#LOVEstaunton

#LOVEstaunton

Must-See & Do in Staunton’s Wharf

The Wharf Historic District shines as one of Staunton’s busiest and most vibrant neighborhoods. Once a quiet meadow, it was developed for business when the Virginia Central Railroad came to town in the 1850s. Along with warehouses and hotels, this district once featured saloons, distilleries, liveries, brothels, and a dispensary of a patent medicine that … Continue reading Must-See & Do in Staunton’s Wharf

The Wharf Historic District shines as one of Staunton’s busiest and most vibrant neighborhoods. Once a quiet meadow, it was developed for business when the Virginia Central Railroad came to town in the 1850s. Along with warehouses and hotels, this district once featured saloons, distilleries, liveries, brothels, and a dispensary of a patent medicine that claimed to “cure all ills.” It’s now home to a wealth of independently owned businesses and restaurants.

Where to Stay

If you’re coming to Staunton for the weekend, plan to stay at Gibson’s Warehouse, a four-suite loft lodging in a historic TJ Collins-designed warehouse. Designed in 1905, the building was originally used to store hay, fertilizer, and farm equipment. Now, it’s the epitome of comfort and industrial cool, central to dining, shopping, and entertainment. Each suite offers a fully-equipped kitchen, living space, and a king-sized bed. There is also a common space in the lobby with seating areas so guests can socialize.

Where to Have a Drink

Redbeard Brewing Company serves excellent craft beer in a newly renovated tap room. Stop in for a pint of one of the dozen beers on tap and stick around for entertainment like live music, trivia, karaoke, and more. Try the award-winning 221B Baker Brown. 

 

The Ox-Eye Vineyards Tasting Room, located in the yellow historic Fultz Office building, serves estate-grown, food-friendly wines. Stop in to relax over a tasting or a glass — you can’t go wrong with the Reserve Scale House Chardonnay — and make sure you tour the upstairs art gallery. 

Ciders from Mars has only been open for a few months, but people love the hard cider and the cool, modern space. Hang out at the bar, at a table, or grab a spot on the large patio and watch the bustle of the wharf. Ciders from Mars presses locally grown apples for its cider, and you can drink it by the glass, bottle, or flight. Try the Mellow Gold, made from Virginia Goldrush apples.

Where to Eat

Byers Street Bistro serves drinks, tasty appetizers like crab dip, stellar sandwiches and burgers, and the atmosphere is welcoming. Enjoy your food on the shaded brick patio. 

Locals and tourists alike rave over the food and kid-friendly service at The Depot Grille. Look for favorites like the crab cakes, fried oysters, and steak. Pose for selfies by the historic bar or the caboose parked outside. 

Once one of the largest flour mills in the Shenandoah Valley, Mill Street Grill dishes up a wide selection of choices including steak, ribs, seafood, and pasta. 

Taste of India boasts generous portions and good prices. You’ll enjoy a big menu of authentic Indian food that’s always rich, delicious, with a spice level suited to your needs.

Crumbl Cakes & Bakes just opened, but Staunton residents are already lining up for their daily treat. Choose from a rotating variety of cakes, cookies, cookie dough, and brownies. Try a vegan or gluten-free treat and don’t forget a  pupcake for your dog.

Where to Shop

If you’re shopping for unique gifts, you can’t go wrong with the Wharf district. Find some incredible art glass at Sunspots Studio, housed in the historic 1929 Klotz building. As a bonus, you can slip into the studio and watch the artists manipulate the molten glass into globes, vases, and much more. 

Spoil someone you love with artisan bath and body products from Essentially Zen. Choose from great-smelling essential oil soaps, soy candles, body frosting, and more. Essentially Zen will put together gift boxes tailored just for you.

Gamers will find supplies for all kinds of tabletop fun at The Dragon’s Hoard, and Pufferbellies Toys & Books carries a large, and well curated selection of toys, games, and books for all ages. 

Wilderness Adventure stocks your favorite brands of outdoor gear, clothing, accessories, and a huge selection of shoes. Better yet, investing in footwear here guarantees you’ll get a perfect fit. 

Don’t forget to get Fido a treat or a pet massage from the Well-Balanced Paw.

And of course if you’re in the Wharf on a Saturday morning from April to Thanksgiving, you don’t want to miss the producer’s only Staunton Farmers’ Market. Expect to enjoy the freshest local fruit, produce, cut flowers, baked goods, and more.

Where to Walk

Despite a history fraught with fire, flooding, and war, much historic architecture remains. Look for the the Beaux Arts-style Augusta County Courthouse and the Bungalow-style C&O Train Station. Many of the Wharf’s buildings are protected by the Historic Staunton Foundation.

For a detailed description of the historic architecture in the district, take our walking tour. Make sure you snap some selfies near the train station. There are lots of insta worthy backgrounds, including the Sears Hill Bridge that crosses the tracks and delivers walkers to Wilson Park, a small park with big views of Staunton.

Labor Day Weekend Brings Art to the Park

Are you looking for an amazing new painting to take center stage over your couch? Or how about just a little inspiration to spark your own creative fires? This Labor Day weekend marks the Staunton Augusta Art Center’s 54th annual Art in the Park festival in Gypsy Hill Park. Join the fun at this Staunton … Continue reading Labor Day Weekend Brings Art to the Park

Are you looking for an amazing new painting to take center stage over your couch? Or how about just a little inspiration to spark your own creative fires? This Labor Day weekend marks the Staunton Augusta Art Center’s 54th annual Art in the Park festival in Gypsy Hill Park. Join the fun at this Staunton tradition where you’ll find community spirit, live music, food, and creative activities for the kids.

Before You Go

  • Art in the Park is happening Labor Day Weekend. Saturday, Sept. 4 from 10 – 5, Sunday, Sept. 5 from noon to 5.
  • The event is free
  • The event takes place in the shaded area in front of the bandstand
  • Public restrooms are available
  • Food vendors will be at the festival

What Kind of Art Can You Expect to See?

