Settled in 1739, Harrisonburg is a stronghold of Mennonites, spotted around town driving horse-drawn buggies. The 10-block historic downtown, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as one of Virginia's Historic Landmarks, was recognized as a Preserve America Community for its revitalization efforts. It contains locally-owned restaurants, shops, and galleries, as well as several museums. The Harrisonburg Farmer's Market is also held in this district. The city is also a center of higher education, with James Madison University and Eastern Mennonite College in town and Bridgewater College nearby.
The Hardesty-Higgins House Visitor Center, located in an 1848 Georgian Greek revival on South Main Street is the center of the historic district and home to the visitor center.
Harrisonburg is also the home of James Madison University, where you can stroll through a world of natural beauty at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Gardens (www.jmu.edu/arboretum).