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Category: Breweries & Wineries

Food Truck Spotlight

Staunton’s food truck scene has exploded in recent years. Restaurants on wheels offer families relaxed and affordable dining opportunities; they also provide chefs a chance to be creative, and allow them to roll to their cuisine to events, breweries, and private functions. A far cry from fast food, Staunton’s food trucks bring exotic ingredients, gourmet creations, and convenience to the customers who crave them. Here are some local ways to connect with your moveable feast.

Food Truck Round-Up

When: June 23, 2018, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Where: Gypsy Hill Park

Ever have trouble aligning your day with the schedule of your favorite food truck? Here’s your chance to catch several standouts in one place. Enjoy great food as you relax and play in beautiful, family-friendly Gypsy Hill Park. This event offers live music and activities for the kids.

Subject to food truck availability, food and drink will be available for purchase from the following vendors:

Food Truck Battle and Beer Competition

When: September 2, 2018 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Where: Augusta Expo

Every year the Food Truck Battle and Beer Competition gets bigger, and now, on its fourth anniversary, the event has moved into a new space at Augusta Expo. Eighteen food trucks and six breweries will compete in this award-winning festival, judged by both judges and visitors. And there’s more than just food: expect live bands to provide a rocking soundtrack while you shop for treasures at artisan, craft, and specialty vendor booths. Let the kids frolic in the large children’s area packed with entertainment and activities. The competition benefits the Madee Project, which provides support to pediatric cancer patients and their families.

Attendees can select their choice of ticket options:

  • A $10 general admission ticket (food and drink purchased separately)
  • A $25 beer-tasting general admission ticket (sample and vote for your favorite beers)
  • A $40 VIP ticket (taste food and vote for your favorites in the first round)

The lineup (at the time of this writing) includes:

Before you go:

  • This is a rain or shine event
  • Family friendly: children under six are free (no tastings included)
  • For tickets click here
  • You must bring your ID to purchase alcohol
  • Bring your blanket or lawn chair
  • Love capturing the moment? Share your photos with hashtag #VAFoodTruckBattle

Staunton breweries that host food trucks

Redbeard Brewing Company hosts food trucks several nights each week. Check the events calendar  or Facebook for upcoming visits by The Saucy Bird , Eats On the Streets, Sweet Baby Cheeses, Big Red BBQ, Holy Smokes BBQ, Gloria’s Papusuria, Firkin Pie Company, and more.

Every Friday night, Queen City Brewing features a local food truck from a rotating list including The Saucy Bird and Big Red BBQ.

Mother’s Day: Staunton Treats for Mom

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Mother’s Day: Staunton Treats for Mom

Still looking for the best way to tell Mom “I love you” this Mother’s Day? Make the day special with this sampling of all the great finds and fun things to do in downtown Staunton. Whether you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind bonding experience, Mother’s Day gift, or brunch, we’ve got you covered.

If You’d Like to Share an Experience with Mom

A guided walking tour of historic Staunton (Saturday mornings only) will appeal to history buffs as it winds through several historic districts and covers history from Staunton’s earliest days to the present. Follow your tour with a traditional Victorian tea or a light lunch at the Anne Hathaway Cottage.

Do you and Mom bond over the silver screen? How about taking her to a movie at the Visulite Cinema? Sip beer or wine while you watch, and then head over to Yelping Dog Wine to discuss the film over wine and cheese.

And if you’re really into cheese, you have to try a mozzarella-making workshop at Creambrook Farm. Even absolute beginners will leave this three-hour, hands-on class with the ability to turn a gallon of milk into a delicious ball of mozzarella!

If you and Mom share a passion for finding treasures, consider taking her to Staunton Antique Center and Artisan Loft. This unique store has three levels of goodies, including original art from local artists. Compare your finds over coffee and French pastries at Réunion Bakery & Espresso.

Take Mom shopping in downtown Staunton on World Fair Trade Day (Saturday, May 12) to help “empower artisans and farmers in marginalized communities around the world.” Latitudes, Harmony Moon, and Cranberry’s will each have a special activity to celebrate the day.

If You’d Like to Buy Mom a Gift

Have your personal message engraved on any piece of jewelry from H.L. Lang Jewelers. Or buy Mom a Staunton charm of a Queen City landmark. Crown Jewelers carries a selection of both new and estate jewelry.

