#LOVEstaunton

#LOVEstaunton

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report: Weekend of October 19-21

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report: weekend of October 19-21 Virginia’s trees are still pretty green, but here’s hoping this week’s cooler weather will bring on some eagerly anticipated colors. According to Smoky Mountain National Park’s Fall Foliage Prediction Map, we should look for the leaves to peak over the next two weekends. Check here every week for … Continue reading Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report: Weekend of October 19-21

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report:

weekend of October 19-21

Virginia’s trees are still pretty green, but here’s hoping this week’s cooler weather will bring on some eagerly anticipated colors. According to Smoky Mountain National Park’s Fall Foliage Prediction Map, we should look for the leaves to peak over the next two weekends. Check here every week for our updated fall foliage report.

Gypsy Hill Park

Beyond Staunton

Bundle up when you set out on the trail this weekend. Those exposed higher elevations can be downright blustery. The cold, the shorter days, and the breakdown of chlorophyll should allow some yellow and orange to shine through – if the leaves don’t fall off the trees first. According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, the warm weather until now has limited the production of red pigments. “25-30% of the trees have changed color, but red colors are still lacking in most spots.” See the full report here. 

HumpBack Rocks

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report: weekend of October 12-14 We’re a week into October – normally prime leaf peeping season – and Staunton’s trees are still mainly wearing their summer colors. Some leaves have fallen, giving kids opportunities to play, but you’ll need to wait a bit longer for those iconic autumnal photos. Check here every … Continue reading Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report:

weekend of October 12-14

We’re a week into October – normally prime leaf peeping season – and Staunton’s trees are still mainly wearing their summer colors. Some leaves have fallen, giving kids opportunities to play, but you’ll need to wait a bit longer for those iconic autumnal photos. Check here every week for our updated fall foliage report.

Gypsy Hill Park

Beyond Staunton

It’s been great weather for getting outside and hiking, but even at higher elevations along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the views are deeply green. The Virginia Department of Forestry attributes the slower-than-normal changes to the “abundant rain of late summer and fall.” They suggest looking for “early changers like black gum, poison ivy, dogwood, Virginia creeper, and sumacs flashing shades of red along forest edges.” See the full report here. 

Humpack Rocks

48-Hours of Romance in Staunton

Looking for a romantic getaway with your significant other? Couples can unwind and reconnect as they explore Staunton’s unique culture. Plan to share romantic meals, be pampered in luxurious lodgings, sightsee along one of America’s best main streets, and even discover the great outdoors. Best of all, we’ve done the planning for you. Leave your … Continue reading 48-Hours of Romance in Staunton

Looking for a romantic getaway with your significant other? Couples can unwind and reconnect as they explore Staunton’s unique culture. Plan to share romantic meals, be pampered in luxurious lodgings, sightsee along one of America’s best main streets, and even discover the great outdoors. Best of all, we’ve done the planning for you. Leave your cares behind as you check out our jam-packed romantic weekend schedule.

Day 1:

Check into Your Hotel

Staunton offers a number of dreamy lodging options, but some of our favorites are set in beautifully restored historic buildings. The Stonewall Jackson Hotel and The Blackburn Inn both feature elegant rooms and restaurants on the premises where you can get a drink or delicious meal. The Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast offers an elaborate breakfast, Saturday-afternoon wine and cheese, and packages for lodging and in-room couples massages. For additional ideas, read our blogs on bed and breakfasts and unique places to stay.

Grab a Picnic or Some Takeout and Visit a Winery or Brewery

For one of the best views in Augusta County, take a the scenic drive to Barren Ridge Vineyards for a picnic and some local wine. Reconnect with your sweetie as you sit on the patio and admire the sunset. In-town options include Bedlam Brewing, where you can order a stellar dinner along with your great beer. You won’t be disappointed with the beer-battered fish and chips or one of their gourmet pizzas. Queen City Brewing’s fine tap list is often accompanied by live music and a food truck on Friday nights. It’s also close to Gypsy Hill Park where you can share an after-dinner stroll or feed the ducks together.

