Frequently Asked Questions

We've prepared a list of questions and answers that reflects most of the things guests want to know

If this list doesn't include your question, just ask!  We'll be happy to answer it, and who knows -- maybe it will end up this list too!  Here goes:

Do I have to bring my own bedding/sleeping bags/pillows?

No, bedding is provided for all beds in our cabins, including clean sheets, blankets, comforters, and pillows. Exception: If you plan on using the Pack-and-Play crib, you will want to bring bedding suitable for your baby's age and size.

What cooking/eating utensils will I need?

Our cabins are provided with all ordinary cooking equipment, including pans, cutlery, dishware, and grilling tools. Unless you have a specific and unusual requirement, you should not need to bring anything to cook with.

Do you provide gas for the grill?

If your cabin is equipped with a gas grill, it is either piped to a fixed tank, or propane canisters and spares are provided. In the unlikely event you should need a third canister, you can call the contact numbers in the cabin and one will be brought out for you. There is no additional charge for this amenity.

Do you provide charcoal for the grill or campfire pit?

No, we do not provide charcoal or lighter fluid for liability reasons. You would need to bring charcoal and/or lighter fluid with you. Check the description of each cabin to see which ones have a charcoal grill in addition to or in place of a gas grill.

Do you provide wood for the fireplace or campfire pit?

Yes, a large stack of wood is stocked at all of our cabins, usually located by one of the sheds. If the stack runs low before we get a chance to replenish it, you can call the contact numbers in the cabin and more wood will be delivered.

Where can I fish, and what licenses do I need?

Virginia state law allows fishing without a license from private property with the permission of the property owner; the booking instruction/confirmation email that you receive constitutes this permission. If your chosen property is directly on the river, you can fish from the property's riverbank without a license. If you want to wade out into the river or fish from a canoe, or fish from a public access point elsewhere in the area, you'll need a state fishing license, which can be purchased from the Luray Walmart. You will have to provide your own fishing equipment.

What are the river conditions?

The river depth ranges from 3-7 feet in most places, and can be more or less depending on season (recent rain, etc). Generally, the river will be canoeable and safe for swimming -- unless a large rainstorm has just occurred.

Will my cellphone work in your cabin?

Probably not, unless it is a modern smartphone that can use WiFi – all our cabins (except Echo Valley, Deer Forest Lodge, and Heaven's Hideaway) offer free high-speed Internet and WiFi. Most of our cabins (except Echo Valley and Deer Forest Lodge) have a private telephone landline with unlimited national long-distance.

Are there any limits on Internet usage?

We do not actively throttle or block any particular websites or Internet protocols. Our Internet connections can be used to stream Netflix and hold Skype conversations. However, please bear in mind that our properties are in a mountainous rural area, and Internet connection speed and reliability cannot be guaranteed. In the event of any problems, please contact us and we will work with the provider to get the issue resolved as quickly as possible. Also, please be aware that Echo Valley, Deer Forest Lodge, and Heaven's Hideaway do not have internet access, though it is being worked on.

Do I have to clean up after myself?

We do not expect you to do your own laundry; you didn't go on vacation to clean house, after all! However, we may assess an extra cleaning charge if the cabin is left in an unusually filthy state, e.g. mud tracked all over the carpets, dirty caked-on dishes, etc. If you're reasonably decent, there won't be a problem.

Will I be hit with charges for consumables or minor damages?

We expect a certain amount of wear and tear, as well as consumption of products. We expect you to use the toilet paper, dishwasher detergent, etc., and there'll be no charge. We also understand that light bulbs blow, plates break, and there may be the occasional scratch on the wall. We charge only for unreasonable damage or missing items that can't be considered normal usage – lost towels, torn sheets, mud-ruined comforters, a hole bashed in the wall, a whole case of paper towels vanished, that sort of significant and unusual thing.

Is horseback riding available?

There are several places to go horseback riding in the Luray area, as well as in the nearby Shenandoah National Park. Information on area attractions can be found via Google and at

Can I hold my wedding/family reunion/big party at one of your cabins?

Yes, with a couple of caveats. There is generally a nonrefundable event fee in addition to the standard nightly rental charges. There will be no per-person charges, except for people who are spending the night according to the standard per-extra-person fees. Bear in mind the number of restrooms available at each cabin – you don't really want 100 people at a venue where there's only one toilet.

Can some of my party camp out on the lawn in a tent?

Yes, for a reduced additional fee. We know tenters don't create laundry, but they do use the other utilities and can cause repairs to be needed to the lawn.

What do I do for food?

