Journey to a place where the sites are endless. Staunton extends many exciting activities for families, couples, and even the single person. Pick among our museums, art galleries, and outdoor interests to fill your day. Your trip wouldn’t be complete without seeing some of the wonderful attractions we have to offer. We also offer tours to help you find your way.
Experience a wide array of dishes while dining in Staunton. Choose from traditional fare to more exotic meals all within walking distance. Whether you’re in the mood for something classic or crave something a bit more contemporary, your culinary palate will sure to be appeased.
Sleeping never got more comfortable. With numerous charming bed and breakfasts and gracious hotels, your stay in Staunton is sure to be delightful. Select from our many award-winning properties for an amazing night’s rest and a nice, hot breakfast in the morning.
Visitors to Staunton will find an impressive array of attractions – whether you want to stroll through the city’s beautiful downtown, delve into history at historic sites and museums, take in award-winning theater and music, or simply set out for outdoor adventure in the Shenandoah Valley and nearby mountains.
Reason #6 The Shack Makeover After a brief hiatus, award-winning chef Ian Boden is back in the kitchen and is excited to show off the recent renovation of the 26-seat restaurant he calls “The Shack.” Check out a sneak peek of the newly made over restaurant and don’t forget to make your reservations when booking … Continue reading REASON #6: NOT TO MISS STAUNTON IN ’17
Reason #6 The Shack Makeover
After a brief hiatus, award-winning chef Ian Boden is back in the kitchen and is excited to show off the recent renovation of the 26-seat restaurant he calls “The Shack.” Check out a sneak peek of the newly made over restaurant and don’t forget to make your reservations when booking your next trip to Staunton. You don’t want to miss “The South’s Best New Restaurants,” as voted by Southern Living. Make your reservations here!
There are many reasons why you can’t miss Staunton in 2017—17 reasons, in fact! Whether you’re a lover of craft beer, Harry Potter, music or the great outdoors we have something for everyone. Check back daily as we reveal the 17 must-see-do-eat-drink things in Staunton this year. Sign-up for our newsletter to get up-to-date information on events, … Continue reading 17 Reasons NOT to Miss Staunton in ’17
There are many reasons why you can’t miss Staunton in 2017—17 reasons, in fact! Whether you’re a lover of craft beer, Harry Potter, music or the great outdoors we have something for everyone. Check back daily as we reveal the 17 must-see-do-eat-drink things in Staunton this year.
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reason 1: Queen City Potter Party
WHEN: September 22-24
WHERE: Downtown Staunton
Wizards and muggles from near and far descend upon Staunton, Virginia for the annual Queen City Potter Party. With a touch of wizardry, the historic downtown, is transformed into the village of Hogsmeade. Local businesses reinvent themselves offering Harry Potter themed shopping, dining and hands-on activities for all ages. “Potterheads” can experiment with potions at Slugs and Jiggers, enjoy butter beer at Three Broomsticks or try their hand at wild beast taming at the Magickal Menagerie. Visitors are greeted by Norberta the Dragon—where selfies and costumes are encouraged— as they unlock the secrets of Hogesmeade using Marauder’s Map or explore the walkable downtown and take on the task of Horcrux Hunting using the free app Traipse— which will help you find them all. For Harry Potter fans this entertaining and family-friendly festival is not to be missed! For updates and more info visit the FB event page here.
On December 28, 1856, Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the third child and first boy born to a Presbyterian minister and English mother. Though he was delivered at home in the Presbyterian Manse on North Coalter Street in Staunton, Virginia, “Tommy” lived in Virginia less than a year before his family moved to Augusta, Georgia. On December … Continue reading Celebrating President Woodrow Wilson’s 160th Birthday
On December 28, 1856, Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the third child and first boy born to a Presbyterian minister and English mother. Though he was delivered at home in the Presbyterian Manse on North Coalter Street in Staunton, Virginia, “Tommy” lived in Virginia less than a year before his family moved to Augusta, Georgia.
