#LOVEstaunton

#LOVEstaunton

Shop Staunton’s Small Business Saturday on November 27

Why not burn those Thanksgiving calories, make a dent in your holiday shopping, and support locally-owned businesses all at the same time? Skip the Black Friday lines and instead shop downtown Staunton on Small Business Saturday. You’ll find all sorts of unique products and wonderful customer service. Our downtown shops are filled with great deals … Continue reading Shop Staunton’s Small Business Saturday on November 27

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

The Well-Balanced Paw 

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

Refill Renew

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

The Book Dragon

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

CFO Trading Co.

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

Yelping Dog Wine

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

The Foundry Pop Ups

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

Harmony Moon

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

Sole Focus Running

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

Traipse Tours

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

Arts for Gifts

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

Virginia Cider Week

Virginia is one of the top six apple-producing states in the country. And while we enjoy those apples in school lunches and pies, sipping cider is another way to keep the doctor away. Since 2012, Virginia has celebrated Cider Week each November during the week before Thanksgiving. This year, that’s November 12-21. Stay in downtown … Continue reading Virginia Cider Week

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

Did You Know?

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

Ciders from Mars

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

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

Where Else Can I Taste Cider?

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

Nearby Cideries

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

10 Things We Are Thankful For In Staunton This Year

Thanksgiving is almost here. Take some time between raking leaves, planning side dishes, and agonizing over table settings to reflect on the many things we’re thankful for in Staunton. Our Great Outdoors Staunton’s location in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley provides incredible views of mountains on both sides. Were just a few minutes from … Continue reading 10 Things We Are Thankful For In Staunton This Year

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

Our Great Outdoors

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

Independent Small Businesses

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

Foodie Scene

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

Craft Beer, Wine, and Cider

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

Artists, Artisans, and the Performing Arts

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

Live Music 

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

Local Farmers and Producers

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

Museums and Historic Sites

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

Our Fun Community

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

The People

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

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

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

The autumn colors are peaking in Staunton, and boy are they spectacular. This week, leaf peepers should see yellows and reds from maples. Look also for red displays from sumac and, surprisingly, poison ivy vines, which add festive garlands to tree trunks. Midweek wind brought down a lot of leaves, so rake them into piles … Continue reading Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report 2021: Weekend of October 29-31

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

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

Staunton Fall Flavors: Alternatives to Pumpkin Spice

It’s the time of year when all things pumpkin spice begin to tempt you with their warm, spicy, homey goodness. But did you know there are other flavors that also compliment football, leaf raking, and your favorite sweater? It’s time to put down the pumpkin spice latte and try some alternative fall flavors.  Meals Firkin … Continue reading Staunton Fall Flavors: Alternatives to Pumpkin Spice

It’s the time of year when all things pumpkin spice begin to tempt you with their warm, spicy, homey goodness. But did you know there are other flavors that also compliment football, leaf raking, and your favorite sweater? It’s time to put down the pumpkin spice latte and try some alternative fall flavors. 

Meals

Firkin Pie Company

Firkin Pie Company creates amazing sweet and savory pies with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Pie is served by the slice and in 5” or 9” whole pies. How about a cardamom-scented carrot pudding hand pie or a slice of pecan cheesecake pie? Or both! 

The Shack

Make reservations to share a special night over Chef Boden’s multi-course seasonal tasting menu at The Shack. The options change each week, but autumn ingredients might include butter beans, chanterelles, apple, rutabaga, pumpkin, chestnut, sauerkraut, duck, eggplant, oysters, and more, all paired with suggested wines.

The Depot Grille

The menu at The Depot Grille offers lots of tasty options, but we like Chessie’s Veggie Pasta, a vegetarian entree that packs some serious seasonal flavors. You’ll taste portobello mushrooms, sweet corn, tomatoes, broccoli, capers, and garlic.

Réunion Bakery & Espresso

Hosting a brunch? A quiche from Réunion Bakery & Espresso will demand the spotlight. Choose from the meat quiche made with bacon, caramelized onion, fontina, and dill or the veggie quiche, which features butternut squash, goat cheese, sage, and French parsley.

