#LOVEstaunton

#LOVEstaunton

Date Night Desserts and Where to Get Them

Win your date’s heart over with a romantic dinner followed by one of Staunton’s sweetest treats. Make your special someone swoon with the help of a delicious dessert from this list. The Split Banana Why not relive your first date with a movie at the Visulite followed by a short stroll to The Split Banana for … Continue reading Date Night Desserts and Where to Get Them

Win your date’s heart over with a romantic dinner followed by one of Staunton’s sweetest treats. Make your special someone swoon with the help of a delicious dessert from this list.

The Split Banana

Why not relive your first date with a movie at the Visulite followed by a short stroll to The Split Banana for gelato? With 18 flavors ranging from classic to unusual tastes like mojito and almond fig, you’ll find something to make your tastebuds sing. Share a banana split and imagine your futures 5, 10, 15 years from now. Don’t lie – those futures will feature gelato!

Paris Cake Company

When you want a treat that’s as beautiful as it is tasty, don’t hesitate to wow your honey with one of the rich and decadent desserts at Paris Cake Company. Gorgeous cupcakes shaped like a bouquet of flowers? Check. Individual coconut cream pies? Chocolate chip cookie cheesecake? Check and check. Bonus: You can indulge in these treats after an equally delicious dinner at Table 44.

Réunion Bakery & Espresso


Don’t wait until Valentine’s Day night to steal your sweetie’s heart. Meet for coffee and pastries at Réunion, a Staunton sweet spot which recently received a nod from Vogue! Enjoy espresso, buttery croissants, and a morning of gazing into each other’s eyes across a cafe. Staunton will be replacing Paris as the City of Love!

Giancarlo Fine European Pastries

Speaking of European pastry, don’t forget to select something from Giancarlo Fine European Pastries. If you’re cooking at home and you want to end your meal on a note that will make your love’s toes curl, try the tiramisu. Giancarlo also offers cakes, tarts, and pastries, and beautiful chocolates “crafted with a premium Cordillera Colombian 65 % cacao – bittersweet and a 36% dark milk, single bean chocolate.”

Firkin Pie Company

It’s always time for pie! Firkin Pie Company bakes beautiful, flavorful pies in both the sweet and savory variety. The menu varies, but expect seasonal flavors like cranberry chess and chocolate silk. Even Cupid couldn’t keep his hands off this fine, fine pie!

Cocoa Mill Chocolates

It will be love at first bite when you present your special someone with a box of handmade, gourmet chocolate from Cocoa Mill Chocolates. The Valentine’s Day assortment even comes in an attractive and edible box.

Looking to spend an entire weekend with your special someone? Check out 48 Hours of Romance in Staunton for a sample itinerary.

Get Happy in Staunton: 10 Happy Hour Spots

You’ve had a full day experiencing the history and culture of Staunton and now it’s time to unwind before gearing up again for a dinner and a show. Whether you’re looking for cocktails, wine, or beer, here are some of the best happy hour spots to grab a drink and some snacks with friends. Clocktower … Continue reading Get Happy in Staunton: 10 Happy Hour Spots

You’ve had a full day experiencing the history and culture of Staunton and now it’s time to unwind before gearing up again for a dinner and a show. Whether you’re looking for cocktails, wine, or beer, here are some of the best happy hour spots to grab a drink and some snacks with friends.

Clocktower Food and Spirits

Clocktower Food and Spirits is a cozy place to get a cocktail and an appetizer or settle in for a full meal. The building, built in 1890, was originally Virginia’s second YMCA. It still retains historic features like the clock. Filling and delicious appetizers include Philly steak potato skins, Irish nachos, and chicken wings. Happy hour specials on beer and wine Monday-Thursday, 4-7 p.m.

Second Draft Bistro

Second Draft Bistro is located in The Blackburn Inn. Enjoy daily happy hour from 5-7 p.m. Accompany your drinks with food from the seasonal menu, which includes appetizers and small plates, main courses, and desserts. If the weather is accommodating, you can sit on the front porch and view the historic grounds.

Sorrel’s Lounge

Sorrel’s Lounge at the historic Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center is an elegant stop in close proximity to the American Shakespeare Center. Enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine. Happy hour specials served weekdays from 5-7 p.m.

Zynodoa

If you’re seeking a spot that has the feel of the big city, look no further than the bar at Zynodoa. Choose a unique cocktail that incorporates locally sourced ingredients like herbs, honey, or vinegar. You might also select beer or wine from the extensive wine list. Finish your evening with a dinner featuring “inspired Southern cuisine” or head to a show at the American Shakespeare Center, which is only steps away.

