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Category: Accommodations

Your Staunton Summer Bucket List

Summer’s here and it finally feels like you have time to do all those things you’ve been yearning to do. But we know those long days are fleeting, so we’ve built a Staunton bucket list to help you maximize the moments and pack the most of Staunton’s unique experiences into your season.

chase ghosts

Discover the Queen City after dark. Led by a lantern, this two-hour walking tour is where history and hauntings meet. Hear the stories of Staunton’s most notable residents like Mary Baldwin, James Vames, Myrtle Knox and Jimmy Atkins who are responsible for shaping the historical and haunted landscape of Staunton. Come prepared with flashlights, audio recorders and cameras to capture any paranormal activity and other oddities you might see or hear.  Book your Ghost Tour now.

spend the night locked in a room

Spend an evening finding clues and cracking real-life codes at Crack the Code Escape Room. Groups of up to eight people have an hour to solve the puzzle in this interactive strategy game, so round up your gang, put down your phones, and bond over your shared brain power. Current themed rooms include: Da Vinci’s Office, Back to the Eighties, and Steampunk City.

Hike the Appalachian Trail


Bring your hiking poles and your camera and get ready to clear your head and luxuriate in natural beauty! Staunton is only minutes away from a spectacular section of Appalachian Trail that runs along the Blue Ridge and offers steep climbs and scenic vistas. Hike along the trail or access a short spur like Bear Den Mountain or Humpback Rocks. Planning your first hike with young children? Click here for a good resource.

Stay at Virginia’s Newest Luxury Hotel

Thomas Blackburn, a protege of Thomas Jefferson, originally designed the building that is now the Blackburn Inn in 1828 as part of Western State Hospital. The institution has a busy and controversial history, but the building and grounds were designed to be beautiful and peaceful to aid in the healing process. Now, the recently renovated and reopened 49-room boutique hotel retains historic fixtures of antebellum architecture like enormous windows, original floors, and high ceilings but also embraces state-of-the-art modern convenience. And it’s not haunted, we promise.

Watch a movie under the stars at a classic drive-in

No summer experience is more iconic than a double feature at a good, old-fashioned drive-in movie theater. Hull’s Drive-In, located south of Staunton, has been lighting up the night since 1950. Bring the family and enjoy summer blockbusters and a full menu at the snack bar. A Staunton bucket list won’t feel complete without this ultimate retro family destination!

attend a Music Festival

Whether it’s a major festival like Redwing Roots or Chili. Blues n’ Brews, a free concert in Gypsy Hill Park, or live music at a local brewery or vineyard, music pairs wonderfully with the outdoors. Spread your blanket, watch the little ones chase fireflies, and enjoy the summer sounds with your family and friends.

explore a cave 

Finally learn the difference between a stalagmite and stalactite. Open for nearly 200 years, Grand Caverns is now a National Natural Landmark where “history runs deep.” Both Union and Confederate soldiers visited it during the Civil War, and 200 verified signatures mark its walls. The show cave boasts shield formations and “Cathedral Hall,” one of the largest cavern rooms in the eastern U.S. Best of all, the cave stays 54 degrees year round. What a great way to learn some history and geology while keeping the entire family cool!

Root for the Staunton Braves


Put on your jersey and catch Staunton Braves fever as you spend an exciting summer evening lounging in your camp chair, gobbling ballpark food, and rooting for the home team at Moxie Stadium. The Braves are part of the Valley Baseball League, a collegiate NCAA league that has been playing ball in the Valley since 1897 and regularly sends players to the majors.

Visit the Augusta County Fair

Nothing says summer like midway rides, cotton candy, sideshow acts and blue-ribbon vegetables. Venture out to Augusta Expo for the 2018 Augusta County Fair, July 31-August 4. Make sure you catch a magic show, a prize-winning livestock competition or a tractor pull. You might even see blacksmiths compete in feats of strength and dexterity. This is down-home-on-the-farm fun for the entire family.