Desserts

Table 44 & Paris Cake Company

After your meal at Table 44, order the decadent Paris Cake Company apple lattice pie with house made vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce. Rather have your fall flavor in a glass? Try the honey old-fashioned, made with Old Overholt rye whiskey, honey syrup, Pechauds Bitters, and an icy orange twist.

Newtown Baking

Newtown Baking is known for their flaky French pastry, fragrant coffee, artisanal breads, and wood-fired pizzas. However, we’d be remiss to ignore their desserts like apple tart and this smooth, creamy chocolate panna cotta. 

Split Banana

The award-winning Split Banana serves 24 fresh-made rotating flavors of gelato each day. This dense, creamy treat is made from local grass-fed milk and packed with intense flavors. Strolling downtown to shop and leaf peep? Why not stop and try cinnamon, cocoa ancho, pumpkin pie, or espresso biscotti? If you’re chilly, you can’t go wrong with a steaming mug of “Super Incredible Hot Chocolate.”

Magdalena Bake

Try a new treat with Magdalena Bake’s traditional Argentinian torta rogel: thin layers of pastry are held together with dulce de leche and topped with meringue. The bakery also makes cinnamon rolls, cannoli, empanadas, and more. The fresh treats are beautiful and taste great, and the new storefront is an easy walk from downtown.  

Klines Ice Cream

Kline’s Dairy Bar serves up a mean pumpkin-flavored cone, but if you’re looking for an alternative, order a big bowl of German chocolate cake ice cream. Ice cream flavors change weekly, so check the website before you go. Think you’ll be hungry again later? Take home a quart for later along with some of the sweet or Carolina BBQ Kline’s is famous for.

Drinks

Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery

Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery has a big selection of food and drinks made with natural ingredients. For a toasty pick-you-up on a fall day, try a turtle mocha flavored with caramel, hazelnut, and chocolate, or a mug of spiced apple cider. Alternatively, you could just drink the latte.

Redbeard Brewing Company

Redbeard Brewing Company creates “small batches of big beers” in its location in Staunton’s historic wharf district. One of their autumnal classics is their Sweet Potato Pie Porter, which is “brewed w/ the filling from close to 40 sweet potato pies per batch.” If this sweet and yammy dark brown porter reminds you too much of pumpkin pie, try the German-style amber lager, Augusta Amber.

And More

Farmers’ Market

A Saturday morning stroll through the Staunton Farmers’ Market is a perfect way to get inspired to create a fall flavor of your own. Listen to live music, breathe the fresh air and check out the seasonal produce. Grab an apple cider donut from Blue Ridge Cider Doughnuts, or take those apples home and bake something amazing!  The Staunton Farmers’ Market runs through the Saturday before Thanksgiving. 

Staunton Olive Oil Company

Staunton Olive Oil Company sells ultra-premium extra virgin olive oils, infused and fused olive oils, and balsamic vinegars. If you’re not sure what any of that means, you’re in luck because you can taste and sample your way around the store to find something that perfectly suits your palate. For fall, we’d start with wild mushroom and sage infused olive oil, but with so many to choose from, why take our word for it?

Essentially Zen

You won’t be able to eat any of the soaps or candles you buy at Essentially Zen, but you’ll be tempted because they smell so good. Heat up your home with seasonal candle scents like “sweater weather,” “warm + cozy,” or “farmhouse.” You might even get a jump start on your holiday shopping by putting together a gift basket or subscription service for someone special.

Crown Jewelers

Instead of pumpkin spice, how about some pumpkin ice?  Crown Jewelers has some beautiful, brilliant yellow/orange diamonds for the special someone in your life.  Wear the golden fall sunshine on your finger all year long. 

