Cedar Creek and Belle Grove NHP 2014 Sesquicentennial Ranger Programs
We are currently in the planning and development phase for the 150th commemorations of the Battle of Cedar Creek and the various campaigns that occurred in the Shenandoah Valley during 1864. Please check back in early 2014 for developments.
Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park began ranger-conducted programs in 2010. Below are a description of the various programs and activities, all of which tell the park's many stories related to the rich cultural history of the Shenandoah Valley and the American Civil War.
These FREE programs examine the history and settlement of the Shenandoah Valley, the Battle of Cedar Creek, its aftermath and the impact of the Civil War on both the local communities and the nation as a whole.
* Cedar Creek and Belle Grove "in a Box" - A Park Overview Program A 30 minute orientation program on the history and settlement of the Shenandoah Valley, the Battle of Cedar Creek and the impact of the Civil War on the local community. This interactive program uses the surrounding landscape features and various props (taken from a box) to "create" the park and tell its many stories by literally placing visitors "in the middle of the park." Great for kids and adults alike! Meet near the picnic area on Belle Grove'sfront lawn.
* "From Back Country to Breadbasket" The Peopling of the Shenandoah Valley A 30 minute program on the early history of the Shenandoah Valley through the eve of the Civil War. Meet near the picnic area on Belle Grove'sfront lawn.
* "To Battlefield and Beyond" War Comes to the Shenandoah Valley This 40 minute program examines the physical, economic and emotional impacts of many military campaigns and battles that occurred in the Valley. This presentation makes clear that it was more than just the soldiers on the battlefield who suffered. Meet at the Hupp's Hill Civil War Park.
* Battle of Cedar Creek Tour A two-hour guided tour, using a car-caravan system (visitors follow the ranger's vehicle), which covers the Battle of Cedar Creek in a chronological fashion. This 13 mile tour follows the major events of the fighting and includes approximately 5 or 6 stops at key battlefield landmarks. Meet at the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Headquarters.
*The 8th Vermont Monument at Cedar Creek Visit one of the few monuments located on the battlefield and learn about the story of the New England regiment it memorializes. Meet at 8739 Valley Pike, Middletown VA 22645 (A Park Service banner marks the site). A short walk of moderate terrain is required. Good walking shoes or boots are recommended.
* Middletown Civil War Walking Tours Learn of the citizens of Middletown who lived through those difficult times and how the war impacted their lives. Meet the ranger for a 90 minute walking tour at the the corner of First and Main Street, Middletown. At the only stoplight in town. (Normally offered once a month)
* Civil War Entrenchments Tour Some of the most pristine Civil War entrenchments that survive in the Shenandoah Valley are located on the bluffs above Cedar Creek and are preserved by the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, Join a Park Ranger or Foundation staff for a special walking tour and learn not only how these works were constructed but also what role they played in the battle. Meet at the parking lot of the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, 8437 Valley Pike, Middletown. (Normally offered once a week during the summer)
* History at Sunset On Friday evenings during the summer Cedar Creek and Belle Grove NHP will present a series of specialized tours in and around the park that will cover a wide variety of subjects related to the park and its rich cultural history. These programs will give visitors an opportunity to see sites not normally open to the general public. Explore and learn about some of the many "hidden gems" of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove. Each tour begins at 7 PM and is designed to last 60-90 minutes. (Program schedule and starting locations will be announced at a later date)
Program schedules will be set on a weekly basis. Click here to see our current schedule of events or call (540) 869-3051 for a current schedule.
Meet the Interpretive Staff
Eric Campbell is the Chief of Interpretation at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. The 25 year National Park Service veteran served as a park ranger-historian at Gettysburg National Military Park for 20 years, along with previous assignments at Independence National Historical Park and the Eisenhower National Historic Site. He has also authored over two dozen articles and essays for scholarly publications and his book, "`A Grand Terrible Dramma': From Gettysburg to Petersburg, The Civil War Letters of Charles Wellington Reed," was published by Fordham University Press in 2000. Eric's responsibilities include overseeing the planning for future interpretation at the park, including the completion of a comprehensive interpretive plan. He will also develop ranger-lead programs, walking trails, brochures, exhibits, the park website and podcasts.
Shannon Moeck is a Park Ranger at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove NHP. After attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and spending a decade in Pittsburgh, PA as a music promoter and retail manager, she was ready for a change. She moved back to the Shenandoah Valley and started attending Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown, VA. Her passion for history was reignited when she took a World Civilization history class. Shannon joined the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove staff as a seasonal hire during the Parks inaugural season of interpretation in 2010. Having just completed her dual degrees the Spring of 2013, she is now a full time permanent ranger on the team. Currently her responsibilites include interpretation, Volunteer manager, webmaster, social media coordinator, research, and assisting in helping develop this park.
Kyle Rothemich is entering his second season at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. Kyle is a student who is currently attending James Madison University is his pursuit of a history degree. During his time here at the park, Kyle has been aiding the park in creating and presenting numerous interpretive programs, as well as helping develop exhibits for the new Visitor Contact Station. On August 2nd, Kyle will be presenting a special "History at Sunset Program" on the Heater House and how the Civil War affected this family in numerous ways. Kyle one day wishes to earn a permanent position within the National Park Service, helping to preserve our national landscapes, and teaching visitors about both the importance and beauty of history.
Jonathan Steplyk has been a seasonal ranger at the park since interpretive programs began in summer 2010. A long-time student of the Civil War, his history degrees include an AB from Ripon College and MA from Penn State. Currently he is working toward his PhD from Texas Christian University. Jonathan is also active in Civil War reenacting and recently took part in Gettysburg's 150th Anniversary Reenactment. Although a native of Illinois, his family tree includes settlers who lived in the Shenandoah Valley during the 1700s. Jonathan's proudest accomplishments at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove include helping research the "Faces of the Valley" project and creating the park's tours of the 19th Corps entrenchments and Stickley Farm.This summer Jonathan is heading up the creation of the park's Junior Ranger program.
Chris Nelson is a retired Air Force veteran, she has a wide array of interests, but is an adventurer at heart. She wants to travel to Africa, hike the Appalachian Trail, and backpack through the U.S. and Europe, with her husband. It took some time for her to nail down exactly what she wanted to pursue as a second career. She completed her Associates of Arts & Sciences at Lord Fairfax Community College and is pursuing a degree in Public History at James Madison University. This is her first season with the National Park Service, and hopes to be a seasonal ranger for many years to come.
Stephen Santelli is interning this summer at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. He is really interested in learning the ins and outs of a partnership park. This summer he will be giving interpretive programs, cataloging some of the park's artifacts, helping with social media, and generally, being an intern. He is a graduate student from West Virginia University working on his PhD in history. He is studying why people first wanted to preserve historic sites and structures at the end of the 19th century. Stephen was a seasonal park ranger at Manassas National Battlefield Park during its sesquicentennial in 2011.
Did You Know?
When you say "going down the valley" you are actually traveling north in the Shenandoah Valley and that when you are traveling south, you are "going up the valley?" The reason for this expression is because the Shenandoah River flows north, so downstream is in that compass direction.