“I’m King of the World…!”

When was the last time you felt like you had set sail on a trip of a lifetime to see the world? What if I told you for $20 you can get your passport stamped 5 times on an “international adventure?”

Wanna come?

On September 22nd and 23rd, 2012 at The Frontier Culture Museum, The Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce will be hosting “Good Times, Tastes & Traditions” – An International Fall Celebration. (Presented by Staunton Subaru, The Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, Zeus Digital Theater, REO Distribution and Blue Ridge Beverage/MillerCoors.) This new and unique event will bring to life the 5 featured farms/countries (America, England, Ireland, Germany and West Africa) by featuring coordinating ethnic cuisine, wines, beers, entertainment, artists, crafters, vendors and more!

For only $20 at the gate ($17 in advance at www.goodtimestastesandtraditions.com) you can purchase a “Tasting Passport” which will include; a tasting glass, samples of our featured wines and beers, our seminars and the entertainment at each farm and the amphitheater. ($20 = a 1 day pass.) If you would like to experience our festival without the sampling you can do so for just $10 per person. We also have military discounts, senior discounts and children’s tickets. Children under 5 are free. Parking is free.

Every adult will be given a Souvenir Passport Booklet and encouraged to visit each village and get their passport stamped by each presenting sponsor. If an attendee completes their passport book with all 5 stamps they will receive an Outback appetizer coupon, a $25 off spa coupon from Merle Norman Studios and be entered to WIN a $500 Best Buy Gift Card, provided by Commonwealth Promotional.

What a great chance to have an international experience; with a hometown welcome. See ya there!

For daily updates visit us at: www.facebook.com/goodtimestastesandtraditions


An Evening of Jazz and Dancing

Due to the success of this past winter’s “Evening of Jazz & Dancing” at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center, Shenandoah Concerts is having an encore presentation of the event on Friday, May 11, 2012.  Dance to the sounds of Emme St. James and her Jazz Gentlemen. Listen to the swing rhythm of what’s been called “America’s classical music.” Enjoy delicious light hor d’oeuvres prepared by Chef Hamilton, and a cash bar.  Dining is also available in Sorrel’s Lounge.

Event Details:

* Friday, May 11th 8:00 – 11:00 p.m.
* Stonewall Jackson Hotel
* Advance Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Shenandoah Hops, 9 North New Street; H.L. Lang Jewelers, 11 West Beverley Street; OR online at www.shenandoahconcerts.com
* Tickets at the door are $25

If you’d like to make a night of it, the Stonewall is offering an overnight package for $198 per room, per couple. This package includes:

* Overnight accommodations
* Two tickets to the Evening of Jazz & Dancing
* Breakfast for 2 in 24 Market
* Overnight self parking

Book your package here.

Staunton Does Virginia Wine and Dine Month

March is a great time to visit Staunton, and here are two reasons why.

ONE: Both Virginians and visitors love a great meal paired with award-winning Virginia wine. So much so that the previously week-long Love by the Glass: Virginia Wine Week has grown into a full-fledged Love by the Glass: Virginia Wine & Dine Month, and Staunton is taking part!

TWO: Staunton Restaurant Week is March 19-25! Let your mouth water a little longer for that indulgent petit four. There are eight fantastic restaurants to choose from, so keep an eye on the Staunton Yum web site for Restaurant Week menus coming soon!

The bottom line? Staunton is your destination for local food with flare, fine wine from not too far down the road, and some pretty extraordinary accommodations.

Three-in-One: Wine, Dine, Stay

There’s no leg-work to these fine packages. You’ll arrive, you’ll enjoy a fantastic dinner, and you’ll be treated to excellent Virginia wine, all for one price.

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage Bed and Breakfast Inn invites you to splurge with a night (or two) in Juliet, Romeo, or William’s room after you enjoy a decadent three-course dinner and wine pairing at Zynodoa. A single night with the special dinner and wine is $245-$265, or you can stay two nights for $365. Call 540-885-8885.

Staunton Choral Gardens Bed and Breakfast is offering a Wine Lovers Weekend package. It’s two nights with a $70 certificate for your choice of downtown dining, and a chauffeured trip to three or four nearby wineries (with lunch and all fees included), plus quite a bit more. It’s a decadent opportunity priced $895-$945. Call 540-885-6550.

Restaurant Week Deal

Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center is offering a GREAT Restaurant Week deal – $52.00 per night guestroom available Sunday-Thursday only (March 18-22.)  Call the hotel and mention the Restaurant Week overnight deal.

