#LOVEstaunton

#LOVEstaunton

Your Guide to Things to Do On Presidents’ Day

Whether you know it as Presidents’ Day or George Washington’s Birthday, the holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February is designed to let us think about the founding and safeguarding of our democracy. You might mark the occasion by exploring history or hitting the Presidents’ Day sales, but you don’t have to travel all … Continue reading Your Guide to Things to Do On Presidents’ Day

Whether you know it as Presidents’ Day or George Washington’s Birthday, the holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February is designed to let us think about the founding and safeguarding of our democracy. You might mark the occasion by exploring history or hitting the Presidents’ Day sales, but you don’t have to travel all the way to Washington D.C. Here are some Staunton-area things to do.

Learn About a President at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum

Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton, and though he only lived here a short time, you should visit the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum complex. You’ll learn about Wilson’s life and times as well as the history of Staunton and what it was like to endure a WWI trench. Exhibits also examine prohibition and suffrage. Explore gallery space in the Presbyterian manse where Wilson was born, the Pierce-Arrow Presidential limousine, the surrounding gardens, the research library, and the gift shop.

Register for one of the upcoming programs in the Reckoning: U.S. Presidents and Racial Inequality series. The series concerns the struggle for racial equality in our nation with the hopes that discussion and reflection will help us advance as a just society. It “explores the views and the political policies of individual presidents toward minority populations, with an in-depth focus on how each of these minority groups was affected by presidential policies directed toward them.” The programs feature conversations between historians and opportunities for the public to ask questions. Past programs have been recorded and are available on the website.

Learn About Other Virginia Presidents

Virginia is sometimes called the Mother of Presidents because it has produced more presidents than any other state. The eight are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.

You can also travel over Afton Mountain to Monticello to learn about the life and legacy of Thomas Jefferson. Explore Jefferson’s house and gardens. On-site tours, virtual events, and other resources examine Jefferson’s own complex history as both an enlightened thinker and an owner of enslaved persons. James Madison lived at Orange County’s Montpelier for 76 years. Visitors can learn about the house, grounds, and his role as “Father of the Constitution.” Travel a little farther to D.C. to tour George Washington’s Mount Vernon, or explore the house and grounds virtually

Check out the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s exhibit, The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden, which “grants visitors an insight into the lives and contributions of the men who led our nation since its founding through 900 historical objects and artifacts.” This permanent collection can be viewed in person or online. It will answer all your burning questions like, “what creature was featured on James Monroe’s dessert service,” and “did Grace Coolidge really keep her pet raccoon at the White House?”

Take a Virtual Field Trip

Other online exhibits that deserve a timely visit are the Lincoln Home and the Museum of the American Revolution. Head to South Dakota where The National Park Service has put together a Mount Rushmore site with a lot of valuable educational plans for kids of various ages. 

Other History Near Staunton

There’s nothing about the lives of presidents at the Frontier Culture Museum, but you can connect with the past lives of ordinary citizens through costumed interpreters working on traditional farms. 

Write a Letter to President Biden

Finally, whether you agree or disagree with the current administration, you have the right to make your opinion known. Why not put your valuable ideas into a letter, and send it to the President? You might even get a letter in return!

The President of the USA 

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Washington, DC 20500

For more events in Staunton, please check out Staunton on Tap!

Galentine’s Day in Staunton

Valentine’s Day takes center stage every February, but there’s more to life than your love life. In fact, relationships with gal pals often last much longer. Your friends support you through your highs and lows, and you can count on their total honesty. And let’s face it, who else can you complain about your romantic … Continue reading Galentine’s Day in Staunton

Valentine’s Day takes center stage every February, but there’s more to life than your love life. In fact, relationships with gal pals often last much longer. Your friends support you through your highs and lows, and you can count on their total honesty. And let’s face it, who else can you complain about your romantic partner to? Let’s devote some energy to making memories with your girlfriends this year. Galentine’s Day is February 13. Here are some of our Staunton picks.

Have Some Fun

Channel your inner Sherlocks and work together to problem solve at Crack the Code Escape Room. The escape experience will test your communication skills, make you feel confident, and you’ll be sucked into the story. Better yet,  they’re running a special on February 13 where participants get 10% off and some chocolate from Giancarlo Fine European Pastries! If you’d rather have an outside experience specific to Staunton, download the Traipse app, which is part walking tour and part scavenger hunt with puzzles at every stop. Explore Staunton’s watering holes with the Pub Crawl tour or meet the trees in Gypsy Hill Park. Another good way to bond with your besties is to hit the trails at Montgomery Hall Park for a round of disc golf or some mountain biking.

Sick of girl talk? Take a break with an energizing Drum for Fun class and learn to connect on a more rhythmic level. Classes are appropriate for both beginner and advanced drummers.

If you’re OK with going out with the girls on a night that’s not the 13th, you could attend a weekly Tuesday trivia event like Cheesy Team Trivia at the Clocktower or Trivia Tuesdays with King Trivia at Redbeard Brewing Company. Queen City Brewing hosts regular open mic nights, so you can support your sisters in their creative endeavors.

Check the schedule at the Tempest Bar and Lounge (formerly Downtown 27) for lots of live music and fun, including the return of the immensely popular Studs of Steel Live on February 18. This show promises “high energy, theatrical performances and crowd participation. Inspired by the movies “Magic Mike and Fifty Shades of Grey.” The Tempest Bar and Lounge has also scheduled a speed dating event if your gang is looking for romantic partners. 

Friends who enjoy shopping together will love Design at Nine for the latest in women’s fashion, shoes, and accessories. Try The Sparrow’s Nest for jewelry, pottery, art, and more. If you’re looking for cool gifts, check out Made; By the People, for the People, The Foundry Pop-Ups, and Latitudes.

For home scents and luxurious bath and body products, try Marian’s Candles Scents & Seasons, Redwood & Co., or Essentially Zen.

Book a Spa Day

Wind down after all that action with a spa day at the Spa at the Blackburn. Indulge yourself with skin treatments, massage, reflexology, and nail care. You can also relax at Breezy Hill Day Spa with massage, pedicures, body wraps, and more. Mill Street Body and Soul Day Spa and Salon offers a menu of body treatments as well as makeup application classes and boudoir photo sessions.

Get Crafty

Harmony Harvest Farm is hosting an event for Galentine’s Day called Blooms, Besties, and Brews at Stable Craft Brewing on February 12. You’ll be guided by a professional floral designer as you create a beautiful arrangement. This workshop includes materials and is appropriate for all levels.

Create a beautiful and unique addition to your wardrobe with a Silk Scarf Workshop on February 10. The workshop is led by Suz Hues of The Foundry Pop-Ups. You’ll learn a new technique and take home wonderful memories and a new scarf. All materials are included.

Share Some Nibbles

Toast the friendship and your feline friends at the Valentine’s Tea at the Frederick House. Proceeds benefit Wendy’s Place Cat Rescue.