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report 2021: Weekend of October 22-24

You won’t need to look hard to see Staunton’s autumnal colors as you enjoy being outside in the seasonal weather this weekend. Cooler days and chilly nights (have you turned the heat on yet?) are making it feel like fall. And we’re getting some peak colors both in the mountains and in town. Look for … Continue reading Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report 2021: Weekend of October 22-24

You won’t need to look hard to see Staunton’s autumnal colors as you enjoy being outside in the seasonal weather this weekend. Cooler days and chilly nights (have you turned the heat on yet?) are making it feel like fall. And we’re getting some peak colors both in the mountains and in town. Look for bright red and orange maples to serve as backdrops for your family photos. According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, “individual trees planted in urban and suburban landscapes often color earlier than those in the forest.” So, while elevation impacts temperature, which can affect color, you’re likely to see pops of color in town before widespread changes in the mountains.

Walks through Staunton’s historic neighborhood, long drives through rural Augusta County, and hikes in Shenandoah National Park all make great ways to check out the colors. Hikers wanting color closer to home should explore the trails at Montgomery Hall Park or Betsy Bell Wilderness Area. Gypsy Hill Park also has a walking loop and beautiful views.

Check here every week for our updated fall foliage report.

“Shop and Dine Out Downtown” Winds Down For the Season

We’ve become accustomed to the bustling atmosphere and walkable streetscape of Beverley Street each weekend. Born of pandemic necessity, but adopted because of its popularity, the Shop and Dine Out Downtown program has allowed restaurants and businesses to take advantage of Beverley Street when it closes for vehicular traffic each Friday afternoon to Monday morning. … Continue reading “Shop and Dine Out Downtown” Winds Down For the Season

We’ve become accustomed to the bustling atmosphere and walkable streetscape of Beverley Street each weekend. Born of pandemic necessity, but adopted because of its popularity, the Shop and Dine Out Downtown program has allowed restaurants and businesses to take advantage of Beverley Street when it closes for vehicular traffic each Friday afternoon to Monday morning. Tables, chairs, and tents fill the street, and those outdoor dining spaces are filled, in turn, with groups chatting, laughing, and loving the al fresco dining experience. But the cooler weather approaching means that you only have a few more weeks to take advantage of this Staunton experience before the restaurants return to indoor operations for the winter. Make plans to head downtown this weekend or next!

Retailers on Beverley Street

Beverley Street retailers are open during their regular hours, but some additionally offer an outdoor display of their products. Shop Beverley Street for art, fashion and jewelry, antiques and vintage, gifts, books, cigars, hobby supplies, gourmet olive oils and vinegar, chocolate, hemp and CBD supplies, and more!

Quick Bites on Beverley Street 

Grab breakfast or lunch at The Pampered Palate before a big day of exploring Staunton. Try the quiche breakfast platter or the buttered, seasoned, and topped pampered potato.

Check out Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co. for 18 craft beers on tap, including pumpkin ale, butterscotch ale, and New England IPA. Yelping Dog Wine sells delicious wines by the glass as well as a huge selection of local and global wines. Feeling peckish? Order a cheese plate or a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. The Green Room also serves craft beer, wine, and other pre-dinner libations. Don’t skip their fancy tater tots and one of their tasty sandwiches stuffed with ingredients like chorizo, manchego, olive oil, and Spanish pickled peppers.

Family-Friendly

Baja Bean Co. and Shenandoah Pizza & Taphouse both serve a wide selection of craft beers, and the entire family will love the delicious food. Baja specializes in Tex-Mex cuisine like the marinated chicken, spinach, corn salsa, and rice Popeye burrito or the chorizo hash served over potatoes, peppers, and onions and topped with fried eggs and cheese. Shenandoah Pizza serves up big specialty slices and pies named for local landmarks and businesses. The Sherwood Avenue is topped with meatballs, ricotta, and red onion, and the Staunton Steam has a spicy alfredo sauce, grilled chicken, pineapple, and basil.

