Mountains in the George Washington National Forest to the west of Natural Chimneys, Mt. Solon, Virginia, are ancient, rugged, and beautiful. They reflect the historic grandeur and inspiring views seen regularly by travelers in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
Mennonites migrated into the Shenandoah Valley as early as the 1730s, though not until after the Revolutionary War did the trickle turn into a steady migration from points north. Most 18th century Mennonites farmed, whereas in the twentieth century many diversified their economic pursuits into other areas of work. The farming heritage in the western part of Rockingham County near Clover Hill, Virginia, with the Allegheny Mountains as a backdrop, is still strong and deep.
On a crisp July Sunday evening after a thunderstorm erupted across the Shenandoah Valley, a group gathered in the Cove schoolhouse at the CrossRoads Heritage center to listen to stories about 19th century Martin Burkholder documents. “Grace is a treasure,” Burkholder wrote in 1853, a fitting description for any era, including ours today.