#LOVEstaunton

#LOVEstaunton

Staunton’s Historic Hotels

The Blackburn Inn The Blackburn Inn officially opened its doors this Spring. This 49-room luxury boutique hotel in downtown Staunton, has a storied past dating back to the 1800s. What was once the Main Administration Building for Western State Hospital, The Blackburn Inn was envisioned and influenced by master builder and Thomas Jefferson protégé, Thomas … Continue reading Staunton’s Historic Hotels

The Blackburn Inn

The Blackburn Inn officially opened its doors this Spring. This 49-room luxury boutique hotel in downtown Staunton,
has a storied past dating back to the 1800s. What was once the Main Administration Building for Western State Hospital, The Blackburn Inn was envisioned and influenced by master builder and Thomas Jefferson protégé, Thomas R. Blackburn. This historic building was originally constructed in 1828 and was most likely built by several of Jefferson’s workmen who worked on the then, recently completed University of Virginia.

 

Guests and visitors at The Blackburn Inn are greeted with stately columns, wide corridors and hallway arches, vaulted ceilings, and an original wood staircase allowing guests to access the rooftop atrium offering breathtaking 360-degree views of downtown Staunton. The Inn honors the age and elegance of the building with other notable design elements to include original heart pine floors that flow throughout the hotel, classic molding around the doorways, an antique style drafting table that serves as the reception desk, and artwork from local and regional artisans showcasing Staunton’s emerging arts scene.

The Blackburn Inn features seasonal events on the lawn and throughout the hotel for both locals and visitors to enjoy as well as locally-sourced food and beverage at The Inn’s bistro and bar, Second Draft.

“First Fall” Promotion:

15% off if booked 14 days in advance
10% off if booked within 14 days
Includes $15 daily Food and Beverage credit (only if booked on hotel website)
Book Dates: Now – Nov 30
Travel Dates: Sep 01 – Nov 30
BOOK NOW

The Stonewall Jackson Hotel

The Stonewall Jackson originally opened in 1924, served as the premier gathering place for Shenandoah Valley society and a welcoming place for visitors to the Queen City. Designed by renowned American architect H.L. Stevens in the Colonial Revival style, the hotel’s grand lobby evokes a sense of Southern spirit and hospitality with its terrazzo floors, glass display cases, chandeliers and wall sconces. The Colonnade Ballroom features graceful 15-foot arched windows, refurbished floors, light fixtures, moldings and detailed decorative ironwork; all of which has been painstakingly restored after the hotel fell into disrepair. 

The Stonewall Jackson Hotel faced hard times during the 1960s and onward, as Staunton’s once vibrant downtown gave way to commerce and growth in fast-developing suburban and rural areas — a typical sign of the times. In 1968, the Persinger family purchased the hotel and reopened it as an assisted living facility with the owners hoping to one day restore the hotel to its original grandeur.  In 2004, the Stonewall Jackson began a $21.1 million renovation and expansion was and re-opened as a full service luxury hotel and meeting facility in October 2005. In 2018, the Stonewall Jackson Hotel underwent a $2 million refresh and just recently, unveiled the property’s stylish renovation. 

“Sweater Weather” Promotion

Save 30% off our “Best Available Rate” for selected dates in October
BOOK NOW

 

More than a Movement: Staunton’s Farm to Table Restaurants

Staunton’s restaurant scene is lively and is often profiled on the pages of national magazines, not only for its chefs but also for its farmers. Amazingly, Staunton is currently home to three former chefs from the world-famous The Inn at Little Washington, all looking to make their mark on Staunton’s exploding culinary scene. The Shack (105 … Continue reading More than a Movement: Staunton’s Farm to Table Restaurants

Staunton’s restaurant scene is lively and is often profiled on the pages of national magazines, not only for its chefs but also for its farmers. Amazingly, Staunton is currently home to three former chefs from the world-famous The Inn at Little Washington, all looking to make their mark on Staunton’s exploding culinary scene.

The Shack (105 S Coalter St) – Chef Ian Boden’s, The Shack, was recently named “One of The South’s Best New Restaurants” by Southern Living magazine – and it has also graced the pages of a wide array of top-tier publications, from Esquire magazine to the Wall Street Journal. Boden brings a fresh new menu every day of the week based on whatever is fresh from local producers. The Shack is a busy place and reservations are recommended if you can’t get there early. The 26-seat restaurant recently underwent a renovation and having the deck enables more people to enjoy the incredible dishes Chef Boden is slingin’. Popular snacks for your five o’clock wind-down have included pimento cheese with benne biscuit crackers, and Sewansecott oysters on the half shell.


Zynodoa
 – (115 E Beverley St)
Other restaurants and eateries winning praise from across the country range include the upscale southern-cuisine of Zynodoa. This gem has risen to the top because of the constantly changing menu. Their seasonally-driven menu is crafted with quality ingredients primarily sourced from the Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont regions. Start your evening with a handcrafted cocktail or a glass of wine and and an order of the restaurant’s signature cornbread. Recently featured in the Los Angeles Times, the brûléed cast iron cornbread is served “piping hot,” with whipped honey butter and local Concord grape jam. 