Yelping Dog Wine

Yelping Dog Wine features both local wines and wines from over 200 vineyards around the world. Enjoy an ever-changing wine-by-the-glass menu or indulge in a bottle to share from the extensive selection. The atmosphere at Yelping Dog is quiet and relaxed, perfect for chatting with a friend or larger group. Hungry? Try one of the cheese plates or gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.

The Depot Grille

The Depot Grille celebrates Staunton’s history with its location in the historic train depot. The entrance is flanked with cabooses and the 40-foot bar, which was “originally a fixture in the luxury Ten Eyck Hotel, located in Albany, New York.” Order wine, beer, a classic cocktail, or something fun like a mochatini, which includes espresso vodka, Godiva liqueur, and cream. Appetizers include classics like wings and skins, but also ahi tuna sashimi, fried calamari, and steamed spiced shrimp.

Byers Street Bistro

You can’t go wrong starting your evening at Byers Street Bistro in Staunton’s historic Wharf District. Enjoy beer, wine, or a classic cocktail in this cozy and casual setting. Plan to share some crispy potstickers or drunken chicken nachos with your drinks and follow up with dinner. When the weather’s warm, you can enjoy happy hour on the brick patio.

Bedlam Brewing

You’ll stop in at Bedlam Brewing for a pint before dinner and you’ll end up staying for dinner. Try a pizza, some sliders, the fish and chips, or something from the specials menu. Check the events calendar for fun stuff like live music, Bingo and comedy nights. The Monday happy hour from 4-7 p.m. includes $9 pizza and “app and tap” specials.

Bricks Restaurant and Pub

If you’re looking for a cool and welcoming place to get a drink and play pool in downtown Staunton, make Bricks your next stop. Not only can you get beer, wine, or cider, but you can follow it with a pizza. Still hungry? Donuts are on the menu for dessert. Check the events page for the regular heavy metal nights. Daily happy hour from 5-8 p.m.

Baja bean co.

This local cantina has a stellar beer list—that is always changing. Beer aficionados will love their  “tap takeover,” events where they pour multiple craft brews from the same brewery. Next up, is Augusta County’s newest brewery, Skipping Rock Beer Co. on April 9th.

Be sure not to fill up on chips and salsa, the Southern-California inspired menu takes a creative approach to Mexican favorites with daily specials and of course margaritas! 

Spring Break (And Summer) Survival

Spring break is here and that means it’s time to kick the cabin fever and get outside with the kids. Now that the weather is warmer, Staunton is bursting with stuff to do. Visit for a day or spend a weekend. Here’s your guide. the Train Obsessed Does your family love trains? Visit the historic … Continue reading Spring Break (And Summer) Survival

Spring break is here and that means it’s time to kick the cabin fever and get outside with the kids. Now that the weather is warmer, Staunton is bursting with stuff to do. Visit for a day or spend a weekend. Here’s your guide.

the Train Obsessed

Does your family love trains? Visit the historic train station and Sears Hill Bridge. You’ll see the tracks – and Staunton – from above. On the other side of town, the Gypsy Express Mini-Train runs on the weekends from May to October in Gypsy Hill Park. For an awesome display of model train layouts and railroad art, head to the Augusta County Railroad Museum in the Staunton Mall. And if your obsession leans toward fire trucks, you’ll like the Staunton Fire Station, where you can see JUMBO, the oldest motorized fire engine in Virginia and the only remaining 1911 Robinson fire engine.

History Buffs

Pack a picnic and rent a wagon for a day of exploration at the Frontier Culture Museum. You’ll learn about the Valley’s earliest settlers as you make your way from the Old World to the New. Costumed interpreters and farm animals bring the farmsteads to life. Older children might enjoy learning about the life and legacy of our 28th President at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Museum.

Hikers and Bikers

Montgomery Hall Park is one of Staunton’s best kept secrets with its rolling hills and quiet woodlands. The park includes 148 acres of nature hiking and mountain biking trails. Younger children just getting used to their wheels might prefer the mostly flat, 1.3-mile paved loop at Gypsy Hill Park. Staunton is only a stone’s throw from Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest which are filled with hikes and other outdoor recreation.

Theater Lovers

Don’t miss a chance to enter the Bard’s world at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse. See a play and be sure to schedule a tour so you can go behind, under, and even on stage! If you’re looking for films, visit the Visulite where Mom and Dad can sip a glass of wine or beer during the show. And for a real bargain, check out Legacy Theaters, where all tickets are only $3.

Playground Aficionados

Located in Montgomery Hall Park, Nature Ridge is designed for imaginative play. It features a tunnel, mud kitchen, elevated walkways, pirate ship, chimes, and sand pits.. Montgomery Hall park also has a traditional playground and a public pool for warmer weather. Gypsy Hill Park offers a large playground with structures designed for children ranging from 2-12. It also offers a tot lot for the youngest crowd.

