The Virginia Hot Glass Festival: May 25 & 26

Looking for an unusual activity and an opportunity to purchase a unique work of art? Check out the 17th annual Virginia Hot Glass Festival on May 25-26 at Sunspots Studios in Staunton. This festival is Virginia’s only annual festival that exclusively features hot glass.

Sunspots Studios, located in the historic 1929 Klotz building in Staunton’s Wharf District,  has offered people the opportunity to browse a gallery of exquisite gifts and collectibles and watch live while artists blow and form hot glass into that art for 18 years.

On one special weekend each year, enthusiasts are in for an extra special treat at The Virginia Hot Glass Festival. Visiting artists gather at Sunspots to show off their skills and wow the crowd as they create exquisite crystalline objects. Visitors can watch demonstrations all weekend, as well as view and shop for finished (and cooled) pieces. Booths fill the entire second floor of the Sunspots building.  This work includes vases, jewelry, ornaments, glassware, paperweights, and beads.

Make sure to visit when featured artist Grant Garmezy, sculpts – rather than blows – his notable life-like animals out of 2000-degree glass. Garmezy is one of a rare few glass artists in the world who approach glass art in this way. Featured on the cover of Glass Art magazine, Garmezy creates “high-end realistic glass sculpture with distinctly Southern imagery.”  Garmezy, who lives in Richmond, has been sculpting in glass since 2003. He has demonstrated his art and technique all over the world. For a preview of Garmezy in action, check out YouTube for videos of him sculpting a dragon and a Siberian tiger.

Barren Ridge Winery will be offering tastings, and additional activities can be found at nearby Sunspots Pavilion, including exhibits and demonstrations by the Virginia Stone Carvers.

Details

Saturday, May 25, 2019 9:00 AM-6:00 PM and Sunday, May 26, 2019 10:00 AM-5:00 PM

202 S Lewis St

The Virginia Hot Glass Festival is free, located indoors, and handicapped accessible.

There is nearby parking.

Date Night Desserts and Where to Get Them

Win your date’s heart over with a romantic dinner followed by one of Staunton’s sweetest treats. Make your special someone swoon with the help of a delicious dessert from this list.

The Split Banana

Why not relive your first date with a movie at the Visulite followed by a short stroll to The Split Banana for gelato? With 18 flavors ranging from classic to unusual tastes like mojito and almond fig, you’ll find something to make your tastebuds sing. Share a banana split and imagine your futures 5, 10, 15 years from now. Don’t lie – those futures will feature gelato!

Paris Cake Company

When you want a treat that’s as beautiful as it is tasty, don’t hesitate to wow your honey with one of the rich and decadent desserts at Paris Cake Company. Gorgeous cupcakes shaped like a bouquet of flowers? Check. Individual coconut cream pies? Chocolate chip cookie cheesecake? Check and check. Bonus: You can indulge in these treats after an equally delicious dinner at Table 44.

Réunion Bakery & Espresso


Don’t wait until Valentine’s Day night to steal your sweetie’s heart. Meet for coffee and pastries at Réunion, a Staunton sweet spot which recently received a nod from Vogue! Enjoy espresso, buttery croissants, and a morning of gazing into each other’s eyes across a cafe. Staunton will be replacing Paris as the City of Love!

Giancarlo Fine European Pastries

Speaking of European pastry, don’t forget to select something from Giancarlo Fine European Pastries. If you’re cooking at home and you want to end your meal on a note that will make your love’s toes curl, try the tiramisu. Giancarlo also offers cakes, tarts, and pastries, and beautiful chocolates “crafted with a premium Cordillera Colombian 65 % cacao – bittersweet and a 36% dark milk, single bean chocolate.”

Firkin Pie Company

It’s always time for pie! Firkin Pie Company bakes beautiful, flavorful pies in both the sweet and savory variety. The menu varies, but expect seasonal flavors like cranberry chess and chocolate silk. Even Cupid couldn’t keep his hands off this fine, fine pie!

Cocoa Mill Chocolates

It will be love at first bite when you present your special someone with a box of handmade, gourmet chocolate from Cocoa Mill Chocolates. The Valentine’s Day assortment even comes in an attractive and edible box.

Looking to spend an entire weekend with your special someone? Check out 48 Hours of Romance in Staunton for a sample itinerary.

