#LOVEstaunton

#LOVEstaunton

Virtual Staunton Visits

Looking for some much-needed entertainment while we are all sheltering-in-place, but tired of Netflix, TikTok, and YouTube?  Staunton has lots of options for virtual entertainment and education to keep you busy from the comfort of your own home this spring. Bring American Shakespeare Center home with BlkFrsTV “Thrilling…These webcasts effortlessly convey the joyous experience of … Continue reading Virtual Staunton Visits

Looking for some much-needed entertainment while we are all sheltering-in-place, but tired of Netflix, TikTok, and YouTube?  Staunton has lots of options for virtual entertainment and education to keep you busy from the comfort of your own home this spring.

Bring American Shakespeare Center home with BlkFrsTV

“Thrilling…These webcasts effortlessly convey the joyous experience of watching Shakespeare performed in Blackfriars Playhouse..let ASC take your mind off your troubles as you commune at home with theater’s supreme genius,” — Terry Teachout for The Wall Street Journal 

Streaming Shows

Since audiences can’t come to the Blackfriars, ASC is bringing the Playhouse to you. Pull up a chair to the virtual hearth for cinema-quality streaming video of their complete 2020 Actors’ Renaissance and Tour Homecoming seasons. These high-quality performances are available until May 3, 2020 and each performance is just $10 per household. Can’t commit? Don’t worry, you have a week to watch the performance. Have more questions? Visit their FAQ page to find out about BLKFRS TV. 

Masterclasses and SHXCADEMY 

ASC announced two new opportunities to connect and learn something new direct from the stage and shops of the Blackfriars Playhouse and delivered straight to your home.  ASC/Masterclass series is a series of eight unique courses taught over 6-weeks by ASC artists and designed for everyone.  No experience is required to enroll and the best part is you can do it in the comfort of your own homewhere no one is watching. So you can let your hair down and immerse yourself in the experience as you connect with ASC’s artists in an intimate setting. Pick your area of interest which run the gamut from stage fighting, song writing, character building, cooking, movement and much more. Join ASC actors every week for an hour long class and dive into the creative process.  

The SHXCADEMY introduces participants to the practices of the rehearsal room through a series of four workshops, hosted live from the Blackfriars Playhouse, plus a digital ticket to the relevant BlkFrsTV streaming production you are studying. Working with ASC’s Education Team and ASC artists you’ll break down Shakespeare’s text into pieces, connecting character, story, and compelling moments. These workshops are perfect for families or individuals. Learn more about the workshops and to see the complete schedule. 

FREE ONLINE TOURS at Woodrow Wilson Presidential LIBRARY

Maybe a virtual tour of our 28th President’s home or an educational discussion with the museum curator is more up your alley? Check out the FREE online tours and programs offered at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum. Every Monday and Wednesday take a virtual tour of Wilson’s birthplace home. On Tuesday afternoons join the Curator Andrew Phillips or Education Director Emily Kilgore in a lively discussion with their “History at Home,” series focusing on a different topic every week. Friday’s topics switch every other week between Enslaved Laborers in the Manse and Wilson and the Pandemic. Enslaved Laborers in the Manse focuses on the enslaved people who lived and labored in the Presbyterian Manse where Woodrow Wilson was born, while Wilson and Pandemic looks at the 1918 pandemic and how it compares to COVID-19 and what we are currently facing today. Take a look at the complete schedule and list of topics. Registration is FREE but is required to participate. 

sip and swirl with Virtual Experiences at Barren Ridge Vineyards 

Barren Ridge is hosting a series of tastings and other experiences on Facebook Live. Their Live at 5 Wine Tastings are every Sunday at 5 PM and come with tasting sheets. Read up on the wine before joining Robert Higgs for a virtual tasting where you will learn wine tasting technique, varietal characteristics, and a bit of local history surrounding the Higgs’ 3rd generation family farm. For a more hands on experience, taste alongside Robert by pre-ordering your wine. Pick-up curbside or get your your wine delivered locally on Thursdays (15-mile radius). 

unwind with classical music 

Subscribe to the Heifetz International Music Institute’s YouTube channel. Their robust channel, with over 30,000 subscribers and millions of views, is your go-to for classical music—although their repertoire goes far beyond Beethoven, Bach, and Brahms. Their videos include performances from past seasons of their Festival of Concerts with tons of playlists to choose from. The Institute also releases a Video of the Week where they highlight a piece of music offering historical context surrounding the music and programmatic notes while highlighting the Heifetz alums, students, and celebrity faculty that take that stage of the Francis Auditorium at Mary Baldwin University. And if that wasn’t enough, the Institute also has their very own Spotify Playlist on their website. Happy listening! 

get up close and personal with wildlife

Get up close and personal with wildlife at the Virginia Wildlife Center. This animal hospital is home to two dozen animal residents like hawks, owls, eagles, opossums and snakes. These permanent residents serve as ambassadors for the center and you can visit them via the center’s critter cam. Channel 1 features the center’s education birds that are non-releasable: Buddy the Bald Eagle, Buttercup the Black Vulture or Athena the Barred Owl. Channels 2 and 3 show the cute and cuddly black bear yearlings and cubs who will be cared for until they are old enough to be released back in the wild. The Center is also offering virtual programs every week on Facebook. Here you can meet their animal ambassadors and learn about the different species. Visitors can also tour their animal enclosures and if you think you’re an animal expert try their Quiz Friday! Facebook live events.

