Weekenders: On the Hunt in Virginia

The Shenandoah Valley, with its winding roads and tiny hamlets, is an antique lover’s dream.

By Zach Patton

Cradled by the Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley is a pastoral slice of countryside sprinkled with stately small towns and containing a trove of antique stores. There’s great antiquing throughout the valley, but the central part of the Shenandoah offers some of the best variety. In the towns of Woodstock, Harrisonburg and Staunton, you may just find that perfect heirloom piece you’ve been looking for (or maybe something unexpected you never knew you couldn’t live without).

Woodstock

Two blocks from the Shenandoah County Courthouse, in charming Woodstock, you’ll find Spring Hollow Antiques, a small shop featuring regional furniture and housewares. Most of the stock tends toward beautifully unadorned wooden pieces—simple cabinets, original-finish trunks—and crock ware, including Strasburg pottery, a Shenandoah specialty distinguished by its distinctive greenish-gray hue and blue painted designs. Six miles south of town is Richards’ Antiques, where for more than 25 years owners Richard Booze and Richard Bushong have specialized in what they call country furniture of a better sort. Their restored 1810 farmhouse showcases an impressive array of very fine antiques, such as delicate spindles, hand-hewn Windsor chairs and glass-front cabinets.

The owner of Burt Long Antiques has been buying and selling antiques since he was 10 years old; today he’s a renowned dealer of 19th-century furniture. Long’s collection includes stunning large mantelpieces, breakfronts, chests, sideboards and even an oversize back bar. (You can stop off at the Meem’s Bottom bridge on your way to Burt Long; it’s Virginia’s longest covered bridge and great for a photo op.)

In the market for a hand-carved Balinese daybed? How about a ballroom-sized chandelier rescued from a shuttered Richmond hotel? At the Luray Antique & Design Center, owner James Jennell says, “there’s something for every taste, from Louis XIV to art deco.” Housed in a former tannery the size of an airplane hangar, this 71,000-square-foot showroom is filled with one-of-a-kind pieces from every corner of the globe. Grab lunch in Luray at the Artisans Grill, a Depression-era deli that today serves sandwiches named for famous poets and painters. The Rembrandt—house-roasted corned beef and Thousand Island on toasted rye—is a favorite, as is the O’Keeffe, a vegan wrap filled with roasted seasonal vegetables and a sweet-pea hummus.

Harrisonburg

Founded in 1779, Harrisonburg has plenty of history. But over the past decade a downtown renaissance has brought a welcome quirky vibe. In the heart of town is Shabby Love, a vintage shop focused on “upcycled” and reworked antique furniture as well as new pieces made from reclaimed wood. Opened last year, it’s an airy space in a former livery stable. At the Antique Barn, inside the sprawling Shenandoah Heritage Market, you’ll find everything from oak rolltop desks to vintage farm equipment to mid-century milk-glass serving pieces along with stalls selling new quilts, leather saddles and fabric. (Many shops are run by members of Harrisonburg’s Mennonite community.) Don’t miss the samples at the Country Canner, which features a seemingly endless array of fruit jams and preserves as well as pickles and savory chutneys, all made in-house.

A few miles east of Harrisonburg you’ll find a modest roadside building that was originally a service station for Model T cars (and through the years a hardware store, a grocery, a pool hall and a church). Since 2007 it’s been home to Stumps Old Town Antiques, where two dozen vendors peddle farmhouse furniture (rustic pie safes, blanket chests) alongside Civil War pieces and historical political memorabilia.

When you’re ready for a shopping break, sample the suds at Three Brothers Brewing Co., a family-run brewpub and taproom opened in late 2012. Besides beers by the glass, Three Brothers offers tasting flights of five beers—the sour Belgian stout is especially good—and live music and food trucks on Friday and Saturday night.

Staunton

Offering upscale cafés, hip coffee shops and offbeat boutiques and bookstores, Staunton is a postcard-perfect small town and a great jumping-off point for a day of antique shopping. Just to the north is the cavernous Factory Antique Mall, whose 240 vendors fill some 115,000 square feet. Shopping here can be like a treasure hunt: You may find an eight-foot-wide solid copper awning from 1880s Pittsburgh or Christmas nostalgia from the 1960s alongside serious collector furniture. The mall provided several period pieces for the film Lincoln and the Revolution-era TURN: Washington’s Spies, on AMC.

In downtown Staunton there’s Sweet P’s, a recently opened shop in a converted 1920s auto dealership. Upstairs you’ll find a mix of antique furniture and funky vintage decor (anyone searching for an oil painting of James Dean?); downstairs is an artisans’ market featuring locally made crafts and jewelry. In the span of just a couple of downtown blocks are three antique malls with furniture, knickknacks and collectibles from dozens of vendors. Queen City Marketplace has three whole floors to browse on; at the Staunton Antiques Center you may stumble on a mid-’50s vending machine; 17 East Beverley has lots of great finds and a trippy clothes attic that feels like your favorite wacky aunt’s closet. For a mid-shopping snack, step into the Yelping Dog, an unpretentious wine bar specializing in grilled-cheese sandwiches. After all, you have to keep up your stamina: In this part of Virginia you never know if that perfect find is just around the corner.

