#LOVEstaunton

Category: Architecture

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.

Sleeping Beauties: Some of Staunton’s Most Beautiful Rooms

Planning to spoil yourself with a trip to Staunton? From luxury hotels to B & B’s and estates in the country, you’ll find somewhere on this list to dream about. Many are just steps away from all the restaurants, shopping, and entertainment downtown Staunton has to offer. What are you waiting for? Pack your bags and treat yourself to a stay in one of the nicest rooms in one of the best towns around!

Hotel 24 South

Step into any guest room at Hotel 24 South and you’ll find immaculate rooms with plush pillowtop mattresses and extensive in-house services. Renovated in 2005 and again in 2018, Hotel 24 South boasts luxurious and contemporary appointments in its rooms and suites. The classic lobby exudes old-time ambiance and lots of seating. Enjoy cocktails in the 1924 Lounge and weekend breakfasts at the on-site Magnolia South restaurant. Guests can frolic in a heated swimming pool and whirlpool and park in a secure garage. If you want to bring your furry friend, pets are welcome for a fee. Located in Staunton’s walkable downtown, Hotel 24 South is close to a number of fine dining and entertainment opportunities. 

 

Blackburn Inn & Conference Center

The Blackburn Inn is an upscale boutique hotel in a restored building originally part of Western State Hospital, a site with a long and interesting past. Located on 80 landscaped acres on the edge of downtown Staunton, the site blends character and charming details like original wood floors and tall windows with crisp, modern amenities. Book your stay in one of the 49-room hotel’s 27 unique floor plans and find updated touches like marble bathrooms with rain showers, soaker tubs, and luxury linens. You might also make reservations for a massage or manicure at the onsite spa. This hotel beautifully combines history with hospitality and you’ll be able to relax and rejuvenate before hitting the town to see everything Staunton has to offer. 

Frederick House

The beautiful and traditionally decorated 23-room Frederick House encompasses space in seven historic downtown buildings. Many of the rooms are in traditional houses, but others had former lives as a store, a stable, and a silent movie theater. The lodging’s website offers photos of the different rooms and suites to choose from, including space designed for young families. In addition to an incredible night’s sleep, you will wake up to the breakfast of your dreams in the form of a sausage and cheese strata, apple raisin quiche, ham and cheese pie, or more. Frederick House offers the charm and individuality of a B&B as well as the comfort and amenities of a larger hotel. If you’re looking for guidance during your visit, staff will help you design winery routes, navigate bike rentals, golfing, and fishing spots. They’ll even arrange picnic baskets for you if you’re heading out for a scenic drive or hike. 

The Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast

The Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast, an 8,000 square-foot Queen Anne Victorian mansion, sits across from the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace. The property was built in 1897, and the current owners modernized it and transformed it into an elegant inn in 2013. The updated inn retains 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. You’ll rave about the elaborate breakfast with many tasty dishes including praline pecan French toast, spinach quiche, stuffed Dutch baby pancakes, and more. Make sure you catch the wine and cheese served late Saturday afternoons! The bed and breakfast offers an American Shakespeare Center package, a craft beer package, and a champagne package to make your stay even more fun.

The Bella Inn

Guests staying in The Bella Inn are treated to a suite’s worth of amenities. Not only are the king-sized beds incredibly comfortable, but you’ll have room to spread out in a living room and full kitchen. The two suites are in the light-filled and thoughtfully restored 1870s McClure Printing building. They incorporate unique architectural details like lofted spaces and spiral staircases. There’s even a private patio with skyline views to enjoy morning coffee or a romantic dinner. Not into cooking for yourself? Look no further than the onsite Aioli for a Mediterranean dinner of tapas or select from Staunton’s range of options, all just steps away.

Staunton Stays

Staunton Stays is a four-suite boutique hotel in a beautifully renovated Victorian house. All four suites offer queen-sized beds and a sofa bed. You’ll also find full kitchens, modern bathrooms, living quarters, and laundry room access. Begin with a complimentary bottle of wine and basket of snacks before you cook a meal in your private kitchen or walk to a nearby restaurant. Each plush suite is decorated according to a different theme, including the Shenandoah Valley, France, dreams, and the artist’s imagination. 

Gibson’s Warehouse  

When renowned Staunton architect T.J. Collins designed a warehouse near the train station in 1905, he probably didn’t envision its current life as luxury lodgings. Gibson’s Warehouse is a recently renovated four-suite lodging space in Staunton’s Wharf District, close to dining, shopping, entertainment, and the farmers’ market. Originally, the historic building stored hay, fertilizer, and farm equipment. After renovations, it’s the epitome of comfort and sleek, industrial cool with tall ceilings, large windows, wood floors, and areas of exposed brick. In each private suite, you’ll find a full-sized kitchen, modern bath, living space, and a king-sized bed. Enjoy complimentary wifi and a treat basket. There is also a common space and seating in the lobby.

Inn at Meadowcroft

The romantic Inn at Meadowcroft is a short drive from Staunton, but when you’re looking for pastoral views and starry skies, you can’t beat the inn’s 300+ acres. The rooms are situated in restored cabins and a renovated 1794 log home. Rooms and suites are decorated with period antiques and contain details like log walls, fireplaces, and comfortable seating areas. The inn does a marvelous job maintaining the historic ambiance but updating with modern amenities. For instance, rooms include incredibly comfortable mattresses and bathrooms with both deep slipper tubs and sleek glass showers.