Get Happy in Staunton: 10 Happy Hour Spots

You’ve had a full day experiencing the history and culture of Staunton and now it’s time to unwind before gearing up again for a dinner and a show. Whether you’re looking for cocktails, wine, or beer, here are some of the best happy hour spots to grab a drink and some snacks with friends.

Clocktower Food and Spirits

Clocktower Food and Spirits is a cozy place to get a cocktail and an appetizer or settle in for a full meal. The building, built in 1890, was originally Virginia’s second YMCA. It still retains historic features like the clock. Filling and delicious appetizers include Philly steak potato skins, Irish nachos, and chicken wings. Happy hour specials on beer and wine Monday-Thursday, 4-7 p.m.

Second Draft Bistro

Second Draft Bistro is located in The Blackburn Inn. Enjoy daily happy hour from 5-7 p.m. Accompany your drinks with food from the seasonal menu, which includes appetizers and small plates, main courses, and desserts. If the weather is accommodating, you can sit on the front porch and view the historic grounds.

Sorrel’s Lounge

Sorrel’s Lounge at the historic Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center is an elegant stop in close proximity to the American Shakespeare Center. Enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine. Happy hour specials served weekdays from 5-7 p.m.

Zynodoa

If you’re seeking a spot that has the feel of the big city, look no further than the bar at Zynodoa. Choose a unique cocktail that incorporates locally sourced ingredients like herbs, honey, or vinegar. You might also select beer or wine from the extensive wine list. Finish your evening with a dinner featuring “inspired Southern cuisine” or head to a show at the American Shakespeare Center, which is only steps away.

Yelping Dog Wine

Yelping Dog Wine features both local wines and wines from over 200 vineyards around the world. Enjoy an ever-changing wine-by-the-glass menu or indulge in a bottle to share from the extensive selection. The atmosphere at Yelping Dog is quiet and relaxed, perfect for for chatting with a friend or larger group. Hungry? Try one of the cheese plates or gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.

The Depot Grille

The Depot Grille celebrates Staunton’s history with its location in the historic train depot. The entrance is flanked with cabooses and the 40-foot bar, which was “originally a fixture in the luxury Ten Eyck Hotel, located in Albany, New York.” Order wine, beer, a classic cocktail, or something fun like a mochatini, which includes espresso vodka, Godiva liqueur, and cream. Appetizers include classics like wings and skins, but also ahi tuna sashimi, fried calamari, and steamed spiced shrimp.

Byers Street Bistro

You can’t go wrong starting your evening at Byers Street Bistro in Staunton’s historic Wharf District. Enjoy beer, wine, or a classic cocktail in this cozy and casual setting. Plan to share some crispy potstickers or drunken chicken nachos with your drinks and follow up with dinner. When the weather’s warm, you can enjoy happy hour on the brick patio.

Bedlam Brewing

You’ll stop in at Bedlam Brewing for a pint before dinner and you’ll end up staying for dinner. Try a pizza, some sliders, the fish and chips, or something from the specials menu. Check the events calendar for fun stuff like live music, Bingo and comedy nights. The Monday happy hour from 4-7 p.m. includes $9 pizza and “app and tap” specials.

Bricks Restaurant and Pub

If you’re looking for a cool and welcoming place to get a drink and play pool in downtown Staunton, make Bricks your next stop. Not only can you get beer, wine, or cider, but you can follow it with a pizza. Still hungry? Donuts are on the menu for dessert. Check the events page for the regular heavy metal nights. Daily happy hour from 5-8 p.m.

Baja bean co.

This local cantina has a stellar beer list—that is always changing. Beer aficionados will love their  “tap takeover,” events where they pour multiple craft brews from the same brewery. Next up, is Augusta County’s newest brewery, Skipping Rock Beer Co. on April 9th.

Be sure not to fill up on chips and salsa, the Southern-California inspired menu takes a creative approach to Mexican favorites with daily specials and of course margaritas! 

Historic Garden Week 2019

Historic Garden Week returns to Staunton just in time for the highlights of spring’s floral glory. This year’s tour takes place on Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Virginia’s Historic Garden Week has been held since 1927, when it was used to raise funds to restore Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate. The tradition continues annually, and each year more than 250 historic homes across the state open their doors and grounds to visitors. Proceeds go toward preserving and restoring Virginia’s public gardens.

