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stopping at 1 of 4 towns around Winchester area - which one?

Roselle Park, New...
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stopping at 1 of 4 towns around Winchester area - which one?

I have narrowed it down to 4 towns to stay in on the way home. Front Royal being about 5 hours from our home in New Jersey, Hagerstown less than 4 hours, the other two are somewhere in between in time. Which would be the nicer town to go to. Front Royal, Winchester VA, Martinsburg W.V, or Hagerstown MD. I think by the time we arrive there wont be much time to do anything but am interested in a nice scenic place with the backdrop of the mountains that has stores & restaurants very near. We will be coming from Tennessee so driving to these towns will take quite a while. We will be coming from I-81.

Virginia Beach...
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1. Re: stopping at 1 of 4 towns around Winchester area - which one?

If you have time consider getting off I81 and taking Skyline Drive (if you've never driven it) for scenic value. You can travel just a portion and get a nice feel for Shenandoah National Park. The speed limit is 35mph but it's a beautiful road. Here are a few options for on/off sections.......

I81 to I64E take Skyline Dr at Waynesboro (Rockfish Gap entrance) get off at RT33 in Harrisonburg or RT211 Luray and back to I81

I81 to RT33 Harrisonburg to Skyline Dr, get off at RT211 Luray or go to the end at Front Royal

I81 to RT211 Luray to Skylone Dr take to end at Front Royal

The lodges in SNP are Big Meadows at milepost 51 and Skyland at mp41

If you don't care to do Skyline, Front Royal is scenic, small, and a bit more out of your way than your 3 other picks. Happy trails.

Warrenton, Virginia
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2. Re: stopping at 1 of 4 towns around Winchester area - which one?

Yes, if you do have the extra time, I agree that getting off I-81 (you will probably need to get away from the trucks) at New Market (route 211) and taking it over Massanutten Mtn. and down through Luray and up to the Thornton Gap entrance to Skyline Drive (you will enter Shenandoah National Park) and taking the Drive the 31 miles north to Front Royal is a good option. You can then stay in Front Royal. If time is very short, I would suggest staying in Winchester. If it is just you and a traveling companion, you might want to look at staying at The Inn at Vaucluse Spring for the night (we have stayed there several times and enjoyed it; they only serve dinners on Friday and Saturday night). It is between Middletown and Stephens City. We have walked the downtown areas of both Front Royal and Winchester but have only driven through Martinsburg and Hagerstown.

If you will be traveling with children and have some time, there are the Luray Caverns on route 211 in Luray, Virginia.

Stephens City, VA
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3. Re: stopping at 1 of 4 towns around Winchester area - which one?

Winchester is DEFINITELY the best place to stay. Front Royal has some cute B&B's, but not many nice hotels. Most in town are old motels. Winchester has some nice places right off of 81 at exit 313. There are also many restaurants right there.

To respond to the other posters, I have to agree that Skyline drive is beautiful, but it will at least double your driving time. Not to mention that it's quite far off of 81. That would best be a separate camping or hiking trip, where you could really enjoy it.

Enjoy your trip!

4. Re: stopping at 1 of 4 towns around Winchester area - which one?

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