Quirky Roadside Attractions
One of the simple joys of the Shenandoah Valley is its scenic roads and byways. Driving around on a beautiful weekend can be an adventure in itself. If you want some quirky spots to break up the car time, check these out!
In Rockbridge County, the Virginia Safari Park is a 180-acre drive-thru zoo where you can feed the animals from the comfort of your car. That is if you consider a camel stretching his head through your car window to snatch some food “comfortable!” There’s even an area for petting the more domestic farm animals like potbellied pigs and baby llamas. It’s fun for all ages.
Lunch at the Elvis-inspired Pink Cadillac Diner is another worth-the-visit stop while you’re day tripping.
Also in the area are Robot Cyborg Muffler Man, a building shaped like a coffee pot, Yogi Bear, a 20-foot full-color statue of Stonewall Jackson, and Stonewall Jackson’s stuffed horse-yes, the real horse.
In Harrisonburg, you could stop off and tour the beautiful campuses of Eastern Mennonite University and James Madison University and catch sight of a real mummy hand, a two-headed calf and the giant statue of the maniacally happy Duke Dog.
At the BBQ Ranch north of town, you’ll find some legendary bbq and the biggest collection of pig kitsch you’ve ever seen.
In Staunton, look for the giant watering can sculpture as you head into downtown. If you prefer creepier attractions, Staunton, Harrisonburg and Lexington all offer ghost tours.
You don’t have to leave Augusta County to experience a little medieval sport when you attend a Hall of Fame Jousting Tournament. It may look a little different now then when this annual event started in 1821! Complete with food and craft vendors and a corn hole competition – events are held in June and August each year at Natural Chimneys Regional Park, also home to the National Jousting Hall of Fame.
Travel north on Route 340 from Waynesboro and it’s hard to miss a purple cow head structure twenty feet in the air. A local landmark since 1964, it marks the Purple Cow Ice Cream Parlor which also hosts cruise-ins, swap meets, and other activities in season.