Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tourism Best Practice Mission - Day 4

Yesterday morning we checked out of the George Washington Hotel in Winchester, VA and began making our way up the valley. Yes even though we were heading south we have been told that we are going up the valley. We travelled many miles on the bus through much of the countryside of the valley and through the mountain areas in the Shanandoah National Park. There were a number of stops throughout the day to meet with various individuals and learn more about how they are using the Shenandoah Valley, and in particular the park to market their area as a tourism destination. We had lunch at one of the hotels in the park high atop the mountains along what they call the Skyline Drive. The view from the hotel overlooking the valley below was spectacular.

Eventually we ended up in Staunton, VA where we checked in to the Stonewall Jackson Hotel, which like the George Washington Hotel has been retored through a public/private partnership. It is a beautiful hotel that was originally built in 1924 and is located in the heart of the City. Last night we had dinner at a busy local restaurant called the Mill Street Grill, located in an old flour mill building. They are famous for their ribs. They also had a jazz band performing that certainly livened things up.

Tonight we are visiting the Blackfriar Theatre located beside the hotel to see what has been created there. We are told it is an excellent recreation of a Shakespearean Theatre, and is another example of a project that resulted through a public/private project. Following that we are off to experience another local restaurant called of all things "The Dining Room".

Tomorrow we are up bright and early to board the bus and begin making our way further south to Charlottesville to the home of President Thomas Jefferson, and then on to our final stop in Richmond.

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