#LOVEstaunton

#LOVEstaunton

Your Guide to What’s New in Staunton

If you’ve been downtown lately, you’ve probably noticed lots of activity as new businesses finalize their menus and put the final touches on their storefronts. It’s time to celebrate small businesses and the Staunton community by exploring what’s new in downtown Staunton. Here’s the info on new restaurants, shops, and experiences in Staunton. Sweet Addie’s … Continue reading Your Guide to What’s New in Staunton

If you’ve been downtown lately, you’ve probably noticed lots of activity as new businesses finalize their menus and put the final touches on their storefronts. It’s time to celebrate small businesses and the Staunton community by exploring what’s new in downtown Staunton. Here’s the info on new restaurants, shops, and experiences in Staunton.

Sweet Addie’s / 132 West Beverley Street

Think waffles are only for breakfast? Think again. Sweet Addie’s promises to serve you the “best Belgian waffles on the planet,” and you can get them any time. The Liège waffles Sweet Addie’s serves may be different from what you’ll find in a box of Eggo. Not only do they have uneven edges, but they’re also sweeter and made with pearl sugar, which “creates a perfectly chewy level of caramelization when cooked.” You can get a plain waffle or two or have them loaded with your choice of tasty toppings. Try something with Belgian cookie butter or one of the shop’s signature creations like the “Vames Candyland,” which includes Reeses Pieces, Oreos, M&Ms, whipped cream and Belgian chocolate sauce. Or taste the “Holy Cannoli,” featuring cannoli cream, chocolate chips, shaved Belgian chocolate, waffle cone pieces, and powdered sugar.

Brisket Taco / 101 State Street

You’ve probably tasted Brisket Taco Co. at the farmers’ market or at area festivals and pop-ups and wished you could get it every day. You’re in luck: the new brick-and-mortar location will open in October. It will be “bringing the heart of Texas to the Shenandoah Valley” with dishes made from Texas-style smoked brisket made from locally sourced meat. They’ll also use local, organic toppings and cheeses. Menu offerings will include tacos, breakfast tacos, nachos, and sides like smoked potato salad and smoked mac and cheese.

Accordia / 114 East Beverley Street

Accordia is a new wine and cheese pairing store opening in downtown Staunton featuring wines from Barren Ridge Vineyards. Visitors will be able to taste and purchase wines at various price points from both local sources and around the world. But the real purpose of the shop is to help people learn how to appreciate the subtleties of wine and how to enjoy it with food. Visit the shop for weekly wine tastings and pairing options. Stop in any time for a glass of wine or a wine-based cocktail and a snack. Wines for sale by the bottle will come with descriptive cards and helpful information. You’ll also be able to choose from a selection of locally sourced chocolates like those from Laurie’s Chocolates.

Billy Opal Boutique / 16 South New Street

Looking for a new place to buy your clothes? Billy Opal, a boutique clothing store, is finally opening in downtown Staunton and it promises to help you look your best with a combination of high-end and vintage clothing, accessories, hats, and shoes for both women and men. The store promises to have a wide range of unique looks for all occasions as well as one-on-one help to find your new style.

Staunton Guided Tours

  • Victorian House Tours: Want a private tour of Staunton’s historic neighborhoods? Want to see the houses that appear on the National Register of Historic Places? Want to ask lots of questions and learn about the history or the houses and about the lives of the people who lived there? Make an appointment with Staunton Guided Tours for your personal hour-long tour. You’ll be driven around town to sites like The Oaks, the Miller House, the Stuart House, and more. If you have specific tour requests, your tour can be customized. Other tour options include a Civil War Tour and a Valley Pike Tour.
  • Trolly Tours / 35 South New Street: Catch a narrated trolley tour from Staunton’s Visitors Center to learn all about the Queen City’s history. Tours are scheduled for Friday and Saturday and overview the important moments in Staunton’s history, highlight architectural gems in the historic districts, and touch on more modern subjects like the Statler Brothers Buildings, Sunspots Glassblowing, and The Blackfriars Playhouse.

Virginia Scenic Railway Tours

Train fans have a new way to ride the rails! The Virginia Scenic Railway is offering scenic tours of the Shenandoah Valley that begin and end at the historic train station in downtown Staunton. 

Reserve tickets for a 3-hour trip on Thursday-Sunday. The Scenic Railway offers rides on the Alleghany Special, which heads west toward Goshen, and the Blue Ridge Flyer, which travels east and goes through the Blue Ridge Tunnel on Afton Mountain. Both tours include a meal, dessert, and a beverage.

Welcome Fall Here in Staunton

Today is the fall equinox, meaning that fall has officially arrived in Staunton. While the days are still warm, the nights are getting cooler and nature knows the seasons have changed. The leaves are turning magical colors, the geese are migrating, and people can’t stop talking about football, Halloween, and pumpkin spice latte. Get outside … Continue reading Welcome Fall Here in Staunton

Today is the fall equinox, meaning that fall has officially arrived in Staunton. While the days are still warm, the nights are getting cooler and nature knows the seasons have changed. The leaves are turning magical colors, the geese are migrating, and people can’t stop talking about football, Halloween, and pumpkin spice latte. Get outside to take some long walks around our city and enjoy harvest season at the farmers’ market. Here are some other ways to welcome fall this year.

Events

  • September 24-25: While wizardry isn’t synonymous with fall, Stauntonians celebrate September with the Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival, which is returning live this weekend. Downtown will turn into a magical village celebrating Harry Potter and all things mystical. Check the schedule today!

