Plan Your Next Vacation in Staunton

Did you know that January 25th is National Plan a Vacation Day? And just like us, we bet you REALLY need one! From romantic weekends to family getaways, to weekends with the girls or guys, let us help with some quick recommendations on what to do on a vacation in Staunton!

Romantic Weekend

Share romantic meals, be pampered in luxurious lodgings, sightsee on one of America’s best main streets, and even discover the great outdoors. Here are some of Staunton’s best bets for couples.

Where to Stay

  • The Hotel 24 South and The Blackburn Inn both feature elegant rooms in tastefully updated historic buildings. Check the specials for romantic add-ons like champagne, chocolate, and spa packages.
  • The Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast offers an elaborate breakfast as well as packages for champagne and a trip to the Blackfriar’s Theatre.
  • The Frederick House is a 20 room inn, comprised of 5 historic houses, located in downtown Staunton, Virginia. They offer the privacy of a hotel, with the personal experience of a Bed and Breakfast.

Where to Eat

What to Do

  • The Staunton Farmer’s Market is open from the first Saturday in April until Thanksgiving, and it features fresh produce, baked goods, and live music. 
  • Take a self-guided or seasonal guided walking tour with the Historic Staunton Foundation.
  • Visit the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace to learn about Wilson’s connection to Staunton and much more.
  • Stop to flirt at Ox-Eye Tasting Room or take a scenic drive to Barren Ridge Vineyards to reconnect with your sweetie over some local wine.
  • Shop downtown Staunton’s independent stores and galleries for a range of wares including gourmet chocolate and olive oil, art-glass ornaments, unique gifts and art, and vintage treasure of all kinds.
  • Take in a show at the American Shakespeare Center. The 2022 season includes Romeo and Juliet, The Comedy of Errors, The Tempest, and more.

Family Fun

Looking for a wonderful family trip where fun, history, and the great outdoors are all in big supply? Here’s how to enjoy Staunton’s best with your family.

Where to Stay

  • The Fairfield Inn and Suites is a family-friendly hotel convenient to both downtown Staunton as well as the interstates. The hotel offers a free hot breakfast, free Wi-fi, and an indoor saltwater swimming pool.
  • The Storefront is a two-level downtown lodging with a full kitchen, two queen-sized beds, and a unique bar/lounge area with a television.

Where to Eat

  • Voted one of the best breakfasts in the Valley, Kathy’s Restaurant heaps on the goodness with traditional breakfast fare served all day.
  • Your kids will love the caboose parked outside of The Depot Grille. They’ll also love the American fare served inside for lunch and dinner. The menu includes a section for kids. 
  • Shenandoah Pizza’s gourmet pies celebrate local ingredients and lore. Parents will be pleased with the extensive tap list.
  • The menu at Baja Bean has loads of Tex Mex options including choices for the younger set and an impressive tap list. 
  • Finish your meal with one (or more) of the 18 fresh-made gelato flavors from The Split Banana.

What to Do

  • Pool your wits to solve one of the active puzzles and escape a themed room at Crack the Code Escape Room
  • Step back in time at the Frontier Culture Museum, which invites visitors to explore the lives of the Shenandoah Valleys pioneers from the 1600s through the mid-1800s.
  • Watch as artisans use extreme heat, to blow and shape molten glass into globes and art pieces at Sunspots Studios
  • Family favorites for shopping include treasure hunting at Staunton Antiques Center and hobby shopping at Staunton Trains and Hobbies. Pufferbellies is the largest independently owned toy store in the Valley, which has a hands-on policy and something to fascinate kids and grownups alike.
  • Hit up one of Staunton’s great city parks like Gypsy Hill Park to feed the ducks, hit the skatepark, and play on the playgrounds. Montgomery Hall Park has more playgrounds as well as miles of hiking and biking trails.
  • There’s always something happening at Augusta Expo. Events include the Augusta County Fair, monster truck rallies, Bigfoot conventions, and more. 

Getaway with the Girls

Share the best of Staunton’s trendy restaurants, local wine, and unique shopping with your besties. You’ll make so many new memories that you’ll want to make Staunton an annual destination.

Where to Stay

  • Not only does 4-suite Gibson’s Warehouse have an interesting history as a working railroad warehouse, but it’s also just steps from downtown Staunton dining and entertainment. Renovated efficiency apartments are appointed with full kitchens and living spaces. There’s also a common space in the lobby with seating so guests can mingle and socialize.
  • Staunton Stays is a four-suite boutique hotel in a beautifully renovated Victorian house. Each suite is decorated according to a different theme. All offer full kitchens, modern bathrooms, living quarters, and access to a laundry room.

Where to Eat

  • Try a range of Spanish tapas and other Mediterranean food at Aioli Restaurant.
  • Enjoy wine by the glass or bottle at Yelping Dog Wine. Share a cheese plate or munch on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.  
  • Savor wine, beer, and light fare such as apps and sandwiches at The Green Room.
  • Dine at Table 44 for amazing Southern food with a twist.

What to Do

Guys’ Weekend

Staunton has golf, cigars, the great outdoors, and food and beer.  What else do you need for an awesome guys’ weekend? 

Where to Stay

  • Tru by Hilton has modern amenities, access to both the interstate and downtown, and generous public gathering spaces.
  • Avid Hotel focuses on getting the essentials right at a value price.