Take a virtual Architecture Walking Tour

Explore Staunton and the city’s historic districts, and other areas of town, on a virtual walking tour via our blog. Every week this new blog series, Staunton on Foot, takes you on a stroll through one of Staunton’s historic districts, six of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Learn about the eclectic mix of architectural styles that range from Greek Revival, Second Empire, Romanesque Revival, Colonial Revival, Neo-classical, Federal, Beaux-Arts and more. Much of the city’s celebrated architecture can be attributed to one man, TJ Collins, a talented architect who practiced in Staunton from 1891 to 1911. He designed or remodeled nearly 200 buildings in Staunton, many of which still survive today including the courthouse, schools, churches, theaters, commercial buildings and private residences.

So far Staunton on Foot has explored three areas of the city, Beverley StreetThornrose Cemetery, and Newtown. While Thornrose Cemetery isn’t listed on the National Register of Historic Places it is chalk-full of history, character and beauty and definitely worth checking out. Newtown, ironically, is Staunton’s oldest distinctly residential neighborhood and is Staunton’s largest consisting of over 400 buildings.

Whether you’re visiting virtually or literally exploring by foot check out Historic Staunton Foundation’s walking tour map. Physical maps are also available for pick-up at the kiosk outside the Visitor Center at 35 S. New Street.

 

Explore Staunton on Foot: Newtown Historic District

Named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, Newtown Historic District is Staunton’s oldest distinctly residential neighborhood. The name Newtown set it apart from the area once known as Oldtown. This district is Staunton’s largest and consists of over 400 buildings. Many of the homes in Newtown emerged between the 1870s and 1920s, … Continue reading Explore Staunton on Foot: Newtown Historic District

Named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, Newtown Historic District is Staunton’s oldest distinctly residential neighborhood. The name Newtown set it apart from the area once known as Oldtown. This district is Staunton’s largest and consists of over 400 buildings. Many of the homes in Newtown emerged between the 1870s and 1920s, but some older structures date to the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Where to Park

Park in the New Street Parking Garage or in the Wharf Parking Lot. Parking is currently FREE in these lots or park along the street which has a two-hour limit.

Beverley Street

Start your walk on the corner of Beverley and New Streets and head west along Beverley. Staunton’s oldest house of worship, Trinity Episcopal Church, rises to your left. This is the third church on this site. The first was Augusta Parish Church that briefly housed the Virginia General Assembly as it fled from British troops in 1781. The current church was built in 1855 in early Gothic Revival style, the church contains 12 stained-glass windows made by Tiffany Studios. Check the website for when the interior of the church is open to the public and explore the churchyard. You’ll find many historic grave markers as well as beautiful landscaping and a labyrinth. Two other architectural gems grace the property: The Parish House (gothic revival style) and the Trinity Rectory (Jacobean revival style), both constructed in 1872.

Staunton’s first public school, the Stonewall Jackson School at 217 W. Beverley, was built in 1887 and later remodeled by T.J. Collins. Now the building houses The Beverley Street Studio School, an art school dedicated to offering non-degree, college-level classes.

Church Street

Turn left on Church street for another view of the Trinity grounds. Look to your right for 18 Church Street. This structure, built in 1880 in the Eastlake style, is unusual in this part of the country. 120 Church Street’s Stuart House was built in 1791 for Judge Archibald Stuart, who claimed to have received plans and building advice from Thomas Jefferson. Stuart’s descendants live there today, and sometimes open the early Classical Revival building for house and garden tours. 

Johnson Street

The large, white brick Greek Revival house at 600 W. Johnson Street is one of the most prominent houses in the Newtown Historic district. Built in 1851 as a private home, the Wesleyan Female Institute bought it in 1870. 610 W. Johnson Street was built in 1871 as part of the Institute, which was a college for women. When the Institute went bankrupt in 1900, the houses reverted to single-family dwellings.

Fayette Street

Several preserved historic homes line Fayette Street. Look for Italianate, Dutch Colonial, Queen Anne, and stone block townhouses. 19 S. Fayette Street was built in 1810, and T.J. Collins designed the “new” entrance in 1905. When Fayette St. ends at Beverley, look across the street at the Smith-Thompson house at 701-703 Beverley Street. The sided portion, built by a Revolutionary War-soldier-turned-barber who claimed to have shaved George Washington, dates from 1792, and is one of Staunton’s oldest buildings.