  • September 24: Use your old clothes to create a scary or silly scarecrow at Staunton Parks and Rec’s 4th annual Scarecrows in the Park event. 
  • September 24: Catch the right wind and see your kite soar at Coyner Springs Kite Fly. See kite demonstrations, paint pumpkins, and sling apples at this fun event. If you don’t already own a kite, browse the selection at Pufferbellies Toys and Books.
  • October 1: Enjoy German music and refreshments as you celebrate Oktoberfest at the Frontier Culture Museum.
  • October 2: Enjoy food, drink and a live 20+ piece German band at Oktoberfest at Barren Ridge Vineyard.
  • October 8: Grab your friends and enjoy food, music, pumpkin painting, beer and more at Oktoberfest at Skipping Rock Beer Co.
  • October 8-9: The Fall Foliage Art Festival brings talented artists to downtown Waynesboro each year. You’ll find paintings, prints, sculptures, jewelry, pottery, and more as well as music, food, and craft beer against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge in full color. 
  • October 14-16: The Fall Foliage Bike Festival attracts hundreds of cyclists to the backroads around Staunton for a weekend of riding. Escape the cities for a quiet weekend and choose from a number of SAG-supported routes over two days.

  • October 15: See apple butter being made the traditional way, enjoy tasty food and drink, and shop for local crafts at Wade’s Mill’s 26th annual Apple Butter Festival.
  • October 23: Celebrate pride, resilience, joy and community at Gypsy Hill Park for the Staunton Pride Festival.
  • October 29: Bring the entire family to our first annual Fall Pumpkin Float at Lake Tams featuring floating pumpkins, costume contest, luminaries and fun family activities.

Activities

Hikes and fall gear

  • Hikes in George Washington and Jefferson National Forest offer fine opportunities to view those magical shades, especially from the Elliot Knob Trail, which is strenuous but leads to a clearing at the highest point in Augusta County.
  • For some easy hikes in Staunton, hit the trails at Montgomery Hall Park and Betsy Bell Wilderness Area
  • Make sure to outfit yourself for that fall hiking or camping trip at Wilderness Adventure. Select from technical clothing, hiking shoes, day packs, accessories, and more.

Shopping

  • Drop by Staunton Antiques Center and celebrate their anniversary with a unique find to fill your home. Head upstairs to The Artisans Loft to see the new show Starry Night with an opening reception Friday, November 11th featuring art, music and food.
  • Warm up your wardrobe for sweater weather and family portrait season. Family-owned Latitudes Fair Trade Store sells unique and trendy clothing and accessories in the store and online. Not only will you look and feel beautiful, but you’ll also be empowering farmers and artisans in developing countries. 

  • Design at Nine carries distinctive women’s clothing including a large selection of seasonal shoes and boots as well as the accessories you need to tie your look together. 
  • If you’re looking for something different, Nanny June Vintage Clothing can help you add a retro flair to your modern wardrobe. You’ll find a curated selection of clothes and accessories for women and men.
  • Find handcrafted bags, jewelry, and knitwear at The Sparrow’s Nest. You can also outfit your home for fall with a seasonal soy candle. 

  • Men will look sharp after shopping at CFO Trading Company for clothing, outerwear, scarves, hats, and seasonal accessories. Look for clothing by Duckhead, Pendleton, North River, and more. CFO Trading Company is a 2022 Best of Virginia winner.

Hair and nails for fall

  • Bonita’s Salon can help you freshen up your look for fall. Whether you’re seeking a new hairstyle, artistic nails, or a special-occasion look, you’re bound to feel pampered here! 

  • Customers rave about the hair services they get at True Kuhler Hair Design! Check out Facebook for examples of their work and get ready to get complimented.
  • Mill Street Body and Soul Day Spa and Salon can give you your fall cut, color, and a fresh mani and pedicure. If you want to indulge, add a massage or facial to your treatment.
  • Find your autumn hair bliss at N Style. Not only will the stylists you find your new style, but they can also help your hair look its healthy best.
  • Treat your nails to something special when you book an appointment at the Spa at the Blackburn. The spa menu includes several different types of manis, pedis, and nail add-ons. You can also book massages and facials, and locals can enjoy 20% off all services through the end of September.

Grab a Selfie in Front of The Murals of Staunton

You can’t beat the Shenandoah Valley for its natural beauty, but many of its towns are introducing man-made scenery to the landscape. If you’ve spent any time in downtown Staunton recently, you’ll have noticed the murals brightening up walls and sides of buildings. They’re fun to look at, pose in front of, and photograph. In … Continue reading Grab a Selfie in Front of The Murals of Staunton

You can’t beat the Shenandoah Valley for its natural beauty, but many of its towns are introducing man-made scenery to the landscape. If you’ve spent any time in downtown Staunton recently, you’ll have noticed the murals brightening up walls and sides of buildings. They’re fun to look at, pose in front of, and photograph.

In fact, if you tag your mural photos #stauntonVAmurals and tag us @stauntonva or @visitstaunton before October 28, 2022, you’ll be entered in a photo contest. The top 5 photos with the most likes will be voted on by YOU, our fans! And, the winner will score a bag of Staunton swag, be featured in our 2023 Staunton Visitor Guide…and you’ll have bragging rights, of course! What are you waiting for? Go check out some murals.

