The Trails at the MSV to Open to All on November 25
Live Broadcast on MSV Facebook Page and Free Admission to Gardens and Galleries
Add to the Festivity of Opening 90-acre, Free-admission Art Park 

Winchester, VA 11/23/20 . . . At 7 a.m. this Wednesday, November 25, 90 acres of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley landscape will open to the community for the first time as a free-admission art park, The Trails at the MSV.

In addition to the Trails opening to all for walking, running, and bicycling this Wednesday, the occasion will be celebrated virtually with an opening broadcast live at 9 a.m. November 25 on the MSV Facebook page.

After that, the celebration will continue the entire day, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., when the MSV galleries and formal gardens will be open to the public free of charge, thanks to corporate sponsor Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc.

Eight years in the planning and at a cost of $9 million, The Trails at the MSV project has been made possible by more than 1,000 donations and grants from several foundations, including the Glass–Glen Burnie Foundation.

Along with a network of dog-friendly trails for walking, running, and bicycling that will be open year-round from 7 a.m. to dusk, The Trails at the MSV includes engaging outdoor art installations and a new Museum entrance. Located near James Wood Middle School, the entrance includes a parking area for trail users and a scenic new entry road to the MSV as originally envisioned by the acclaimed MSV architect Michael Graves. Along with this new Amherst entrance, a pedestrian entrance on Jefferson Street also will open on November 25.

According to MSV Executive Director and CEO Dana Hand Evans, the MSV is thrilled to be opening The Trails at the MSV in time for Thanksgiving weekend visitors.

“Our community needs hope, excitement, and access to green space more than ever right now,” says Evans, who adds, “beginning Wednesday, we invite people to enjoy the Trails now and then witness the installation of the park’s finishing touches in the weeks ahead.”

A Phased Opening for Continually Unfolding Interest

The first phase of the opening of The Trails of the MSV will offer the public approximately 1.8 miles of ADA-accessible trails and an additional half mile of non-ADA trails. After that, extending the excitement of the park’s opening, the Wetlands Trail, Floating Boardwalk, and Trail Head are all anticipated to open around the end of December (click HERE to see a map of the Trails).

When the Wetlands section is complete, visitors may access the Trails via a new pedestrian entrance and walk an ADA-accessible, 2.25-mile loop around the property that incorporates the .43-mile portion of Winchester’s Green Circle Trail in front of the MSV.

Other evolutions to come include, in 2021, the addition of another mile of rustic grass and mulch trails; the installation of the outdoor photography exhibition Give Me Shelter: Scenic Views of the Appalachian Trails by Sarah Jones Decker; and a treehouse built around a walnut tree.

This Wednesday, Trails visitors will have plenty of interesting details to see, with engaging landscape features including a standing stone circle; a fieldstone ha-ha (sunken stone fence); a grouping of 10 hills or “picnic mounds” ranging in height from 10 to 15 feet; an allée with 46 newly planted oak and hickory trees; and, near a renovated 1950s-era silo, a garden planted with ornamental grasses and featuring a retired tractor that was used on the MSV farm ever since the 1970s.

The Artworks of The Trails of the MSV

It is anticipated that trail-walkers also will be captivated by the art installations in the park.

These include Compa Rojo (My Friend Red) on the Paterson Overlook. An exceptionally exciting artwork, it was made in 2019 by Mexican American artist Alejandro Martin Moreno Alonso “Otto” (b. 2000) and was purchased with funds provided by Carolyn and Allan Paterson and the Kuntz Foundation.

Those exploring the Trails will also encounter Pentangle, a bronze work made in 1982 by American artist Rubin Peacock (b. 1941) and on loan from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. A North Carolina native, Peacock has made Richmond his home for decades.

Finally, Silo Skyline is sure to become a visitor favorite along The Trails of the MSV. This interactive mobile is installed in the Silo and features moving iron birds and clouds that the visitor may put into motion via a hand crank inside the structure. The artwork was made in 2020 by a team of Valley artisans, including internationally known metalsmith Andrew White (b. 1981), Jack McAllister (b. 1938), and engineer Brett Phillips, of Crider & Phillips. Silo Skyline was conceived, commissioned, and funded by Dr. Jack McAllister.

Like the Trails themselves, artwork installations will evolve over the coming weeks, assuring visitors that there is always something new to see in this exciting new park. Seven Bends, a bench inspired by the iconic Shenandoah River and created by metalsmith Andrew White will be installed in December, as will a carved sculpture by Valley artist Glenn Richardson. Cherry Blossoms, a sculpture by American artists Dale Rogers, will be installed in 2021.

Construction Details 

The construction of the paved, ADA-accessible trails is funded through a partnership between the city of Winchester, the Museum, and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). VDOT provided $1.38 million in program funds for the project.

The general contractor for final phase of construction of The Trails at the MSV project, including trails construction, installation of landscape features, and the Wetlands boardwalk, is Perry Engineering. Civil engineering is being provided by Painter-Lewis, P.L.C. The general contractor for the first phase of the park, which included infrastructure improvements and construction of the environmentally friendly parking lots, was Howard Shockey & Sons. Notable in-kind donations to the project have been made by Perry Engineering, Howard Shockey & Sons, Carmeuse Americas-Winchester Operations, and Trex.

Operation and maintenance of The Trails at the MSV will be the responsibility of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Those interested in donating to support the Trails may visit or call 540-662-1473, ext. 217.

A regional cultural center, the MSV is located at 901 Amherst Street in Winchester, Virginia. The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley property is the largest green space in the city of Winchester and the only working farm that remains in city limits. Beginning November 25, The Trails at the MSV will be open daily, year-round from 7 a.m. until dusk. The MSV galleries and seven acres of formal gardens are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. January through March). The Museum’s Glen Burnie House and Gardens are open April through December, and the galleries are open year-round. MSV admission is not required to visit the Trails at the MSV. Admission to the galleries and gardens is $15 (adult), $10 (youth ages 13–18/seniors age 60+), and free to MSV members, ages 12 & under, and thanks to corporate sponsor Howard Shockey & Sons, free to all on Wednesdays. Details are available at –END–