Day 2:

Visit a Local Coffee Shop for Some Light Fare

Start your romantic Saturday off right with some light fare at one of Staunton’s coffee shops. Located in downtown Staunton, Réunion Bakery & Espresso offers the caffeine you need to get your day rolling as well as a mouthwatering selection of French-inspired pastries. The shop boasts a charming interior and looks as if it came from a design magazine. Alternately, you might stop in at the By & By, and enjoy espresso drinks, bagels, and grilled sandwiches while checking out the art by local artists adorning the walls. Another good bet is Blue Mountain Coffee, located in the Wharf historic district, which gives you direct access to the Farmers’ Market. Enjoy a wide selection of coffee drinks and light fare such as bagel sandwiches and muffins.

Hit up the Farmers’ Market

Hold hands as you stroll through the Staunton Farmers’ Market and eye the autumn bounty. Surprise your sweetie with a seasonal bouquet, stock up on some snacks for later, or just enjoy Staunton’s welcoming feeling of community.

Explore Our Quaint and Walkable Downtown

Enjoying all that walking and hand holding? Hang onto that feeling by exploring our charming downtown on foot. Take a walking tour with the Historic Staunton Foundation or go mobile and use the Traipse App to customize your own tour with keywords like “shopping,” “history,” or “libations.” Discover more history at the Camera Heritage Museum or the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum. And finally, make sure to check out our wealth of independent shops, galleries, and antique stores. You’ll find a range of wares including gourmet chocolate and olive oil, art-glass ornaments, toy arms and armor, and vintage treasure of all kinds.

Go Global for Lunch

Awaken your taste buds by savoring some global cuisine for lunch.  Treat yourself to a scrumptious Indian buffet at Taste of India, where you’ll find a variety of chicken or vegetarian entrees. Alternately, try one of the lunch specials at Chicano Boy Taco. You’ll swoon over the fresh tortillas and you can people watch if you get sick of gazing into each others’ eyes. Check out Staunton’s Global Cuisine for other global favorites.

Unwind with a glass of wine or a pint of beer

You might just want to head back to your room to unwind with a nap and a cuddle, but if you’re still walking around downtown Staunton, stop to flirt over some wine at Ox Eye Tasting Room or Yelping Dog Wine. If you’d rather refresh yourself with beer, Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co. and Redbeard Brewing Company are steps away. For more information on Staunton’s watering holes, check out A Staunton Beer and Wine Tour.

Dinner and a Show (ASC)

Remember all those movies with romantic meals in Italian restaurants? Channel the romance of the Lady and the Tramp noodle scene when you take your love out to a candlelit dinner at Emilo’s Italian Restaurant. Another good bet is farm-to-table fine-dining favorite, The Shack, where you’ll find inspired and creative meals made using seasonal ingredients. If you’re looking for steak, you might enjoy the Mill Street Grill. Follow your romantic meal with a show at the American Shakespeare Center. The fall season includes comedies As You Like It, Emma, and The Man of Mode. If your relationship can handle backstabbing and a little murder, don’t miss Richard III.

SUNDAY

Exchange Sweet Nothings over a Romantic Brunch

New to the Staunton brunch scene, Zynodoa offers inspired southern cuisine in a stylish, metropolitan setting. Their seasonally-driven menu features delights like baked French toast on local bread topped with bourbon peaches, whipped cream, and toasted pecans. Accompany this feast with a mimosa, Bloody Mary, or a Sunny Sunday. For other brunch ideas, check out Staunton’s Brunch Bunch.

Get Outside Before You Hit the Road

If you want to do something really wholesome (and fun!) that looks great on Instagram, head into the county and visit a pick-your-own farm. The Valley boasts apples, grapes, and pumpkins in the fall. Heading north or south? Detour home along the Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway. Both offer spectacular views of fall colors and will give you access to hikes in Shenandoah National Park or George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.

Fall Culinary Experiences

Summer’s heat might have stunted your appetite, but now that temperatures have dropped, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to eat for the season. From delicious seasonal dishes and recipes, to classes and other fun foodie adventures, Staunton is a cornucopia of fall culinary experiences! Staunton Farmers’ Market The Staunton Farmers’ Market … Continue reading Fall Culinary Experiences

Summer’s heat might have stunted your appetite, but now that temperatures have dropped, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to eat for the season. From delicious seasonal dishes and recipes, to classes and other fun foodie adventures, Staunton is a cornucopia of fall culinary experiences!

