#LOVEstaunton

#LOVEstaunton

How Much Do You Love Her? Staunton Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

You might not have gotten to visit much with your mom this past year, but hopefully, you’re getting to spend some time with her this Mother’s Day. How will you show her how much you love her?  If you’re still looking for a last-minute gift, we have some Staunton-centered ideas for you. Share an Experience … Continue reading How Much Do You Love Her? Staunton Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

You might not have gotten to visit much with your mom this past year, but hopefully, you’re getting to spend some time with her this Mother’s Day. How will you show her how much you love her?  If you’re still looking for a last-minute gift, we have some Staunton-centered ideas for you.

Share an Experience with Mom

  • Sign Mom up for an art class or workshop at Beverley Street Studio School. Classes are held either in-person or virtually, and you can choose from a variety of topics for various levels of artist.
  • Do you and Mom bond over the silver screen? How about taking her to a movie at the Visulite Cinema? Sip beer or wine while you watch , and then head over to The Green Room to discuss the film over wine and snacks.
  • If you and Mom share a passion for finding treasures, consider taking her to Staunton Antique Center. This unique store has three levels of goodies, including original art from local artists. Compare your finds over coffee and French pastries at Réunion Bakery & Espresso.

  • Is Mom a little horse crazy? Get her back in the saddle with a guided trail ride through the Valley at Star B Stables. Take her for a day of fun and visit the horses at Stable Craft Brewing.

  • Looking for something a little different? Something a little freeing and meditative? How about a FREE Drumming workshop? DrumForFun Staunton is offering an introductory class for adult beginners on Saturday, May 8th at 1:00 pm.  

 

Flowers, Wine, Chocolate, and Jewelry

  • There’s a reason flowers, wine, chocolate, and jewelry are perennial favorites on Mother’s Day. Continue the tradition with a Mother’s Day bouquet from Rask Florist. You can order online from Honey Bee’s Florist and arrange to have flowers delivered. Brin’s Posy Floral creates vivid and artistic bouquets.
  • Treat Mom’s sweet tooth with an overflowing “platinum pail of chocolates” assortment from Cocoa Mill. Giancarlo Fine European Pastries also creates incredible chocolates (and much more) right here in Staunton. Consider signing Mom up for an upcoming pastry class. 

  • Have your personal message engraved on any piece of jewelry from H.L. Lang Jewelers. Or buy Mom a Staunton charm of a Queen City landmark like the clock tower or the watering can. Crown Jewelers carries a beautiful selection of both new and estate jewelry.

Take Mom out for Brunch

Staunton restaurants shine in the brunch department. Take Mom out for “inspired Southern cuisine” at Zynodoa (brunch served from 10-2). You’ll bond over American classics at The Depot Grille (brunch served from 11-2). Table 44 serves up inspired twists on your favorites as well as an unforgettable loaded bloody mary (brunch served from 11-2).

Buy Her Something Special

  • Spoil Mom with luxurious soaps, lotions, and all things that smell good from Redwood & Co. or Essentially Zen Artisan Body & Bath Co. Essentially Zen offers curated gift boxes and “zen boxes,” which are a curated collection of specialty soaps, house soaps, and bath bombs designed to fit an individual fragrance profile.

  • Give mom the star treatment at the new Spa at the Blackburn by treating her to a massage, skin treatment, manicure, or all three. You can also help Mom relax by surprising her with a massage at Mill Street Body & Soul Day Spa and Salon. Make her feel really special by giving her the gift of a boudoir photo session, which includes a hair and makeup team and professional photography. Dad will appreciate this gift, too! 

American Shakespeare Center Restart

The American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse is the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s performance space. Since 2001, it has been treating audiences to performances that capture not only the magic of Shakespeare’s stories (all 38 of them), but also the historic and cultural atmosphere surrounding the shows. While the past year has been incredibly challenging … Continue reading American Shakespeare Center Restart

The American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse is the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s performance space. Since 2001, it has been treating audiences to performances that capture not only the magic of Shakespeare’s stories (all 38 of them), but also the historic and cultural atmosphere surrounding the shows. While the past year has been incredibly challenging for performance venues, ASC is now cautiously welcoming the public for live performances and educational experiences as well as continuing a robust selection of virtual options.

Upcoming Performances

Beginning in May, the ASC will offer a summer packed with performances as part of their annual Actors’ Renaissance Season. The productions will attempt to mimic the performance conditions common in Shakespeare’s time, where actors had a great deal of creative license and writer/performer roles sometimes blurred. Seasoned ASC actors will perform a rotating set of plays, rehearsing them in a short period of time without directors. Not only do the actors control their performance decisions, they also plan costumes, music, props and more, and that kind of creative empowerment can lead to exciting and memorable productions. This summer, audiences can enjoy Macbeth, Henry V, and All’s Well That Ends Well.

  • “Electrifying and immediate, Macbeth plunges headlong into the darkest depths of the human condition and the toxic underbelly of politics and warfare—with murder begetting murder, and blood thirsting for blood. This twisted tale ends as it began, in the manifestation of a dark prophecy; with one final, fatal blow, the light prevails and tomorrow dawns anew.”
  • “In this final, epic installment of Shakespeare’s Henriad trilogy, ASC veteran Brandon Carter leads ‘once more unto the breach’ as King Henry V—one of the greatest monarchs in English history. Swashbuckling adventure and romance burst at the seams of this the most exciting of Shakespeare’s histories, which ends, as so many of the great stories do, in a wedding.”
  • “Helena has a heart that will not be denied. All’s Well That Ends Well upends and reexamines the love story, reveling in the imperfection. Part fairy tale, part farce, and all heart, this often-overlooked masterpiece takes audiences on a hilarious journey through courtship and class, danger and desire, and ridicule and (if the title proves true) redemption.”

Starting May 13th, the actors will bring Macbeth to the ASC’s outdoor venue on the Mary Baldwin University’s historic brick Rose Terrace. Henry V will join the lineup in June, and you can see it indoors at the Blackfriars. In August, All’s Well That Ends Well will also be staged at the Blackfriars. If you’d rather not venture into a public performance space just yet, you can stream the plays via BlkFrsTV.

Is it Safe to Attend a Live Performance?

Tickets to shows at the Blackfriars are available at reduced capacity to ensure that the audience is able to social distance. Increased sanitation and universal masking will also keep people safe. Last summer, ASC’s infectious disease specialist-guided SafeStart Summer Season was a leader in bringing safe, live theater to audiences.