Enjoy the area’s biggest selection of fine wine by the glass or bottle at Yelping Dog Wine. Share a cheese plate or munch on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Yelping Dog runs regular wine tastings from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Seed to Tail also hosts a weekly wine tasting event. This new farm-to-table gourmet sandwich shop sells a large selection of wine from Virginia and around the world. 

Celebrate your love for cider at Ciders From Mars! From February 9th – 13th they will be offering a flight/cocktail combo special. Choose four ciders and any of their Craft Cider Cocktails for just $15!

It’s igloo season at Stable Craft Brewing. Rent a private heated igloo for up to eight friends and enjoy fresh craft beer and a delicious pub menu. Are you hard cider fans? Ciders from Mars presses locally grown apples into their out-of-this-world varietals, which can be enjoyed by flight or glass in their downtown cidery. You can also savor cider, as well as wine, beer, cocktails, and light fare such as baguette sandwiches and loaded tater tots at The Green Room.

Dine at Table 44 for amazing Southern food with a twist. It’s open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. Make sure you try a few of the cookies and cupcakes at Paris Cake Company after your meal. Serendipity Java Bar & Eatery is a cozy new coffee and lunch spot located near the historic train station. It serves muffins, seasonal scones, cinnamon rolls, egg and cheese bagels, French toast plates, and more. There’s a wide selection of coffees, espressos, and specialty drinks like razzle chai. Stop in later in the day for grilled lunch sandwiches. Looking for something to share?

Try a range of Spanish tapas and other Mediterranean food at Aioli Restaurant. Start with the bacon-wrapped quail, follow with parmesan truffle risotto or seafood paella, and save room for the Callebaut dark chocolate mousse.

For more events, check out Staunton on Tap!

Black-History Month in Staunton

The Black experience is essential to understanding Staunton and the surrounding areas. Read on to learn about how to celebrate Black History Month and other events in Staunton. We’ve also noted important places and citizens and gathered resources for gaining a broader understanding of our city’s Black history, culture, and contributions. We’ve also included a … Continue reading Black-History Month in Staunton

The Black experience is essential to understanding Staunton and the surrounding areas. Read on to learn about how to celebrate Black History Month and other events in Staunton. We’ve also noted important places and citizens and gathered resources for gaining a broader understanding of our city’s Black history, culture, and contributions. We’ve also included a list of area Black-owned businesses.

Festivals and Events 

Black History Month at Mary Baldwin

Join the Mary Baldwin University community this February to celebrate Black History Month. The school will host a full lineup of events including lectures, research presentations, concerts and other performances, readings, open houses, trivia, and much more. Here’s the full schedule.

For more Black History Month events around the state, check out the schedule on the Virginia Tourism Corporation website.

Juneteenth Celebration at the Frontier Culture Museum

In recent years, Montgomery Hall Park has hosted an annual Juneteenth celebration as a way to celebrate the end of slavery. Last year the celebration moved to the Frontier Culture Museum. The celebration has included food, live entertainment, children’s activities, information booths, voter registration, health screenings, and more.

African American Heritage Festival

In recent years, Staunton’s African American Heritage Festival has been canceled due to Covid. Hopefully, it will return in the near future! Expect plenty of music and entertainment to keep you busy. Visitors will also find presentations by historians, art by regional artists, vendors, and community outreach and resources. Area churches gather for an “under the tent” worship service on Sunday morning, and everyone can enjoy an afternoon of gospel music. This free, annual two-day festival in September is the largest and oldest in the Shenandoah Valley. The event is open to the public and everyone, regardless of heritage, is welcome.

Area History

Before the Civil War, many farms throughout the Shenandoah Valley relied upon the labor of enslaved African Americans. In 1830, only about one-sixth of Staunton’s African American population was free to work as blacksmiths, shoemakers, laborers, domestics, and barbers. After the Emancipation Proclamation, opportunities grew. By the end of the century, Staunton had 26 Black-owned businesses including grocery stores, cabinet-making shops, cobblers, restaurants, barbershops, laundries, and more. Within 10 years, there were nearly 50 Black-owned businesses in Staunton. These included a newspaper, hotel, restaurants, a meat market, an insurance company, a jewelry store, and professionals such as doctors and a lawyer.

Black-Owned Businesses Today

According to WHSV, while many businesses struggled, area Black-owned businesses were “nearly twice as likely to fail during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Want to support a local Black-owned business? Check out a regularly updated list of Black-owned businesses in the Shenandoah Valley compiled by the Black and Brown Owned Businesses-Shenandoah Valley Facebook page. The Newsleader identified some in Staunton.

Museums and Research

Booker T. Washington Museum and Library

The Booker T. Washington Museum and Library contains photographs, articles, books, yearbooks, and memorabilia like sports trophies and letterman jackets. It is housed in the Booker T. Washington Community Center, Staunton’s former segregated high school. The school educated Black students for 30 years before Staunton’s schools were finally integrated in 1966. The school served as both an educational space and a public meeting place for the African American community. It hosted social events, voter registration, and adult night classes. The building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2014.

Frontier Culture Museum’s West African Farm Exhibit

The Frontier Culture Museum’s living history farms educate today’s visitors by recreating the past. The West African Farm exhibit “explores the cultural contributions of African captives who were brought to Virginia in the 1700s.” Captives from many ethnic groups came from all over Africa, but many were Igbo from the West African Coast. The West African Farm demonstrates how free Igbo people lived in Africa in the 1700s. Visitors can learn about history, architecture, farming, cooking, folklore, pottery, weaving, and more.

The museum maintains an archive of lectures developed during the Covid shutdown. They explore various topics, but several relate to the area’s Black experience. Visit YouTube to see Unfree Labor in Early Virginia, Black Lives at Natural Bridge, West Africa and the Slave Trade, and Igbo/West African Masquerade Culture and the Dynamics of the African Diaspora Carnivals.

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum

Woodrow Wilson and a number of other presidents have been criticized for their attitudes on race and the history of slavery that surrounds them. The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum is tackling the topic of U.S. Presidents and racial inequality with a free lecture series. Register for the February 10 discussion about Abraham Lincoln with Edna Greene Medford, Ph.D., a historian and author of Lincoln and Emancipation, and Christina Shutt, the executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois. The museum further explores the topic of Wilson and race with several resources on their webpage.

Staunton/Augusta County African American Research Society

Want to learn more about the general and family history of Black people in this area? Visit the Staunton/Augusta County African American Research Society’s website for resources. The society’s mission “is to research, develop and maintain an ongoing written, pictorial and multimedia archive of the African American experience in Staunton and Augusta County from its early settlement in 1738 to the present by focusing on education, business, politics, religion, military service, and cultural experience.” The society has worked to gather genealogical records from the library as well as oral histories from older citizens.

Laten Ervin Bechtel’s In Their Words: Growing Up In Segregated Staunton and Augusta County, Virginia

Laten Ervin Becktel has delved into the area’s history of segregation by conducting interviews with 30 African Americans who grew up in segregated times. In this 300-page oral history, Bechtel records an important, and often overlooked, side of local history and shows racial discrimination through the eyes of those who lived it. Available in the Staunton Public Library.