Thornrose Cemetery

If you’re up for a little extra walking, turn left on Beverley Street and follow it west. Note 921 West Beverley Street, former site of Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was organized in 1865 and was the first church west of the Blue Ridge Mountains established by people of color. The church moved to a more accessible location and the building is now a private residence. Head toward Thornrose Cemetery. Built in 1849, many consider this 12-acre park-like cemetery to be one of the most beautiful in the country. See our separate walking tour of Thornrose Cemetery. For a treat, see what’s just out of the oven at Newtown Baking and Kitchen.

Frederick Street

Head back east on Frederick Street. The view on your left are the grounds of Stuart Hall School, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The Episcopal Church founded Stuart Hall in 1844 as the Virginia Women’s Institute, and renamed it in 1907 after headmistress Mrs. J.E.B. Stuart. 401 and 325 W. Frederick Street were originally single-family homes that were absorbed by the school. Edwin M. Taylor designed the Greek Revival-style “Old Main” building in 1846.

Emmanuel Episcopal Church was constructed in 1894 and designed by Staunton’s own T.J. Collins. This Gothic Revival structure features stained glass windows, lovely brick and woodwork, and painted murals.

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. 

 

Social Distancing in Staunton

Get Active: Hiking, Biking and Running Get out and stretch your legs! Now that spring is finally here it is the perfect time to get a workout outdoors while gyms and other workout studios are closed. Try some of our favorite scenic biking routes for kids and adults. Many hiking trails in and around Staunton remain open … Continue reading Social Distancing in Staunton

Get Active: Hiking, Biking and Running


Get out and stretch your legs! Now that spring is finally here it is the perfect time to get a workout outdoors while gyms and other workout studios are closed. Try some of our favorite scenic biking routes for kids and adults. Many hiking trails in and around Staunton remain open offering refuge from your home and fresh mountain air along with beautiful views.

Please note, because of the warming weather, a lot of residents are taking to the outdoors which means sidewalks and trails are likely to be busier than usual. Please continue to practice social distancing in these settings, remaining at least 6 feet away from passerbys and others near you.

Enjoy Nature: Parks and Gardens


If you’re not feeling much like heart-pumping physical exercise (we understand), try taking a stroll through any one of the city’s parks and gardens. Enjoy the newly blooming spring bounty with these ten Staunton-area spots that promise to be easy on the eyes. Be on the look out for flowering trees like redbuds, magnolias, Bradford pears are budding out with dogwood trees to follow. Early spring flowers include daffodils, tulips, forsythia, lilac, and violets. Remember to bring your phone or camera to capture these seasonal blooms.

Discover our Historic Areas

Why not go explore? Staunton boasts six-historic districts, that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and offer an eclectic mix of architectural styles. Explore these historic areas and their celebrated architecture on a virtual visit with our new blog series: Staunton on Foot. Or pick-up a walking tour map from the kiosk outside the Visitor Center (35 S. New Street) and discover your city. Each week we will introduce a new walking tour so keep checking our blog.

Support Local Businesses: Ordering Delivery, Buying Gift Cards, Online Shopping


During trying times, it’s important for all of us to remember to help others in whatever ways we can. If you have the resources to be able to do some online shopping, consider buying from Staunton vendors and businesses. From clothing to vintage finds, pastries and local brews to toys and books Staunton Downtown Development Association has put together a list of businesses offering curbside pick-up, delivery, and shipping. This list will continue to change so check back often.

Go on a Virtual Visit to Staunton


While we may be social distancing, you can still visit Staunton. Try a virtual wine tasting with Barren Ridge Vineyards,  get up close and personal with a critter from the Virginia Wildlife Center, watch a Shakespearean play by the American Shakespeare Center, or tour the birthplace home of our 28th President. Staunton has never been more accessible from the comfort of your own home. Learn more about these online offerings, many of which are free, and keep the entire family entertained.

Biking with Kids

With the kids out of school, we’re all looking for fun ways to keep the entire family occupied. Biking is a great reason to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and get some exercise. Fortunately, we have a number of kid-friendly spots to ride. Just remember to practice some social distancing. Here’s our round-up of … Continue reading Biking with Kids

With the kids out of school, we’re all looking for fun ways to keep the entire family occupied. Biking is a great reason to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and get some exercise. Fortunately, we have a number of kid-friendly spots to ride. Just remember to practice some social distancing. Here’s our round-up of family-friendly rides

Gypsy Hill Park

Looking for a mostly flat route that’s good for younger legs? Gypsy Hill Park’s 1.3-mile paved loop is a good way to get the littles used to pedaling. The loop is open to pedestrians, bikes, and cars, but drivers move slowly and know to be cautious. You’ll see the duck pond as you circle the park, and it’s a nice spot to head as the ride winds down. If your youngsters are just learning to balance, the park also offers a large, flat parking lot near the Gypsy Hill Gym. Used as event parking, this lot is often empty. 

