What is there to do in Bergton, VA?

Shrine Mont Retreat and Conference Center

We have always just called the Shrine Mont Retreat and Conference Center “Orkney Springs.”  It has a beautiful old hotel and an outdoor performance venue.  The oldest part of the historic hotel was built in the 1850, but the Virginia House – the main hotel structure – was built about twenty years later.  This is a wonderful old wooden hotel that has been well-maintained.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is owned by the Episcopal Church.  We started visiting “Orkney Springs” about 45 years ago to see the Fairfax Symphony.  As far as I remember, that is the only group that performed there then.  We went every year, packed a picnic basket, and sat on a blanket on the grass just outside the covered pavilion.  It was such a great vibe.  I love those memories.  Now the compound is host to the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival.  There are many more performances and performers.  All varieties of music but usually sort of geared toward an older crowd – performers like Marty Stewart, Beatles tribute band, ABBA tribute band,   Richmond Symphony, America, Village People, The Spinners, Bela Fleck.  There is some really nice food available for purchase on the evening of the event.  Orkney Springs, VA is about 25 miles from Bergton, VA but it is a bit of a windy back road to get there.  

Lake Laura Fishing

Lake Laura at Basye is really close to Shrine Mont at Orkey Springs (see above).  This is in Shenandoah County, VA about 25 miles from Bergton.  Lake Laura is part of the Bryce Mountain Ski Resort area and it gives folks staying at the resort things to do in the summer – like fishing.  You can take smaller boats with electric motors out on the lake.  The lake itself is pretty big – almost 45 acres, and it is kind of longer and thinner.  I have heard that the lake gets fairly deep – about 30 feet at the deepest.  You do need a license to fish in Virginia, of course.  And you can find a variety of fish in Lake Laura including pike, catfish, walleye, crappie, sunfish, gluegill, bass and carp.  Good luck fishing on Lake Laura.  I hope you catch a big one.  If you get tired of fishing you can always take a hike around the lake.  You can also swim, paddleboard, and get a snack at the beach shack at the far end of where the boat entry is located.  

Rt. 259

Haha.  So I put a road on the things to do around Bergton.  OK, so this road will take you to everything nearby Bergton for 25 miles on the West Virginia side to 25 miles on the Virginia side.  (I’m just saying 25 miles because that might be considered near Bergton.)  On the West Virginia side Rt 259 will take you to the Capon Run General Store,  Highland Retreat, Lost River State Park, Hidden Trails Stables, Lost River Grill and Motel, and Trout Pond.  If you head out on the Virginia side you’ll pass through Fulks Run and hit the road at the VFW for everything over at Orkney Springs (Shrine Mont Retreat and Conference Center, Bryce Resort, Lake Laura, etc.)   If you bypass the Orkney Springs back road you will hit Broadway, and there are a lot of restaurants and things to do there.  So Rt 259 is the one road that you can use for 50 miles.  There is a fairly high volume of traffic on the road, including big rig tractor trailers.   The road is long and often straight, but Rt. 259 is only two lanes, so be careful passing other cars or slow-moving farm vehicles like tractors pulling hay rakes or pickups pulling wagons with a dozen big round bales. 


There are a couple of roads from Bergton that go over the mountain into West Virginia.  I just want you to know what you’re getting yourself into before you take them.  These are very narrow, rough, often unpaved, twisty  roads.  Using these roads is for the fun experience.  They are not for commuting to work.  These are for pickups, SUVs, and motorcycles moving pretty slowly.  If you take Overly Hollow road it will come out at Peru, WVa.  (Prounced pee-rue).  I have done it on a motorcycle and car.  My neighbor used to bike it, but that must have been a heck of a bike.  It’s probably only ten miles as the crow flies, but we’re not flying and there are a lot of turns up and down the mountain.  If you take Bennets Run road, you will come to a locked gate at the top of the mountain.  This is a semi-private development of cabins.  If you know the combination to the gate, you can take that dirt road all the way down to the South Fork Road in WVa.  Another way over the mountain is to go past Valley View Mennonite Church in Criders.  If you continue on that road, it will eventually take you over the mountain, through Camp Run Campground and down to South Fork Road near Milam.  Once you get to South Fork Road you can go South to Brandywine or North to Moorefield.  But again, know what you are getting into before you go.  Almost every year there is a tractor trailer or two that needs pulling out because their GPS tells them to take these roads.  We try to flag them down before they get too far up these roads, but we don’t always catch them.  Have fun and good luck if you want to cross the mountain from Bergton.  It’s usually a pretty good experience.