Shop ‘Til You Drop

Pop in to play at Pufferbellies, the largest independently owned toy store in the Shenandoah Valley, and enjoy the carefully curated selection of toys, games, and books. Gaming fans will find all kinds of gaming and hobby supplies including dice, living card games, and hobby rocket kits at the Dragon’s Hoard. Video game enthusiasts can purchase games and consoles at Game Stop. And for beautiful dollhouses and the detailed miniatures to furnish them, try Ware House Miniatures.

Treasure Hunters

If you have an hour and a team of sleuths on your hands, take them to Crack the Code escape room and work together to solve puzzles and escape. Themes include The Dark Mage’s Rise, Haunted Mansion, and Steampunk City. Ages 10+. If you want to get more mileage under your belt, explore different parts of Staunton on foot using the free app, Traipse! Traipse provides an adventure that is half historic tour and half scavenger hunt. You can even build your own tour based on your interests, time and even level of difficulty.

Artists and Crafters

For a cool and unusual experience, check out the live glassblowing at Sunspots Studios. Artists blow bubbles from lumps of molten glass and turn it into ornaments, vases, and other beautiful pieces. Sunspots offers a chance to try your own hand at this (with the help of a trained artist) when you try “Blowing Your Own Ornament.” Enjoy the art gallery experience and support local artists at the Co-Art Gallery and the Artisans Loft. Visit the R.R. Smith Center for art and history. And if your kids like to build models, take them to Staunton Trains and Hobbies for model kits and supplies.

Trolley Riders

Want to relax as someone else drives you around Staunton stopping at all the important attractions? Ride the green trolley for 25 cents per rider, per trip. The Green route runs every 30 minutes from the Visitors Center located at 35 S. New Street. Check out the Victorian architecture from your seat, or hop off to view the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum and Gypsy Hill Park where the kids can feed the ducks.

Hungry Bellies

Order by the slice or by the entire pie from Shenandoah Pizza & Taphouse. Locally named, gourmet pizzas, feature a variety of ingredients including dill pickles for those who want to stretch their comfort zones. The Depot Grille is a good place to go for a kid-friendly experience with a big menu, and if you’re looking for old-fashioned burgers (and ice cream to follow) head to Wright’s Dairy Rite. Speaking of ice cream, other Staunton hot spots include Kline’s for custard-style ice cream and the The Split Banana for homemade gelato.

Festival Folk

Spring break over? Visit Staunton for festivals during the warmer months, including Earth Day, Art in the Park, and Virginia Hot Glass Festival. For other special events and weekly happenings check out Staunton On Tap, our schedule of events with all the latest happenings.

6 Steps to a Perfect Staunton Wedding

You’ve dreamed about your special someone and the day you’ll say “I do,” but now that the time has come to plan the big day you’re not so sure where to start. For overwhelmed brides and grooms (and parents of brides and grooms), we’ve come up with these six simple steps for staging your beautiful … Continue reading 6 Steps to a Perfect Staunton Wedding

You’ve dreamed about your special someone and the day you’ll say “I do,” but now that the time has come to plan the big day you’re not so sure where to start. For overwhelmed brides and grooms (and parents of brides and grooms), we’ve come up with these six simple steps for staging your beautiful Staunton wedding. So whether it’s a grand affair or a backyard BBQ, we’ve got the inside info on everything from the food to the favors. Let us help you plan it right! See our six steps for planning the perfect destination wedding in Staunton. 

Time of Year

You simply can’t pick a bad time to have a Staunton wedding, but each season has its advantages. In winter, you have chilly, but generally mild weather, and uninhibited views of the Blue Ridge mountains in the distance. Spring brings Staunton to life with amazing floral displays, and our parks and private gems like the gardens at Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room will really dress up for your photos. You can’t beat the long, warm days of summer, especially if you’re reserving an outdoor venue, and autumn brings a special magic to town with its crisp colors and pastoral harvest scenery.

The Venue

Whether you want a formal wedding and reception, a casual affair, or a rustic adventure in a barn, Staunton has your perfect reception venue. The ballroom at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center is the epitome of formal elegance. Romantic Gaie Lea boasts an exquisite background for your vows and your photos. It also sleeps 15, so it’s perfect for the wedding party to share an extended weekend. Another option for an estate-style wedding is the Inn at WestShire Farms. For those looking for a rustic wedding, check out the Round Barn at the Frontier Culture Museum. For those who want to have their wedding at a winery or brewery with a view, consider Barren Ridge Vineyards or Stable Craft Brewing. They both offer indoor and outdoor event spaces, incredible views, and access to delicious libations. Coming this spring, Staunton Station, located at the train station, offers the perfect mix of historic charm and downtown amenities. For more ideas, see 12 Distinctive Staunton Wedding Venues.