SHOP
17 East Beverley Antiques
17 E. Beverley St., Staunton; 540-885-1117; bevant.com
Burt Long Antiques
3455 Old Valley Pike, New Market; 540-740-3777; burtlongantiques.com
Factory Antique Mall
50 Lodge Lane, Verona; 540-248-1110; factoryantiquemall.com
Luray Antique & Design Center
2385 Tannery Rd., Luray; 540-742-1864
Queen City Marketplace
110 W. Beverley St., Staunton; 540-213-0219; queencitymarketplace.com
Richards’ Antiques
14211 Old Valley Pike, Edinburg; 540-984-4502; richardsantiques.net
Shabby Love
80 W. Water St., Harrisonburg; 540-406-0077; shabbylovefurniture.com
Shenandoah Heritage Market
121 Carpenter Lane, Harrisonburg; 540-564-0642; shenandoahmarket.net
Spring Hollow Antiques
322 S. Main St., Wood-stock; 540-459-3946; springhollowantiques.com
Staunton Antiques Center
19 W. Beverley St., Staunton; 540-324-2570
Stumps Old Town Antiques
10279 McGaheysville Rd., McGaheysville; 540-289-6600
Sweet P’s
800 W. Beverley St., Staunton; 540-280-0507; stauntonsweetps.com
EAT
Artisans Grill
2 E. Main St., Luray; 540-743-7030; artisansgrill.com; lunch for two, $25*
Three Brothers Brewing Co.
800 N. Main St., Harrisonburg; 540-421-6599; threebrosbrew.com
The Yelping Dog
9 E. Beverley St., Staunton; 540-885-2275; yelpingdogwine.com; lunch for two, $20
STAY
RCI affiliated resorts in the Shenandoah Valley include:
Woodstone at Massanutten 5711
Town-house villas, lots of hiking options and sweeping Blue Ridge Mountain views. 1822 Resort Dr., McGaheysville
Member Review: “Large, roomy units.”
The Summit at Massanutten 3640
A huge mountain getaway with something for just about all ages. 1822 Resort Dr., McGaheysville
Member Reviews: “We visited nearby Shenandoah National Park three times in a week.”
“Warm and inviting condos.”
Eagle Trace at Massanutten 2293
Rooms are equipped with working fireplaces. 1822 Resort Dr., McGaheysville
Member Reviews: “The scenery is amazing!”
“The staff was very responsive.”
Regal Vistas at Massanutten C152
Convenient access to the 130,000-square-foot Massanutten WaterPark. 1822 Resort Dr., McGaheysville
Member Reviews: “Centrally located for all Virginia has to offer.”
“The furnishings were luxurious.”
Eagle Trace at Killy Court 2650
Hotel-style buildings near some of the valley’s best-kept golf greens. 1822 Resort Dr., McGaheysville
Member Reviews: “Scenic views abound!”
“The live entertainment was the best part!”
Massanutten’s Mountainside Villas 0174
It’s not unusual to spy deer and groundhogs at this scenic family-friendly spot. 4082 Peak Dr., McGaheysville
Member Reviews: “You’ll feel very much in tune with nature.”
“Excellent for outdoor adventures.”
The Pines 0233
A comfortable base for exploring the area’s trove of caverns and lakes. 2565 Orkney Grade, Mount Jackson
Member Reviews: “Beautiful mountain views.”
“Rustic beauty.”
For complete member reviews (as member reviews have been condensed) and additional resort listings, visit RCI.com or call 800-338-7777 (Weeks) or 877-968-7476 (Points). Club Members, please call your specific Club or RCI telephone number.

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Non-RCI affiliated resorts:
Frederick House
Set in downtown Staunton, this inn has 25 rooms in five historic homes. 28 N. New St., Staunton; 540-885-4220; frederickhouse.com; doubles from $109 a night
The Inn at Narrow Passage
Just outside Woodstock, this 1740 inn on the Shenandoah River includes 12 guest rooms, some with working fireplaces. 30 Chapman Landing Rd., Edinburg; 540-459-8000; innatnarrowpassage.com; doubles from $145 a night
Joshua Wilton House
Five gracious rooms in a beautifully restored Victorian home, with a well-known restaurant. 412 S. Main St., Harrisonburg; 540-434-4464; joshuawilton.com; doubles from $145 a night
Stonewall Jackson Hotel
Built in 1924, the 124-room Stonewall Jackson was restored and reopened in 2005. 24 S. Market St., Staunton; 540-885-4848; stonewalljacksonhotel.com; doubles from $209 a night
  • *Estimated meal prices do not include drinks, tax or tip.
  • NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
  • Published: Summer 2015