The Augusta Garden Club turns 100 this year. To celebrate this milestone birthday, the club is hosting a tour of five “historic homes with outstanding architectural value that chronicle the history of both Staunton and the Augusta Garden Club.” The tour is in or close to Staunton’s downtown and most of the featured homes are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The interiors of the homes on the tour will feature floral arrangements created by garden club members.

Houses on the Tour

Oakdene / 605 East Beverley Street

Architects Yarnall and Goforth built Oakdene in 1893 in the Queen Anne style of architecture. It was tastefully renovated in recent years. This home’s interior retains fine examples of Gothic revival, including a sentry owl with light-up eyes. The gardens were designed in 1934 by A.A. Farnham.

Stuart House / 120 Church Street

Built in 1791 in the Classical Revival style, Stuart House is likely Staunton’s first brick house. Thomas Jefferson influenced the design – perhaps directly. Thomas Blackburn, designer of Staunton’s Blackburn Inn, designed the 1844 wing. Renovated in 1975 by a former Garden Club of Virginia president, the house is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Waverley Hill / 3001 North Augusta Street

Another former president of the Garden Club of Virginia, Emily Smith, built Waverley Hill in 1929. Architect William Bottomley, a distinguished and sought-after Colonial Revival designer, designed it. The house overlooks the Blue Ridge and gardens designed by Arthur Shurcliff, landscape architect for Colonial Williamsburg.

Whitestone / 2712 North Augusta Street

Built between 1920 and 1922, Whitestone is a Colonial-inspired fieldstone house . Landscape architect Charles Gillette originally designed the gardens, and owners have added to them over the years. The house is currently owned by founding member and lead singer of the Statler Brothers, Don Reid (and his wife). It features artwork and memorabilia

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum / 20 North Coalter Street

Built in 1947 in the Greek Revival style, the mansion housing the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum was originally the manse of the First Presbyterian Church. Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president, was born here in 1856. Open to the public since 1941, the property has been restored over the years. Charles Gillette designed the gardens in 1933 and Ralph Griswold designed the terrace in 1967.

Before You Go

  • Access parking and van transportation to Waverley Hall and Whitestone at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2001 N. Coalter St. or Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2807 N. Augusta Street.
  • Park in public lots or on the streets for homes in the downtown area.
  • Visit houses in any order.
  • Plan to wear flat walking shoes for your comfort in touring the gardens. This also protects the interiors of the homes.
  • Plan ahead: there are no public restrooms on tour properties. Restrooms will be available at the churches as well as the Staunton Visitor’s Center.
  • Buy your advance tickets before April 26. Attendees may purchase tickets on the day of the event at all tour properties.
  • Please respect the home owners’ privacy by refraining from taking interior photography.
  • If you want to take a memory of the tour home with you plan to purchase a painting by one of the plein air artists who will be painting in the tour’s gardens. Work will be available at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church from 3:30-4:30 p.m. and at Sunspots Pavilion from 2-3 p.m.

Caught the Garden Tour Bug?

After visiting Staunton and enjoying your tour, plan to tour more of Virginia’s 200 plus historic gardens. See Virginia Garden Week’s suggested itineraries. Nearby destinations hosting tours include Harrisonburg, Lexington, Albemarle-Charlottesville, UVA Pavilion Gardens, and Lynchburg.

Other notable gardens a short drive away from Staunton include the Andre Viette Farms (Fishersville), Edith J. Carrier Arboretum (Harrisonburg) and Boxerwood Gardens (Lexington).

Spring Break (And Summer) Survival, 2019

Spring break is here and that means it’s time to kick the cabin fever and get outside with the kids. Now that the weather is warmer, Staunton is bursting with stuff to do. Visit for a day or spend a weekend. Here’s your guide.

the Train Obsessed

Does your family love trains? Visit the historic train station and Sears Hill Bridge. You’ll see the tracks – and Staunton – from above. On the other side of town, the Gypsy Express Mini-Train runs on the weekends from May to October in Gypsy Hill Park. For an awesome display of model train layouts and railroad art, head to the Augusta County Railroad Museum in the Staunton Mall. And if your obsession leans toward fire trucks, you’ll like the Staunton Fire Station, where you can see JUMBO, the oldest motorized fire engine in Virginia and the only remaining 1911 Robinson fire engine.

History Buffs

Pack a picnic and rent a wagon for a day of exploration at the Frontier Culture Museum. You’ll learn about the Valley’s earliest settlers as you make your way from the Old World to the New. Costumed interpreters and farm animals bring the farmsteads to life. Older children might enjoy learning about the life and legacy of our 28th President at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Museum.