The Drinks

If you’re planning to mix up a signature cocktail for your big day, check out a site like Brides.com for ideas. Be sure to pair it with some of Virginia’s best local wine from Ox Eye Vineyards. Don’t forget to include local craft beer in your reception offerings. Check out Redbeard Brewing Company, Bedlam Brewery, and Shenandoah Valley Brewing for some delicious craft beer. Shenandoah Hops can offer a wide selection of premium beers. 

The Food

Staunton offers a wealth of options for wedding fare. Try trendy and casual from Peck’s BBQ or even hire a food truck or two. Venues like the American Hotel have highly rated onsite caterers.  Independent caterers like Mike Lund Food and Eric Stamer Catering will work with you to provide a gourmet and farm-fresh menu. Don’t forget the cake! Work with the Paris Cake Company to design the wedding cake of your dreams.

The Favors


Gone are the days when tacky mints wrapped in gauze served as wedding favors. You can take your pick of elegant reminders of your special day. Treat your guests to customized chocolates from the Cocoa Mill or cookies from Sweet Nana Cakes. Go local with Virginia peanuts or pancake mix from Virginia Made. Give your guests or wedding party candles from Redwood and Co. If they enjoy the “finer things in life,” give them cigars or flasks from Beverley Cigar Store.

The Stay


After the ceremony and the party are over, you and your partner will want to escape to your own private retreat. Staunton’s lodging choices range from luxury hotels like the Blackburn Inn to a stellar lineup of bed and breakfasts including Frederick House. The newest members of Staunton’s hotel scene are a Tru by Hilton and a Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott; both opened in the fall. Check out all the options

Now that you’re armed with some concrete ideas about your happily ever after, get out there and start planning.  Before long, you’ll be enjoying the wedding of your dreams! And don’t forget, we’re here to help

Explore Staunton on Foot: Beverley Historic District

Downtown Staunton contains many examples of Virginia’s finest Victorian architecture. Some of the most notable can be seen in the Beverley Historic District, which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. Most of the buildings in this area date from the 1870s to the 1920s. This historic district is small, and … Continue reading Explore Staunton on Foot: Beverley Historic District

Downtown Staunton contains many examples of Virginia’s finest Victorian architecture. Some of the most notable can be seen in the Beverley Historic District, which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. Most of the buildings in this area date from the 1870s to the 1920s. This historic district is small, and therefore perfect for exploring on foot.

Where to Park

Park in the New Street Parking Garage or in the Hardy lot on Market Street. You can also park along Beverley Street where there is a two hour time limit.

Market Street

Hotel 24 South, located at 24 S. Market St., was built in 1924 in the Colonial Revival style and is recognized by the National Trust Historic Hotels of America. Designed by H.L. Stevens & Co. of New York, it lends some of that city’s height to Staunton and rings in as Staunton’s tallest building. The red, neon sign and original details like marble floors, chandeliers, and only known working Wurlitzer organ on the mezzanine were retained when the hotel underwent at $21.5 million dollar renovation and expansion in 2005. Peek inside the lobby and imagine the society women who used to gather around the fireplace in what is now the cocktail lounge.

Though not an example of historic architecture, the American Shakespeare Center at 10 S Market St. is an important Staunton landmark. Built to resemble Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Theatre, a 14th-century monastery converted to Tudor theater, it produces Shakespeare’s plays as well as contemporary works.

Cross Beverley Street and continue past the parking lot to see The Temple House of Israel at 15 N Market St. The one-story stucco Moorish Revival building was built in 1925 to house a growing congregation.

East Beverley Street

Backtrack and head west on Beverley to see an example of a 1912 Renaissance Revival building at 125 E. Beverley St., originally the New Theatre, a lively venue for performances and silent films until a fire destroyed the interior in 1936. Note also on this block at 113 E. Beverley St. (1870), now Staunton’s General District Court, the site where the City Manager form of government originated in 1908.

East Beverley Street (Continued)

Continue your tour by crossing New Street.

This block contains examples of the Venetian Revival style at 19-21 E. Beverley (1911) and the Colonial Revival style at 7&9-15 E. Beverley St. (1899-1906). For an example of the Romanesque Revival style, look no further than the Marquis Building at 2-4 E. Beverly Street. Architect T.J. Collins not only designed the structure, notable for its corner entrance and stone columns, but housed his offices there as well. The Beverley Cigar Store can be found there now.

The Camera Heritage Museum offers its own perspective on history and is worth a quick tour. Staunton Antiques Center deals in furniture, collectibles, and local, contemporary art, and Warehouse Collectibles and Antiques offers “two huge floors of anything old.” And if you’re feeling parched from all this history, The Split Banana will refresh you with 18 flavors gelato and sorbet with names like Almond Fig and Highland County Maple.