Betsy Bell Wilderness Area

Give your legs a dose of burn in the Betsy Bell Wilderness Area. Bikers can ride up the gravel road to the overlooks at the top. Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Staunton before finishing the1.1-mile loop on the trail through the woods.

Montgomery Hall Park

More advanced mountain bikers will want to test their endurance at Montgomery Hall Park. More than four miles of singletrack wind through the woods, so you’ll be able to bask in the glow of the foliage as you power up the steep hills. The trails are quiet and well maintained, but you might occasionally share them with hikers. 

Augusta Springs Wetlands

Beginning cyclists will be able to enjoy a bit of independence as they circle the ¾-mile loop at Augusta Springs Wetlands. The flat trail is located 20 minutes from Staunton and is made up of wooden boardwalks and pea gravel. Interpretive signs about birds and wildlife set up along the trail make nice resting and catch-up spots. Nature lovers will enjoy spotting birds and checking out what native plants are in bloom

South River Greenway

Take a trip to Waynesboro to enjoy the South River Greenway. Part of the park system, this flat, paved path caters to walkers, runners, and bikers. Stretching just over a mile along the South River, the trail treats visitors to views of river, parkland, and the city’s industrial heritage. There’s parking at both ends and interpretive signs identify wildlife you might see.

Chessie Nature Trail

Head down to Lexington to explore the Chessie Nature Trail as it stretches 7.2 miles along the Maury River. Once a Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad bed, the flat route stretches between Lexington and Buena Vista. Riders of all ages and abilities can enjoy the trail as it can be completed as a longer out-and-back or short excursion through rural forest and farmland. Parking can be found at both ends. 

Mountain View/Grand Caverns Park Path

1.4 miles of sidewalks and gravel pathways connect the Mountain View and Grand Caverns parks. This flat stretch through Grottoes gives you a scenic view of the mountains, and access to the South River and the fitness trail in Grand Caverns Park.

Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail

This one’s a bit of a drive, but the trip over Afton Mountain and the incredible scenery of Nelson County make it worth it. The 7-mile Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail stretches along the Tye and Piney Rivers, offering privacy, five cool bridges, a crushed gravel trail bed, and a renovated historic depot and visitor’s center. 

Did You Know?

  • For bikes, repairs, and supplies, visit Black Dog Bikes in downtown Staunton.
  • Keep your bike off Staunton’s sidewalks in the commercial district downtown.
  • For safety tips and an overview of Virginia’s biking laws, check out ShareVARoads.org’s Sharing the Road in Virginia.
  • For more routes, check out Bike the Valley.

Spring in Bloom: Flower Gardens of Staunton and Beyond

Sadly, Virginia Garden Week has been cancelled for 2020. You might be social distancing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get out on your own and enjoy the newly blooming spring bounty. Here are ten Staunton-area spots that promise to be easy on the eyes this spring. What can you expect to see?  The wonderful … Continue reading Spring in Bloom: Flower Gardens of Staunton and Beyond

Sadly, Virginia Garden Week has been cancelled for 2020. You might be social distancing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get out on your own and enjoy the newly blooming spring bounty. Here are ten Staunton-area spots that promise to be easy on the eyes this spring.

What can you expect to see? 

The wonderful thing about flowers in gardens and flowers in nature is that the display changes throughout the year. 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.

Best Gardens in Staunton

Walk along many of the residential streets in Staunton and you’re sure to be wowed by the private gardens of our residents. Gardens in many of our public spaces also shine. 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 and do not require a ticket to enter. Originally part of a much larger estate, the existing gardens were designed by landscape architect Charles F. Fillette 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.

Flowerbeds 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.

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.

Best Gardens Near Staunton

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 fairie 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.

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.

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!

Boxerwood Gardens

Though the Play Trail has closed for the spring, the 15-acre Woodland Garden at Boxerwood Gardens remains open for visitors to explore. 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.

SHOW YOUR LOCAL LOVE: REMEMBER LOCAL.

As one of the oldest cities west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Staunton’s history spans three centuries. Stretching west of the Mississippi River and north to the Great Lakes, Augusta County was America’s first frontier while Staunton served as the county seat, cultural center, and business hub. This large land area saw clashes between Native Americans and … Continue reading SHOW YOUR LOCAL LOVE: REMEMBER LOCAL.

As one of the oldest cities west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Staunton’s history spans three centuries. Stretching west of the Mississippi River and north to the Great Lakes, Augusta County was America’s first frontier while Staunton served as the county seat, cultural center, and business hub. This large land area saw clashes between Native Americans and the area’s earliest settlers, the state’s general assembly took shelter in Staunton during the Revolutionary War, America’s agricultural revolution began here, Civil War armies vied for control of the state here, and a U.S. President was born here.

