We’ve all heard it before: we live in a JMU ‘bubble.’ But it’s not the worst thing, right? Living and breathing your school comes naturally to some people because they want to soak in everything they possibly can during their college experience. Sometimes it can become a rut though; correct me if I’m wrong collegiettesTM, but doesn’t it get a little stale doing the same thing every weekend? (Maybe something about going out that relates specifically to JMU… I mean riding the DrunkBus to Stone Gate can get a little old.) Change up your weekend routine and go on an adventure! Here are a few places in the Shenandoah Valley that are worth the drive…
Any time of the year, this place has something to offer. Hit the links, ski the slopes, go tubing, or go to the waterpark, which three of my girlfriends and I did last Friday and let me just tell you, it was a BLAST! Not only were the water slides thrilling; the simulated surfing was hilarious and seriously worthy of video tapping the wipeouts. With generally affordable prices and season passes available and only a 15-minute drive from campus, this resort is an excellent mini vacation destination. (Massanutten Resort)
A 35-minute drive to downtown Staunton can be worth the trip. A larger and more developed historic downtown offers more shops and restaurants than Harrisonburg’s quaint South Main Street and what’s even better, the town is so walk able. Also, if you’re a theatre or movie buff, you’re in luck! Staunton boasts an excellent variety of theatres and cinemas along with enough surrounding hiking trails and forests to indulge your more environmentally inclined friends too. (Visit Staunton)
The Jefferson Theater
Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, this music venue is just straight up beautiful. With some of the highest vaulted ceilings I’ve ever seen and a big standing only area in front of the stage, this venue offers an eclectic mix of performers. Past shows have included the likes of Ben Folds, SOJA, Bassnectar, Sam Adams, Wiz Khalifa, Pete Yorn, and Parachute. Keep your eyes open for groovy shows at this theater; you might find one worth the 60-minute drive! (Jefferson Theater)
The Taco Truck
Formally named ‘Tacos El Primo” but colloquially called, with some fondness I might add, the Taco Truck is, in my opinion, a diamond in the rough. Located on Reservoir Road just past the Cantrell Avenue intersection, the adorable turquoise truck serves up excellent tacos, burritos, and quesadillas until 9 o’clock in the evening. A portable delicacy, indeed! (Tacos El Primo)
The Coffee Truck
Tired of the long lines at Starbucks? The Coffee Truck, a recent venture in Harrisonburg, sits adjacent to the Quad, usually behind the Fed-Ex on South Main. Take a break from your studies and walk on over, hot and cold drinks are always offered along with friendly conversation from the owner, Evan Butterfield.
So there you have it ladies, some of the underrated and unknown gems in the Shenandoah Valley. Go exploring or better yet, discover something new!