You will need to provide your own food if you want to cook; the Walmart in Luray has a large grocery section. There are also several restaurants of all types in the Luray area. Information on area restaurants can be found via Google, at, and at

Can I check in early/check out later?

Possibly, depending on when the next guest will be arriving, but you need to specifically ask and receive an answer beforehand. You must ask within 1 week of your arrival, and at least 24 hours ahead of the extra time you want.

If there is a guest arriving/departing on the same day, no early/late check is possible.

If there is no other arrival or departure, we usually permit up to 2 extra hours. Beyond that requires payment of an additional fee. Taking early/late checkout without arranging it with us beforehand and obtaining written permission, will incur a sizable additional fee.

Please note: early check-in and late check-out may be rescinded later on if a different group reserves the nights immediately before or after your booking. If that happens, we will contact you and let you know that your early check-in or late check-out is no longer possible. While rare, this does happen from time to time, so please be aware of the possibility. If you wish to lock in your early check-in or late check-out, we offer an "All Day" check-in and check-out option, for a fee, that blocks off the preceding or following nights so that others cannot book that time. Please let us know if you wish to have this option.

Can I bring my pet?

Yes, you may bring your pet to most (but not all) of our properties. There is an additional cost per pet that you see under the Rates section of each cabin's main page. Please note that this is a pet rent fee, not a cleaning fee; you may still be charged an excess cleaning fee if your pet leaves a mess. Also, if your party is renting multiple properties, your pet must stay at the property for which you have paid the pet fee, and is not permitted at any properties that do not allow pets.

Sometimes our guests invite friends to come and spend the day, but not overnight, and those friends bring a pet. Since the pet isn't spending the night, there is no pet fee. However, please be aware that we may assess an excess cleaning charge if necessary. 

Local Pet resort to accommodate you furry friend while you are not to far away: Mystic Pet Resort & Spa 540-743-5004 please call ahead for a reservation

I want to have family over for dinner, do I have to pay extra?

The extra-guest charges are for guests staying overnight. You do not have to pay to have people visit for the day as long as they do not stay the night.

Is there an extra charge to use the hot tub?

No, the hot tub and all other amenities are included at no additional charge.

Do your cabins allow smoking?

Smoking is strictly forbidden inside all of our cabins. However, you are perfectly free to smoke in the beautiful great outdoors surrounding each cabin. Please use good sense and courtesy regarding your ashes, butts, or other potentially hazardous materials.

When will the fall foliage be the prettiest?

Well, it kind of depends on the weather, and you know how reliable that is. But there are several places you can get official best guesses:

The National Park Service's fall color page for the Shenandoah National Park, which is visible from most of our properties:

The National Park Service's mountain view webcam, which will show you what the leaves look like right now:

And, the Virginia Fall Foliage Hotline may be reached at 1-800-424-LOVE(5683).

But regardless of the time of year, there will always be beautiful leaves to look at - evergreens if nothing else. :-)

Do you have hiking trails?

Most of our properties aren't large enough to have official hiking trails marked on them, although many of them have pleasant woods that you can walk in.

However, there are a great many hiking trails in the nearby vicinity, such as the George Washington National Forest and the Shenandoah National Park. A fairly good list and map of many of the best area trails can be found here:

What is your cancellation policy?

When you rent a property from Shenandoah Rentals, the entire property is reserved for your exclusive use, and so it is unavailable for anyone else to rent. A cancellation usually means that nobody will be able to stay at the property for that time, because most people plan their vacations in advance. Therefore, we do not encourage cancellations.

For all cabins other than Westcott House, the cancellation policy is as follows:

One hundred percent of the total booking charges will be refunded if the cancellation is made more than 60 days prior to the arrival date of the reservation.
For cancellations made within 60 days of the arrival date, no refunds or exchanges are permitted unless a substitute paying guest can be found for the original date.
If Guest is able to find and substitute new guests for the same time period, the amount thus obtained will be refunded to Guest up to a full refund.
If Owner finds replacement guests, the refund amount shall be fifty percent of the total booking charges or the pretax revenues of the replacement guests, whichever is less.
If replacement guests cannot be found, Guest shall remain liable for full payment under the terms of the agreement.

For Westcott House specifically, the cancellation policy is:

In the event Guests wishes to terminate this agreement, Travel Insurance, Damage Protection, Event Fees, and any processing or administrative fees are non-refundable.
Fifty percent (50%) of the total booking charges will be refunded if the cancellation is made more than 60 days prior to the arrival date of the reservation.
For cancellations made within 60 days prior to the arrival date, no refunds or exchanges are permitted unless a substitute paying guest can be found for the original date.
If Guest is able to find and substitute new guests for the same time period, the amount thus obtained will be refunded to Guest up to a full refund.
If Owner finds replacement guests, the refund amount shall be fifty percent (50%) of the total booking charges or the pretax revenues of the replacement guests, whichever is less.
If replacement guests cannot be found, Guest shall remain liable for full payment under the terms of this agreement.
If Guest has an event (Guest agrees to make sure that events are permitted, as they are not permitted at all properties) - wedding, retreat, family reunion, etc - where an Event Fee is charged, the Event Fee will be not be refunded under any circumstances.  Guest should be very confident before making this agreement that the event will occur as planned and that the Guest agrees with the event fee not being refunded.  Owner spends considerable time and effort coordinating events which is why the associated fees are not refunded.
There is no point at which one hundred percent (100%) of the booking will be refunded. Owner will only ever refund fifty percent (50%) of the total at most.  This is because Rental Property is difficult to rent at the last minute and most bookings are made many months prior to the stay dates.

We highly recommend buying travel insurance - either standard or CFAR (cancel for any reason) - when booking a vacation rental cabin.  Needing to cancel or move dates is extremely common and it greatly helps to have travel insurance if the unforeseen happens.  We sell travel insurance directly through our software and can provide you links to buy it with your booking.  Please contact us about this if you have questions.  It typically costs about 7% for standard and about 9% for CFAR.

How do I get into the cabin I rented?

About a week before your scheduled arrival, we send you an email with directions and an access code to a lockbox at the door of the cabin. This way, you can arrive however late suits your schedule and you don't have to worry about meeting anyone in person. If you have multiple cars coming, you can give everybody the code, and whoever gets there first can unlock the door and get in.

If for some reason you don't receive this email, check your SPAM folder or write us to have it re-sent to you.

Are your cabins handicapped accessible?

As private single-occupancy residences, our cabins are not required to meet ADA accessibility standards, and so most of them do not. Some of them would be flat-out impossible for the wheelchair-bound. However, Westcott House is wheelchair accessible and handicap friendly, depending on the extent of the handicap. If you're not sure, feel free to contact us.

Several of our properties are usable by people with limited mobility who can handle one or two steps, and use a spacious toilet or shower stall with assistance.

It is best to discus your specific needs with us before you make your reservation so you'll know what to expect.

What if my guest numbers change after I make a booking?

No problem! You can simply change your guest numbers up or down by letting us know, and we'll adjust the charges accordingly.

Please note that we cannot allow reduction of guest numbers within 2 weeks of arrival (and 30 days for Westcott House), because we've already started stocking and preparing for the numbers you gave us. We may, however, still be able to increase guest numbers right up to arrival. Please contact us for confirmation.

Who counts as children?

When counting guests at our cabins, children are defined as anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. This includes infants but does not include those yet unborn.

Do you accept service animals?

Any of our properties which accept pets can also accommodate service animals by prior arrangement, for which there will be an additional cleaning charge. Documented, government-issued proof of service animal status is required.

How can I get to the river?

If your cabin rental is advertised as riverfront, you will have a private stretch of riverbank for your own use. We do not provide boat launching ramps, but small craft like canoes and kayaks can be carried down to the river.

If you do not have a riverfront cabin, or you want to go on a longer, one-way river trip, you can find a map of publicly-accessible boat launching facilities here:

Why do you charge extra for additional guests? We're renting the whole property anyway, aren't we?

Our cabins can vary greatly in size, sometimes housing only 3 or 4 and other times 15 or 20 or more. It isn't fair to charge one couple the same as for a whole group. So based on the size of the house, we include a few people in the rate, and then charge beyond that.

In effect, smaller groups are given a discount off of what the normal rate would be. If you have a larger group, the rates you see for extra adults aligns with the normal rate of a full house.

This system may not be perfect but it seems to mostly work out reasonably well for everybody.

Can I park my bus/RV at the cabin?

You are welcome to park any vehicle that you can make fit. However, our cabins are designed as private residences and not as commercial parking lots. You will generally have a very difficult if not impossible time squeezing very large vehicles into the driveways, and of course you would be liable to any damages to the property or grounds.

Basically, if it's larger than a 15-passenger van - don't count on it.

How deep is the river?

At the shoreline, the water is very shallow - just a few inches or feet in most places.  It is very easy to wade out or push the canoes out into the water.  At its deepest, the river is 5-9 feet deep in most places, but that can vary depending on many factors, including winter melts and heavy rains.