Winchester is the oldest English city west of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. Its location, rich history, and diverse economic base make it an attractive community to live. The city is situated in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, 65 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. The City of Winchester has a population of approximately 28,000.
Distinguished by its intense civic pride, community spirit, and progressive growth, Winchester and surrounding Frederick County was one of ten communities in the United States to earn the prestigious designation of All-American Community in 1991. The City, in partnership with local non-profit organizations, was designated an All-America City again in 2005. Winchester was recently recognized as one of ten best small towns in America to retire. Winchester has long been known as the "Apple Capital" and annually hosts the world-famous Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival which draws crowds in excess of 250,000 each year.
Cultural and Recreational Opportunities
Winchester receives significant economic support from the major industrial companies that have located in the area. A strong central business district and an abundance of local dining and shopping complement the economy.
Winchester also offers a host of cultural, educational, and recreational opportunities. The city's Shenandoah University, with its excellent conservatory, sponsors numerous vocal and instrumental performances, musicals, operas, dance concerts, and plays each year. Many are free, and local young people and adults are invited to audition and participate in music theater and in professional choral and orchestral performance groups both at Shenandoah and in the community at large. In downtown Winchester, the Winchester Little Theatre produces plays throughout the year, encouraging community participation in the production, acting and writing of plays. There is a thriving Old Town walking mall that provides an abundance of dining, shopping and entertainment for the family.
Numerous faiths are represented by religious organizations in Winchester and Frederick County. In addition to religious services, many churches operate weekday preschool programs and church camps, sponsor scouting groups and sports leagues, and hold interdenominational events throughout the year.
The city offers a wide range of community services. The Winchester Medical Center, an acute care hospital, serves as a regional medical facility and is one of the top 100 hospitals in the United States.
Fire, rescue, and police services are exceptional. Public mental health service and medical clinics are available, as well as extensive social services. Numerous civic and fraternal groups add to the quality of life in the community through their service projects and civic programs.
Places To Go, Things To Do
The Handley Library also offers a wide variety of educational and cultural programs, many of them for children. The Shenandoah Arts Council, which provides support for area artists and art events, publishes a community-wide calendar of cultural activities in its monthly newsletter. Local recreation departments and nearby facilities offer opportunities for fishing, skiing, hiking, camping, tennis, biking, horseshoes, racquetball, golf, horseback riding, minature golf, volleyball, softball, and indoor and outdoor swimming. Other facilities include a fitness room, a fitness trail, picnic shelters, paddle boats, and numerous playgrounds.
A collegiate summer baseball team gives residents a chance to cheer for the home team in the regional Valley Baseball League. Children have an abundance of opportunities to participate in many recreation leagues, including baseball, basketball, football, and soccer.
Further Your Education
Institutions of higher learning in the area include Shenandoah University, a liberal arts college offering associate and bachelor's degrees in nursing and respiratory care; bachelor's degrees in various liberal arts fields; master's degrees in education, business administration, and physical therapy; and degrees in music, dance, and theater arts through its nationally renowned conservatory of music. Laurel Ridge Community College, a division of the state community college system, is located in nearby Middletown and offers a two-year associate degree.