Staunton Farmers’ Market

The Staunton Farmers’ Market is always a gustatory treat, but nothing beats fall for agricultural abundance. Shop for in-season fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, squash, and pumpkins, of course! Talk to the farmers about how to prepare your bounty or check out a website like Today.com’s Fall Produce Guide for recipe inspiration. If you can’t wait to get home and make your own parsnip cupcakes, just stay at the market and dig deep into a cone of apple cider donuts and a cup of local cider from Blue Ridge Cider Doughnuts. Or indulge yourself with an apple spice, cocoa heaven, guten tag, or 24-carrot-flavored cupcake from Lydia’s Cupcakes

Let the Kids Pick

Nothing says wholesome like gathering the family and picking baskets of fruit. Enjoy sunshine, crisp weather, sweet and tart fruit, and bountiful photo opportunities at local pick-your-own farms. Check out Wenger Grape Farms for grapes and information about how grapes are grown. Local apple favorite, Sunrise Orchards, is already out of fruit this year, so if you’re looking for apples, take a scenic drive over Afton Mountain to Chiles Peach Orchard, Carter Mountain Orchard, or Henley’s Orchard.

Fall Treats from Downtown Shops

Check out some rich fall flavors from the Cocoa Mill, which has been using fair-trade chocolate to make gourmet treats since 1993. You won’t want to miss their Rockbridge Vineyard wine truffles or Hub peanut clusters. Another downtown favorite is Staunton Olive Oil, which provides ultra-premium extra virgin olive oils, infused and fused olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Visit the tasting room and try the Neopolitan Herb Dark Balsamic and the Smoked Olive Wood Oil. Wondering what to do with your goodies once you get home? Try an autumnal recipe like butternut squash and red apple pork loin served with cinnamon pear roasted sweet potatoes.

Local Recipe Gold

Have you ever tried a cinnamon pickle? Take a drive to Meadowcroft Farm to gorge yourself on the view and tickle your palate with their many varieties of jams, pickles and relishes. All products are handcrafted without artificial preservatives from fruits and vegetables grown on the farm. Check out their recipe page for ideas on how to eat their products (besides out of the jar with a spoon). And if you want to make apple or pumpkin pies this fall, The Cheese Shop in Stuarts Draft should be a no-brainer. It specializes in bulk items like flours, spices, nuts, snacks, and cheese, all at very reasonable prices. We won’t judge you for the sacks of snacks you buy. Check out their recipe page for ideas using their local cheese.

Dine on the Season

Staunton has so many fine eateries specializing in creative and seasonal farm-to-table fare, it’s difficult to walk downtown without salivating. Feeling like pie? Check out something delicious and unusual, like Concord grape, from Firkin Pie Company, known for both savory and sweet crusted masterpieces. If you’re strolling west along Beverley Street or exploring historic Thornrose Cemetery, visit the Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room for tea and a selection of light meals, including a Victorian high tea. After a morning at the park, try Mike Lund Food & LUNdCH’s stover salad. It includes roast beets, spiced pecans, and shaved fennel and apple, with bleu cheese and an herb vinaigrette. A good bet for dinner is Zynodoas local and seasonal Autumn Olive Farm slow-roasted pork. This comfort food feast is served with southern-style cabbage slaw, baked beans, and Highland County maple barbeque. If you’re dining at The Shack, plan to bookend your main course with seasonal treats. Warm up your palate with butternut squash pierogi topped with with soubise, chili, and pecans. Finish with the chocolate cremeux, which includes smoked apple butter, and a peanut & oat streusel.

Classes

Homemade Brie at Creambrook Farm:  October 13

Want to spend a cheesy afternoon learning about curds and whey? Sign up for a cheese making class at Creambrook Farm and learn how to make the best, butteriest brie… at home. Sample brie-like cheeses, then learn the chemistry of milk, cream, and the special mold spores that make the magic happen. Veteran cheese maker, Louella Hill, will teach you to ripen, churn, and drain the curds. You’ll take home your cheese and a reusable cheese form so you can create brie any time you want.

Group Cooking Classes at Blue Oregano

Gather your besties, put down your phones, and take a customized cooking class with Blue Oregano Culinary Services in Waynesboro. Enjoy wine and a gourmet dinner that you and your friends prepare under the guidance of an experienced chef. Blue Oregano also offers cooking classes for children ages 10-17.

