Tourism departments blaze new trail

Shenandoah County Tourism recently rolled out its new “Shenandoah Spirits Trail.” The trail, designed to focus on regional breweries, wineries, cideries and distilleries, features 27 stops from Winchester to just south of Harrisonburg.

Jenna French, director of tourism for Shenandoah County, explained the combined effort between her and other offices throughout the valley.

“It was our office, Harrisonburg Tourism and Visitor Services, Rockingham County Economic Development and Tourism and the Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors Bureau,” she said.

“At the time (when other trail-type initiatives were in place), Shenandoah County was heavy in vineyards and light on breweries and at the same time, Harrisonburg was heavy in breweries but had few vineyards. It was just a natural conversation to partner with them to have our assets complement each other. For a visitor, this is a very manageable area to realistically get to travel to many of the different establishments on this trail for a weekend getaway and its all very linear along I-81.”

French explained how the regional aspect of the trail better accommodates the way tourists travel.

“Visitors don’t see boundaries,” she said. “What I think sets us apart is two things. It’s a regional effort – it’s broader than just our one locality but it’s a great partnership with other communities. It’s not just focused on one beverage like the Shenandoah County Wine Trail or (Shenandoah) BeerWerks (Trail) in the southern part of the valley but includes wines, beers, distilleries and cider into one package.”

The Shenandoah Spirits Trail, which French said took about a year and a half to complete, works to replace other trails as new alcohol producers of all kinds have moved into the area .

“It sort of sparked for a couple different reasons,” she said. “We were looking at developing a new trail for Shenandoah County about two years ago. What we’d had was outdated. We had new vineyards and new breweries and we were looking for a way to combine the two.”

More information on the new trail can be found on the Shenandoah County Tourism website at http://tinyurl.com/hqg99b3, or on Twitter using the hashtag #SipShenandoah.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com

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