West Beverley Street

Cross Augusta Street and enter one of Staunton’s most architecturally notable blocks.

For a glimpse of the Beaux-Arts style, see the National Valley Bank at 12 – 14 W. Beverley St. (1903). Large oval stained glass skylight inside complement the ornate limestone exterior. The Gooch & Hoge Building at 15 – 23 W. Beverley St. (1880) is an example of the Italianate style and includes many fine details like lion’s heads.

Two of Staunton’s most recognizable buildings also grace this block. The Masonic Temple at 7 – 13 W. Beverley St. (1896) is a perfect example of one of Staunton’s oldest buildings retaining its history as well as living a new live through its businesses. One of Staunton’s tallest buildings, it features a gable roof and mixes classical and medieval elements and is home to Baja Bean Co., The Split Banana, and H. L. Lang & Co. Jewelers.

In 1916, T.J. Collins remodeled The Clocktower 27 – 29 W. Beverley St (1890). The first floor now houses the Clocktower Eats and Sweets and Tempest Bar and Lounge (a music and event space), and The Clock Tower Convenience Store, but it was originally the YMCA, notable for being only the second in Virginia. It contained a bowling alley, track, and gym. Many of the original components of the clock are still working today!

Cross Central Avenue to see another example of the Romanesque Revival style at 103 W. Beverley St. (1894), originally the showroom of the Putnam Organ Works.

Augusta and New Streets

Head back toward Central Ave. and turn south. Your child side will enjoy the elevated sidewalk, mural of the painting workman, and glimpse of Lewis Creek before it dips back underground. Turn left on Johnson St. and proceed one block to Augusta Street.

The Augusta County Courthouse at 1 E Johnson St. (1901) was built by T.J. Collins in the Beaux Arts style, and is actually the fifth courthouse on this site, dating back to a 1755 log structure. The smaller structures flanking the courthouse along Barristers Row (pre-1870) have always housed law offices, but used to have a more eclectic demographic, consisting of restaurants, bars, cobblers, and barbers.

End your tour by turning back onto New Street, making sure to note 20 – 22 S. New St. (1894), home to the R. R. Smith Center for History & Art. The Staunton Augusta Art Center, the Augusta County Historical Society, and Historic Staunton Foundation all operate in the recently restored, French Second Empire-style, T.J. Collins-designed Eakleton Hotel. Notable features of the building are the mansard roof, iron balconies, and decorative brickwork.

One of Staunton’s oldest commercial buildings can be found at 3 – 7 S. New St. (1830). Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery is housed in one of Staunton’s oldest commercial buildings. In the past, the structure has been a laundry facility, taxi garage, print shop, and tailor’s studio. The brick was a modern addition during the Victorian Era, but you can still see the original stone on the side walls. Wrap up your tour with something delicious to eat!

There are many more sites of historic significance noted on the Historic Staunton Foundation walking tour map. Pick up a walking tour map from the kiosk outside the Visitor Center located at 35 S. New Street and visit some of the other historic districts in downtown Staunton. You can also view and download the walking tour map here. 

Here’s Why You Need That Winter Getaway to Staunton

Looking for a way to shake the post-holiday blahs? Let Staunton serve up a sure cure for you. Start planning a winter getaway for your family, your couple, or your friends today! Frozen Wonderland With Staunton as your starting point, you’ll find a plethora of spectacular winter views. Go east for drives or hikes along … Continue reading Here’s Why You Need That Winter Getaway to Staunton

Looking for a way to shake the post-holiday blahs? Let Staunton serve up a sure cure for you. Start planning a winter getaway for your family, your couple, or your friends today!

Frozen Wonderland

With Staunton as your starting point, you’ll find a plethora of spectacular winter views. Go east for drives or hikes along the Blue Ridge on the Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway. Venture west to explore the Alleghenies and Bath County. Stick close to Staunton for some of the best winter pastoral views.

Foodie Paradise

Close your eyes when you enter one of Staunton’s fine dining establishments and you’ll think you’re in a much larger city. Indulge your taste buds with fine dining at The Shack or Table 44, global fare at Chicano Boy Taco or Taste of India, traditional and delicious meals at The Depot Grille or the Mill Street Grill, or the retro dining experience at Wright’s Dairy Rite.

