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The Hardesty-Higgins House
The Hardesty-Higgins House, restored and in downtown Harrisonburg, houses the visitor's center and a tea room. Visible behind it is Asbury United Methodist Church. Arboretum photo courtesy James Madison University; Harrisonburg photos courtesy Harrisonburg CVB.
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Dave's Taverna is a longtime institution in downtown Harrisonburg.
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Edith J. Carrier Arboretum
Walking trails wind through the 125 acres of the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, opened by James Madison University in 1989.
Friday: Behold the Beauty. Learn about nature, horticulture and native plants through educational programs or a walk along the landscaped trails at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Garden, located on the campus of James Madison University. According to Gail Turnbill, assistant director, “The arboretum has been voted Harrisonburg’s favorite place to propose marriage, bring out of town guests, and for rest and relaxation.” For more challenging – and equally scenic – treks, hit the hiking trails in George Washington National Forest. Other activities include mountain biking, fishing, picnicking and hunting.
Saturday. From art galleries and bookstores to boutiques and gift shops, there’s plenty to browse in Harrisonburg’s revitalized downtown. Once you’ve had your fill of shopping, fill up on signature sandwiches, wraps or flat breads at Artful Dodger, or homemade custard ice cream at Kline’s Dairy Bar.
Sunday. Begin your day at the heart of the downtown historic district, the Hardesty-Higgins House Visitor Center. Inside are artisan displays, museum exhibits and more. Its Rocktown Gift Shoppe is the place to purchase the self-guided Commemorative Walking Tour booklet. Or, take a guided, one-hour tour. Topics vary each Saturday; examples include Native Americans or The Civil War in and Around Harrisonburg. Sample soups, salads, sandwiches or unique entrées and unwind with a locally made beer at Cally’s Restaurant and Brewing Co.
Cost Round-up: Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Garden (donations welcome); George Washington National Forest (some activities may require small fees); Artful Dodger ($3-$7); Kline’s Dairy Bar ($2-$5); Commemorative Walking Tour booklet ($2); Cally’s Restaurant and Brewing Co. ($3-$16).
Before You Go
Harrisonburg Tourism (Hardesty-Higgins House Visitor Center)
Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Garden
George Washington National Forest
North River Ranger District
Kline’s Dairy Bar
Cally’s Restaurant & Brewing Co.
By the Side of the Road Bed & Breakfast
Comfortable suites in the main house or luxurious cottages. Oversized whirlpool tubs and gourmet breakfast. $179-$279 per night.
The Stonewall Jackson Inn
Restored 1885 mansion with 10 guest rooms. Gourmet breakfast each morning. $129-$175 per night.
Joshua Wilton House Inn & Restaurant
Five non-smoking rooms; breakfast included in the rates. $145-$160 per night.
Civil War Stop: Front Royal
Also known as the Battle of Brother Against Brother, the Battle of Front Royal in 1862 forced the withdrawl of a large Union army in the Shenandoah Valley. Follow the route of this battle on a 16-mile driving tour, which leaves from the Front Royal Visitor’s Center.
Virginia Civil War Trails signs provide historical background on the 10 stops, and the visitor’s center sells CDs or audio tapes to further enhance the tour. A notable stop is the Belle Boyd Cottage where, according to the tour pamphlet, “Jackson ordered his troops into battle formations” and “nineteen year old Belle Boyd arrived to report on Union troop dispositions and to urge an immediate attack on Front Royal.” Other points of interest include The Courthouse, Richardson’s Hill, Guard Hill and Fairview.
For more information, call 540-635-5788.