Dinner Favorites

If you’re celebrating a special occasion, sip a “drunken pumpkin” cocktail as you peruse the menu at BLU Point Seafood Co. You’ll find fresh seafood as well as a raw bar. Entrees include blackened catfish with black-eyed peas and rice and a cajun cream. You might also enjoy shrimp n’ grits prepared with local grits and sausage. BLU Point’s sister restaurant, Zynodoa, specializes in “inspired Southern cuisine” and focuses on local ingredients. You can’t go wrong with the Autumn Olive Farm grilled pork chop served with braised cabbage, Wade’s Mill rye spaetzle, and a sweet and sour glaze.

Family-owned Emilio’s Italian Restaurant has created classic Sicilian meals since 1994. Try the delightful crema di Funghi, a tasty fall soup made with sliced mushrooms and onions in a smooth cream sauce. For more creamy vegetarian joy, follow with butternut squash ravioli, which is flavored with a light sage, lemon and cream butter sauce, and pecorino cheese. While Emilio’s doesn’t have Beverley Street seating, it has private outdoor spaces on the building’s 2nd and 3rd floors. 

Savor Dessert

Clocktower Eats & Sweets serves a big menu of American favorites for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They’ll also tempt you with freshly prepared desserts and a selection of seasonal cocktails like pumpkin pie martinis and apple cider mimosas. Save room for house-made gelato for dessert from The Split Banana. Flavors suiting a fall day include toasted almond, chocolate hazelnut, cocoa ancho, sticky rice, pistachio, and more!

More Restaurants to Love

More restaurants that are steps away from Beverley Street include Aioli, Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery, Firkin Pie Company, Reunion Espresso & Bakery, Crumbl and The Shack

Along Central Avenue, you’ll find Chicano Boy Taco, D & L Donuts, Gloria’s Pupuseria, Gonzo’s Pollo, Jade China House Restaurant, and Nu-Beginning Farm. 

The Wharf Historic District’s restaurants are Byers Street Bistro, Ox-Eye Vineyards, Ciders from Mars, Redbeard Brewing, The Depot Grille, Taste of India, Serendipity Cafe and Mill Street Grill.

Crucible Coffee Roasters, Newtown Baking & Kitchen, Paris Cake Company, Table 44, and Ubon Thai Victorian Restaurant Inn can all be found in the Newtown Historic District.

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report 2021: Weekend of October 15-17

It’s still pretty warm in Staunton during the day, but with some nights dipping into the 40s, we should really start seeing some of fall’s fiery color this weekend! The following week looks like it will be much cooler, so the height of the season will be here soon. In fact, the Smoky Mountains Fall … Continue reading Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report 2021: Weekend of October 15-17

It’s still pretty warm in Staunton during the day, but with some nights dipping into the 40s, we should really start seeing some of fall’s fiery color this weekend! The following week looks like it will be much cooler, so the height of the season will be here soon. In fact, the Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Prediction Map predicts that leaves will peak between October 11-25, so get out there and leaf peep. You’ll find some nice backgrounds around the train station for fall-themed photos, and a climb up to Woodrow Park on Sears Hill rewards with stellar views of Staunton from above. You’ll also see lots of trees in Gypsy Hill Park with the added bonus of the swimming pool enclosure that’s populated with friendly and spooky Halloween scarecrows.

If the rain holds off this weekend, it should be good weather for hiking, so make sure you get out with your camera. If you haven’t done it yet this year, Humpback Rocks offers wide open views of the Shenandoah and Rockfish Valleys as well as chances to see migrating hawks. If you’d rather head to the west, drive up Shenandoah Mountain and hike the trails around the Confederate Breastwork Interpretive Site. You’ll notice that the trees at higher elevations are starting to show off those autumnal colors. The Virginia Department of Forestry suggests that the green will continue to change to yellow as limited daylight shuts down chlorophyll production. Though all deciduous trees change color and drop their leaves, the intensity of the show varies each year.

Check here every week for our updated fall foliage report.