Where to Eat

What to Do

5 Ways to Enjoy Your Staunton Staycation

Not ready for far-away travel just yet? You might want to skip that mid-winter trip out of the country. Why not take a Staunton staycation instead? We’ve rounded up five ways to have a blast and make new discoveries right here in Staunton. Here are our tips for seeing our beautiful city through fresh, new eyes.

Fill Your Days With Local Fun

How well do you really know Staunton? Why not find out with one of the unique tours you can take when you download the Traipse app on your phone. Combining trivia with touring, Traipse brings Staunton to life in over 12 themed tours. Level up your history game with a tour of the Frontier Culture Museum or the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library, and the Camera Heritage Museum. Little ones will love the Antique Fire Engine Museum at the fire station, starring the oldest motorized fire engine in Virginia.

Try a New Outdoor Adventure

Venture a little way out of Staunton for some of the best outdoor adventures in the country. Glide downhill at one of the area’s four awesome ski resorts: Wintergreen Resort, Bryce Mountain Resort, Omni Homestead Resort, and Massanutten Resort all offer skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. Bridgewater’s Generations Park has a stellar skating rink. Shenandoah National Park and George Washington and Jefferson National Forest are packed with interesting trails in a range of difficulties, though you should check online before visiting for an area’s opening status. Head underground at Grand Caverns, the country’s oldest show cave. Another way to get underground is by exploring the Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail that follows an old railroad bed under Afton Mountain!

Skip the Souvenir and Invest in Something Unique and Meaningful

Do you sometimes waste money buying silly trinkets when you’re on vacation? Why not take all that money you’ll be saving and put it toward something you’ll really love, something that will bring your room together? Consider heirloom-quality furniture from Concepts Created, which uses reclaimed wood to create custom dining tables, hutches, benches, mantles, and more. Buy some exquisite art glass from Sunspots Studio, or make your walls pop with work from a local artist from the CoArt Gallery. If you like to personalize your space with words, check out the gorgeous custom signs from Blair Made. And if your kids are pining because they didn’t get Mickey Mouse ears, take them to Pufferbellies Toys & Books and let them pick out something they’ll love even more!

Are you one of those people who hangs out behind the camera and only goes on vacation for the photos? Score lots of likes by setting up shots at Staunton’s Best Insta-Worthy Spots, including near the large metal sculptures of flowerpots, books, and eyeglasses created by Ferguson Metal Fabrication. 

Make Take-Out a Fine Dining Experience

If you’re still hoping to wait a bit before hanging out in a crowded restaurant, why not take carry-out to the next level? Iron the fancy tablecloth and use those fancy forks you got for your wedding. Shake things up by ordering something new from your favorite restaurant. Most Staunton restaurants offer takeout, so you could even order different courses from different spots. Start with a bottle of wine from Yelping Dog Wine and a loaf of fresh bread from Newtown Baking. Enjoy entrees from Table 44, Chicano Boy Taco, or the Depot Grille. Still hungry? A decadent pie from Firkin Pie or a sundae from Wright’s will taste just right at the end of your night. 

Did you get some fancy new cookware for Christmas? The Staunton Grocery will help you break it in by supplying all the local and specialty food items you can’t find in the supermarket. Peruse the catalog online for meats, condiments, spices, specialty oils, and more, and whip up a gourmet feast.

Another good way to fill up and stay warm is to gather around the firepits and sip craft beer at Skipping Rock Beer Co. or Stable Craft Brewing.

Your Home Away From Home

Clutter and day-to-day tasks overwhelming you? Leave your baggage (physical and emotional) behind and check into a Staunton lodging property. Not only will you enjoy some focused time with just the essentials, but you’ll also see your city with new eyes. Best of all, someone else will make the bed! Book a room in a luxury historic hotel, a convenient brand hotel, a well-appointed bed and breakfast, or a unique vacation rental. Stop by the front desk or the Visitor Center for some brochures and ideas about where to spend your day. 

Staunton has much to offer both visitors and long-time residents. Get out there and have fun like a tourist!

What To Do In Staunton on a Snowy Day

Has winter weather stuck a wrench in your plans? Kids home from school and already bored? Fortunately, Staunton has plenty of ways to keep busy on snowy days and in freezing temperatures. From skiing to creating a comfortable den to snuggling with a new book, here’s how to make the most of a snow day in Staunton.

Ride Your Sled

You may have noticed that there’s not a lot of flat ground in Staunton. This may be exhausting for walking and biking, but it’s terrific after a good snow. Bundle up and try out some of our slopes. Montgomery Hall Park and Gypsy Hill Park offer lots of hills, places to park, and even winter bathrooms. Residents also gather to sled on the sweeping hill on the Mary Baldwin campus.

Walk the Winter Wonderland

Staunton is beautiful all year long, but nothing rivals the long winter views of distant mountains when the leaves are off the trees. For some incredible winter views and a chance to reach your daily step goals, try some in-town hikes. The city plows the 1.3-mile loop road at Gypsy Hill Park, making it a prime spot to walk or jog when the sidewalks might still be snowy. Quiet Bell’s Lane is a local birding hotspot that winds through farmland just north of Staunton. If you’re willing to get your boots snowy, Betsy Bell Wilderness offers winter solitude and views of Staunton from above from two from overlooks. Finally, the miles of hiking/biking trails through Montgomery Hall Park and the climb from the Wharf to Woodrow Park boast chances to see nature’s best winter show.

