By the Side of the Road Getaway Lodging was originally established in 1999 as Harrisonburg, Virginia’s first OFFICIAL bed and breakfast business. Founders Dennis  and Janice Fitzgerald wrote the City Ordinance that defined the services of a fine B&B establishment in the region.

Now, By the Side of the Road is once again leading the way to 21st century vacation lodging as Harrisonburg, Virginia’s first OFFICIAL Getaway Lodging accommodations. Our original City Ordinance now references “short-term rental” rather than simply “bed and breakfast,” and we are on board! Our luxurious cottage accommodations, which include all the luxurious amenities you expect, have been enhanced to also offer mini kitchens, enabling guests to prepare light meals during their stay, in line with vacation rental properties in high demand by today’s traveling public.  

A minimum two-night getaway or longer vacation rental is now available and affordable at By the Side of the Road Getaway Lodging. This award-winning lodging business, with twenty-years of successful operation, will maintain its five-star level of service in its new identity. Dennis and Janice Fitzgerald welcome you to be their guests now and in many return visits in the future.

War and Peace Define this Historic Harrisonburg, VA Bed and Breakfast

If walls could talk, those at By the Side of the Road Getaway Lodging would surely share some interesting tales of war and peace in the heart of Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Having served as the home of a prominent conscientious objector and early leader of the Mennonite Church, and later as a Civil War hospital following General Philip Sheridan’s devastating “burning of the Valley,” this large, post-Federal-period structure has provided shelter to many with opposing points of view.

Well-known Mennonite Bishop Peter Burkholder and his son and successor, Martin, were residents of this historic home. Burkholder was the author of The Confession of Faith, a book which included a reflection on non-resistance: “But in no wise do they (the Mennonites) thereby intend or wish to oppose the government, or rise up in rebellion against it; but on the contrary are well-wishers to their country and all men, and holding the government to be an honorable institution, and an ordinance of God and without which no land or country could stand or subsist. Moreover, they are ready and willing, as loyal subjects to submit to and obey government in all things lawful, and that does not oppose the doctrine of Christ and the dictates of their conscience; and are willing duteously to pay tribute according to the doctrine of Christ. But when we are demanded to take up the sword, and go to war against our enemies and slay them, we think it our highest duty in this to obey God rather than man.” Although he was a pacifist, Bishop Peter was courageous in his leadership, being the first to dare to preach in English to his predominantly German-speaking congregation.

The Manor House circa 1912
The Manor House circa 1912

During General Philip Henry Sheridan’s devastating “burning of the Valley” in 1864, this once pastoral abode was transitioned to a makeshift Civil War hospital. Because of its interior brick walls, it survived three attempts by Sheridan’s raiders to ignite the flame-retardant locust-wood foundation timbers, and the sturdy building served as a shelter to soldiers and burned-out neighbors alike. The nearby Lineweaver family farm folklore reveals that during the “hospital period,” soldiers would cross Possum Twist Hollow Creek, dividing the two properties, and steal Mrs. Lineweaver’s pies off her windowsill! John B. Wenger, who owned and occupied the house in 1864, is documented to have been a Union sympathizer and one who could be counted on to provide a hiding place from the Confederates in our war-torn valley. As one of the few large structures to survive the raid, the house was a natural refuge for the wounded and homeless.

Cottage and Vacation Rentals of Today

Though the surrounding property has now been reduced to eight acres and feels the pressure of the growing city of Harrisonburg, the original buildings stand as a tribute to the dedicated individualists whose construction has stood the test of time. A sturdy Shenandoah Valley bluestone foundation and crude, Flemish-bond brick style has served all its inhabitants well. Currently in use as a luxurious Harrisonburg, VA, lodging establishment and named for its location, By the Side of the Road still shelters all who come. Now, these guests relax in feather beds and over-sized spa tubs. By the Side of the Road Getaway Lodging is an enduring reminder of war and peace in Virginia’s historic and hospitable Shenandoah Valley.

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