Historic Sites and Museums 

Our storied past is celebrated with a variety of historic attractions, archival collections, historical buildings, museums, and Civil War sites that help tell our unique story. These hands-on experiences enable locals and visitors to step back in time and see snapshots of life starting with our frontier days at the state’s living history museum, the Frontier Culture Museum to the 20th century where you can explore the birthplace of our 28th President, Woodrow Wilson and learn about his life and legacy. While organizations like the Historic Staunton Foundation help ensure the continued preservation of our “award-winning,” main street an accolade that attracts people and press to our small city. This is in addition to the outreach and education programs the foundation runs year round. 

While these treasures are closed and events cancelled for the time being, some organizations like the Woodrow Wilson Library are finding interactive ways to educate and reach audiences using technology. The Woodrow Wilson Library is offering daily, live tours to the public along with interactive workshops. Find out how you can be a part of these FREE virtual tours and programs made possible by the Charles Fund. Or if you’re need a distraction from COVID-19, visit the Frontier Culture Museum’s Facebook page to see their newest additions (think farm animals.) Visit our website to learn more about our historic sites, museums and organizations like the Augusta Military Academy Museum, the Camera Heritage Museum, the Stonewall Brigade Band and the Augusta County Historical Society among many others. 

Whatever you do, remember these important resources that educate our community, tell our unique story, and shape our future. During this unique time of COVID-19, help us write our own history, one that shows our community as paying it forward to the businesses that need our support, the organizations that need our donations and the attractions that need us to remember who we are and where we came from. Find out how you can support them now, during this time of need, and in the future. Remember Local.

Travel Advisory

Last Updated July 29 at 11:27 a.m. COVID-19 Resource Page  The City of Staunton takes the health and safety of our citizens and visitors seriously, and the coronavirus has our full attention. As restrictions under Forward Virginia are lifted, many of our attractions, restaurants and lodging properties are open and ready to serve you safely. … Continue reading Travel Advisory

Last Updated July 29 at 11:27 a.m.

COVID-19 Resource Page 

The City of Staunton takes the health and safety of our citizens and visitors seriously, and the coronavirus has our full attention. As restrictions under Forward Virginia are lifted, many of our attractions, restaurants and lodging properties are open and ready to serve you safely. We encourage you to call ahead to ensure the business you are visiting is open and the safety precautions they have in place.

For information on the City of Staunton’s response to COVID-19, refer to the city’s COVID-19 webpage.

Attractions

The following Attractions are now open:

American Shakespeare Center’s Summer 2020 SafeStart Season opened on July 25 with two productions: Othello and Twelfth Night. There are three ways to watch performances: in the Blackfriars Playhouse with Covid-19 regulations in place, outside on a socially distanced section of the lawn of the Blackburn Inn, or online via live streaming events. Check out the ASC’s SafeStart Visitor’s Guide for actors, audience and staff.

Barren Ridge Vineyards‘ patio is open. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 540-248-3300. Masks are required when entering the tasting room and when visitors are not seated.

Camera Heritage Museum is open Monday-Friday from 9 am-5 pm and Saturdays from 9 am-2 pm. Masks are required and admittance is limited to six people at a time.

Co-Art Gallery is open Thursday-Sunday. Masks are required and admittance is limited to six people at a time.

Frontier Culture Museum is open daily from 9 am-5 pm with social distance guidelines in place. Masks are required inside but are not required outside on the grounds of the museum. Admittance into the museum is limited to 250 visitors people every two hours and there are no special events taking place at this time.

Grand Caverns is open daily for tours 9 am-5 pm. Reservations are strongly encouraged as tours and facilities are operating at a reduced capacity. Face masks and social distancing are required. Fountain Cave Adventure Tours and Historic Off Trail Tours are not being held at this time.

Ox-Eye Vineyards is open daily for tastings as well as seating on the patio.  Check their website for hours.

The art and history exhibits at the Staunton Augusta Art Center and the Augusta County Historical Society are open Friday and Saturday evenings from 5-8 pm by appointment only.  The R.R. Smith Center is also open on Wednesday afternoons during the Heifetz Rubato Virtual Concert viewing party from 2-4 pm. Enjoy two exhibits plus a concert, all for FREE!

Staunton breweries on the  Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail are open with a variety of indoor and outdoor seating options. Check out:
Queen City Brewing
Redbeard Brewing Company

Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company

Staunton Farmers’ Market is open on Saturdays from 7 am-12 pm to socially distancing, mask-wearing foot traffic. Customers are asked not to linger, but can purchase items directly from vendors’ stands. Items may also be preordered. Please leave pets at home.

