, this time of year can be a little less than exciting as the cold weather sets in and the assignments pile up. There are so many cool places to explore around the Shenandoah Valley that not all JMU students know about! Having grown up just 30 minutes away from JMU, I am very familiar with all that the valley has to offer. Being a local definitely has its perks, especially when it comes to knowing the cool spots for day trips or even weekend getaways.
Located about 6 miles away from campus, White Oak Lavender Farm is an easy stop for JMU students. Take a tour of the farm, pet the animals, pick lavender, visit Purple Wolfe Winery on site, and explore the lavender shop with products ranging from- lavender coffee, essential oils, to delicious lavender ice-cream.
House of Clues is an escape room located on East Market Street in Harrisonburg. Players are given 60 minutes to “escape” by solving puzzles and working as a team. House of Clues is a fun activity for friends, roommates, and even co-workers! Click here to book your session now.
This adorable, refurbished barn is located in Weyers Cave about 15 minutes south of JMU off of interstate 81. Valley Pike is perfect for a quiet afternoon studying in the loft or a coffee date with a friend at The Rumor Mill Coffee Co. If you get hungry post study session, grab a sandwich from the gourmet deli downstairs.
Go ice skating at Generations Park in Bridgewater! Monday-Thursday it costs just $4 to skate and Friday-Saturday it’s $5; rental skates are an additional $3. Checkout Generation Park’s Facebook page for more information on specific hours of operation. After skating, grab a bite to eat at the Bridgewater location of Jalepeno, located within Generations Park.
Downtown Staunton, located 30 minutes South of JMU, is an award winning historic district with cute shops, restaurants, coffee shops, theaters, museums and more! If you want a change of scenery, try exploring this quaint city for the day! Click here for a complete guide of historic downtown Staunton.
While visiting Staunton, go see a play at the famous Blackfriar’s Playhouse. Staunton’s Blackfriar’s Playhouse draws in audience members from all over the world as this location is the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre! (Pretty cool, right?) Take a tour of the playhouse or enjoy a show, click here to access their calendar.
Looking to get outside and enjoy nature? Humpback Rock is a fairly steep, but popular trail located on the Blue Ridge Parkway (about 45 minutes from Harrisonburg). This trail is 2 miles long in total and features breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley.
Nearby Humpback, you can find Crabtree Falls- arguably one of Virginia’s best waterfall hikes. This trail is a little longer than Humpback, totaling at around 3.4 miles. This hike is worth the drive, I would definitely recommend visiting Crabtree Falls as the weather begins to warm up.
If you’re looking to get some exercise while remaining indoors, give Jump a visit! This 20,000 square foot indoor trampoline park is fun for all ages, even college students! Jump offers a dodgeball court, foam pit, trampoline walls, and basketball hoops.
Hit the shops in Charlottesville at The Shops at Stonefield. You could easily spend the day browsing their diverse selection of stores, such as, but not limited to: Kendra Scott, L.L. Bean, Alex and Ani, Vineyard Vines, Pottery Barn, and Lululemon. Dine at places like Noodles & Co., Rocksalt Oyster Bar, Mezeh, Duck Donuts, and Burger Bach.