Other Ways to Enjoy the ASC

Performances and educating the public have always gone together at the ASC, and the education team has developed a digital curriculum. The virtual SHX Series targets teachers and their classes, homeschooling parents, and drama enthusiasts. They seek to make Shakespeare accessible with interactive workshops, study guides, virtual performances, and other customized experiences.

Want to keep the kids occupied while building their self-esteem and exercising their creativity? Check back later in the summer for more information on online after-school programs, guaranteed to get students (ages 9-18) excited about theater, history, and language.

Blackfriars Conference

The Blackfriars Playhouse holds the international biennial Blackfriars Conference every other autumn. Shakespeareans, scholars and practitioners congregate to share discoveries and learn about early modern theatre. The next conference is scheduled for October 28-30, 2021.

Support the Blackfriars

Though the vaccine is widely available and restrictions are lifting, it’s still been a tough year for the ASC. Click here to help them “keep the lights on!”

Blackburn Inn & Barren Ridge Vineyards Getaway

Are you looking for a romantic getaway in a beautiful location with lots of opportunities for adventure? Take advantage of the Blackburn Inn’s Weekend Getaway Package with award-winning Barren Ridge Vineyards. The package will pamper you with delicious food and wine, outdoor adventure, and luxury at the Blackburn Inn. Staunton is within easy driving distance … Continue reading Blackburn Inn & Barren Ridge Vineyards Getaway

Are you looking for a romantic getaway in a beautiful location with lots of opportunities for adventure? Take advantage of the Blackburn Inn’s Weekend Getaway Package with award-winning Barren Ridge Vineyards. The package will pamper you with delicious food and wine, outdoor adventure, and luxury at the Blackburn Inn. Staunton is within easy driving distance of D.C., Richmond, and Roanoke. You’ll enjoy the incredible scenery and the small-town, historic cool. Read on for our suggested itinerary and book your couple’s weekend today!  

Friday: 

You’ll know you’re in for a wonderful, relaxing weekend when you arrive at Staunton’s Blackburn Inn. This classic red-bricked and white-columned building was designed by Thomas Blackburn in the 1820s. Don’t worry about its age, though. While the 49-room boutique hotel keeps its historic charm, it has been renovated and updated with your absolute comfort in mind. In your room, you’ll find a decadent treat of chocolate-covered strawberries and Prosecco.

Stretch your legs by exploring the immaculately landscaped Blackburn Inn campus. Next, stroll around downtown Staunton with the map that’s included in your package. Staunton has over 100 independent restaurants, galleries, and boutiques as well as prime selfie spots like the “You Belong Here” mural and the Sears Hill Bridge.

When you’ve worked up an appetite, eat dinner at one of Staunton’s fine restaurants. Your package includes a voucher for BLU Point Seafood Co. or Zynodoa (inspired Southern farm-to-table cuisine).

Head back to the hotel and sleep well in your historic room. You’ll enjoy wireless, high-speed internet and elegant touches like oversized bathrooms with glass rainfall showers, plush towels, and luxury toiletries.

Saturday: 

Wake up well rested to a lovely breakfast in the hotel’s onsite Second Draft bistro. The ever-changing menu showcases seasonal, locally sourced fare like pastries, parfaits, frittatas, ham biscuits, eggs Benedict, and breakfast croissant sandwiches.

After you’ve eaten, set out on a hiking adventure to one of the area’s celebrated trails in Shenandoah National Park or George Washington & Jefferson National Forest. You’ll enjoy a scenic drive through the Shenandoah Valley as well as incredible views from your hike. The Blackburn Inn will provide a pack with maps and a delicious picnic lunch for two.

After the hike, head to Barren Ridge Vineyards and take a guided tour of the vineyard. You’ll learn how the vineyard evolved from an apple orchard as well as how grapes are grown and wine is made. You’ll come away with an understanding of the cycle of vines, terroir, and more. Relax after your tour with a bottle of wine or sparkling wine in the tasting room or on the patio.

Listen to live music and use your voucher for a charcuterie/cheese board dinner, which features excellent artisanal cheeses from Goot Essa, salami, organic olives, crackers, or sweets from Giancarlo. You won’t want to leave without buying some wine to enjoy at home, so take advantage of special discounts: 10% per bottle, 15% for 6 bottles, and 20% for a case or more.

After the music, drive to Staunton and take an evening stroll through the safe, walkable downtown, making sure to check out the Victorian architecture and the historic train station.

Stop in at the Green Room for a nightcap of craft beer, wine, or cider and a snack or ice cream in flavors like brambleberry crisp, brown butter almond brittle, or darkest chocolate.

Head back to the Blackburn Inn and fall into your luxurious freshly made bed and enjoy some well-earned rest.

Sunday: 

Wake up refreshed and start your journey back after a yummy breakfast in the hotel and another leisurely stroll around town.

Back at home, open a bottle of Barren Ridge wine and enjoy the memories of this perfect weekend. Remember, it’s never too early to begin planning your next visit to Staunton!

Total cost of your romantic weekend for two:

  • Hotel 2 nights: $187 (one room)
  • Strawberries, breakfasts, and bag at the hotel: $35
  • Friday dinner at BLU Point Seafood Co. or Zynodoa: (Voucher) $50
  • Picnic lunch for two from Blackburn Inn: $16 
  • Cheese & charcuterie dinner from Barren Ridge Vineyards with a bottle of Rose: $86.00 (Voucher for 2)
  • Vineyard walk and talk (1 h): $25 
  • TOTAL: $399

Click here to reserve your weekend: Weekend Getaway Package.

Wool Week at the Frontier Culture Museum

When we buy new clothes, we usually think no more deeply about the process than going to the store and picking out what looks best on us. But the process was much, much more involved for our ancestors and the early settlers of the Shenandoah Valley. Not only did they have to harvest the raw … Continue reading Wool Week at the Frontier Culture Museum

When we buy new clothes, we usually think no more deeply about the process than going to the store and picking out what looks best on us. But the process was much, much more involved for our ancestors and the early settlers of the Shenandoah Valley. Not only did they have to harvest the raw materials, but they also had to clean them, transform them into cloth, and then transform the cloth into wearable clothing or other textiles. Each year during Wool Week, the Frontier Culture Museum invites visitors to celebrate spring as well as the process of creating useful products from raw materials.

Come to the museum during the week of April 24-30 to see demonstrations and exhibits focusing on wool and flax processing. The stall will be shearing sheep twice a day at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Enjoy strolling the paths in the warm spring sunshine. As an added bonus, you’ll get to meet the new baby lambs.

 

How long will the lambs be lambs?

