The Highland Center

Chris Swecker

Mountain Scape

The Highland Center

Executive Director, Highland County Chamber of Commerce

  • What city/county do you live in?
    • Highland County
  • How long have you lived in the Shenandoah Valley? 
    • I grew up in Highland County, went to college at James Madison University and have lived in Staunton and Harrisonburg. I moved away to the West Coast for 2 years, but the rest of my life of over 30 years has been lived in the Shenandoah Valley.
  • What made you decide to stay living and working in the Shenandoah Valley?
    • The quality of life in the Shenandoah Valley is incredible. Particularly in Highland County, there is clean air, pure water and the beautiful scenery and peacefulness of small-town rural life. Even better, you are still within just a few hours or less from thriving large cities, excellent colleges and universities, and tourism activities.
  • What is your favorite Shenandoah Valley activity?
    • Exploring the local food scene by trying out new restaurants and dishes.
  • What is your favorite Shenandoah Valley business to support?
    • Highland County’s local maple syrup producers. With options ranging from pure maple syrup to infusions like cardamom to barrel-aged, there is something unique for every taste!
  • Describe your ideal day in your community.
    • My ideal day would be to wake up to a breakfast consisting of pancakes with Highland County Maple Syrup, followed by a hike somewhere new in the Shenandoah Valley, and concluded with potluck meal and activities with friends and family.
  • What is the view from your back porch?
    • Willow trees along a sleepy stream next to farm fields against the backdrop of the beautiful Highland County mountains.
  • What is the view from your office window?
    • The view from my office windows at The Highland Center consists of looking out over the small town of Monterey with a huge maple tree in the foreground and beautiful Jack Mountain looming. The Sounding Knob Fire Tower on Jack Mountain always seems to be watching in the distance, and I often have my mind wander to thinking of the amazing view from up there.
  • What would you share with someone who was interested in moving to the Shenandoah Valley?
    • I would suggest that you can live in the Shenandoah Valley and have an amazing quality of life in a rural setting, with the amenities of larger towns and cities close by to enjoy. With remote working being viable options in the current and future time, the Shenandoah Valley is a top choice for quality of life, affordability, opportunity and safety.