You can get out of your vehicle and go for a pleasant stroll on the Hawksbill Greenway, a paved pedestrian path following Hawksbill Creek between downtown and the U.S. 211 bypass.
New Market: Students at War
Between Luray and Staunton at the intersection of I-81 and U.S. 211, the village of New Market holds a hallowed place in Civil War history, for it was here that 257 Virginia Military Institute cadets charged the veteran Union lines on May 15, 1864, won the day, and returned to campus victorious. A descendant of Thomas Jefferson and nine other students were killed and 47 were wounded. Hearing of the battle, Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant exclaimed, "The South is robbing the cradle and the grave."
Today the cadets are honored by the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park and the Hall of Valor Museum, 8895 Collins Dr. (tel. 540/740-3101; www4.vmi.edu/museum/nm). The Hall of Valor is one of Virginia's finest Civil War museums. Two films, including the award-winning Field of Lost Shoes (45 min.), tell the story. Explaining the military strategies, the museum's circular display of photos and newspaper headlines is the best chronological account of the war in Virginia I've seen. It begins with a wall-size painting of Richmond before the war and ends with a photo of the burned-out city in 1865.
Outside on the rolling, grassy fields, students lead 1-hour tours at 1 and 3pm daily during summer, or you can take a self-guided 1-mile walking tour along the final Confederate assault on the Union line. The Bushong farmhouse, which served as a battlefield hospital, is now a museum of 19th-century valley life.
Admission is $10 for adults, $9 seniors and active-duty military, $6 for children 6 to 17, free for kids 5 and younger. The museum is open daily 9am to 5pm except New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas. The battle is reenacted in May on the weekend after Mother's Day.
While here you can explore New Market's many antique and collectibles stores along Congress Street (U.S. 11) and sample good home cooking at the inexpensive Southern Kitchen, 9576 Congress St. (tel. 540/740-3514), 1/2 mile south of the I-81 interchange. It's open daily 7am to 9pm.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.