#LOVEstaunton

Category: Dining

Your Guide to What’s New in Staunton

If you’ve been downtown lately, you’ve probably noticed lots of activity as new businesses finalize their menus and put the final touches on their storefronts. It’s time to celebrate small businesses and the Staunton community by exploring what’s new in downtown Staunton. Here’s the info on new restaurants, shops, and experiences in Staunton.

Sweet Addie’s / 132 West Beverley Street

Think waffles are only for breakfast? Think again. Sweet Addie’s promises to serve you the “best Belgian waffles on the planet,” and you can get them any time. The Liège waffles Sweet Addie’s serves may be different from what you’ll find in a box of Eggo. Not only do they have uneven edges, but they’re also sweeter and made with pearl sugar, which “creates a perfectly chewy level of caramelization when cooked.” You can get a plain waffle or two or have them loaded with your choice of tasty toppings. Try something with Belgian cookie butter or one of the shop’s signature creations like the “Vames Candyland,” which includes Reeses Pieces, Oreos, M&Ms, whipped cream and Belgian chocolate sauce. Or taste the “Holy Cannoli,” featuring cannoli cream, chocolate chips, shaved Belgian chocolate, waffle cone pieces, and powdered sugar.

Brisket Taco / 101 State Street

You’ve probably tasted Brisket Taco Co. at the farmers’ market or at area festivals and pop-ups and wished you could get it every day. You’re in luck: the new brick-and-mortar location will open in October. It will be “bringing the heart of Texas to the Shenandoah Valley” with dishes made from Texas-style smoked brisket made from locally sourced meat. They’ll also use local, organic toppings and cheeses. Menu offerings will include tacos, breakfast tacos, nachos, and sides like smoked potato salad and smoked mac and cheese.

Accordia / 114 East Beverley Street

Accordia is a new wine and cheese pairing store opening in downtown Staunton featuring wines from Barren Ridge Vineyards. Visitors will be able to taste and purchase wines at various price points from both local sources and around the world. But the real purpose of the shop is to help people learn how to appreciate the subtleties of wine and how to enjoy it with food. Visit the shop for weekly wine tastings and pairing options. Stop in any time for a glass of wine or a wine-based cocktail and a snack. Wines for sale by the bottle will come with descriptive cards and helpful information. You’ll also be able to choose from a selection of locally sourced chocolates like those from Laurie’s Chocolates.

Billy Opal Boutique / 16 South New Street

Looking for a new place to buy your clothes? Billy Opal, a boutique clothing store, is finally opening in downtown Staunton and it promises to help you look your best with a combination of high-end and vintage clothing, accessories, hats, and shoes for both women and men. The store promises to have a wide range of unique looks for all occasions as well as one-on-one help to find your new style.

Staunton Guided Tours

  • Victorian House Tours: Want a private tour of Staunton’s historic neighborhoods? Want to see the houses that appear on the National Register of Historic Places? Want to ask lots of questions and learn about the history or the houses and about the lives of the people who lived there? Make an appointment with Staunton Guided Tours for your personal hour-long tour. You’ll be driven around town to sites like The Oaks, the Miller House, the Stuart House, and more. If you have specific tour requests, your tour can be customized. Other tour options include a Civil War Tour and a Valley Pike Tour.
  • Trolly Tours / 35 South New Street: Catch a narrated trolley tour from Staunton’s Visitors Center to learn all about the Queen City’s history. Tours are scheduled for Friday and Saturday and overview the important moments in Staunton’s history, highlight architectural gems in the historic districts, and touch on more modern subjects like the Statler Brothers Buildings, Sunspots Glassblowing, and The Blackfriars Playhouse.

Virginia Scenic Railway Tours

Train fans have a new way to ride the rails! The Virginia Scenic Railway is offering scenic tours of the Shenandoah Valley that begin and end at the historic train station in downtown Staunton. 

Reserve tickets for a 3-hour trip on Thursday-Sunday. The Scenic Railway offers rides on the Alleghany Special, which heads west toward Goshen, and the Blue Ridge Flyer, which travels east and goes through the Blue Ridge Tunnel on Afton Mountain. Both tours include a meal, dessert, and a beverage.

Grab a Selfie in Front of The Murals of Staunton

You can’t beat the Shenandoah Valley for its natural beauty, but many of its towns are introducing man-made scenery to the landscape. If you’ve spent any time in downtown Staunton recently, you’ll have noticed the murals brightening up walls and sides of buildings. They’re fun to look at, pose in front of, and photograph.

In fact, if you tag your mural photos #stauntonVAmurals and tag us @stauntonva or @visitstaunton before October 28, 2022, you’ll be entered in a photo contest. The top 5 photos with the most likes will be voted on by YOU, our fans! And, the winner will score a bag of Staunton swag, be featured in our 2023 Staunton Visitor Guide…and you’ll have bragging rights, of course! What are you waiting for? Go check out some murals.

