Getting to Shenandoah from Washington DC is relatively straightforward by car. It’s as easy as hopping on Route 66W, driving to exit 13 and following the generally good signage from there. At the end of this blog, I’ve included another “super fancy/leave your worries at the door” option for people who just want to enjoy the day without thinking of travel directions, or designated drivers.
There are dozens of bed and breakfasts and cabins throughout the Shenandoah area—in fact at least one winery (Sharp Rock) offers a B&B on the property. Check out the Discover Shenandoah website for ideas.
Now, we were traveling with two dogs—which is always tricky. We also agreed we would rather spend our money on wine tastings than a beautiful room. So, we set our lodging budget at the $100 range. Combined with the dog bit, our options were limited. We ended up at the Days Inn.
I honestly can’t remember staying at split level hotel where your room door opens up to the great outdoors. When i used to travel to Kalamazoo, MI for work we would get nervous of being stuck at Motel 6 in a not so nice area. But it was, like most Days Inns, a fine, no frills experience that happened to be conveniently located (and w/ AAA membership, the room ended up being $109 with the pet fee!).
If you prefer upscale accommodations this is not the place for you. Like i said, we prefer to spend money on activities and believe for the most part, all hotel rooms and beds are pretty similar when you close your eyes. To its credit, the Days Inn has a pool, a mini-golf course and a huge field for dog walking. They also offer a complimentary breakfast. It’s more like a snack (fruit and pastries). We found out later that Flint Hill also accepts pets, FYI.
If you are traveling to Shenandoah for Luray Caverns and the park, this hotel is in a perfect location. If you are traveling for wineries, it’s very manageable…just off the loop so you’ll do minimal extra driving.
Another important tip for the Shenandoah area: 90% of the businesses do not take American Express. This Plan accordingly.
A final option to consider is getting a driver. This could be as swank as a limousine for up to 8 people, or a van, or just a driver who knows where all the best wineries are located. For my money, the go-to guy is Gary Ford. Three wineries he recommended we check out on a future wine tour were Vintage Ridge, Barrel Oak and La Grange. Gary can be reached at 540-229-7466. If you do decide to go with Gary, please follow up with me and let me know how your experience was (although I’m confident it will be good news). With a larger group, this could be the best way to go—and ultimately be the most cost/time effective. Gary knows everybody.