Lambs are usually born in the spring when there’s plenty of grass to eat and the weather has lost its winter chill. Ewes tend to give birth to one to three lambs at a time. Twins are most common and tend to weigh about the same as human babies. They can usually walk within a few hours of being born! Besides sheep, the museum is home to ducks, goats, pigs, horses, cows, and cats.

What is wool, anyway, and how did people on the frontier harvest it?

Wool is the heavy winter coat of the sheep that’s harvested once a year, often in the spring. While we typically use mechanical clippers now, people from the frontier would use sharpened blades like scissors with the pivot point at the end. A skilled shearer can remove the wool quickly and in one piece.

Do sheep like getting shorn?

Sheep shearing is very much like getting a haircut. During the shearing process, though, the sheep may struggle, and it takes a lot of strength to hold them still and clip the wool at the same time. Sheep shearers should take their time to prevent injuries. Shorn sheep feel cooler for the upcoming hot weather and probably relieved to be rid of their heavy, dirty coats. 

Contrary to picture postcards, sheep are pretty dirty. How do they get that wool clean?

The wool fibers are pulled and teased apart by hand to get rid of dirt and parasites. The wool is then washed and carded. Carding untangles the fibers and stretches it out so that it can be spun. The museum staff will teach you how to perform each of these steps.

How did they turn that pile of wool into my favorite sweater?

Spinners wind stretched-out wool fibers are into yarn, which can be dyed before or after spinning. Next, the yarn is formed into a fabric by knitting or by weaving on a loom. Both the German and the Irish farms have looms and visitors can watch the intricate, time-consuming process of working one.

Flax? What’s that?

Flax is a kind of plant. When it’s harvested, it is dried, deseeded, and retted, which means that the interior of the plant is removed and the rest is split into long fibers during a lengthy series of steps. The fibers are spun and then woven into linen fabric. Though it’s difficult to produce, linen is one of the most durable natural fabrics.

What else can I see at the museum?

The Frontier Culture Museum is a living history museum that will connect present-day people with the lives and histories of those who lived in the past. The walkable museum offers a chance to explore the homesteads of the various people who settled the region from other places. They include farms from West Africa, England, Ireland, and Germany. The museum also offers a Native American village and American farms from various time periods.

Earth Day 2021

Earth Day events are designed to help us learn to restore our planet by promoting clean air, land, and water, supporting native species, and more. In past years, Staunton has held a large educational fair for Earth Day, but this year things will look a little different in order to keep people safe from Covid. … Continue reading Earth Day 2021

Earth Day events are designed to help us learn to restore our planet by promoting clean air, land, and water, supporting native species, and more. In past years, Staunton has held a large educational fair for Earth Day, but this year things will look a little different in order to keep people safe from Covid. A number of activities will occur virtually or will be extended for a longer period of time.  Click here for the full schedule.

Live Events:

  • Earth Day Staunton Stage: Come to the Sunspots Pavilion on April 24 from 10 – noon for music and demonstrations including tips for native gardening, climate restoration, honeybee behavior, and more.
  • Shenandoah Mountain Warblers & Wildflowers: Join Friends of Shenandoah Mountain and Headwaters Master Naturalists at one of three Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail sites to explore the trails, and identify birds and plants. Each site will have a master naturalist, a birder, and a biologist standing by to help you and answer your questions. May 8, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

  • ​Litter Cleanup & Classification (Ages 11-Adult): Most litter can end up in our waterways. In this activity you’ll select an area to collect litter (it doesn’t need to be near a body of water). Download the pdf and track the amount and type of litter you found. This will be used in a national database.
  • Earth Day Paddle Trip with Friends of the Middle River: This self-guided, 3-hour float on the Middle River is available to those who have their own boats and transportation. May 1st, put-in 8 – 9:30 a.m. 

Virtual Meetings:

  • Meet a Bat! Afterschool Animal Encounter & Flappy Hour for Adults: Leslie Sturges (Save Lucy the Bat) will teach the community about how bats are beneficial to the community. She’ll have separate programs for kids (they’ll get to ask questions and see a real bat) and adults (more answers to your bat-related questions, plus “batty” drink recipes). April 21, 4:30 pm  
  • Climate Reality and What We Can Do About It: Shenandoah Green will discuss the climate and teach us how to “restore balance.” April 22, 5:30 p.m.
  • Watch & Talk — Kiss the Ground: Register to watch the movie and then join the virtual discussion with soil experts on how to “stabilize Earth’s climate, restore lost ecosystems and create abundant food supplies.”

Links available here soon

Activities with Apps and Online Components

  • Families can download the ActionBound app and participate in a series of miniature quests called “Earth Day Staunton Bound.” The free activity will be available until April 30.
  • Identify that new-to-you plant or critter with the help of iNaturalist’s Seek app. Take photos and earn points as you learn about the subject’s life.

Natural Areas in Staunton’s Parks

If you’re looking to “get in touch with nature” while in the city of Staunton, you should really check out the natural areas in our parks. Hikers and mountain bikers will love wandering the trails in Betsy Bell Wilderness and Montgomery Hall Park. Both offer miles of trails and the particular sense of peace you get when you’re surrounded by the natural world. Birders, too, will revel in the high number of species that can be identified in these hotspots. Montgomery Hall also offers Nature Ridge natural playground. Tucked away behind the softball field, this playground features no swings or slides, only natural elements that will absorb kids for hours of imaginative and exploratory play.

Staunton Businesses that Promote Good Stewardship of the Earth

Refill Renew

How can you enjoy your favorite cleaning and personal products and do something good for the environment at the same time? Shop at Refill Renew, a low-waste refill shop where you bring your own refillable containers, and pay for the bulk product you add. Choose from hair and body products, sunscreen, various cleaners and detergents, as well as local apple cider vinegar. You’ll also find reusable lifestyle goods like stainless steel utensils and straws, mesh product bags, beeswax wrap, biodegradable trash bags and more.

Concepts Created

Bryan Black, designer and owner of Concepts Created, has been constructing custom furniture out of reclaimed wood and other materials since 2000. Each piece is created after a detailed consultation with the customer. Skilled handcrafting and attention to detail produce unique pieces that have both beauty and history.

Staunton Farmers’ Market

Farmers’ markets are wonderful ways to score the freshest possible produce and connect with your community. They also support local agriculture and sustainable farming practices. Visit the Staunton Farmers’ Market April – November.

Staunton Plant Co.

Native plants are important because they have adapted to their native conditions and generally don’t require as much fertilizer or pesticides as other species. They also support the shelter and food needs of local species of birds, mammals, and insects like butterflies. Staunton Plant Co. specializes in locally grown and native plants. This full-service garden center also provides annuals, perennials, mulch, trees and hanging baskets to beautify your property.