Something Sweet in Your Neighborhood: Staunton’s Dessert Round Up

Today is National Dessert Day. That means it’s the one day of the year besides your birthday when you can devour as much sweet, decadent goodness as you want and feel no guilt. And while we don’t recommend eating your weight in chocolate every day, it’s actually great for your wellbeing to enjoy a dessert … Continue reading Something Sweet in Your Neighborhood: Staunton’s Dessert Round Up

Today is National Dessert Day. That means it’s the one day of the year besides your birthday when you can devour as much sweet, decadent goodness as you want and feel no guilt. And while we don’t recommend eating your weight in chocolate every day, it’s actually great for your wellbeing to enjoy a dessert now and then. It won’t even wreck your diet! So without further ado, here are all the places in Staunton you’ll want to visit to get your dessert on!

Réunion

We dare you to meet with friends for a cup of coffee at Réunion Bakery & Espresso and not walk away raving about the pastries. Try a cruffin, a chocolate croissant or an apple galette with maple pecan cream, maple flake & pecan praline. The menu changes weekly to reflect what’s seasonal. Hurry — everyone in town has a favorite treat, and they go quickly! You won’t want to leave without a loaf of fresh bread or a quiche for dinner. Réunion has been featured in Southern Living, Vogue, The Washington Post, and Garden&Gun.

Magdalena Bake

Have you been to Magdalena Bake’s new location on West Beverley yet? Why not stop in for Friday brunch? This store specializes in pastries, cookies, wedding, birthday, and custom cakes, as well as special-ordered items. The wide variety of cake flavors include lemon, mocha, coconut, and tres leches. Icings and creams offerings are extensive as well and you can select buttercream, fondant, mousse, ganache, and creams. Ask about vegan and gluten-free options. If you’re looking for something savory, Magdalena Bake makes the empanadas of your dreams.

Paris Cake Company

Paris Cake Companys dessert offerings are both delicious and almost too pretty to eat. Give in to your cravings, though, and celebrate sweater weather with something seasonal like pumpkin whoopie pies or cupcakes decorated like mums and other fall blooms. If you’re planning a big event like a birthday party or wedding, Paris Cake Company will be the star of the show with custom birthday, wedding, or special occasion cakes.

Newtown Baking

Newtown Baking creates “artisanal everything” and is known for its organic coffee, pastries, fresh breads, and wood-fired pizzas. You’ll find pecan brownies, buttery croissants, blueberry scones, blueberry Danish, cinnamon morning buns, bagels, and a variety of bread. Walk in and see what’s left in the display case, or order ahead for Wednesday-Saturday pickup.

Crumbl

Make your day a little sweeter at Crumbl Cakes & Bakes. This locally owned bakery and coffee shop opened just this summer, but it’s already a Staunton favorite for its rotating variety of muffins, scones, cupcakes, cookies, cookie dough, brownies, and vegan and gluten-free treats. Have a special event coming up? Crumbl make’s beautiful custom cakes on request, and they even sell pupcakes for your dog.

D&L Donuts

Take an early morning stroll to D & L Donuts for a hot cup of Trager Brothers organic coffee and to catch special seasonal donut flavors like Hawaiian Malasadas, pumpkin, and apple crisp before they’re all gone. D & L also has standard flavors like glazed, peanut butter, cream-filled, coconut, and chocolate-covered cake and yeast donuts, made fresh every morning. All of the fillings and glazes are made from scratch.

Firkin Pie Co.

Get your pie fix at Firkin Pie Company, which bakes beautiful, flavorful pies with crisp, buttery crusts in both sweet and savory varieties. The menu varies, but expect seasonal flavors like butterscotch, cranberry chess, and chocolate mocha. All pies are made from scratch and are served by the slice and in 5” or 9” whole pies. Thinking ahead to Thanksgiving? Make your pie order now!