The Art in the Park festival is a juried art show, which means that potential artists are evaluated by a panel and chosen for their quality and appropriateness. This year’s show will have 30 local and regional artists and craftspeople displaying their work in a variety of genres. Expect to see photography, watercolor paintings, oil paintings, hand-made jewelry, stained glasswork, pencil drawings, hand-crafted clothing, metal sculpture, wood-turned sculpture, and much more. What’s nice about shopping for art at an art show is that the artists are on hand ready to answer questions and chat with you about their creative process.

Check out some of the wonderful, whimsical drawings by illustrator and graphic designer Phoebe West.

Looking for a unique gift? Ninika Gordon’s Phineas Rose Studios jewelry will be at the show. Inspired by nature, the pieces are made from argentium silver, gold bi-metal, fossils, and gemstones.

Jessie Rublee specializes in functional artwork in the form of bowls, mugs, dishes, planters, and more. Her stoneware pottery boasts clean lines and is partially unglazed for interest and contrast.

Look for the oil and acrylic portraits of people and animals from the brush of Marti Reed.

Other participating artists include Jamie Agins, Troy Argenbright, Mary Barnes, Cynthia Boteler, Angus Carter, Suzanna Garrett, Lisa Geiman, Karen Gellatly, Erin Harrigan, Wanda Hollberg, Barbara Coyle Holt, Teresa and Joel Howard, Meghan Kramer, 

Amy Snowden and Anna Lee, Shalom Lord, Georganne Ludt, Donald Lum, Chris Myers, Larry Parker, Mary Elizabeth Rowe, Allison Schroeder, Frank Shepard, Craig Snodgrass, Mike Sorge, Mae Stolle, Julia Vessey, also participate.

Is the Event Good for Families?

Art in the Park is a family-friendly event. Not only will kids enjoy looking at the art that’s on display for sale, but the festival will host fresh, creative activities. Live music from the bandstand will keep them dancing. The nearby duck pond and playground are perfect for après art fun.

What Next?

If you can’t wait until Labor Day for art, visit the Staunton Augusta Art Center’s website for information about current and upcoming online and gallery shows. You can also access an archive of art that’s appeared in the gallery in the past. For more art-related activities, check out our Guide to Arts and Culture.

It’s a very short stroll from Gypsy Hill Park to Queen City Brewing. Discuss your favorite art (or recent purchase) over a cold craft brew. Next, head downtown for a late lunch or dinner.

Several blocks of Beverley Street will be closed to traffic for the Shop and Dine Out Downtown program. This allows businesses without outside spaces to make use of Staunton’s sidewalks, street, and fresh air. Participating businesses include Laughing Bird Pho, Pampered Palate, 101 West Beverley – “The 101”, Clocktower Eats & Sweets, and more.

Eat, Drink, Love Staunton

There’s a lot to love about Staunton. Not only does it have proximity to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, a vibrant arts and cultural scene, and a rich history and agricultural heritage, it also serves up a wide range of culinary experiences. From coffee shops to farm tours, here’s how to eat, drink, and love … Continue reading Eat, Drink, Love Staunton

There’s a lot to love about Staunton. Not only does it have proximity to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, a vibrant arts and cultural scene, and a rich history and agricultural heritage, it also serves up a wide range of culinary experiences. From coffee shops to farm tours, here’s how to eat, drink, and love Staunton.

Eat

Begin your day with love at one of Staunton’s bakeries or coffee shops. Réunion Bakery & Espresso pairs fresh coffee drinks with authentic French pastry like apple galettes with pecan cream. Check the menu for what they’re baking this week: their focaccia and quiches are to die for.

Crucible Coffee Roasters is a great place to meet with friends and share site-roasted coffee in an urban cool environment. Prefer your coffee at home? Consider a coffee subscription. Newtown Baking creates “artisanal everything” and is known for its pastries, fresh breads, and wood-fired pizzas.

If you’re more interested in diner food, you should know that Kathy’s Restaurant is the reigning breakfast champion. Not only is it wonderful and filling, it’s served all day long. And people in other states fantasize about classic-Virginia-style breakfast (and pie) menu at Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant and Bakery

For a small city in Virginia, Staunton has an exciting global dining scene. Check out Chicano Boy Taco, a Mexican-American taquería boasting a simple (but amazing) menu and some of the best burritos you’ve ever eaten. Gloria’s Pupuseria stuffs its pupusas with chicken, blended pork, vegetables and cheese, and this Salvadoran dish packs major flavor. You can also get tamales steamed in plantain leaves, fried plantains, or Salvadoran enchiladas.

The enticing scents from Taste of India will distract you as you explore downtown, so you might as well go inside this gem and order a serving of chicken tikka masala or lamb vindaloo. Meat-free dishes like aloo gobi vegan and saag paneer will please vegetarians. You can get a good selection of Indian beers, wine, and yogurt lassi drinks. Staunton boasts authentic Thai cuisine at Ubon Thai, and you can dine on Vietnamese noodle soup at Snapdragon Pho. Aioli offers creative Mediterranean cuisine, and Gonzo’s Pollo sells irresistible charbroiled Peruvean chicken.

Staunton is a leader in farm-to-fork dining, and many of its restaurants emphasize using fresh local ingredients. You’ll find an upscale and modern exploration of Southern favorites at Zynodoa, which serves entrees like housemade spaghetti and Autumn Olive Farm Sausage or crispy skin speckled sea trout.

For a guided tour of seasonal excellence, try the four or five-course tasting menu at The Shack or pre-order takeout at Lundch, which serves family-style meals like asparagus and shiitake lasagna and grilled mahi-mahi. Table 44 has barbequed shrimp and grits or steak frites with grilled Angus as well as a selection of fancy sandwiches. And if it’s Virginia seafood you crave, BLU Point Seafood has some of the freshest you’ll find in the state as well as a raw bar where you can find delicious Virginia oysters.

Finally, you can’t go wrong with steak or pasta at the family-friendly Mill Street Grill and Depot Grille. Don’t forget to follow your meal with The Split Banana gelato or a classic cone or sundae from Wright’s Dairy Rite.

Drink

Virginia’s award-winning wine and craft brewing culture is giving out-of-towners a reason to visit. Hundreds of vineyards and breweries dot the landscape, making use of locally grown ingredients and the magnificent views from tasting and taprooms. Jump on the Shenandoah Wine Trail, which stretches from Rockbridge County to the south all the way up the Valley to Frederick County and Winchester. Nearby favorites include Barren Ridge Vineyards, Bluestone Vineyard, and Rockbridge Vineyard & Brewery

In Staunton, you’ll want to head down to Ox-Eye Vineyards tasting room to sip estate-grown wines. Choose your favorite from a selection of reds, whites, and seasonals. Another place to taste to your heart’s content is Yelping Dog Wine. This wine bar stocks an extensive collection of local, regional, and international wines to enjoy by the glass or the bottle over gourmet cheese plates and good conversation. The Green Room is a local meeting place that sells wine, beer, upscale snacks and more in an Instagram-worthy setting.

Speaking of beer, downtown Staunton is home to three craft breweries: Redbeard Brewing Co., Shenandoah Valley Brewing, and Queen City Brewing. Make yourself at home over delicious beer in their welcoming taprooms. Want to be entertained? Come on a night when there’s live music, trivia, karaoke, open mike, table-top gaming and more on the schedule. These three breweries (along with 16 others) are part of the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail. Other local restaurants with deep beer lists (as well as tasty fare) are the Clocktower, Shenandoah Pizza and Taphouse and Baja Bean.

Staunton is now home to Ciders from Mars, which ferments Augusta County apples into the hard cider it serves in its new, downtown taproom.

Love

You’ll love spending a Saturday morning at the Staunton Farmers’ Market producer’s only market in the historic Wharf district downtown. Listen to live music, and say “hi” to your neighbors as you browse the stalls for your favorite flavors. You’ll find ripe, organic fruits and vegetables, fresh baked goods, cut flowers, and much, much more.

 

 

There’s nothing like having a delicious meal outside, and on weekends, Beverley Street in downtown Staunton transforms into a pedestrian mall, with access to dining and shopping. Visit Shop and Dine Out Downtown for more info.

Want to learn more about the food you eat? Why not take a self-guided, private, or “lunatic” farm tour of Polyface Farms, a leader in ethical, sustainable, and clean meat production?

Share the love with your family by taking a trip to a nearby pick-your-own farm for fruit, produce, or decorative gourds in the fall! Celebrate grape season at Wenger Grapes, stock up for apple pie baking at Sunrise Orchards, or up your autumn game with a wagonload of pumpkins from Middle River Farm.

Craft Beer Month: How to Celebrate in Staunton

It’s August and time to celebrate Craft Beer Month across the state. Did you know that Virginia’s award-winning craft beer scene has expanded 400% in the past decade? Chances are that anywhere you are in Virginia, there’s a brewery close by. Stop in to enjoy the taproom atmosphere, or take some cans or a growler … Continue reading Craft Beer Month: How to Celebrate in Staunton

It’s August and time to celebrate Craft Beer Month across the state. Did you know that Virginia’s award-winning craft beer scene has expanded 400% in the past decade? Chances are that anywhere you are in Virginia, there’s a brewery close by. Stop in to enjoy the taproom atmosphere, or take some cans or a growler of your favorites to enjoy later. Staunton’s breweries are all close to restaurants and shopping and should be an important part of your Staunton experience. If you want to check out even more nearby breweries, visit all 19 breweries along the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail!

Staunton Breweries

Redbeard Brewing Company

Redbeard Brewing Company took advantage of the pandemic to update its taproom. You’ll enjoy the fresh space as you sample from 10-14 taps. All the beer is handcrafted using traditional techniques. Rather sit outside? There’s a beer garden, too. The brewery doesn’t serve food, but you can order in or bring snacks from home. 

Upcoming Events:

Newest Releases:

Top Untappd Rated Beers on Tap:

Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company

Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company first opened in 2012 as a home brew supply store. Since then, it’s opened and outgrown a taproom and moved to its present location on Beverley Street in 2017. You’ll appreciate the tasty beer, the cosy and pub-like atmosphere, and the location in the heart of Staunton’s downtown. Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company is part of the weekly Shop and Dine Out in Downtown initiative, which allows patrons to enjoy their beer outside.

Upcoming Events

  • Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co. regular live music. Check Facebook for what’s coming up!

Newest Releases:

Top Rated Beers on Untappd:

Queen City Brewing

Queen City Brewing is Staunton’s first brewery since Prohibition! Since 2003, it’s been serving an extensive selection of delicious craft beer to be enjoyed in the taproom or on the large outdoor patio. It’s convenient location next to Gypsy Hill Park makes is a great place to pop into after your evening walk or a round of golf. Hungry? Take advantage of regular food trucks or order delivery to the brewery. Oh, and you can get a bottomless order of popcorn for $2.

Upcoming Events:

  • Queen City Brewing hosts regular live music (see schedule)
  • Open mic nights every Wednesday. 

Newest Releases:

Top Rated Beers on Untappd:

Just a Short Drive Away

Skipping Rock Beer Company

Feeling stressed after a hard week? Head to Skipping Rock Beer Company for some delicious beer and a relaxing time. Kick back in the large beer garden around a fire pit, under a sun shade, or show off your wits during a round of pub trivia. Order dinner from the food truck and turn your ears to some live music.

Upcoming Events:

Newest Releases:

Top Rated Beers on Untappd:

Stable Craft Brewing

There are a number of reasons to visit Stable Craft Brewing. Not only will you find excellent craft beer made onsite using sustainable farming practices, you’ll also enjoy the brewery’s panoramic views of the mountains and location on a working horse and hops farm. The brewery is family-friendly with a  large exterior space, lawn games, fire pits for roasting smores, and horses to meet. Hungry? There’s on-site dining that specializes in farm-to-table fare like appetizers, dinners, and hand-helds. Follow Stable Craft Brewing on Facebook: there’s always something fun going on. Best of all, you can book onsite accommodations on the farm!

Upcoming Events

Newest Releases:

Top Rated Beers on Untappd:

Seven Arrows Brewing

Seven Arrows Brewing serves14 beers on tap as well as icy Slushies. Every Friday, Seven Arrows releases a new, seasonal infusion in the taproom. Hang out in the large taproom or on the deck. Keep the kids occupied with lots of board games and when you get hungry, order a bite from onsite Nobos Kitchen, which serves high-end pub fare that emphasizes local ingredients.

