The quality of life in the Valley is one of the primary factors that draws people to live and work here. Situated between the Allegheny, Blue Ridge and Massanutten mountain ranges, the Valley's natural beauty is one of its best-known features. Sentara RMH is just minutes away from many natural attractions, including the Shenandoah National Forest, Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail, along with numerous world-class trout streams, rivers and caverns.
These natural features combine to make the area an ideal spot for outdoor activities. Skiing, snowboarding, hiking, camping, mountain biking, canoeing, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, caving and golfing are just some of the recreational activities the mountains and rivers of the Valley invite.
Massanutten Resort, just minutes from Harrisonburg, offers mountain biking, golfing, skiing and one of the largest indoor water parks in the country. Wintergreen Resort, located 45 minutes away near historic Charlottesville, VA, offers skiing, tennis, golf and a full spa. Luray Caverns, which have been designated a U.S. Natural Landmark, are located 45 minutes northeast of Harrisonburg, and the Virginia Horse Center is in nearby Lexington.
Historical sites, museums, landmarks, civil war battlefields and battle reenactments draw many people to the area. Woodrow Wilson's birthplace, Robert E. Lee's and Stonewall Jackson's gravesites, New Market Battlefield and the Frontier Culture Museum are within a short drive from Sentara RMH.
The Valley is also home to numerous cultural attractions. The world-class Shenandoah Shakespeare Theater and Troupe is located in nearby Staunton. Harrisonburg's Court Square Theater attracts a variety of local and national talents, as does the Lime Kiln Theatre in historic Lexington. Art, craft and music festivals are frequent events, and local artisans include traditional metal crafters and glass blowers. The oldest volunteer band in the United States, the Stonewall Brigade Band, which dates back to 1855, is local to the area. In addition, numerous vineyards and wineries are within a short drive from Harrisonburg.
While the area offers a friendly, small town atmosphere, Sentara RMH is convenient to several large metropolitan areas. Just a two-hour drive from Washington, D.C., Richmond and Roanoke, VA, Harrisonburg is easily accessed by Interstates 81, 64 and 66. Beach lovers will appreciate the area's proximity to the shore—Virginia Beach is three and a half hours away and North Carolina's Outer Banks are a five and a half hour drive. Several daily flights from the Shenandoah Regional Airport to Washington/Dulles and Pittsburgh International Airport give residents easy access to any destination in the world.
Economy and Housing
Originally settled by Scotch-Irish and German farmers, the Valley is dotted with farms, and the local culture continues to reflect the early settlers' strong faith and work ethic. These agricultural roots are balanced by a thriving economy and business climate. With a population of roughly 115,000, Harrisonburg and Rockingham County comprise one of Virginia's fastest growing communities. Current estimates predict that Harrisonburg and Rockingham County will continue to grow steadily over the next 15 years, opening up numerous opportunities for Sentara RMH and our employees.
Agribusiness is the area's dominant industry, but numerous large manufacturing facilities are also housed here, providing the foundation for a stable economy. Merck, Inc., Coors Brewing Company, Marshalls, Inc., R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., Inc., Walker Manufacturing and Wal-Mart are just some of the businesses with a strong local presence. Many new stores, shops and restaurants (offering a wide variety of American, ethnic and international cuisines) have recently located in the area, and the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County area boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state.
Housing options in the area are varied. The streets of Harrisonburg's Old Town neighborhood are lined with stately trees and Victorian homes. Several historic downtown buildings have been converted to modern condominiums. Massanutten Resort offers wooded lots, mountain views and year-round resort activities. And several new planned communities offer the latest in suburban neighborhood living.
The central Shenandoah Valley is a center for higher education. James Madison University, Bridgewater College, Eastern Mennonite University and Blue Ridge Community College are all located here. Sentara RMH offers tuition reimbursement to help our employees further their college education.
Children in the community are afforded a good education through Harrisonburg and Rockingham County public school systems. Students in both systems consistently score at or above state and national averages on achievement tests. Several highly rated private elementary and secondary schools are also located in the area.