  • The railroad underpass is a prime location for public art. You’ll immediately notice the giant watering can created by Staunton-based welder and sculptor, Willy Ferguson. Nearby, a mural depicts blooms that survive the end of flower season and bring color and joy even in the dead of winter.
  • Marino’s Lunch just reopened a few months ago, but it’s making a name for itself with its tasty food and drinks, Sunday New Orleans Brunch, and exciting live music scene. Make sure you check out the mural that features musicians silhouetted against the Blue Ridge at sunset.
  • The mural in the welcoming lobby of Tru By Hilton features some of Staunton’s best adventures: the Woodrow Wilson Library, biking, leaf-peeping, fishing, wine, and some of downtown’s most recognizable buildings. Tru is a great place to set up a home base for any of these activities.
  • Redbeard Brewing Company has a cool, new mural that features an enormous tree against a background of mountains and a colorful sky. You’ll enjoy playful details like the robot Redbeard and robot squirrel. The mural covers a wall of the taproom, so you’ll be able contemplate it while sipping your beer.
  • Staunton’s largest mural takes up an entire wall of the building at the corner of Beverley and North Central Avenue and welcomes residents and visitors alike with its positive You Belong Here message. For many years, this wall featured an older mural of a man on a scaffolding painting the wall. The new mural, made possible by a Virginia Tourism Corporation’s 50 Years of Love Grant includes a pair of cardinals (Virginia’s state birds) against a mountain backdrop. For more about the creation of this mural, check out our interview with artist Christy Baker.
  • The mural on the side of Black Dog Bikes was also created by Christy Baker. This time she tackles the theme of community-centered, family-friendly active lifestyles. You’ll get another landscape that actually blends into the sky and scenes of hikers, bikers, walkers, runners, and more. Come inside to get started with your own active lifestyle!
  • Looking for something new-to-you to upgrade your home? Check out the SAW Habitat for Humanity ReStore, where you can find anything from a desk or mirror to antique cabinet hardware to an entire kitchen full of lightly used cabinetry. The Habitat mural covers the side of the building with construction energy. There’s a second collaborative work SAC art students that’s painted on the back wall of the parking lot.
  • When you stop in for lunch at the Pampered Palate, make sure you get a seat facing the beautiful mural of downtown Staunton at dusk. You’ll enjoy a menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, and quiche while picking out your favorite buildings from the softly lit scene.
  • Jones Community Garden helps connect our community with fresh produce for low prices (or free if you volunteer). Stop by and see the garden, buy some produce, and check out the collaborative mural created by local artists.
  • Is it a flower? Is it a pie? You’ll have to stop inside Firkin Pie Company to learn the backstory of the colorful design wrapping the corner of the building. While you’re inside, try the pie. The menu changes weekly, but you’ll find large and personal pies in both sweet and savory flavors.

Staunton’s Hispanic-American-Owned Businesses

Have you been craving authentic global cuisine like Peruvian charbroiled chicken, Uruguayan empanadas, or Salvadoran pupusas? How about burrito bowls and fried plantains? You’re in luck: Staunton has restaurants specializing in these flavors and more. Why not celebrate Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) by paying tribute to the history, culture, … Continue reading Staunton’s Hispanic-American-Owned Businesses

Have you been craving authentic global cuisine like Peruvian charbroiled chicken, Uruguayan empanadas, or Salvadoran pupusas? How about burrito bowls and fried plantains? You’re in luck: Staunton has restaurants specializing in these flavors and more. Why not celebrate Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) by paying tribute to the history, culture, and positive contributions that have made our nation and our city richer and more diverse places? Check out a few of our Hispanic-owned restaurants and businesses!

You may find Noelia Nunez ART painting plein air in downtown Staunton, or presenting a custom commission to a local business. She might be teaching her art techniques to a group of girls or women at a paint party. Wherever you see her or her art, be prepared to be awed by the downtown scenes and landscapes she has painted, in a style all her own.

After the storefront was destroyed in Staunton’s 2020 floods, Gloria’s Pupuseria continued to serve authentic Salvadoran cuisine from the foodtruck as they rebuilt the restaurant. Now the new space is open for business, and customers can dine on amazing food emphasizing local ingredients. If you try only one thing from the menu, order the pupusas, tortillas packed with flavor and fillings like chicken, blended pork, vegetables, and cheese. You can also enjoy tamales steamed in plantain leaves, fried plantains, or Salvadoran enchiladas. Refresh yourself with an ensalada, which is mango and pineapple juice or a cocktail from the bar.

Since 2018, the Gonzo’s Pollo food truck has delighted Staunton with the best Peruvian charbroiled chicken in the Valley. Pollo a la brasa is a juicy, healthy alternative to fried food. Its amazing flavor comes from Peruvian spices and wood charcoal. You can order whole, half, and quarter chickens, butifarra sandwiches, nachos, and sides like fried plantains and yuca fries, and black beans and rice. Gonzo’s Pollo serves Staunton on Wednesday (11:30 – 4) and Saturday (11:30 – 2). Order ahead online, but make sure you listen for the special rooster horn when you pick up your food.

Chicano Boy Taco has been making our mouths water with handmade tacos and enormous mission-style burritos since 2015. This Mexican-American taquería has some of the best tortillas you’ve ever eaten. Order from the simple menu of burritos, tacos, or burrito bowls. You’ll pick from fillings like pork, chicken, chorizo and potatoes, or sweet potato and black bean. Next, select your salsa from a range of mild to hot, and choose a seat inside or on the patio. You can get a domestic, Mexican or craft beer and eat here for lunch or dinner. Want to make your selections ahead of time? Download the new app and see how easy it is to order and customize your meal.