Upcoming Events:

Seven Arrows regularly hosts live music. See Facebook for what’s coming up.

Newest Releases:

Top Rated Beers on Untappd:

Staunton Restaurants Serving Craft Beer

While you are in Staunton, dine out at any of these restaurants that have a great selection of craft beers available – The Green Room, Table 44, Baja Bean Co., Byers Street Bistro, The Shack, Clocktower Restaurant & Bar, Depot Grill, Mill Street Grill, Shenandoah Pizza, Chicano Boy Taco, Yelping Dog, BLU Point Seafood Co., and Zynodoa.

How to Beat the Dog Days of August

We’ve all heard the term “the dog days of August”. It’s when dogs supposedly pass out from lying on the hot pavement and you can fry an egg on the hood of your car. The expression carries negative associations: drought, dangerous storms, rabid dogs, and just plain old bad luck. Though the term actually refers … Continue reading How to Beat the Dog Days of August

We’ve all heard the term “the dog days of August”. It’s when dogs supposedly pass out from lying on the hot pavement and you can fry an egg on the hood of your car. The expression carries negative associations: drought, dangerous storms, rabid dogs, and just plain old bad luck. Though the term actually refers to the sun’s apparent location near the Canus Major “big dog” constellation, area kids are bummed that summer vacation is ending. It’s time to take a quick trip to Staunton and eke out a tiny bit more fun before the grind begins again. 

Dance to Roots Music

You don’t want to miss the dinner-concert Roots Music Events at the Frontier Culture Museum. You’ll hear bluegrass, blues, gospel, traditional Appalachian music and more during the five nights of concerts which “celebrate the influence of these musical roots genres on American frontier culture.” Grab dinner from onsite food vendor Island Wheels Caribbean Cuisine and listen to artists like Wound Tight Bluegrass and Southern Hospitality. Make a day of it by exploring the museum where you’ll learn all about the Valley’s earliest residents through living history farm exhibits, questions and answers with interpreters, and hand-on experiences. This museum is suitable for history buffs as well as kids, who can play historic games and check out cows, goats, pigs, and cats. 

Find Cheer with Craft Beer

August is Craft Beer Month, and fortunately most of our area breweries have areas that are family friendly. Redbeard Brewing Company is having a monthly outdoor concert series and on August 28, it will welcome the Findells. Come sing, dance, and enjoy some delicious craft beer. Skipping Rock Beer Company hosts live music most Friday and Saturday nights. Come get comfortable in their beer garden, grab a pint of your favorite brew, and get ready for a great night. Look for upcoming acts like VS., HoboJac, McHale & Justina, and more! Queen City Brewing sells “all kinds of beer in all kinds of ways.” Come check out their outdoor seating area and plan to come on a night where there’s something fun going on: trivia, live music, open mic nights, and more.

Splash Your Blues Away

Just because school is starting doesn’t mean it’s too late in the season to swim. Take the family to one of our area’s lakes or rivers for a day on the water. Good bets include spring-fed Sherando Lake and Todd Lake in George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Both include sandy beaches, swimming areas, and restrooms. Paddlers will like the urban Waynesboro Water Trail and the more remote Goshen Pass, one of the top-rated kayaking spots in the area. For more on water fun, read Staunton’s Nearby Swimming Holes and Places to Cool Off.

The Best Way to Drive-Into Fall

If you’re sad because Staunton’s Movies in the Park 2021 season is over, you can still get your fill of the alfresco cinematic experience with a trip to Hull’s Drive In. Though it’s a bit of a drive, it’s worth it for the classic big-screen experience, the snack shop fare, and the community experience. Plus, it only costs $20 per carload of people for a double feature!

Dine out Downtown

There’s still plenty of time to dine out and shop in downtown Staunton. Each Friday night at 4 p.m., Beverley Street closes and stays closed until Monday morning. This lets restaurants in the busiest section of town use the sidewalk and street as dining, tasting room, and retail space. Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co., 101 West Beverley, Baja Bean Co., Shenandoah Pizza & Taphouse, Zynodoa, and more are all participating in the initiative. Stop by the Staunton Olive Oil Company, which is under new ownership, to taste some olive oils and vinegars on freshly baked 100% gluten-free bread, which we’ve heard tastes just like a normal French bread loaf. Follow this up with a selection of keto treats, which include blondies, power bars, brownies, and cheesecake bars. A map of the area with parking, pedestrian walkways, and restaurant take-out/pick-up spots clearly delineated is available here.

Pick Your Spirits Up

If your family hasn’t gotten enough fresh fruit pie from all the peaches you’ve been picking or buying, there’s still plenty of time to make more with bounty from the Staunton Farmers’ Market. Spend a Saturday morning perusing the stands, chatting with growers, and selecting the best fresh produce in the area. If you’d rather have a more hands-on experience, head to one of our nearby pick-your-own farms. Grapes and apples are coming into season at  Wenger GrapesSunrise Orchards, and Carter Mountain Orchard. School lunches always taste better with fresh fruit!

Just Let the Dogs out!

Nothing lifts our spirits like our pets, and since it’s the dog days of summer, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give a nod to Staunton’s dog-friendly destinations. Let your pet work off excess energy at Staunton’s Bark Park in Gypsy Hill Park. Divided into separate spacious runs for small and large dogs, it lets dogs play and socialize while their owners do the same. Other city parks are stocked with doggy-bag stations and open to well-behaved dogs on leashes. Serious hikers might enjoy the Betsy Bell Wilderness Area and the trails at Montgomery Hall Park. Finally, reward a good dog with a treat at the Well-Balanced Paw. This shop carries treats and supplements and provides nutritional guidance and therapeutic massage.

Savor the Sweet Staunton Summertime

Can you believe there are only a few weeks of summer vacation left before everyone heads back to school? If you’ve already been camping, cheered at a baseball game, and spent a week at the beach, here are a few more ways to savor the sweet Staunton summertime!  Country Fairs and Festivals The Augusta County … Continue reading Savor the Sweet Staunton Summertime

Can you believe there are only a few weeks of summer vacation left before everyone heads back to school? If you’ve already been camping, cheered at a baseball game, and spent a week at the beach, here are a few more ways to savor the sweet Staunton summertime! 