On December 28, 2016, you’re invited to honor and celebrate the life and legacy of President Woodrow Wilson at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum in Staunton, Virginia. The 160th birthday celebration will include special guests, free admission, light refreshments, delightful entertainment, and activities for children.
“Schoolmaster in Politics”
Wilson was a well educated man who attended what is now Princeton University, the University of Virginia School of Law, and Johns Hopkins University. His career was in academia and he eventually found himself President of Princeton University (1902). Leadership suited him and he became the Governor of New Jersey (1910) before serving two terms as the 28th President of the United State of America (1913-1921).
The road was not easy for Wilson, a progressive reformer. For example, “When the trustees of Princeton tapped Wilson as the new president of the university in 1902, they expected reform not revolution.”1 Though he may have rocked the boat a bit, Wilson pushed for peace more often than not. His most notable peace efforts surrounded the Great War (World War I). His initial position kept the United States neutral in the war until Germany’s repeated U-boat attacks in the Atlantic forced a stand. Wilson wrote his “14 Points” to peace, which led to the Treaty of Versailles and the establishment of the League of Nations, a forerunner to the United Nations.2
Wilson’s efforts to put peace first won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1920. Wilson died February 3, 1924.
Significant moments under the Wilson Presidency
Ratification of the 17th (popular election of U.S. Senators), 18th (Prohibition), and 19th (women’s right to vote) Amendments to the Constitution
Completion and opening of the Panama Canal
Establishment of the Federal Reserve Act, the Federal Trade Commission, and the National Park Service
Recognition of Mother’s Day as the second Sunday of May
First transcontinental phone call between Alexander Graham Bell and Dr. Thomas A. Watson
Appointment of the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice
First woman elected to the House of Representatives
Declaration of war on Germany on April 6, 1917
Creation of Treaty of Versaille and League of Nations
Time flies when you’re having fun, and 2016 sure was a blur. Come ring in 2017 with fantastic New Year’s Eve fun in Staunton! We have a place for you to stay, plenty of food … make yourself at home. PARTIES & Music Pompei Lounge is hosting their annual Masquerade with The Judy Chops. This … Continue reading New Year’s Eve in Staunton
Time flies when you’re having fun, and 2016 sure was a blur. Come ring in 2017 with fantastic New Year’s Eve fun in Staunton! We have a place for you to stay, plenty of food … make yourself at home.
PARTIES & Music
Pompei Lounge is hosting their annual Masquerade with The Judy Chops. This is a party you’ll want to arrive early for as it tends to sell out. The fun starts at 10 p.m. and only costs a $10 cover, which includes a midnight champagne toast. Hang out until 2 a.m., if you want.
A photo posted by AJ Speed (Marshall) (@ajspeed91) on
Baja Bean Co. always has one of the best New Year’s Eve parties around – The Findells Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Party with champagne toast at midnight! Enjoy the great food and drinks before the music and countdown begin.
Byers Street Bistro is hosting a New Year’s Eve Party that includes dinner specials, live music from Gypsy Town from 9-12:30, and a champagne toast at midnight.
Redbeard Brewing Company is hosting Magnolia Mountain Grill to offer food, and Drägön Wägön with a special guest for entertainment.
Downtown 27 @ The Clocktower invites you to their NYE Bash with Maybe Tomorrow and DJ Neili Neil. The fun starts at 8 p.m. and winds down at 1 a.m. $15 cover.
Zynodoa has a special four-course prix-fixe menu at $65 per person on New Year’s Eve.
The American Shakespeare Center has a very special showing at 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. It’s the last performance ever of “The Twelve Dates of Christmas,” a play written for their stage by one of their actors. Enjoy $2 glasses of champagne to celebrate the evening.
Enjoy your New Year’s Eve, but don’t forget to designate a driver. Better yet, call a cab. Happy New Year!