Nu-Beginning Farm Store – (221 N Lewis Street)
The Store is a down-to-earth grocery store and local café using ingredients sourced directly from their farm, Nu-Beginnings. Local producers are also listed on the chalkboard so that visitors know exactly where their meal is sourced. And don’t be fooled by the name or the façade. Nu-Beginning Farm Store (The Store) is a café locals and visitors love. Serving up three farm-to-table meals a day along with an assortment of scratch-made goodies like pound cake, scones, coconut macaroons and gluten free cheesecakes. While you wait for your meal, peruse the grocery area packed with jams, jellies, pickles and local spirits.

Mike Lund Food and Lundch –  (835 Spring Hill Road)
Serving ‘Lundch,’ weekdays only, the cozy storefront is just minutes from Beverley Street and is not to be missed. The ingenuity and think-outside-the-boxedness of Chef Mike Lund of Mike Lund Food & LunDch is evident in the ever-changing, flavorful menu. You never know what incredible dish he will whip up, like maybe giant fennel-spiced garbanzo balls with spaghetti squash covered in herb marinara and shaved parmesan? Offering veggie and glueten-free options and weekly specials with an emphasis on local, fresh ingredients. The restaurant also hosts Friday Nite Light Bites the first Friday of every month and other special events so check out the website before visiting

Take a Drive: Stunning Scenic Byways

Staunton is not only a portal to Skyline Drive, the iconic 105-mile thoroughfare bisecting Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, but it also sits at the northern cusp of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Check out these two scenic drives, arguably some of the best thoroughfares on the east coast for leaf-peeping:  skyline drive Flanked by the 200,000 … Continue reading Take a Drive: Stunning Scenic Byways

Staunton is not only a portal to Skyline Drive, the iconic 105-mile thoroughfare bisecting Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, but it also sits at the northern cusp of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Check out these two scenic drives, arguably some of the best thoroughfares on the east coast for leaf-peeping: 

skyline drive

Flanked by the 200,000 acres of the Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive is laden with 69 different scenic overlooks along the 105-mile long public road. For ambitious leaf-peepers, allow 3 to 4 hours to drive the entire Skyline Drive which doesn’t include stops. Hop on the scenic byway via the Rockfish Gap entrance just 20 minutes from Staunton. Popular overlooks closest to the Southern entrance are Big Run Overlook (milepost 81.2) and Crimora Lake Overlook (milepost 92.6). The valley of Big Run is one of the park’s most scenic and opens into the depths of the park’s largest stream. Crimora Lake Overlook sits at 2,985 feet where you can see the strewn rock slopes of Rocks Mountain. 

Try a leg-stretcher and see the fall colors up-close. From Skyline Drive try Blackrock Summit (milepost 4.8), a geological wonder that’s an easy 1-mile loop. Although not the highest peak in the South District, this is probably the easiest to get to with rewarding views. From the summit of boulder-strewn Blackrock enjoy views that extend for miles in multiple directions. Another short and sweet hike is the Frazier Discovery Trail (milepost 79.5). This area used to be the Frazier’s farm and you can still see evidence of their past in the apple trees that still dot the mountain. 

Mid-October is generally when the fall color is at its most intense, but for planning purposes, check out Shenandoah National Park’s weekly fall report for peak leaf conditions.

blue ridge parkway

In Rockfish Gap, 20 miles from Staunton, Skyline Drive also merges into the southbound Blue Ridge Parkway, the iconic byway running 469-miles from the Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. While there are a staggering 280 viewpoints, some of the most spectacular sites along the entire parkway are in the northernmost section—just minutes from Staunton. First, the Humpback Rocks Recreation Area offers access to a range of hiking trails, with options for quick leg-stretchers or extensive loops. The massive 3,080-foot rock formation known as Humpback Rocks is also touted as one of the parkway’s premier vistas—and one of the most popular.

Just after Humpback Rocks is another treasure: The Sherando Lake Recreation Area is one of the byway’s most inviting detours. The 25-acre, spring-fed lake is edged by hiking trails, leafy campsites, and a sandy swimming beach. Slightly further south, the parkway also offers access to the one of the most stunning waterfalls in the east—and the highest in the Virginia Blue Ridge—Crabtree Falls. Two trailheads just a few miles from the parkway offer hikers intimate access to the cascades plunging 1,800-foot course to the Tye River.

Staunton’s Global Cuisine

Staunton might be a sleepy little town in the Valley, but it’s well known for its Victorian architecture, Shakespeare theater, and sprawl of microbreweries. It hasn’t been snoozing in the global cuisine department, either. Come to Staunton hungry and prepare to eat your way around the world! You won’t even need to catch a plane. … Continue reading Staunton’s Global Cuisine

Staunton might be a sleepy little town in the Valley, but it’s well known for its Victorian architecture, Shakespeare theater, and sprawl of microbreweries. It hasn’t been snoozing in the global cuisine department, either. Come to Staunton hungry and prepare to eat your way around the world! You won’t even need to catch a plane.