Sunspots Studios is open Wednesday-Saturday from 12 pm-4 pm or by appointment for glass blowing demonstrations and shopping.

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum is for open for self-guided tours of the museum. Pre-registration is required and time tickets are available every have hour starting at 10 am, Monday-Saturday and 12 pm on Sundays. Your ticket comes with a virtual tour of Wilson’s birthplace. Masks are required when inside museum buildings.

The following attractions remain closed:

Trinity Episcopal Church
Bruce A. Elder Antique and Classic Automobiles

Events

In lieu of live events, many of our events and festivals are going virtual. Check out these alternative options:

Heifetz International Music Institute is not having physical programming this summer but continues to stream daily virtual performances that includes their Stars of Tomorrow, The Beethoven Experience, Celebrity Series, Alumni Series, and Heifetz Hootenanny series. Check out their Digital Concert Hall: Rubato for a full calendar of streamable experiences.

Queen City Mischief and Magic: 2020 is The Year That Shall Not Be Named and to ensure public safety, QCMM will not take place in-person but virtual, magical experiences are brewing for the weekend of September 27-29. Check the website for details as they become available.

 Staunton Music Festival has been postponed until August 13-22, 2021 but is offering a new video series, “Perspectives.” Watch videos of past performances with new videos featuring Staunton Music Festival performers, composers, and historians that will take you deeper into the music.

For our weekly event listings, of both live and virtual events, check out Staunton on Tap.

Dining 

Dine Out in Downtown, Staunton’s new outdoor dining initiative, has closed Beverley Street to vehicular traffic on the weekends. This allows restaurants and businesses to expand square footage and serve customers on the sidewalk and street. Dine Out in Downtown will continue through Labor Day.

Our foodie footprint extends way beyond our charming main street. Staunton is a melting pot of flavor with a wide-range of cafes, bakeries, coffee shops, ice cream parlors and more! Check out Staunton’s other historic and business districts that are taking dining to a whole new level.

Shopping

Treat yourself! Non-essential retailers are open for business and we encourage locals and visitors to show your support by shopping local. You won’t find any big box stores here! With over 100 independent shops, stroll the streets of Staunton for those unique finds from artisan gifts and rare books to hand-crafted jewelry and much more. Visit Staunton Downtown Development Association page to find out what businesses are open and how you can support them.

Lodging

Staunton’s lodging properties are taking extra precautions in response to COVID-19. Some of the things you may notice are extra cleaning protocols in public spaces and in guest rooms, furniture and public seating areas are properly spaced for physically distancing, and guest cleaning products such as hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes are located in both public spaces and guest rooms. Every measure is in place for the safety of guests and staff.  Book your stay! 

Visitor Centers

To protect the health of our community, staff, and visitors, the Downtown Visitor Center remains closed at this time. The administrative office will continue regular weekday operations. Please call 540-332-3865 with any questions or to request a visitors guide.

The Tourist Information Center at Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Public Health and Travel Resources

General COVID-19 Information

SHOW YOUR LOCAL LOVE: GIVE LOCAL.

Staunton’s rich history of arts and culture goes back to its days as a 19th-century rail junction and a center for travelers to stop over and enjoy opera, vaudeville, and a rollicking nightlife. That tradition lives on today. Staunton city is buzzing with entertainment offerings by renowned organizations like  American Shakespeare Center and the Heifetz International Music … Continue reading SHOW YOUR LOCAL LOVE: GIVE LOCAL.

Staunton’s rich history of arts and culture goes back to its days as a 19th-century rail junction and a center for travelers to stop over and enjoy opera, vaudeville, and a rollicking nightlife. That tradition lives on today. Staunton city is buzzing with entertainment offerings by renowned organizations like  American Shakespeare Center and the Heifetz International Music Institute, the Staunton Music Festival, Sunspots Studios and many more that make Staunton their home.

American Shakespeare Center

With the curtain drawn on the American Shakespeare Center’s Actors’ Renaissance season and the theatre’s subsequent closing from March 19-May 31, the theater troupe is looking to reboot, in June, with their much anticipated marquee repertory that includes Shakespearean staples like Othello, The Merchant of  Venice and Twelfth Night 90 along with the masterpiece Volpone and Keene, a Shakespeare’s New Contemporary companion piece to Othello.

In the meantime, the ASC is seeking support to help them literally keep the lights on and the mortgage paid. The American Shakespeare Center’s struggle, like other nonprofit organizations dealing with the fallout of the coronavirus, was recently profiled in The Washington Post by columnist Peter Marks who writes how COVID-19 “…amounted to a potential theatrical extinction event.”

Want to help? Give locally and make a donation to the American Shakespeare Center to help them reach their goal of $350,000 or consider purchasing tickets for the summer season. As ASC’s Artistic Director, Ethan McSweeney stated: “We usually sign off with a cheery “we’ll see you at the Playhouse.”  This time that salutation is perhaps a little more hopeful, a little less certain, and a little more significant.”