Los Marquez Mexican Restaurant has a stellar reputation for its authentic Mexican food, cozy atmosphere, and friendly service. It’s close to Gypsy Hill Park, so you can stop by to dine or carry out after a ball game or a round of golf. You’ll find reasonable prices and a big menu of all your favorites in platter and combination forms. There’s even a vegetarian menu that has tasty dishes like fajitas stuffed with squash, mushrooms, green and yellow peppers, onions, tomatoes, beans, and guacamole. Wash it down with a big margarita! Order ahead online and use the drive-thru if you’re in a hurry. Lunch is served 11 – 2:30.

Family-owned El Puerto Mexican Restaurant opened in Staunton in 2003 and specializes in reasonably-priced, flavorful food. If you’re dining for lunch (M-F, 10-2:30), try the quesadilla rellena, the tortilla soup, or one of the specials. The dinner menu is loaded with appetizers and authentic entrees. Try the signature California fish taco meal or the spicy viva Mexico. Save room for flan or sopapillas for dessert. There’s a separate kids’ menu. And yes, you should treat yourself to the frozen margarita. Decision made.

Alba Wright’s pasteleria, Magdalena Bake, invites Stauntonians to enjoy the Uruguayan tradition of relaxing over coffee and pastries with friends. A farmer’s market and food truck favorite since 2019, Magdalena Bake’s new storefront serves homemade brunch from Friday to Sunday. They also specialize in delicious and beautiful pastries, cookies, wedding, birthday, and custom cakes, as well as special-ordered items. If you’re looking for something savory, try the empanadas. 

Staunton diners can choose from two nearby Mi Rancho locations. One is located on West Beverley and the other is in Verona. Mi Rancho serves fresh Mexican favorites and a menu of wine, beer, and icy margaritas that come in regular or jumbo sizes. The bar also has a menu of a dozen different taquillas to taste. The extensive menu is flavored with hometown spices from Jalisco, Mexica. It includes appetizers, a la carte favorites, combo platters, specials, vegetarian selections, a kids’ menu and more. If you’re really hungry, try the molcajete mixto, which features sizzling steak, chicken, shrimp, chorizo, and veggies piled in a molcajete and piled with a combination of cheeses.

Bonita’s Salon has been helping downtown Staunton look its best since 2010. Whether you’re seeking for a new hairstyle, artistic nails, a special-occasion look, or hair and makeup services for your wedding party, you’ll find it here! Go ahead and make an appointment: you need the pampering!

Dust Off Your Wands for Staunton’s Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival

Calling all wizards and magical beings: On September 24th – 25th, the Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival (QCMM) will return to Staunton. The past two years have been virtual, but in 2022, the event is live and in-person! Since 2016, this home-grown fan festival has celebrated J.K Rowlings’ Harry Potter series as well as … Continue reading Dust Off Your Wands for Staunton’s Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival

Calling all wizards and magical beings: On September 24th – 25th, the Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival (QCMM) will return to Staunton. The past two years have been virtual, but in 2022, the event is live and in-person! Since 2016, this home-grown fan festival has celebrated J.K Rowlings’ Harry Potter series as well as everything else mystical and magical. Much of downtown Staunton transforms into an enchanted village. Visitors can explore hands-on activities, demonstrations, themed dining and shopping, and meet their favorite characters.

Festival highlights

There’s so much to do at QCMM! Some activities are ticketed, but much of the festival is free to guests. Check the schedule for full details. Here are some highlights:

  • A chance to meet and greet your favorite (and most feared!) characters

  • Shopping (including wizard gear and magical merch, unique gifts, crystals, and even props and costumes from past performances at Blackfriars)

  • Dance instructions and other Hogwarts classes will be provided by the American Shakespeare Center
  • Traipse puzzles and a festival-themed escape room, The Rise of the Dark Mage
  • Quidditch matches and Quidditch Camp to level up your bludger skills

  • Numerous selfie spots featuring scenes from the Harry Potter world
  • Kids’ craft tents with activities like making a wand, snitch, house crest, and more
  • A sorting hat and magician testing will determine once and for all if you’re Ravenclaw or Gryffindor

  • A Triwizard Tourney maze
  • Butterbeer, gigglewater, and lots of delicious food
  • Facepainting, glitter, and henna tattoos by Glitter Bee
  • Mermaids
  • Live music by Staunton Queen City Brass, music from the films at Trinity Episcopal Church, and live theater from Silver Line Theatre Exchange
  • Snake shows by Michael Schwedick of Reptile World featuring a cast of scaly friends

  • A dragon show with a real “live” dragon
  • A Dance Like No One is Watching Dementor Dance Party
  • Magical superstition tours
  • Festival VIP’s arrival by train

FAQs

  • Can I come in costume? Costumes are not required at QCMM, but they sure are encouraged. Look at pics from past years for inspiration.

  • Where can I park? 
    • First-come, first-serve handicap parking will be available downtown as well as limited street and lot parking. 
    • Visitors should plan to park at the satellite lot at Staunton Mall and take the free shuttle to the festival. (Shuttles only available Saturday)
  • Can I bring my pet? Service animals are welcome, but please leave other pets at home.
  • Is there water? The festival will have a bottle-filling station, but you should bring your own water bottle or plan to purchase one.
  • Will I need to walk far? It’s up to you, but there’s a lot to see, so you’ll probably be on your feet for a while. Wear comfortable shoes!
  • Where’s the….? Check your digital or paper map for all festival locations including events, businesses, restrooms, and first aid, changing and breastfeeding stations.

