Apples, wineries, ghosts, an iconic Civil War heritage and the rolling Shenandoah River famed in song – Winchester has all these and more. American history’s early, troubled, years began in Virginia State, with Winchester the center of numerous conflicts. Nowadays, its heritage draws many thousands of visitors to its Historic District, museums, remnants of Civil War forts and battlegrounds.
Things to see
Students of American history are spoilt for choice in Winchester and its surroundings, with the town boasting 13 historic places on the US National Register, time your visit correctly and you could witness one of those quirky re-enactment battles.
George Washington’s headquarters at Adam Kurtz House and Stonewall Jackson’s headquarters, now a museum, are highlights of a reputedly haunted, old town center. With the Winchester National Cemetery are on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s not surprising.
The Old Court House Civil War Museum and Fort Loudon give a glimpse of Civil War days, but out of town at the Belle Grove Plantation, where you will find the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, the earliest days of settlement and pioneers is beautifully recreated.
Where to stay
Although there are no four or five-star hotels in Winchester, a number of well-known chains are represented, set mostly between one and seven miles of the historic city center
Further from the city and set on glowing, green, countryside you’ll find country hotels with easy access to the main attractions in town. Venues vary from traditional, plantation–style, homes to court inns and imposing, brick-built suite hotels.
The Old Town city center is small and set in the eastern part of the conurbation, surrounded by Sunnyside, Shenadoah, Roundhill, Mount Pleasant and Kernstown districts. Hotels good for business trips can be found here.
Families heading for a vacation here might prefer to relax in countryside comfort in Mountain Falls or Green Spring districts on the far edges of the city.
How to get there
If you’re traveling by road, Winchester is just off Interstate 81, giving a fast road from Pennsylvania in the north or Tennessee to the south Travel by air is to Washington’s Dulles Airport, located 45 miles from Winchester and hosting international flights as well as many domestic routes, you should hire a vehicle from here.
The other alternative is Greyhound bus, which passes through daily, but you’ll find yourself needing taxis to get around to the countryside venues.