11/28/2016 Sneak away before Christmas to enjoy a holiday weekend for two. Packed with arts and entertainment, December 16-18 is an ideal time to visit Staunton. Pack for two nights on the town but don’t forget your comfortable walking shoes for last minute downtown shopping. Staunton Holiday Weekend Check into our historic Stonewall Jackson Hotel … Continue reading A Holiday Weekend for Two in Staunton
Sneak away before Christmas to enjoy a holiday weekend for two. Packed with arts and entertainment, December 16-18 is an ideal time to visit Staunton. Pack for two nights on the town but don’t forget your comfortable walking shoes for last minute downtown shopping.
Staunton Holiday Weekend
Check into our historic Stonewall Jackson Hotel and take advantage of the Shakespeare Package which includes breakfast, parking, and tickets for two. Add a night to round out the weekend. You’ll need it!
Friday, December 16
Heifetz Holiday Homecoming is a “dose of holiday cheer” that includes alumni of the Heifetz International Music Institute. A wide range of holiday carols, including Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker for string quartet. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Mary Baldwin University’s Frances Auditorium. TICKETS
Saturday, December 17
Put those comfortable shoes to work and explore downtown Staunton for Stop Staunton First Saturday. We’ve even provided something of a shopping list for you, affectionately called our Favorite Things. You’ll love our restaurants and cafes for impromptu stops for coffee and treats along the way. When you need a break and want to sight-see, pick up the Trolley along the green route for just $.25.
The tickets from your Shakespeare Package come into play today. There are two shows to choose from and hopefully you can agree on one. If not, rock-paper-scissors is always a fun way to make a decision. “A Christmas Carol” is offered at 2 and 7:30 p.m. “The Santaland Diaries” begins at 5 p.m. Be sure to peruse the gift shop at the American Shakespeare Center before or after the show to pick up a souvenir of your visit.
Before you turn in for the night, stroll through downtown to admire our decorated shop windows!
Sunday, December 18
Yelp users love The By and By for breakfast and they’re open at 10 a.m. on Sundays. Grab a bite before you hit the road. Heather R., a Yelp user, wrote, “Quaint and simple place. It fits the charm of the town. I had a simple bagel sandwich. Service was quick and friendly and the breakfast sandwich was hot and fresh.”
“Oprah’s Favorite Things” is an annual guide to what’s hot, trendy, useful, and even traditional for holiday gift-giving. We have a few favorites here in Staunton and have created our very own uniquely Staunton “favorite things” list for your gift-giving consideration! Those who have participated in Queen City Mischief & Magic and enjoyed … Continue reading Staunton’s Favorite Things: A Guide to Gifts We Love
“Oprah’s Favorite Things” is an annual guide to what’s hot, trendy, useful, and even traditional for holiday gift-giving. We have a few favorites here in Staunton and have created our very own uniquely Staunton “favorite things” list for your gift-giving consideration!
Those who have participated in Queen City Mischief & Magic and enjoyed their experience will appreciate a sterling silver charm only available at H.L. Lang & Co. Jewelers. They also carry a variety of Staunton-esque charms; everything from the Willy Ferguson’s iconic watering can to the gazebo at Gypsy Hill Park.
Wild Woolies are sweet felted coin purses perfect for a sweet little someone on your list. Handcrafted by women in Nepal with 100% natural wool and non-toxic dyes. See the collection at Latitudes Fair Trade Store.
Pufferbellies is the place to find fun gifts for kids and adults alike! Take the unicorn mug, for example. We’re sure you know a variety of gals who would love this!
The smells of Staunton can be yours! Choose a candle like “Queenie” at Made; By the People, For the People.They’re poured and sold with nothin’ but love right in the store, crafted with American-grown soy.