JMD Farm Market & Garden Center

Not only does JMD Farm Market & Garden Center offer locally grown annual, perennial, and vegetable plants, they also carry garden gifts and fresh, local meats, fruits, and vegetables. Shop, enjoy a glass of wine, and let the kids explore on the natural playground.

Several downtown Staunton shops offer garden and garden-themed decor. You might know Blair Made for beautiful handmade wooden signs, but check the website for a glimpse of her vintage botanical prints that are printed on wood and will allow you to look at fresh flowers all year long. Harmony Moon has a nice selection of planters and flower pots, whimsical bird houses, windchimes, birdbaths and other garden décor.

 

Staunton in Bloom

Historic Garden Week Historic Garden Week has been held since 1927, when it was used to raise funds to restore Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate. Each year, more than 250 historic homes across the state open their grounds to visitors. Proceeds go toward preserving and restoring public gardens in Virginia. After being cancelled for Covid in … Continue reading Staunton in Bloom

Historic Garden Week

Historic Garden Week has been held since 1927, when it was used to raise funds to restore Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate. Each year, more than 250 historic homes across the state open their grounds to visitors. Proceeds go toward preserving and restoring public gardens in Virginia.

After being cancelled for Covid in 2020, Staunton’s Historic Garden Week Tour is back in bloom for 2021!  The walking tour showcases four gardens on New and Lewis Streets in the downtown area, the Gardens at Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum as well as other outdoor spaces decorated with floral installations created by the Augusta Garden Club. For safety reasons, guests will only have access to the gardens and the exteriors of the homes. 

In addition to the tours themselves, guests may also attend several outdoor presentations. These include a “Fun and Fantasy” floral design demonstration taught by Garden Club of America judges. Visitors can attend educational talks about Staunton architect, T.J. Collins, and also learn about the ongoing archeological dig in the gardens of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum. Finally, guests will get to see plein air artists from the Beverley Studio School at work. Take home a memory by purchasing a finished painting at the “Wet Paint Sale.”

If You Go

  • When: April 17, 2021, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Purchase tickets online for a specific time. No tickets will be sold on the day of the tour.
  • Plan to wear flat walking shoes. 
  • Hungry? Purchase a boxed lunch ahead of time, or visit one of our restaurants close by.
  • Please plan ahead: there are no public restrooms on tour properties. Restrooms will be available in the parking lot at tour headquarters at 205 N. Central Ave. 

After visiting Staunton, plan to tour more of Virginia’s historic gardens. See Virginia Garden Week’s suggested itineraries. Nearby destinations hosting tours include Lexington, Albemarle County, and Lynchburg.

Best Gardens in Staunton

If you can’t make it to the Garden Tour, Staunton offers more places where you can enjoy the spring bounty. Walk through many of our public spaces or explore the residential neighborhoods and you’ll be wowed by the gardens. In early spring, flowering trees like redbuds, magnolias, Bradford pears are budding out. Look for dogwood displays to follow. Early spring flowers include daffodils, tulips, forsythia, lilac, and violets. Check out some of our favorites.

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum

The Historic Gardens at Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum are open to the public from dawn to dusk. Originally part of a much larger estate, the existing gardens were designed by landscape architect Charles F. Gillette in 1933. Maintained by the Garden Club of Virginia, the gardens include perennials, lilacs, boxwoods, and hostas. Stroll the brick pathways and admire the plants or rest on a quiet bench just steps from the bustle of downtown Staunton.

Gypsy Hill & Montgomery Hall Parks 

Both Gypsy Hill Park and Montgomery Hall Parks have flower gardens maintained by Staunton Parks and Rec. Look for seasonal blooms and annuals in the landscaping around buildings and park features as well as various types of labeled trees. The dogwood tree is both Virginia’s state flower and tree, and for over 100 years. The Augusta Garden Club’s Project Dogwood has planted over 150 of these springtime beauties in both parks. They’ve also erected signage to identify and provide information about the different types of trees.

Gardens at the Staunton Library

The library has several garden beds, including a large one that wraps the corner of Augusta and Churchville Avenues. Make sure to visit the award-winning Brenda L. Papke Memorial Sensory Garden, a small, universally accessible space designed to stimulate all five of the senses. Sensory favorites include: lavender, rosemary, Annabelle Hydrangea, and butterfly bushes. Download a scavenger hunt to use in the library, when open, and the garden.  

Mens’ Green Thumb Park and Watering Can 

Blink and you might miss this little gem as you drive into Staunton. It’s worth a second pass though: Look for spring blooms spilling out of a giant watering can and larger plants like elephant ears later in the season.

Best Gardens Near Staunton

Edith J. Carrier Arboretum

James Madison University’s Edith J. Carrier Arboretum celebrates native Virginia wildflower, tree, and shrub species in a peaceful, wooded environment. The 125-acre sanctuary contains walking paths, water features, play areas for kids, and daffodil, perennial, and pollinator gardens. Other garden areas showcase ferns, daylilies, herbs, and a shale garden of endemic perennials that survive only in the harshest of conditions.

Boxerwood Gardens

The Play Trail at Boxerwood Gardens will keep your kids busy for hours, but you’ll also want to explore the 15-acre Woodland Garden. Follow the trails through the woods, around the pond, and along the wildflower meadow. Early spring blooms include magnolia and cherry trees.

Shenandoah National Park

Wildflower season at Shenandoah National Park begins in late March and extends all the way through fall. Springtime blooms to look for are redbuds, trout lilies, bellworts, violets, and wild geraniums. Over 850 different species grow here, including many specimens from the aster, pea, lily, mint, and mustard families. Check here for a calendar of what’s in bloom.

Pebble Hall Wildflowers

Pebble Hall Wildflowers offers over an acre of wildflowers and herbs that you can pick to create your own seasonal bouquets. Wander the lovely grounds admiring the views, taking photos, sharing a picnic, and petting the cows. Hula hoops, a small nature museum and a fairy garden will please the younger set. Check out the schedule to see what’s blooming.

White Oak Lavender Farm

Pretty sights and even better smells will greet you at White Oak Lavender Farm. This lavender destination provides beautiful views, a chance to tour and explore the lavender fields and processing areas. You’ll also find a lavender shop where you can purchase lavender-infused items, a discovery area for kids, and a tasting room for the Purple WOLF Vineyard.

Andre Viette Farm & Nursery

The Andre Viette Farm & Nursery is known best for its daylilies, but the extensive display gardens are open to the public and contain much more. The sun and shade gardens will inspire your own landscaping. Check out the garden center to purchase what you like most!