Pairing On Your Own

Score a great room rate, seek out your own style of dining, and sip wine, too.

Inn at Old Virginia is offering a special rate through the end of March. Stay for as little as $90 per night. Call 877-809-1146.

The Storefront, a gorgeous one-bedroom loft with kitchen and lounge right in the heart of downtown, has a standing weeknight deal of $95 per night. Call 804-218-5656.

Popular for both their food and their entertainment is Mockingbird Artisan Fare and Roots Music, where you can enjoy a dinner served with Virginia wine while listening to live music in an unbelievable atmosphere.

Pop in for a great sandwich, possibly a live performance, and definitely a glass of Virginia wine at George Bowers Grocery.

Get your pampering on at The Pampered Palate, serving soups, salads, sandwiches, quiche, desserts, and an extensive gallery of Virginia wine.

A scenic 20-minute drive east of downtown is Barren Ridge Vineyards in Fishersville where tours and tastings are available daily.

If you’d rather not leave downtown, you’ll find the new Ox-Eye Vineyards Tasting Room on Middlebrook Avenue to be a refreshing bright spot. I recommend foregoing dessert in favor of the Riesling.

For more information about Staunton, please explore VisitStaunton.com. More information about Staunton Restaurant Week will be available soon.

Casey Higgins is a Shenandoah Valley girl residing in the Richmond area with her husband and two children. She writes for Virginia Tourism Corporation presenting travel ideas for families and couples, shining a light on hidden gems, and uncovering hometown delights. Follow her on Twitter at @jccjhiggins.

Shakespeare for the Holidays

Dress up and hit the playhouse this holiday season!

American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse

American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, VA has scheduled some of William Shakespeare’s best works. Which is your favorite? Choose your show and then secure your accommodation. There are two Shakespeare-inspired properties you might enjoy.

 The Schedule:

A Christmas Carol – December 1st-27th – Marley, the Cratchits, Tiny Tim, and all of the original characters are back for yet another trip down Scrooge’s money-grubbing life. This show brings new twists and surprises to the classic tale. 

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) – November 29th-December 26th – This fast-paced show takes you on a journey through the most popular holiday classics, and then some, of course. 


 Where to Stay:

The Bard’s Nest

The Bard’s Nest is the newest option for travelers to Staunton. In the heart of downtown, it’s a fresh, uniquely decorated space on the second floor of one of Staunton’s 1890′s buildings. Reminiscent of Shakespeare in name only, The Bard’s Nest has all of the comforts of home, and you don’t even have to cross the street once to get to the play! Rates from $125.

 Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is an authentic thatched cottage that appears to have come straight out of England. Old world accoutrements surround you, from English antiques to the 5,000-bulb garden, but don’t be misled to think there are no “new world” amenities. WiFi, a/c, and flat screen TV are included. Half the fun of this property is choosing your room. Will it be William’s, Romeo’s or Juliet’s room that suits you? Rates from $129 (or $119, if you’re last minute!).

Themed Eats:

Try the Blackfriars sandwich at The Pampered Palate or the Shakespearean pizza at Shenandoah Pizza.

 Special Package:

The Stonewall Jackson Hotel welcomes you to their historic halls with two tickets to a Shakespeare performance and breakfast. $185-$262, based upon availability.

Find additional events, dining, and more to enhance your trip at VisitStaunton.com.

– Courtesy of Casey Higgins at the Virginia Tourism Corporation
  Click here for the original blog post

Dining Out Is In! Staunton Posts Big Gains with Restaurant Week

Staunton’s inaugural Restaurant Week featured 10 Staunton establishments and thousands of hungry diners looking for a good deal.

Modeled on similar events in Charlottesville and other larger cities, Restaurant Week offered seven days of good food and good fun.  During the week, diners ordered off special three-course, prix-fixe menus.

It’s too early to know the full economic impact of Restaurant Week, but all signs point to a big success. 2,066 prix-fixe dinners were sold over seven days.

“Restaurant Week 2011 went very well,” Wagner says. “It got people thinking about choosing Staunton as a dining destination. It raised the city’s visibility, especially among people in other communities who might not normally have us on their radar screen for eating out.”

Economic impact numbers are still being crunched, but preliminary sales reports show a spike in restaurant revenue during the week of March 21-27.  Jeff Ramsey of the Bistro reports that his restaurant was up 36.24% in sales during the week compared to the same time last year.

