While JMU has plenty of activities planned over Family Weekend, families traveling to Harrisonburg may also want to explore the community off campus. Here’s a list of activities in the Harrisonburg community to check out over the weekend.
The Farmers Market is a staple in the Harrisonburg community and a perfect way to spend Saturday morning with family before the football game. The market is open from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. Tuesday and Saturday. Families can shop around for locally grown fruits and vegetables, coffee, candy, arts and crafts and much more.
The Hardesty-Higgins House is the Visitor Center for Harrisonburg, but it also contains the Valley Turnpike Museum, Civil War Orientation Center, Rocktown Gift Shoppe and Heritage Bakery and Cafe. The Valley Turnpike Museum and Civil War Orientation Center explore the history of US Route 11 and the Civil War in Harrisonburg. After learning about the rich history of Harrisonburg, the Rocktown Gift Shoppe and Heritage Bakery and Cafe offer local gifts, souvenirs, coffee and pastries.
The Lucy F. Simms Continuing Education Center contains an exhibit celebrating the life and accomplishments of Lucy Simms, a leader and educator in the African-American community in Harrisonburg. The exhibit, created with the help of JMU students and professors, can be seen in the continuing education center Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The Virginia Quilt Museum showcases antique and contemporary quilts in its exhibits. The current exhibits include quilts from American quilter and author Mimi Dietrich, quilts incorporating vintage textiles into modern aesthetics and 3D botanical quilts.
Food and games:
Ruby’s Arcade is a restaurant and game space with the ability to keep the whole family entertained. Located in downtown Harrisonburg, Ruby’s has everything from pool to bowling and plenty of food to go along with it. Games can be paid for per game or through a $5 game pass that grants access to all games in the main room and half-price bowling.
Caverns in the valley:
The Grand and Luray Caverns are two caves in the Shenandoah Valley that offer tours through the natural rock formations. The Grand Caverns offer 70-minute guided tours while the Luray Caverns offer self-guided tours. At approximately 20- and 40-minute drives, respectively, the two sites also have above-ground attractions like mini-golf, museums, parks and trails.
Art creation and exhibits:
Downtown Harrisonburg is home to a plethora of art exhibits for families to explore while in town. Oasis Fine Art and Craft is a non-profit that showcases artists from around the Shenandoah Valley. Families can not only explore the local art, but buy it as well.
Smith House Galleries, housed in the historic Smith House, showcases local and emerging artists in the Harrisonburg community. The current exhibition consists of paintings and sculptures from a student and professor at Bridgewater College.
If families are more interested in making art rather than observing it, You Made It! is a local business that allows individuals to unleash their creativity through pottery making. It’s currently open on the weekends for painting or taking pottery to go.
Farm day fun:
If families are looking to get out into nature over the weekend, Harrisonburg has plenty to offer with the agriculture in the area. Back Home on the Farm is a family-owned farm about 15 minutes from JMU. It’s currently hosting fall activities like a corn maze, pumpkin patch and farm animal visits.
White Oak Lavender Farm is a family-owned lavender farm and vineyard located approximately 15 minutes away from campus. Families can taste wine, shop for essential oils and bath bombs, explore interactive gardens and go on audio-guided tours around the farm.
Jennifer Bell, the Harrisonburg tourism manager, recommended that families explore the more than 250 restaurants in the area, take walking tours or go shopping in downtown Harrisonburg.
“There’s just so many fun things people can do in the area no matter what their interests are,” Bell said.
Contact Ashlyn Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more coverage of JMU and Harrisonburg news, follow the news desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.