Find out how you can bring home the Bard with streaming performances and workshops. 

Heifetz International Music Institute

Another organization reeling from the effects of COVID-19 is the Heifetz International Music Institute who had to cancel several performances this spring and are now transitioning their summer program into a virtual one. 2020 Heifetz Virtual Summer Institute will have much of the same programming for students and audiences but will be available online instead of in-person on the campus of Mary Baldwin University. Rubato, the institute’s virtual concert hall will give you FREE access to all concerts, you’ve come to enjoy, but on YouTube and Facebook. Watch these performance for up to seven days following the broadcast at which point they will be available in the archives exclusively for Virtual Season Pass Holderspurchase your pass today—and help support the Heifetz Institute.

For information on other arts organizations and non-profits like Staunton-Augusta Art Center, CoArt Gallery, Beverley Street School Studio and many others in the Staunton-Augusta area visit our website. Find out what they’re doing to keep the lights on and how you can GIVE LOCAL.

Free Stuff to Do for Kids: 2020

In this rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19, we urge you to call each venue ahead of time, to be sure they are open for business and what their hours might be. We’ve rounded up a list of free family-friendly activities in Staunton that will get you moving and keep the dreaded “I’m boreds” at bay. … Continue reading Free Stuff to Do for Kids: 2020

In this rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19, we urge you to call each venue ahead of time, to be sure they are open for business and what their hours might be.

We’ve rounded up a list of free family-friendly activities in Staunton that will get you moving and keep the dreaded “I’m boreds” at bay. Save this for future reference; we’re sure you’ll look to it as a resource for a while to come.

Artsy Things

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 history and rotating exhibits. Mary Baldwin University hosts several exhibits tin its Hunt Gallery each academic year. Check out the Blue Star Parent Tool Kit for great ideas to get your kids interacting with what they see during a visit to a museum or gallery.

One of the coolest demonstrations you’ll ever see is glassblowing, and you can see it everyday in Staunton at Sunspots Studios! Watch the masters seemingly turn glass into wax as they form big bubbles bound for a life of beauty.

Outdoorsy Things

Tour the Town

History buff families with eager-to-learn children will appreciate a good walking tour. Grab a printed tour map from the Staunton Visitor Center at 35 South New Street and enjoy this wonderful, walkable city at your own pace. Don’t forget to your Instagram photos with #loveStaunton.

Gypsy Hill Park

214-acre Gypsy Hill Park has a skate park (for BMX, inline, scooters, and skateboards), the Gypsy Express Mini Train (almost free; only $1 per person), the duck pond, Lake Tams for fishing, and of course, playgrounds. Don’t miss Family Nite Flix hosted by Staunton Parks and Recreation. Also, visit the bandstand Monday – Thursday nights for live music, including the Stonewall Brigade Band, Praise in the Park, bluegrass, and jazz.

Montgomery Hall Park

Montgomery Hall Park is 148 acres and includes miles of looping hiking and mountain biking trails. It’s also home to the award-winning natural playground, Nature Ridge. Designed for imaginative play, Nature Ridge has a mud kitchen, rock quarry, pirate ship, tunnel, chimes, and an elevated sand pit accessible to children of all abilities. This park’s amenities are rounded out with a traditional playground, disc golf course, tennis and basketball courts, and a pool.

National Parks and Forests

Staunton is only a short drive from Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest which are filled with hikes and other outdoor recreation. Click here for our post on good area hikes for beginners. Entrance fees may apply but the National Park Service does offer fee-free days see the schedule

Fun Things

Trains

Does your family love trains? Visit the historic train station and Sears Hill Bridge. There’s a small park to explore and you’ll see the tracks – and Staunton – from above. For an awesome display of model train layouts and railroad art, head to the Augusta County Railroad Museum in the Staunton Mall. The museum is open Fridays from 5 – 8 pm and Saturdays from 1 – 5 pm.

Firetrucks

And if your obsession leans toward fire trucks, you’ll be over the moon with the Staunton Fire Station, where you can see JUMBO, the oldest motorized fire engine in Virginia and the only remaining 1911 Robinson fire engine. You also just might get a tour of the rest of the station, including the modern firetrucks as well as the quarters where the firefighters live and work.

Treasure Hunting

Do you have a little explorer on your hands? Feed the sense of adventure and mystery when you geocache in our parks or downtown. Learn more about the process and fun of geocaching, then locate our area caches to get started. You can also explore by foot using the free app, Traipse! Traipse takes you on an adventure that is half historic tour and half scavenger hunt. You can Traipse anytime, with whomever you want, in places like downtown Staunton, Gypsy Hill Park, and the campus of Mary Baldwin University.