  • The railroad underpass is a prime location for public art. You’ll immediately notice the giant watering can created by Staunton-based welder and sculptor, Willy Ferguson. Nearby, a mural depicts blooms that survive the end of flower season and bring color and joy even in the dead of winter.
  • Marino’s Lunch just reopened a few months ago, but it’s making a name for itself with its tasty food and drinks, Sunday New Orleans Brunch, and exciting live music scene. Make sure you check out the mural that features musicians silhouetted against the Blue Ridge at sunset.
  • The mural in the welcoming lobby of Tru By Hilton features some of Staunton’s best adventures: the Woodrow Wilson Library, biking, leaf-peeping, fishing, wine, and some of downtown’s most recognizable buildings. Tru is a great place to set up a home base for any of these activities.
  • Redbeard Brewing Company has a cool, new mural that features an enormous tree against a background of mountains and a colorful sky. You’ll enjoy playful details like the robot Redbeard and robot squirrel. The mural covers a wall of the taproom, so you’ll be able contemplate it while sipping your beer.
  • Staunton’s largest mural takes up an entire wall of the building at the corner of Beverley and North Central Avenue and welcomes residents and visitors alike with its positive You Belong Here message. For many years, this wall featured an older mural of a man on a scaffolding painting the wall. The new mural, made possible by a Virginia Tourism Corporation’s 50 Years of Love Grant includes a pair of cardinals (Virginia’s state birds) against a mountain backdrop. For more about the creation of this mural, check out our interview with artist Christy Baker.
  • The mural on the side of Black Dog Bikes was also created by Christy Baker. This time she tackles the theme of community-centered, family-friendly active lifestyles. You’ll get another landscape that actually blends into the sky and scenes of hikers, bikers, walkers, runners, and more. Come inside to get started with your own active lifestyle!
  • Looking for something new-to-you to upgrade your home? Check out the SAW Habitat for Humanity ReStore, where you can find anything from a desk or mirror to antique cabinet hardware to an entire kitchen full of lightly used cabinetry. The Habitat mural covers the side of the building with construction energy. There’s a second collaborative work SAC art students that’s painted on the back wall of the parking lot.
  • When you stop in for lunch at the Pampered Palate, make sure you get a seat facing the beautiful mural of downtown Staunton at dusk. You’ll enjoy a menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, and quiche while picking out your favorite buildings from the softly lit scene.
  • Jones Community Garden helps connect our community with fresh produce for low prices (or free if you volunteer). Stop by and see the garden, buy some produce, and check out the collaborative mural created by local artists.
  • Is it a flower? Is it a pie? You’ll have to stop inside Firkin Pie Company to learn the backstory of the colorful design wrapping the corner of the building. While you’re inside, try the pie. The menu changes weekly, but you’ll find large and personal pies in both sweet and savory flavors.

Staunton’s Hispanic-American-Owned Businesses

Have you been craving authentic global cuisine like Peruvian charbroiled chicken, Uruguayan empanadas, or Salvadoran pupusas? How about burrito bowls and fried plantains? You’re in luck: Staunton has restaurants specializing in these flavors and more. Why not celebrate Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) by paying tribute to the history, culture, and positive contributions that have made our nation and our city richer and more diverse places? Check out a few of our Hispanic-owned restaurants and businesses!

You may find Noelia Nunez ART painting plein air in downtown Staunton, or presenting a custom commission to a local business. She might be teaching her art techniques to a group of girls or women at a paint party. Wherever you see her or her art, be prepared to be awed by the downtown scenes and landscapes she has painted, in a style all her own.

After the storefront was destroyed in Staunton’s 2020 floods, Gloria’s Pupuseria continued to serve authentic Salvadoran cuisine from the foodtruck as they rebuilt the restaurant. Now the new space is open for business, and customers can dine on amazing food emphasizing local ingredients. If you try only one thing from the menu, order the pupusas, tortillas packed with flavor and fillings like chicken, blended pork, vegetables, and cheese. You can also enjoy tamales steamed in plantain leaves, fried plantains, or Salvadoran enchiladas. Refresh yourself with an ensalada, which is mango and pineapple juice or a cocktail from the bar.

Since 2018, the Gonzo’s Pollo food truck has delighted Staunton with the best Peruvian charbroiled chicken in the Valley. Pollo a la brasa is a juicy, healthy alternative to fried food. Its amazing flavor comes from Peruvian spices and wood charcoal. You can order whole, half, and quarter chickens, butifarra sandwiches, nachos, and sides like fried plantains and yuca fries, and black beans and rice. Gonzo’s Pollo serves Staunton on Wednesday (11:30 – 4) and Saturday (11:30 – 2). Order ahead online, but make sure you listen for the special rooster horn when you pick up your food.

Chicano Boy Taco has been making our mouths water with handmade tacos and enormous mission-style burritos since 2015. This Mexican-American taquería has some of the best tortillas you’ve ever eaten. Order from the simple menu of burritos, tacos, or burrito bowls. You’ll pick from fillings like pork, chicken, chorizo and potatoes, or sweet potato and black bean. Next, select your salsa from a range of mild to hot, and choose a seat inside or on the patio. You can get a domestic, Mexican or craft beer and eat here for lunch or dinner. Want to make your selections ahead of time? Download the new app and see how easy it is to order and customize your meal.

Los Marquez Mexican Restaurant has a stellar reputation for its authentic Mexican food, cozy atmosphere, and friendly service. It’s close to Gypsy Hill Park, so you can stop by to dine or carry out after a ball game or a round of golf. You’ll find reasonable prices and a big menu of all your favorites in platter and combination forms. There’s even a vegetarian menu that has tasty dishes like fajitas stuffed with squash, mushrooms, green and yellow peppers, onions, tomatoes, beans, and guacamole. Wash it down with a big margarita! Order ahead online and use the drive-thru if you’re in a hurry. Lunch is served 11 – 2:30.

