In 2002, Mike Southard took a leap of faith worthy of The Dukes of Hazzard. He left a career in the elevator industry and decided to pursue his true passion: stock-car driving. Southard launched Try It Racing and On Track Racing Experience, determined to share with others the thrill he had felt many times in the victory lane of late-model stock-car races. His business has grown from a few humble events and clients each year to a fully packed schedule at some of the country's longest running and most renowned racetracks. Some things haven't changed, however—you can still find Southard behind the wheel of the two-seat ride-along car, taking patrons around curves and straightaways at top speed.
Adrenaline fiends satisfy their cravings while driving or riding around tracks such as Orange County Speedway, where industry legends Jeff Gordon and Scott Riggs have burned their share of rubber. A professional photographer and in-car video cameras can capture the excitement at each event, memorializing guests' wide-open eyes, exhilarated smiles, and high-intensity games of I Spy.
With a vast collection of artifacts and archives, The Heritage Museum seeks to preserve and share the history of the Shenandoah Valley. Here, you can peruse displays that trace this history back prehistory, Native American settlement, and early American history. Local residents and visiting researchers can even chart their genealogy with help from a researcher at the museum's library.
The Building: The 14,000-square-foot building's exterior was built to look like a 19th-century farmstead.
Eye Catcher: The electric map that traces Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign in 1862 was first created by local department store employees for the Centennial Commission in 1962, making it an artifact itself. It was shown in downtown Harrisburg for decades.
Permanent Mainstay: In Invincible Spirit: History in the Heart of the Shenandoah, guests go back in time as they examine Native American artifacts, explore a replica of a 19th-century potter's kiln, and read stories about the Civil War's impact on local residents.
Past Exhibit: Civil War Letters displayed a trove of letters and Confederate cash found during the restoration of an historic home. The letters, written in 1863 and 1864, tell tales of struggle, battle, and romance. They are now part of the museum's archives.
While You?re in the Neighborhood: Next door to the museum is the historic Cromer-Trumbo House, built in the early 1800s. It holds period pieces such as household items, toys, and decor. The Silver Lake Mill and Fort Harrison are also located within walking distance.
The recipes at l'Italia Restaurant and Bar date back hundreds of years, first created by the peasant and merchant families in Italy. The dishes include land and sea proteins, local produce, and even a peppering of flavors from other cultures. Chefs encase tilapia in an egg batter and simmer the filets in white wine and lemon juice, and pair balsamic glazed-grilled beef medallions with noodles covered in gorgonzola-alfredo sauce. Guests can also customize their own pasta dishes, with two-handfuls of pasta options and 14 sauces that add up to such combinations as cheese ravioli with vodka sauce or gluten-free penne under a ladle of basil pesto. The eatery also honors Italy with murals of historical landmarks that include the Colosseum,Vatican City, and Michelangelo's favorite Pizza Hut.
Nestled in the green hills of the Shenandoah Valley, Blue Ridge Skydiving Adventures gives skydivers their first taste of thrilling free fall. Composed of experienced instructors that take the time to get to know the people they'll shepherd through the clouds, the team makes sure to thoroughly educate each new jumper in the mechanics of the jump taking the student up to experience the adrenaline rush of a free fall. Each jumper will have an opportunity to embark on a accelerated-freefall training regimen that teaches the necessary skills for a successful solo free-fall skydive.
The Shenandoah River is a churning, ever-moving playground. Its waters take kayaks, canoes, and tubes passed tree-lined banks, allowing passengers to relax or maybe pause for some fishing. Shenandoah River Adventures continuously launches watercraft for these types of adventures. Back on shore, the company's grounds also encompass a 2-acre campsite filled with trees and vegetation. Aquablazing combines the best of land and water activities by letting people hike and kayak through portions of the Appalachian Trail.
Golf balls prone to motion sickness need not apply at Putter-A-Round Mini Golf. At the indoor course, golf balls are putted through a roller-coaster ride that includes tight turns, loop-de-loops, and hypnotic black-light effects. But aside from this chaos, the kid-friendly course maintains a welcoming vibe?charming obstacles such as a lighthouse, a stoplight, and a white picket fence challenge putters, and the walls are adorned with colorful murals.