Hikers and Bikers

Montgomery Hall Park is one of Staunton’s best kept secrets with its rolling hills and quiet woodlands. The park includes 148 acres of nature hiking and mountain biking trails. Younger children just getting used to their wheels might prefer the mostly flat, 1.3-mile paved loop at Gypsy Hill Park. Staunton is only a stone’s throw from Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest which are filled with hikes and other outdoor recreation.

Theater Lovers

Don’t miss a chance to enter the Bard’s world at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse. See a play and be sure to schedule a tour so you can go behind, under, and even on stage! If you’re looking for films, visit the Visulite where Mom and Dad can sip a glass of wine or beer during the show. And for a real bargain, check out Legacy Theaters, where all tickets are only $3.

Playground Aficionados

Located in Montgomery Hall Park, Nature Ridge is designed for imaginative play. It features a tunnel, mud kitchen, elevated walkways, pirate ship, chimes, and sand pits.. Montgomery Hall park also has a traditional playground and a public pool for warmer weather. Gypsy Hill Park offers a large playground with structures designed for children ranging from 2-12. It also offers a tot lot for the youngest crowd.

Shop ‘Til You Drop

Pop in to play at Pufferbellies, the largest independently owned toy store in the Shenandoah Valley, and enjoy the carefully curated selection of toys, games, and books. Gaming fans will find all kinds of gaming and hobby supplies including dice, living card games, and hobby rocket kits at the Dragon’s Hoard. Video game enthusiasts can purchase games and consoles at Game Stop. And for beautiful dollhouses and the detailed miniatures to furnish them, try Ware House Miniatures.

Treasure Hunters

If you have an hour and a team of sleuths on your hands, take them to Crack the Code escape room and work together to solve puzzles and escape. Themes include The Dark Mage’s Rise, Haunted Mansion, and Steampunk City. Ages 10+. If you want to get more mileage under your belt, explore different parts of Staunton on foot using the free app, Traipse! Traipse provides an adventure that is half historic tour and half scavenger hunt. You can even build your own tour based on your interests, time and even level of difficulty.

Artists and Crafters

For a cool and unusual experience, check out the live glassblowing at Sunspots Studios. Artists blow bubbles from lumps of molten glass and turn it into ornaments, vases, and other beautiful pieces. Sunspots offers a chance to try your own hand at this (with the help of a trained artist) when you try “Blowing Your Own Ornament.” Enjoy the art gallery experience and support local artists at the Co-Art Gallery and the Artisans Loft. Visit the R.R. Smith Center for art and history. And if your kids like to build models, take them to Staunton Trains and Hobbies for model kits and supplies.

Trolley Riders

Want to relax as someone else drives you around Staunton stopping at all the important attractions? Ride the green trolley for 25 cents per rider, per trip. The Green route runs every 30 minutes from the Visitors Center located at 35 S. New Street. Check out the Victorian architecture from your seat, or hop off to view the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum and Gypsy Hill Park where the kids can feed the ducks.

Hungry Bellies

Order by the slice or by the entire pie from Shenandoah Pizza & Taphouse. Locally named, gourmet pizzas, feature a variety of ingredients including dill pickles for those who want to stretch their comfort zones. The Depot Grille is a good place to go for a kid-friendly experience with a big menu, and if you’re looking for old-fashioned burgers (and ice cream to follow) head to Wright’s Dairy Rite. Speaking of ice cream, other Staunton hot spots include Kline’s for custard-style ice cream and the The Split Banana for homemade gelato.

Festival Folk

Spring break over? Visit Staunton for festivals during the warmer months, including Earth Day, Art in the Park, and Happy Birthday America. For other special events and weekly happenings check out Staunton On Tap, our schedule of events with all the latest happenings.

Shakespeare Weekends

Develop a truer understanding of Shakespeare by attending one of the American Shakespeare Center’s Shakespeare Weekends. Brainchild of ASC’s new executive director, Ethan McSweeney, the weekends mark the opening and closing of the Winter Season and offer additional chances to learn about the Bard’s world. Plan to attend a weekend and take advantage of packed schedules of performances, lectures, workshops, and a benefit concert.

