Five Places to Check Out in Rocktown This Fall

November 2nd, 2023 by

The leaves have changed at last in Harrisonburg, as we’re officially closer to Christmas than we are to swimsuit weather. Fortunately, Rockingham County provides more than enough to see and do before we hit peak holiday season. Courtesy of Steven Nissan, here are just five ideas to help you plan an autumn weekend with the whole family.

Edith J. Carrier Arboretum 

The kaleidoscopic foliage of the Fall invites you to brave the wind chill and spend as much time outdoors as you can before the winds of winter arrive in full force. With winding woodland trails lined with native plants, botanical gardens to explore, and gardens to relax in, the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum is the complete autumnal experience rolled into one destination. 

This woodland sanctuary, located on the James Madison University campus, is dedicated to the preservation of its native species. It offers opportunities for research and is constantly hosting new events and exhibits. Friday November 3rd, for instance, is their Hunters of the Night event, an after-dark program that teaches about owls and their nocturnal habits. 

Tillman-Stokesville Gravel Ride 

Rockingham County gravel ride trails range from beginner friendly (the 16 ½ mile Bridgewater Gravel Ride) to more intermediate (the more uphill, 7.1-mile Flagpole Knob Gravel Ride). While each is scenic and worthwhile in its own right, the Tillman-Stokesville gravel ride is tough to beat come Autumn.  

The well-maintained road begins at the Wolf Trail parking area and then proceeds south, through the George Washington National Forest. The first two miles of this half-marathon ride get you to the trail’s highest point, after which the rest of your ride is predominately downhill. From the National Forest to the Heathstone Lake Reservoir, you won’t find a more scenic bike trail for that perfectly crisp, sunny Fall afternoon.

Harrisonburg Farmers’ Market 

Nothing says autumn like a good outdoor farmers’ market, and Rocktown boasts one of the best on the East Coast. If the Fall weather serves as a sort of artisanal call-to-arms, the Harrisonburg Farmers Market proudly answers that call with its high-quality locally grown produce and freshly baked breads and desserts. 

The market is open from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays through Thanksgiving, and from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturdays only from December to March. The market is currently taking Thanksgiving pre-orders through Tuesday, November 14th. If you’re looking to stock up the kitchen pantry before the holidays are upon us, the Harrisonburg Farmers Market should be at the top of your list. 

White Oak Lavender Farm & The Purple WOLF Tasting Room 

Itchy, dry skin is a lousy by-product of chilly weather. Fortunately, the White Oak Lavender Farm has your remedies, while doubling as a premier Fall destination. The sweet fragrance of vintage lavender is on full display as you explore White Oak’s farm and gift shop. From silky body cream to massage oils, you’ll find a multitude of spa-quality products to treat yourself to. Meanwhile, the kids will be occupied with the White Oak’s friendly, domestic farm animals. 

Once you’ve had your fill of the outdoors, step inside and visit the Purple WOLF (short for White Oak Lavender Farm, see what they did there?) Tasting Room. Open at 10 a.m., the vineyard currently offers 12 samples of wine, along with beer flights, sangria, and more. Some of the wine is even infused with lavender, which supplies a smooth taste and finish. 

You Made It! Pottery 

The holiday season may be when the artisans dust off the family food and drink recipes, but it’s also an especially crafty time of year. Nothing says you’ve put time and effort into your gifts like a hand-crafted touch, and you can’t get a better hands-on craft experience in Rocktown than You Made It! Pottery.  

Paint, design your own pottery from clay, or do a fused glass project at this family owned-and-operated creative arts studio. You Made It! is great for kids of all ages, and they take reservations for birthday parties, office parties, field trips, and more. 

Keep Your Fall Drive on the Road

Here at Steven Nissan, we know that your weekends are especially precious this time of year. Any auto-based hiccup that prevents you from reaching your Fall destination on time could mean another cancelled family activity that you’re not able to reschedule. 

Whatever your vehicle requires – from brake service to battery maintenance to oil changes – we’re quick to handle. Make your goal this Fall to experience all the sights and events Rocktown has to offer; leave it to Steven Nissan to get you there.