The busiest time of the year is upon us as we hustle around taking care of party planning and decorating. Be sure to balance all of that with some down time, doing something fun. Breathe in the season with a quick trip to Staunton. Enjoy a slower pace for a hot second. Get a cup … Continue reading Seven Ways to Play Before Santa Comes to Town
The busiest time of the year is upon us as we hustle around taking care of party planning and decorating. Be sure to balance all of that with some down time, doing something fun. Breathe in the season with a quick trip to Staunton.
Enjoy a slower pace for a hot second. Get a cup of coffee and just sit with a friend. When you’re good and ready, stroll our downtown and check out the window displays.
These are the top seven ways to play before Santa comes to town:
This special downtown event kicks off the holiday season with late shopping hours, carriage rides, a variety of street entertainment, and sweet treats at more than 30 participating businesses. While supplies last, a free “downtown. shopping. bag.” will be available at the City National Bank courtyard on Central Avenue and at Sunspots Pavilion.
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2. Holiday Window Reveal | November 18
Staunton’s downtown shopkeepers compete in an annual window decorating contest, but the real winner is YOU! The creativity is always impressive, and an evening stroll to admire them is a great way to unwind and enjoy time with the ones you love this season.
For families in the Shenandoah Valley, the annual trip to drive through Gypsy Hill Park during Celebration of Lights is a tradition. Amazingly, it’s free! The 214 acres will feature lighted holiday displays and creations from 5 to 11 p.m. nightly. Perhaps the best thing about Celebration of Lights is that it’s made possible by community organizations, churches, and individuals who claim a space to decorate.
Why not abstain from the Black Friday chaos and #ShopLocal on #SmallBusinessSaturday? Our downtown shops will be overflowing with great cheer and deals, carriage rides from Classic Carriage will be offered, and your first two hours of parking at the Wharf lot and the Johnson Street garage are FREE! Plus, it always feels so good to support the “mom and pop” shops, doesn’t it? Lend a hand!
“Magical Main Street” is the theme for this year’s Christmas parade and ASC’s Scrooge will be the Grand Marshall. It’s the annual showcase of holiday-themed parade floats, marching bands, local organizations, and of course, Santa Claus.
6. American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse
Oh, the fantastic acts you need to see this season!
Cradled by the Blue Ridge and surrounded by massive national forests and vast wilderness areas, the Shenandoah Valley town of Staunton has endless appeal. One of the oldest settlements in the Blue Ridge, the Victorian-era town is a living museum. Staunton was largely spared the destruction unleashed on other locations in the Shenandoah Valley by … Continue reading Staunton: One of the Best Small Towns in Virginia
Cradled by the Blue Ridge and surrounded by massive national forests and vast wilderness areas, the Shenandoah Valley town of Staunton has endless appeal. One of the oldest settlements in the Blue Ridge, the Victorian-era town is a living museum. Staunton was largely spared the destruction unleashed on other locations in the Shenandoah Valley by Union troops during the Civil War—most of the buildings in Staunton’s downtown area are more than a century old, and the town’s residential neighborhoods are still dotted with elegant 18th and 19th century homes. A bustling commercial hub even during the colonial-era, Staunton still lures visitors with its architecturally stunning downtown—now lined with eclectic boutiques, inviting eateries, and cozy tasting rooms pouring locally produced wine and craft beer.
Beyond the proudly preserved architectural wonders, Staunton’s rich past is still evident all over town. Staunton was a stop along the Great Wilderness Road, a southward route used by newly arrived European immigrants as portal to the frontier until the middle of the 19th century—a thoroughfare that later became the Valley Pike, now Route 11. Staunton’s Frontier Culture Museum is a living-history, open-air museum that brings the past to life, demonstrating the daily lifestyles of the Valley’s early settlers through original farmsteads and costumed interpreters.
One of America’s most influential presidents also called Staunton home: Woodrow Wilson was born in the town in 1865, and the 28th president’s home still adorns a hill in Staunton’s Gospel Historic District, now maintained as the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum.