Antiquer’s Delight

If hunting for treasures is your game, you’ve got to check out Staunton’s vintage offerings. From funky finds to recycled riches, spend the day perusing Staunton’s eight antique shops and markets.  A short drive to Verona will get you to the Factory Antique Mall, one of the largest in the country. Read all about our antique offerings

Instagramer’s Dream Scene

There are many reasons that Staunton keeps popping up on the best small towns lists and one of them is its beauty. From its rolling hills and quaint Victorian architecture, to parks, gardens like the one at the Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room, to industrial elements like the red neon Stonewall Jackson Hotel sign, the train station, and  Sears Hill Footbridge over the tracks, you’ll find no end to cool backgrounds for your selfies. While you’re here seek out Staunton’s five photogenic hot spots. 

Hub for History Buffs

Staunton provides a healthy dose of history. As one of the oldest cities west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Staunton’s history spans three centuries. A wide selection of historic attractions, archival collections, old buildings, museums, and Civil Warsites are located in and around Staunton. Highlights include the Frontier Culture Museum, an outdoor living history museum providing snapshots of life on the frontier from the 1600s through the mid-1800s in this area. Jumping ahead to the 20th century, take a closer look at our 28th president at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Museum as you take a self-guided tour through seven galleries that explore Wilson’s life and legacy. Highlights include the President’s restored 1919 Pierce-Arrow limousine as well as a new, state-of–the-art World War I trench exhibit complete with lights and sound to experience what life was like for soldiers as they engaged in battle. 

 You can also tour historic districts downtown and learn about Staunton’s place in Civil War history as you explore Thornrose Cemetery.

attractions galore

Shakespeare is serious fun at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of
Shakespeare’s indoor theater. Take a backstage tour where you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look as you go on, behind and
under the stage. Photography— including selfies–are encouraged!  Tours are (usually) available Monday-Friday at 2 pm and Saturday at 11 am.

The Actors’ Renaissance Season kicks off on January 11. With no director, little costume assistance, and very little rehearsal time—similar to the way historians believe Shakespeare’s company operated—ASC actors take the stage in four different productions: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry IV, Part I, Anne Page Hates Fun, and Arden of Faversham. 

Other “winter friendly” attractions include: the Camera Heritage Museum, R.R. Smith Center for History and Art, and Sunspots Studios.

Wildlife Hot spots


Situated between Shenandoah National Park and the Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Staunton is a great place to view winter wildlife. See our list of wildlife hot spots for when the chilly weather keeps you close to your hotel. If you feel like venturing beyond Staunton, check out Winter Wildlife Hot Spots Part 2: Farther Afield.

Staunton’s Coziest Corners

Brrrrr. Winter is making its presence known! If you can’t resist the urge to curl up after a long day in the snow, come to one of these cozy spots for drinks, dinner, or to hang with your friends. Enjoy toasty drinks, comfortable furniture and most importantly, some crackling fireplaces. Make the most out of … Continue reading Staunton’s Coziest Corners

Brrrrr. Winter is making its presence known! If you can’t resist the urge to curl up after a long day in the snow, come to one of these cozy spots for drinks, dinner, or to hang with your friends. Enjoy toasty drinks, comfortable furniture and most importantly, some crackling fireplaces. Make the most out of the winter weather!

Fireplaces

Stonewall Jackson Hotel / 24 South Market Street

One of our favorite winter pleasures is basking in a fire’s warm glow while enjoying a seasonal beverage and comfort food. Sorrel’s Lounge offers casual drinks, dining and a flickering fireplace just off the lobby of the beautifully decorated Stonewall Jackson Hotel. Weeknight happy hours from 5-7.

Table 44 / 300 Church Street, B

There’s a woodstove in the lobby of Table 44, which makes it especially welcoming during the colder months. You can huddle close as you’re waiting for lunch and selecting treats for later from the display cases of Paris Cake Company deliciousness.

The Store / 221 North Lewis Street

Toast your toes by the fireplace in The Store as you sip your coffee and wait for your farm-to-table breakfast. This store and restaurant connects local farms to the community, so you know your food will be fresh! Enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and local beer, wine, and cider. Pick up some baked or canned goods to savor at home.

Stable Craft Brewing / 375 MADRID ROAD, Waynesboro

At Stable Craft Brewing, you have a choice of basking in the glow of the taproom fireplace or renting an igloo and partying like they do up north with your nearest and dearest. This brewery hosts regular seasonal activities, offers an excellent taplist, and serves a full menu.

Seven Arrows Brewing / 2508 Jefferson HWY 1, Waynesboro

It’s cold outside, so lounge in front of the fireplace and enjoy a varied menu of craft beer at Seven Arrows Brewing. Hungry? Order something delicious from onsite Nobos Kitchen, specializing in appetizers, burgers, and favorites like the meatloaf mac and cheese and the Cuban sandwich.

