Ralph’s Choice – Classic Itinerary
This itinerary is designed specifically for Shadow Mountain Escape guests
We personally evaluate and update the following recommendations on a regular basis. We hike the trails, eat at the recommended locations, visit the shops, drink the wine… and strive to surpass your high standards of expectation during your stay SME.
For 2-night reservations consider specifically picking activities from Day 2 and Day 3 to best personalize your itinerary – always factor your drive times along the many country roads and the 35 MPH max Skyline Drive in the National Park.
Consider adjusting your plans in accordance with the seasons and weather. We are happy to assist you in selecting activities during your stay to ensure you get the most out of your leisure time.
Hot Hiking Tip: When planning hikes in the Shenandoah National Park, as a general rule: If the visibility is limited or the weather is too hot or wet, stay in the forest and hike under the tree canopy and along streams; if the sky is clear, go to the peaks and seek the views. Always wear proper shoes and gear for the season and bring some snacks and water. A hiking stick is recommended as the trails are all rocky.
Hot Dining Tip: For an unforgettable and exquisite experience, our region is privileged to host some of the finest dining establishments in the Mid-Atlantic region featuring world-class Chefs. For those guests serious about fine gourmet or celebrating special occasions, consider making advanced reservations at one of the three following fine dining restaurants – located within 30 mins of Shadow Mountain Escape.
• Inn at Little Washington, Little Washington, VA
A World Famous 3 Michelin star restaurant open every day except Tuesday. Reservations are usually easily available in this large elegant restaurant.
• Moonshadows Restaurant , Luray, VA
Such a treat and close by open Thursday – Sunday. Wonderful for brunch and dinner. Reservations suggested.
Day 1 (Evening Arrival)
1. Make yourself at home! Take short stroll on SME nature trail with your favorite beverage or a nice
glass of wine (in wine cooler at the lodge foyer if you like) … wind down from your travels in your lovely Authentic timber frame cabin.
2. Either cook up a favorite on our provided grills or order out for a New York Style Anthony’s Pizza delivered directly to your door.
3. After dinner, spend the remainder of your evening taking in the sounds and sights of nature from your deck or relaxing in your timber frame cabin with your favorite beverage (see our select VA wines or Prosecco for your convenience).
4. Get a good night sleep in your comfortable timber frame bedroom to prepare for your day ahead.
1. Fix a hardy bacon and eggs breakfast in your timber frame cabin (all except Lady Bug cabin) or get a hot breakfast at Hawksbill Diner in Stanley or Gathering Grounds in the old town of Luray.
2. Pack a picnic and take a hike in the Shenandoah National Park (hiking trails and access is open all year long). Drive 5 Mins up the mountain to hike to Mary’s Rock (Moderate – about 2 hours hike total) and take your camera for spectacular views once on top. For more ambitious folks, consider the longer drive/hike time and hike Little Devil’s Stairs or Old Rag Trail (Advanced – about 4 + hours total hike time). For less ambitious folks, hike to Stony Man Peak next to Skyland (Comfortable – about 1.5 hours total) for wonderful views.
Hot Tip: consider hiking our favorite ridge line trail from the Jewell Hollow Overlook Pinnacles parking area along the Appalachian Trail to Mary’s Rock and back (about 3.5 hrs. total) … ask Ralph for more hiking ideas and details.
3. After your hike, be sure to take a slow scenic drive on the Skyline Drive and, if you’re hungry, grab a sandwich or meal at either the Skyland or Big Meadows Lodge
Hot Tip: order the Blackberry Ice Cream Pie… a must. We really like the fried chicken there too. (The National Park lodges are open late March – November)
4. Exit the Shenandoah National Park in the afternoon at Thornton’s Gap (at route 211) and go down the east side of the mountain towards Sperryville. Visit Quivermont Winery, Gadino Cellars Winery, Copper Fox Whisky Distillery, and/or Hopkins Ordinary Ale Works and relax and enjoy before dinner! (Check operating hours for Mon – Thurs visits… Rappahannock Cellars and Dessert Rose Winery are open every day for early week day guests)
5. On the way back to Shadow Mountain Escape, stop in Sperryville and either dine in or pick up an Artisan wood fired Pizza at the Rappahannock Pizza Kitchen (across from Hopkins Ordinary). Rappahannock Pizza Kitchen is open Wednesday – Sunday. Monday – Tuesday dinner options include the Speak Easy Pub in the Mimslyn Inn where you will often find live music and a vibrant local atmosphere. On Thursday night, Mimslyn has a popular special on Hamburgers with live music. Also, in the town of Luray, Rancho Viejo is a quality and enjoyable Mexican restaurant. For a quick bite, many of the major fast food establishments can be found in Luray.
Hot Tip: Hopkins Ordinary Ale works is a small quality and charming craft brewery located directly across the street from Rappahannock Pizza Kitchen. The Ale works is open after 4:00PM on Thursday, and on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday… on those days, have a fine craft brew at the Ale Works (a wonderful beer garden) and order your pizza across the street. You can either pick up the Pizza and eat it at the Brewery beer garden, in the restaurant, or bring it back to your cabin.
6. After dinner come back over the mountain to your timber frame cabin at Shadow Mountain Escape. Enjoy a hard-earned glass of wine and relax.
1. Breakfast in your cabin or enjoy a hardy Hawksbill Diner country breakfast with the locals (20 min country road drive from SME).
2. After breakfast, tour the enchanting Luray Caverns.
Hot Tip: included in the ticket price is entry to the old car museum and the adjacent Luray Valley Museum… they are very interesting and will not take too much of your time.
3. Take a delightful stroll along the Hawksbill creek at Luray’s Greenway Park and then visit the old town Luray shops and have lunch at the Gathering Grounds, Rancho Viejo, or West Main Market Deli. Stroll through the numerous boutiques and antique shops.
Hot Tip: Appalachian Outfitters is a nice little quality apparel and equipment shop where you can find whatever you need for hiking.
4. Return to SME in the afternoon to freshen’ up. Then depart over the mountain to visit Rappahannock Vineyards, Dessert Rose, and Chester Gap near Flint Hill. After Wine Tasting, return to Flint Hill and have dinner at Griffin Tavern. (Live music—Friday and Saturday nights at the Tavern)
Hot Tip: give yourselves 25 – 30 mins to get to Flint Hill – pay close attention to the speed limit whenever on route 211.
5. Return to your timber frame cabin at Shadow Mountain Escape to close out the evening.
Day 4 (Check-out)
After check-out, consider another hike in the Shenandoah National Park prior to departing home; or take in other wineries along the Blue Ridge Whisky Wine Loop. If you are heading south towards Charlottesville, take the Wine Loop’s southern excursion to Ducard Vineyard. If you are going north towards I-66, and you haven’t yet visited the town of Flint Hill and Rappahannock and Desert Rose Wineries, consider taking 522 North along the Wine Loop. Before jumping back on Interstate 66, a must stop on the Blue Ridge Whisky Wine Loop is Chester Gap Vineyard in Front Royal with some of the best mountain views of all.