Event to help promote historic destinations, lodgings
By Kaitlin Mayhew -- firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- Bed and breakfasts and historic destinations across Shenandoah County will be opening their doors in March for a countywide open house event.
The open house, taking place on Sunday, March 25, will feature a mix of local businesses, craftspeople, artists and musicians at many of the lodging locations.
"At one B&B there might be a potter or live music or a local farm that does specialty fruit breads," said Natalie Wills, tourism director for Shenandoah County. "We're promoting it as arts, agriculture and places to stay."
Wells said the event provides an easy way for both locals and out-of-towners to get familiar with local bed and breakfasts.
"A lot of people drive by these bed and breakfasts and they never see them inside," she said. "You'll be able to go in them and see what they are all about."
Donna Huntsberger, owner of the A.C. Stickley House Bed & Breakfast in Strasburg, said she will be partnering with four local businesses for the event.
"It's great advertising for the town businesses," she said. "[Guests] can plan their trip to stay at a B&B and do all the unique things that our town and county has to offer."
Huntsberger also said that she thinks people tend to shy away from bed and breakfasts, and feel more comfortable asking to view rooms at larger hotels.
"This is a great way for people to actually see what we have to offer," she said.
The Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns will feature a beekeeper discussing and giving live demonstrations at an on-site bee colony. They also will be distributing free honey sticks.
"We will have somebody back there talking about the bee hive and a slideshow we can show about weddings and receptions," said Judith Ruby, manager of The Yellow Barn.
"This is a wonderful venue for wedding receptions, weddings, all types of corporate events, festivals and concerts."
This is the first time such an event has been held in the county, however, Wills said she has high hopes that it will eventually become an annual thing.
"We wanted to create exposure for Shenandoah County overall but also to get the locals more aware of what's here," she said. "We have some pretty cool places to stay and a lot of them are on the national registry of historic places."
For example, the Shrine Mont Conference Center in Orkney Springs, which Wells said many people do not get a chance to visit, will be giving tours.
Virginia Living Magazine, based in Richmond, is one of the event's major sponsors.
The event will last from noon until 5 p.m. A detailed map of participating locations and a sticker to identify guests will be provided. Wills said there won't be enough time for guests to see visit everywhere, so they can pick and choose out of the 20 listed on the map.
"There's no specific route. You just pick the ones you want to go see," she said.
The open house is available to the public free of charge. For more information and a map of the featured locations, visit www.shenandoahtravel.org.