Spoil Mom with luxurious soaps, lotions and all things that smell good from Redwood & Co.

Give her the gift of experience with a felting class or pick out a hand-felted scarf, hat or jewelry from Artful Gifts. Also check out Ltd 7, and Cherish Every Moment for unique gifts.

Inspire your favorite cook with an infused olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Staunton Olive Oil Company

Buy Mom something as beautiful as she is from Sunspots Studio. Browse the gallery for hand-blown art glass or Alex and Ani jewelry.

Give Mom the gift of relaxation by surprising her with a massage at Mill Street Body & Soul Day Spa and Salon or an OPI Powder Perfection manicure at Le Papillon Nails.

Check out Little Made; Market (Saturday, May 12), a curated indie arts & craft festival featuring 20 specially selected artists showcasing their handmade works.

If You’d Like to Take Mom out for Brunch

Try one of these Mother’s Day Brunch and specials on Sunday, May 13.

The Mother’s Day buffet at Stonewall Jackson Hotel includes something for everyone. Choose from over five stations with everything from salad to smoked salmon, spinach and goat cheese lasagna to garlic and rosemary sirloin. There’s dessert, too! See the full menu. Brunch will be served from 11 – 2.

Kathy’s Restaurant‘s special Mother’s Day menu includes surf & turf and fresh fried oysters. See the menu. Meal served from 11 – 8.

Other Sunday Brunch Spots:

Zynodoa: Brunch served from 10 – 2.

The Shack: Brunch served from  10:30  – 2.

The Depot Grille: Brunch served from 11 – 2.

Byers Street Bistro: Brunch served from 11 – 2.

Mill Street Grill: Brunch served from 11 – 3.

See our post on Staunton brunch spots for more details.

Rolling Down the Byways: Staunton-Area Motorcycle Rides

Shenandoah National Park

Photo by @rosieladyblue

Spring is a beautiful time to experience the landscapes and vistas of the Shenandoah Valley. What better way to avoid garage rot than to take your bike on one of our Staunton-area motorcycle rides? With both major highways and scenic back roads, Staunton is convenient for motorcyclists who want to get somewhere in a hurry and those who want to take their time.

Plan to visit Shenandoah Harley Davidson to shop for some new gear or to attend an upcoming events.

  • Mother’s Day Event, May 9-13
  • Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-28
  • Ride to Fight Suicide, June 9
  • Father’s Day Event, June 16

Begin or end your tour in Staunton to take advantage of our many fine restaurants, lodgings, and things to do. Staunton is the perfect starting point for these area rides. See the Harley Davidson area rides page for detailed ride notes on these and more.


Crabtree Falls Loop

The ride to Crabtree Falls will stun. You’ll cruise down scenic Rt. 11, which was once one of our country’s important early roads, heavily traveled since Colonial times, but now a quiet alternative to the interstate. VA-56, the road to Crabtree Falls, switchbacks steeply up and over the top of the Blue Ridge, crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway and descending into Nelson County. Crabtree Falls is a great place for a picnic and to stretch your legs. It is one of the tallest cascading waterfalls east of the Mississippi. The falls are easy viewed and photographed from the trail. After the waterfall, continue on scenic VA-151 and VA-6. Consider stopping at one of the wineries in Nelson County to enjoy a glass and take in the view. You’ll travel back over Afton Mountain and pass Waynesboro, where you could shop or eat. If you’re looking for a beer, Basic City Beer Co. or Stable Craft Brewing won’t disappoint and should tide you over until you get back to Staunton. 

Monterey Loop

The ride west to Monterey is best for experienced riders as there are many steep switchbacks as you work your way into the Allegheny Mountains. Your ride begins in the gentle farmland surrounding Staunton and then winds through the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. Plan a quick stop on top of Shenandoah Mountain to explore the .5-mile Confederate Breastworks Interpretive Site. After your history lesson, you’ll wind down into Highland County, Virginia’s own maple syrup country. This quiet area bustles for two weeks every March during the Highland Maple Festival. Otherwise, Monterey is a sleepy town and is considered welcoming to bikers. Catch a bite to eat and get gas, as there aren’t many options until much later in the loop. Beyond Monterey, you’ll go by the Green Bank Observatory, national radio observatory and science center that offers free tours and a cafe. Heading back to Staunton, you’ll ride through Goshen Pass where you might want to take a break to explore the rocks or cool your feet in the water. Consider stopping for a snack or to shop in historic Lexington, and tour the nearby Cyrus McCormick Wayside

Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park

Just minutes away, Staunton’s location makes it the ideal starting point for a rides along the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Skyline Drive. Follow I-64 to the top of Afton Mountain and decide whether you want to go north or south.