Notable Staunton Addresses

  • In 1946, Montgomery Hall Park became one of only two Virginia parks dedicated to African American use, and people traveled long distances to visit. The park remained segregated until 1969. Learn about the park’s history by watching the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library’s 2008 Montgomery Hall Park Project.
  • The congregation of Allen Chapel A.M.E (African Methodist Episcopal) worshipped in various places before the original church was built at 921 West Beverley Street. The first Black church west of the Blue Ridge is also the sight of the city’s first Black choir and first Black school for adults.
  • Fairview Cemetery is a predominantly African American cemetery located in northern Staunton that was founded in 1869. The Lambert Street location was outside city limits at the time and part of a Black community called Sandy Hollow. 
  • The masonic lodge on East Beverley and Market Streets was incorporated in 1882. Staunton’s “Colored Masonic Mount Zion Lodge, no.18” is one of the oldest African-American masonic lodges in the U.S. The nearby Cabell House (654 E. Beverley Street) is the last exposed-log structure in Staunton. It was built in 1869 by Edmund Cabell, a “free man of color,” and owned by three generations of his family. 

Notable Black Stauntonians

  • Robert Campbell was born free in 1794. After serving in the War of 1812, he moved to Staunton and opened a barbershop on Beverley Street. His successful business allowed him to buy five downtown buildings and he was considered wealthy by the standards of the times. 
  • Willis McGlascoe Carter was an NAACP leader who was born into slavery in 1852. He became a principal in Augusta County’s segregated public schools. He led the Augusta County Teachers’ Association and edited the Southern Tribune, an African-American newspaper. Carter helped create the Negro Industrial and Educational Association of Virginia. He’s buried in Fairview Cemetery.
  • Born in 1898, Dr. Charles J. Waller served as regional vice-president of the National Medical Association. He practiced medicine in Staunton for many years without hospital privileges. Later, he became a member of the King’s Daughters’ staff and was elected president. He was also the first African-American to run for Staunton’s city council.
  • Captain William Green Jr. was born in 1920 and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1939. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and became one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, one of our country’s first Black aviators. He flew 123 wartime missions in Europe and earned a Distinguished Flying Cross, an Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters, E.T.O. ribbons with three battle stars, and the Purple Heart.
  • Born in 1940, Rita Wilson was Staunton’s first Black councilwoman. She served 16 years as a member and vice mayor of city council. She also served on the school board and the board of the Frontier Culture Museum.

For more information, take a look at the Staunton African American Heritage Brochure.

Romantic Getaways in Staunton

Want to do something really special for your main squeeze this Valentine’s Day? How about a romantic getaway in Staunton? You’ll feel the love as you unwind and reconnect while sharing luxurious accommodations, decadent meals, and relaxing strolls through our historic downtown. We’ve even found some fun Valentine’s Day activities to try. Here’s our guide to where to stay, what to eat, and what to do on your romantic getaway in Staunton.

Want to do something really special for your main squeeze this Valentine’s Day? How about a romantic getaway in Staunton? You’ll feel the love as you unwind and reconnect while sharing luxurious accommodations, decadent meals, and relaxing strolls through our historic downtown. We’ve even found some fun Valentine’s Day activities to try. Here’s our guide to where to stay, what to eat, and what to do on your romantic getaway in Staunton. 

Where to Stay

First things first: If you’re planning a romantic getaway, you’ll need a cozy nest away from home. Dreamy lodgings abound in Staunton, but we especially like those that are luxurious but also offer historic charm. The Hotel 24 South and The Blackburn Inn both feature elegant rooms in restored buildings, beds with pillowtop mattresses, and spa-like showers. You can impress your Valentine with the Blackburn Inn’s Love Is in the Air: Valentine’s Day Package, which includes prosecco and a pair of champagne flutes, a rose-petal turndown, a late checkout time, and dining credit at the onsite Second Draft Bistro. Perhaps a trip to the spa to relax and rejuvenate sounds like dream, so be sure to book in advance.

The Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast offers upgraded elegance in a large Queen Anne Victorian residence decorated in period style. Your stay includes an elaborate breakfast as well as an option to reserve a champagne and chocolates special. Frederick House offers the charm and individuality of a B&B as well as the comfort and amenities of a larger hotel. The beautiful and traditionally decorated 20-room hotel encompasses space in five historic downtown buildings. Ask about the Shakespeare Theatre Ticket special. Romeo and Juliet begins February 25th!

Cocktail Spots and Romantic Restaurants

Stop to flirt over some wine at Yelping Dog Wine or The Green Room, or grab a private tasting of Virginia estate wine at Ox-Eye Tasting Room. If the weather cooperates, you might also take a picnic to Barren Ridge Vineyards for delicious wine and one of the best views in Augusta County. If you’d rather refresh yourself with fresh craft beer, Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co. and Redbeard Brewing Company are located downtown. Nearby, Byers Street Bistro serves up some seasonal winter cocktails.

The Clocktower Valentine’s Day Soirée is happening on February 12 and 13. Start the night with happy hour at Tempest Bar & Lounge before dining on a decadent three-course dinner. Choices include shrimp, prime rib or lasagna, and tiramisu or creme brulee. After dinner, you’ll enjoy the comic show BoxCar Speakeasy & Reese Middleton’s Vintage Valentine Revue. Tickets include champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries.

The Baja Bean is a fun place to take your date for dinner. Enjoy all your Tex-Mex favorites and a wide selection of craft beer on tap. They’re running Valentine’s Day special that includes fajitas for two, a special drink or dessert to share, and a lovely local bouquet from Harmony Harvest Farm. Would you rather spend Valentine’s Day cuddled up in your room? Stave off your hunger pangs by ordering a heart-shaped pizza from Shenandoah Pizza & Tap House.

Make reservations to share a special night over Chef Boden’s four or five-course seasonal tasting menu at The Shack. The options change each week, but winter ingredients might include cranberries, hazelnuts, lamb, rockfish, and more, all paired with suggested wines. 

If you’re seeking a spot that has the feel of the big city, look no further than Zynodoa. Choose a unique cocktail that incorporates locally sourced ingredients like herbs or honey or select beer or wine from the extensive list. Next, order a dinner featuring “inspired Southern cuisine.” On the menu: Virginia blue crab fritters, Polyface Farm sweet tea brined chicken, Wade’s Mill apple & cheddar grits, and Saunders Brothers Honeycrisp apple cobbler. Zynodoa also serves an amazing brunch.

Sweet Somethings

Feed your romance with a cone from The Split Banana, which serves a big selection of freshly made gelato flavors like coffee toffee, cherry cheesecake, or Guinness extra stout. You can hold hands and share cones as you stroll around downtown window shopping and checking out the Victorian architecture. If you prefer soft serve with a side of nostalgia, pull up to the old-fashioned drive-in and fill your dessert cravings at Wright’s Dairy Rite, a Staunton institution since the 50s.