Local residents and those of surrounding towns took advantage of the prix-fixe deals, reportedly driving to Staunton from well outside the immediate area, including Richmond, Virginia Beach, and Northern Virginia. “Culinary tourism is a huge, huge deal,” says Sheryl Wagner, Director of Tourism. “Higher traffic in restaurants means higher traffic in other downtown establishments – including hotels, retail stores and theaters. It’s a boost for the local economy.”

A poll of the restaurateurs who attended the wrap-up meeting indicated that overall, they were both surprised by the turnout and pleased by the opportunity to attract new customers to Staunton.

Zynodoa opened up all seven days of the week, and was booked solid every night. “We saw a high percentage of new customers, including many people who came from Charlottesville and Richmond, and we regarded it as an excellent opportunity to showcase what we do best,” says Jeff Goode of Zynodoa. “Sales were very strong all week long.”

“We were a little skeptical at first that Restaurant Week would succeed, but business was great – we were up the whole week and we’ll definitely participate again,” says Ian Boden of Staunton Grocery.

Chris Signore of the Stonewall Jackson Hotel said, “Restaurant Week gave us a lot of exposure – especially to people who didn’t even know we had a restaurant.”

It’s all part of a long term strategy to put Staunton on the map for foodies. Visitors tend to associate Staunton with history, architecture, and the arts.  But in recent years, there has been an explosion of interest in the city’s culinary offerings.

“Restaurant Week gives Staunton the opportunity to showcase its recent successes, such as being singled out as ‘one of the country’s best-kept foodie secrets’ in the March issue of Baltimore Magazine and as “a foodie dream town” in this month’s Southern Living, says Wagner.

Asked about what the organizers learned from their first Restaurant Week, Wagner says, “the promotion was a big success, but it was put together fairly quickly.  Next year, we’ll promote it well in advance and target Richmond and Northern Virginia audiences.”

Participating Restaurants included:
·      Baja Bean Company
·      Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery
·      Byers Street Bistro
·      Emilio’s Italian Restaurant
·      Mockingbird Artisan Fare & Roots Music
·      Mill Street Grill
·      Sorrel’s Dining at the Stonewall Jackson
·      Staunton Grocery
·      Taste of India
·      Zynodoa

The Staunton Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Staunton Downtown Development Association sponsored Staunton Restaurant Week.

All That Jazz!!

Shenandoah Concerts and ShenanArts present An Evening of Jazz. Spend a winter night relaxing with the smooth sounds of jazz! The S.P.L.A.A.A.T. Quintet ensemble will open an unforgettable evening. Chaise Lounge completes the evening–a combination of five of the Washington area’s top jazz musicians playing sparkling arrangements of standards and original tunes and featuring the soft, luminous vocals of Marilyn Older. Chef Drew Buzik, who has been cooking professionally for over 20 years, will present a tasting of hors d’oeuvres — included in your ticket price of $25/person.

WHAT:   An Evening of Jazz

WHEN:   Saturday, February 26th at 6:00 p.m.

WHERE:  nTelos Theater

300 Churchville Ave.
Staunton, VA



Local gift buying

Experience Staunton

Why not give a gift of experiencing Staunton this holiday season?  Blackfriars Playhouse

Tickets to a show – Blackfriars Playhouse is the only recreation in the world of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre and offers performances throughout the year.  This isn’t your grandmother’s Shakespeare, so be prepared for what the Washington Post calls, “Shamelessly Entertaining!”  Mockingbird Roots Music Hall features roots music in an intimate, comfortable “listening room.”  Local and nationally renowned musicians perform a wide array of acoustic music – from blues to bluegrass, folk to old time, Celtic to Cajun, or alternative country to mountain music.   See a movie at one of Staunton’s independent movie houses Visulite Cinema or Dixie Theater.

A gift for the history buff on your list may include tickets for a tour of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum or the  Frontier Culture Museum or a guided tour by Staunton Guided Tours.


For that artistic friend or family member, get them certificates for a glassblowing workshop or “Blow Your Own Ornament” session at Sunspots Glassblowing Studios, maybe even an art instruction class at Beverley Street Studio School in downtown Staunton.

So, give a Staunton gift this year. Whether it’s learning to paint or a musical performance at Mockingbird, your gift recipient will certainly come away with a great experience.  Happy Holidays from the Staunton Convention & Visitors Bureau!