Serendipity Java Bar & Eatery

Family-owned Serendipity Java Bar & Eatery is one of Staunton’s newest businesses, and you’ll love the ambiance. It’s decorated with tasteful antiques and flowers, and it features comfy seating and lots of natural light. Located near the historic train station in the Wharf district, it serves muffins, seasonal scones, cinnamon rolls along with breakfast delights like egg and cheese bagels and French toast plates. Don’t skip the impressive selection of coffees, including cold brew, iced, and chocolate coffee as well as a menu of espressos and specialty drinks like razzle chai. Come later in the day for grilled lunch sandwiches and a kids’ menu for little appetites. 

Giancarlo

Giancarlo Fine European Pastries is tucked in a former garage in a residential part of town, but even if you get lost, it’s totally worth it. The shop opens to the public on Fridays and Saturdays and the public can shop for bread, cake, tarts, Danish pastry, fine chocolates made with 65% cacao, and more. Try a Colombian chocolate espresso tart of a strawberry Bavarian chocolate ganache if there’s any left! Custom orders can be placed all week.

Clocktower Eats & Sweets

You might know the Clocktower Eats & Sweets as a perfect downtown Staunton spot for drinks and dinner. But now, under new ownership since 2018, the restaurant serves house-made desserts as well. Stop by the bakery case for a daily selection that includes donuts, eclairs, muffins, cookies, sticky buns, key lime pie, and more. If you’d rather drink your dessert, stop by the bar for pumpkin pie or dreamy chocolate espresso martini.

Staunton Olive Oil

The Staunton Olive Oil Company is under new ownership, and while it still offers the same delicious flavored olive oils and vinegars, you can also try some of their new baked goods. Try your oils and vinegars on freshly baked 100% gluten-free bread, which tastes just like a traditional French bread loaf. Follow this up with a selection of keto treats, like blondies, power bars, brownies, and cheesecake bars. 

Cocoa Mill Chocolate

You’ll swoon when you bite into a handmade, gourmet chocolate from Cocoa Mill Chocolates. Sample the artisan truffles, boozy bonbons, chocolate bark, dipped fruits, and more. Looking for a gift? Send a chocolate greeting and a gift tower or a chocolate survival kit.

Ice Cream

Split Banana

Exploring Beverly Street? We bet you can’t walk by the window at award-winning Split Banana and not come away with at least one flavor of fresh-made gelato. This dense, creamy treat is made from local grass-fed milk and packed with intense flavors. You’ll be hard-pressed to pick from the selection that includes pumpkin pie, banana, hazelnut, brownie bash, sweet cream, caramel peanut butter, and more. Have it in a dish or in an amazing waffle cone.

Kline’s

Kline’s Dairy Bar makes its ice cream fresh every morning. This local chain uses a “continuous freeze” method of producing a soft, dense ice cream. Kline’s always makes vanilla and chocolate, but each week there are two different special flavors that change over on Wednesday. Check the sign, flavor card, or website each week for a rotation of can’t-miss flavors like pumpkin and cake batter or local favorites like razberry and lemon gingersnap in cones, cups, shakes, and sundaes.

Wright’s Dairy Rite

Wright’s Dairy Rite has been flashing its neon sign since the 1950s and serving up Americana in the form of burgers, onion rings, and soft-serve delights. You can even stay in your car and cruise up to the old-fashioned drive-through terminal and have staff bring your food to your window. The dessert menu offers dipped cones, funnel cake fries, flurries, splits, milkshakes, malts, and drink freezes to cool off on a mighty hot day. To curb a raging sweet tooth, try a Wright’s Wheelie. This warm donut is mounded with ice cream, whipped cream, and your choice of topping. 

That’s the roundup. Now head to Staunton to eat and treat your way around the city!

Staunton Ghost Tours

Staunton grew from a sleepy town to a bustling center of commerce when the railroad came to town in the 1850s. It’s now known for its beautiful Victorian architecture spread across a number of historic districts. Visitors love to take historical and garden walking tours, but buildings that old come steeped in history…and possibly ghosts. … Continue reading Staunton Ghost Tours

Staunton grew from a sleepy town to a bustling center of commerce when the railroad came to town in the 1850s. It’s now known for its beautiful Victorian architecture spread across a number of historic districts. Visitors love to take historical and garden walking tours, but buildings that old come steeped in history…and possibly ghosts. Are you hoping for a helping of goosebumps this October? Read on to get your haunt on this Halloween.