Don’t wait until Valentine’s Day night to steal your sweetie’s heart. Meet for coffee and pastries at Réunion, a Staunton sweet spot where you can order espresso, buttery croissants, and other baked goods that taste like they’re fresh from Paris.

Wow your honey with a beautifully decorated and delicious dessert from Paris Cake Company, Gorgeous cupcakes decorated like flowers? Check. Cut out cookies decorated like rainbows? Raspberry swirl cheesecake? Check and check. Bonus: You can indulge in these treats after an equally delicious dinner at Table 44. Firkin Pie Company’s February lineup includes chocolate cream, raspberries, and cream, and bananas foster all baked fresh. Even Cupid couldn’t keep his hands off this fine, fine pie!

It will be love at first bite when you present your special someone with a box of handmade, gourmet chocolate from Cocoa Mill Chocolates. The Valentine’s Day assortment even comes in an edible box and was voted best overall in a Wall Street Journal taste test. Giancarlo Fine European Pastries creates incredible chocolates made from Cordillera Colombian 65 % cacao and 36% dark milk, single bean chocolate.

Valentine Fun

A meeting of the minds is always a good idea, so Crack the Code Escape Room makes for a genius Valentine’s Day date. What’s even better is that if you book a spot for February 13, they’re running a special where participants get 10% off and some chocolate from Giancarlo Fine European Pastries! Another good date is to book a Couple’s Getaway Package at the Blackburn Inn spa. This day of pampering will ease away all your cares. It includes champagne and strawberries and massages for both of you.

The Valentine Flower Workshop at Redbeard Brewing with Brin’s Posy (February 9) is marketed for everybody, especially men! Unleash your creative side as you make a Valentine’s Day bud vase for your favorite person. Not only will you get to sip tasty craft beer, but you’ll also save money on flowers this year. Keep busy on Valentine’s Day weekend with a Silk Scarf Workshop by Suz Hues of The Foundry Pop-Ups. You’ll learn a new technique and take home wonderful memories and a new scarf. February 10.

Stoke the romantic fires on February 11th with the Blackburn Inn’s WinterStage production Isn’t It Romantic. This evening of classic love songs features broadway star Nancy Anderson and jazz pianist Wells Hanley. Romeo and Juliet is on stage at the Blackfriar’s Playhouse. Book your tickets to see Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers navigate the dangers of hate and love. We dare you not to cry.

If you’re still looking for a Valentine’s Day gift, make sure to check out our wealth of independent shops, galleries, and antique stores downtown. You’ll find a range of wares including candles and bath supplies, gourmet food and olive oil, art-glass decor, jewelry, clothing, games and gaming supplies, art, and vintage treasure of all kinds.

For more events, visit Staunton on Tap.

Check Out The New Kids On The Block

Spring still seems a long way off, but now’s the time to start making your spring itinerary. Plan your next date night, find a special gift, or just score a really good cup of coffee to get your morning going. Get to know Staunton’s newest businesses. New Restaurants: Seed to Tail is a new farm-to-table … Continue reading Check Out The New Kids On The Block

Spring still seems a long way off, but now’s the time to start making your spring itinerary. Plan your next date night, find a special gift, or just score a really good cup of coffee to get your morning going. Get to know Staunton’s newest businesses.

New Restaurants:

Seed to Tail is a new farm-to-table gourmet sandwich shop that also sells, vegetables, eggs, baked goods, take-away-family meals, and a large selection of wine from Virginia and around the world. They “hope to connect the local community and visitors to the rich foods grown in our own backyards.” Check out the menu or the event schedule for wine tastings and special meals.

Vic’s Eats is a new veteran-owned cafe serving mouth-watering breakfast items. Choose from red-eye mushroom or shrimp grits bowls, pimento avocado toast, stacks of red-velvet pancakes, coffee-coconut milk-braised pork biscuits, and more. You’ll also find salads, sandwiches, French press coffee, fancy teas, and everything else you need to make your breakfast a roaring success.

Locally owned Crumbl Cakes & Bakes opened last summer and serves up a rotating menu of muffins, scones, cupcakes, cookies, cookie dough, brownies, and vegan and gluten-free treats. There’s an espresso bar with plant-based milk options and a place for your kiddos to hang out while you enjoy your treat. Work with Crumbl to design a beautiful custom cake for your next event. 

Magdalena Bake’s new brick and mortar location on West Beverley specializes in delicious and beautiful-looking pastries, cookies, and cakes in an extensive array of flavors, including gluten-free options. If your tastebuds are hoping for something savory, you won’t be disappointed by the empanadas, which come flavored with beef, pork, criolla, and Caprese. 

Family-owned Serendipity Java Bar & Eatery is full of comfortable seating and natural light. Located near the historic train station, it serves muffins, seasonal scones, cinnamon rolls, egg and cheese bagels, French toast plates, and more. There’s a wide selection of coffees, espressos, and specialty drinks like razzle chai. Stop in later in the day for grilled lunch sandwiches. 

Ciders from Mars presses locally grown apples to create the hard cider you’ll enjoy by the glass, bottle, or flight. Choose from single-varietal ciders, blends, and ciders fermented with other local fruits. There are lots of seating options in the modern tasting room and outside on the large patio that overlooks the wharf. 

Restaurants Opening Soon

Owners of Staunton’s Green Room are opening a new restaurant down the street. Opening this spring, Remedy Burger will serve large smash burgers made from local beef and fries. They’ll also serve beer, wine, and cocktails, and customers will be able to use their phones to order from the menu.

This spring, Brisket Taco Co. will be “bringing the heart of Texas to the Shenandoah Valley” with dishes made from Texas-style smoked brisket. They’ll also use local toppings and cheeses on menu offerings, which will include tacos, breakfast tacos, nachos, and sides like smoked potato salad and smoked mac and cheese.

New owners plan to open 100-year old Marino’s Lunch again soon in Staunton. The space on North Augusta will be expanded and will feature outdoor seating, music, and art. The old Marino’s specialized in beer, Tuesday night bluegrass jams, and cheeseburgers.

New Downtown Retail

The Foundry Pop-Ups promotes the work of local artists and craftspeople and those who have produced unique products. You’ll find clothing, jewelry, bath products, candles, and more at the store’s downtown location.

Redwood & Co.’s new retail store in the Wharf sells home and personal fragrance collections of candles, diffusers, room sprays, soaps, and lotions. The new space also features a candle-design studio for customers to create their own uniquely scented candles.

Tap into the positive energy we need so badly at Little Shoppe of Crystals, which is opening in February. Plan to check out the selection of crystals, jewelry, aromatherapy, and more.

Entertainment and Event Spaces

Sea-to-table Blu Point Seafood Co. continues to bring you freshly sourced ocean bounty served the way you like it. Blu Point has expanded its space and now offers the Blu Room for events and private dining.

The Staunton Innovation Hub unites a community of creative people with a wide range of skills. Their space has several gathering areas and classrooms perfect for hosting your next event. The new Rooftop Deck accommodates 49 people and boasts incredible views of Staunton’s churches, hotels, and other historic buildings.