Chicano Boy

Since 2015, jefe Justin Hershey has been serving up handmade tacos and enormous mission-style burritos at Chicano Boy Taco, a Mexican-American taquería inspired by Hershey’s heritage and dedicated to flavor. This bustling joint has some of the best tortillas you’ve ever eaten, and it has helped define Staunton’s food identity. Order from the simple menu (burrito, taco, or burrito bowl plus your choice of fillings and salsa) at the counter and then choose a seat inside or on the patio. You can order a Mexican beer or a “cheap beer” and eat here for lunch or dinner. It’s located just a short walk from downtown Beverley Street and it offers ample parking.

Ubon Thai

You’re guaranteed to get hungry hiking Staunton’s hills and historic districts, so make plans to dine at Ubon Thai, which is housed in a beautiful example of Staunton’s Victorian architecture. This restaurant serves made-from-scratch authentic Thai cooking from a chef who got her start selling street food. Owner, Ubon Herlong, is extremely friendly and invested in your experience at her restaurant. Feast on pad thai, panang curry, chef’s specials like crispy duck, and desserts like sticky rice with mango and coconut for lunch or dinner. After your meal, you can explore the grounds and see the herb gardens that provide seasonings for the dishes. If you’re in town for a few days, consider staying overnight at the inn. 

Gloria’s Pupuaseria

Gloria’s Pupuseria has expanded from a farmers’ market and food truck favorite to include a cozy restaurant that emphasizes traditional Salvadoran cuisine and locally sourced ingredients. Tucked into a storefront, this eatery produces pupusas that are out of this world. Pupusas might look like plain tortillas, but they are actually dough, meat, and cheese treats that pack serious flavor. Try them stuffed with 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 served with fresh diced fruit. Save room for flan or tres leches for dessert.

Snapdragon Pho

Want a meal that’s nourishing and fun to eat? How about one that’s close to everything and open late so you can stop in after a show? Snapdragon Pho is a locally-owned Vietnamese noodle shop serving authentic pho, which is a popular street food in Vietnam. Pho is slow-simmered beef or vegetable broth poured steaming hot over meat, noodles, and vegetables to make a soup. Customers order at the counter for quick service and then season the soup to their personal tastes with an assortment of garnishes like bean sprouts, peppers, and lime. Snapdragon Pho also serves rice noodle salads and spring rolls. And if you were wondering, the restaurant’s webpage points out that you pronounce pho like “fun” without the “n.”

Taste of India

Right in the heart of downtown Staunton, Taste of India is convenient for people exploring the city or looking for a restaurant within walking distance of the Blackfriars or the Visulite. The enticing scents and friendly service of this delightful restaurant will draw you in from the sidewalk. Taste of India serves an extensive lunch buffet and dinner at reasonable prices. Try the deliciously tender spiced chicken tikka masala or the lamb vindaloo. A wide selection of meat-free dishes like Aloo Gobi Vegan and Saag Paneer will please vegetarians. Make sure you accompany your main course with an appetizer like vegetable samosas and garlic or peshawari naan. You can get a good selection of Indian beers, wine, and yogurt lassi drinks.

ANNE HATHAWAY COTTAGE TEA ROOM 

Enjoy a traditional tea at the Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room. This delightful tea room is housed in a Tudor home and boasts a thatched roof and beautiful gardens. Try their Victorian High Tea which includes hand-made scones, tea sandwiches, and shortbread all served with imported jams, clotted cream and of course, tea! Spend the afternoon catching up with friends and enjoying this beautifully decorated tea room. Be sure and peruse their collection of fine china, jams, and tea along with other goods for purchase. Reservations recommended. 

48-Hour Family Getaway in Staunton

Going to be in town for two days with your family? There’s tons to do in Staunton, and 48 hours should give you time to experience the must-do spots as well as squeeze in some lesser-known adventures. Here’s an itinerary for a family getaway packed with Staunton’s best. Day 1: Explore the Farmers’ Market Jump … Continue reading 48-Hour Family Getaway in Staunton

Going to be in town for two days with your family? There’s tons to do in Staunton, and 48 hours should give you time to experience the must-do spots as well as squeeze in some lesser-known adventures. Here’s an itinerary for a family getaway packed with Staunton’s best.

Day 1:

Explore the Farmers’ Market

Jump right into your Staunton visit by exploring the Saturday morning Staunton Farmer’s Market. Listen to live music, talk to local farmers and taste seasonal fresh fruit and a variety of baked goods. This is a great way to catch a snack, buy gifts for peeps back home, and connect with Staunton’s bustling community.