  • Where can I stay? Staunton boasts hotels, motels, B&Bs, and small inns located in the downtown area and a short drive away. See a list. Lodging fills quickly, so reserve your home base ASAP.
  • Where can I eat? Downtown Staunton bustles with restaurants, many of which will be running QCMM specials. Plan accordingly as lines may be longer during peak festival hours. Here’s a list of Staunton restaurants including those outside the festival footprint.

Here’s Why Staunton Is a Best Small Town

How do I love thee, Staunton? Let me count the ways. It’s no surprise that Staunton routinely appears on regional and national best-of lists for beauty, charm, culture, and natural attractions. Read what the pros are saying and then explore our gem of a town on your own. What Others Are Saying In recent years, … Continue reading Here’s Why Staunton Is a Best Small Town

How do I love thee, Staunton? Let me count the ways. It’s no surprise that Staunton routinely appears on regional and national best-of lists for beauty, charm, culture, and natural attractions. Read what the pros are saying and then explore our gem of a town on your own.

What Others Are Saying

In recent years, Staunton has been a popular pick on regional and national best-of lists by publications including USA Today, Reader’s Digest, Oprah Daily, Kiplinger, Vogue, Architectural Digest, and many more. In 2022 alone, Staunton has appeared in the following:

Dining

Natural Attractions

  • It’s hard to beat Staunton’s location for natural beauty. Tucked in the Shenandoah Valley, Staunton offers views of the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, and you can spend an entire afternoon taking scenic drives or bike rides. If hiking is what you’re after, it’s just 20 minutes from Shenandoah National Park with over 70 scenic overlooks and miles of trails. It’s also easy to access sections of George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. The national forest is a vast, mostly uninhabited tract of land, threaded with hiking trails. 
  • City parks, too, offer spectacular hiking, especially the trails at Mongomery Hall Park and Betsy Bell Wilderness Area. Runners, walkers, and birders extoll the virtues of scenic Bells and Sangers Lanes.

History

  • One of the oldest towns in the area, Staunton draws visitors for its architecturally stunning downtown. Many buildings are at least 100 years old. The city contains six distinct historic districts, and visitors can take guided or self-guided walking tours to learn about the city’s long history and its Victorian architecture.
  • Step back in time at the Frontier Culture Museum, which invites visitors to explore the lives of the Shenandoah Valley pioneers from the 1600s through the mid-1800s. Costumed interpreters answer questions and demonstrate daily activities. The Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library teaches about the life and times of this president who hailed from Staunton.

Arts and Culture

  • Staunton has a number of galleries displaying local and regional art. Check out the CoArt Gallery, the galleries at the Staunton Augusta Art Center, and the Hunt Gallery at Mary Baldwin University. 
  • Don’t miss the annual Art on the Town in May, and Art in the Park in September. Visitors may browse and purchase artwork, talk to artists, listen to music, and enjoy activities for kids.
  • Staunton stages world-class performances at the Blackfriars Playhouse, a recreation of Shakespeare’s indoor theater. Not only can you witness shows that are similar to what Shakespeare’s original audiences would have seen, but you can also buy tickets for modern and musical performances. Staunton is also home to a lively community theater scene. Check out plays at ShenanArts and Oak Grove Theater, which has been performing al fresco since 1954.

  • The Heifetz International Music Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to the artistic growth and career development of the most talented young classical musicians in the world, presenting its Festival of Concerts every summer featuring 50+ events in addition to year-round programs throughout Staunton and the Shenandoah Valley
  • The Staunton Music Festival brings over 90 performers to town each August to perform selections from 600 years of classical music. “Historically-informed” performances help musicians and audiences “rediscover the subtlety and color that emerges from period instrument concerts.”

Community

  • Staunton’s walkable downtown and wealth of locally owned businesses contribute to its strong sense of community. Each weekend, Beverley Street turns into a walking mall when streets close for traffic during Shop and Dine Out Downtown. If you’re in town on Saturday morning, explore the Staunton Farmers’ Market. You can find spectacular and fresh ingredients for your home kitchen as well as enjoy music and community spirit.
  • Baseball fans can cheer for the Staunton Braves, a collegiate summer team made up of rising stars.
  • September’s annual Queen City Mischief & Magic Festival is a popular home-grown event for fans of the Harry Potter series.

Proximity to Other Points of Interest

Staunton is an easy drive from Harrisonburg and Charlottesville, both larger cities with extensive shopping opportunities and university culture. Nearby Lexington, too, is a university town, giving Stauntonians even more access to exhibits, lectures, sporting events, and performances. Staunton is an hour and 45 minutes from Richmond. It’s 2 hours and 40 minutes from Washington D.C., and under 4 hours from Virginia Beach. 

Moms Play While Kids Are Away: Moms’ Day Out in Staunton

Moms everywhere are breathing a collective sigh of relief as their kids head back to school. Not only can you finally shower in peace, but you might even find yourself with a few hours to spare. Why not round up some of your mom friends or just take an afternoon to unwind in silence before … Continue reading Moms Play While Kids Are Away: Moms’ Day Out in Staunton

Moms everywhere are breathing a collective sigh of relief as their kids head back to school. Not only can you finally shower in peace, but you might even find yourself with a few hours to spare. Why not round up some of your mom friends or just take an afternoon to unwind in silence before the bus brings your brood back home? Here’s how to refresh and recharge with a moms’ day out in Staunton. You deserve it, moms!