Happenings

Octoberfest:  October 6

Don’t miss Oktoberfest at the Frontier Culture Museum. Kick up your heels to live music, eat traditional food, and drink good beer. Tour the museum to see how past residents of the Valley celebrated their harvests. Interpreters will show you how people prepared food and entertained themselves before Netflix.  Make sure to stop at the German farm, relocated from Hordt, Germany, for demonstrations on how they brewed beer in the old days. $12 Admission fee for adult, $7 kids 6+, kids 5 and under and museum pass holders are free.

Moriarty Release:  October 8

If you’re looking for another beer-centric celebration check out Moriarty Day at Redbeard Brewing Company. It’s the day they release their latest edition of Moriarty, a barrel-aged Imperial Stout. This year’s pour has been settling in Bourbon barrels from Heaven Hill and Buffalo Trace.

Farm Day at Creambrook Farm:  October 20

Just a short drive south of Staunton, Creambrook Farm is home to 100% grass-fed Jersey dairy cows, and you can meet them at Farm Day and learn about the production of milk and other dairy products. Enjoy other family activities like petting calves, touring the farm on a hayride, tasting fresh milk, or eating a picnic. Food will be available for purchase. $10 Admission fee for persons over 5.

 

Staunton Pride Festival

Celebrate Staunton Pride October 5-7 October is LGBTQ history month, and local nonprofit LGBTQ Tech is producing the first annual Staunton Pride Festival celebrating the LGBTQIA2+ community and its allies. Staunton Pride’s goal is to “support all members of our community in order to increase acceptance and inclusivity in the Shenandoah Valley.” Friday Night Kickoff All are … Continue reading Staunton Pride Festival

Celebrate Staunton Pride October 5-7

October is LGBTQ history month, and local nonprofit LGBTQ Tech is producing the first annual Staunton Pride Festival celebrating the LGBTQIA2+ community and its allies. Staunton Pride’s goal is to “support all members of our community in order to increase acceptance and inclusivity in the Shenandoah Valley.”

Friday Night Kickoff

All are welcome at the fun event, which will be held rain or shine on Beverley Street in downtown Staunton. A kickoff party with Shagwüf and The Judy Chops to benefit the Shenandoah LGBTQ Center on October 5th.

Saturday Dancing in the Streets

Get ready to party on Saturday, October 6th at the street festival on Beverley Street from 9:00 am – 7:00 pm. Highlights will include food, vendors, a local beer & cider garden (opening at 11:00 am,) a music stage, and a show headlined by Virginia native and indie-pop sensation, Catey Shaw, known for her songs “Brooklyn Girls” and “The Ransom.” Plan to dance in the street:  The Johnny Clark Set, The Sugar Jackets, The Crowles, Drägön Wägön, and DJ Jason round out the lineup. 

A Service for Everyone

Staunton Pride will have a special Pride Eucharist worship service led by Reverend Marion Kanour on Saturday, October 6th from 7-8:30 PM. All are welcome as Emmanuel Episcopal Church hosts the service in collaboration with clergy from Grace Episcopal Church, Massie’s Mill, Trinity Episcopal Church, Staunton Virginia, and Stuart Hall School.

Get Wild at the Drag Show

Save some energy for the can’t-miss drag show at the Clocktower on Saturday night. Alexa V. ShontelleGabrielle DupreeKatrina Colby, Chris Smith Kristina Kelly,  Alexea Breeden Kelly, and at least five other performers will strut their stuff and wow you with their amazing routines and eye-popping costumes. Buy your tickets here or in person at Mill Street Body & Soul Day Spa and Salon.

 

Before You Go

  • Organizations offering support to the LGBTQ community will be on site
  • Make sure to visit the PRIDE LOVEworks, which will be on display in downtown Staunton October 5-10
  • Show your pride and support the organization by purchasing shirts, stickers, and magnets
  • The festival is family friendly, but the locations of some of the events require attendees to be over 21

Plan Your Visit to Staunton

While Staunton always offers a positive atmosphere and a welcoming community, the following businesses designate themselves as LGBT-friendly on Virginia.org:

Where to Stay

Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast

The Blackburn Inn

Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center

Hampton Inn – Staunton

Inn at Old Virginia

Staunton /  Walnut Hills KOA Campground

The Bunkhouse at North Mountain

Where to Eat and Drink

Emilio’s Italian Restaurant

Baja Bean Company

Mill Street Grill

The Store

Second Draft Bar & Bistro

The Coffee Cave

Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co.