Ski, Snowboard,Tube, or Skate

Hoping to secure a spot at the Winter Olympics? Staunton is located just a short drive away from four awesome ski resorts where you can master the moguls and enjoy apres-ski amenities in style! Wintergreen Resort, Bryce Mountain Resort, Omni Homestead Resort, and Massanutten Resort all offer snow tubing. Along with 12 tubing lanes and a 120-foot drop, there’s a 5,000 square-foot skating rink at Massanutten. See Downhill Fun for more information. You can also lace up your skates at the outdoor rink in Bridgewater’s Generations Park. The rink is open through the beginning of March. Reserve time slots online.

Outfit Yourself for Winter

Shop for outdoor gear suited for wintry weather at Stan’s Ski and Snowboard. You’ll also find a wide selection of seasonal gear at Wilderness Adventure. Runners can bundle up for the winter at Sole Focus Running Shop, and Black Dog Bikes can help you ready your wheels and gears for your next big adventure.

Sip Something Tasty

You’ll be FREEZING after all that time in the snow, so warm your body with some hot cocoa and lunch from Cranberry’s Eatery & Grocery. You won’t be able to resist the Italian dark chocolate cocoa at Split Banana, which is topped with decadent whipped cream and shaved chocolate. Caffeine lovers will want to taste the fresh-roasted flavor of the coffee at Crucible Coffee Roasters, and if you like to warm up with craft beer, Redbeard Brewing Company has your new favorite brew on tap. If you want something really special, try this tasty number from Zynodoa. It incorporates Callebaut chocolate, peanut miso caramel, house-made marshmallows, Elijah Craig bourbon, and Amontillado sherry!

Cuddle up with a Book

Find your next great read on the shelves at The Book Dragon. You’ll find new books for adults and children as well as a selection of used titles. Pufferbellies also sells popular books for kids and they can help you find what’s right for your young reader. Set the mood for relaxation with a candle in your favorite scent from Essentially Zen Artisan Body & Bath Co.

Roll the Dice

Is the entire family home together on this snowy day? Stave off cabin fever with a new board game. Try Pufferbellies Toys and Books for a curated selection of games and puzzles. You’ll find something for all ages and plenty of enthusiastic advice from staff. If you’re into strategy games, war games, and more, The Dragon’s Hoard has a big selection of games, gaming and hobby supplies, dice, and miniatures. 


Exercise your brain and your Scooby skills at Crack the Code Escape Room. Visitors can tackle both live and take-home escape challenges, some of which are Staunton-themed. Dust off your bowling bag: you’ll score big on indoor family fun with a few rounds of bowling (and trips to the snack bar) at Staunton Lanes.

Culture Yourself

Check to make sure it’s open, but a museum can be the perfect way to spend a snowy or wet afternoon. The Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library is a good destination to learn about history and tour the 19th-century manse. Plus, you can even visit virtually! Explore the rotating art and history exhibits at Staunton Augusta Arts Center in the historic R.R. Smith Center for History and Art. The Beverley Street Studio School Gallery and Co-ART Gallery host multiple exhibits of fine local art each year. 

Don’t Make A Resolution; Make A Plan

Rich in history, dining, and culture; Staunton is a wonderful place to visit throughout the year. From festivals and concerts to romantic getaways and holiday entertainment, here are some ideas to get you thinking about how you can enjoy our town each month.

January – Outdoor Winter Adventures

What to Do: Staunton is the perfect location for accessing winter fun. Massanutten Resort and Wintergreen Ski Resort are both 40 minutes. In slightly over an hour, you can reach Bryce Mountain Resort and The Omni Homestead Resort for downhill fun in the snow. Get a workout on the slopes and come home to Staunton to warm up. Check out our blog It’s All Downhill from Staunton for more ideas.

Where to Stay: Tru by Hilton has a great location convenient to downtown Staunton as well as I-81 and I-64.

Where to Eat: Fill up with gourmet pizza at Shenandoah Pizza & Tap House or dine curbside at Wright’s Dairy-Rite.

February – Romantic Getaways

What to Do:

  • If you met your person during quarantine or managed to stay in love while working from home, supervising Zoom school, and staying 6 feet away from your friends, you must be doing something right. You and your significant other have exercised patience and kindness toward each other, and you deserve a romantic getaway to celebrate your love. Spend a memorable evening listening to romantic love songs from the American Songbook by Broadway’s Nancy Anderson in the Great Hall at the Blackburn Inn.
  • Catch a show at the Blackfriars Playhouse. Romeo and Juliet will open on February 25th, 2022.

Where to Stay: The historic Blackburn Inn’s rooms are the perfect blend of historical charm and modern sophistication. 

Where to Eat: BLU Point Seafood prepares the freshest seafood as well as burgers, salads, and sandwiches. Another delicious choice is the four or five-course tasting menu at The Shack.

March – Explore Staunton’s Historic Architecture

What to Do: Take a walking tour of Staunton’s historic districts to exercise your body and your brain. Try one of our self-guided tours:

Where to Stay: Book a luxurious room in one of Staunton’s finest historic buildings, Hotel 24 South.

Where to Eat: Plan to dine in another historic building: The Clocktower Eats & Sweets is housed in what was once a YMCA building built in the 1890s. The Mill Street Grill was once the operating White Star Mill, also built in the 1890s.

