When to Go to Central and Western Virginia

The climate is temperate in this region from April through October, although summers tend to be very humid. Spring and fall are beautiful, filled with flowers and colorful foliage, but winter driving through this mountainous part of the state can be hazardous. Crowds are largest at major attractions during the summer months, and peak vacation weeks like Easter and Christmas, and visitors flock to Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park in the fall.

Summer festivals include the two-week-long Virginia Highlands Festival in Abingdon, during late July–early August, which celebrates Appalachia with juried displays and demonstrations of arts and crafts, exhibitions of animals, sales of antiques, and performances of country music. 276/623–5266. www.vahighlandsfestival.org.

During the first three weekends of August, "Shakespeare at the Ruins" at Barboursville Vineyards brings outdoor performances of the Bard's classics to these beautiful vineyards, between Charlottesville and Orange. 540/832–3824. www.barboursvillewine.com.

The October Homes Tour and Crafts Exhibit in Waterford draws tens of thousands to this historic community. 540/882–3018. www.waterfordfoundation.org/fair.

Also in October, the Virginia Film Festival, in Charlottesville, is becoming a major event in the motion-picture industry, with screenings of important new movies and appearances by their stars. 800/882–3378. www.vafilm.com.

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