The American Hotel

Ghosts of Staunton Tours

If you’d like to learn about Staunton’s spooks and apparitions, the logical place to start is with a professional ghost tour by Black Raven Paranormal. Ghosts of Staunton Tours has been educating the community for 14 years.  Not only will you learn the best places for sightings in this “hub for paranormal activity,” you’ll get a healthy dose of history as well. This should please even skeptical audience members! If you’d like to see Black Raven Paranormal in action, check out their Amazon Prime series: The Black Raven Chronicles. Episodes include investigations of the Clocktower and Montgomery Hall.

Tour Dates

Tours run through the end of October and include several different options:

  • Fridays at 7:30: Staunton’s Haunted History Ghost Tour
    • 90-minute tour by lantern light. Learn about notable Staunton natives and why they might spend their afterlives in the Queen City. This tour “strive[s] to educate, enlighten, and entertain you with our own unique blend of the paranormal, science, history, and local legend.”
  • Fridays at 8: Dark Tales and Haunts Ghost Tour
    • 90-minute exploration of the darker side of Staunton: “legends, lore, history, mystery, ghosts, and murder are all rolled into one.”
  • Saturdays at 7 and 8: Haunted American Hotel Tour
    • Used as a home base for travelers and a hospital during the Civil War, the American Hotel has had plenty of opportunities to acquire spectral presences. Learn the history and the results of Black Raven Paranormal’s investigations. You’ll even get to participate in a live audio session as investigators attempt to contact the departed. Make sure to stop in at the onsite Serendipity Java Bar and Eatery for a special, spooky menu.
  • Sundays at 6 and 7:30: Civil War Hospital Tour
  • Friday/Saturday, October 22, 23, 29, 30 at 7:30, Sunday October 31 at 7: Haunted Depot Spirit Box Tour
  • You can also schedule a private ghost tour for a party of five or more.

Historic Cemeteries

There are probably a few spirits on the loose in Thornrose Cemetery. This large, park-like resting ground has been Staunton’s biggest burial ground since the 1840s. One of the highest points is marked by a 22-foot marble Confederate infantryman. This is the mass grave of 1,700 fallen Civil War soldiers killed on area battlefields. Wander the winding drives and rest on one of the many benches to admire the cemetery architecture, which includes an arching footbridge and a tower. For more background and highlights, check out our walking tour.

Where Else Might I See a Staunton Ghost or Two?

Check out the train station in the Wharf. In 1890, brakes failed on a runaway train, which flew off the tracks destroying part of the train station, killing a promising young singer, and injuring many more. The rebuilt version of the station was destroyed by fire (as was a large portion of the historic district). Have any ghosts survived this gruesome history?

The Blackburn Inn, now a boutique hotel, was once the main administration building for Western State Hospital. Built in the 1820s, it specialized in the “moral treatment” and emotional wellbeing of psychiatric patients. Later, the structure was a medium-security prison before being renovated into luxury accommodations. Plan a weekend stay or enjoy drinks or dinner at the Second Draft Bistro and imagine history coming to life.

Cemetery enthusiasts will also enjoy the quiet burial ground surrounding downtown’s Trinity Episcopal Church. This was Staunton’s original graveyard, used until Thornrose Cemetery opened to provide more space. The lovely church contains a number of Tiffany windows, and the historic graves and monuments provide interesting viewing. 

 

 

Is the most haunted space in Staunton across the street from Lowes? Look to your right as you drive down the driveway to the  Frontier Culture Museum. Looming high above brush and overgrown grounds, the decaying former DeJarnette Sanitarium certainly looks like it could be haunted. Built in 1932, the building has a troubling past and is currently unsafe for visitors. Snap some photos from the road and continue on to the museum where you can take a tour and learn about the Halloween traditions of early Valley settlers.

Former DeJarnette Sanitarium