April – Dine Out Downtown

What to Do:

  • Staunton’s Shop and Dine Out Downtown program came about because of pandemic necessity, but the city has adopted it because it is so popular, the helps restaurants and businesses expand into space on Beverley Street when it closes for vehicular traffic each weekend. Tables, chairs, tents, and enthusiastic shoppers and dinner fill the street, and those outdoor dining spaces are filled, in turn, with groups chatting, laughing, and loving the al fresco dining experience. 
  • The Spring season at the Blackfriars Playhouse will feature Romeo and Juliet and Comedy of Errors.

Where to Stay: Staunton Stays are fully-equipped luxury suites and apartments that are located downtown and playfully decorated by theme.

Where to Eat: You’ll be eating dinner downtown, but start your day with coffee and a healthy and delicious breakfast at Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery, The By & By, or Serendipity Java Bar and Eatery.

May – Art In The Park

What to Do: How about upping your decorating game by purchasing a unique work of art created by a regional artist? This Memorial Day weekend marks the Staunton Augusta Art Center’s 55th Annual Art in the Park festival at Gypsy Hill Park. Join the fun at this Staunton tradition where you’ll find amazing art, community spirit, live music, food, and creative activities for the kids.

Where to Stay: Located in a beautiful, historic house, Montclair Bed and Breakfast provides privacy, a gourmet breakfast, and convenience to the park and downtown.

Where to Eat: Dine on Salvadoran pupusas at Gloria’s Pupusaria or grab some Peruvian charbroiled chicken at Gonzo’s Pollo. Both are convenient to the park.

June – Summer Music

What to Do: 

  • The summer music scene in Staunton is on fire! More than 40 of the biggest names in folk music will appear early July at Red Wing Roots Music Festival in Natural Chimney’s Park. Besides the music, festival attendees can expect a beer garden, food and craft vendors, bike rides, yoga, and lawn games for adults and kids alike.
  • Head to Gypsy Hill Park for free, live concerts most days of the week including sounds the historic 70-member Stonewall Brigade Band, Praise in the Park’s contemporary and southern gospel, local and regional bluegrass, and jazz.
  • You’ll also want to watch the schedule at Redbeard Brewing Company for the Summer Concert Series Lineup and upcoming summer concerts at the Blackburn Inn.

Where to Stay: With easy access to interstate try the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in Staunton.

Where to Eat: Fuel up with big servings of Mexican and a wide selection of craft beer at the Baja Bean. Chicano Boy Taco is another place to get delicious Mexican food.

July – Heifetz and Happy Birthday America

What to Do: 

  • The annual Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts brings you over 50 different concerts ranging from chamber music, Fourth of July music, and multi-genre selections. You’ll see world-renowned celebrity guests in the Celebrity Series and Sunday Matinee Series. Heifetz students perform in the Stars of Tomorrow Series as well as the intimate Fridays in the Gallery series. Anything goes in the Heifetz Hootenanny Series.
  • Bring the family to Gypsy Hill Park this Independence Day for the free, family-friendly Happy Birthday America celebration. Enjoy a vesper service, a 5K race, a lively parade, concessions, and live music from local acts and homegrown country group Wilson Fairchild. 

Where to Stay: Howard Johnson’s offers comfortable rooms easily walked to and convenient to downtown.

Where to Eat: Dine on Thai favorites at Ubon Thai or head to nearby Aioli for Mediterranean cuisine and tapas.

August – Staunton Music Festival

What to Do: Get ready for a classical music thrill this August as The Staunton Music Festival brings you concerts spanning over 600 years. Dozens of musicians will perform in both large and small ensembles in a variety of Staunton venues like Trinity Episcopal Church and Blackfriars Playhouse. 

Where to Stay: The Storefront Hotel is a small, cool, private hotel with a private bar located downtown.

Where to Eat: Dine on authentic Indian favorites at Taste of India.

September – Queen City Mischief and Magic

What to Do: Raise your wands for Staunton’s Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival, a home-grown fan festival celebrating J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter series as well as all things magical and mystical. Next September, join thousands of seriously excited fans in downtown Staunton for themed shopping, dining, performances, and hands-on activities for all ages.

Where to Stay: Plan to stay at the Frederick House, and be right in the center of all the witches and wizards!

Where to Eat: Take the family to the Depot Grille for a wide selection of American food and a cool location by the historic train station. Fuel up with morning coffee at Crucible Coffee Roasters.

October – Virginia Wine Month and Ghost Tours

What to Do: 

  • According to VAWine.org, Virginia’s winemakers “embody the grace, grit, and experimental spirit of Virginia.” They also make some fine wine! October is Virginia Wine Month, so plan to celebrate wines made in the Shenandoah Valley. Read Raise a Glass to Virginia Wine Month for our favorite local places to drink it, buy it, and other ways to enjoy it.
  • Make plans to shiver this October when you take a Staunton Ghost Tour. You’ll learn about the Queen City’s unique architecture and its history as a thriving Victorian commercial center in the 1850s. You’ll also learn about the ghosts that just might come with buildings that old.

Where to Stay: Stay in Gibson’s Warehouse, a sleek, modern space in a historic building in one of Staunton’s (possibly) most haunted areas.