If you go north to experience the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, be prepared to pay an entrance fee. The Skyline Drive stretches for 105 miles and is the only public road through the park. The 35-m.p.h. speed limit provides a chance to enjoy the views and the almost 70 scenic overlooks.  Lots of trail heads and some of the best hikes in the area beckon if you’re looking for some exercise after a day of riding. The park contains over 500 miles of trails for hikers of varying abilities  You might also tour Rapidan Camp, the historic presidential retreat established by Herbert Hoover. And if you’re out after dark, park at an overlook and turn off your lights for incredible views of the night sky untainted by light pollution. Plan accordingly: there are only four entrances to the Skyline Drive, but each one has easy access to gas and food. Watch for wildlife like bear, deer, raccoons, fox, and birds!

Blue Ridge Parkway

If you head south along a portion of the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway, plan to stop at the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center. The nearby interpretive farm offers a view into the lives of early settlers who lived and farmed the area. You can also grab a map or download a map that works even in areas without cell service.

The sweeping curves and beautiful vistas make this road popular with motorcyclists. Take advantage of the many scenic overlooks, photographic opportunities, and picnic stops along the Parkway. You’ll score views in all directions. There is no gas or food along the Parkway, but many roads access it, and most exits will be within a few miles of both. Stop at 215-foot Natural Bridge, one of Virginia’s newest state parks for some Americana like a Native American village, a wax museum, and a gift shop.  The speed limit along the Parkway is 45 m.p.h. and motorcyclists must wear helmets. Keep your eyes out for pedestrians and wildlife.

 

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.

 

Insider Tips for Visiting Staunton this Spring

Insider Tips For Visiting Staunton This Spring

If you haven’t visited yet, now is the perfect time to make your first trip. Staunton frequently tops many “best” lists – and for good reason. The city’s architecture, performing arts, local charm, and buzz-worthy dining scene make it an ideal getaway, especially in the spring.

Check out Staunton’s spring art festivals

You may not be shopping for art, but it never hurts to look! And it’s always fun to see artists in action. Regional art festival standouts include the Queen City Plein Air Festival and the Hot Glass Festival in April, and Art in the Park extravaganza in May. Or go on an art walk downtown visiting the many galleries and working studios that include all mediums from fiber to textiles to glass and everything in between. 

See a show (or two!)

Staunton is home to the American Shakespeare Center and the Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre. Hailed by The Boston Globe as “phenomenal…bursting with energy,” this is a theatrical experience you won’t want to miss.

While he often appears at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, tenor Gerhard Siegel will perform a single recital (works by Puccini, Mahler, Schumann) in Staunton on April 7. Tickets available through Staunton Music Festival.

Take a free guided walking tour

Historic Staunton Foundation offers FREE walking tours every Saturday at 10 am from May through October. Visitors wind their way through four of Staunton’s six historic districts as a local guide describes Staunton’s development and architecture.

Go shopping & antiquing

Take a stroll and window shop on Beverley Street, proclaimed by USA Today as one of the “most charming main streets” in America. Downtown merchants offer an eclectic mix of antiques, arts, and distinctive gifts in addition to delicious foodstuffs.

 Spend a day at a museum

Explore the Shenandoah Valley’s pioneering history at the Frontier Culture Museum, with living snapshots of what frontier from the 1600s through the mid-1800s in this area. Jumping ahead to the 20th century, take a closer look at our 28th president at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Museum as you take a self-guided tour through seven galleries that explore Wilson’s life and legacy.

Sample your way through our farmer’s market

At this “producers-only” market, you can enjoy live music and meet local farmers and food artisans. Starting in April, this event runs every Saturday from 7 am to 12 pm in the Wharf District.

Taste new brews

Beer is in, and Staunton is at the center of a booming beer scene. What better place to try out a flight on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail than Redbeard Brewing, which was recently tapped in a story by the Washington Post for best barrel-aged beers.