Enjoy some art and parks

A glass-blowing demonstration at Sunspots Studios will thrill all ages. Using extreme heat, artisans blow and shape molten glass into globes and art pieces. You’ll want to study this process or even try “Blowing Your Own Ornament” (alongside a trained artist, of course). Next, stretch your legs by walking past the train depot and summoning your inner billy goat gruff by climbing up over the historic and recently restored Sears Hill footbridge to Woodrow Park. Bring your camera: the quiet park offers shade, seating, and a postcard-perfect view of the city.

Lunch break

Close by, The Depot Grille is a good, family-friendly way to catch a bite. The restaurant serves up delicious American fare and includes a menu for kids. Still hungry? With just a short walk, you can get your hands on a sweet treat from Paris Cake Company.

Shopping with the locals

Check out the shopping on or near Beverley Street, which USA Today calls one of the “most charming main streets” in America. Family favorites include treasure hunting at Staunton Antiques Center, 17 East Beverley Antiques, and Black Swan Books and Music, or hobby shopping at Staunton Trains and Hobbies, the Hobby Surplus Outlet, and The Dragon’s Hoard. And don’t miss Pufferbellies, the largest independently owned toy store in the Valley, which has a hands-on policy and something to fascinate the kid in all of us.

Ride the Trolley

A good way to see more of Staunton in a relaxing way is to ride the 25-cent green trolley as it loops through town. Enjoy admiring the Victorian architecture and plan to hop on and off at area attractions like the Jumbo Museum, where you can visit the oldest motorized fire engine in Virginia, and  Gypsy Hill Park to feed the ducks, play on the playground, and ride the Gypsy Express Mini-Train. Catch the trolley again for your trip back downtown. If you still have energy to burn on the way, get off and wander historic Thornrose Cemetery for views and history.

Evening Refreshments

Have a pre-dinner beverage at Redbeard Brewing Company. The barrel-aged beer here was recently praised in a story by the Washington Post. Children are welcome in the beer garden out back. Next, take a short walk to Shenandoah Pizza for a gourmet pie celebrating local ingredients and lore. Oh, and plan to have more beer from their extensive tap list.

Still not ready to turn in?

If your family doesn’t have an early bedtime and you’re looking for more evening adventure, put your wits together to solve one of the active puzzles at Crack the Code Escape Room. You’ll have an hour to solve multiple puzzles and escape one of the themed rooms.

Day 2:

Start the Day at Kathy’s

You have a busy day ahead of you, so make sure you take the time for a hearty breakfast. Voted best breakfast spot in the Valley in 2013, Kathy’s Restaurant heaps on the goodness with traditional breakfast fare served all day. Feast on omelettes, pancakes, and corned beef hash.

Museum morning and Lunch under the trees

Next, 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. Wear comfortable shoes to walk between to working farms where costumed interpreters answer your questions and demonstrate daily activities. Little folk will love the animals, and you can rent a wagon if your kids can’t handle lots of walking. Pack a picnic and plan to enjoy lunch at the covered pavilion or under a tree.

Afternoon Fun

For your afternoon’s entertainment and a taste of the county, check the schedule at Augusta Expo where there’s always something going on. Events include the Augusta County Fair, monster truck rallies, Bigfoot conventions, antique and yard sales, dog shows, and more. Alternately, slow it down and lounge in Montgomery Hall Park for the afternoon. This 148-acre treasure has plenty of room to relax. It also features trails, Frisbee golf, a public swimming pool, and three playgrounds, including Nature Ridge, Staunton’s new natural playground.

What’s for Dinner?

If your family enjoys Tex Mex, plan to have dinner at the Baja Bean. The menu has loads of options including choices for the younger set and an impressive tap list. This day won’t be complete without a frozen gelato from The Split Banana. Indulge yourself with one (or more) of the 18 fresh-made flavors.

Watch a show

Staunton is home to the American Shakespeare Center and the Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theater, so it would be a shame to go home without experiencing it. However, if your kids are a little young for the Bard, you might find an age-appropriate movie at the Visulite or Legacy Theaters.

The Staunton Ice Cream Scoop

July is ice cream month and Staunton is chock full of fantastic places to celebrate and sooth your sweet tooth. Whether you like soft-serve, gelato, classic malts, or traditional cones, here’s the scoop on Staunton-area frozen treat sweet spots. Wright’s Dairy Rite Wright’s Dairy Rite has been a Staunton mainstay since 1952, and you can … Continue reading The Staunton Ice Cream Scoop

July is ice cream month and Staunton is chock full of fantastic places to celebrate and sooth your sweet tooth. Whether you like soft-serve, gelato, classic malts, or traditional cones, here’s the scoop on Staunton-area frozen treat sweet spots.