The Winter Season: The Actors’ Renaissance has “become a hallmark of ASC’s unique blend of scholarship and practice.” In only 10 days or fewer, 12-15 ASC actors rehearse four plays without guidance by a director. The company takes full control of all creative decisions. This includes delivery, blocking, setting, music, props, and costumes. The actors then perform the four plays in rotation. The Actor’s Renaissance attempts to bring to life the conditions Shakespeare’s original players would have experienced. The intention is that scholars, players, and audience will make new discoveries about Shakespeare’s art and world.

The 2019 Winter Season lineup includes Shakespeare classics Henry IV, Part 1 and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Also showing is Arden of Faversham, written by an unknown author. This play is an Elizabethan true-crime drama about ordinary people that is sure to captivate you. Finally, Amy E. Witting’s Anne Page Hates Fun, is a new, modern companion piece to The Merry Wives of Windsor, part of the Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries program. The program intends produce 38 new plays, inspired by Shakespeare, by playwrights of all backgrounds and perspectives.

Opening Weekend | February 15-17

Experience opening night energy as the Actor’s Renaissance Season opens this weekend. Enjoy performances as well as special programming including a lecture by Dr. Ralph Cohen, and the announcement of the Summer Festival and Fall Season.

Renaissance Weekend | April 12-14

The Winter Season closes on Renaissance Weekend. You’ll be able to see the final performances of all four productions and a staged reading of The Belle’s Stratagem. Other weekend events will include workshops, lectures, and the Band Candy Benefit Concert to raise money for ASC music.

If you can’t attend a Shakespeare Weekend, don’t worry: ASC’s talented company performs all year with five seasons of plays in repertory, so you’ll still be able to get your Shakespeare fix. Click here for the calendar.

6 Steps to a Perfect Staunton Wedding

You’ve dreamed about your special someone and the day you’ll say “I do,” but now that the time has come to plan the big day you’re not so sure where to start. For overwhelmed brides and grooms (and parents of brides and grooms), we’ve come up with these six simple steps for staging your beautiful Staunton wedding. So whether its  a grand affair or a backyard BBQ, we’ve got the inside info on everything from the food to the favors. Let us help you plan it right! See our six steps for planning the perfect destination wedding in Staunton. 

Time of Year

You simply can’t pick a bad time to have a Staunton wedding, but each season has its advantages. In winter, you have chilly, but generally mild weather, and uninhibited views of the Blue Ridge mountains in the distance. Spring brings Staunton to life with amazing floral displays, and our parks and private gems like the gardens at Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room will really dress up for your photos. You can’t beat the long, warm days of summer, especially if you’re reserving an outdoor venue, and autumn brings a special magic to town with its crisp colors and pastoral harvest scenery.

The Venue

Whether you want a formal wedding and reception, a casual affair, or a rustic adventure in a barn, Staunton has your perfect reception venue. The ballroom at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center is the epitome of formal elegance. Romantic Gaie Lea boasts an exquisite background for your vows and your photos. It also sleeps 15, so it’s perfect for the wedding party to share an extended weekend. Another option for an estate-style wedding is the Inn at WestShire Farms. For those looking for a rustic wedding, check out the Round Barn at the Frontier Culture Museum. For those who want to have their wedding at a winery or brewery with a view, consider Barren Ridge Vineyards or Stable Craft Brewing. They both offer indoor and outdoor event spaces, incredible views, and access to delicious libations. Coming this spring, Staunton Station, located at the train station, offers the perfect mix of historic charm and downtown amenities. For more ideas, see 12 Distinctive Staunton Wedding Venues.

The Drinks

If you’re planning to mix up a signature cocktail for your big day, check out a site like Brides.com for ideas. Be sure to pair it with some of Virginia’s best local wine from Ox Eye Vineyards. Don’t forget to include local craft beer in your reception offerings. Check out Redbeard Brewing Company, Bedlam Brewery, and Shenandoah Valley Brewing for some delicious craft beer. Shenandoah Hops can offer a wide selection of premium beers. 

The Food

Staunton offers a wealth of options for wedding fare. Try trendy and casual from Peck’s BBQ or even hire a food truck or two. Venues like the American Hotel have highly rated onsite caterers.  Independent caterers like Mike Lund Food and Eric Stamer Catering will work with you to provide a gourmet and farm-fresh menu. Don’t forget the cake! Work with the Paris Cake Company to design the wedding cake of your dreams.