The Blackburn Inn’s WinterStage is bringing you two nights of great music and entertainment. Stoke the romantic fires with February 11th’s evening of classic love songs with broadway star Nancy Anderson and jazz pianist Wells Hanley. On March 18th, bluesman Mojo Parker joins local musicians for a “mid-winter blues odyssey.” 

Plan Your Next Vacation in Staunton

Did you know that January 25th is National Plan a Vacation Day? And just like us, we bet you REALLY need one! From romantic weekends to family getaways, to weekends with the girls or guys, let us help with some quick recommendations on what to do on a vacation in Staunton! Romantic Weekend Share romantic … Continue reading Plan Your Next Vacation in Staunton

Did you know that January 25th is National Plan a Vacation Day? And just like us, we bet you REALLY need one! From romantic weekends to family getaways, to weekends with the girls or guys, let us help with some quick recommendations on what to do on a vacation in Staunton!

Romantic Weekend

Share romantic meals, be pampered in luxurious lodgings, sightsee on one of America’s best main streets, and even discover the great outdoors. Here are some of Staunton’s best bets for couples.

Where to Stay

  • The Hotel 24 South and The Blackburn Inn both feature elegant rooms in tastefully updated historic buildings. Check the specials for romantic add-ons like champagne, chocolate, and spa packages.
  • The Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast offers an elaborate breakfast as well as packages for champagne and a trip to the Blackfriar’s Theatre.
  • The Frederick House is a 20 room inn, comprised of 5 historic houses, located in downtown Staunton, Virginia. They offer the privacy of a hotel, with the personal experience of a Bed and Breakfast.

Where to Eat

What to Do

  • The Staunton Farmer’s Market is open from the first Saturday in April until Thanksgiving, and it features fresh produce, baked goods, and live music. 
  • Take a self-guided or seasonal guided walking tour with the Historic Staunton Foundation.
  • Visit the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace to learn about Wilson’s connection to Staunton and much more.
  • Stop to flirt at Ox-Eye Tasting Room or take a scenic drive to Barren Ridge Vineyards to reconnect with your sweetie over some local wine.
  • Shop downtown Staunton’s independent stores and galleries for a range of wares including gourmet chocolate and olive oil, art-glass ornaments, unique gifts and art, and vintage treasure of all kinds.
  • Take in a show at the American Shakespeare Center. The 2022 season includes Romeo and Juliet, The Comedy of Errors, The Tempest, and more.

Family Fun

Looking for a wonderful family trip where fun, history, and the great outdoors are all in big supply? Here’s how to enjoy Staunton’s best with your family.

Where to Stay

  • The Fairfield Inn and Suites is a family-friendly hotel convenient to both downtown Staunton as well as the interstates. The hotel offers a free hot breakfast, free Wi-fi, and an indoor saltwater swimming pool.
  • The Storefront is a two-level downtown lodging with a full kitchen, two queen-sized beds, and a unique bar/lounge area with a television.

Where to Eat

  • Voted one of the best breakfasts in the Valley, Kathy’s Restaurant heaps on the goodness with traditional breakfast fare served all day.
  • Your kids will love the caboose parked outside of The Depot Grille. They’ll also love the American fare served inside for lunch and dinner. The menu includes a section for kids. 
  • Shenandoah Pizza’s gourmet pies celebrate local ingredients and lore. Parents will be pleased with the extensive tap list.
  • The menu at Baja Bean has loads of Tex Mex options including choices for the younger set and an impressive tap list. 
  • Finish your meal with one (or more) of the 18 fresh-made gelato flavors from The Split Banana.

What to Do

  • Pool your wits to solve one of the active puzzles and escape a themed room at Crack the Code Escape Room
  • Step back in time at the Frontier Culture Museum, which invites visitors to explore the lives of the Shenandoah Valleys pioneers from the 1600s through the mid-1800s.
  • Watch as artisans use extreme heat, to blow and shape molten glass into globes and art pieces at Sunspots Studios
  • Family favorites for shopping include treasure hunting at Staunton Antiques Center and hobby shopping at Staunton Trains and Hobbies. Pufferbellies is the largest independently owned toy store in the Valley, which has a hands-on policy and something to fascinate kids and grownups alike.
  • Hit up one of Staunton’s great city parks like Gypsy Hill Park to feed the ducks, hit the skatepark, and play on the playgrounds. Montgomery Hall Park has more playgrounds as well as miles of hiking and biking trails.
  • There’s always something happening at Augusta Expo. Events include the Augusta County Fair, monster truck rallies, Bigfoot conventions, and more. 

Getaway with the Girls

Share the best of Staunton’s trendy restaurants, local wine, and unique shopping with your besties. You’ll make so many new memories that you’ll want to make Staunton an annual destination.

Where to Stay

  • Not only does 4-suite Gibson’s Warehouse have an interesting history as a working railroad warehouse, but it’s also just steps from downtown Staunton dining and entertainment. Renovated efficiency apartments are appointed with full kitchens and living spaces. There’s also a common space in the lobby with seating so guests can mingle and socialize.
  • Staunton Stays is a four-suite boutique hotel in a beautifully renovated Victorian house. Each suite is decorated according to a different theme. All offer full kitchens, modern bathrooms, living quarters, and access to a laundry room.

Where to Eat

  • Try a range of Spanish tapas and other Mediterranean food at Aioli Restaurant.
  • Enjoy wine by the glass or bottle at Yelping Dog Wine. Share a cheese plate or munch on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.  
  • Savor wine, beer, and light fare such as apps and sandwiches at The Green Room.
  • Dine at Table 44 for amazing Southern food with a twist.

What to Do

Guys’ Weekend

Staunton has golf, cigars, the great outdoors, and food and beer.  What else do you need for an awesome guys’ weekend? 

Where to Stay

  • Tru by Hilton has modern amenities, access to both the interstate and downtown, and generous public gathering spaces.
  • Avid Hotel focuses on getting the essentials right at a value price.

Where to Eat

What to Do

5 Ways to Enjoy Your Staunton Staycation

Not ready for far-away travel just yet? You might want to skip that mid-winter trip out of the country. Why not take a Staunton staycation instead? We’ve rounded up five ways to have a blast and make new discoveries right here in Staunton. Here are our tips for seeing our beautiful city through fresh, new … Continue reading 5 Ways to Enjoy Your Staunton Staycation

Not ready for far-away travel just yet? You might want to skip that mid-winter trip out of the country. Why not take a Staunton staycation instead? We’ve rounded up five ways to have a blast and make new discoveries right here in Staunton. Here are our tips for seeing our beautiful city through fresh, new eyes.

Fill Your Days With Local Fun

How well do you really know Staunton? Why not find out with one of the unique tours you can take when you download the Traipse app on your phone. Combining trivia with touring, Traipse brings Staunton to life in over 12 themed tours. Level up your history game with a tour of the Frontier Culture Museum or the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library, and the Camera Heritage Museum. Little ones will love the Antique Fire Engine Museum at the fire station, starring the oldest motorized fire engine in Virginia.