Wright’s Dairy Rite

Wright’s Dairy Rite has been a Staunton mainstay since 1952, and you can still park your car in the glow of the retro neon sign and get curbside service. Originally serving only frozen custard, this slice of classic Americana expanded to include a full menu, but frozen treats remain a solid reason to visit. The menu offers flurries, splits, milkshakes, malts, and drink freezes to cool you off on the hottest days. For a true sugar rush, try a Wright’s Wheelie. This treat incorporates a warm donut loaded with ice cream, whipped cream, and a topping. If you’d like a helping of nostalgia with that, visit during one of the Cruise-In antique car rallies Wrights hosts twice a year.

Klines

Klines Dairy Bar has been serving ice cream since 1943 from its original Harrisonburg location. The Staunton site opened in 1997 and makes fresh ice cream each morning using the same “continuous freeze” production method. This creates a soft dessert that is packed with goodness instead of air. Chocolate and vanilla are always available, and each location produces a weekly special flavor (or two). Enjoy a rotation of can’t-miss options like banana and cake batter or local favorites like razberry and lemon gingersnap in cones, cups, shakes, and sundaes. Pick up a printed flavor card to keep in your car (or just drive by and check the signs). Klines in Staunton also offers Hog Wild BBQ, so you can eat sweet or Carolina-style barbecue and burgers before dessert. 

The Split Banana

Ever wonder how gelato differs from ice cream? Gelato contains more milk and less cream, making it lower in fat. But it’s also dense and creamy because it contains less air. And let’s talk taste: gelato lends itself to intense flavors and is served slightly warmer, so those flavors pop. Experience this for yourself at the The Split Banana, an adorable gelato and sorbet shop decorated with a traditional ice cream counter, a piano you’re invited to play, and old-timey black, white and green tile. The Split Banana serves 18 delectable and fresh-made flavors each day. Enjoy traditional flavors or more innovative and adventurous options like banana stracciatella, sticky rice, and peanut butter and jelly.  The Split Banana earned a TripAdvisor’s 2011 U.S-wide top ten ice cream/gelato spot. It is also a Virginia Living Magazine’s 2012 Best of Virginia pick. A favorite of locals and tourists alike, this shop stays open late, so stop in after dinner, a movie, or a play.

Mt.Crawford Creamery

You might be lucky enough to catch the Smiley’s Ice Cream truck at a local event, but if your craving for cones, shakes or sundaes must be fulfilled, it’s worth a drive to the Mt. Crawford Creamery to visit the new brick and mortar shop. Smiley’s Ice Cream specializes in “porch ice cream,” which is slowly churned to eliminate much of the air added to commercial ice creams. Check out regular flavors like coconut almond chocolate chunk and pina colada sorbet as well as weekly specials. The ice cream contains milk and cream produced onsite. Grab a gallon of milk and visit with the cows while you’re there! You can even order larger batches of ice cream online and pick them up at your convenience.

Plunge into Summer: 6 Staunton-Area Swimming Holes

It’s time to escape your stale air conditioning and take a break from the local pool this summer! If you want to beat the heat in a spot that’s a little more offbeat, try one of these pristine swimming holes, all within a short drive of Staunton. Sherando Lake OK, so the “Jewel of the … Continue reading Plunge into Summer: 6 Staunton-Area Swimming Holes

It’s time to escape your stale air conditioning and take a break from the local pool this summer! If you want to beat the heat in a spot that’s a little more offbeat, try one of these pristine swimming holes, all within a short drive of Staunton.

Sherando Lake

OK, so the “Jewel of the Blue Ridge” isn’t exactly private, but 25-acre Sherando Lake is worth the trip for the large sandy beach and gradual deepening of the deliciously cool spring-fed water. Lounge while your kids splash and play in the sand, or man up and swim out to the island. There’s also access to camping, hiking, boating, fishing, showers, and picnic facilities. The recreation area was built in 1933 by the Civil Conservation Corps. Day access fee applies.

Todd Lake

Head northwest of Staunton for a fun day at 7.5-acre Todd Lake. There will be too many people around to skinny dip, but it’s still a great place for a family swim, picnic, or camping weekend. The lake and the Todd Lake dam were built in 1963 as a flood control dam. Today, this spot features a sandy beach, bathhouse, picnic facilities, playground, kid-friendly hiking trails, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, boating (non-motor), bird-watching and camping. Day access fee applies. 

Goshen Pass

Where’s your special swimming hole in Goshen Pass? Swim, tube, kayak, fish, lounge, picnic, and scramble over the rocks along this three-mile mountain gorge carved by the Maury River. You can choose to embrace the bustle and family atmosphere near the gravel beach at the picnic facilities, or escape the crowds and find your own private rocky island.

St. Mary’s Falls

If you want to swim under a waterfall, St. Mary’s Falls should be your next destination. Enjoy a four-mile out-and-back hike and earn the exhilarating payoff of the icy mountain pool and scenic waterfall. The trail to the swimming hole may be washed out in places and includes multiple water crossings.

White Rock Falls

The White Rock Falls hike is a 4.5-mile loop hike accessed from the Blue Ridge Parkway. For a shorter down-to-the-falls-and-back-up option along a fresh mountain stream, start at the Slacks Overlook at MP 20 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There’s not a deep swimming hole here, but the 40-foot falls are beautiful. The bottom offers a refreshing area to wade and snack.

RipRap Hollow

Want some privacy as you take your dip? Try the 50-foot-wide swimming hole on Riprap Trail. Access this deep, spring-fed beauty by hiking down from the Skyline Drive (Shenandoah National Park fees apply) or up from Rt. 612. Make a day of it by taking on the entire 9.5-mile circuit hike, which includes Riprap Trail and Wildcat Ridge Trail. Many consider this hike of the best loops in the southern end of Shenandoah National Park.

When swimming in natural pools, remember to wear water shoes and sunscreen. Also keep an eye out for slippery rocks, poison ivy, glass and reptiles.

Public Pools

And finally, if you want a quick dip without the hike or the natural elements, Staunton has two great community pools ideal for all ages and abilities. Daily fees apply. 

Gypsy Hill Park Pool: 600 Churchville Ave.

Montgomery Hall Park Pool: 1000 Montgomery Ave.

Fourth of July Happenings

Full of fireworks and fanfare, head to Staunton for a truly unique Fourth of July.  Happy Birthday America Tuesday, July 3 starting at 6:30 pm Wednesday, July 4 starting at 7:30 am Gypsy Hill Park Celebrate America’s Birthday with two-days of festivities! This family-friendly party kicks off on July 3rd with an opening ceremony and … Continue reading Fourth of July Happenings

Full of fireworks and fanfare, head to Staunton for a truly unique Fourth of July. 

Happy Birthday America

Tuesday, July 3 starting at 6:30 pm
Wednesday, July 4 starting at 7:30 am
Gypsy Hill Park

Celebrate America’s Birthday with two-days of festivities! This family-friendly party kicks off on July 3rd with an opening ceremony and an evening of entertainment. The party continues on July 4th with the Firecracker 5K (7:30 am), followed by the Happy Birthday America Parade (10 am) and the Official Welcome and Posting of the Colors (12 pm) along with activities, performances, and concessions for all ages. The headline performance by homegrown, country group, Wilson Fairchild—sons of Harold and Don Reid of the Statler Brothers—starts at 8 pm. The evening ends in grand fashion with fireworks. This event is FREE and open to the public. See the complete schedule

The Children’s Art Network is selling the Official Happy Birthday America t-shirts and ball caps as a fundraiser: Let’s “Paint the Park” and “Flood the Field.” These items are currently on sale at Ltd7 in Staunton and Kimco in Fishersville for $20. They may be purchased on July 3rd and 4th at Gypsy Hill Park near the entrance of the John Moxie Stadium.

Independence Day Celebration

Wednesday, July 4 from 9 am-5 pm
Frontier Culture Museum

Experience the Fourth of July with hands-on activities and presentations at Virginia’s living history museum. Historic celebrations include the reading of The Declaration of Independence, sack races, pie eating contests, woodworking and cooking demonstrations and much more. Entrance to the museum is Pay What You Will. See the complete schedule.

Looking for a low-key, yet festive way to celebrate our Nation’s Independence? Check out these family-friendly options:

 

bbq on the lawn

Wednesday, July 4 from 5 pm-9 pm
The Blackburn Inn

Celebrate the Fourth of July with a BBQ at the The Blackburn Inn. Enjoy the beautiful grounds of the newly renovated Blackburn Inn with delicious burgers, a beer garden, and special lawn games for all to enjoy. 

Pets are welcome on a leash in the beer garden – so bring your furry friends along. 
*This event is weather permitting.*

10th annual pork and cork

Wednesday, July 4 starting at 6:30 pm
Barren Ridge Vineyards

Enjoy a beautiful sunset while you sip wine at Barren Ridge Vineyard’s 10th Annual Pork and Cork. This relaxed evening includes local musicians Who Shot John and an extensive barbecue feast catered by Hogback Mtn. BBQ. End the evening with fireworks!  Wine is available for purchase but tickets are required for this event. *Due to fireworks, dogs are not allowed to attend this event.*

Staunton’s Sensational Summer Music Scene

Happy birthday america featuring wilson fairchild July 3 -4 Celebrate America’s Birthday with two-days of festivities! This family-friendly party kicks off on July 3rd with an opening ceremony and an evening of entertainment. The party continues on July 4th with the Firecracker 5K (7:30 am), followed by the Happy Birthday America Parade (10 am) and … Continue reading Staunton’s Sensational Summer Music Scene

Happy birthday america featuring wilson fairchild

July 3 -4

Celebrate America’s Birthday with two-days of festivities! This family-friendly party kicks off on July 3rd with an opening ceremony and an evening of entertainment. The party continues on July 4th with the Firecracker 5K (7:30 am), followed by the Happy Birthday America Parade (10 am) and the Official Welcome and Posting of the Colors (12 pm) along with activities, performances, and concessions for all ages. 

When & Where:
Tuesday, July 3rd and Wednesday, July 4th 
Gypsy Hill Park
FREE and open to the public

Must See: The headline performance by homegrown, country group, Wilson Fairchild—sons of Harold and Don Reid of the Statler Brothers—starts at 8 pm. The evening ends in grand fashion with fireworks. This event is FREE and open to the public. See the complete schedule

Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts


June 30 – August 10

The Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts kicks off a summer of music making with their Opening Concert and Convocation on June 30, and the music doesn’t stop until August 10. The six-week festival consists of over 40 events including daily concerts, outdoor events, “Heifetz Happy Hours” featuring local wine and artisan food, and special performances featuring their world-renowned faculty and guest artists. 

Fan Favorite: The ever-popular Heifetz Hootenannies happen every Saturday night under the big tent; you never know who might just show up and play! Enjoy great food and brews during the show.

When & Where:

Saturdays: 7/7, 7/14, 7/21, 7/28, 8/4 

Page Terrace, Mary Baldwin University

$10 and kids under 13 are free

Must See:  Heifetz Celebrity Series: Anything Goes is a  fun Friday night tradition! Experience Heifetz Institute faculty members performing entertaining 75-minute programs. The concerts begin at 6, preceded by a 5 p.m. “Happy Hour” under the Page Terrace tent featuring wine from local vineyards and artisan foods from local eateries.

When & Where:

Fridays: 7/6, 7/13, 7/20, 7/27, 8/3

Happy Hour Receptions: 5 p.m., Page Terrace

Concerts: 6 p.m., Francis Auditorium

Mary Baldwin University

$30

Have a Listen:

Check out this video of Heifetz students playing Tchaikovsky during the 2017 Grand Finale performance:

Before You Go:

  • Several free performances; All other concerts range from $8 to $50
  • 2018 Season passes are SOLD OUT, but tickets to individual events are available
  • For lodging and to plan your trip to Staunton, click here

 

Red Wing Roots music Festival 

July 13-15

Set against the towering limestone formations known as The Natural Chimneys, the Red Wing Roots Music Festival music festival, now in its sixth year, features the best of both worlds: great music in the great outdoors. Spend the weekend listening to the music of The Steel Wheels, Trampled by Turtles, Josh Ritter, and many more while immersed in outdoor activities including daily hikes, morning yoga, fun runs and activities for kids. A new event this year is a pick-along jam session at the Kinfolk Stage, led by Red Wing Academy staff and teachers from The Front Porch in Charlottesville. Bring the entire family and set up camp for the weekend or come for the day. Either way you’re guaranteed to have fun!

Must See: Folk/rock band Trampled by Turtles, female folk trio I’m With Her, singing and songwriting duo The Secret Sisters, and blues singer Charley Crockett are all great bets.

Have a Listen: Check out The Secret Sisters and the track “He’s Fine” from their upcoming new album, You Don’t Own Me Anymore (Available 6/9).

Fan Favorites: The Steel Wheels‘ sets, particularly the Tribute Set on Sunday where they are joined by many other artists performing Red Wing are fan favorites.  Also popular is the Judy Chops‘ high-energy blend of blues, swing, rock-a-billy, and country. 

Before You Go:

All the Details:

Complete Line-up

Tickets

 

Staunton Music Festival


August 10-19

The Staunton Music Festival celebrates 21 years of music with a 10-day festival. One of the most popular music events of the summer, the festival includes multiple daily performances with music ranging from the Middle Ages to commissioned world premieres. It takes place throughout historic downtown Staunton in a variety of locations.

Fan Favorite: The Baroque Inside/Out concert is a program of music by Bach and Vivaldi, all performed on period instruments. The experience will also include roaming madrigal singers in the courtyard during intermission.

When & Where:

Friday, August 17, 7:30 p.m.

Trinity Episcopal Church

Must See: Hercules, a masterpiece of Baroque opera by Handel, has rarely been performed since it premiered in the mid-1700s. This performance will be staged by prominent and cutting-edge opera director from NYC, Ethan Heard.  

When & Where:

Friday, August 10, 7:30 p.m.

Trinity Episcopal Church

Another big event is the all-Mozart finale, Sublime Mozart, on Aug 19th. This concert will feature Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony and Requiem, two of his final works.  

When & Where:

Sunday, August 19, 4 p.m.

Trinity Episcopal Church

Have a Listen: Jean Philippe Rameau’s “Suite” from Les Indes Galantes is performed at the 2017 Staunton Music Festival.

Before You Go:

  • Free daily concert; All other concerts range from $10-22 (not including college and youth ticket prices)
  • For lodging and to plan your trip to Staunton, click here; the festival will announce new dining and lodging deals as the season gets closer Check the Staunton Music Festival website or social media pages for the latest info

All the Details:

Calendar of Events

Tickets

2018 SUMMER PASSES include general admission at a 10% discount to all performances in the regular August series

Your Staunton Summer Bucket List

Summer’s here and it finally feels like you have time to do all those things you’ve been yearning to do. But we know those long days are fleeting, so we’ve built a Staunton bucket list to help you maximize the moments and pack the most of Staunton’s unique experiences into your season. chase ghosts Discover … Continue reading Your Staunton Summer Bucket List

Summer’s here and it finally feels like you have time to do all those things you’ve been yearning to do. But we know those long days are fleeting, so we’ve built a Staunton bucket list to help you maximize the moments and pack the most of Staunton’s unique experiences into your season.

chase ghosts

Discover the Queen City after dark. Led by a lantern, this two-hour walking tour is where history and hauntings meet. Hear the stories of Staunton’s most notable residents like Mary Baldwin, James Vames, Myrtle Knox and Jimmy Atkins who are responsible for shaping the historical and haunted landscape of Staunton. Come prepared with flashlights, audio recorders and cameras to capture any paranormal activity and other oddities you might see or hear.  Book your Ghost Tour now.

spend the night locked in a room

Spend an evening finding clues and cracking real-life codes at Crack the Code Escape Room. Groups of up to eight people have an hour to solve the puzzle in this interactive strategy game, so round up your gang, put down your phones, and bond over your shared brain power. Current themed rooms include: Da Vinci’s Office, Back to the Eighties, and Steampunk City.

Hike the Appalachian Trail


Bring your hiking poles and your camera and get ready to clear your head and luxuriate in natural beauty! Staunton is only minutes away from a spectacular section of Appalachian Trail that runs along the Blue Ridge and offers steep climbs and scenic vistas. Hike along the trail or access a short spur like Bear Den Mountain or Humpback Rocks. Planning your first hike with young children? Click here for a good resource.

Stay at Virginia’s Newest Luxury Hotel

Thomas Blackburn, a protege of Thomas Jefferson, originally designed the building that is now the Blackburn Inn in 1828 as part of Western State Hospital. The institution has a busy and controversial history, but the building and grounds were designed to be beautiful and peaceful to aid in the healing process. Now, the recently renovated and reopened 49-room boutique hotel retains historic fixtures of antebellum architecture like enormous windows, original floors, and high ceilings but also embraces state-of-the-art modern convenience. And it’s not haunted, we promise.

Watch a movie under the stars at a classic drive-in

No summer experience is more iconic than a double feature at a good, old-fashioned drive-in movie theater. Hull’s Drive-In, located south of Staunton, has been lighting up the night since 1950. Bring the family and enjoy summer blockbusters and a full menu at the snack bar. A Staunton bucket list won’t feel complete without this ultimate retro family destination!

attend a Music Festival

Whether it’s a major festival like Redwing Roots or Chili. Blues n’ Brews, a free concert in Gypsy Hill Park, or live music at a local brewery or vineyard, music pairs wonderfully with the outdoors. Spread your blanket, watch the little ones chase fireflies, and enjoy the summer sounds with your family and friends.

explore a cave 

Finally learn the difference between a stalagmite and stalactite. Open for nearly 200 years, Grand Caverns is now a National Natural Landmark where “history runs deep.” Both Union and Confederate soldiers visited it during the Civil War, and 200 verified signatures mark its walls. The show cave boasts shield formations and “Cathedral Hall,” one of the largest cavern rooms in the eastern U.S. Best of all, the cave stays 54 degrees year round. What a great way to learn some history and geology while keeping the entire family cool!

Root for the Staunton Braves


Put on your jersey and catch Staunton Braves fever as you spend an exciting summer evening lounging in your camp chair, gobbling ballpark food, and rooting for the home team at Moxie Stadium. The Braves are part of the Valley Baseball League, a collegiate NCAA league that has been playing ball in the Valley since 1897 and regularly sends players to the majors.

Visit the Augusta County Fair

Nothing says summer like midway rides, cotton candy, sideshow acts and blue-ribbon vegetables. Venture out to Augusta Expo for the 2018 Augusta County Fair, July 31-August 4. Make sure you catch a magic show, a prize-winning livestock competition or a tractor pull. You might even see blacksmiths compete in feats of strength and dexterity. This is down-home-on-the-farm fun for the entire family.

Attend a small-town Independence Day Celebration

Staunton goes all out for the 4th of July. The loaded schedule of Happy Birthday America events features musical entertainment, a vesper service, fireworks, a parade, a 5K race, a pageant for children under 12, and concessions. It will also include a feature performance by Wilson Fairchild, a country group comprised of Wil and Landon Reid, sons of the Statler Brothers’ Harold and Don Reid  

And If there’s a tattoo on your Staunton Bucket List…

If this is the summer you’re finally going to take the plunge (or add to your existing gallery of body art), Staunton offers two tattoo parlors. Both will give consultations and create custom designs (and cover ups). Check out Lion’s Den Tattoo or Acme Tattoo for some really cool art and great customer experiences.