Where to Eat: Choose from cheese plates, gourmet grilled cheeses, and an enormous selection of wines produced locally and around the world at Yelping Dog Wine. The Green Room is a second destination for wine and light fare.

November – Art for Gifts, Christmas Parade, Celebration of Holiday Lights

What to Do:

  • Get in the holiday spirit by attending the Staunton Holiday Parade, which marches annually on the Monday after Thanksgiving and features marching bands, floats, and more by community and business organizations.
  • Find something for everyone on your list at the Staunton Augusta Art Center’s Art for Gifts holiday market, which features unique, handmade art from over 70 Virginia artists and artisans. 
  • Don’t miss a trip around Gypsy Hill Park for the Celebration of Holiday Lights during the month of December as it is transformed into a winter wonderland with thousands of lights and decorations.

Where to Stay: The updated rooms at the Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast retain their Victorian charm and are steps from downtown dining and entertainment.

Where to Eat: Grab coffee and pastries at Réunion Bakery & Espresso or treats at Magdelena Bake. Visit Zynodoa for fine dining and a seasonal farm-to-table menu.

December-Holiday Happenings and Cheer

What to Do:

  • Stay tuned for the Staunton Downtown Development Association’s holiday events like Saturdays in December, which offer chances to shop and play downtown during the holidays. Shop, dine, and enjoy holiday characters, decorations, musicians, performers, activities, and more.
  • Take an Old World Holiday Tour at the Frontier Culture Museum to enjoy lantern-light visits to English, Irish, and German farmstead. Costumed interpreters perform holiday skits and music.
  • Enjoy ghostly season’s greetings with a Blackfriar’s production of A Christmas Carol. The show is filled with memorable music, cheer, and contemporary twists on the classic tale of Scrooge, Marley, the Christmas ghosts, the Cratchits, and Tiny Tim.  

Where to Stay: Orlesa Farms in Staunton is the perfect balance of seclusion and convenience for the ultimate in relaxation.

Where to Eat: You’ll love the selection of seasonal savory and sweet pies at Firkin Pie Company or Southern cuisine with a twist at Table 44.

How to Enjoy a Production of A Christmas Carol at Blackfriars Playhouse

Rehearsals are underway for the American Shakespeare Company’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. The story by Charles Dickens has been adapted for the stage by Jay McClure. Get tickets now for performances (December 10 – 30) of this classic and family-friendly tale.

Join Ebeneezer Scrooge as he navigates Christmas Eve night with visits from the Christmas ghosts and learns how to be a better, kinder person. See all your favorite characters like the Cratchits, Jacob Marley, and Tiny Tim. This show brings surprises and new twists to the classic story, and while it’s not a Shakespeare play, audiences will get to enjoy the ambiance and historically accurate details in this re-creation of Shakespeare’s theater.

The Christmas Spirit is Alive at the Blackfriars

Demonstrate your own Christmas spirit by giving back to the community by donating to ASC’s Project Goodfellow. The project will support the Valley Mission this holiday season. The Mission hopes to receive cleaning supplies, first aid supplies, shower shoes, and undergarments for men, women, and children. They also need rain gear and ponchos. Donations can be placed in bins during performances or dropped off Tuesday to Sunday afternoons.

Other Ways to Enjoy ASC Productions

Want to watch an ASC production from the comfort of your own home? Check out the offerings on BlkFrsTV. Access to several pre-recorded shows is available on a rolling basis. Current productions of Macbeth, Henry V, and All’s Well that Ends Well are available for streaming by both single title and packages. You can also gift tickets to digital performances as presents this holiday season.

Where to Stay While You’re in Town

Visiting from out of town? Treat yourself to an American Shakespeare Center Package at the Berkeley House Bed & Breakfast. This tastefully updated historic home is a five-minute stroll from the theater. Or stay next door to the theater at the beautifully renovated Hotel 24 South. You might also book a stay in the Bard’s Nest, a boutique hotel room for two that’s located steps away from the Blackfriars. And while there’s no Shakespeare experience at the Blackburn Inn, you might want to try out one of the other packages like the Winter Escape or the Relax & Rejuvenate Package, which includes breakfast and a facial treatment at the hotel’s spa.

Where to Eat

Sit down for drinks and pre-performance snacks at The Green Room, a modern gathering place run by Blackfriars actors. You might get some behind-the-scenes stories about past productions and you’ll definitely get something yummy. If you’re looking for some Shakespeare-themed tastes, you can’t go wrong with The Pampered Palate’s Blackfriars hot pastrami and swiss on rye sandwich. Finally, grab a Shakespearean pie at Shenandoah Pizza and Taphouse. This basil pesto delight boasts artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Don’t stop there, though. Shenandoah Pizza offers an extensive menu of gourmet options.

What to Do Next

Make sure to catch up on your holiday shopping in downtown Staunton, which is packed with interesting independent shops and galleries. Find something fun in the curated selection of toys and games for all ages at Pufferbellies Toys and Books. Shopping for an outdoorsy friend? Explore the gear at Black Dog Bikes, Sole Focus Running, and Wilderness Adventure. Find one-of-a-kind gifts at the Art for Gifts Holiday Market, Made; By the People; for the People, or The Sparrow’s Nest.

Staunton’s 2021 Holiday Gifts

Want to make an impression this holiday season? Why not find meaningful gifts for everyone on your list in downtown Staunton? You’ll not only snag a one-of-a-kind Staunton find, you’ll also be supporting the local small businesses that make Staunton such a special place.