Yoga   

  • Not only does Staunton’s new Burrow and Vine sell lush houseplants and decor, they have yoga classes on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Burrow and Vine also leads craft classes and holds Parents’ Nights Out. 
  • Another place to get your oooom on is Phoenix Fitness & Yoga, which offers classes in barre, yoga, and more, including 90-minute sessions in suspended aerial yoga. 
  • The Staunton Augusta YMCA also offers yoga classes and you don’t even need to be a member if you buy a class passbook.

Coffee, breakfast, or brunch 

  • Serendipity Java Bar and Eatery offers a relaxing space to enjoy your coffee beverage and a range of baked goods and breakfast sandwiches. AND…If you have littles not in school yet – welcome to drop in day care service! Serendipity Kids Depot provides short-term professional child care at a cost comparable to that of a babysitter.
  • Breakfast is on the menu all day at Clocktower Eats & Sweets. Try cream cheese and lox, made-to-order omelets, or eggs Benedict.
  • It’s lovely weather to grab a cup of coffee and a French pastry from Reunion, and enjoy it in the magical and shady Mevluda Tahirovic Memorial Garden that’s just around the corner. 
  • Try the new New Orleans-inspired Sunday brunch at Marino’s Lunch. Start with powdered sugar beignets and follow with crawfish etouffee. Wash it down with a Strawberry Shortcake Mimosa or a Cajun Bloody Mary.

Spa services

Cocktails

  • Meet the ladies for fancy cocktails at Zynodoa where the menu emphasizes local ingredients. The large wine menu includes both local and international choices.
  • If you’re still thirsty, head to Ox Eye Tasting Room to taste a variety of their wines and follow it up with a full glass of your favorite. 
  • Or go back to Beverley Street and Yelping Dog, where wine can be enjoyed by the glass or by the bottle, and you can munch on a cheese plate or gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. 
  • The Green Room also offers a nice space to chat with friends over wine, beer, cheese plates, and snacks. 
  • Hotel 24 South’s 1924 Lounge is a beautiful and convenient place to relax over cocktails and casual fare.

Desserts

  • Gather your friends to dish over beautiful, flavorful pie at Firkin Pie Company. The menu varies, but expect seasonal flavors like cranberry chess and chocolate silk.
  • Whipp’d Cakery creates beautiful and tasty cupcakes, brownies, and other decadent treats you’ll want to share. Peach cheesecake? Yes, please.
  • On any given day, The Split Banana is serving 18 flavors of fresh gelato, ranging from classic to unusual tastes like pineapple basil sorbet and Guinness extra stout.

Shopping

  • Design at Nine offers the latest in distinctive women’s fashion, shoes, and must-have accessories. 
  • Try Latitudes for fair trade selections ranging from women’s apparel to jewelry to recycled metal wall art. If you’re looking for more art to buy, check out Beverly Street Studio School Gallery, where local artists exhibit and sell their work. 
  • Stock up on relaxation supplies like lotions and bath bombs at Essentially Zen, and if you want to give your house a scent makeover, peruse the candles at Redwood + Co.

Jewelry

  • Shop for custom and estate jewelry at Crown Jewelers, which has been serving Staunton for over 60 years.
  • Little Shoppe of Crystals sells metaphysical supplies.
  • Sparrow’s Nest jewelry selections include botanical jewelry, leather jewelry, gemstone jewelry, and unique upcycled creations.
  • Along with gifts and accessories, Harmony Moon carries a collection of nature-inspired earrings and necklaces.
  • Sunspots Studios sells pretty hand-crafted art glass earrings.
  • Handcrafted, inventive and thoughtful jewelry can be found at Bonfire Begonia.

Events and Activities

  • Skipping Rock Beer Co. holds monthly sip and stitch classes as well as weekly trivia events.
  • Redbeard Brewing holds monthly book club meetings and arts and drafts sessions, as well as weekly trivia and karaoke.
  • Sign up for a workshop with The Foundry Pop-Ups. Past and future topics range from crafting, painting, sewing, self-care, and social media marketing. 

Header photo credit: Grow Explore Photography

Visitor’s Guide to the 2022 Staunton Music Festival

This month, Staunton Music Festival’s annual 10-day summer concert series will bring over 90 world-class chamber musicians to Staunton from all over the world. Festival goers will enjoy amazing classical music spanning the past 600 years. Works include those by Baroque composers like Handel, powerful new material on the subject of Holocaust survivors, and everything … Continue reading Visitor’s Guide to the 2022 Staunton Music Festival

This month, Staunton Music Festival’s annual 10-day summer concert series will bring over 90 world-class chamber musicians to Staunton from all over the world. Festival goers will enjoy amazing classical music spanning the past 600 years. Works include those by Baroque composers like Handel, powerful new material on the subject of Holocaust survivors, and everything in between. 

The festival includes 24 concerts, informal recitals, lectures, and other special events. Here’s how to hit some highlights of the Staunton Music Festival programming as well as find food, lodging, and fun in Staunton in your downtime. 

Photo by Leslie Kipp

How do I purchase tickets?

Purchase tickets for individual concerts or buy a discounted Summer or Annual pass. Prices vary by concert, but noon concerts are typically free. There are discounted tickets for military, college, and youth.