Staunton Silver Linings: How to Spend a Rainy Day

Is a sudden thunderstorm threatening to put a damper on your Staunton plans? Don’t beat yourself up asking “water” we going to do in the rain, because Staunton looks good in clouds, too! Check out these surefire remedies for cabin fever. Indulge in a Spa Day If rain makes you stressed, book a spa treatment … Continue reading Staunton Silver Linings: How to Spend a Rainy Day

Is a sudden thunderstorm threatening to put a damper on your Staunton plans? Don’t beat yourself up asking “water” we going to do in the rain, because Staunton looks good in clouds, too! Check out these surefire remedies for cabin fever.

Indulge in a Spa Day

If rain makes you stressed, book a spa treatment at the Spa at the Blackburn, Staunton’s newest place for relaxation. Pick from massage, reflexology, nail or skin treatments, or indulge yourself with a full day of luxury.

Other soothing places include Breezy Hill Day Spa, housed in a historic mansion, or Mill Street Body and Soul Day Spa and Salon, which is right downtown. Both spas’ services include massage, facials, manicures, and pedicures. If you’d prefer to relax at home, stop by Essentially Zen Artisan Body & Bath Co. You’ll find soaps, bath bombs, candles, gift boxes, and much more to help you relax in these stressful times.

Eyeball Some Art or Visit a Museum

Explore the rotating exhibits of art and history at Staunton Augusta Arts Center, located in the historic R.R. Smith Center for History and Art. The Beverley Street Studio School Gallery and Co-ART Gallery host multiple exhibits of fine local art each year. For more art, visit Mary Baldwin University’s Hunt Gallery. The art ranges from “abstract to classical, reflecting a wide variety of media and artistic intentions.” If you’re hankering for a chance to do your own creative work, Staunton Makerspace offers both courses, space, and tools for independent work.

If you haven’t been to the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library yet, a rainy day is the ideal time to tour the 19th-century manse and bone up on your history. Snatch a selfie in front of Wilson’s 1919 Pierce-Arrow Limousine or tour the state-of-the-art WWI trench warfare exhibit. The museum is also offering live virtual programming and is opening a new exhibit called “The Quarantine Museum,” in which Staunton residents share their stories of navigating the pandemic.

Find the Bottom of Your Glass

When downpours make you thirsty, get a sense of Staunton’s local wine offerings at the Ox-Eye Vineyards tasting room, which is located in a cool, historic building and has a covered outdoor seating space. Hang out with friends at Yelping Dog, for a wide selection of wines from around the world. Redbeard Brewing Company, Shenandoah Valley Brewing, and Queen City Brewing offer delicious craft beer right in Staunton’s downtown. Skipping Rock Beer Co. is just a short drive away. Sip beer and spend the afternoon enjoying your brew over a board game or two or stunning the world with your knowledge during weekly pub trivia.

Take a Break from Netflix

A rainy day is a perfect excuse to watch a play or a movie. Amp up the culture factor with a performance of one of Shakespeare’s hits at the Blackfriars Playhouse, which has started selling tickets for its Actor’s Renaissance Summer outdoor performances of Macbeth. More performances will follow, but in the meantime, take advantage of BLKFRSTV, where you can stream cinema-quality performances in the comfort of your home. Is a movie and a beer more your speed? The Visulite airs the latest movies and lets you relax with a glass of wine or craft beer. Covid safety measures are in place, including extensive cleaning of all touchpoints and socially distanced seating.

Roll the Dice

Speaking of games, if the sound of raindrops makes you eager to roll dice, Staunton has lots of options to get your game on. To purchase a game to take back to your place, try Pufferbellies for family games and puzzles or the Dragon’s Hoard for strategy games or live gaming.

Limber up those wrists and cure your cabin fever with bowling at Staunton Lanes, where you can roll some straights and fill up on nachos and fries. Your peeps will also enjoy a collaborative breakout puzzle at Crack the Code Escape Room. Crack the Code has recently moved to a new location and is offering both live and take-home escape challenges, some of which are Staunton-themed.

 

Score Something New

Staunton has dozens of cool shops offering unique gifts and items. If you’re looking for something uniquely Virginian, check out Made; By the People, Medieval Fantasies Company Gyfte Shoppe, or The Sparrow’s Nest, which features jewelry, clothing, art, decor, and more from local artists and farms. Harmony Moon and Jude’s: A Fine Emporium carry gifts for all members of the family. And if you’re shopping for Fido, hit up the Well Balanced Paw.  Light up your tastebuds at Staunton Olive Oil Company where you’ll find premium olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and the local herbs and spices to complement them. If books are what you’re into, check out Staunton’s newest bookstore, The Book Dragon, which carries new and used books for the entire family. Alternatively, browse for hours through the huge inventory of reasonably priced used books, comics, CDs, and DVDs at Know Knew Books.

Embrace Something with Memories

17 E. Beverley Antiques boasts two floors of goodies, from furniture, fine jewelry, and art, to retro clothing and accessories. Continue the hunt at Staunton Antiques Center, 10,000 square feet bursting with vintage furniture, housewares, and clothing, as well as contemporary work by local artists. The Factory Antique Mall in Verona is the largest in the country. Spend your rainy afternoon browsing acres of antiques, jewelry, toys, and other items sure to evoke memories of another era. Nearby, Verona Antiques fills a space once occupied by a roller rink with high-quality antiques and art. 

 

Staunton Women in History

Everyone has seen the Woodrow Wilson birthplace and heard, or at least heard about, the Statler Brothers lighting up the nights on Independence Day. However, a number of other less presidential, but also important people have ties to the town. From the wife of a president to leaders in education, read on for more about … Continue reading Staunton Women in History

Everyone has seen the Woodrow Wilson birthplace and heard, or at least heard about, the Statler Brothers lighting up the nights on Independence Day. However, a number of other less presidential, but also important people have ties to the town. From the wife of a president to leaders in education, read on for more about the notable women with connections to Staunton.

Edith Bolling, Wilson’s Second Wife

Edith Bolling Wilson was Woodrow Wilson’s second wife. She was born in Wythville, VA, in 1872 and traced her ancestry back to Pocahontas. Bolling married and moved to D.C., and after her first husband died, married again in 1915, this time to president Woodrow Wilson. When Wilson became bedridden after a stroke, she managed his office and determined what matters of state were important enough to bring to his attention. Edith is known for setting sheep to graze on the White House lawn to save on the manpower that would be needed to cut it during WWI. After Wilson died, Edith worked to preserve her husband’s birthplace, which is now the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library.