Barren Ridge Vineyard / 984 Barren Ridge Rd, Fishersville

People head to Barren Ridge Vineyards for the terrific wine and incredible views from the patio, but in winter, the huge stone fireplace warms up the tasting room and provides a lovely backdrop. Bring snacks and enjoy wines by the tasting, glass, or bottle.

Other Cozy Spots

Beverley St. Cigar / 2 E Beverley St.

If you enjoy a fine cigar and good company, grab a big chair in the Beverly St. Cigar smoking lounge. Enjoy free wi-fi, watch the game or the bustle of downtown through the huge windows, and pick up some last-minute gifts like flasks, pipes, hats, and cigars.

Pompei Lounge / 23 E Beverley St.

The Pompei Lounge has a variety of comfortable places to sit. Plant yourself at the bar or in a couch in the intimate seating areas around the multi-level cocktail den. Enjoy your favorite beverage as well as Italian food from the Emilio’s menu. Check the schedule for live music or game nights.

Mill Street Grill /1 Mill Street

There’s no fireplace here, but the Mill Street Grill has been serving up coziness and delicious food since it opened in 1992. Grab a booth or a seat at the bar and warm your belly with some comfort food.

By & By / 140 E. Beverley St

If you’re looking to warm up while shopping and exploring downtown Staunton, stop into centrally-located By & By. Cuddle on the couch and watch the city life outside the window while enjoying coffee, desserts, grilled sandwiches, and craft beer and wine.

Réunion Bakery & Espresso / 26 S. New St.

Settle into a comfy chair and celebrate the shorter days of winter with a hot cup of coffee or espresso and a French pastry from Réunion Bakery & Espresso. You won’t be able to resist buying some croissants or bread to take home with you!

Finding Your Next Best Read: Staunton’s Bookstore Scene

If your favorite way to spend the day involves curling up with a new book or sharing that experience by buying a book for a loved one, stock up at one of Staunton’s bookstores. You’ll find Shakespeare, Harry Potter, historical and legal texts, works by Staunton’s amazing local authors and everything in between. Though the … Continue reading Finding Your Next Best Read: Staunton’s Bookstore Scene

If your favorite way to spend the day involves curling up with a new book or sharing that experience by buying a book for a loved one, stock up at one of Staunton’s bookstores. You’ll find Shakespeare, Harry Potter, historical and legal texts, works by Staunton’s amazing local authors and everything in between. Though the ease of ordering books from home has hurt many brick and mortar bookstores, Staunton’s book culture is thriving. Make time  to explore Staunton’s bookstores and get to know the bibliophiles who run them!

The Book Dragon / 102 W. Beverley St.

Staunton’s newest independent bookstore has everything from kids books to history books for all ages, and related gifts that are perfect for the book lover in your life. The Book Dragon supports local authors with events and  local artisans by carrying their works of art. Find all the latest books and new releases in downtown Staunton at the Book Dragon.

Barrister Books / 1 Lawyers Row

Barrister Books has been Staunton’s source for old, used, and rare books. Located in a scenic part of downtown near the historic Augusta County Courthouse and the R.R. Smith Center for History and Art, stop in and browse the incredibly organized shelves for your next great read. If you’re lucky, the shop will be featuring an exhibit of work by book or paper artists.

Pufferbellies Toys and Books / 15 West Johnson Street

Kids and adults alike will find things to fascinate them in Pufferbellies Toys and Books. Don’t get distracted playing in this magical space before you make you way to the book section, though. Mother/daughter team Susan and Erin Blanton use their experience as a children’s librarian and editor to stock a spectacular assortment of  books for children of all ages. You’ll find board books and chapter books, classics, current popular favorites, and delightful new discoveries.

The Avocado Pit Bookstore / 2621 West Beverley St.

If your tastes lean towards genealogy, military, art, collectibles, technical, or business and stock market, you’ll find plenty of reading material at  The Avocado Pit Bookstore. The store also carries general stock, children’s books, and cookbooks. If somehow you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can make a request or visit TAP’s booth in the Factory Antique Mall in Verona. The Verona site specializes in comics, graphic novels, ghost hunting, and paranormal.

Scenic Drives to Staunton

Situated at the intersection of interstates 81 and 64, Staunton always offers easy access. However, autumn days are perfect for more scenic drives, full of fall colors and vibrant culture. If you’re looking to take in all the Valley has to offer, check out one of these more leisurely alternatives. If You’re Coming from the … Continue reading Scenic Drives to Staunton

Situated at the intersection of interstates 81 and 64, Staunton always offers easy access. However, autumn days are perfect for more scenic drives, full of fall colors and vibrant culture. If you’re looking to take in all the Valley has to offer, check out one of these more leisurely alternatives.