Wellness and Personal Care

Really impress someone with an Essentially Zen Artisan Bath and Body curated holiday zen box. Not only will you be giving a relaxing and great-smelling product, but it will also be beautifully packaged, and all you need to do is name the occasion, your budget, and list any no-no fragrances! Essentially Zen will take care of the rest.

Nature’s Bliss hemp and CBD boutique is your answer to holistic health in Staunton. Stop in to try some local products including energizing tinctures and the best brownie you’ve eaten all year!  Tend to you dog’s health at the Well Balanced Paw pet wellness shop. Fill Fido’s stocking with treats, toys, and accessories. Is he stressed over the holidays? Book him a therapeutic massage!

Arts and Music

 The Heifetz Music Shop offers excellent music-themed gifts like sheet music umbrellas and adorable banjo kitty socks. Did you know that they also have an excellent selection of rental instruments so that fledgling musicians can try their hands at violins, saxophones, clarinets and more. You can also inquire about lessons. 

If you’re buying a gift for someone who’d rather just listen to music, head over to the Vinyl Asylum to relive memories in their ever-changing stock of vintage LPs and more.

You don’t want to miss Staunton Augusta Art Center’s annual Art for Gifts. Running through the end of December, the holiday market showcases the work of more than 60 local and regional artists. Shoppers can find paintings, sculpture, jewelry, textile and fiber art, photography, pottery, stained glass, and more.

Gifts

Looking for some holiday table linens like a set of vibrantly colored cotton placemats designed by French artisans and block printed in India?  Or how about a special hostess gift like an aromatherapy wrap filled with organic ingredients like flaxseed, lavender, and essential oils? You’ll find this and much more at Harmony Moon

Do you have a Tolkien lover on your gift list? Known for its handmade swords, armor, and Welsh items, Medieval Fantasies Company also has lots of inexpensive stocking stuffers from Middle Earth like Rivendell and Rohan-scented soaps. More adventurous folk can scrub down with some Smaug-scented soap and follow up with a liberal application of Durin’s Folk handcrafted beard butter.

CFO Trading Co. sells men’s fine gifts and apparel. Here you’ll find something nice to wear, shaving supplies, glassware, and even pit barrel cookers. Better yet, you can buy a glass of wine from CFO’s sister store Yelping Dog Wine and sip while you shop. If you’re looking for a gift for a cigar aficionado, you’ll be delighted with the selection of cigars, pipes, and accessories at Beverley Street Cigar Store.

Staunton Flavor

Experience the magic of hot glass and the beauty created from it at Sunspots Studios.  Blow your own ornament or choose from their spectacular gallery of glass art.

A Staunton charm from H.L. Lang and Company Jewelers will make the recipient think of the Queen City whenever they hear it tinkling. These keepsakes are lovingly crafted from sterling silver or 24-K gold and depict the Stonewall Brigade Bandstand, the Marquis Building, the watering can and other Staunton landmarks. Another place to look for something sparkly is Crown Jewelers, where you can select from both new and estate jewelry.

How about the gift of organizing the year ahead with a Staunton calendar? Local artist Haley Roberts is using her talents to support downtown by creating a calendar highlighting some of the many wonderful local businesses that make Staunton’s downtown life so vibrant, and charming. If you order by December 20th,the proceeds will support the Staunton Downtown Development Association (SDDA).

Make sure to visit the American Shakespeare Center gift shop for Shakespeare-themed goodies like shirts, bags, and face masks adorned with a Shakespeare facial hair design. History buffs will enjoy the offerings from the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library gift shop. Stuff stockings with candles, mugs, notecards, picture frames and holiday ornaments. 

Experiences

If you’d rather gift a Staunton experience this holiday season, why not treat someone to a night in one of our historic hotels like the Blackburn Inn or Hotel 24 South, which both provide luxurious accommodations just steps from downtown.

Now that we’re finally seeing movies in the theater again, you can’t beat the convenience of a gift card from the Visulite. Sign up online and give a gift of any amount that’s good for all the new movies that are coming out next year.

Also consider an annual pass to the Frontier Culture Museum. This pass provides unlimited visits to the museum and select special events for an entire year. The pass also provides a 10% discount at the museum store. 

Finally, how about a semester of art classes from Beverley Street Studio School? Classes are offered for both beginners and advanced students and cover topics like watercolor, streetscapes, and theory and critique.

Shop Staunton’s Small Business Saturday on November 27

Why not burn those Thanksgiving calories, make a dent in your holiday shopping, and support locally-owned businesses all at the same time? Skip the Black Friday lines and instead shop downtown Staunton on Small Business Saturday. You’ll find all sorts of unique products and wonderful customer service. Our downtown shops are filled with great deals and holiday cheer and some merchants may offer discounts and refreshments. 

The Well-Balanced Paw 

The Well-Balanced Paw is dedicated to pampering your pup. This pet wellness shop offers nutrition, treats, massages, and accessories. They will have sales both Friday and Saturday and are giving away Shop Small Mystery Bags with each purchase over $20 on Saturday.

Refill Renew

Help the environment and get a jump on your holiday cleaning and gift giving at Refill Renew. Shoppers get 20% off on bulk Free & Clear Refill Laundry Detergent, Multi-Purpose, and Glass Cleaner on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Spend $35 and receive a free zero-waste gift!

