Shenandoah Battlefields

The sun is shining, the weather is hot, and the Virginia scenery is green with that mid-summer verdancy. People are venturing outdoors for various summer adventures, and we have a suggestion if you’re looking for one of the these said adventures. If you enjoy an exploration of the outdoors along with a love (or at least mild interest) in history, then a tour of a historic Shenandoah Valley battlefield is perfect for your Virginia itinerary.

“Using military significance criteria, the National Park Service included 20 Shenandoah Valley battlefield sites in its 1993 Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields…These sites were among the 384 conflicts identified nationwide that were ‘of special strategic, tactical, or thematic importance to local operations, campaigns, theaters, or to the war as a whole’” (Shenandoah at War)

You can see some of these historic battlefields on a Signature Tour in many of the Valleys breathtaking cities. Explore Winchester and Frederick County or the Signal Knob area which “bore witness to many serious engagements during the Civil War.” Check out the location of Stonewall Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign with a tour of the Harrisonburg area, or take in the sights and sounds of the Clarke County area. Whatever your destination, you’ll be treated to a piece of the past. Click here for a full list of Signature Tours.

And of course you’ll need lodging, so how about enhancing your historic getaway with a stay at one of our BBHSV member inn:



Widow Kip’s Country Inn

“Historic home; cozy atmosphere; charming hosts; great breakfast; beautiful location….here is a combination that is sure to please everyone looking for a home away from home while in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.” –TripAdvisor Reviewer

Mount Jackson, Virginia provides a step back in time that is perfect for any history enthusiast, and no place reflects that rich history better than BBHSV member Widow Kip’s Country Inn. Widow Kip’s Country Inn is a restored Victorian home built in 1830 that boasts both elegance and history. Each of the five bedrooms—The Wildflower Room, The Morning Glory Room, The Marigold Room, The Hollyhock Room, and The Sweet William Room—are outfitted in history with everything from canopy beds to 1920s inlay furniture to empire dressers and antique armoires.

The inn itself is not the only history in the area, of course. If you’re staying at Widow Kip’s, then there are a few historic sites right down the road from your lodging:

The Virginia Museum of the Civil War– “The Virginia Museum of the Civil War (VMCW), Bushong Farm, and self-guided battlefield tour provide many opportunities to reflect upon the social and military struggle which changed the course of American history.” Explore artifacts and dioramas, battlefields, and stained glass windows that depict the war in the Shenandoah Valley.

Fisher’s Hill– Jubal Early’s Confederate army fought the Battle of Fisher’s Hill on September 21–22, 1864. They were defeated by the Union Army of the Shenandoah during a “scorched earth” invasion. You can now walk the battleground for yourself and explore what history has left behind.

Interested in staying at Widow Kip’s Country Inn? Click here to make your reservation.

Widow Kip's Country Inn

The Civil War Sesquicentennial Finale Concert

If you haven’t heard by now, Virginia has been participating in the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War (i.e. the Civil War Sesquicentennial). From re-enactments to lectures to the traveling Civil War 150 HistoryMobile, Virginia has been active in exploring life during local, 19th century warfare.

Travel_Sesquicentennial Logo

The 150th commemoration will come to a close in 2015, and it’s going out with a musical bang. On Memorial Day, May 25, 2015, the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission will be presenting a Finale Concert that “that brings together music, songs, images, and narration in a profound exploration of the Civil War and emancipation.”

Did you know that the Civil War “gave rise to more music than any other event in American history”? According to, enthusiastic melodies combined with romantic songs to produce an early motivation for soldiers. However, the fervor of army life quickly melted into loneliness and despair for soldiers, while songs of praise and gospel spirituals brought guarded hope for 3.5 million enslaved people. The war ended, freedom was secured, and the nation became whole, with songs like The Battle Hymn of the Republic forever becoming part of the national heritage that we share.”

Interested in going? Click here to register now for this FREE event. (And if you need lodging, check out our member inns.)


Member Feature: By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages

Built in 1790, By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages is a historic bed & breakfast that is anything but dated. With its juxtaposition of history and modernity, it is a perfect lodging option if you’re going to be in and around Harrisonburg, VA.

Fullscreen capture 9152014 32453 PM.bmpSince the Bed & Breakfasts of the Historic Shenandoah Valley are all about history and lodging, how about a bit of By the Side of the Road’s history? This establishment certainly has a rich history. Before it was a B&B, By the Side of the Road served both as the home of a Mennonite pacifist and then later as a Civil War hospital: “Well-known Mennonite Bishop Peter Burkholder and his son and successor, Martin, was the author of a Confession of Faith including a reflection on non-resistance.” In 1864, “this once pastoral abode was transitioned to a makeshift Civil War hospital” during General Philip Henry Sheridan’s burning of the Valley.

By the Side of the Road calls itself “an enduring reminder of War & Peace in Virginia’s Historic & Hospitable Shenandoah Valley,” and if you’d like to see his portrait of history for yourself, their lodging options are at the ready:

Fullscreen capture 9152014 32439 PM.bmpThe Manor House Suites: These suits are elegant pieces of history, furnished with historic décor, fireplaces, WiFi, iPod docks, coffeemakers, and more. Modern amenities meet history in these gorgeous suites.

The Luxury Cottages: These aptly named, modernly furnished accommodations are here to spoil you. From the whirlpool tubs to the flatscreen TVs and iPod docks, your every whim is taken care of.

The Spring Water Cottage Suites: Bask in the luxury showers, catch your favorite movie on the flatscreen TV, and rest your head on a featherbed.