Festival highlights

Many people won’t be in town for the entire 10-day festival. So, here are some highlights:

Photo by Leslie Kipp

Friday, August 12

  • 7:30 pm Handel Extravaganza: from the Rhine to Rio: The 2022 festival opens with Handel’s orchestral and vocal music, plus special Brazilian guests at intermission. Trinity Episcopal Church | $22-$32
  • Stick around for the 10:00 pm Nightcap #1: Brazil: If the Handel intermission whets your appetite, indulge in more Brazilian flair with the José Luiz Martins jazz quartet. McCracken Hall at Trinity Church | $20

Wednesday, August 17 

  • 3 pm: Meet Award-winning composer Chen Yi, a Pulitzer Prize nominee and leading female Chinese-American composer. She will discuss her music, stylistic influences, and trends in contemporary music of China and the United States. Central United Methodist Church | free admission
  • 7:30 pm (with preconcert talk at 6:45): Wednesday’s evening Take Five concert will be intriguing and fun. It even includes some jazz. Music by Beethoven, Gabrieli, Brubeck, and others. Trinity Episcopal Church | $22-$32

Friday, August 19 

  • 7:30 pm: Baroque Inside/Out promises to be one of the festival’s most popular concerts. Celebrate the richness and extravagance that made Venice the musical capital of Europe during the Baroque. Featured works by Monteverdi, Castello, and Gabrieli. Trinity Episcopal Church | $22-$32
  • 10 pm: Nightcap #2: Grand Tour lets those who can’t get enough Baroque music slip away for an exclusive event with complimentary drinks. McCracken Hall at Trinity Church | $20
Photo by Leslie Kipp

Saturday, August 20

  • 7:30 pm: Memories and Roses is an intriguing and intense program featuring music by Strauss, Beethoven, and others, culminating in a dramatic performance of composer and pianist Marc Neikrug’s “Through Roses.” “Through Roses” is a dramatic theater piece told through the eyes of a Holocaust survivor, acted by John Harrell. The edgy work is directed by Ethan McSweeny. Trinity Episcopal Church | $22-$32

Where should I stay?

If you’re from out of town, treat yourself to elegant lodgings within walking distance of the concert venues as well as dining and shopping. Check into a tastefully updated room with historic details at the Blackburn Inn. The inn features an onsite spa, so make sure you book a massage or skin treatment while you’re in town. Other elegant and historic lodgings like Hotel 24 South or Frederick House provide access to Staunton’s shopping, dining, and walkable downtown.

Where should I eat?

Staunton’s Shop and Dine Out Downtown program closes Beverley Street to vehicular traffic on the weekends, so there are a lot of convenient places for fine dining or a quick bite. You’ll find fare ranging from gourmet pizza and burgers, Mexican, elevated comfort food, gelato, and much more.

Breakfast

Lunch

  • If you’re looking for an elevated burger, try the offerings from Remedy Burger or Table 44, which pairs its burgers and sandwiches with pimento and bacon fries. 
  • Chicano Boy Taco loads its house-made tortillas with fresh meats, toppings, and sauces.
  • Byers Street Bistro serves Southern food with a twist and boasts a tasty cocktail menu.

Dinner

What can I do between concerts?

The Staunton Music Festival is pretty packed, but you’ll still have time to explore the town between shows.

  • Discover Staunton’s historic architecture and beautiful greenspaces with a walking tour. Pick up a map at the Visitor’s Center or check out these posts on the Beverley, Wharf, and Newtown historic districts for what to see and do. If you have time, ride Staunton’s historic trolley, a fun way to get a tour of downtown. Stops on the line also include Gypsy Hill Park and the park-like Thornrose Cemetery

Staunton Road Trip: One Last Hurrah Before Summer Ends

It might not feel like fall yet, but with many schools starting soon, we know that summer is on its way out. Are you looking for a final, fun trip to take with the family before the leaves start changing, and before soccer and football gobble up all your Saturdays? Here are some ideas for … Continue reading Staunton Road Trip: One Last Hurrah Before Summer Ends

It might not feel like fall yet, but with many schools starting soon, we know that summer is on its way out. Are you looking for a final, fun trip to take with the family before the leaves start changing, and before soccer and football gobble up all your Saturdays? Here are some ideas for a Staunton road trip.

Getting here

Staunton’s convenient location at the intersection of interstates 81 and 64 makes it an ideal destination for a quick road trip. Not only can you hop off the highway at small towns and other fun destinations on the way, but the Shenandoah Valley scenery is also incredible, even from the highway! Depending on your direction, consider stopping at Monticello, Shenandoah Caverns, or Natural Bridge State Park. Or cruise along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive makes it one of the most beautiful and driveable parks in the country.

Once you get to Staunton, parking in the downtown footprint is easy. There’s a lot of metered parking, parking garage space, and two-hour street parking. Staunton is a walkable town, and you can see much of it on foot or from the 25-cent trolley.

Uniquely Staunton

  • Staunton boasts the world’s only recreation of Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Playhouse, and performances will give you a sense of how the show appeared to the Bard’s original audiences, so you should definitely try to fit a show into your schedule. 
  • Crack the Code Escape Room will test your IQ as you try to sleuth your way through a Staunton-themed mystery. 
  • If you’d rather learn the mysteries of how art glass is created, head down to Sunspots Studios to catch a glass-blowing demonstration or even try your hand at blowing your own ornament. 
  • Little ones will love riding the Gypsy Hill Express miniature train as it loops through Gypsy Hill Park. 
  • And finally, catch a glimpse of Staunton in times gone by with a tour of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum or the Frontier Culture Museum.