The Favors


Gone are the days when tacky mints wrapped in gauze served as wedding favors. You can take your pick of elegant reminders of your special day. Treat your guests to customized chocolates from the Cocoa Mill or cookies from Sweet Nana Cakes. Go local with Virginia peanuts or pancake mix from Virginia Made. Give your guests or wedding party candles from Redwood and Co. If they enjoy the “finer things in life,” give them cigars or flasks from Beverley Cigar Store.

The Stay


After the ceremony and the party are over, you and your partner will want to escape to your own private retreat. Staunton’s lodging choices range from luxury hotels like the Blackburn Inn to a stellar lineup of bed and breakfasts including Frederick House. The newest members of Staunton’s hotel scene are a Tru by Hilton and a Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott; both opened in the fall. Check out all the options

Now that you’re armed with some concrete ideas about your happily ever after, get out there and start planning.  Before long, you’ll be enjoying the wedding of your dreams! And don’t forget, we’re here to help

Explore Staunton on Foot: Beverley Historic District

Downtown Staunton contains many examples of Virginia’s finest Victorian architecture. Some of the most notable can be seen in the Beverley Historic District, which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. Most of the buildings in this area date from the 1870s to the 1920s. This historic district is small, and therefore perfect for exploring on foot.

Where to Park

Park in the New Street Parking Garage ($1/hour) or in the Hardy lot on Market Street ($.50/hour).

Market Street

The Stonewall Jackson Hotel, 24 S. Market St., was built in 1924 in the Colonial Revival style and is recognized by the National Trust Historic Hotels of America. Designed by H.L. Stevens & Co. of New York, it lends some of that city’s height to Staunton and rings in as Staunton’s tallest building. The red, neon sign and original details like marble floors, chandeliers, and only known working Wurlitzer organ on the mezzanine were retained when the hotel underwent at $21.5 million dollar renovation and expansion in 2005. Peek inside the lobby and imagine the society women who used to gather around the fireplace in what is now the cocktail lounge.

Though not an example of historic architecture, the American Shakespeare Center at 10 S Market St. is an important Staunton landmark. Built to resemble Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Theatre, a 14th-century monastery converted to Tudor theater, it produces Shakespeare’s plays as well as contemporary works.

Cross Beverley Street and continue past the parking lot to see The Temple House of Israel at 15 N Market St. The one-story stucco Moorish Revival building was built in 1925 to house a growing congregation.

East Beverley Street

Backtrack and head west on Beverley to see an example of a 1912 Renaissance Revival building at 125 E. Beverley St., originally the New Theatre, a lively venue for performances and silent films until a fire destroyed the interior in 1936. Note also on this block at 113 E. Beverley St. (1870), now Staunton’s General District Court, the site where the City Manager form of government originated in 1908.

For a chance to take home your own bit of history, check out the treasures at 17 E. Beverley Antiques, which carries furniture, decor, and vintage art and clothing, and Black Swan Books and Music, which buys and sells rare and used books and records.

East Beverley Street (Continued)

Continue your tour by crossing New Street.

This block contains examples of the Venetian Revival style at 19-21 E. Beverley (1911) and the Colonial Revival style at 7&9-15 E. Beverley St. (1899-1906). For an example of the Romanesque Revival style, look no further than the Marquis Building at 2-4 E. Beverly Street. Architect T.J. Collins not only designed the structure, notable for its corner entrance and stone columns, but housed his offices there as well. The Beverley Cigar Store can be found there now.

The Camera Heritage Museum offers its own perspective on history and is worth a quick tour. Staunton Antiques Center deals in furniture, collectibles, and local, contemporary art, and Warehouse Collectibles and Antiques offers “two huge floors of anything old.” And if you’re feeling parched from all this history, The Split Banana will refresh you with 18 flavors gelato and sorbet with names like Almond Fig and Highland County Maple.

West Beverley Street

Cross Augusta Street and enter one of Staunton’s most architecturally notable blocks.

For a glimpse of the Beaux-Arts style, see the National Valley Bank at 12 – 14 W. Beverley St. (1903). Large oval stained glass skylight inside complement the ornate limestone exterior. The Gooch & Hoge Building at 15 – 23 W. Beverley St. (1880) is an example of the Italianate style and includes many fine details like lion’s heads.