Where to Shop

Medieval Fantasies Company Gyfte Shoppe

Latitudes Fair Trade Store

Staunton Books Popup

Pufferbellies Toys & Books

Harmony Moon

Redwood and Co.

Cherish Every Moment

Staunton’s Farms, Fall Foliage, and Festivals

Fall is coming and there’s no better way to welcome the (almost) sweater weather than by traveling to Staunton to enjoy farms, fall foliage, and festivals! A trip to the Queen City will give you the opportunity to harvest and taste some of our local food, photograph our views, and celebrate our culture.  Farms Farms … Continue reading Staunton’s Farms, Fall Foliage, and Festivals

Fall is coming and there’s no better way to welcome the (almost) sweater weather than by traveling to Staunton to enjoy farms, fall foliage, and festivals! A trip to the Queen City will give you the opportunity to harvest and taste some of our local food, photograph our views, and celebrate our culture. 

Farms

Farms and Farmers’ Markets

Staunton Farmers’ Market 7-noon Wed. and Sat.

North Augusta Farmers’ Market (Verona) noon-5 Wed.

Take a drive out to Polyface Farms to see a national leader in best-practices farming. You can take tours of the farm and buy pasture-raised, hormone/antibiotic-free chicken, beef, pork, and eggs at the farm store.

Meadowcroft Farms and the Inn at Meadowcroft. Sample some of the 68 different kinds of pickles, relishes, jams, salsas and spreads at the farm store. If you’re looking for a unique and special place to stay, try the inn, which is a situated in a historic (and modernized) log cabin that is over 200 years old.

Pick Your Own

Pick your own wildflowers and herbs at Pebble Hall Wildflowers and Herbs from May to October. Use them fresh for floral displays or culinary pursuits or dry them to use them later. The farm offers beautiful photo opportunities as well as onsite massage and lodging.

Are you looking for a great deal on pick-your-own pumpkins and gourds? Middle River Farms offers pricing by wagon load. The farm also sells locally grown produce, eggs, cheese, and fall decor.

Another great spot to search for the great pumpkin is Mulberry Hills Farm. Visitors can expect a seasonal pumpkin patch (with a wide variety of pumpkins, gourds, squash, and other decorative items). The farm also sets up seasonal backdrops for your family photos and the kids can pet friendly farm animals.

You only need to drive a few miles south of Staunton to get to Sunrise Orchards, a small operation that offers a welcome change from crowded apple orchards. You can pick your own red delicious, yellow delicious and Jonathan apples by the bushel, peck or bag. Plan a picnic to enjoy under the trees with spectacular views of the mountains.

September is grape season, so spend a morning picking Niagara or Concord grapes at Wenger Grape Farm. These grapes can be used for wine, juice or jam, or enjoying by the handful. This beautiful farm offers a wealth of wholesome photo opportunities.

Fall Foliage

You can’t beat the way the Shenandoah Valley dresses up in the autumn. Leaves will be peaking between late September and early November, so plan to take a drive on the Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway for some breathtaking displays.

For a more private option, head to the westernmost end of Augusta County and check out the views from the Confederate Breastworks interpretive site at the top of Shenandoah Mountain.

If you want to leaf peep in town, wander the trails in Montgomery Hall Park, pack a picnic and hang out under the trees near the Gypsy Hill Park grandstand, or take a stroll through historic Thornrose Cemetery. One of the best views of Staunton can be had from Wilson Park high on Sears Hill.

To see the leaves at their brightest, check out this fall color predictor site from Shenandoah National Park.

Festivals

Octoberfest

October 6

Octoberfest at the Frontier Culture Museum is a blast. Start the day with Irish Road Bowling and then tour the German farm. Later on, kick up your heels dancing to live music, eating traditional food, and drinking good beer. Tour the museum to see how past residents of the Valley celebrated their harvests.  The festival offers fun and activities for the entire family.

Fall Foliage Art Festival

October 13-14

150 fine artists come to downtown Waynesboro, VA for the 46th annual Fall Foliage Art Show. Artist bring paintings, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry, pottery and wood to this outdoor juried show. You can also enjoy delicious food, craft beer, and music. The Street Arts Festival takes place concurrently with Fall Foliage and offers a chance to admire the vibrant works of talented street artists as they make urban spaces their canvas.