Don’t forget to eat

Staunton is a town that takes its food offerings seriously. If you’re here on a weekend, check out Beverley Street, which closes to car traffic for Shop and Dine Out Downtown. Since diners will be enjoying food al fresco, you can window shop other people’s meals until you see something you like! 

  • We recommend Remedy Burger for its juicy and delicious smash burgers. 
  • Nearby Shenandoah Pizza & Taphouse serves up gourmet pizzas with delightful topping combinations and an interesting selection of brews. 
  • More beer awaits, along with delicious Mexican fare, at Baja Bean
  • And if you want to tap into classic car culture, try Wright’s Dairy Rite, where they’ve been bringing burgers and shakes to the covered drive-in since the 1950s.

Take some selfies

Nothing will help you remember your road trip like the Staunton selfies you post on Instagram. Make sure to get a photo as you enjoy one of these Staunton experiences. Make sure to tag your shots with #LoveStaunton.

  • Pose in front of the You Belong Here mural on Central Ave. between Beverley and Johnson Streets.
  • Cross Sears Hill Bridge for a view of the historic train station from above and one of the best views of downtown.
  • Explore beautifully landscaped Thornrose Cemetery along with its tower and footbridge.
  • Bite into something delicious outside Reunion Bakery & Espresso or The Split Banana.
  • Pause after you’ve conquered one of the hills in Montgomery Park on your mountain bike.
  • Relish the freshness at the Saturday Staunton Farmers’ Market.

Get yourself a little something

It’s always nice to take something home with you when you travel. Here are some places to get fun treats and souvenirs.

Craft Beer Month: Suds of Staunton

Hello August, and hello Craft Beer Month!  If you hadn’t noticed, Virginians really love their craft beer. Maybe it’s the focus on local ingredients and spring water that provide craft beer with more flavor and nuance than mass-produced beer. Maybe it’s the beautiful scenic views afforded by many of our taprooms. Or maybe it’s the … Continue reading Craft Beer Month: Suds of Staunton

Hello August, and hello Craft Beer Month! 

If you hadn’t noticed, Virginians really love their craft beer. Maybe it’s the focus on local ingredients and spring water that provide craft beer with more flavor and nuance than mass-produced beer. Maybe it’s the beautiful scenic views afforded by many of our taprooms. Or maybe it’s the emphasis breweries have made on making your visit fun. You’ll likely be a stone’s throw from a brewery anywhere in the state, but Staunton is a pretty stellar place to start your Beercation. Not only is the craft beer fantastic, but all of our local breweries are just steps from the Queen City’s dining, shopping, and entertainment scene. 

Local Craft Breweries

Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company

Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company has been slinging beers in its taproom on Beverley Street since 2017, but it’s been a Staunton staple for much longer than that, in fact, it first opened a decade ago as a home brew supply store. Look for 10-12 beers on tap, which can be enjoyed as pints or flights if you want to sample a variety. You’ll appreciate the tasty beer, the pub-like atmosphere, and the location in the heart of Staunton’s downtown. Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company is part of each weekend’s  Shop and Dine Out in Downtown, in which Beverley Street is closed to traffic so folks can enjoy beverages, food, and shopping outside.

Queen City Brewing

Queen City Brewing got the local brewing craze started in 2003. In fact, it’s Staunton’s first brewery since Prohibition! You’ll find 40+ beers in their extensive selection, which you can order by the pint, mini pint, or flight paddle of eight. Hang out in the industrial taproom, or relax in the fresh air outside. While there’s no onsite kitchen, Queen City often hosts food trucks, welcomes carry-out, and sells bottomless tubs of popcorn.

Redbeard Brewing Company

Redbeard Brewing Company carefully handcrafts its beer using traditional techniques and modern equipment. Kick back in the recently updated taproom and sample from 10-14 taps. Rather sit outside? There’s also a beer garden outside. The brewery doesn’t have a kitchen, but you can buy charcuterie snack packs or snacks from a vending machine. You’re also welcome to order in or bring snacks from home. 

Skipping Rock Beer Company

Feeling stressed after a hard week? Head to Skipping Rock Beer Company for some delicious beer and a relaxing time. Kick back in the large beer garden around a fire pit, under a sun shade, or show off your wits during a round of pub trivia. Skipping Rock often hosts live music. Order dinner from newly added Za Spot Detroit-style pizza, which is a square pie topped with tomato sauce, Wisconsin cheese, and elevated toppings like truffle oil, balsamic glaze, and bacon jam. 

Stable Craft Brewing

Stable Craft Brewing makes its delicious craft beer onsite using sustainable farming practices. You’ll also enjoy the brewery’s panoramic views of the mountains and its location on a working horse and hops farm. The brewery is family-friendly with a large exterior space, including a patio, picnic tables on the grass, lawn games, and fire pits for roasting s’mores. There’s even a 9-hole cornhole golf course. On-site dining that specializes in farm-to-table fare like appetizers, dinners, and hand-helds. Follow Stable Craft Brewing on Facebook: there’s always something fun going on. Best of all, you can book onsite accommodations on the farm!

The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail

Staunton’s breweries are all part of the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail. The breweries on the trail are less than an hour’s drive from one another, and there’s a lot of the Valley to enjoy in between. Grab a Beerwerks Passport and collect stamps from eight breweries along the trail to earn a t-shirt. Most breweries are dog and kid-friendly, include dining options, and offer fun activities.

Craft Beer at Staunton Restaurants

Of course, you don’t need to go directly to the source to get craft beer. Dine out at any of these Staunton restaurants that serve craft beer.