Free Stuff to Do for Adults: 2020

*In this rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19, we urge you to call each venue ahead of time, to be sure they are open for business and what their hours might be. What’s better than a trip to Staunton? Finding free things do do while you visit, of course! Here’s a list of fun (and frugal) … Continue reading Free Stuff to Do for Adults: 2020

*In this rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19, we urge you to call each venue ahead of time, to be sure they are open for business and what their hours might be.

What’s better than a trip to Staunton? Finding free things do do while you visit, of course! Here’s a list of fun (and frugal) activities for grownups.

Artsy Things

Beverley Street Studio School Gallery & Co-Art Gallery

The Beverley Street Studio School Gallery hosts seven annual exhibits, which are open to the public seven days a week. Enjoy the work of 40+ local artists in the Valley’s largest cooperative gallery, the Co-ART Gallery, which is housed in a connecting space.

Hunt Gallery

Mary Baldwin University hosts five professional exhibits in its Hunt Gallery each academic year. The art ranges from “abstract to classical, reflecting a wide variety of media and artistic intentions.”

Gallery at Ox-Eye Vineyards Tasting Room

If you stop in at Ox-Eye Vineyards tasting room, located in a T.J Collins-designed building in historic downtown, make sure you head upstairs for a look at the gallery, which is free to the public and offers several shows each year.

Artisans Loft

Located in a 2,000-sf. loft about the Staunton Antiques Center, the Artisans Loft celebrates the work of local artists with four juried shows each year.

Staunton Augusta Arts Center

The Staunton Augusta Arts Center is located in the historic R.R. Smith Center for History and Art. Peruse the galleries Monday through Saturday to check out the rotating exhibits, which change every six weeks.

Sunspots Studios

Have you ever seen glass blown at Sunspots Studios? It’s free to watch and demos are offered daily until 4 p.m.

 

Historic Things

Trinity Episcopal Church

The Louis Comfort Tiffany windows at Trinity Episcopal Church are always a draw, and you can visit the church for free to see them. Learn more about the windows and plan your visit.

For more about the surrounding area, visit Staunton Architecture: Newtown Historic District.

Thornrose Cemetery

Thornrose Cemetery is a good place for a walk to experience human and architectural history. It’s the final resting place of more than 1,700 Confederate soldiers from five area battlefields. The various statues and landscaping are worth your attention as well. Check out our walking tour of Thornrose Cemetery.

Staunton Walking TourS

Did you know that Staunton has five distinct historic districts? Grab a printed tour map from the Staunton Visitor Center at 35 South New Street, and enjoy this wonderful, walkable city at your own pace. You can also explore by foot using the free app, Traipse! Traipse takes you on an adventure that is half historic tour and half scavenger hunt. You can Traipse anytime, with whomever you want, in places like downtown Staunton, Gypsy Hill Park, and the campus of Mary Baldwin University. Make sure you stop and take plenty of photos for Instagram! Tag them with #loveStaunton.

Outdoorsy Things

Betsy Bell and Mary Gray Wilderness Parks

Betsy Bell and Mary Gray Wilderness Parks are open to the public from dawn until dusk. Hike the nature trails and appreciate the expansive views of Staunton and the surrounding area. Be sure to bring your camera to capture wildlife!

Gypsy Hill Park

Some people love the duck pond at Gypsy Hill Park. Others appreciate the fishing lake or dog park. Bring your inlines, your BMX, or your skateboard to thrill onlookers with your mad tricks at the skatepark. During the summer, the bandstand hosts free summer concerts. Concerts feature a different genre each night and include the Stonewall Brigade Band on Monday, Praise in the Park on Tuesday, Bluegrass in the Park on Wednesday, and Jazz in the Park on Thursday.

Montgomery Hall Park

Those who want a real workout will enjoy the mountain biking and hiking trails at hilly Montgomery Hall Park. If disc golf is more your style, tee up on the 18-hole course.

Tasty Things

The Wine Cellar

The Wine Cellar hosts regular tastings. Sip some samples and then select a bottle of wine or beer from the newly expanded beer selection. The tastings are  on Fridays or on Saturdays. Check Facebook for more info.

Staunton Olive Oil Company

If you enjoy cooking or are looking for a special gift, stop by Staunton Olive Oil Company’s tasting room for a cooking demonstration and to try their many varieties of infused and fused olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

Fun Stuff at Breweries

While you’re not going to get free beer or food while you visit, you can certainly take advantage of the many free activities hosted by our local breweries. Join the weekly trivia and karaoke at Redbeard Brewing. Skipping Rock Beer Co. hosts lots of live music and trivia games.  Queen City Brewing lets you listen to live music or take the stage yourself with open mic nights. Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company also hosts live music and events. If you’re planning to brewery hop, earn yourself a free t-shirt with Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail’s passport program!

If you are traveling with your family, click here for our post on free family adventures.