Family-owned El Puerto Mexican Restaurant opened in Staunton in 2003 and specializes in reasonably-priced, flavorful food. If you’re dining for lunch (M-F, 10-2:30), try the quesadilla rellena, the tortilla soup, or one of the specials. The dinner menu is loaded with appetizers and authentic entrees. Try the signature California fish taco meal or the spicy viva Mexico. Save room for flan or sopapillas for dessert. There’s a separate kids’ menu. And yes, you should treat yourself to the frozen margarita. Decision made.

Alba Wright’s pasteleria, Magdalena Bake, invites Stauntonians to enjoy the Uruguayan tradition of relaxing over coffee and pastries with friends. A farmer’s market and food truck favorite since 2019, Magdalena Bake’s new storefront serves homemade brunch from Friday to Sunday. They also specialize in delicious and beautiful pastries, cookies, wedding, birthday, and custom cakes, as well as special-ordered items. If you’re looking for something savory, try the empanadas. 

Staunton diners can choose from two nearby Mi Rancho locations. One is located on West Beverley and the other is in Verona. Mi Rancho serves fresh Mexican favorites and a menu of wine, beer, and icy margaritas that come in regular or jumbo sizes. The bar also has a menu of a dozen different taquillas to taste. The extensive menu is flavored with hometown spices from Jalisco, Mexica. It includes appetizers, a la carte favorites, combo platters, specials, vegetarian selections, a kids’ menu and more. If you’re really hungry, try the molcajete mixto, which features sizzling steak, chicken, shrimp, chorizo, and veggies piled in a molcajete and piled with a combination of cheeses.

Bonita’s Salon has been helping downtown Staunton look its best since 2010. Whether you’re seeking for a new hairstyle, artistic nails, a special-occasion look, or hair and makeup services for your wedding party, you’ll find it here! Go ahead and make an appointment: you need the pampering!

Here’s Why Staunton Is a Best Small Town

How do I love thee, Staunton? Let me count the ways. It’s no surprise that Staunton routinely appears on regional and national best-of lists for beauty, charm, culture, and natural attractions. Read what the pros are saying and then explore our gem of a town on your own.

What Others Are Saying

In recent years, Staunton has been a popular pick on regional and national best-of lists by publications including USA Today, Reader’s Digest, Oprah Daily, Kiplinger, Vogue, Architectural Digest, and many more. In 2022 alone, Staunton has appeared in the following:

Dining

Natural Attractions

  • It’s hard to beat Staunton’s location for natural beauty. Tucked in the Shenandoah Valley, Staunton offers views of the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, and you can spend an entire afternoon taking scenic drives or bike rides. If hiking is what you’re after, it’s just 20 minutes from Shenandoah National Park with over 70 scenic overlooks and miles of trails. It’s also easy to access sections of George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. The national forest is a vast, mostly uninhabited tract of land, threaded with hiking trails. 
  • City parks, too, offer spectacular hiking, especially the trails at Mongomery Hall Park and Betsy Bell Wilderness Area. Runners, walkers, and birders extoll the virtues of scenic Bells and Sangers Lanes.

History

  • One of the oldest towns in the area, Staunton draws visitors for its architecturally stunning downtown. Many buildings are at least 100 years old. The city contains six distinct historic districts, and visitors can take guided or self-guided walking tours to learn about the city’s long history and its Victorian architecture.
  • Step back in time at the Frontier Culture Museum, which invites visitors to explore the lives of the Shenandoah Valley pioneers from the 1600s through the mid-1800s. Costumed interpreters answer questions and demonstrate daily activities. The Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library teaches about the life and times of this president who hailed from Staunton.

Arts and Culture

  • Staunton has a number of galleries displaying local and regional art. Check out the CoArt Gallery, the galleries at the Staunton Augusta Art Center, and the Hunt Gallery at Mary Baldwin University. 
  • Don’t miss the annual Art on the Town in May, and Art in the Park in September. Visitors may browse and purchase artwork, talk to artists, listen to music, and enjoy activities for kids.
  • Staunton stages world-class performances at the Blackfriars Playhouse, a recreation of Shakespeare’s indoor theater. Not only can you witness shows that are similar to what Shakespeare’s original audiences would have seen, but you can also buy tickets for modern and musical performances. Staunton is also home to a lively community theater scene. Check out plays at ShenanArts and Oak Grove Theater, which has been performing al fresco since 1954.

  • The Heifetz International Music Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to the artistic growth and career development of the most talented young classical musicians in the world, presenting its Festival of Concerts every summer featuring 50+ events in addition to year-round programs throughout Staunton and the Shenandoah Valley
  • The Staunton Music Festival brings over 90 performers to town each August to perform selections from 600 years of classical music. “Historically-informed” performances help musicians and audiences “rediscover the subtlety and color that emerges from period instrument concerts.”

Community

  • Staunton’s walkable downtown and wealth of locally owned businesses contribute to its strong sense of community. Each weekend, Beverley Street turns into a walking mall when streets close for traffic during Shop and Dine Out Downtown. If you’re in town on Saturday morning, explore the Staunton Farmers’ Market. You can find spectacular and fresh ingredients for your home kitchen as well as enjoy music and community spirit.
  • Baseball fans can cheer for the Staunton Braves, a collegiate summer team made up of rising stars.
  • September’s annual Queen City Mischief & Magic Festival is a popular home-grown event for fans of the Harry Potter series.

Proximity to Other Points of Interest

Staunton is an easy drive from Harrisonburg and Charlottesville, both larger cities with extensive shopping opportunities and university culture. Nearby Lexington, too, is a university town, giving Stauntonians even more access to exhibits, lectures, sporting events, and performances. Staunton is an hour and 45 minutes from Richmond. It’s 2 hours and 40 minutes from Washington D.C., and under 4 hours from Virginia Beach. 

Staunton Road Trip: One Last Hurrah Before Summer Ends

It might not feel like fall yet, but with many schools starting soon, we know that summer is on its way out. Are you looking for a final, fun trip to take with the family before the leaves start changing, and before soccer and football gobble up all your Saturdays? Here are some ideas for a Staunton road trip.

Getting here

Staunton’s convenient location at the intersection of interstates 81 and 64 makes it an ideal destination for a quick road trip. Not only can you hop off the highway at small towns and other fun destinations on the way, but the Shenandoah Valley scenery is also incredible, even from the highway! Depending on your direction, consider stopping at Monticello, Shenandoah Caverns, or Natural Bridge State Park. Or cruise along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive makes it one of the most beautiful and driveable parks in the country.

Once you get to Staunton, parking in the downtown footprint is easy. There’s a lot of metered parking, parking garage space, and two-hour street parking. Staunton is a walkable town, and you can see much of it on foot or from the 25-cent trolley.

Uniquely Staunton

  • Staunton boasts the world’s only recreation of Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Playhouse, and performances will give you a sense of how the show appeared to the Bard’s original audiences, so you should definitely try to fit a show into your schedule. 
  • Crack the Code Escape Room will test your IQ as you try to sleuth your way through a Staunton-themed mystery. 
  • If you’d rather learn the mysteries of how art glass is created, head down to Sunspots Studios to catch a glass-blowing demonstration or even try your hand at blowing your own ornament. 
  • Little ones will love riding the Gypsy Hill Express miniature train as it loops through Gypsy Hill Park. 
  • And finally, catch a glimpse of Staunton in times gone by with a tour of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum or the Frontier Culture Museum.

Don’t forget to eat

Staunton is a town that takes its food offerings seriously. If you’re here on a weekend, check out Beverley Street, which closes to car traffic for Shop and Dine Out Downtown. Since diners will be enjoying food al fresco, you can window shop other people’s meals until you see something you like! 

  • We recommend Remedy Burger for its juicy and delicious smash burgers. 
  • Nearby Shenandoah Pizza & Taphouse serves up gourmet pizzas with delightful topping combinations and an interesting selection of brews. 
  • More beer awaits, along with delicious Mexican fare, at Baja Bean
  • And if you want to tap into classic car culture, try Wright’s Dairy Rite, where they’ve been bringing burgers and shakes to the covered drive-in since the 1950s.

Take some selfies

Nothing will help you remember your road trip like the Staunton selfies you post on Instagram. Make sure to get a photo as you enjoy one of these Staunton experiences. Make sure to tag your shots with #LoveStaunton.

  • Pose in front of the You Belong Here mural on Central Ave. between Beverley and Johnson Streets.
  • Cross Sears Hill Bridge for a view of the historic train station from above and one of the best views of downtown.
  • Explore beautifully landscaped Thornrose Cemetery along with its tower and footbridge.
  • Bite into something delicious outside Reunion Bakery & Espresso or The Split Banana.
  • Pause after you’ve conquered one of the hills in Montgomery Park on your mountain bike.
  • Relish the freshness at the Saturday Staunton Farmers’ Market.

Get yourself a little something

It’s always nice to take something home with you when you travel. Here are some places to get fun treats and souvenirs.

Savor the Sweet Staunton Summertime

The countdown to the start of the school year has started, and we only have a few precious weeks of family time left before the fall activities and sports schedules rule our lives again. If you’re back from vacation, and your school shopping’s finished, here are a few more ways to savor the sweet Staunton summertime! 

Country Fairs and Festivals

  • The Augusta County Fair is happening now through July 30. Gorge on carnival food and see rides, exhibits, livestock, sideshow performances, music, tractor pulls, and more! 

Other Summer Fun

  • Spend a peaceful evening exploring the past at the Frontier Culture Museum before settling down for their Roots Concert Series.
  • There’s still time to catch live music at the bandstand in the park. Stop by for Monday night concerts by the Stonewall Brigade Band, Wednesday night bluegrass, and Thursday night Jazz.

  • Gypsy Hill and Montgomery Hall Parks both have pools. You can cool off through Labor Day.
  • Shop and Dine Out Downtown will continue to turn downtown into a weekend walking mall, creating a safe space for Stauntonians to shop, dine, and gather al fresco.

Ice Cream

  • Wright’s Dairy Rite has been a Staunton mainstay since 1952. The menu offers dipped cones, funnel cake fries, flurries, splits, milkshakes, malts, and drink freezes to cool off on a mighty hot day. 
  • Kline’s Dairy Bar makes its ice cream fresh every morning. Each week there’s a new can’t-miss flavor like banana and cake batter or local favorites like raspberry and lemon gingersnap in cones, cups, shakes, and sundaes. 
  • The Split Banana uses local grass-fed milk to create its award-winning gelato. You can pick from 24 delectable and fresh-made flavors. 

Fruit Picking

  • Troyer Nursery sells 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 a nice place to take the kids to pick seasonal fruit like raspberries, blackberries, cherries, peaches, plums, pumpkins, and fresh veggies. Don’t skip home-churned ice cream after your time in the sun!

  • Mark your calendar for the end of August when the crops of Concord and Niagara grapes start to ripen at Wenger Grapes
  • Sunrise Orchards is a small pick-your-own apple orchard that offers Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Jonathans from the end of August until the apples are gone. 
  • Drive over Afton Mountain to Carter Mountain Orchard to pick or buy pre-picked apples and other seasonal fruits and shop at the farm market. Don’t skip a plate of 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

  • Kline’s Hog Wild BBQ serves Carolina and sweet-style barbecue and sides for dining in and taking out. 
  • Big Red Barbecue’s menu is packed with selections like pulled pork and fried catfish. Check Facebook for daily specials like jerk chicken and shrimp and grits. 
  • 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. 
  • Shredder’s BBQ also serves your favorite Virginia barbecue. It’s made with locally raised meats and smoked with hickory wood. 
  • 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! 

Must-See and Do in the Newtown Historic District

Hilly, charming, and walkable Newtown Historic District borders Staunton’s downtown on the west. It’s mostly residential, with homes built mostly between the 1870s and the 1920s, and the district was named on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. From beautiful homes and gardens to historically significant churches and cemeteries, there’s a lot to see on a walking tour. Plus, it’s close to lots of shopping and dining. Here’s how to spend a day in Staunton’s Newtown Historic District.

Where to Park

Park in the Johnson Street Parking Garage or in the Wharf Parking Lot. You can also park along the street which has a two-hour limit. 

Where to Stay

  • Ubon Victorian Inn offers comfortable rooms in a 160-year-old Victorian mansion convenient to downtown. 
  • The Howard Johnson is located on the border of the historic district and offers lots of parking, a pool, and easy downtown access on foot. 

Where to Have a Drink

  • Redbeard Brewing’s cold craft beer is exactly what you’ve been craving after a hot day. Enjoy one of the dozen beers on tap and check the schedule for the summer concert series and other fun activities.

Where to Eat

  • Magdalena Bake specializes in delicious and beautiful-looking pastries, cookies, and cakes, including gluten-free options. You’ll also want to try the savory empanadas, which come flavored with beef, pork, criolla, and caprese. 

  • Ubon Thai serves made-from-scratch authentic, traditional Thai cooking. Feast on pad thai, Panang curry, chef’s specials like crispy duck, and desserts like sticky rice with mango and coconut for lunch or dinner.
  • Start your meal at Table 44 with a glass of local beer or wine or a specialty handmade cocktail. Try a fancy sandwich, loaded burger, or entree like shrimp and grits or steak frites. There’s outdoor seating for people with pets and even a special dog menu.

  • Big Red Barbecue is known for its pulled pork and barbecue chicken with all the fixins, but they also serve burgers and delicious fried catfish and pork chop sandwiches. Don’t miss the mac and cheese and collard greens.
  • Chicano Boy Taco is a Mexican-American taquería with some of the best tortillas you’ve ever eaten. Order from the simple menu (burrito, taco, or burrito bowl plus your choice of fillings and salsa). You can also get Mexican beer or “cheap beer.”

  • Gloria’s Pupusaria Salvadoran pupusas might look like plain tortillas, but they pack serious flavor when stuffed with chicken, blended pork, vegetables, and cheese. You can also enjoy tamales steamed in plantain leaves, fried plantains, or Salvadoran enchiladas.
  • Grab some Peruvian charbroiled chicken at Gonzo’s Pollo. You can tear into a whole or half chicken, or have them prepare you a sandwich, wrap, or nachos. Sides include fried yuka, fried plantains, or beans and rice. 
  • D&L Donuts offers many different flavors of cake and yeast donuts made from scratch, along with piping hot coffee.

Where to Shop

  • Experience the magic of hot glass at Sunspots, where you can also watch live glassblowing.
  • Wilderness Adventure has everything you need for your outdoor adventure, from socks and sunglasses to boots, shoes and clothes.

  • Shop Flying Pestle Botanicals for bulk tea and herbs, blended tinctures, and to learn about the healing properties of plants.
  • You’ll find a special gift or treasure in the ever-rotating stock at Beverley Street Records and Collectibles.
  • Athletes and casual fitness enthusiasts alike will appreciate Sole Focus Running and Black Dog Bikes for high-quality gear, good prices, and knowledgeable service.
  • EccoHollow Art + Sound is the spot to have your sound equipment repaired by experts. However, they also sell new and used records, equipment, and Yellow Sweater Sticker Shop items, “for all your snarky sticker, card, and shirt needs.”
  • The Vinyl Asylum stocks vinyl, cassettes, CDs, and vintage stereo equipment.

  • Nu-Beginning Farm: The Store sells locally sourced and organic groceries and baked goods. They have a selection of beer and wine, as well as grab-n-go meals. 
  • Refill Renew helps preserve the environment by selling your favorite cleaning and personal care items in bulk.

What to Do

  • Visit the grounds and Tiffany windows in Trinity Episcopal Church on the corner of Beverley and New Streets. Staunton’s oldest house of worship, Trinity Episcopal Church, is built on the site where the Augusta Parish Church briefly housed the Virginia General Assembly as it fled from British troops in 1781. The current church contains 12 stained-glass windows made by Tiffany Studios. Outside, you’ll find many historic grave markers as well as beautiful landscaping and a labyrinth.

  • From book clubs for grownups to storytime for kids, there’s always something going on at the Staunton Public Library. Make sure to visit the on-site award-winning Brenda L. Papke Memorial Sensory Garden at the Staunton Library. This small, universally accessible space is designed to stimulate all five senses.
  • If you prefer to wear your art, visit Acme Tattoo and look through their many different designs or bring your own!

Use Your Paid Time Off with a Long Weekend in Staunton

So many Americans don’t use banked paid time off and lose it at the end of the year. Don’t be like them! Even if you don’t have the time (or budget) to take a far-flung vacation, you can still take your vacation days by planning a “micro-cation,” a long weekend in which you travel less than 100 miles and stay fewer than four nights.

It’s time to enjoy your paid time off. Use it, don’t lose it with this long weekend itinerary full of shopping, entertainment, and dining, in Staunton.

How to Maximize PTO

  • Write plans on your schedule ASAP because the more set-in-stone something seems, the less likely your work schedule will be to eat it away. 
  • Take advantage of pre-scheduled long weekends like Labor Day Weekend or come for an event weekend like Staunton’s Queen City’s Mischief and Magic (September 24-25).
  • Try traveling on Thursday night and working remotely from your lodging the next day. You’ll be inspired by the new location and excited to finish up and explore.
  • Revive with a vacation close to home. Simply getting away from home, work and routine can help you glean many of the wellness benefits of a longer trip, even if you don’t travel very far.

Friday:

Travel to Staunton 

  • It’s an easy, pretty drive on I-81, with long views framed by the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. If you want a leisurely route, drive along the Skyline Drive or Blue Ridge Parkway. Here’s a guide to scenic overlooks in Shenandoah. Visitors from the east and west will enjoy driving up and over the mountains. Take advantage of scenic waysides and hiking trailheads. 

Stay in Staunton

Eat in Staunton

Find Some Friday Night Fun

  • Spread out your blanket for a night of music under the stars at the Blackburn Inn’s Friday night SummerStage concert series. The concerts showcase talents like The Arcadian Wild and Scott Miller. Along with the music, you can enjoy beverages from local vineyards, breweries, and cideries as well as food from the 2nd Draft Bistro. 

Saturday

Visit the Farmers’ Market

  • Meet the locals when you visit the Saturday morning Staunton Farmer’s Market in the historic Wharf District. Listen to live music, talk to farmers, and taste seasonal fruit and fresh baked goods. This is a great way to catch a quick snack and get a sense of Staunton’s bustling community.

Shop Downtown

Eat Some Lunch

  • Grab a quick bite before you set out for more adventure. Try one of the lunch specials made with fresh tortillas at Chicano Boy Taco. Gloria’s Pupuseria prepares authentic Salvadoran cuisine with locally sourced ingredients. Farm-to-table gourmet sandwich shop, Seed to Tail also showcases local ingredients. Magdalena Bake sells savory empanadas made from beef, pork, criolla, or caprese. If you’d rather munch burgers and ice cream as you venture down memory lane, Wright’s Dairy Rite is an old-fashioned drive-in diner that’s straight out of the 50s.

Get Active

Clean Up for Dinner

  • Scrub off the dirt and river water and put on your clean clothes for dinner. Start with a glass of wine and a cheese plate at Yelping Dog Wine or The Green Room. For your main course, try Blu Point Seafood Co., which specializes in fresh seafood and has bars for both cocktails and oysters. Table 44’s southern cuisine with a twist features meals like barbequed shrimp and grits or steak frites. Looking for steak? Get your fill of that and more at Mill Street Grill.

Find Nightime Entertainment

  • Have you seen a show at the American Shakespeare Center? The summer season at the world’s only recreation of the Blackfriar’s Playhouse includes Twelfth Night and Thrive, What You Will, a modern companion piece that provides “cross-centuries conversation” with Shakespeare’s classic comedy.
  • Celebrate music with this year’s annual Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts. Heifetz Hootenanny informal series “features students, staff, and special guests in one-of-a-kind, multi-genre mash-ups.” You might hear bluegrass picking, Broadway belting, folk fiddling, or rollicking rhythm and blues!”

Sunday

Sit Down for Breakfast

  • Zynodoa holds Sunday brunch from 10-2 and features a seasonally-driven menu with delights like cornbread French toast with whipped cream or Virginia lump crab fritters. Accompany this feast with a bloody mary or mimosa. Vic’s Eats serves “bomb biscuit sandwiches” and other mouth-watering breakfasts like red-velvet pancakes and yogurt bowls. For breakfast classics like eggs and stacks of pancakes, you can’t go wrong with local favorite, Kathy’s Restaurant.

Have a Little More Fun Before You Go

  • Don’t head home without a little more fun. Catch a matinee at the Visulite Cinema, a convenient and comfortable theater right in downtown. You can check out new releases and have a glass of wine or beer while you’re watching.
  • Stop in to see a glass-blowing demonstration at Sunspots Studios. Using extreme heat, artisans blow and shape molten glass into globes and art pieces. You’ll want to watch this process over and over before visiting the gallery to purchase a reminder of the fun.
  • Don your Sherlock hat and try to solve one of the active puzzles at Crack the Code Escape Room. You’ll have one hour to solve multiple puzzles and escape a themed room.
  • Bone up on history at the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library, a museum dedicated to the life of our 28th president as well as the time’s important cultural challenges. Another historical and educational gem is the Frontier Culture Museum, where costumed interpreters tending working farms share all the details of early settler life in the Shenandoah Valley. 

Our Guide to Em“bark”ing on a Pet-Friendly Trip to Staunton

If you’re like most Americans, you rarely leave home without your pandemic pet! Fortunately, there are a lot of pet-friendly activities, plenty of lodgings that cater to paws, and a wealth of restaurants and watering holes that are totally cool with your pet joining you on the patio. Here’s a “pound-up” of where your pet is welcome in Staunton.

Pup-cation Fun for People and Pets

Get outside to howl, run, and play fetch. Here are our favorite parks and hikes.

  • Gypsy Hill Park has a paved 1.3-mile loop that offers a nice view of the park as well as doggy bag stations and convenient trash cans. The star of the show, however, is the Gypsy Hill Bark Park. Divided into separate enclosures for small and large dogs, it gives pups a chance to meet and greet while their owners make small talk. The enclosures include tunnels, training ladders, “fire hydrants,” and benches for humans to sit. 
  • Leashed pets are welcome on the majority of the hiking trails in Shenandoah National Park. It’s actually one of just a few national parks with this perk. For day-trippers and campers, George Washington and Jefferson National Forest stipulates that dogs must be leashed on hiking trails (but may go off-leash in undeveloped areas). Make sure you pack plenty of water for your furry friend and check them for parasites after your outing.

  • Coyner Springs Dog Park in Waynesboro boasts a large, open off-leash area as well as trails for leashed dogs and their human packmates. The nearby Crozet Tunnel trail is a good hike for leashed dogs, especially if you’re afraid of the dark! Make sure you take your flashlight.

  • Leashed dogs are also welcome on the Augusta Springs Wetland trail, but you shouldn’t take your dog if you think he might disturb the waterfowl and other wildlife.

Un-Pack Your Bags

Kenneling your dog is expensive, sad, and can cause a lot of stress shedding. Fortunately, many Staunton inns and hotels offer luxury accommodations for people and dogs, so you can share that king-sized bed just like at home. Just check the fine print: lodgings may have restrictions on size and number of pets. They may also apply additional fees to bunk your fur baby.

  • Hotel 24 South is both a luxury, historic hotel as well as a pioneer in Staunton’s dog-friendly accommodations.

  • The Blackburn Inn opens select rooms to dogs and has extensive grounds to explore while you walk them. 

  • Howard Johnson by Wyndham is steps from downtown shopping, dining, and the farmers’ market. There’s also free parking, light breakfast, and wifi.
  • Sleep Inn Staunton ensures you’ll sleep well in one of their Designed to Dream rooms. Bring your pet: there’s no pet fee!
  • Best Western Staunton Inn boasts comfortable rooms, easy access to I-81, and no pet fee.
  • Comfort Inn Staunton has free breakfast, a pool, and is convenient to both the highway and downtown Staunton.
  • Motel 6 Staunton allows pets and lets kids stay free. You’ll also enjoy free coffee and expanded cable options.
  • Holiday Inn Staunton Conference Center allows up to three pets. It’s convenient to golf, the interstate, and kids eat free with paying adults.
  • Red Roof Inn Staunton is a great budget option. Kids and one pet up to 80 pounds stay for free.
  • Econo Lodge is convenient to the Frontier Culture Museum and downtown Staunton. It’s pet-friendly and offers free coffee.
  • Walnut Hills KOA and Sherando Lake Campground both accommodate families and dogs.

Paw-some Patios

Staunton has several dining spots where the waitstaff doesn’t mind stepping over Teddy’s outstretched paws. They might even bring him a dish of water!

  • Well-behaved dogs on leashes can join you at a table on the covered, gated patio at Table 44
  • The patio at Byer’s Street Bistro also welcomes dogs. Spend your lunch hour dining with Rex and watching the bustle of downtown. Bonus: Dogs will find water bowls and often treats.

  • Just want a quick bite? Stop by the outdoor patio at The By & By for coffee drinks, beer and wine, and sandwiches. 
  • The patio at Thai Staunton Restaurant is pet-friendly.
  • If you’re feeling like eating Mexican, take your pooch to Mi Rancho’s outdoor dining space where you can get relax with a big, tasty margarita. 
  • Prefer Italian? Family-owned Maria’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant has a dog-friendly patio where you can share your spaghetti with Lady.
  • The Pampered Palate, Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery, The Split Banana, Nu-Beginning Farm, and the Clocktower Eats & Sweets all have delicious food and allow dogs at their sidewalk seating. 
  • Get there early and grab a spot at the Peck’s Bar-B-Que’s dog-friendly picnic table. There’s shade and nearby grass for your pet to sniff. There’s also a lone pet-friendly table at Sam’s Hot Dog Stand where you can enjoy a sack of all-beef hot dogs.
  • Share your BBQ and ice cream with your dog at one of the two dog-friendly picnic tables at Hog Wild BBQ and Klines Dairy Bar
  • Edelweiss Restaurant serves authentic German food like bratwurst and jager schnitzel. If you dine outside at one of the covered tables, Fido can join you and lick knackwurst juice off your fingers.