Two of Staunton’s most recognizable buildings also grace this block. The Masonic Temple at 7 – 13 W. Beverley St. (1896) is a perfect example of one of Staunton’s oldest buildings retaining its history as well as living a new live through its businesses. One of Staunton’s tallest buildings, it features a gable roof and mixes classical and medieval elements and is home to Baja Bean Co., The Split Banana, and H. L. Lang & Co. Jewelers.

In 1916, T.J. Collins remodeled The Clocktower 27 – 29 W. Beverley St (1890). The first floor now houses the Clocktower Restaurant and Bar, Downtown 27 (a music and event space), and The Clock Tower Convenience Store, but it was originally the YMCA, notable for being only the second in Virginia. It contained a bowling alley, track, and gym. Many of the original components of the clock are still working today!

This block features even more antiquing at Queen City Marketplace and the taproom at Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company.

Cross Central Avenue to see another example of the Romanesque Revival style at 103 W. Beverley St. (1894), originally the showroom of the Putnam Organ Works.

Augusta and New Streets

Head back toward Central Ave. and turn south. Your child side will enjoy the elevated sidewalk, mural of the painting workman, and glimpse of Lewis Creek before it dips back underground. Turn left on Johnson St. and proceed one block to Augusta Street.

The Augusta County Courthouse at 1 E Johnson St. (1901) was built by T.J. Collins in the Beaux Arts style, and is actually the fifth courthouse on this site, dating back to a 1755 log structure. The smaller structures flanking the courthouse along Barristers Row (pre-1870) have always housed law offices, but used to have a more eclectic demographic, consisting of restaurants, bars, cobblers, and barbers.

A fun play on the location is the Crack the Code Escape Room, where visitors can choose from several themed rooms and work together to escape in one hour. Those enjoying old, used, and rare books should check out Barrister Books.

End your tour by turning back onto New Street, making sure to note 20 – 22 S. New St. (1894), home to the R. R. Smith Center for History & Art. The Staunton Augusta Art Center, the Augusta County Historical Society, and Historic Staunton Foundation all operate in the recently restored, French Second Empire-style, T.J. Collins-designed Eakleton Hotel. Notable features of the building are the mansard roof, iron balconies, and decorative brickwork.

One of Staunton’s oldest commercial buildings can be found at 3 – 7 S. New St. (1830). Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery is housed in one of Staunton’s oldest commercial buildings. In the past, the structure has been a laundry facility, taxi garage, print shop, and tailor’s studio. The brick was a modern addition during the Victorian Era, but you can still see the original stone on the side walls. Wrap up your tour with something delicious to eat!

 

Here’s Why You Need That Winter Getaway to Staunton

Looking for a way to shake the post-holiday blahs? Let Staunton serve up a sure cure for you. Start planning a winter getaway for your family, your couple, or your friends today!

Frozen Wonderland

With Staunton as your starting point, you’ll find a plethora of spectacular winter views. Go east for drives or hikes along the Blue Ridge on the Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway. Venture west to explore the Alleghenies and Bath County. Stick close to Staunton for some of the best winter pastoral views.

Foodie Paradise

Close your eyes when you enter one of Staunton’s fine dining establishments and you’ll think you’re in a much larger city. Indulge your taste buds with fine dining at The Shack or Table 44, global fare at Chicano Boy Taco or Taste of India, traditional and delicious meals at The Depot Grille or the Mill Street Grill, or the retro dining experience at Wright’s Dairy Rite.

Antiquer’s Delight

If hunting for treasures is your game, you’ve got to check out Staunton’s vintage offerings. From funky finds to recycled riches, spend the day perusing Staunton’s eight antique shops and markets.  A short drive to Verona will get you to the Factory Antique Mall, one of the largest in the country. Read all about our antique offerings

Instagramer’s Dream Scene

There are many reasons that Staunton keeps popping up on the best small towns lists and one of them is its beauty. From its rolling hills and quaint Victorian architecture, to parks, gardens like the one at the Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room, to industrial elements like the red neon Stonewall Jackson Hotel sign, the train station, and  Sears Hill Footbridge over the tracks, you’ll find no end to cool backgrounds for your selfies. While you’re here seek out Staunton’s five photogenic hot spots. 

Hub for History Buffs

Staunton provides a healthy dose of history. As one of the oldest cities west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Staunton’s history spans three centuries. A wide selection of historic attractions, archival collections, old buildings, museums, and Civil Warsites are located in and around Staunton. Highlights include the Frontier Culture Museum, an outdoor living history museum providing snapshots of life on the frontier from the 1600s through the mid-1800s in this area. Jumping ahead to the 20th century, take a closer look at our 28th president at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Museum as you take a self-guided tour through seven galleries that explore Wilson’s life and legacy. Highlights include the President’s restored 1919 Pierce-Arrow limousine as well as a new, state-of–the-art World War I trench exhibit complete with lights and sound to experience what life was like for soldiers as they engaged in battle. 

 You can also tour historic districts downtown and learn about Staunton’s place in Civil War history as you explore Thornrose Cemetery.

attractions galore

Shakespeare is serious fun at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of
Shakespeare’s indoor theater. Take a backstage tour where you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look as you go on, behind and
under the stage. Photography— including selfies–are encouraged!  Tours are (usually) available Monday-Friday at 2 pm and Saturday at 11 am.

The Actors’ Renaissance Season kicks off on January 11. With no director, little costume assistance, and very little rehearsal time—similar to the way historians believe Shakespeare’s company operated—ASC actors take the stage in four different productions: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry IV, Part I, Anne Page Hates Fun, and Arden of Faversham. 

Other “winter friendly” attractions include: the Camera Heritage Museum, R.R. Smith Center for History and Art, and Sunspots Studios.

Wildlife Hot spots


Situated between Shenandoah National Park and the Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Staunton is a great place to view winter wildlife. See our list of wildlife hot spots for when the chilly weather keeps you close to your hotel. If you feel like venturing beyond Staunton, check out Winter Wildlife Hot Spots Part 2: Farther Afield.

Staunton’s Hip, New Hotels

Two new, affordable hotels have opened for business this fall. They are the first developments in Staunton Crossing, an area that will soon include restaurants and retail space. The hotels are ideally located for enjoying all the area has to offer.

Guest and visitors to both properties will enjoy proximity to restaurants and shopping, easy access to interstates 81 and 64 and with only a short drive, access to downtown Staunton.

Book your stay today!

Tru By Hilton Staunton / 120 Crossing Way, Staunton, Virginia

If you’re tired of the anonymous hotel experience, try Tru, Hilton’s newest hotel chain, which opened in Staunton in November. Tru focuses on building community. You’ll experience that when the friendly staff makes recommendations for taking advantage of the local culture and dining scene. A mural in the lobby features Staunton landmarks, and the 24/7 convenience kiosk stocks local products.

Tru’s 90 efficiently designed rooms feature great mattresses, lots of towels, and large TVs. Tru’s community spaces really stand out, however,  and guests should make sure they go down to the open-plan lobby to mix and mingle. Guests are encouraged to use the flexible spaces, decorated with invigorating colors and hip phrases, for working, playing, eating, and socializing. Guests can work at a counter or a semi-private, sound-insulated nooks, play board and table games, shift furniture into useful groupings, and interact with the real-time social media wall.

Included in your stay is a complementary breakfast, which features bagels, plain donuts, yogurt, eggs, or oatmeal. Adorn each of these bases with your choice of over 30 toppings from the toppings bar. If you eat too much whipped cream, head to the fitness room to work off those calories! BOOK NOW. 

Fairfield Inn and Suites, by Marriot / 114 Crossing Way, Staunton, VA

Visitors to Marriott’s 98-room Fairfield Inn and Suites will enjoy an “easy, positive and productive travel experience.” Travellers will know they’ve come to a good place when they enter the spacious lobby, which is bright with natural light. The hotel chain’s newly updated modern design aesthetic features plenty of flexible space for guests to lounge, work, and gather. Choose an individual space or pull up to the large farmhouse table to socialize while enjoying your complimentary hot breakfast. The breakfast features omelets, bacon, mini waffles, fruit yogurt, and pastries.

If you want to work in the privacy of your room, you’ll enjoy the free Wi-Fi, plenty of outlets, an ergonomic chair, and a moveable desk, which affords endless options for creating your own workspace. Guests can choose rooms with king-sized beds, queens, or suites designed to provide separate working and sleeping zones.

Tech-savvy guest should check out the app, which will let you make plans with your hotel and determine the readiness of your room.

Are you hankering for a midnight snack that doesn’t come from a vending machine? The lobby’s Corner Market stocks goodies 24 hours a day. There is also a fitness center and an indoor swimming pool. BOOK NOW.