Fall Foliage Bike Festival

October 19-21

Now in its 28th year, the Fall Foliage Bike Festival attracts over 750 cyclists from around the mid-Atlantic states for a weekend of riding in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Escape the cities for a quiet weekend and choose from over eleven SAG-supported routes over two days.

 

Staunton Anniversaries We’re Celebrating this Fall

You don’t need a special day to come to Staunton, but if you like partying, plan a visit this fall. Several of our attractions, stores, and restaurants are marking milestone anniversaries. Read up for more info about their can’t-miss birthday celebrations. The American Shakespeare Center The American Shakespeare Center has been staging world-class Shakespeare for … Continue reading Staunton Anniversaries We’re Celebrating this Fall

You don’t need a special day to come to Staunton, but if you like partying, plan a visit this fall. Several of our attractions, stores, and restaurants are marking milestone anniversaries. Read up for more info about their can’t-miss birthday celebrations.

The American Shakespeare Center

The American Shakespeare Center has been staging world-class Shakespeare for three decades. This year’s performances are extra special as its 30th Anniversary Artistic Year features fall performances of As You Like It, Richard III, George Etherege’s The Man of Mode, and a world-premier adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma by Emma Whipday. Check the schedule for performances that include free pre-show lectures. Plan to buy your tickets for the 30th Anniversary Gala on September 22, which will include a special performance, a celebration, dinner, and dancing.

Frontier Culture Museum

For 30 years, the Frontier Culture Museum has kept the past alive by providing hands-on experiences and telling the stories of the various people who migrated to the Shenandoah Valley during Colonial times. For the month of September enjoy admission prices circa 1988. You’ll be able to visit the Museum for the price you would have paid during its inaugural year: $3 for adults and children ages 6-17 are just $1 (5 and under are free). Come see living history, but also join as the museum marks its milestone birthday with an End-of-Summer Concert on September 2. The concert will feature the locally grown band E3 (formerly “Everything”), famous for their song “Hootch.” Food and beer will be available for purchase.

Other festivities include the Annual Pass Holder Pancake Breakfast on September 22 followed by a book signing of The Log Cabin – An American Icon by author Allison Hoagland and a performance by professed Southern Gothic, alt-country blues singer/songwriter Amythyst Kiah. 

Barren Ridge Vineyards

2018 marks ten years for Barren Ridge Vineyards. Head out to the winery on September 30 for the Harvest Festival Party, where you’ll enjoy live music, giveaways, food trucks, and, of course, award-winning wine, and some of the best scenery in Augusta county!

Two of our downtown favorites also have a lot to celebrate this fall. Baja Bean has been serving tasty Southern California-style Mexican for 20 years, and Made; By the People, For the People has been featuring local and handmade products for five years. Check out web pages and social media for specials.

Queen City Mischief and Magic

Calling all wizards and magic lovers! September 28-30 marks the third annual Queen City Mischief and Magic, a weekend when Staunton transforms into a fantasy village. Business names change, the culture changes, and food and drinks change. Use a Mischief Map to unlock the secrets of Staunton’s charmed downtown. Experiment with potions and enjoy wizard … Continue reading Queen City Mischief and Magic

Calling all wizards and magic lovers! September 28-30 marks the third annual Queen City Mischief and Magic, a weekend when Staunton transforms into a fantasy village. Business names change, the culture changes, and food and drinks change. Use a Mischief Map to unlock the secrets of Staunton’s charmed downtown. Experiment with potions and enjoy wizard refreshments. Try your hand at wild-beast taming or wizard dueling. This entertaining and family-friendly festival is not to be missed!

Queen City Mischief & Magic is a homegrown fan event created for our local community to celebrate and grow our appreciation for the Harry Potter books and film series. Warner Bros. Entertainment and J.K. Rowling are not responsible for or affiliated with this event.