Click here to check availability and make your reservation at By the Side of the Road.

Fullscreen capture 9152014 32432 PM.bmp


Loudoun County’s Recognition of African American Civil War Veterans

“A century and a half after fighting in a war that transformed their country, four African-American veterans of the Civil War whose remains are buried at Mount Zion Community Cemetery in Leesburg have been formally recognized for their role in Loudoun County’s history” (

There is a lot of Civil War history in Virginia, particularly in the Shenandoah Valley, but how often do we specifically commemorate the African-Americans who served in the War Between the States? Loudoun County, Virginia has just recently released its first historical marker to recognize the “the service of African-American Civil War veterans.” These four men on Loudoun County’s new Civil War sign are the following:

John W. Langford– Langford was a member of the U.S. Navy, having enlisted in Baltimore in 1864 at the age of 22. He held the rank of Ordinary Seaman.

Joseph Waters– Waters was a member of the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry. He is now laid to rest in Leesburg, Virginia’s Mount Zion Cemetary.

William Taylor– Taylor was a member of the 1st U.S. Colored Infantry.

James Gaskins– Gaskins was a Private in the 39th U.S. Colored Infantry.

If you would like to read more about the role of African-Americans in Loudon, VA during the Civil War, check out From Loudon to Glory by local author and historian Kevin D. Grigsby. Grigsby stated that the Loudon sign dedication “gives these men the proper acknowledgment that they never got 150 years ago” (

Photo by Lee Phillips

Photo by Lee Phillips

Planning to visit Loudoun County for yourself? Make a lodging reservation at one of our historic B&Bs.


The Second Battle of Kernstown: 150th Anniversary Commemoration

“In July 1864 the main focus of the war in Virginia had shifted to the Richmond area where the Union army had hopes of swiftly ending the war. Only secondary attention was being paid to the Shenandoah Valley with the only Union presence being Gen. George Crook in Winchester with a force of less than 12,000. With the tragic loss in 1863 of Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson who died at Chancellorsville from friendly fire from his own pickets, the Confederate forces in the Valley were now led by Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early” (Kernstown Battle).

The Second Battle of Kernstown was the last Confederate victory in the Shenandoah Valley, the beginning of Sheridan’s 1864 Valley Campaign, and preceding the end of the war by only nine months.

This year is the 150th Anniversary Commemoration of the Second Battle of Kernstown, and you have the opportunity to take a step back in time at the 1864 Pritchard House on the Kernstown Battlefield. Enjoy living history demonstrations, artillery displays, guided tours, motor coach tours, period fashion shows, and an appearance by the Civil War 150 HistoryMobile.

Quick Facts:

Where: The Pritchard-Grim Farm, Winchester, VA
When: July 19-20, 2014, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Admission: Free
Lodging: A BBHSV Bed and Breakfast, of course!

Source: John Paul Strain

Source: John Paul Strain

150th Anniversary Battle of New Market Reenactment

The Civil War Battle of New Market was fought on May 15, 1864 as part of the Valley Campaigns. This battle included two hundred fifty-seven cadets from the Virginia Military Institute, ranging in age from fifteen to twenty-five. The result of this battle was a victory for the Confederate army that forced the Union army out of the Shenandoah Valley.

Now, over a century later, New Market will present its 150th Anniversary Battle of New Market Reenactment, “one of the oldest continual reenactments in the nation.”

“Experience Civil War soldier life as you visit on-going demonstrations and living history presentations prior to and after the battle each day. Walk in history’s footsteps as you explore the sights and sounds of the Civil War with Signal Corps, Artillery, Cavalry, Musket firing, Camp life, Medical Corps, and much more. Enjoy tasty treats from a variety of food vendors and shop for souvenirs on Sutler Row” (Shenandoah at War).

Quick Facts:

When: May 16-18, 2014
Where: The Virginia Museum of the Civil War, New Market, VA
Admission: $10 (children 9 and younger are free)
Lodging: A BBHSV member inn

Source: Bruce Wetterau

Source: Bruce Wetterau

Explore History at Killahevlin in Front Royal, VA


There is no doubt that no matter where you set foot in Virginia, you will be in an area that is rich with the past. Many of our BBHSV members are links to history in and of themselves, and it is that history that makes inns like Killahevlin Bed and Breakfast such a wonderfully unique experience.

The Gaelic name “Killahevlin” has its origins in Northern Ireland, the childhood home of Irish immigrant William Edward Carson. In 1885 when Carson was only 15 years old, he moved to the United States, where he “took over his father’s lime-manufacturing plant at Riverton” (Encyclopedia Virginia). He eventually constructed his new home in Front Royal, an Edwardian-styled mansion that still stands proudly today and welcome guests within its walls.

Killahevlin’s past involves a greater history than just its edifice and its creator, however.   The site on which the mansion is built has its roots in the American Civil War, where its “vantage point proved to be a strategic location for Union troop encampment” (VAIrish). Furthermore, it is believed that two members of the controversial Confederate 43rd Battalion (also known as “Mosby’s Men”) were executed at this very location.

In 1993, Killahevlin was the Virginia Landmarks Register as well as the National Register of Historic Places, solidifying its position in history. Now the establishment is owned and run by Tom and Kathy Conkey, who describe their B&B as “Southern hospitality meets Irish charm.” They blend both American history and Irish history with a wealth of modern amenities, creating a charmingly casual vicinity that promises fun and relaxation.

Killahevlin Bed and Breakfast