Staunton Female Seminaries

Women’s education, which was limited in the 19th century, got a big boost in the 1840s when three female seminaries opened in Staunton.

Mary Baldwin and Augusta Female Seminary (1842)

Augusta Female Seminary was founded by Reverend Rufus W. Bailey, a New England native who came to Staunton to start a Presbyterian school for girls. The Augusta Female Seminary was constructed next to the church. According to Dictionary of Virginia Biography, the school offered an exemplary education for Southern women of the time, stressing academics, devotion to Christian principles, community service, and self-reliance. Mary Julia Baldwin was one of its first students who grew up to later run the school for 34 years. It was later renamed in her honor.

Mary Baldwin attended Augusta Female Seminary and graduated in 1846 as valedictorian. Baldwin started a small school and later took over Augusta Female Seminary in 1863. Not only did she save it from floundering financially, she revamped the curriculum to elevate it to the level of a university. Baldwin proved to be a good businesswoman and administrator, and the school thrived during her 34-year tenure. It came to be “considered one of the most distinguished for young women in the southern states.” Baldwin died in 1897 and is buried in Staunton’s Thornrose Cemetery.

Virginia Female Institute (1844)

Maria Sheffey was a wealthy widow who started a school for girls at her home, Kalorama, in the 1830s. Though Staunton had many schools, this was the first to offer education to girls past elementary school. Later, Ms. Sheffey’s school merged with an Episcopal seminary to form The Virginia Female Institute. Mrs. Sheffey served as a joint principal alongside Reverend James McElroy. The school eventually became Stuart Hall, which still exists today.

Wesleyan Female Institute (1846-1900)

The Wesleyan Female Institute was a Methodist school attended by both boarding and day students. Reverend J.R. Finch was the first principal, and the school was housed in several places over the years, including the church basement and Madison Place.

Local Heroes

YuLee Larner

For 32 years, YuLee Larner wrote weekly “Random Ramblings” and “Larner Lines,” columns for the Newsleader about birds and nature. Larner also wrote Birds of Augusta County, Virginia and Virginia’s Birdlife: An Annotated Checklist. A founding member of the Augusta Bird Club and a president of the Virginia Society of Ornithology, Larner was widely considered one of “the most respected self-taught ornithologist[s] in Virginia.” The YuLee Trail through Staunton’s Montgomery Hall Park is a wonderful place to walk, mountain bike, and look for wildlife. It is named in her honor.

Rita Wilson 

Rita Wilson, Staunton’s first Black councilwoman and vice mayor, served the community for 16 years. She retired in 2008 and passed away in 2016. Staunton City Council named its chambers after her to honor her legacy. Wilson strove to be a community leader and “represent people that she felt were underrepresented.”

Staunton Legends

Ethel Moses (1904-1982)

Ethel Moses was born in Staunton, but she moved to Philadelphia as a child. Nicknamed “The Black Jean Harlow,” Ethel Moses was a hugely popular Harlem performer in the 20s and 30s. She drew crowds to the stage and to her films because of her beauty, her dancing and acting ability, and her engaging personality. She toured with the Cab Calloway band, and began acting in films in the mid 1930s, working with filmmaker Oscar Micheaux on projects such as Temptation, Underworld, God’s Stepchildren, and Birthright. According to Blackpast.org, “Moses remains an important figure as she was one of the few Black underground actresses who represented African American characters in roles that accurately reflected Black life during a time when most major Hollywood filmmakers refused to do so.”

Eva Clark

In 1906, 25-yr.-old Eva Clark, a trapeze artist with the Cole’s Brothers World Famed Triple Railroad United Shows Circus visited Staunton. After her performance, she found herself in the middle of a confrontation between a “friend” and her jealous husband and was shot in the abdomen. Clark was abandoned by both men and the entire circus, but she refused to accuse anyone of a crime, saying it was only an accident. She survived for three weeks at King’s Daughters’ Hospital before succumbing to sepsis. For years, each time a circus came to town, performers would gather to decorate her grave with flowers. In fact, her grave in Thornrose Cemetery is often still decorated with small trinkets and her story has morphed into one of Staunton’s favorite ghost stories.

Other Notable Women

Other notable women who hailed from Staunton include Sadie Adams and Sue M. Wilson Brown, who were African American suffragists. Gertrude Harris Boatwrite Claytor was a mid-twentieth century poet and Mary Yost became the dean of women at Stanford University from 1921-1946. Diana Adams became a principal dancer in the New York City Ballet in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Guide to Arts and Culture for Staunton

From Shakespeare performances to giant metal sculptures to delicate glass art, Staunton offers its residents and visitors a wealth of artistic experiences.  It’s been a tough year for those who rely on visits to performance spaces and galleries, so now that things are opening up a bit, make sure you help keep the arts and … Continue reading Guide to Arts and Culture for Staunton

From Shakespeare performances to giant metal sculptures to delicate glass art, Staunton offers its residents and visitors a wealth of artistic experiences.  It’s been a tough year for those who rely on visits to performance spaces and galleries, so now that things are opening up a bit, make sure you help keep the arts and culture scene alive and thriving in Staunton. You’ll also enrich your life!

American Shakespeare Center

Staunton’s most famous contributor to the arts and culture scene is American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse. Not only does the playhouse perform Shakespeare’s masterpieces (and more), it also lets you get a sense of how the plays were actually performed in the space. Visitors to the Blackfriars can attend performances that include scholarly lectures or talk sessions with the actors. They can take behind-the-scenes tours of the space and sign their kids up for camps. During the pandemic, the Blackfriars shifted gears and offered performances in alternative spaces, including outdoors on the lawn at the Blackburn Inn. The Blackfriars also filmed seven productions to air digitally on BLKFRSTV. Camps still educated young people, but they were virtual. The ASC SafeStart program will bring “safe, live theatre to audiences online, outdoors, and inside in our beloved Blackfriars Playhouse.”

Staunton Augusta Art Center

Located in the R.R. Smith Center for History and Art, the two galleries at the Staunton Augusta Art Center host regular shows of work by regional artists. With the beautiful, historic hotel building designed by T.J. Collins in 1893 as a background, the curated exhibits will inspire you. Original work is available for sale in the gift shop as well as the annual Art for Gifts sale each winter holiday season. The SAArtC also hosts the annual, juried Art in the Park Festival, scheduled this year for September 4-5. Enjoy a day in Gypsy Hill Park exploring the vendor’s open-air displays while live music happens on the bandstand, and kids take advantage of a number of free activities. The art center runs workshops and summer camps for children. There’s a community arts calendar on their webpage that gives you a centralized schedule of all the upcoming arts happenings in the area.

