Harrisonburg, Virginia has something for anyone, including outdoor expeditions, hiking, biking, camping, and fishing in the mountains that surround the valley. You’ll also find museums that preserve the history of the area, different trails of unique businesses that make a fun experience, live music and nightlife, some of the best restaurants and fine dining in the country, children’s activities, markets, orchards, and greenhouses.
1. Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail, Harrisonburg, VA
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This is no hiking trail, this is a trail of 14 craft breweries starting in Harrisonburg, VA, moving down into Staunton and Waynesboro, and finishing in Lexington. The trail covers three counties, but each brewery is conveniently located within one hour of each other. Each brewery is its own legend. Travel to any one of the breweries on the trail and discover great live music, excellent farm to table food, and chances to win prizes during their promotional programs.
Harrisonburg Tourism 212 S Main Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, Phone: 540-432-8935
2. Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, Harrisonburg, Virginia
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The James Madison University at Harrisonburg, VA hosts the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum where everyone is invited to explore the Oak-Hickory Forest, the trails winding through the daffodils, sloped forests, the pond in the lowlands, and the tree-covered savannah that many of nature’s beautiful creatures call home. This arboretum is a place that educators and students may use as a natural classroom during business hours. But, it is also for anyone wanting to bask in the serenity of the arboretum. This research space provides safe preservation of native flora and fauna and inspires people with natural beauty.
780 University Blvd, MSC 3705, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, Phone: 540-568-3194
3. The Joshua Wilton House, Harrisonburg, Virginia
© The Joshua Wilton House
Harrisonburg, VA is known for its old districts, and the Joshua Wilton House aspires to remain the center of travel among the old buildings in the downtown area. The inn features fine dining and comfortable stays for anyone to enjoy. Only fresh, local food is served at this restaurant and inn, where top-rated chefs prepare every meal. The Joshua Wilton House offers catering, reservation dining, reservation stays at the inn, reservations for parties, graduations, weddings, and other private events. As the seasons change, so does the menu, so going more than once is highly recommended.
412 South Main St. Harrisonburg, VA 22801, Phone: 540-434-4464
4. Explore More Discovery Museum, Harrisonburg, VA
© Explore More Discovery Museum
This non-profit museum is a place for children to learn, explore, and discover all the things about our world in the past, present, and future. Children actively learn by getting hands-on, doing the activities, and having a ton of fun. The museum offers birthday parties, field trips, workshops, summer camps, and many more fun and exciting ways for children to learn and grow in an active environment. The workshops and programs the museum offers also help the parents teach their children at home. The museum is accommodating to any child who wishes to seek knowledge about their world.
150 South Main St. Harrisonburg, VA., Phone: 540-442-8900
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5. Mineral Museum, Harrisonburg, Virginia
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This museum is another one of James Madison University’s many wonders for people to come and gain knowledge about the world. It houses more than 600 gemstone and crystal specimens acquired from every corner of the globe. Every specimen is neatly classified and displayed with many types of data, including where the specimen was found, the crystal system classification, the elemental formula, and where that type of mineral can be found in the world, among other great facts about each specimen. The specimens are arranged by chemistry in the systematic collection, by locality in the Virginia minerals collection, and by fluorescence in the Fluorescent Mineral Display.
Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences MSC 6903 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA. 22807, Phone: 540-568-6421
6. Shenandoah Heritage Market, Harrisonburg, Virginia
© Shenandoah Heritage Market
Held in the Shenandoah Valley, the Heritage Market is the largest county market in the area. The entire market consists of over 20 shops that sell all kinds of produce, canned goods, handmade furniture, crafts, quilts and blankets, antiques, history memorabilia, homemade candies, baked goods, bulk foods, western apparel, and of course, toys for the little ones. A large antique mall surrounds the market grounds, and there is ample parking for RVs and busses. There is a little something for everyone at this market, and it gives everyone a great chance to support local business in the Shenandoah Valley area.
121 Carpenter Lane, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, Phone: 540-433-3929 or 800-296-2905
7. Harrisonburg Farmers Market
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From local and seasonal produce to artisanal bread, from free-range meat products to rare cheese finds, the Harrisonburg Farmers Market has it all. The market has offering bringing farmers, artisans, and other vendors the unique opportunity to connect with the local community and sell high-quality products since the 1950s. Harrisonburg’s farmers market started with a local organic farmer, Clarence Dellinger, who started selling his produce in the police station's parking lot. In the later years, the Harrisonburg Farmers Market would eventually find its permanent home in 2008 at the Turner Pavilion. Popular with visitors and locals alike, there are tons of great deals and unique finds to snag at the Harrisonburg Farmers Market.
228 South Liberty Street, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22801; Phone: 540-476-3377
8. Shenandoah Spirits Trail, Harrisonburg, Virginia
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This trail is full of over 30 different craft breweries, distilleries, cideries, and wineries that spans from Harrisonburg, VA. All the way up through Rockingham co. into Shenandoah co. and finishing in Winchester, VA. In Frederick co., the entire trail is nothing but beautiful scenery, mountains, historical sites, fine dining, farm to table restaurants, historic downtown areas, and plenty of places for shopping and outdoor recreational activities. Each trail location is conveniently located within one hour’s drive of each other, and transportation is offered at certain areas of the trail. You may also inquire about prizes, gifts, and other promotional activities that the businesses on the trail always take part in.
Harrisonburg Tourism 212 S Main Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, Phone: 540-432-8935
9. Shenandoah Valley, Harrisonburg, VA
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This valley, located at the northern tip of Virginia, is a part of the Great Appalachian Valley and bears southwest down the state for a little over 200 miles. You can find mountains, parks, lands to use to hike, fish, bike, camp, or just take a nice scenic drive. Along the trail are prominent historic towns like Harrisonburg, Shenandoah, Winchester, Lexington, and many more. Every town is filled with bustling culture, many different shops and restaurants, nightlife, kid’s activities, nature journeys, outdoor recreation, historic tours and landmarks, museums, architecture, and art. The Shenandoah Valley has something for everyone.
10. Things to Do in Harrisonburg, Virginia: Showalter’s Orchard and Greenhouse
© Showalter’s Orchard and Greenhouse
Everything you want in an orchard or greenhouse is everything that Showalter’s is. At the orchard, you can pick from several types of peaches, over 25 types of apples, and various veggies. You are welcome to make an experience out of visiting the orchard and picking your fruit and vegetables yourself, or you can choose the produce already picked. The greenhouse is full of perennials both local and from elsewhere, annual flowers and plants, and brand-new varieties, which are hauled in often. You can also find great veggies like tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, herbs, and many other plants. Everything grown at Showalter’s is all natural.
17768 Honeyville Road, Timberville, VA 22853, Phone: 540-896-7582
11. The Heritage Museum, Harrisonburg, VA
© The Heritage Museum
The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society guards the heritage and history of their part of the Shenandoah Valley, while preserving, educating, and collecting more each day to put out for display for all to come and see. The museum has many historical exhibits like the civil war exhibit and the Shenandoah history exhibit. You can also research your genealogy through your surname using the thousands of records that are displayed for anyone to use. The museum also runs many programs for the community with experts in history, relatives of famous people of the area, master storytellers, and America’s war historians.
382 High Street, P.O. Box 716 Dayton, VA 22821, Phone: 540-879-2681
12. Little Grill Collective, Harrisonburg, Virginia
© Little Grill Collective
This worker-owned restaurant is located at the heart of Harrisonburg, VA. Families have been enjoying this place since 2003, and their menu has been rated the best for breakfast and vegetarian diets in Harrisonburg. The Little Grill is the front-running business that has implemented green procedures in their model, like using recyclable materials, saving water, composting all leftover food waste, re-using anything they can and using only natural ingredients. In addition, the owners donate at least 5% of the business profits every year to local charities and organizations. Having a meal at the Little Grill Collective is not only responsible for society and the environment but also extremely delicious.
621 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22802, Phone: 540-434-3594
13. The Valley Turnpike Museum, Harrisonburg, VA
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Located in beautiful Harrisonburg, VA., this museum is dedicated to researching, preserving, and educating the public about the history of the colonization of the Shenandoah Valley in the early 1800s and the years going forward. The locals call this era the Turnpike Era, because a company named The Valley Turnpike Company built the road that goes from Staunton to Winchester, winding through the mountainous Shenandoah Valley. This road was the first major infrastructure that was built that helped the colonization of the area. There are many exhibits that display artifacts representing their era, from the days of the civil war to more modern eras.
212 South Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801, Phone: 540-432-8935
14. The Virginia Quilt Museum, Harrisonburg, VA
© The Virginia Quilt Museum
Located in Harrisburg, VA., the quilt museum houses all kinds of quilts, sewing machines from various eras, and other stitching materials used throughout the years. The building was the first Harrisonburg court house, and the architecture of the building is breathtaking. The museum offers three floors of quilts, textile art, and the history of such arts. The helpful staff are there to field any questions and to educate the public about the history of quilting, the machines, and contemporary quilting. Their gift shop offers many kinds of quilts, accessories, and gifts for the kids too. Every quilt displayed has a story, and the staff tell those stories well.
301 South Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801, Phone: 540-433-3818
15. Heritage Bakery and Cafe, Harrisonburg, Virginia
© Heritage Bakery and Cafe
Heritage Bakery and Cafe is nestled inside the Visitor’s Center in Harrisonburg’s downtown and is operated by a mother and daughter who make elegant, fresh, unique, and very tasty items that any person would love. The menu for the daily baked goods changes frequently, so customers have a chance to try something new and have some of the old favorites too. On holidays, the Heritage Bakery and Café serves a lovely tea party for everyone. You can expect to find pastries, breakfast, sandwiches, soup, quiche, kid’s meals, and a large variety of tea, milk, coffee, and juices. The menu offers items that are healthy, very affordable, and extremely delicious.
212 South Main St, Harrisonburg, Virginia, Phone: 540-564-1200
16. White Oak Lavender Farm and The Purple WOLF Vineyard
© White Oak Lavender Farm and The Purple WOLF Vineyard
Known for their premier hospitality as well as high-end lavender products, the White Oak Lavender Farm and The Purple WOLF Vineyard can be found in the stunning Shenandoah Valley. The farm boasts 8,000 lavender plants in addition to 3,000 high-quality grape vines of several varieties. Owned by the Haushalter family of Harrisonburg, the farm and vineyard have been open to the public since 2008. Guests can participate in wine tastings at The Purple WOLF Vineyard, or attend various tours, lectures, and classes about both wine and lavender at the estate. Meanwhile, a fantastic lavender gift shop offers guests access to various goods of incredible quality from bath products, spa products, and even culinary products.
2644 Cross Keys Road, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22801, Phone: 540-421-6345
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17. Back Home on the Farm
Featuring 240 lush acres of farmland, Back Home on the Farm is a fantastic attraction for families that is situated in Rockingham County. Back Home on the Farm welcomes guests of all ages to come and enjoy recreational fun farm style with tons of country-themed attractions to enjoy. Hope on a cow train with your kids, enjoy a hay ride, watch an action-packed pig race, or even get lost in a tricky and challenging corn maze. In the fall, the pumpkin patch comes alive and beckons guests to pick and bring home the perfect pumpkin for October festivities. Be sure to stop by the farm’s café to enjoy afternoon tea the way 19th Century Brits would, with delicious teas and sumptuous treats to pair with them.
2915 Willow Run Road, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22802, Phone: 540-442-6493
18. Pale Fire Brewing Co
© Pale Fire Brewing Co
The creative juices are always going at Pale Fire Brewing Co. Passionate about crafting the perfect pour of beer, the Pale Fire Brewing Company was founded in April 2015 and has grown into an award-wining brewery with distribution reaches all over the state. Avid beer drinkers who want to sample the unique and award-winning offers of Pale Fire Brewing Company can do so at the tasting room located in downtown Harrisonburg. As with any brewery, the best place to start is always with the flagship line. Try a tasting flight of Pale Fire’s mainstays like the Red Molly Irish Red Ale, the Deadly Rhythm Pale Ale, the Salad Days American Saison, or the Arrang India Pale Ale.