Marvel at mountain views

Staunton is equally close to Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Both roads rank among the “best mountain drives” in America. You’ll have access to spectacular views, and hundreds of miles of hiking including the Appalachian Trail. Wildflowers dazzle with colorful blooms, starting in mid-March.

Treat Dad to a Beer Tour this Father’s Day

What beer adventure best describes the father figure in your life? This Father’s Day send Dad on a brew tour of the Shenandoah Valley where he can taste some of the best craft beer in the country while exploring the great outdoors. For Dads’ who like an adrenaline rush induced by mountain biking see the “Hoppy” IPA Dad adventure; for Dads’ who enjoy the calm waters by kayak see Living “Lager” Dad; for those Dads’ who like to keep it simple and stick to the trails try the Traditional ‘Ale Dad daytrip; and for the Dads’ looking to catch both a prizewinning fish and a cold beer the Fishing for Stout Dad is the way to go.

“Hoppy” IPA Dad

Pairing bold flavors and extreme sports this adventure is perfect for the Dad looking to push the limits. Hop on a mountain bike and explore the trails at Massanutten’s Mountain Bike Park offering a variety of trails for all levels; from veteran riders looking for a challenge to aspiring riders looking for a few pointers. Their Pathway Package includes a 75-minute lesson, bike rental and 3 hours of trail use. 4-hour and 8-hour rental and lift ticket options are also available. Other cycling options include Rocktown Trails at Hillandale Park in Harrisonburg.  This shared-use trail, offers three different levels of difficulty to appeal to a complete spectrum of cyclists, runners and hikers.  After the adrenaline rush is over, check out the craft beer selection in Harrisonburg and try up to four different breweries like Brothers Craft Brewing and Three Notch’d Brewing Company.

Other brew options for Harrisonburg, include:

Pale Fire Brewing >
Wolfe Street Brewing >

To book your mountain biking excursion visit the Massanutten’s Mountain Bike Park website.

Living “Lager” Dad

Great water makes great beer and that is certainly true in the Shenandoah  Valley. Live “lager” with a day on the river while enjoying some of the Valley’s fresh, craft brews. Dad can float, paddle and play as he makes his way down the mighty James River in Rockbridge County. He can take advantage of the great fishing opportunities or just relax as the river gently takes him to Glasgow where the river excursion ends and the beer tour begins. Visit Lexington/Rockbridge’s two breweries Great Valley Farm Brewery and Devils Backbone Outpost Brewery & Taproom

Traditional ‘Ale Dad

Traditional ‘Ale Dad prefers the perfect balance of refreshing beer and outdoor adventure. Explore scenic overlooks, spectacular waterfalls and breathtaking mountain views throughout Augusta County—home to some of the best hikes around. Both locals and visitors enjoy Crabtree Falls a beautiful 3-hour waterfall hike featuring a series of five cascades falling 1,200 feet. Or if you’ve come for the views, try Humpback Rocks. This amazing view of the Valley is a 2-mile trek with a gain of 800 feet of elevation. After taking in the sights and scenes from above, head down into the Valley to Waynesboro’s  Basic City Brewing Company where cold beer and food trucks await. Before you head to the not-so-sleepy, City of Staunton stop by Stable Craft Brewing and enjoy a pint on their patio or head to Seven Arrows for a session beer in their comfortable taproom. Next and last stop is Staunton where Dad can choose from up to four different breweries to try, along with a great restaurant scene. Staunton’s breweries include:

fishing for stout Dad

Whether Dad’s fishing for trout or a handcrafted stout, we’ve got him covered! With nearly 3,000 miles of public trout water in and around the Shenandoah Valley, Dad can spend the day learning how to fly fish with a private instructor or take a floating trip—warm water floats available— in search of a trophy trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, musky, or carp. He can learn casting techniques from some of the best anglers in the Valley or more seasoned fishermen can take a guided trip. Check out these experienced outfitters located throughout the Valley to book Dad’s next fishing trip:

 Mossy Creek Fly Fishing in Harrisonburg
 John Roberts Fly Fishing in Lexington
South River Fly Shop in Waynesboro

There is no better way to celebrate the days catch than with a valley brewed beer. End your day at one (or two) of the 13 breweries along the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail.