At The Core
by Shawn Street
The Northern Shenandoah Valley is known worldwide as being one of the most historic areas of the nation, as well as for being Virginia’s Apple Capital.
Thanks to a cooperative effort spearheaded by the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce and the Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, tourists are invited to follow a trail that showcases the area’s historic sites while featuring the rich agriculture industry.
Follow the Apple Trail Driving Tour is a 45 mile adventure that takes visitors across Frederick County’s highways and back roads and by almost 50 historic sites and farm markets.
Points of interest include Abram’s Delight Museum, Mount Hebron Cemetery, Virginia Farm Market, Belle Grove Plantation and Wayside Theatre, among a host of others.
“It is a way to bring attention to the rich heritage of the apple industry and places relevant to the apple industry,” stated Melanie Stepp-Coughlin, Executive Director of the Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The trail also features some really beautiful historic treasures.”
Stepp-Coughlin’s assessment of the trail is not just from the viewpoint of an official, but as a former tourist as well.
“When I first moved here I drove along the trail and it was a really wonderful experience,” she said. “It really captures the great beauty and charm of this area.”
According to Stepp-Coughlin, a motorist can complete the tour in approximately 90 minutes, but, she pointed out, very few do.
“It takes about an hour and a half if you don’t stop, but you’ll want to stop and visit some of the sites and just have fun along the way,” she said.
In an effort to help tourists along the way, white signs featuring an apple and the words “Apple Trail” dot the roadsides. But they are not the only aids utilized to ensure visitors have a memorial experience along the Follow the Apple Trail Driving Tour.
Audio cassette tapes are available at the Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors Bureau for $5.
Stepp-Coughlin explained that the narrator on the audio tape offers details about the area the tourist is traveling. “It starts here at the Bureau and holds your hand throughout the trip,” she said.
“We realize that more and more vehicles are being made with only CD players,” she added, “and therefore we’ve ordered CD versions of the tape.” Stepp-Coughlin said she hopes to have the compact discs available to the public later this month.
In addition to the cassette tapes and compact discs, the Bureau also offers a brochure which features a brief history of the apple industry, a map of the trail and descriptions of the 47 sites featured along the trail.
For more information about the Follow the Apple Trail Driving Tour or to purchase the audio tour guides, visit the Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1360 S. Pleasant Valley Road in Winchester, Virginia or call 1-800-662-1360.