217 S. Liberty Street #105, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22801, Phone: 540-217-5452
19. Brethren and Mennonite Heritage Center
© Brethren and Mennonite Heritage Center
Travel back in time and experience what life would have been like for Shenandoah Valley’s early settlers at Brethren and Mennonite Heritage Center. This cultural, historical, and educational attraction features a 24-acre campus comprised of historic buildings from the 18th through the 20th Century. While guests are certainly welcome to explore the heritage center on their own, there are tours that will help visitors get the most out of their trip. Starting at the Welcome Center, guests will visit a 1790s shoemaker shop, pay a visit to a pre-Civil War log house, learn about education back within a 1900s one-room schoolhouse, and so much more. Learn from interpretative panels, watch info-packed videos about the Brethren and Mennonites, or simply enjoy the incredible views that the center offers of the Shenandoah valley.
1921 Heritage Center Way, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22801, Phone: 540-438-1275
20. Elevation Sports
© Elevation Sports
True to their name, Elevation Sports definitely takes the best of sports and takes it to a whole other level for each of their visitors. Known specifically for their Bubble Soccer, visitors to Elevation Sports can look forward to an intense game of soccer from within bounce balloons. One hit will have players rolling off into bouncy barriers and back again, and scoring will certainly be a challenge. Other unique experiences at Elevation Sports include Combat Archery, Nerf Wars, and family-friendly recreational activities that encourage and promote health and wellness to each person who visits. No matter which sport, guests ought to be ready to battle their friends and family in this popular sports center.
1925 E. Market Street State 302, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22801, Phone: 540-705-0951
21. Mulligan’s Golf Center
© Mulligan’s Golf Center
Whether you’re looking to play a competitive round of miniature golf with your buddies, improve your swing, or simply whack a bunch of balls as far as you can, Mulligan’s Golf Center has got you covered. Milligan’s Golf Center is a practice facility that sees many guests eager to have a great time or to pick up items from the pro shop. Welcoming golfers of all ages, it’s the ideal spot to practice your swing, work on putting, or go all out on a bucket of balls. When you’re done at the practice center, Mulligan’s has a challenging 18-hole mini golf course with tricky landscapes and surprising obstacles to navigate.
141 Carpenter Lane, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22801, Phone: 540-432-9040
22. Beards and Broads Axe Throwing
© Beards and Broads Axe Throwing
Ready to have an incredible day or night out with your friend and family? Beards and Broads Axe Throwing promises just that with their welcoming sports bar style restaurant, axe-throwing lanes, and endless entertainment. Beards and Broads specializes in urban axe throwing and beckons first-timers and returning axe wielders alike to test their aim and strength in competitive axe-throwing games. Meanwhile, the on-site restaurant offers spectacular American fare and all the drinks one could want care of their fully stocked bar. For younger guests, or participants who may not feel ready to sling an axe just yet, Beards and Broads also offers board games, kid games, and other engaging activities.
1971 Evelyn Byrd Suite G, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22801, Phone: 540-208-7902
Attraction Spotlight: James Madison University Mineral Museum, Harrisonburg, VA
Located in Harrisonburg, Virginia on the campus of James Madison University, the James Madison University Mineral Museum showcases a collection of more than 600 rare and unique crystal and gemstone specimens sourced from locations around the world.
James Madison University was originally established in 1908 by the Virginia General Assembly as a women’s university known as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg. The university’s first student body enrolled 209 students for the 1909-1910 academic year. Original course offerings at the university focused on the modern equivalent of technical training courses, but in 1916, the university’s operations were expanded to include bachelor’s degree programs.
In 1924, the university was rebranded as the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg, and in 1938, it was renamed Madison College in honor of former United States President James Madison, due to the close proximity of his historic Montpelier estate. The university was incorporated as a coeducational institution in 1946, and in 1976, the university was again rebranded as James Madison University.
Throughout the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the university expanded its campus to include a variety of cultural facilities, including an expanded library facility, the John C. Wells Planetarium hybrid planetarium facility, and several museum spaces focusing on natural and cultural history topics.
The university’s mineral collections were started in 1976 as a display under the curation of faculty member Lance E. Kearns. Early financial support for expanding operations was provided by the University of Delaware Mineral Museum and the Bryr Mawr College Mineral Museum, and large donations by private collectors throughout the American East Coast region made significant expansions to the display’s collections. In 1989 and 1993, sizeable donations from private donors allowed for the endowment of the Virginia Minerals collection, and in 2007, a permanent museum facility was constructed for the collection. The new James Madison University Mineral Museum was officially opened to the public in October of 2007.
Permanent Collections and Exhibits
Today, the James Madison University Mineral Museum is overseen by the College of Science and Mathematics and is operated as a public museum facility within the college’s Memorial Hall building. The museum is open to the public five days a week on weekday mornings and afternoons and offers free admission to all visitors. More than 600 rare and unique crystal and gemstone specimens are showcased within the museum’s collection room, featuring stones acquired from locations throughout the world.
Museum mineral holdings are organized into several special collections, including the Virginia Minerals collection, which showcases minerals and gemstones native to the Virginia region. A Systematic Collection arranges minerals by their chemistry and structure, while a Fluorescent Mineral Display presents minerals displayed in a glow setting under ultraviolet lights. Macro minerals on display include amethyst quartz, azurite, calcite, celestine, fluorite, labradorite, malachite, pyrite, rhodonite, stibine, turquoise, and vesuvianite specimens.
Micro mounts of aragonite, aurichalcite, chalcopyrite, diotapse, hemimorphite, marcasite, mimetite, sulfur, topaz, and wulfenite are also displayed. Catalogs of museum specimens are also available online on the museum’s website, with complete chemistry and collection information. All specimens are labeled with information about the location of their origin, their mineral type, and its unique geological properties. Many rocks are displayed outside of cases for visitors to touch and explore collection items up close.
James Madison University Attractions
In addition to the University Mineral Museum, the James Madison University campus offers a variety of cultural and scientific museum facilities available to the public for free or nominal visitor admission. The university’s Department of Physics and Astronomy has maintained a public Meteorite Collection since 2002, featuring rock, impact glass, and pallasite samples from solar system objects such as Mars and the Moon as well as samples from interstellar asteroids such as 4-Vesta.
Notable pieces within the collection include an 1858 Augusta County meteorite mentioned in a 1904 Nobel Prize address, a 644-pound Nantan meteorite found in Guangxi, China, and a Campo del Cielo meteorite. Meteorite collections are displayed at facilities throughout the university campus, including the John C. Wells Planetarium facility, and may be viewed as part of free self-guided tours.
Several art galleries are offered throughout the museum campus, including the James and Gladys Kemp Lisanby Museum, which showcases collections from the university’s Madison Art Collection in rotating temporary exhibits. Exhibits of national and international works are presented at the Sawhill Gallery and the Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art, while diverse works emphasizing topics related to culture, religion, gender, and sexuality are displayed at the Prism Gallery. Information for tours of local historical attractions, including James Madison’s Montpelier, Virginia’s Natural Bridge, and the Museum of American Frontier Culture, is also provided by the university for area tourists.
365 S High St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, Phone: 540-568-6421
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Attraction Spotlight: Explore More Discovery Museum
Located in Harrisonburg, Virginia, the Explore More Discovery Museum is a children’s discovery museum offering hands-on STEM and arts-focused exhibits for families and children of all ages. The history of the Explore More Discovery Museum stems from a mobile museum exhibit established in 2002 for the purposes of bringing hands-on STEM and arts exhibits to the children of the Harrisonburg region at local schools and community special events.