The Book Dragon

The Book Dragon is Staunton’s downtown source for new and used books as well as locally-made pottery and jewelry. The first ten customers who spend $75 on Small Business Saturday score a free Book Dragon tote bag. Choose a free book (advance reader book) with a $25.00 purchase. Make sure you look at the selection of exclusive signed books while quantities last. 

CFO Trading Co.

CFO Trading Co. sells fine men’s clothing, shoes, accessories, and gifts from companies like Pendleton Wool, Duck Head, Stanley and Frost River Bags. They will be offering 15% off everything in the store Friday and Saturday. 

Yelping Dog Wine

Yelping Dog Wine stocks hundreds of types of wine, from bottles produced locally to those made around the world. For Small Business Saturday, the shop will be offering ½ case of wine at 15% off and full cases of wine at 20% off. Parched from all that shopping? Take a break and enjoy a wine by the glass special on Friday and Saturday.

The Foundry Pop Ups

The Foundry Pop Ups promotes the work of local artists and craftspeople and those who have produced unique products. You’ll find clothing, jewelry, bath products, candles, and more. The shop will extend its hours Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and offer complimentary hot cider for customers.

Harmony Moon

Shop Harmony Moon online for curbside pickup or score free shipping on purchases over $49. The first 15 customers (online or in-store) will receive a free gift, and everyone can enter their name into a prize drawing.

Sole Focus Running

Sole Focus Running is your go-to shop for running shoes and gear and great service. Check social media for upcoming details on Small Business Saturday specials.

Traipse Tours

Access even more of downtown Staunton and its locally-owned businesses by taking a Traipse Tour unique to the Queen City. The tours are part scavenger hunt, part history lesson. Different tours explore the historic Wharf and Beverley districts and the unique shops and restaurants. There’s also a tour that seeks to spark creativity by highlighting galleries and supply shops for artists. And if you want a wider view of Staunton, there’s a tour for that, too!

Arts for Gifts

While this isn’t a Small Business Saturday event, it’s too good to skip mentioning. Select something truly special for those on your gift list this year. Staunton Augusta Art Center’s Arts for Gifts showcases work by local artists in a variety of media. You’ll find paintings, stained glass, textiles, and jewelry, as well as seasonal cards, ornaments, and much more. Ongoing through December 31. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Proceeds support local artists and arts education.

Virginia Cider Week

Virginia is one of the top six apple-producing states in the country. And while we enjoy those apples in school lunches and pies, sipping cider is another way to keep the doctor away. Since 2012, Virginia has celebrated Cider Week each November during the week before Thanksgiving. This year, that’s November 12-21. Stay in downtown Staunton or take a drive to a nearby cidery for a tasting. Meet the cider makers to learn about the trends and styles, the types of apples used, how cider is made, and what makes a Virginia cider so special.

Did You Know?

  • People have been drinking cider for hundreds of years. The English drank it in the 1600s (as well as beer and wine) because water wasn’t always clean enough to keep them from getting sick.
  • Cider is loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants from the apples.
  • It’s a great gluten-free alcoholic option for those who are intolerant. 
  • Hard cider is NOT the same thing as apple juice. It contains 4.5 to 10 percent alcohol by volume.
  • The length of time a cider ferments usually determines its sweetness. Ciders tend to get drier as they age. They also gain more alcohol by volume. Ciders can be sparkling or still and complex or simple.

Ciders from Mars

Ciders from Mars launched in Staunton last summer. This slick, modern space looks cool and offers delicious ciders. The taproom features a glass wall through which you can see the cider-making process. On nice days, take a seat on the patio overlooking the Wharf. The cidery serves cider by 9 oz. drafts, bottles, or flights of four flavors in 100 ml pours, which are presented in beaker-shaped glassware. To celebrate Virginia Cider Week, they will be introducing a full craft cider cocktail menu focusing on fresh, seasonal ingredients. 

Ciders from Mars uses local apple varieties like Winesap and Gold Rush from local orchards. There’s an orchard in the works, but the trees are still too young to bear fruit. Ciders from Mars ciders tend to have low sugar content and taste dry, like their flagship flavor, Hellas Dry. Pathfinder offers a sweeter taste. Some are flavored by co-fermenting with other fruits. Try a hot, mulled cider or a cider cocktail after a chilly day of downton holiday shopping. 

Where Else Can I Taste Cider?

Several Staunton establishments offer cider (and other drinks). Stop in to see what’s available at The Green Room, Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company, and Baja Bean. Stop in at the Staunton Farmers’ Market in its final weeks for an order of apple cider donuts. If you’re enjoying a day of tasting beer at Stable Craft Brewing, check out the cider menu as well.

Nearby Cideries

Tasting cider goes great with drives through the beautiful countryside. Here are a few other cideries within an easy drive from Staunton.

10 Things We Are Thankful For In Staunton This Year

Thanksgiving is almost here. Take some time between raking leaves, planning side dishes, and agonizing over table settings to reflect on the many things we’re thankful for in Staunton.

Our Great Outdoors

Staunton’s location in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley provides incredible views of mountains on both sides. Were just a few minutes from Shenandoah National Park with its many trails and Skyline Drive. We’re also right in the middle of George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, a wonderful place to hike, bike, paddle, and explore. Even downtown Staunton offers a robust park system featuring trails, views, pools, wilderness areas, playgrounds, ballfields, and a dog park.