Festival Must-Dos

The list of activities and businesses continues to grow. Get your daily update at Queen City Mischief & Magic website. Here is a sampling of the weekend’s magical fun:

    • Get the weekend started by cheering your favorite team at the Quidditch Games on Friday. Matches will be held at 6 and 7 p.m. The championship game begins at 8 p.m.
    • Find your way to The Flaming Arena behind Suntrust Bank Friday and Saturday night. The Queen City Fire Circus will be performing free shows. 7:30 and 9 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday.
    • Love to run? Head over to the Frontier Culture Museum for the Firebolt 5K (8 a.m. Saturday morning). Quaff a speed potion and sprint for a PR or don your costume and take advantage of the selfie stops along the way.
    • Meet your favorite fantasy characters as you stroll through town enjoying the festival. Rumor has it that this year mermaids might splash you!
    • See more costumed characters arrive by train at 10 a.m. Saturday! You never know who you might see.
    • Selfie spots will abound at the festival. Plan to pose with Norberta the Dragon or a unicorn. Check out the dragon and fairy thrones at the Magic Paintbrush Gallery (Co-Art Gallery) and the selfie spots and activities in Nonprofit Alley. Remember to tag your photos with #LoveStaunton and #qcmm18.

  • Let the kids get creative with a variety of free and inexpensive activities like coffee grind finger painting, tic-tac-toe art games, scavenger hunts, and stations to make wands, neckties, snitches, and spellbooks.
  • Shmooze with a 20-foot long python! Indulge your inner herpetologist at a reptile show starring an amazing presenter from Reptile World. If you’re into owls, visit the Wine Cellar and learn all about them. You can even buy an owl pellet of your very own!
  • All these animals making you lonely? Take home a new pet made by a balloon animal artist.
  • Flaunt your wizard robes as you explore town or strut your stuff in the costume showcase. Top off your magical look with face painting & fairy hair.  See the photos from previous years for inspiration.

  • Learn the tricks of forced-perspective as you watch 3-D chalk artists bring their work to life.
  • If you’ve been polishing your five-piece endgame, now is the time to try your hand at wizards’ chess.
  • Solve some fantasy-themed riddles, tour the town, and hunt for prizes with Traipse, a free app for your cell phone. Available in two levels of difficulty. PLUS: check in on Traipse to earn House Points!   
  • Why not learn something while you’re in town? Choose from potions classes, defense against dark arts demos, and spell casting & dance lessons
  • Plan to take one of the fantasy-based tours at various sites, including a ministry of magic and a wizard’s hut, where you might encounter a ridgeback dragon!
  • Many businesses will be giving away special wizard cards. Can you be the first to nab them all?
  • Let the little ones party on their own at the Wizard Play Academy playspace for ages 1-5 at Pufferbellies Toys & Books until 3 p.m. Saturday & Sunday. Enjoy wizard-themed activities including dress ups, potion mixing, and chilling with the magical beasts. Free.
  • Did you get into wizard school? Grab your acceptance letters and get sorted into a particular house of magic.
  • Choose your wand. Rather, let a wand choose you! Purchase wooden wands at Pufferbellies Toys & Books or glass wands at Sunspots Studios
  • Magical Musical Delights organ concert features favorite tunes from stage and screen, including a suite specially created from the music from the Harry Potter films. Concert time is 3 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church. For the older crowd, enjoy the story of Phantom of the Opera, on the big screen, accompanied on a Taylor and Boody pipe organ by international sonic artist, Peter Krasinski. Concert starts at 7 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church.
  • Watch the hot glass wizards at Sunspots Studios create flaming goblets and other magic with molten glass, including glowing wands, oracle orbs, owls, pumpkins, & more!
  • Test your Harry Potter knowledge with Trivia! Head over to the Trivia Lair aka Cranberry’s to participate.
  • Have your hands in herbology by decorating a pot and growing your own “mandrake” at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum.  We hear you might see Hermione there, too!

The Details

  • Appropriate for all ages, no admission fee required. Some activities will require a small participation fee.
  • Times and locations for activities will be available at the official Queen City Mischief & Magic website and will be published in the QCMM Map which will be available electronically and in print in numerous locations throughout the weekend.
  • There will be FREE shuttles running a constant circuit from both the Mischief lot (old Dice’s Inn parking lot) at 216 Frontier Drive and the Staunton Mall at 90 Lee Jackson Highway. The Magic lot (Federated Auto Parts Warehouse lot) at 851 Statler Blvd — TO — the corner of Market and Beverley Streets in Downtown Staunton.
  • Staunton will have limited parking downtown. Please refer to this map that shows where vehicular traffic and parking will be restricted. 
  • Keep an eye on the schedule as more activities are added.

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 | … 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