In 2003, the museum acquired a permanent facility in the city’s downtown district and officially opened to the public as the Harrisonburg Children’s Museum, which was incorporated as a nonprofit organization and overseen by an executive director and board of trustees. In 2010, the museum was relocated to a new facility within the city’s former A&N Department Store building. Renovations on the building were completed throughout 2010 at a cost of $415,000, and the new museum facility was officially opened to the public in November of 2010. As part of its reopening, the museum was rebranded as the Explore More Discovery Museum.
Today, the Explore More Discovery Museum is operated as a nonprofit organization, offering a variety of hands-on exhibits and themed learning areas meant to emphasize STEM and arts concepts for young children. The museum’s exhibits focus on multisensory learning experiences meant to foster civic engagement, creativity, and critical thinking skills in preschool and elementary-aged visitors and their families. Additionally, a variety of public special event programming is offered throughout the year to engage the Harrisonburg community in continued learning, including daily demonstrations, workshops, summer camps, and community events.
A variety of STEM-focused exhibits are presented at the museum, including a fully-functional Science Lab that allows young visitors to conduct their own miniature science experiments across a number of scientific fields. A Construction Zone exhibit area offers free play with KEVA wooden planks, while a Super Service Center introduces mechanics principles related to car operation and repair in a recreated mechanic garage setting. The Friendly City Medical Center introduces health and biology principles inside a replica medical center, complete with a climb-aboard full-size ambulance donated to the museum by the G&W Ambulance corporation, while the Friendly City Dental exhibit, dedicated in memory of local pediatric dentist Dr. Joseph Green, teaches healthy dental practices. Other recreated civic structure exhibits include CK’s Kitchen and Farmer’s Market, which offers pretend cooking, apple-picking, vegetable dig, and produce-selling experiences, and the Down on the Farm exhibit area, which features a milkable cow, recreated barn and poultry house, and climb-aboard stationary tractor.
A number of exhibits focus on creativity and the arts, including the Imagination Playground, which provides a free playspace for creation with Big Blue Block toys. An Art Smart art studio offers weekly themed projects and workshops with guest artists, while a Games Galore area allows visitors to try their hand at golf, checkers, foosball, giant Jenga, and other interactive games and activities. The Virginia Theater offers a full professional stage for young performers to experiment with, including makeup, lighting, and set design elements, while the TV Studio lets children take the roles of television anchor and meteorologist for mock television news broadcasts. A puppet show area is offered in the Great Outdoors exhibit, which also allows visitors to recreate mock camping experiences. Nature is also emphasized in the 22-foot Discovery Tree treehouse exhibit, which offers a periscope, book nook, and Amazing Airways activity area, and in the Over the Meadow area, which offers a safe playspace for children under three.
At the Maker City Makerspace, visitors ages eight and older are encouraged to try their hand at a variety of crafting projects, including sewing, laser cutting, and woodworking. Periodic workshops are held at the 1,250-square-foot workshop, lasting approximately 90 minutes and focusing on a variety of multidisciplinary arts and crafts projects. All children using the Makerspace must be supervised by adult guardians at all times and complete training sessions to work with certain types of equipment. All Maker City workshops are free with museum admission, but require advance registration prior to workshop date.
Ongoing Programs and Education
In addition to standard museum admission, group tours of the museum are offered for small groups and organizations, including curriculum-incorporated field trip opportunities for elementary school students in grades K-4. A variety of field trip options are offered, including free explore trips allowing children to explore the museum and play at their leisure and focused trips offering structured group instruction and workshop opportunities. A variety of birthday party packages are also offered for children wishing to celebrate their birthdays at the museum. Summer camps are offered for preschoolers and for children in grades K-8, focused around a variety of STEM, arts, nature, and civic topics, and overnight experiences are offered for scouting groups. On the first Friday of every month, the museum is opened to visitors for free during the early evening hours. Other public special events throughout the year include a First LEGO League club and junior exposition, guest musical and arts performances, and workshops and seminars for parents and instructors.
150 S Main St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, Phone: 540-442-8900
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