Area Information


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Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains Highland County forms part of the border of the famed Shenandoah Valley. Monterey is served by US Highways 220 and 250, about 160 miles northwest of Richmond. Highland County received its name from its prevailing high altitude, and has the highest mean elevation of any county east of the Mississippi River.

Highland County was built around the richness of its natural resources. Our lush meadows and pastures located in the valleys beneath the hardwood forests of five mountain ranges are perfect for our cattle and calf farms. Other agriculture opportunities include sheep and wool productions, timber harvesting, and the production of Allegheny Mountain trout.

Highland County was formed in 1847 from Bath and Pendleton counties, and encompasses 422 square miles of spectacular mountain terrain. During the Civil War, the Battle of McDowell, a significant battle in Stonewall Jackson's 1862 Valley Campaign, was waged in Highland County.


Monterey was established in 1848 and was originally named Highland. It was later renamed in honor of the Mexican town where General Zachary Taylor defeated the Mexican Army during the Spanish-American War.

Highland County's climate consists of moderately cold winters and comfortable cool summers. The fresh spring waters flowing north provide the headwaters for the South Branch of the Potomac River and flowing south provide the headwaters for the James River.

The highlight of the area's events is the Highland County Maple Festival held each March with the opening of Sugar Maple trees followed by the production of Maple Syrup a natural elixir for baking, topping pancakes, and ice cream.


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The Highland County Public School System nurtures students in grades K-12. We are one of 30 counties in the state that are fully accredited by the Virginia Department of Education Standards of Learning.

Nearby institutions of higher education include Washington and Lee University, James Madison University, the University of Virginia, Fairmont State College and others.

Highland County Medical Center is a nonprofit entity that was founded and initially supported by the hard work and generosity of the community.

There are 2 main Highland County wildlife management areas: part of Jack Mountain is only minutes from Monterey, and the Bull Pasture River Gorge area is about 11 miles south of McDowell.





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