CoArt Gallery & Beverley Street Studio School

After you contemplate paintings, photographs, and more by local artists at the CoArt Gallery, you should buy your favorites to take home and display on your own walls. Serious art students can sign up for a class with the Beverley Street Studio School. Lectures, workshops, and classes for teens and adults are held in a variety of forms including in-person, Zoom, and outdoors. Love nature? Sign up for plein air painting this June or a course devoted to drawing trees. 

Staunton Music Festival 

The Staunton Music Festival’s annual 10-day summer festival includes world-class chamber music ranging from the Middle Ages to commissioned world premieres. This “immersive classical musical experience” brings over 80 acclaimed chamber musicians to Staunton to perform a number of concerts in a variety of downtown Staunton settings.

Heifetz International Music Institute

The Heifetz International Music Institute educates young musicians in their artistic growth and treats the community to a variety of world-class listening opportunities. After a year of online programming and virtual concerts during Covid, Heifetz will perform live music again as part of its Ensemble in Residence concert series.

Sunspots Studio & Glassblowing

You don’t have a Sunspots glass ornament hanging in your window or on your Christmas tree yet? Don’t worry. Not only can you purchase glass art, glassware, vases, and jewelry at Sunspots Studios & Glassblowing, you can make yourself comfortable in the onsite studio and watch the artists making the art. The live demonstrations happen every day, and the artists will explain what they’re doing in each step of the blowing, coloring, and shaping process. Once the glass cools, you can come back and take it home with you!

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Artmobile

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Artmobile mobile museum and studio will make a stop at the Sunspots Pavilion on May 29-30. The artmobile travels around Virginia carrying selections from the VMFA collection to share with visitors. As visitors view the art, they’ll actually be connected with museum educators via Wi-Fi, so they can get a real-time lesson!  If you miss your chance to see the artmobile in Staunton, you can catch it at Waynesboro’s Fall Foliage Art Show on October 9-10.

Murals

Make time to walk down West Beverley to the corner of North Central Avenue to visit the “You Belong Here” mural. Painted in 2019, by Charlottesville artist Christy Baker, this colorful painting covers the entire side of a building with its welcoming message and Shenandoah Valley imagery of cardinals and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Nearby Waynesboro also boasts murals along its Street Arts Trail. More than a dozen interesting and beautiful works have been created during the annual Street Arts Festival.

Giant Metal Sculptures

You can’t miss the giant watering can as you turn under the railroad tracks and head into Staunton’s downtown, but did you know you can find more giant metal sculptures if you know where to look? Ferguson Metal Fabrication created carbon steel flower pots, nuts, books, eyeglasses, crutches, and shoes for the city and area businesses, and they bring a surprising touch of whimsy to the urban landscape.

Oak Grove Theatre and ShenanArts

Staunton is home to two community theaters that, in normal years, offer robust schedules and a chance to enjoy lots of local talent. Oak Grove continues to offer virtual programming and hopes to resume some of its outdoor productions this summer for its 68th season. No date has been set, but ShenanArts will resume normal programming as soon as it is able.

Shops Offering Handmade and Fair Trade Crafts

The Potter’s Daughter Studio is home to both a pottery and painting studio and Concepts Creative constructs custom furniture out of reclaimed wood and other materials. 

If you’re looking for handmade and fair trade crafts, clothing, art, and jewelry by both domestic and foreign artists, make sure to visit Harmony Moon, Latitudes, Blair Made, and Made; By the People, For the People. The Sparrow’s Nest and Medieval Fantasies both carry cool, handmade products.

Nearby

Wayne Theatre

Nearby Waynesboro also has a history and reputation for supporting the arts. Each year, the Wayne Theatre brings many performances to town, including musical theater, movies on the big screen, live music, and art shows. During Covid, the Wayne moved much of its programming online with its “At Home with the Wayne” program. The program has continued to air classic movies as well as taped encore performances of its past hits. Teens and adults have had lots of chances to sign up for online workshops including makeup art, singing, auditioning and more. While much programming remains virtual, the Wayne’s calendar has recently begun filling out with more live events, now that we better understand Covid safety protocols.

Shenandoah Valley Art Center

The Shenandoah Valley Art Center is another wonderful community asset for the arts. Each year, SVAC brings us the Virginia Fall Foliage Art Show. Set against a background of autumnal color, the juried show draws 150 artists to downtown Waynesboro. SVAC hosts a rotating series of exhibits in its galleries and provides art education for children and adults alike with a wide range of camps, classes, and workshops, which are being run with Covid safety measures in place.

P. Buckley Moss Gallery

Buckley Moss became famous by creating “Valley style” watercolors of the Shenandoah Valley, its people, and its history, especially the traditions of the Amish and Mennonites. The P. Buckley Moss Gallery in downtown Waynesboro exhibits a large selection of artwork for view and purchase.

Your Agri-COOL-tural Staunton-Area Farm Itinerary in 5 Steps

The Shenandoah Valley has a wealth of farms and natural beauty. Since spring is practically here, and summer’s on the way, why not plan a vacation around getting the most out of the area’s agricultural bounty? Here’s our suggested itinerary in 5 steps. Step 1: Take a Farm Tour Polyface Farms is a national leader … Continue reading Your Agri-COOL-tural Staunton-Area Farm Itinerary in 5 Steps

The Shenandoah Valley has a wealth of farms and natural beauty. Since spring is practically here, and summer’s on the way, why not plan a vacation around getting the most out of the area’s agricultural bounty? Here’s our suggested itinerary in 5 steps.

Step 1: Take a Farm Tour

Polyface Farms is a national leader in best-practices farming. You can buy pasture-raised, hormone/antibiotic-free chicken, beef, pork, and eggs at the farm store. Stop by any time to take a self-guided tour. Polyface also offers scheduled lectures and private tours as well as “lunatic” tours where visitors ride in a hay wagon. Want to get the kids interested? Sign them up for summer camp to keep them learning with projects and activities centered around sustainable farming.

Wade’s Mill has been in business since 1750, grinding 100% natural, whole grain products with no additives, preservatives or bleaches. You’re welcome to explore the mill grounds or “mill around” looking at historic equipment and displays inside the three-story structure during business hours. More in-depth tours are available for a fee. Plan to purchase bags on freshly ground products to take home with you.

Next, take a self-guided tour of the 5-acre visitor’s area of the Cyrus McCormick Farm. Explore the scenic grounds, gaze at the mill wheel, and learn the history of the mechanical reaper, responsible for revolutionizing grain harvesting in the 1830s.