If You’re Coming from the North, Try These Alternatives to I-81

Skyline Drive (Fees apply)

Travelers visiting from Northern Virginia and all points north can travel through the Valley looking up at the Blue Ridge Mountains or along the ridge itself. Enjoy a leisurely ride (the maximum speed limit is 35 m.p.h.) along the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park for some of the most stunning views on the East Coast. Feeling hungry? The Skyline Drive offers wayside food stops every 25 miles. Access Skyline Drive from Front Royal, Thornton Gap,  or Swift Run Gap. Exit at Rockfish Gap. to descend into Staunton. Pick up Route 250 to wind your way through Waynesboro and Fishersville before reaching the Queen City.

Points of Interest Along the Way:

Route 11

If you want a route that allows you to admire the mountains from below and explore the unique history and culture of the Shenandoah Valley, try  Route 11, originally part of a colonial trail that parallels 1-81. This road stretches from New York to Louisiana! In the section north of Staunton, you’ll explore Strasburg, Mt. Jackson, New Market, and Harrisonburg.

Points of Interest Include:

If You’re Coming from the West

Rt. 250/Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike

From the wild and wonderful state of West Virginia, head east to Staunton, taking in the beautiful views of the Monongahela National Forest as you ride along the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike. When you enter Virginia, you’re treated to sweet switchbacks and turns. Perhaps a motorcycle is the most thrilling mode of transportation for this fun scenic drive.

Points of Interest Along the Way:

Route 220

Driving through the beautiful mountains of western Virginia via Route 220 satisfies the soul on many levels, but when such a drive includes beautiful points of interest, well, you may want to take it again and again and again.

Points of Interest Along the Way:

  • Falling Springs waterfall is an 80′ cascade that can be seen from the road.
  • Southern gem, The Omni Homestead Resort, is a beautiful photo op you can’t pass up.

If You’re Coming from the East, Try This Alternative to I-64

Route 250/Richmond Road

While I-64 is the straightest route to Staunton from Richmond and points beyond, it travels through mainly forested land that borders the highway and limits the sightlines. Route 250 is a more leisurely route that will take you through the town centers of Charlottesville, Ivy, Crozet, and Waynesboro, but will also give you access to more unique scenery. 

Points of Interest Along the Way:

  • Hike or ride your bike along the Saunders-Monticello Trail, which winds through Kemper Park and connects Monticello with the local community south of Charlottesville. The arboretum of native trees and shrubs is a prime spot for leaf-peeping.
  • Tour family-owned King Family Vineyards in Crozet for some show-stopping wine and views of the mountains.
  • Chiles Peach Orchard has apples and pumpkins to buy or pick in the autumn. You can also visit the tasting room to sample Bold Rock Cider or Prince Michel wines, both made with fruit grown on the orchard.
  • Visitors are welcome at the Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch on Afton Mountain, where, in the fall, several hundred migrating raptors can be seen every day.

If You’re Coming from the South, Try These Alternatives to I-81

Route 11

The stretch of Route 11 that meanders through the Valley south of Staunton is full of natural beauty and opportunities to explore several picturesque small towns. You’ll drive through Roanoke, Natural Bridge, and Lexington. The Blue Ridge will parallel you on the right and the Allegheny Mountains can be viewed on the left.

Points of Interest Along the Way:

  • Hike Bottom Creek Gorge in Shawsville. This 3.7-mile hike features a number of small waterfalls as well as an old cemetery and the remnants of historic buildings.
  • For some leg stretching and a fantastic view of downtown Roanoke, climb to the Mill Mountain Star, which is “the largest free-standing, man-made, illuminated star in the world”!
  • Natural Bridge was formed by a collapsing cavern and owned by Thomas Jefferson. It’s now a state park with trails, caverns and a wax museum nearby.
  • Admire the views and the Virginia brew at Great Valley Farm Brewery.
  • Tour the campuses and museums at Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute, both historic landmarks located in Lexington.

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkways winds through North Carolina and Virginia. Download the Blue Ridge Pkwy Travel Planner app for lots of offline information about overlooks and trailheads. At the Parkway’s northern terminus, pick up Route 250 to head west toward Staunton.

Points of Interest Along the Way:

  • Roanoke County’s Explore Park offers camping, hiking, river frontage, disc golf, and horseback riding. You’ll also find a Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor’s Center
  • Visit the tasting room at family-friendly Peaks of Otter Winery for some wine and gifts. The kids will enjoy exploring the farm and meeting the animals.
  • Crabtree Falls is on Route 56 in Tyro, just below the parkway. You can climb along the falls all the way to the top, or simply follow the paved trail to the lower falls if you don’t have time to hike farther up.
  • Humpback Rocks is a short, steep hike to a rock outcropping that offers amazing views of the Blue Ridge Valley. An interpretive farm at the trailhead offers area history.

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.