For outdoor lovers, options in Staunton are almost endless. The strategically placed, mountain-fringed town is the ideal launch pad for a bounty of outdoor adventures. Staunton is flanked by two massive national forests—the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests—long, slender slices of wilderness stretching from one end of Virginia to the other, laden with recreational opportunities. You also have quick access to the spectacular Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway, the most scenic drive in the state.
The town is also ringed by a collection of vast roadless wilderness areas traversed by extensive trail systems. Just about 20-miles west of Staunton, the 19,290-acre Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness is crisscrossed by 37 miles of trails and loaded with craggy peaks and laced with trout-blessed streams. Just south of town, the 10,090-acre Saint Mary’s Wilderness is flush with 27-miles of trails—capped off by high peaks including Cellar, Bald, and Big Spy mountains—and spider-webbed by gushing mountain streams culminating in cascading waterfalls.
Staunton provides easy access to two of the most scenic byways in the state—and arguably, on the East Coast. Just north of town is the entrance to Skyline Drive, the vista-rich, 105-mile thoroughfare bisecting Virginia’s 200,000-acre Shenandoah National Park, offering access to the area’s 500 miles of trails. Almost immediately after entering the park’s less-frequented southern section, Skyline Drive also intersects the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail, which rambles through the park for 101 miles.
In Rockfish Gap, 20 miles from Staunton, Skyline Drive also merges into the southbound Blue Ridge Parkway, the iconic byway running 469-miles from the Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. Some of the most spectacular sites along the entire parkway are in the northernmost section—just minutes from Staunton. First, the Humpback Rocks Recreation Area offers access to a range of hiking trails, with options for quick leg-stretchers or extensive loops. The massive 3,080-foot rock formation known as Humpback Rocks is also touted as one of the parkway’s premier vistas—and one of the most popular.
Just after Humpback Rocks is another treasure: The Sherando Lake Recreation Area is one of the byway’s most inviting detours. The 25-acre, spring-fed lake is edged by hiking trails, leafy campsites, and a sandy swimming beach. Slightly further south, the parkway also offers access to the one of the most stunning waterfalls in the east—and the highest in the Virginia Blue Ridge—Crabtree Falls. Two trailheads just a few miles from the parkway offer hikers intimate access to the cascades plunging 1,800-foot course to the Tye River.
The vast tracts of wilderness and extensive byways accessible from Staunton also make the locale a hub for cyclists. Options for bike rides abound—from two-wheeled historical tours of Staunton to longer circuits through the bucolic landscape of the Shenandoah Valley. Find a number of local circuits mapped out by Bike the Valley. In Staunton, local cyclists congregate at Black Dog Bikes in the evenings from spring to early fall for weekly rides, with more leisurely loops on Tuesdays and fast-paced, longer circuits on Thursdays as well as Women on Wheels riding every Wednesday. The town’s cycle culture is also celebrated every October with the Shenandoah Fall Foliage Bike Festival, a weekend of rides showcasing the region’s vibrant seasonal color. You’ll find routes suitable for riders of all levels—from lazy, 12-mile loops to century circuits full of brag-worthy climbs.
The Shenandoah Valley isn’t just a playground for cyclists. The verdant valley is also sprinkled with farms, wineries and craft breweries—linked by routes like the Fields of Gold Farm Trail, the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail, and the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail. In Staunton, the bounty of the valley is showcased at the Augusta Farmers Market (Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 7 a.m.-noon, April to November) and celebrated by the town’s vibrant farm-to-table restaurant movement.
Eclectic microbrews, a seasonally evolving and locally inspired food scene, and a charming, historic downtown—all minutes away from vast wilderness areas, national parks, and forests. The next time you find yourself in Staunton, sipping a freshly poured craft brew while recounting backcountry Blue Ridge adventures, you too may wonder, is this the best kept secret in Virginia?