Step 2: Visit Some Animals

The Mt.Crawford Creamery sells the freshest milk, butter, and other dairy products. Visitors are welcome to say hi to the cows housed next to the dairy or register for a longer tour to learn about the farm’s history, farming practices, and the process of raising and milking the cows. Tours last an hour to an hour and a half, and you’ll definitely want to conclude with a scoop or two of ice cream from the on-site Smiley’s Ice Cream.

Another good place to visit for music, fun, agri-pub food, and delicious craft beer is Stable Craft Brewing. This brewery and event space is on a beautiful working horse farm. Visitors can hang out with the horses as well as sign up for a tour of the facilities. The tours educate participants on the brewery’s sustainable practices, introduce them to the brewers, and offer a peek behind the scenes. 

Middlebrook’s Creambrook Farm raises 100% grass-fed Jersey cows and sells raw milk herd shares. Follow them on Instagram to learn about tours and events. 

Step 3: Plan Your Own Garden

We know you’re itching to get outside and start working on your garden. Here are some places to go to get some inspiration and buy some plants to bring things to life!

You’ll find everything you need for your garden at JMD Farm Market & Garden Center. The center grows vegetable and garden plants, sells pottery, and has a small market which sells seasonal produce, meats, eggs, and local honey. Explore the greenhouses, then sit and enjoy a glass of wine while the kids have a blast on the small natural playground.

You might know the Andre Viette Farm & Nursery only for its daylilies, but the extensive display gardens are open to the public and will inspire your own landscaping. After oohing and aahing over the garden “rooms,” visit the garden center to purchase additions to your own sun and shade gardens.

Pebble Hall Wildflowers is not only a wonderful place for inspiration, you can also pick anything you see to take home with you! Follow the ½-mile loop through the fields of wildflowers and herbs, have a picnic, and admire the long views of the distant mountains. There’s even a small nature museum. Here’s a calendar of what’s blooming each month.

You won’t want to go back home after a visit to White Oak Lavender Farm because it smells so good! The farm encourages visitors to take self-guided audio tours to learn about growing and distilling the herb. Lavender plants may be purchased and you can harvest sprigs when it’s in season. You’ll also want to let the kids play in the interactive discovery area, which includes animals to pet. Stop in at the Lavender Shop for lavender products and savor a glass of wine, sangria, or a frozen wine slushie at the onsite Purple WOLF Vineyard.

JMU’s 125-acre Edith J. Carrier Arboretum is a wonderful place for both a springtime nature walk and for inspiration on how to use native Virginia flowers, trees, and shrubs in your own landscaping. You’ll find water features, artwork, play areas for kids, and more, nestled in the wooded environment.

Step 4: Visit a Farmers’ Market or Farm Store

Located in Staunton’s historic Wharf neighborhood, the Staunton Farmers’ Market brings you fresh goodness every Saturday morning from April through Thanksgiving. Not only will you enjoy chatting with the farmers, the community feel of the market will have you returning each week. Everything sold here has been grown or produced from within 75 miles. The market is a great place for seasonal produce, herbs, plants, and cut flowers. You can also find meat, baked goods, honey, and pickled items. 

Verona’s North Augusta Farmer’s Market operates each Wednesday afternoon (May-October) at the Augusta County Government Center. You’ll enjoy perusing the big selection of fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat, bakery items, honey and artisan crafts.

Farmers’ market fans should also check out the Waynesboro Farmer’s Market, Stuarts Draft Farm Market, and Harrisonburg Farmers Market.

Nu-Beginnings Farm’s store in downtown Staunton specializes in locally grown and produced foods and vegetables. From baked goods, to dairy and eggs, you’ll find something that celebrates the tastes of the Valley. The store also features an eat-in or carry-out menu of sandwiches, soups, salads, snacks, and desserts.

Check the schedule at Valley Pike Farm Market for upcoming live music and floral workshops. The Farm Market emphasizes local and Virginia products and includes a coffee shop, deli, ice cream shop, bakery, food trucks. You can also buy many varieties of Virginia wine and beer. 

Mount Sidney’s Cool Breeze Farm believes in the humane treatment of animals as it raises and sells pasture/forest-grazed pork, free-range eggs, chemical free produce, and grass fed beef. 

Meadowcroft Farms produces more than 60 different kinds of pickles, relishes, jams, salsas, and spreads at its farm store. You might find the setting so beautiful that you want to take a mini vacation at the historic (but modernized) on site Inn at Meadowcroft.

Step 5: Pick Your Own

Your family will love bonding over a pick-your-own adventure at one of our area farms and orchards. Check out this crop availability calendar and spend a summer or fall afternoon selecting the best from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. We promise they’ll make your dinner or baked goods taste amazing! And the pictures you snap will last a lifetime.

Get your early summer strawberry fix at Troyer Nursery. Come back later in the season for sweetcorn, tomatoes, green beans, red beets, squash, zucchini, onions and other vegetables. They also sell milk and ice cream mix from Mount Crawford creamery.

The Critzer Family Farm boasts environmentally-friendly methods and a commitment to bettering the land and community and educating children. The Afton Mountain farm offers you-pick strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, peaches, plums, pumpkins, and fresh veggies. Oh, and there’s home-churned ice cream to enjoy after you pick.

Plan to celebrate sweater weather picking apples and enjoying the scenery at Carter Mountain Orchard or Sunrise Orchards. You’ll like the grapes and photo opportunities at Wenger Grapes. And plan to pick a wagonload of over 30 varieties of pumpkins and gourds at Middle River Farms!

Step 6: Eat Something Farm Fresh

Zynodoa is known for its upscale Southern cuisine sourced primarily from the Shenandoah Valley.  Start your evening with a specialty cocktail at the bar. Then select an entre like local Polyface Farm sweet tea brined chicken is a full-on  feast. It’s served with fresh cauliflower, swiss chard, a.m. fog mushrooms, rutabaga puree, and white miso chicken jus. 

Nu-Beginnings Farm’s store in downtown Staunton specializes in locally grown and produced foods and vegetables. The store features an eat-in or carry-out menu of sandwiches, soups, salads, snacks, and desserts. From baked goods, to dairy and eggs, you’ll find something that celebrates the tastes of the Valley. 

Firkin Pie Company specializes in both sweet and savory pies using seasonal ingredients. Grab a slice of peanut pie packed with salted peanuts, maple syrup, and peanut butter before it’s gone! Or catch a spring-time citrus pie to awaken your senses.

For more ideas on how to get a farm-to-table meal, check out More than a Movement: Staunton’s Farm to Table Restaurants.