Attend a small-town Independence Day Celebration

Staunton goes all out for the 4th of July. The loaded schedule of Happy Birthday America events features musical entertainment, a vesper service, fireworks, a parade, a 5K race, a pageant for children under 12, and concessions. It will also include a feature performance by Wilson Fairchild, a country group comprised of Wil and Landon Reid, sons of the Statler Brothers’ Harold and Don Reid  

And If there’s a tattoo on your Staunton Bucket List…

If this is the summer you’re finally going to take the plunge (or add to your existing gallery of body art), Staunton offers two tattoo parlors. Both will give consultations and create custom designs (and cover ups). Check out Lion’s Den Tattoo or Acme Tattoo for some really cool art and great customer experiences.

 

 

The Blackburn Inn Set to Open in April

The Blackburn Inn will officially open its doors this Spring. This 49-room luxury boutique hotel in downtown Staunton, has a storied past dating back to the 1800s. What was once Western State Hospital, The Blackburn Inn was envisioned and influenced by master builder and Thomas Jefferson protégé, Thomas R. Blackburn. This historic building was originally constructed in 1828 and was most likely built by several of Jefferson’s workmen from the then, recently completed University of Virginia.

Guests and visitors will find a home away from home at The Blackburn Inn — greeted with stately columns, wide corridors and hallway arches, vaulted ceilings, and an original wood staircase allowing guests to access the rooftop atrium offering breathtaking 360-degree views of downtown Staunton. The Inn will honor the age and elegance of the building with other notable design elements to include original heart pine floors that will flow throughout the hotel, an antique style drafting table that will serve as the reception desk, and artwork from local and regional artisans showcasing Staunton’s emerging arts scene.

Guests and locals will appreciate seasonal events on the lawn and throughout the hotel, enjoy bites and sips from locally-sourced vendors at The Inn’s bistro and bar, and experience the vibrant arts and culture scene firsthand.  

Staunton-based developer and owner, Robin Miller, was committed to honoring the extraordinary elements of the building and engaged key operational and design partners – Retro Hospitality, LLC; A Concept 2 Design; and Apex Design – to develop a property that captivated and inspired guests. Striking the perfect balance between modern design and historical roots, the hotel’s inspiring touches exemplifies artful design and a modern, upscale, state-of-the-art experience. The Blackburn Inn is now accepting reservations for stays starting April 27.

The Blackburn Inn and Visit Staunton are running a social media giveaway throughout the month of April – visit Facebook or Instagram for details on how to get a free overnight stay.

Girlfriends’ Getaway

Staunton has plenty of trendy restaurants, local wine, luxurious lodgings, and unique shopping and entertainment opportunities. That’s why it’s the ideal environment for making new memories during a wonderful girlfriends’ getaway. You and your besties will want to make it an annual trip. Here’s a fun roundup of must-do activities.

Explore Staunton

When you arrive, head straight for Staunton’s extremely walkable downtown. The Staunton Farmer’s Market opens on the first Saturday in April, and often features live music. Nibble a baked treat and scout out seasonal produce, honey, jams and pickles to take home. Next, explore Staunton’s five historic districts, visit the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace, or take a tour of the American Shakespeare Center. Stop in at Paris Cake Company for something sweet. And if cupcakes are your particular passion, you can’t skip the giant cupcakes and egg-less raw cookie dough at Sweet Nana Cakes.

Shopping

Staunton has a lot to offer girlfriends who enjoy shopping together. Plan to spend some time exploring our boutiques, galleries, and antique stores. Design at Nine offers the latest in women’s fashion, shoes, and accessories. Try Latitudes for fair trade selections ranging from women’s apparel, to jewelry to recycled metal wall art. If you’re looking for more art to buy, check out Beverly Street Studio, where local artists exhibit and sell their work. You might also be captivated by the spectacular glass work at Sunspots.

Relax and Recharge

Recharge your mind and body with a class at Sanctuary Yoga and Wellness.The studio welcomes walk-ins and offers classes in a variety of styles, including vinyasa, hatha, and yin. See here for a schedule. If you’re serious about relaxing, why not share a spa day with your girlfriends? Indulge yourself at Breezy Hill Day Spa, housed in a historic mansion or Mill Street Body and Soul Day Spa and Salon,  which is right downtown. Both spas’ services include massage, facials, manicures, and pedicures. Breezy Hill offers an all-day session that includes lunch.

Outside Fun

Take a scenic drive to Fishersville and ramble around the Andre Viette Farm. Viette is world famous for his daylilies, and the farm and garden center is open year round. Get inspired by the beautiful gardens and take some plants home to your own. If fresh flowers are your thing, explore the Pebble Hall Wildflowers. Pick a bouquet of whatever’s in bloom, pet the horses, and plan a picnic to appreciate the view. If you’re outside for something more rigorous, remember that you’re in some of the best hiking country in the world. For some ideas, see An Alternate Spring Break: 5 Awesome Hikes. You might also rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from Rockfish Gap Outfitters in Waynesboro for a fun-filled day of paddling on the South River or Lake Sherando.

Drinks and Light Fare

Still wishing there were one more season of Downton Abbey? Drown your sorrows in tea at the Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room.  Enjoy traditional High Tea, light lunches and afternoon cream teas in a picturesque thatched cottage surrounded by gardens. You can even sample all the teas thrown into the harbor during the Boston Tea Party! If you’re still thirsty, head to Ox Eye Tasting Room to taste a variety of their wines. Follow your tasting with a full glass of your favorite. Or go to Yelping Dog Wine, where wine can be enjoyed by the glass or by the bottle, and you can munch on a cheese plate or gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. If you prefer a vineyard with a view, take a picnic to Barren Ridge Vineyards, only a short drive east of Staunton.

Dinner with Friends

Staunton boasts a rich restaurant scene with much to choose from, but if you’re looking for fare to share with your girlfriends, try a range of Spanish tapas and other Mediterranean food at Aioli Restaurant. If pizza and beer are more up your alley, split a gourmet pie at Shenandoah Pizza and Tap House. And if you still have room for more food, get some scoops of homemade gelato at The Split Banana. Here, a number of flavors, both traditional and exotic will tempt your taste buds. Guinness Extra Stout in a waffle cone, anyone?

Staunton After Dark

Many of Staunton’s watering holes host events on different nights of the week. Fun stuff includes trivia, live music, and karaoke. Check out the Staunton on Tap and the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail events page for more info. Downtown 27 is Staunton’s own dance club. Downtown 27 offers live music, DJ dance parties, and other exciting entertainment. And if active puzzle games are your style, book a Staunton’s Crack the Code Escape Room. Groups of six or fewer use their wits to puzzle out clues and escape the room in under an hour.

Theater

A trip to Staunton isn’t complete without some Shakespeare at the American Shakespeare Center. You can catch a performance almost every night year-round, and you can even sit on stage to get very close to the actors. If you’re lucky, they might use you as a prop! Check out what’s on stage at Shenanarts, where you’ll see ambitious and energetic performances by local talent almost every weekend.

Other good stuff:

For a list of Staunton restaurants known for brunch, see our post: Staunton’s Brunch Bunch.

If you’re planning to stay in Staunton overnight, here are some quirky and fun places to stay or click here for our bed and breakfast picks.

 

Staunton Bed and Breakfasts

Dreaming of visiting a historic property, eating gourmet food, and receiving personal attention – all at an affordable price?  The Staunton bed and breakfast scene excels in modern comfort, convenience, and plenty of delicious, locally-sourced food. Whether you’re in town for an event, business, or romance, we’ll help you find your perfect home away from home.