Try a New Outdoor Adventure

Venture a little way out of Staunton for some of the best outdoor adventures in the country. Glide downhill at one of the area’s four awesome ski resorts: Wintergreen Resort, Bryce Mountain Resort, Omni Homestead Resort, and Massanutten Resort all offer skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. Bridgewater’s Generations Park has a stellar skating rink. Shenandoah National Park and George Washington and Jefferson National Forest are packed with interesting trails in a range of difficulties, though you should check online before visiting for an area’s opening status. Head underground at Grand Caverns, the country’s oldest show cave. Another way to get underground is by exploring the Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail that follows an old railroad bed under Afton Mountain!

Skip the Souvenir and Invest in Something Unique and Meaningful

Do you sometimes waste money buying silly trinkets when you’re on vacation? Why not take all that money you’ll be saving and put it toward something you’ll really love, something that will bring your room together? Consider heirloom-quality furniture from Concepts Created, which uses reclaimed wood to create custom dining tables, hutches, benches, mantles, and more. Buy some exquisite art glass from Sunspots Studio, or make your walls pop with work from a local artist from the CoArt Gallery. If you like to personalize your space with words, check out the gorgeous custom signs from Blair Made. And if your kids are pining because they didn’t get Mickey Mouse ears, take them to Pufferbellies Toys & Books and let them pick out something they’ll love even more!

Are you one of those people who hangs out behind the camera and only goes on vacation for the photos? Score lots of likes by setting up shots at Staunton’s Best Insta-Worthy Spots, including near the large metal sculptures of flowerpots, books, and eyeglasses created by Ferguson Metal Fabrication. 

Make Take-Out a Fine Dining Experience

If you’re still hoping to wait a bit before hanging out in a crowded restaurant, why not take carry-out to the next level? Iron the fancy tablecloth and use those fancy forks you got for your wedding. Shake things up by ordering something new from your favorite restaurant. Most Staunton restaurants offer takeout, so you could even order different courses from different spots. Start with a bottle of wine from Yelping Dog Wine and a loaf of fresh bread from Newtown Baking. Enjoy entrees from Table 44, Chicano Boy Taco, or the Depot Grille. Still hungry? A decadent pie from Firkin Pie or a sundae from Wright’s will taste just right at the end of your night. 

Did you get some fancy new cookware for Christmas? The Staunton Grocery will help you break it in by supplying all the local and specialty food items you can’t find in the supermarket. Peruse the catalog online for meats, condiments, spices, specialty oils, and more, and whip up a gourmet feast.

Another good way to fill up and stay warm is to gather around the firepits and sip craft beer at Skipping Rock Beer Co. or Stable Craft Brewing.

Your Home Away From Home

Clutter and day-to-day tasks overwhelming you? Leave your baggage (physical and emotional) behind and check into a Staunton lodging property. Not only will you enjoy some focused time with just the essentials, but you’ll also see your city with new eyes. Best of all, someone else will make the bed! Book a room in a luxury historic hotel, a convenient brand hotel, a well-appointed bed and breakfast, or a unique vacation rental. Stop by the front desk or the Visitor Center for some brochures and ideas about where to spend your day. 

Staunton has much to offer both visitors and long-time residents. Get out there and have fun like a tourist!

What To Do In Staunton on a Snowy Day

Has winter weather stuck a wrench in your plans? Kids home from school and already bored? Fortunately, Staunton has plenty of ways to keep busy on snowy days and in freezing temperatures. From skiing to creating a comfortable den to snuggling with a new book, here’s how to make the most of a snow day … Continue reading What To Do In Staunton on a Snowy Day

Has winter weather stuck a wrench in your plans? Kids home from school and already bored? Fortunately, Staunton has plenty of ways to keep busy on snowy days and in freezing temperatures. From skiing to creating a comfortable den to snuggling with a new book, here’s how to make the most of a snow day in Staunton.

Ride Your Sled

You may have noticed that there’s not a lot of flat ground in Staunton. This may be exhausting for walking and biking, but it’s terrific after a good snow. Bundle up and try out some of our slopes. Montgomery Hall Park and Gypsy Hill Park offer lots of hills, places to park, and even winter bathrooms. Residents also gather to sled on the sweeping hill on the Mary Baldwin campus.

Walk the Winter Wonderland

Staunton is beautiful all year long, but nothing rivals the long winter views of distant mountains when the leaves are off the trees. For some incredible winter views and a chance to reach your daily step goals, try some in-town hikes. The city plows the 1.3-mile loop road at Gypsy Hill Park, making it a prime spot to walk or jog when the sidewalks might still be snowy. Quiet Bell’s Lane is a local birding hotspot that winds through farmland just north of Staunton. If you’re willing to get your boots snowy, Betsy Bell Wilderness offers winter solitude and views of Staunton from above from two from overlooks. Finally, the miles of hiking/biking trails through Montgomery Hall Park and the climb from the Wharf to Woodrow Park boast chances to see nature’s best winter show.

Ski, Snowboard,Tube, or Skate

Hoping to secure a spot at the Winter Olympics? Staunton is located just a short drive away from four awesome ski resorts where you can master the moguls and enjoy apres-ski amenities in style! Wintergreen Resort, Bryce Mountain Resort, Omni Homestead Resort, and Massanutten Resort all offer snow tubing. Along with 12 tubing lanes and a 120-foot drop, there’s a 5,000 square-foot skating rink at Massanutten. See Downhill Fun for more information. You can also lace up your skates at the outdoor rink in Bridgewater’s Generations Park. The rink is open through the beginning of March. Reserve time slots online.

Outfit Yourself for Winter

Shop for outdoor gear suited for wintry weather at Stan’s Ski and Snowboard. You’ll also find a wide selection of seasonal gear at Wilderness Adventure. Runners can bundle up for the winter at Sole Focus Running Shop, and Black Dog Bikes can help you ready your wheels and gears for your next big adventure.

Sip Something Tasty

You’ll be FREEZING after all that time in the snow, so warm your body with some hot cocoa and lunch from Cranberry’s Eatery & Grocery. You won’t be able to resist the Italian dark chocolate cocoa at Split Banana, which is topped with decadent whipped cream and shaved chocolate. Caffeine lovers will want to taste the fresh-roasted flavor of the coffee at Crucible Coffee Roasters, and if you like to warm up with craft beer, Redbeard Brewing Company has your new favorite brew on tap. If you want something really special, try this tasty number from Zynodoa. It incorporates Callebaut chocolate, peanut miso caramel, house-made marshmallows, Elijah Craig bourbon, and Amontillado sherry!

Cuddle up with a Book

Find your next great read on the shelves at The Book Dragon. You’ll find new books for adults and children as well as a selection of used titles. Pufferbellies also sells popular books for kids and they can help you find what’s right for your young reader. Set the mood for relaxation with a candle in your favorite scent from Essentially Zen Artisan Body & Bath Co.

Roll the Dice

Is the entire family home together on this snowy day? Stave off cabin fever with a new board game. Try Pufferbellies Toys and Books for a curated selection of games and puzzles. You’ll find something for all ages and plenty of enthusiastic advice from staff. If you’re into strategy games, war games, and more, The Dragon’s Hoard has a big selection of games, gaming and hobby supplies, dice, and miniatures. 