County Fairs and Festivals

The Augusta County Fair is happening now through July 31. Gorge on carnival food and see rides, exhibits, livestock, acrobats and other sideshow performances, music, tractor pulls and more! If you miss the fair in Augusta County, head up to Rockingham County Fairgrounds for the Rockingham County Fair from August 16-21 for more fair action, including music by Hardy with the Hackens Boys and a demolition derby. The Rockbridge Regional Fair and Expo is happening in Glasgow on August 26-28 and will feature music, rides, pageants and more.

Normally a springtime festival, Art in the Park is being held in the fall this year. On September 4-5, head to Staunton to enjoy the shady space by Gypsy Hill Park’s bandstand as you browse the work of a variety of juried artists. You’ll find photography, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, wood turnings, activities for kids, and more.

Pop over Afton Mountain on August 5 for fun and to support a good cause at the Rockfish Valley Volunteer Fireman’s Carnival. You’ll find rides and games for the entire family as well as delicious pit-cooked chicken and other food. Grottoes Volunteer Fire Department will host a Chicken in the Park event on August 14, and a Sunday lunch on August 15.

Fruit Picking

Nothing says summer like a fresh fruit pie or smoothie, and nothing says family like time spent bonding in an orchard or berry patch. Here’s how to head into the country and make some memories this summer. Remember to check what’s in season on this calendar and call the farm ahead of time to see what’s available. Don’t forget your sunscreen and bug spray!

Troyer Nursery specializes in strawberries, but there’s still plenty to pick later in the season. You’ll find sweetcorn, tomatoes, green beans, red beets, squash, zucchini, onions and other vegetables. They also sell milk and ice cream mix from Mount Crawford Creamery. Critzer Family Farm is dedicated to environmentally-friendly farming practices and education. It’s a nice place to take the kids to learn about food production and to pick seasonal strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, peaches, plums, pumpkins, and fresh veggies. Don’t skip home-churned ice cream after your time in the sun!

If you want to wait for the weather to cool off a bit before heading outside, mark your calendar for the end of August when the crops of Concord and Niagara grapes start to ripen at Wenger Grapes. Another good option is Sunrise Orchards, a small pick-your-own apple orchard that offers Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Jonathan by the bag, peck, half bushel, or bushel from early September until the apples are gone. Carter Mountain Orchard is a bit of a drive, but they offer the pick-your-own fruit experience on a large scale. You can pick or buy pre-picked apples and other seasonal fruits and shop at the farm market, making sure to order a plate of the apple cider donuts! The pumpkin patch at Middle River Farms opens in the middle of September. You’ll find beautiful views and over 30 varieties of pumpkins and gourds. Their wagonload deal is one of the best around!

Best Barbecue

Barbecue season lasts all summer, giving you plenty of time to celebrate and try all the Staunton varieties of this juicy, smoky warm-weather staple. Here are the places worth the drive!

Peck’s Bar-B-Que is a local favorite, known for Virginia-style smoked pork served chopped, sliced, or coarse. Get your meat on a sandwich or on a platter with sides like coleslaw and hush puppies. If you want straight meat, you can order that too. The less carnivorous will enjoy salads, fish, and chicken choices. Shredder’s BBQ also serves your favorite Virginia barbecue. It’s made with locally raised meats and smoked with hickory wood.

Kline’s Hog Wild BBQ serves Carolina and sweet-style barbecue and sides for dining in and taking out. Drink a milkshake with your meal or finish with some of the fresh-churned ice cream that Kline’s is famous for! Big Red Barbecue’s menu is packed with selections like pulled pork and fried catfish. The menu also includes a ton of breakfast selections. Check Facebook for daily specials like jerk chicken and shrimp and grits. Valley Smokehouse specializes in seafood, barbecue, and steaks. Be on the lookout for events like all-you-can-eat seafood or scallops, prime rib, and tuna steak meals! Finally, next time you dine at Mill Street Grill or The Depot Grille, make sure to sample their slow-cooked ribs and homemade barbecue sauce.

For even more summer fun, visit our blogs on Live Music, Ice Cream and Swimming Holes.

Staunton’s Nearby Swimming Holes and Places to Cool Off

So far 2021 has been taking the prize for the hottest summer in reported history. Here’s how Staunton can escape the blazing temperatures and suffocating humidity with swimming pools, paddling put-ins, waterfalls, and more. Pools If you’re not lucky enough to have your own pool, never fear. Staunton has public pools at Gypsy Hill Park … Continue reading Staunton’s Nearby Swimming Holes and Places to Cool Off

So far 2021 has been taking the prize for the hottest summer in reported history. Here’s how Staunton can escape the blazing temperatures and suffocating humidity with swimming pools, paddling put-ins, waterfalls, and more.

Pools

If you’re not lucky enough to have your own pool, never fear. Staunton has public pools at Gypsy Hill Park and Montgomery Hall Park. The pool at Gypsy Hill Park is an Olympic-sized L-shaped pool with a shallow section for hanging out and a separate area for swimming in lanes. The pool has a diving board, slides, and a kiddie pool with a zero-depth entry for the youngest visitors. Montgomery Hall’s Pool is smaller but has a cool twisty slide and a shallow area with sprinklers for kids. There’s a nearby playground and picnic area for after-pool fun. Both pools can be rented for parties!

Lakes

The George Washington and Thomas Jefferson National Forests boast nearly two million acres of unspoiled nature. There are lots of opportunities to get outside, including chances for swimming and fun in the water. When the weather gets hot, Staunton residents head to Todd Lake or Sherando Lake. 7.5-acre Todd Lake is located northwest of Staunton and will prove a perfect place for a family swim, picnic, or even a camping weekend. Built to control flooding in the 60s, the lake now features a sandy beach, playground, bathhouse, picnic area, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and hiking trails. You can even launch your non-motorized boat in the water. Day-use fee applies.