Thornrose House at Gypsy Hill

Directly across the street from Gypsy Hill Park and less than a mile’s walk from downtown, Thornrose House was designed by esteemed Staunton architect T.J. Collins and built in 1912. You can’t beat the convenience if you’re in town for a festival like Art in the Park or Happy Birthday America, and there’s often live music at the bandstand on summer evenings. Also convenient are the park’s playgrounds, pool, tennis courts, golf course, and Staunton Braves baseball stadium. The house and grounds feature three comfortable guest rooms with en suite bathrooms, a wrap-around porch, pergolas, and a conservatory.  Start your day with a breakfast made using fresh, seasonal ingredients and sausage, and free-range eggs from local, sustainable farms.

Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast

The Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast, an 1897 Queen Anne Victorian mansion, sits across from the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace. The current owners modernized the property, transforming it into an elegant inn, but left many original details like fireplaces, stained glass, large windows and period decorations. Select Registry chose the Berkeley House for its elite group of inns across the country that undergo rigorous quality-assurance inspection. The Berkeley House offers an elaborate breakfast with many tasty dishes. Make sure you catch the wine and cheese served late Saturday afternoons! The bed and breakfast offers an American Shakespeare Center package, a champagne package, and a spa package with in-room massage.

Frederick House

Consisting of 23 rooms in seven historic buildings in downtown Staunton, Frederick House boasts the extravagance of a fancy hotel in a more personal setting. Since the buildings were not originally built to be hotel rooms, the B&B also offers plenty of personality: you might stay in what was once a silent movie theater, a stable, or a store. Visitors select from a menu of signature breakfasts including apple raisin quiche, ham and cheese pie, and strata with sausage. Ask about discounted tickets and backstage passes at the American Shakespeare Center. The Frederick House is downtown, so you can tour Staunton on foot, but if you choose to venture away to explore the Valley, Frederick House can arrange a picnic basket for you. They can also help with bike rentals, golf packages, fishing advice, and winery routes.

Olde Staunton Inn

Located only a short stroll from the shops, restaurants, and sites of downtown Staunton, the Olde Staunton Inn is also on the 25-cent trolley route. This means visitors can access all the town has to offer without ever getting behind the wheel. The bed and breakfast, decorated in an eclectic style,  is in the Newtown Historic District and dates to 1910. Highlights of your stay will include the relaxed and casual atmosphere and a delicious breakfast that will probably showcase homemade muffins. There are a variety of rooms to choose from; some include fireplaces and luxurious king-sized beds.

Montclair Bed and Breakfast

If you seek a cozy bed and breakfast bursting with Southern hospitality the Montclair Bed and Breakfast represents a perfect choice. The B&B’s prime location allows easy access to the restaurants, shops, and culture of downtown Staunton,  Included in the National Register of Historic Places, the 1880 Italianate townhouse has been carefully restored and decorated with fox hunt decor. Guests may relax in the house’s public area, private sitting rooms, or outside on the patio. Along with clean and comfortable accommodations, guests receive personal attention, private access, a stocked library, and afternoon refreshments.  In the morning, the hosts deliver coffee to the guest rooms. Guests may eat a gourmet breakfast in the formal dining room or in their rooms.

Inn at Old Virginia

Looking for something historic, private, and surrounded by the soothing beauty of the Shenandoah Valley? Antiques decorate the 10 stately rooms and suites at the Civil-War era Inn at Old Virginia, but the design focus is on modern comfort. During your stay, you’ll enjoy a delicious breakfast in the glass conservatory. Afterwards, explore the grounds or lounge on one of the landscaped outdoor patios. Drive just a few minutes from the privately situated inn to reach the bustle of downtown Staunton. The inn offers specials for two-night stays. A special package for day trippers includes a hiking guidebook and snacks. Those who want to double down on relaxation should opt for the in-room massage package.

Other Great Places to Stay

Other great places to stay include The Bella Inn and The Old Printery Guesthouse. Both are downtown within walking distance of local breakfast establishments and offer vouchers.