Independent Small Businesses

Staunton boasts a diverse mix of indie shops. Our small business owners are following their passions, and creating one of the best independent shopping districts in the state. Hurrah for Staunton Olive Oil Company, Essentially Zen Artisan Bath and Body Shop, Latitudes, Made; By the People, For the People, Medieval Fantasies Company, Refill Renew, Pufferbellies Toys and Books, and more

Foodie Scene

For a small town, Staunton has a lot of good food and this list only scratches the surface. Enjoy fresh coffee and out-of-this-world pastries at Reunion Bakery & Espresso, Crucible Coffee Roasters, or Newtown Baking. Sit down to a tasty lunch emphasizing local ingredients at Serendipity Java Bar and Eatery, Table 44, the Pampered Palate, or Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery. Savor a dinner at Chicano Boy Taco, Zynodoa, the Mill Street Grill, or Aioli. Make sure to leave room for something sweet from The Split Banana, the Clocktower Eats and Sweets, or Wright’s Dairy Rite

Craft Beer, Wine, and Cider

Virginia is making quite a name for itself in the craft beer and wine scene, and our local area is no exception. In fact, Staunton was just named one of the “20 Best Beer Towns in the United States.” Hop on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail to sip at 19 breweries, all within an hour’s drive. Queen City Brewing, Redbeard Brewing Company, and Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co. are all within city limits. Baja Bean Co. sells a wide selection of craft beers by the bottle or on tap. Wine lovers can taste the local varietals and more at Ox-Eye Vineyards Tasting Room, Yelping Dog Wine, the Green Room, or the new Seed to Tail Kitchen & Market. Barren Ridge Vineyards is just a short drive away. If you prefer cider, grab a seat and a flight at Staunton’s new cidery, Ciders from Mars.

Artists, Artisans, and the Performing Arts

There are many ways to explore Staunton’s flourishing arts community. Walk around and visit Staunton’s collection of murals and public art. Drop in at a gallery. Take a class at Beverley Street Studio School. Visit Sunspots Studios, where you can watch glass art being created in front of your eyes. Catch a virtual performance by The American Shakespeare Center or a live show at ShenanArts where local performers put on high-energy performances. Got dramatic kids? Sign them up for a theater class with Silver Line Theatre Exchange.

Live Music 

From the world-renowned performers who perform at the Heifetz International Music Institute, to the wonderful local musicians enlivening the scene at our favorite breweries and restaurants, Staunton is home to the very best in music–making. We’ve got live, free music almost every night of the week at Gypsy Hill Park during the summer. We have music festivals that entertain all year long. These include Red Wing Roots Music Festival, the classical Staunton Music Festival, as well as rock, blues, jazz, and folk festivals.

Local Farmers and Producers

We are fortunate to be able to enjoy some of the freshest, most delicious locally grown food available anywhere in the USA.  We have a seasonal farmer’s market (and new winter market,) farm-fresh roadside stands, and pick-your-own farms.  We’re the envy of many communities in the “buy fresh, buy local” movement. Plus, many of our restaurants prioritize using this seasonal and healthy food in their recipes.

Museums and Historic Sites

Staunton’s in touch with its history. Take a walking tour and admire downtown’s amazing Victorian architecture. See the past come to life at the Frontier Culture Museum and Woodrow Wilson’s Birthplace Museum. Check out the Camera Heritage Museum, explore Thornrose Cemetery, or even book a private ghost tour

Our Fun Community

Though Covid has put a damper on a some of the live community events, we hope to soon be able to take advantage of all our favorites. We’re thankful for the Staunton Christmas Parade, Caroling in the Park, Happy Birthday America Celebration, Celebration of Holiday Lights in the Park, Queen City Mischief and Magic, Art in the Park, Concerts at Trinity Church and many more.

The People

We are thankful for YOU!  You, as a visitor or local, all come together to make Staunton exactly what it is!  It wouldn’t be the same without you. We’re also thankful for our teachers, our police officers, and our Public Works department. We’re thankful for the servers and bartenders in the cafes who know our faces and orders by heart, the doctors who keep us healthy, and many more. We are grateful for all of the incredible people who live and work in Staunton that contribute every day to help make our small city so amazing. 

We hope you’ll enjoy and share this list.  But most of all – we hope you’ll add to this list with all the things you are grateful for in Staunton. Happy Thanksgiving!

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report 2021: Weekend of October 29-31

The autumn colors are peaking in Staunton, and boy are they spectacular. This week, leaf peepers should see yellows and reds from maples. Look also for red displays from sumac and, surprisingly, poison ivy vines, which add festive garlands to tree trunks. Midweek wind brought down a lot of leaves, so rake them into piles and photograph the kiddos jumping and undoing all your hard work. Plan also to visit the Staunton Farmers’ Market on one of its final weeks this Saturday. Check for some color in the historic Wharf area and nearby on the grounds of Trinity Church. Other ways to see seasonal shades are to visit nearby pumpkin patches and corn mazes, and of course, look forward to the little ones in their Halloween finery on Sunday.

The Virginia Department of Forestry predicts peak fall foliage this week. The weather should be in the 50s this weekend, so get out there and enjoy the mountains and the Shenandoah Valley in all their glory. Check out the views along the Skyline Drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and from the top of Shenandoah Mountain to the west.