Bark-tastic Breweries

Want to spend an evening out having beers with your best fur buddy? Raise a glass because many of Staunton’s breweries are pet-friendly. 

Other Staunton Stops that are Mutts about Dogs

It’s not surprising to come across a dish of cool water waiting on the sidewalk on a hot day in downtown Staunton. Here are other pet-friendly destinations.

  • Your pet will be the star of the show at the Well Balanced Paw Pet Wellness Shoppe and Barkery. Specializing in nutrient-rich pet nutrition and relaxing small-animal massage, this downtown destination will keep your pet balanced and healthy for years to come.

  • Latitudes has all kinds of fair-trade gifts, including this snazzy puppy place-mat!
  • Locally owned Pets N Pals has been selling pet supplies like habitats, food, and toys since 1989. They also have healthy pets of all kinds for sale if you’re seeking a new companion. Petco has a big selection of supplies as well as fish, lizards, birds, spiders, and rodents. Also, check out Augusta Dog Adoptions and the SPCA for pets that need new homes.
  • It’s common to see happy dogs walking with their owners as they shop for dinner at the Staunton Farmers’ Market. Leashed dogs can also browse the aisles at Tractor Supply Co.

Treat Your Dad Right: Ideas for Father’s Day in Staunton

Your dad helped you become the adult you are today with a special blend of support, advice, hugs, and tough love. Make sure you let him know how much you love him with a gift that’s specific to his interests. Check out this list of cool Father’s Day gifts to show the father figure in your life how much you care.

Father’s Day events

Here are a few special Father’s Day events happening nearby:

Grill him some steaks

Does your dad love steak as much as we think he does? Why not grill him up a feast for Father’s Day? Pick up some fresh, grass-fed meat from an area farm at Stanley Meat Market. They also sell free-range chicken and local produce. If your grill skills leave something to be desired, take him for a steak at Mill Street Grill,  Depot Grille, BLU Point Seafood, or Zynodoa instead.

Take him out to the ball game

Remember whiling away the summer nights watching baseball with Dad while you were a kid? Relive those wholesome memories by taking him to a Staunton Braves game at Moxie Stadium. The team is part of the 11-team Valley League that’s been entertaining fans since 1923 with the skills of talented college players, many of whom go on to the pros. Stop in at one of the day’s sponsors for free tickets! Treat him to a few hotdogs and a beer or two in the new beer garden. Keep the memories alive by gifting him a Braves hat.

Introduce him to his new favorite brew

Is your dad still embarrassing you at family functions when he pops open a cooler of boring supermarket beer? Help him develop his palate with a flight at one of Staunton’s three craft breweries. Redbeard Brewing Company and Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co. are just a short walk from each other. Queen City Brewing is about a mile away. All three offer the best local craft beer as well as regular entertainment (see their events listings). Skipping Rock Beer Company is located just west of town and visitors can choose to relax in the taproom or outside in the large beer garden. If he’s a cider fan, try a flight at Ciders from Mars, or if wine is his beverage of choice, enjoy a glass on Ox-Eye Vineyards tasting room patio.

Help him spruce up his car

Does all the spilled coffee and random stuff floating around in Dad’s car make you sick? How about helping him freshen his ride? Locally owned The Avenue Car Wash offers two drive-thru automatic washes and four self-service bays. Peterson’s Car Wash has soft-cloth washes and an interior package that includes window washing, vacuuming, dusting, and fragrance. AMG Detail has several detailing packages that include interior shampoo and steam work, hand waxing, tire dressing, and more.

Tee off at Gypsy Hill Golf Club

Send Dad to the links with a round at Gypsy Hill Golf Club. Not only is this a beautiful, challenging course, but it also boasts some of the cheapest rates in the area. 18 holes with a cart costs just $30 on a weekday. If your handicap needs some help, Gypsy Hill Golf Club also offers one-hour private lessons with the pro.

Get back to nature

Reserve a weekend at an area campground. Sherando Lake Recreation Area and Todd Lake Recreation Area let visitors camp, swim, hike, and fish. Shenandoah Valley Campground and Walnut Hills Campground are family-oriented and offer amenities like pools and camp stores. Before you go, pick out an outdoor-themed gift at Wilderness Adventure. Experienced sales staff will guide you in picking the most appropriate clothing and gear for dad’s favorite outdoor activity.

Send him a gift

Does Dad live out of town? Send him a gift he’ll love from one of Staunton’s retailers.

  • CFO Trading Co. sells fine, casual men’s clothing as well as accessories, grooming items, and gifts such as leather-bound traveler’s notebooks. They have an excellent selection of barware, as well as drink mixes and infusion cubes.
  • Sweeten his day with something chocolatey from Cocoa Mill. A good gift is the coffee break coffee and chocolate assortment, which includes over a pound of assorted chocolate-covered coffee beans, mocha bark, and more. 
  • Beverley Cigar Store sells cigars, pipes, pipe tobacco, and more, including smoking accessories, lighters, and clothing like summer guayaberas.
  • The Book Dragon sells both new books and a selection of used books as well as gifts created by local artisans. Better yet, they’ll gift-wrap!
  • Help Dad channel his youth by treating him to his favorite records, cassette tapes, and CDs from The Vinyl Asylum.
  • Crown Jewelers fine jewelry selection includes engravable cufflinks and Citizen watches.