Exercise your brain and your Scooby skills at Crack the Code Escape Room. Visitors can tackle both live and take-home escape challenges, some of which are Staunton-themed. Dust off your bowling bag: you’ll score big on indoor family fun with a few rounds of bowling (and trips to the snack bar) at Staunton Lanes.

Culture Yourself

Check to make sure it’s open, but a museum can be the perfect way to spend a snowy or wet afternoon. The Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library is a good destination to learn about history and tour the 19th-century manse. Plus, you can even visit virtually! Explore the rotating art and history exhibits at Staunton Augusta Arts Center 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. 

Don’t Make A Resolution; Make A Plan

Rich in history, dining, and culture; Staunton is a wonderful place to visit throughout the year. From festivals and concerts to romantic getaways and holiday entertainment, here are some ideas to get you thinking about how you can enjoy our town each month. January – Outdoor Winter Adventures What to Do: Staunton is the perfect … Continue reading Don’t Make A Resolution; Make A Plan

Rich in history, dining, and culture; Staunton is a wonderful place to visit throughout the year. From festivals and concerts to romantic getaways and holiday entertainment, here are some ideas to get you thinking about how you can enjoy our town each month.

January – Outdoor Winter Adventures

What to Do: Staunton is the perfect location for accessing winter fun. Massanutten Resort and Wintergreen Ski Resort are both 40 minutes. In slightly over an hour, you can reach Bryce Mountain Resort and The Omni Homestead Resort for downhill fun in the snow. Get a workout on the slopes and come home to Staunton to warm up. Check out our blog It’s All Downhill from Staunton for more ideas.

Where to Stay: Tru by Hilton has a great location convenient to downtown Staunton as well as I-81 and I-64.

Where to Eat: Fill up with gourmet pizza at Shenandoah Pizza & Tap House or dine curbside at Wright’s Dairy-Rite.

February – Romantic Getaways

What to Do:

  • If you met your person during quarantine or managed to stay in love while working from home, supervising Zoom school, and staying 6 feet away from your friends, you must be doing something right. You and your significant other have exercised patience and kindness toward each other, and you deserve a romantic getaway to celebrate your love. Spend a memorable evening listening to romantic love songs from the American Songbook by Broadway’s Nancy Anderson in the Great Hall at the Blackburn Inn.
  • Catch a show at the Blackfriars Playhouse. Romeo and Juliet will open on February 25th, 2022.

Where to Stay: The historic Blackburn Inn’s rooms are the perfect blend of historical charm and modern sophistication. 

Where to Eat: BLU Point Seafood prepares the freshest seafood as well as burgers, salads, and sandwiches. Another delicious choice is the four or five-course tasting menu at The Shack.

March – Explore Staunton’s Historic Architecture

What to Do: Take a walking tour of Staunton’s historic districts to exercise your body and your brain. Try one of our self-guided tours:

Where to Stay: Book a luxurious room in one of Staunton’s finest historic buildings, Hotel 24 South.

Where to Eat: Plan to dine in another historic building: The Clocktower Eats & Sweets is housed in what was once a YMCA building built in the 1890s. The Mill Street Grill was once the operating White Star Mill, also built in the 1890s.

April – Dine Out Downtown

What to Do:

  • Staunton’s Shop and Dine Out Downtown program came about because of pandemic necessity, but the city has adopted it because it is so popular, the helps restaurants and businesses expand into space on Beverley Street when it closes for vehicular traffic each weekend. Tables, chairs, tents, and enthusiastic shoppers and dinner fill the street, and those outdoor dining spaces are filled, in turn, with groups chatting, laughing, and loving the al fresco dining experience. 
  • The Spring season at the Blackfriars Playhouse will feature Romeo and Juliet and Comedy of Errors.

Where to Stay: Staunton Stays are fully-equipped luxury suites and apartments that are located downtown and playfully decorated by theme.

Where to Eat: You’ll be eating dinner downtown, but start your day with coffee and a healthy and delicious breakfast at Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery, The By & By, or Serendipity Java Bar and Eatery.

May – Art In The Park

What to Do: How about upping your decorating game by purchasing a unique work of art created by a regional artist? This Memorial Day weekend marks the Staunton Augusta Art Center’s 55th Annual Art in the Park festival at Gypsy Hill Park. Join the fun at this Staunton tradition where you’ll find amazing art, community spirit, live music, food, and creative activities for the kids.

Where to Stay: Located in a beautiful, historic house, Montclair Bed and Breakfast provides privacy, a gourmet breakfast, and convenience to the park and downtown.

Where to Eat: Dine on Salvadoran pupusas at Gloria’s Pupusaria or grab some Peruvian charbroiled chicken at Gonzo’s Pollo. Both are convenient to the park.

June – Summer Music

What to Do: 

  • The summer music scene in Staunton is on fire! More than 40 of the biggest names in folk music will appear early July at Red Wing Roots Music Festival in Natural Chimney’s Park. Besides the music, festival attendees can expect a beer garden, food and craft vendors, bike rides, yoga, and lawn games for adults and kids alike.
  • Head to Gypsy Hill Park for free, live concerts most days of the week including sounds the historic 70-member Stonewall Brigade Band, Praise in the Park’s contemporary and southern gospel, local and regional bluegrass, and jazz.
  • You’ll also want to watch the schedule at Redbeard Brewing Company for the Summer Concert Series Lineup and upcoming summer concerts at the Blackburn Inn.

Where to Stay: With easy access to interstate try the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in Staunton.

Where to Eat: Fuel up with big servings of Mexican and a wide selection of craft beer at the Baja Bean. Chicano Boy Taco is another place to get delicious Mexican food.

July – Heifetz and Happy Birthday America

What to Do: 

  • The annual Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts brings you over 50 different concerts ranging from chamber music, Fourth of July music, and multi-genre selections. You’ll see world-renowned celebrity guests in the Celebrity Series and Sunday Matinee Series. Heifetz students perform in the Stars of Tomorrow Series as well as the intimate Fridays in the Gallery series. Anything goes in the Heifetz Hootenanny Series.
  • Bring the family to Gypsy Hill Park this Independence Day for the free, family-friendly Happy Birthday America celebration. Enjoy a vesper service, a 5K race, a lively parade, concessions, and live music from local acts and homegrown country group Wilson Fairchild. 

Where to Stay: Howard Johnson’s offers comfortable rooms easily walked to and convenient to downtown.

Where to Eat: Dine on Thai favorites at Ubon Thai or head to nearby Aioli for Mediterranean cuisine and tapas.

August – Staunton Music Festival

What to Do: Get ready for a classical music thrill this August as The Staunton Music Festival brings you concerts spanning over 600 years. Dozens of musicians will perform in both large and small ensembles in a variety of Staunton venues like Trinity Episcopal Church and Blackfriars Playhouse. 

Where to Stay: The Storefront Hotel is a small, cool, private hotel with a private bar located downtown.

Where to Eat: Dine on authentic Indian favorites at Taste of India.

September – Queen City Mischief and Magic

What to Do: Raise your wands for Staunton’s Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival, a home-grown fan festival celebrating J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter series as well as all things magical and mystical. Next September, join thousands of seriously excited fans in downtown Staunton for themed shopping, dining, performances, and hands-on activities for all ages.

Where to Stay: Plan to stay at the Frederick House, and be right in the center of all the witches and wizards!

Where to Eat: Take the family to the Depot Grille for a wide selection of American food and a cool location by the historic train station. Fuel up with morning coffee at Crucible Coffee Roasters.

October – Virginia Wine Month and Ghost Tours

What to Do: 

  • According to VAWine.org, Virginia’s winemakers “embody the grace, grit, and experimental spirit of Virginia.” They also make some fine wine! October is Virginia Wine Month, so plan to celebrate wines made in the Shenandoah Valley. Read Raise a Glass to Virginia Wine Month for our favorite local places to drink it, buy it, and other ways to enjoy it.
  • Make plans to shiver this October when you take a Staunton Ghost Tour. You’ll learn about the Queen City’s unique architecture and its history as a thriving Victorian commercial center in the 1850s. You’ll also learn about the ghosts that just might come with buildings that old.

Where to Stay: Stay in Gibson’s Warehouse, a sleek, modern space in a historic building in one of Staunton’s (possibly) most haunted areas.

Where to Eat: Choose from cheese plates, gourmet grilled cheeses, and an enormous selection of wines produced locally and around the world at Yelping Dog Wine. The Green Room is a second destination for wine and light fare.

November – Art for Gifts, Christmas Parade, Celebration of Holiday Lights

What to Do:

  • Get in the holiday spirit by attending the Staunton Holiday Parade, which marches annually on the Monday after Thanksgiving and features marching bands, floats, and more by community and business organizations.
  • Find something for everyone on your list at the Staunton Augusta Art Center’s Art for Gifts holiday market, which features unique, handmade art from over 70 Virginia artists and artisans. 
  • Don’t miss a trip around Gypsy Hill Park for the Celebration of Holiday Lights during the month of December as it is transformed into a winter wonderland with thousands of lights and decorations.

Where to Stay: The updated rooms at the Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast retain their Victorian charm and are steps from downtown dining and entertainment.

Where to Eat: Grab coffee and pastries at Réunion Bakery & Espresso or treats at Magdelena Bake. Visit Zynodoa for fine dining and a seasonal farm-to-table menu.

December-Holiday Happenings and Cheer

What to Do:

  • Stay tuned for the Staunton Downtown Development Association’s holiday events like Saturdays in December, which offer chances to shop and play downtown during the holidays. Shop, dine, and enjoy holiday characters, decorations, musicians, performers, activities, and more.
  • Take an Old World Holiday Tour at the Frontier Culture Museum to enjoy lantern-light visits to English, Irish, and German farmstead. Costumed interpreters perform holiday skits and music.
  • Enjoy ghostly season’s greetings with a Blackfriar’s production of A Christmas Carol. The show is filled with memorable music, cheer, and contemporary twists on the classic tale of Scrooge, Marley, the Christmas ghosts, the Cratchits, and Tiny Tim.  

Where to Stay: Orlesa Farms in Staunton is the perfect balance of seclusion and convenience for the ultimate in relaxation.

Where to Eat: You’ll love the selection of seasonal savory and sweet pies at Firkin Pie Company or Southern cuisine with a twist at Table 44.

How to Enjoy a Production of A Christmas Carol at Blackfriars Playhouse

Rehearsals are underway for the American Shakespeare Company’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. The story by Charles Dickens has been adapted for the stage by Jay McClure. Get tickets now for performances (December 10 – 30) of this classic and family-friendly tale. Join Ebeneezer Scrooge as he navigates Christmas Eve night with visits from … Continue reading How to Enjoy a Production of A Christmas Carol at Blackfriars Playhouse

Rehearsals are underway for the American Shakespeare Company’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. The story by Charles Dickens has been adapted for the stage by Jay McClure. Get tickets now for performances (December 10 – 30) of this classic and family-friendly tale.

Join Ebeneezer Scrooge as he navigates Christmas Eve night with visits from the Christmas ghosts and learns how to be a better, kinder person. See all your favorite characters like the Cratchits, Jacob Marley, and Tiny Tim. This show brings surprises and new twists to the classic story, and while it’s not a Shakespeare play, audiences will get to enjoy the ambiance and historically accurate details in this re-creation of Shakespeare’s theater.

The Christmas Spirit is Alive at the Blackfriars

Demonstrate your own Christmas spirit by giving back to the community by donating to ASC’s Project Goodfellow. The project will support the Valley Mission this holiday season. The Mission hopes to receive cleaning supplies, first aid supplies, shower shoes, and undergarments for men, women, and children. They also need rain gear and ponchos. Donations can be placed in bins during performances or dropped off Tuesday to Sunday afternoons.

Other Ways to Enjoy ASC Productions

Want to watch an ASC production from the comfort of your own home? Check out the offerings on BlkFrsTV. Access to several pre-recorded shows is available on a rolling basis. Current productions of Macbeth, Henry V, and All’s Well that Ends Well are available for streaming by both single title and packages. You can also gift tickets to digital performances as presents this holiday season.

Where to Stay While You’re in Town

Visiting from out of town? Treat yourself to an American Shakespeare Center Package at the Berkeley House Bed & Breakfast. This tastefully updated historic home is a five-minute stroll from the theater. Or stay next door to the theater at the beautifully renovated Hotel 24 South. You might also book a stay in the Bard’s Nest, a boutique hotel room for two that’s located steps away from the Blackfriars. And while there’s no Shakespeare experience at the Blackburn Inn, you might want to try out one of the other packages like the Winter Escape or the Relax & Rejuvenate Package, which includes breakfast and a facial treatment at the hotel’s spa.

Where to Eat

Sit down for drinks and pre-performance snacks at The Green Room, a modern gathering place run by Blackfriars actors. You might get some behind-the-scenes stories about past productions and you’ll definitely get something yummy. If you’re looking for some Shakespeare-themed tastes, you can’t go wrong with The Pampered Palate’s Blackfriars hot pastrami and swiss on rye sandwich. Finally, grab a Shakespearean pie at Shenandoah Pizza and Taphouse. This basil pesto delight boasts artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Don’t stop there, though. Shenandoah Pizza offers an extensive menu of gourmet options.

What to Do Next

Make sure to catch up on your holiday shopping in downtown Staunton, which is packed with interesting independent shops and galleries. Find something fun in the curated selection of toys and games for all ages at Pufferbellies Toys and Books. Shopping for an outdoorsy friend? Explore the gear at Black Dog Bikes, Sole Focus Running, and Wilderness Adventure. Find one-of-a-kind gifts at the Art for Gifts Holiday Market, Made; By the People; for the People, or The Sparrow’s Nest.