ECW Weekender: Pack’s Frozen Custard

“And that’s a good place to stop for frozen custard…” Our battlefield tour guide announced, nodding toward a small stand as we zoomed by on Route 211, heading to New Market Gap.

Sarah and her mom at Pack’s Custard

The next day – after I had dragged my mom all over New Market battle ground for the third day in a row – we both decided we needed a break from driving, hiking, consulting maps, and taking notes. We pulled into the parking lot at Pack’s Frozen Custard and had a treat!

Travelling through the Shenandoah Valley this holiday weekend or later in the summer? We found a place you’ll want to visit between battlefields and historic sites. And since I highlighted the place for frozen custard in Fredericksburg, it seems only fair to share this “secret” too!

How to get there?

Here’s the closest address: 185 Lee Hwy, New Market, VA 22844

Here are the local directions: If you’re in the town of New Market, head north on Route 11, as though you’re leaving town. Make a right turn on Route 211 (you’ll see the highway signs). Start looking on the right. Pack’s Custard is a small stand in the parking lot, near an antique store. If you get to the bridge or Smith’s Creek, you’ve gone too far.

My mom and I can recommend the Black Raspberry and Vanilla swirl…and the Chocolate and Vanilla swirl. No, we didn’t have two custards on the same day! We were delayed in New Market on our final day in the area and decided to try more custard flavors after visiting the local library.

Be advised that Pack’s Frozen Custard has afternoon/evening hours. Currently, the stand is open from 12noon to 9:30 pm. Check their Facebook page or Google listing for more details!

New Market Gap (Photo was actually taken a north and west of Pack’s, near the 54th PA monument)

As you enjoy a treat, don’t forget to admire the view and consider the historical happenings to the east. It’s a picture perfect view of New Market Gap in Massanutten Mountain. This area was part of Stonewall Jackson’s “playground” during the 1862 Valley Campaign and a strategic location for any defender or invader of the Shenandoah Valley. Massanutten Mountain runs from Strasburg up to Harrisonburg, creating the Luray Valley to the east. New Market Gap was really the only practicable way to move an army westward out of the Luray Valley or eastward across Massanutten to the Blue Ridge and on to eastern Virginia.

In May 1864, Union cavalry descended from New Market Gap and skirmished with Confederate reserve cavalry near Smith’s Creek and in the big grassy fields you see at the base of the mountain (visible from Pack’s). This cavalry action helped set the stage for the Battle of New Market, fought on May 15, 1864. The fight resulted in a Confederate victory for General John C. Breckinridge, disastrous defeat for Union General Franz Sigel, and immortal fame for the Corps of Cadets from Virginia Military Institute.

Got the idea there’s a lot of history to explore in this area of the Shenandoah Valley? And don’t forget there’s yummy frozen custard too! It’s time to plan a little road trip…