Head southeast of Staunton to reach Sherando Lake, known locally as the “Jewel of the Blue Ridge.” Come enjoy the spring-fed water for the day, or stay overnight in the campground. The 25-acre lake has a clearly marked swimming area and a sandy beach. There’s plenty of room on the beach and surrounding grassy area to spread out your blanket and chairs. There’s a bathhouse and lots of shaded picnic tables. If you’re feeling energetic, hike around the lake or swim out to the island. The recreation area was built in 1933 by the Civil Conservation Corps. Day access fee applies.

Rivers & Streams

If you’re willing to hike a bit to beat the heat, try one of these pristine swimming holes in nearby rivers and streams.

The 9.5-mile Rip Rap circuit hike is widely considered one of the best loops in the southern part of Shenandoah National Park. The 50-foot-wide icy cold swimming hole you’ll encounter midway has a lot to do with that reputation. Access this deep, spring-fed beauty by hiking down from the parking area at MM 90 on the Skyline Drive (Shenandoah National Park fees apply).

Take the four-mile out-and-back hike through St. Mary’s Wilderness for a beautiful and exhilarating plunge into an icy mountain pool under St. Mary’s Falls. Make sure you bring water shoes since there are multiple water crossings and this popular trail to the swimming hole might be washed out in places.

A third hike that’s great for summertime is the 4.5-mile loop starting on the Blue Ridge Parkway that passes White Rock Falls. Though there’s not a huge swimming hole beneath the 40-foot falls, you’ll find pools that are good for wading and cooling off. If you have younger kids, consider the shorter down-to-the-falls-and-back-up version of this hike that begins and ends at the Slacks Overlook.

You won’t need to do a lot of hiking to find your special spot at Goshen Pass, but you might need to scramble over some enormous rocks to get there. The water in the 3.7-mile section of the gorge carved by the Maury River 420 million years ago is refreshingly cold. You’ll see forests punctuated with jagged rock formations and you’ll discover countless private pools if you want to swim or hang out on your own private island. The site is also popular for tubing and offers some of the most challenging kayaking around. If you want ease of access, try the gravel beach at the picnic facilities where the gorge opens out and the water flows slowly.

Paddling and Tubing

If your preferred way to cool off is a leisurely float down a river, check out the Waynesboro Water Trail. This 4-mile stretch of the South River flows right through downtown Waynesboro and offers several convenient put-in and take-out points as well as nearby canoe and kayak rentals from Rockfish Gap Outfitters. Just north of Staunton, a lazy stretch of the Middle River flows past a waterfall and through the Shenandoah Valley Campground, where you can rent inner tubes at the general store. Another good place to launch your kayak or inner tube is at Grottos Landing in Mountain View Park, Grottos. From here, you can float to Port Republic and beyond!

When swimming or boating in natural areas, remember to wear water shoes and sunscreen. Also keep an eye out for slippery rocks, poison ivy, glass, and reptiles.

Summer Music and More: What’s Happening at Heifetz

Not only does the Heifetz International Music Institute educate young musicians in their artistic growth, it also treats the community to a variety of world-class listening opportunities. After a year of online programming and virtual concerts during Covid, Heifetz is again bringing live, in-person music to a wide audience. This year marks Heifetz’s 25th anniversary. … Continue reading Summer Music and More: What’s Happening at Heifetz

Not only does the Heifetz International Music Institute educate young musicians in their artistic growth, it also treats the community to a variety of world-class listening opportunities. After a year of online programming and virtual concerts during Covid, Heifetz is again bringing live, in-person music to a wide audience.

This year marks Heifetz’s 25th anniversary. It was originally founded in 1996 as a 6-week summer experience by concert violinist and teacher Daniel Heifetz. In 2012, Heifetz opened the doors to 62 students in its new Staunton location. It has grown a lot since then: according to the website, even in the midst of the pandemic, 40 Heifetz faculty members virtually served 100 students across 9 time zones. They brought music to over 500,000 viewers through concerts streaming on YouTube, Facebook Live, and the Violin Channel.

HEIR and Other Recent Notable Activity

As an alternative to normally scheduled Heifetz on Tour programming, Heifetz provided music during the pandemic with its HEIR (Heifetz Ensemble-in-Residence) Program. The audience could attend string quartet or piano trio concerts in-person at The Blackburn Inn & Conference Center’s Great Hall. They could also attend and interact through Zoom.

Heartstrings Program

Another part of the HEIR program was Heifetz’s virtual Heartstrings program, which connected performers with frontline workers and patients at Augusta Health. This program included almost 200 virtual, but intimate performances for patients suffering from both illnesses and the emotional toll brought on by months of social distancing. Additional ensemble performances catered to larger audiences and helped bring music and joy to the wider hospital community. These outlets also helped budding professional musicians connect with audiences.

Virtual Concert Hall

2020’s Rubato Virtual Concert Hall recorded sophisticated, all-new performances by Virtual Institute students and broadcast them to audiences. In 2021, most concerts will be recorded for broadcast, even if they are presented to live audiences. Some will be online only because participating musicians will perform from countries around the world. Want to interact with the Heifetz community? Look for special “watch parties.” Additional streamable options included music, commentary, and interviews from years past.

Chock Full O’Bach

Heifetz students (and most other classical musicians) learn a lot from studying Bach. Heifetz students even use the German composer’s work as audition material for the program. Now they’re sharing with the community by sharing some of those compositions with the public. Subscribe to Chock Full O’Bach to let Heifetz help you start each day with a new release! 

What’s Happening Now: Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts

Celebrate music with this year’s annual Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts, which extends through August 6th and offers both chamber music and multi-genre selections! Choose from over 50 concerts. Concert offerings can be either free and ticketed, but since children under 12 are invited to attend all concerts for free, there’s no need to hire a sitter!

  • Stars of Tomorrow (First Presbyterian Church, Tuesdays and Thursdays): “The Institute’s signature series showcases breathtaking performances by extraordinary Heifetz students, visiting alumni artists, and our outstanding Heifetz piano faculty.”

  • Virtual Stars of Tomorrow: These live-stream performances allow students from around the world to perform virtually. 
  • Fridays in the Gallery (Staunton Augusta Art Center): Free weekday concerts set against the backdrop of local and regional artists. Register ahead if you plan to attend because space is limited in the venues.
  • Celebrity Series (First Presbyterian Church, Friday evenings): These programs bring top performers to Staunton, including Shannon Lee, Philip Setzer, Shmuel Ashkenasi, and the Borromeo String Quartet. Concerts will feature works by Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Dohnányi, Schumann, Bach and more.

  • HeifetzPEG Showcase (online): This showcase of young talent serves as “graduation recitals” for young string players.
  • Heifetz Hootenanny (Saturdays): This series “features students, staff, and special guests in one-of-a-kind, multi-genre mash-ups moves to the Blackburn Inn’s expansive new Great Hall, where you might hear bluegrass picking, Broadway belting, folk fiddling, or rollicking rhythm and blues!”

  • Sunday Matinees (First Presbyterian Church, Sunday afternoons): Headliner artists are joined by Heifetz students, alums, and special guests to make wonderful music. Presented by Redbeard Brewing Company.
  • Heifetz in the Vineyard (Barren Ridge Vineyard): Concerts both indoors and out take advantage of the vineyard’s idyllic setting. Plus, there’s delicious Barren Ridge wine to sip as you listen.

  • PianoPalooza (First Presbyterian Church, July 19): Come watch the Heifetz keyboard wizards as they wow you on the ivories.
  • Heifetz Grand Finale (Blackburn Inn’s SummerStage, August 6): The season’s final concert is a passionate gathering of Heifetz students and faculty followed by a farewell feast.

Looking for a Special Gift?

If you like to spoil a music-loving someone on your gift list, head downtown to the Heifetz Gift Shop (107 E. Beverley Street). From music-themed wearables and cards, to Heifetz chocolate bars and sheet music printed umbrellas, you’ll find a unique gift sure to make someone smile. And if you’d like to take an unusual route to supporting Heifetz, you can donate your unwanted household items and clothing to them so they can sell them on eBay. Since Heifetz is a non-profit, they’ll be able to keep 100% of the proceeds and use them to support the Institute.

For other musical experiences in Staunton, click here!

Staunton’s Legen-Dairy Ice Cream Sweet Spots

Did you know that ice cream first came to the U.S. in the 1700s, but only members of high society could afford it? That vanilla is America’s favorite flavor? That the waffle cone was invented in 1904 at the St. Louis Fair? That it takes approximately 50 licks to finish a cone? July is National … Continue reading Staunton’s Legen-Dairy Ice Cream Sweet Spots

Did you know that ice cream first came to the U.S. in the 1700s, but only members of high society could afford it? That vanilla is America’s favorite flavor? That the waffle cone was invented in 1904 at the St. Louis Fair? That it takes approximately 50 licks to finish a cone? July is National Ice Cream Month and Staunton has plenty of places to go to find your favorite flavor. Whether you like soft-serve, gelato, classic shakes and malts, or traditional scoops, we can help you find your Staunton-area sweet spot.

Wright’s Dairy Rite

Just look for the glowing neon sign! Generations of Stauntonians have been eating themselves happy at Wright’s Dairy Rite, which has been a Staunton mainstay since 1952. Not only can you sit in a retro booth and order your food with the built-in phone, you can also drive in and get classic curbside service. Originally a frozen custard store, Wright’s serves a full menu of burgers, subs, and sandwiches along with its frozen treats. The menu offers dipped cones, funnel cake fries, flurries, splits, milkshakes, malts, and drink freezes to cool off on a mighty hot day. To curb a raging sweet tooth, try a Wright’s Wheelie. This warm donut is mounded with ice cream, whipped cream, and your choice of topping. Keep an eye out for the next Wright’s Cruise-In antique car rally, returning September 5, 2021.

Kline’s Dairy Bar

The Staunton location of Kline’s Dairy Bar has made its ice cream fresh every morning since 1997. If you grew up in Staunton, you probably went to Kline’s after your big baseball win. Your best friend probably had a birthday party in the back room. This local chain has been in business since 1943, and that’s given it plenty of time to perfect its “continuous freeze” method of producing a soft, dense ice cream. Kline’s always makes vanilla and chocolate, but there are two different special flavors that change over on Wednesday. Check the sign, flavor card, or website each week for a rotation of can’t-miss flavors like banana and cake batter or local favorites like raspberry and lemon gingersnap in cones, cups, shakes, and sundaes. Kline’s in Staunton also offers Hog Wild BBQ, so you can get sweet or Carolina-style barbecue and burgers there, too. 

The Split Banana

Next time you’re in downtown Staunton, walk up to the window at The Split Banana and order the best part of your day. The Split Banana uses local grass-fed milk to create its award-winning gelato. At any given time, you can pick from 24 delectable and fresh-made flavors from a rotating lineup of more than 50. Choose traditional tastes or opt for something more adventurous like espresso biscotto, peanut butter and jelly, hazelnut, or cocoa ancho. Curious how gelato is different from ice cream? It uses more milk, making it lower in fat. But it’s also dense and creamy because it incorporates less air. Gelato tends to deliver intense flavors because it is served at a slightly higher temperature. A favorite of locals and tourists alike, The Split Banana stays open late, so night owls should stop in after dinner or a show. Can’t cram enough ice cream onto one cone? The Split Banana sells ice cream to go by the pint or quart.

Coming Soon: Crumbl

Crumbl is putting the finishing touches on its new downtown Staunton location. It’s set to open at the end of July. While Staunton’s newest bakery won’t necessarily specialize in ice cream, we couldn’t help but include Crumbl in this roundup because their rotating variety of cakes, cookies, cookie dough, brownies will include delicious and spectacular-looking ice cream cake!

Smiley’s Ice Cream at Mt. Crawford Creamery

Since a cow gives enough milk to produce two gallons of ice cream a day, the folks at Mt. Crawford Creamery have virtual ice cream machines on their hands! Onsite Smiley’s Ice Cream turns that milk into ice cream and that ice cream turns into smiles. Smiley’s is a bit of a drive from Staunton, but the slow-churned “front porch ice cream” and local ingredients like strawberries, peaches, and blueberries they serve is worth it. Smiley’s dips up 16 different flavors each day and shifts those flavors seasonally. Regular flavors include java chip, salted caramel chocolate chunk, black raspberry, and lime sorbet. Many options are gluten free. Order your ice cream at Smiley’s or plan ahead and buy online. Stay tuned: Smiley’s will soon be moving to a new, larger location in Bridgewater.

Sweet Creations at Valley Pike Farm Market

If you’re heading up to Harrisonburg, stop off at the Valley Pike Farm Market for a treat at Sweet Creations. You can order a cone, cup, or sundae made from fresh Homestead Creamery ice cream. It comes in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and a rotating selection of specialty flavors.

What’s Playing Next? Staunton’s Summer Music Roundup

Picture kicking back on a blanket under the stars enjoying a picnic and listening to the Steel Wheels and other favorite artists. Or imagine relishing the sounds of Beethoven while the light shines through the stained glass at Trinity Church. Or how about celebrating the 4th of July virtually from the comforts of your own … Continue reading What’s Playing Next? Staunton’s Summer Music Roundup

Picture kicking back on a blanket under the stars enjoying a picnic and listening to the Steel Wheels and other favorite artists. Or imagine relishing the sounds of Beethoven while the light shines through the stained glass at Trinity Church. Or how about celebrating the 4th of July virtually from the comforts of your own home? There are plenty of ways to get live music into your life this summer. Here’s a guide to your Staunton summer soundtrack!

Happy Birthday America Virtual

It’s still too soon to hold Staunton’s traditional Happy Birthday America Celebration with Wilson Fairchild. However, you can join in the fun with the virtual version by tuning into the Happy Birthday America YouTube channel. The virtual celebration will “feature guests, pictures and memories looking back through the years.” Musical guests will include Rhonda Vincent, The Malpass Brothers, Jimmy Fortune, Tony Jackson, and Mark Wills & Ruth Graham. Tune in online at 7:15 p.m. on Sunday, July 4.

Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts

You’re in for a treat with this year’s annual Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts! Choose from over 50 different concerts extending through August 6. Concerts range from chamber music, Fourth of July music, and multi-genre selections. 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, which is set in a quiet gallery surrounded by Shenandoah Valley art. Anything goes in the Heifetz Hootenanny Series, which will occur in the Blackburn Inn’s new Great Hall.

Red Wing Roots Music Festival

Have you bought your tickets for the annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival yet? If not, you’d better hurry. The festival is coming up on July 9-11, and features some of the biggest names in folk music. Listen to The Steel Wheels, Tim Mavericks, Sarah Jarosz, Hiss Golden Messenger, Ragged Mtn String Band, and over 40 more as they play five stages. The festival will be staged at Natural Chimneys Park against the stunning 120-foot limestone towers. Besides the music, festival attendees can expect a beer garden, food and craft vendors, and lots of fun outdoor activities. Join bike rides, yoga, and lawn games for adults and kids alike.

Summer Stage at the Blackburn Inn

Spread out your blanket and get ready for a great night under the stars at the Blackburn Inn’s Friday night SummerStage concert series. The concerts will extend through Labor Day and they will showcase talent like The Quebe Sisters, David Wax Museum, Bonnie Bishop, Hackensaw Boys, Bryan Elijah Smith, and more playing in a wide range of genres. Along with the music, you can enjoy beverages from local vineyards, breweries, and cideries. There will also be food from the 2nd Draft Bistro. The grounds open at 6 p.m. and the music starts at 7 p.m.

Staunton Music Festival

You’ll experience classical music spanning over 600 years at The Staunton Music Festival (August 13-15 and August 18-22). Dozens of musicians will perform in both large and small ensembles. Performances will take place in in downtown Staunton in historic Trinity Episcopal Church, Blackfriars Playhouse, and First Presbyterian Church. Festival highlights include “Time Lost and Found,” which examines the philosophical issues of time in music, “Music Transatlantica,” and “Masters and Students.” While some events are ticketed, many are free.

Redbeard’s Summer Concert Series

Want to sip some delicious craft beer while you listen to music? From now until October, find a seat at Redbeard Brewing Company on the last Saturday night of each month for their Live Summer Concert Series. Favorite groups like The Judy Chops, Six Shot Rebellion, The Findells, and Drägön Wägön will headline. 6-9 p.m.

Stonewall Brigade Band at the Gypsy Hill Bandstand 

Staunton’s historic 70-member Stonewall Brigade Band is bringing big sounds to your Monday nights from now through August 30. The oldest-continuous community band in the U.S. was originally a marching band, but with the addition of woodwinds after the Civil War, it became a concert band. It first played in what is now Gypsy Hill Park in 1889. Concerts begin at 8 p.m. See the full schedule here.

Tuesday Nights: Praise in the Park in Gypsy Hill Park 

Head to Gypsy Hill Park on Tuesday nights in July and August to hear Linden Heights Baptist Church’s annual Praise in the Park concert series. You hear contemporary and southern gospel as well as gospel bluegrass. Better yet, there will be activities to keep the kiddos busy while you listen to favorites like Faithful Men, Sierra Losh & Just Us Country Band, Ed Pettersen & Streets of Gold Quartet, Brian Buchanan & Heaven’s Mountain Band, and Covenant Band. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. See the full schedule here.

Bluegrass in Gypsy Hill Park

Local and regional bluegrass entertainers will visit Staunton on Wednesday nights between July 7 and August 25. Most concerts include sets by two different groups. Get ready for some energetic tunes and banjo picking from  Mark Templeton Band, Southern Rail Express, Page County Ramblers, Donnie Mason and In the Tradition, and more. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. See the full schedule here.

Thursday Nights: Jazz in the Park 

Celebrate hot summer nights with the Jazz in the Park summer concert series. You’ll hear classic jazz standards performed by S.P.L.A.A.A.T. Quartet, amazing stride/boogie pianist William Hayes performing with The Boogie Kings, and trumpeter John D’earth, who has collaborated with greats such as Tito Puente, Dave Matthews, and Miles Davis. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. See the full lineup here.

Nearby Music

You might also check out Waynesboro Parks and Rec’s Groovin’ at the Greenway and Wayne on Main events, which allow visitors to get comfy outdoors while listening to live music.