We love fall. The colors, the flavors … the shopping! It’s the perfect time to get away, and you can make a weekend whatever you want it to be: wine and food, shopping, the arts, outdoor adventure … we have all of that and more in Staunton. Here are five ways to prep for the perfect … Continue reading Five Ways to Holiday Prep in Staunton
We love fall. The colors, the flavors … the shopping! It’s the perfect time to get away, and you can make a weekend whatever you want it to be: wine and food, shopping, the arts, outdoor adventure … we have all of that and more in Staunton.
Here are five ways to prep for the perfect Thanksgiving and Christmas when you take a mid-autumn break and head our way.
Our sweet boutiques are overflowing with beautiful seasonal decor and gifts. A handcrafted keepsake from Sunspots Studios makes a great gift. Will you choose to blow your own glass pumpkin or an ornament? Here are a few other suggestions to find that perfect Holiday trimming…
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3. Some of the best bread you will ever get your hands on comes from Newtown Baking. Grab a sandwich while you’re in town and take a few loaves or rolls to go. They’re the perfect addition to your meal, and they freeze well. Newtown suggests popping it into a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes “to revive some of the crispiness of the crust.”
4. The American Shakespeare Center Blackfriars Playhouse offers performances every weekend and most weeknights. Treat yourself to a showing of Twelfth Night, King Lear, or The Rise of Queen Margaret (Henry VI, Part 2) and then swing by the gift shop to buy a gift certificate for someone special.
Insider’s Tip – ASC’s Christmas performances of A Christmas Carol, The Santaland Diaries, and The Twelve Dates of Christmas sell out quickly, so get your tickets ASAP!
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5. Finally, you’ll need sleep and the gift of a night away is much appreciated to overworked friends, parents of small children, and those with a love of travel. Choose a bed and breakfast, hotel, or cabin for yourself. If you approve, inquire about a gift certificate to give.
Cheers to your holiday prep weekend! We hope you #LOVEStaunton!
Unlike some cities, Staunton comes alive after five. Tasting and touring your way around after dark gives you a whole new perspective of just how great the Queen City really is. Nights on the town anywhere are best experienced with others, so bring your whole crew or make it a date night! Manse by Flashlight … Continue reading Staunton After Dark: Tastes and Tours to Savor and Explore
Unlike some cities, Staunton comes alive after five. Tasting and touring your way around after dark gives you a whole new perspective of just how great the Queen City really is. Nights on the town anywhere are best experienced with others, so bring your whole crew or make it a date night!
Manse by Flashlight
Did you know Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States, was born in Staunton? His Presidential library and the manse he was born in are located on Coalter Street. The manse will be open November 11 and 12 for flashlight tours between 7 and 9 p.m. If you’ve toured Wilson’s birthplace before, we can guarantee you’ve never seen it like this.
Ghosts of Staunton
HURRY! >> While it’s doubtful you’ll encounter anything too scary at Mr. Wilson’s house, the next tour promises the exact opposite. Ghosts of
Staunton offers three tours to choose from, but of course, we recommend trying all three. For more history, choose the Downtown Historical Walking Ghost Tour. To focus on the super cool lore of the Depot, try the Haunted Depot Tour. For a great overview of all of Staunton’s spooky tales, join in the Haunts of the Queen City Ghost Walk. All three occur Fridays and Saturdays at 7, 8, and 9 p.m. during the month of October.
Traipse the Town
“Take your brain for a walk” at dusk when you use Traipse, an app that unlocks the city with history and quirky, fun brain teasers.
While it’s certainly lovely to enjoy a meal in one spot, why not jazz up your night with a dine around featuring a different course at various restaurants? For example:
Drinks, Appetizer, Soup, or Salad: Zynodoa (115 E. Beverley)
Bruce Springsteen would be so proud of you. Staunton has plenty of places to choose from for live music. Tap your toes or all out shake your bon-bon, for which Ricky Martin would be equally proud. A few ideas: