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Category: Getaway

2022 Must See Summer Music Events in Staunton

Picture dancing in the street to some of the best local and regional music and falling in love all over again with Staunton’s wonderful community. Imagine kicking back on a blanket under the stars and enjoying a picnic and incredible jazz. Or imagine relishing the sounds of antique classical instruments while the light shines through the stained glass at Trinity Church. Or how about celebrating the 4th of July with live music and fireworks for the first time in years? Here’s a guide to your Staunton summer soundtrack!

Staunton Jams

After a 4-year hiatus, Staunton Jams is back, bigger and better than ever, hosted by The Judy Chops and supported by a number of Staunton businesses. This free, all-day music and art event will take over downtown Staunton on May 28. Look for 20 acts representing a variety of musical styles to appear at the Sunspots Pavilion, the Staunton Patio, along Beverley Street, in the Wharf, and more.  You’ll see Mojo Parker, Sun-Dried Opossum, The Queen City Porch Swingers, Matt Palmieri, the Beverley Street String Band, The Judy Chops, and more. There’s even an afterparty scheduled at Tempest Bar & Lounge. The event will also showcase artists, vendors, food, street performers, and more. Check Staunton Jams Facebook page for a schedule.

Redbeard’s Summer Concert Series

Want to enjoy delicious craft beer while you listen to music? From now thru September, relax at Redbeard Brewing Company on select Saturday nights for their Live Summer Concert Series. Favorite groups like The Judy Chops, Six Shot Rebellion, The Findells, and Drägön Wägön will headline. Check out the full schedule.

SummerStage at the Blackburn

Spread out your blanket for a night of music under the stars at the Blackburn Inn’s Friday night SummerStage concert series. The concerts will extend through Labor Day and they will showcase talents like David Wax Museum, Danielle Nicole, Chatham Rabbits, Scott Miller, The Judy Chops, and more playing in a wide range of genres. Along with the music, you can enjoy beverages from local vineyards, breweries, and cideries as well as food from the 2nd Draft Bistro. The grounds and bar open at 6 p.m. and the music starts at 7 p.m. See the full schedule and buy tickets.

Red Wing Roots Music Festival

Everyone in the family will get up and dance as the biggest names in folk music appear at Red Wing Roots Music Festival in Natural Chimney’s Park the weekend of June 24 – 26. Get ready to experience to The Steel Wheels, The Jayhawks, Langhorne Slim, Aoife O’Donovan, and many more on stage against the background of stunning limestone towers. Besides the music, festival attendees can expect a beer garden, food and craft vendors, bike rides, yoga, and lawn games for adults and kids alike. Here’s the full 2022 lineup.

Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts

You’re in for a treat with this year’s annual Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts! Choose from over 50 different concerts extending from June 28 to August 6 that range from chamber music, Fourth of July music, and multi-genre selections. See world-renowned celebrity guests in the Celebrity Series and Chamber Music Sunday Matinees. Heifetz students perform in the Stars of Tomorrow Series as well as the intimate Market St. Musicale series that pairs performances and conversations with the musicians. Anything goes in the Heifetz Hootenanny Series, which will occur on Page Terrace. Admission is free for all events for kids 12 and under.

Happy Birthday America

Bring the family to Gypsy Hill Park this Independence Day for the free, family-friendly Happy Birthday America celebration. Have a blast with a 5K race, a lively parade, a parent/child baseball game, vesper’s service, a beauty pageant, and concessions. Rock out to live music from local acts, Rhonda Vincent and The Rage, and headliner Wilson Fairchild. Fireworks will follow the concert. This event is free.

Staunton Music Festival

Musicians will love The Staunton Music Festival’s classical concerts spanning over 600 years. Dozens of musicians will perform in both large and small ensembles in a variety of Staunton venues like Trinity Episcopal Church and Blackfriars Playhouse from August 12-21. Festival highlights include “Handel Extravaganza: from the Rhine to Rio,” which features Handel’s orchestral and vocal music, “Love Stories,” and “Early Keyboard Extravaganza.” While some events are ticketed, many are free.

Music in the Park at Gypsy Hill Bandstand

Monday Nights: Stonewall Brigade Band 

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

Tuesday Nights: Praise in the Park

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

Wednesday Nights: Bluegrass 

Local and regional bluegrass entertainers will visit Staunton on Wednesday nights between July 6 and August 24. Most concerts include sets by two different groups. Get ready for some energetic tunes and banjo picking! Concerts begin at 7 p.m. Watch for the full schedule here.

Thursday Nights: Jazz in the Park

Celebrate hot summer nights with the Jazz in the Park summer concert series. You’ll hear classic jazz standards performed by S.P.L.A.A.A.T. Quintet, Afro Cuban jazz with rumba, salsa, and cha cha music by Jstop Latin Soul, and zydeco, cajun, street parade, and Louisiana funk by The Dixie Power Trio. See the full lineup here.

Nearby Music

You might also check out Waynesboro Parks and Rec’s Thursday night Groovin’ at the Greenway series. This lineup of showcases a variety of styles and lets Waynesboro visitors get comfy outdoors while listening to live music.

Other Festivals and Fun

May 21-22: Staunton’s newest outdoor art festival Art On The Town comes to life at the Sunspots Pavilion in the Wharf. Another great event by the Staunton Augusta Art Center happens September 3-4, where you can join the fun at the 55th annual Art in the Park festival in Gypsy Hill Park. You’ll find amazing art, community spirit, live music, food, and creative activities for the kids. The park boasts lots of parking, shade, and playgrounds to keep everyone happy. (Free)

September 24-25: Join thousands of seriously excited fans in downtown Staunton for themed shopping, dining, performances, and hands-on activities for all ages at the Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival. This home-grown fan festival celebrates J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter series as well as all things magical and mystical. (Many activities are free, some are ticketed)

Staunton’s Best Gifts for Moms

Remember all the times your mom wiped your tears, gave you pep talks, and told you she loved you? Well, Mother’s Day is Sunday, and it’s time to spoil her the way she deserves! We’ve rounded up enough Staunton gifts, experiences, brunches, and more to make any mom or mother figure in your life feel special this year.

Share Some Brunch

  • You can’t beat Staunton when it comes to a tasty brunch! Take Mom out for a Mother’s Day brunch (or dinner) of “inspired Southern cuisine” at Zynodoa (brunch served from 10-2). Indoor and outdoor seating available.
  • Reserve a table at The Shack for a pre-fixe Mother’s Day brunch that emphasizes the best local and regional seasonal ingredients.
  • Table 44 serves up inspired twists on your favorites as well as an unforgettable loaded bloody mary (brunch served from 11-2).

Enjoy an Experience

  • Do you and Mom bond over theater? Take her to a production of Romeo and Juliet or The Comedy of Errors at the Blackfriars. Afterward, share your reviews over wine and snacks at The Green Room.
  • Sign Mom up for an art class or workshop at Beverley Street Studio School. Classes are held either in-person or virtually, and you can choose from a variety of topics for artists at all ability levels.

Find a Special Gift

  • Reserve Mom a massage, skin treatment, or manicure at the Spa at the Blackburn. You can also help Mom relax by surprising her with a massage at Mill Street Body & Soul Day Spa and Salon. Make her feel really special by giving her the gift of a boudoir photo session, which includes a hair and makeup team and professional photography. Dad will appreciate this gift, too! 
  • Do you have an outdoorsy mom? Grab her a new pair of running shoes at Sole Focus Running or some new hiking poles and a daypack at Wilderness Adventure.

Shower Her with Tradition

  • It’s a no-brainer that jewelry, flowers, chocolate, and wine are perennial favorites on Mother’s Day. Continue the tradition by having your personal message engraved on something glitzy from H.L. Lang Jewelers. You’ll also find beautiful and unusual jewelry at The Sparrow’s Nest. Choose from botanical, gemstone, leather, and antique button collections. 
  • Browse online and spoil Mom with a colorful bouquet from Rask Florist or Honey Bee’s Florist. Brin’s Posy Floral creates vivid and artistic bouquets.
  • Treat Mom’s sweet tooth with incredible looking and tasting chocolates from Giancarlo Fine European Pastries. Consider signing Mom up for an upcoming pastry class. Your mom would also love an overflowing “platinum pail of chocolates” assortment from Cocoa Mill

Wool Week 2022 at the Frontier Culture Museum

Have you ever wondered what people from the past did when they wanted to update their wardrobes? Today, we go to the store or even order our outfits online, but the process was much more involved for our ancestors and the early settlers of the Shenandoah Valley. Not only did they have to obtain the raw materials, but they also had to clean them, and transform them into cloth. Finally, they had to turn the fabric into wearable clothing or other textiles. Each year during Wool Week, the Frontier Culture Museum invites visitors to celebrate spring as well as the process of creating useful products from raw materials.

How can I visit?

Wool Week 2022 is April 25 – May 1

There is no extra cost beyond regular admission to the museum.

Museum visitors will see:

  • Demonstrations focusing on wool and flax processing
  • Sheep shearing
  • New baby lambs
  • Regular museum exhibits

How long will the lambs be little?

Lambs are born in the spring when there’s plenty of grass to eat and the weather has lost its winter chill. Ewes give birth to one to three lambs at a time, but twins are most common. Lambs usually weigh about the same as human babies. They can walk within a few hours of being born!

What is wool, anyway? How did people on the frontier harvest it?

Wool is the heavy winter coat of the sheep that’s harvested each year in the spring. While we typically use mechanical clippers now, people from the frontier would use sharpened blades like scissors with the pivot point at the end. Skilled shearers can remove the wool quickly and keep it in one piece.

Do sheep like getting shorn?

Sheep shearing is very much like getting a haircut, but nervous sheep may struggle during the shearing process. It takes a lot of strength to hold them still and clip the wool at the same time. Sheep shearers should take their time to prevent injuries. Shorn sheep feel cooler for the upcoming hot weather and are probably relieved to be rid of their heavy, dirty coats. 

How do they clean the wool?

Contrary to what we see in picture books, sheep are pretty dirty. Museum interpreters use their hands to pull and tease the wool fibers apart to get rid of dirt and parasites. Next, they wash and card the wool. Carding untangles the fibers and stretches them out so that they can be spun. The museum staff will teach you how to perform each of these steps.

How did settlers color the wool?

We didn’t have the synthetic dyes we use now until the middle of the 19th century. Before that, people colored their fabrics with plants, lichens, and even insects. They used fixatives like salt and vinegar to help the dyes stay in place. Professional dyers were very protective about their recipes since some worked better than others. Many colors weren’t readily available, especially in the materials for the dyes that came from far away. Wool can be dyed before or after spinning.

How did they turn that pile of wool into my favorite sweater?

Spinners wind stretched-out wool fibers into yarn. Next, the yarn is formed into a fabric by knitting or by weaving on a loom. Both the German and the Irish farms have looms and visitors can watch the intricate, time-consuming process of working one.

What else can I see at the museum?

The Frontier Culture Museum is a living history museum that will connect present-day people with the lives and histories of those who lived in the past. The walkable museum offers a chance to explore the homesteads of the various people who settled in the region from other places. They include farms from West AfricaEnglandIreland, and Germany. The museum also offers a Native American village and American farms from various time periods.

Have more questions? Head to Wool Week to get answers!

Check out more events on Staunton on Tap.

A Spring Guide to Staunton’s Gardens, Farms, and Markets

Want to take a springtime walk and see some flowers? Want to learn about sustainable farming practices and how to fill your own garden with native Virginia plants? How about getting your hands on the first fresh produce of the season? Here’s our spring roundup of Staunton’s gardens, farms, and markets.

Historic Garden Week Staunton Tour: April 23

Historic Garden Week returns to Staunton at the peak of spring. Tour attendees can stroll through Colonial Williamsburg-inspired Baldwin Place to see two beautifully landscaped homes and a floral design demonstration and gardening talk. A short walk away, the extensive gardens at Waverley Hill will also be on display. Originally designed in 1929, the house and gardens have been recently restored. Musicians from the Staunton Music Festival will play in the gardens.

Historic Garden Week has been held since 1927 when it was used to raise funds to restore Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate. Each year, more than 250 historic homes across the state open their doors and grounds to visitors. Proceeds go toward preserving and restoring public gardens in Virginia.

In honor of Garden Week, bring the kids to Staunton Augusta Art Center’s Spring Fling. Experience a day long celebration of Spring, Gardens and Poetry. Come make a flower and pollinator “zine” out of watercolor, see artists drawing and painting, and hear poetry being read!

Staunton Gardens

Even if you can’t make Garden Week, you’ll see plenty of blooms as you explore Staunton’s residential neighborhoods. Gardens in many of our public spaces also shine. 

  • The Augusta Garden Club’s Project Dogwood has planted over 150 of these springtime beauties in Gypsy Hill and Montgomery Hall Park. They’ve also erected signage to identify and provide information about the different types of trees.

Nearby Gardens and Farms

  • The Andre Viette Farm & Nursery is known best for its daylilies, but the extensive display gardens are open to the public and contain much more. The sun and shade gardens will inspire your own landscaping, and you’ll be able to purchase favorites at the garden center.
  • Lovely sites and smells will greet you at Pebble Hall Wildflowers (Weyers Cave), where you can pick blooms from over an acre of wildflowers and herbs. Check out the schedule to see what’s in season. 

  • White Oak Lavender Farm (Harrisonburg) provides beautiful views, a chance to tour the lavender fields and pick some lavender when in season, a lavender shop, a discovery area for kids, and a tasting room for the Purple WOLF Vineyard.

  • Stroll along the peaceful trails at JMU’s 125-acre Edith J. Carrier Arboretum (Harrisonburg) for inspiration on how to use native Virginia flowers, trees, and shrubs in your own landscaping. You’ll find water features, artwork, play areas for kids, and more, nestled in the wooded environment.
  • You probably visit Stable Craft Brewing (Waynesboro) for the craft beer, agri-pub food, and music, but you can also sign up for a tour of the facilities. This brewery and event space is on a beautiful working horse farm, and tours teach about the brewery’s sustainable practices and offer a peek behind the scenes. 
  • Polyface Farms (Swoope) leads the nation in best-practices farming. Polyface also offers self-guided tours, scheduled lectures, and private tours. You can buy pasture-raised, hormone/antibiotic-free chicken, beef, pork, and eggs at the farm store. 

Markets

  • Tap into the heart of the community at Staunton Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning from April through Thanksgiving. Everything sold here has been grown or produced from within 75 miles. You’ll find the freshest seasonal produce, herbs, plants, and cut flowers. Producers also sell meat, cheese, baked goods, honey, and pickled items. 

  • Verona’s North Augusta Farmer’s Market operates each Wednesday afternoon (May-October) at the Augusta County Government Center. You’ll enjoy perusing the big selection of fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat, bakery items, honey, and artisan crafts.
  • Nu Beginnings The Store emphasizes local and organic goods and celebrates the tastes of the Valley. You’ll find prepared food, milk, honey, meat, cheeses, eggs, jams and jellies, baked goods, and much more. You can even order online and pick up your food curbside.
  • JMD Farm Market & Garden Center sells vegetable and garden plants, pottery, seasonal produce, meats, eggs, and local honey. Do your shopping, and then enjoy a glass of wine while the kids play on the small natural playground.
  • The Valley Pike Farm Market (Weyers Cave) emphasizes local and Virginia products and includes a coffee shop, deli, ice cream shop, bakery, and food trucks. You can also buy many varieties of Virginia wine and beer.
  • Plan an upcoming summer excursion to pick your own fruit at Critzer Family Farm, which grows strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, peaches, plums, pumpkins, and fresh veggies. 

Plan Your Family’s Staunton Summer Adventure

Are you looking for a new place to take the family this summer? School lets out in just a few weeks, so it’s time to start planning now. Staunton has tons of fun activities to delight the whole family. You can’t go wrong planning a trip around an event or festival, but Staunton is lovely any day of the year.

Events and Festivals

  • June 24-26: Everyone in the family will get up and dance as the biggest names in folk music appear at Red Wing Roots Music Festival in Natural Chimney’s Park. Besides the music, festival attendees can expect a beer garden, food and craft vendors, bike rides, yoga, and lawn games for adults and kids alike.
  • Bring the family to Gypsy Hill Park this Independence Day for the free, family-friendly Happy Birthday America celebration. Have a blast with a 5K race, a lively parade, concessions, live music from local acts and country group Wilson Fairchild, and fireworks. (Free)
  • August 12-21: Musicians will love The Staunton Music Festival’s classical concerts spanning over 600 years. Dozens of musicians will perform in both large and small ensembles in a variety of Staunton venues like Trinity Episcopal Church and Blackfriars Playhouse. (Some concerts are free, some are ticketed)
  • September 4-5: Join the fun at the Staunton Augusta Art Center’s 55th annual Art in the Park festival in Gypsy Hill Park. You’ll find amazing art, community spirit, live music, food, and creative activities for the kids. The park boasts lots of parking, shade, and playgrounds to keep everyone happy. (Free)
  • September 24-25: Join thousands of seriously excited fans in downtown Staunton for themed shopping, dining, performances, and hands-on activities for all ages at the Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival. This home-grown fan festival celebrates J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter series as well as all things magical and mystical. (Many activities are free, some are ticketed)
  • July 26-30: Visit Augusta Expo for the rides, shows, food, and fun at the Augusta County Fair. Check the schedule for more upcoming fun like train shows, dog shows, and tractor pulls.

Family-Friendly Lodging

Kid-Friendly Restaurants

  • Start your day with a hearty meal at Kathy’s Restaurant, where they heap on goodness and serve traditional breakfast fare served all day. Have you ever tried a Captain Crunch biscuit? Vic’s Eats serves an eclectic menu with delights like honeybuns and fried bologna.
  • For a pre-dinner beverage, check out the kid-friendly beer gardens and phenomenal craft beer at Skipping Rock Beer Co. or Redbeard Brewing Company.  
  • Kid-friendly Shenandoah Pizza offers plain and loaded gourmet pies that celebrate local ingredients and lore. Oh, and parents can order more beer from their extensive tap list.
  • The Depot Grille is another tasty, family-friendly way to catch a bite. The restaurant serves delicious American fare and includes a menu for kids. 
  • If your family enjoys Mexican, order dinner at the Baja Bean. The menu has loads of options including choices for the younger set and an impressive tap list for the grownups. 
  • Wright’s Dairy Rite serves its kids’ meals in boxes shaped like antique cars. You sit in a booth and order your food over the phone. The food is traditional diner fare, just the way picky kids like it.
  • However, if you have more of an adventurous eater on your hands, Taste of India offers a range of fresh Indian dishes. Diners choose how mild or spicy they want their dishes to be.
  • Complete the day with one (or more) of the 18 fresh-made flavors of frozen gelato at The Split Banana or indulge yourself with a giant soft-serve cone from Kline’s Dairy Bar, which has been perfecting their creamy flavors for decades.

Play Outside

  • Spend a fun Saturday morning exploring the Staunton Farmer’s Market. Listen to live music, talk to local farmers and taste seasonal fresh fruit and a variety of baked goods. This is a great way to catch a snack, introduce the kids to new tastes, and connect with Staunton’s bustling community.
  • Take a hike in one of Staunton’s parks or hit the playground or tot lot at Gypsy Hill Park. Montgomery Hall Park has a regular playground and Nature Ridge, a playground made of natural elements to aid in exploring nature and having fun. Montgomery Hall also has miles of hiking/biking trails and an 18-hole disc golf course. 
  • Get out of town to Shenandoah National Park or George Washington and Jefferson National Forests for a dose of Next, summon your inner billy goat gruff and climb up to the historic Sears Hill footbridge to Woodrow Park
  • Step back in time at the Frontier Culture Museum, which invites visitors to explore the lives of people living in the Valley from the 1600s through the mid-1800s. Walk between working farms where costumed interpreters answer your questions and demonstrate daily activities. Little folk will love the animals, and you can rent a wagon if your kids can’t handle lots of walking.

Indoor Activities Everyone Will Enjoy

  • Staunton is home to the American Shakespeare Center and the Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theater. If you come in May, you can get tickets for one of the final shows of Romeo & Juliet or The Comedy of Errors. Summer programming includes Every Brilliant Thing (in conversations with Romeo & Juliet), Twelfth Night, and Thrive, or What You Will (an exploration of themes from Twelfth Night. If your kids are a little young for the Bard, you might find an age-appropriate movie at the Visulite.
  • Work together to solve one of the active puzzles at Crack the Code Escape Room. Pick from several challenges like Subway, NYC, or Staunton-themed Lang’s Legacy. You’ll have an hour to decipher the clues and break out of the mysterious room.
  • Get an intro to the fascinating art of glass-blowing at Sunspots Studios. Artisans answer questions and demonstrate how they blow and shape molten glass into globes and art pieces. You’ll want to study this process or reserve a spot in a  “Blow Your Own Ornament” session, led by a trained artist. 
  • USA Today calls Beverley Street one of the “most charming main streets” in America and several stores cater to families. Look for dollhouse gear at Warehouse Miniatures and modeling supplies at Hobby Surplus Outlet. The Dragon’s Hoard will meet your gaming needs, and Pufferbellies, the largest independently owned toy store in the Valley, has something to fascinate the kid in all of us.
  • Teach the kids to knock down some pins at Staunton Lanes!

Hopefully, this list has given you some ideas on how to take your family on a Staunton Adventure this summer. Start planning today!

Staunton is a Southern Living Best Mountain Town

Did you know that Southern Living Magazine recently showcased Staunton as a top mountain town in its The South’s Best 2022? The list of the best southern destinations celebrates “the people, places, and communities that make [the South] more vibrant than ever.” Mountain towns were chosen for their local shops and restaurants, cozy lodging, and welcoming downtowns as well as their beauty and access to the mountains. Southern Living praises Staunton’s charming downtown, varied dining scene, notable lodging selection, and proximity to Shenandoah National Park. Read on for more reasons why Staunton is such a hot travel destination.

Ogle Staunton’s Beauty

Find a high spot in Staunton and kick back to admire the views. Try Cannon Hill at Mary Baldwin University or cross the historic footbridge to Woodrow Park on Sears Hill. You’ll even find something postcard-worthy when you pause on the Wal-Mart parking lot! From walks through historic downtown, country bike rides, or drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll never be far from a million-dollar view.

Eat Like a King

For a small city, Staunton has a wealth of independent restaurants. You’ll find everything from sophisticated Southern gourmet meals at Zynodoa and Table 44 to French pastry at Réunion. Get your fill of steak and seafood at Mill Street Grill and Blu Point Seafood, or opt for global fare at Gloria’s Pupuseria and Gonzo’s Pollo.

Find a Festival

Staunton is a wonderful home base for festivals throughout the year. 

  • Join us for the initial BaroqueFest, a three-day immersion in the very best music from the 17th and early 18th centuries. This festival takes place April 8-10.
  • Friday nights from Memorial Day to Labor Day come enjoy an outdoor concert series on the grounds of the Blackburn Inn and Conference Center. SummerStage kicks off May 27 with Hootenanny.
  • Jam out to The Steel Wheels, The Jayhawks, Langhorne Slim, and other notable names in roots music at the Red Wing Roots Festival at nearby Natural Chimneys State Park. June 24-26.
  • Enjoy selections from hundreds of years of classical music at the 10-day Staunton Music Festival. This festival welcomes over 70 acclaimed professionals from around the world to perform in 30 events and opens on August 12.
  • Browse the juried work of local and regional artists at the Staunton Augusta Art Center’s annual Art in the Park. The 54th annual event will occur in Gypsy Hill Park on September 4-5. 
  • The Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival will return in person this year on the weekend of September 24-25. Head downtown for lots of magical fun as businesses and citizens 

Learn Something New

Learn the history of the presidency and early 20th-century life at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum. Get a hands-on education at the Frontier Culture Museum, where costumed interpreters work historically accurate farms. Make time to view the exhibits at the Beverley Street Studio School Gallery and the Staunton Augusta Art Center.

Access the Outdoors

We dare you to visit the Shenandoah Valley and not take one of the best hikes of your life. Staunton is close to the Appalachian Trail and dozens of beautiful hikes in Shenandoah National Park and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Venture west into George Washington and Jefferson National Forest for more exciting hiking opportunities. Hikers can also stretch their legs on miles of trails in Montgomery Hall Park and Betsy Bell & Mary Gray Wilderness.

Visit Southern Living to see more parks, businesses, and towns that made this years list. Look forward to casting your vote for the South’s Best 2023.

Springtime in Staunton

Are you team spring or team fall? Do you like flowers or leaves? We could argue all day about which season is Staunton’s prettiest, but we’re sure you want to get outside and enjoy this magnificent fresh air and balmy weather. From garden tours to festivals, to downtown dining, here are our picks to make the most of Staunton’s rebirth this spring.

Farmers’ Market

Dust off the cookbooks and fire up the grill. The Staunton Farmers’ Market will open on April 2nd this year. Make sure you visit from 7 a.m. – noon for the freshest local homegrown and homemade goods and produce. This family-friendly market has been a Staunton staple since 1993. Stroll the stalls to meet the producers, listen to live music, and enjoy the Staunton community.

Get Some Garden Inspiration

Historic Garden Tour takes place in Staunton’s north end this year. Secure your spot now for the April 23 walking tour, which visits two landscaped gardens in Williamsburg-inspired Baldwin Place as well as the grounds of Waverley Hill, a Staunton gem built in the Georgian Revival style in 1929. Visitors can watch gardening talks and floral demonstrations, and listen to Staunton Music Festival musicians along the tour.

If you can’t make it to the garden tour, make sure to take a stroll through Gypsy Hill Park to see the dogwoods and tulips in bloom.

Take a Hike

Celebrate April 16, the first day of National Park Week with a fee-free day in Shenandoah National Park. Hike your favorite trail and see the trees and wildflowers coming to life, or drive along the Skyline Drive and scope out the view.

If you’d rather hike or bike or shoot a round of disc golf closer to home, explore the miles of trails winding through Montgomery Hall Park. Got littles? They’ll love exploring the natural play elements at Nature Ridge Natural Playground.

Themed Adventure

“Take your brain for a walk with Traipse,” a free app that leads you on scavenger hunt-like tours of Staunton. Not only will you learn interesting history and trivia, you’ll also be able to crack riddles and earn discounts and samples from featured businesses. You can even compete with friends for high scores. Traipse offers several tours in Staunton, including ones that explore Gypsy Hill Park, Beverley Street, and the local pub scene.

You won’t be solving riddles, but if you like exploring new places and earning prizes, sign up for Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail’s Passport Program. The Beerwerks Trail maps 19 breweries within a 45-minute drive of Staunton. Many of them boast tasty food and outdoor spaces with views for miles. Visit them, sample the craft beer, get your passport stamped at eight, and earn an awesome t-shirt.

Make Earth Day Plans

It’s not too soon to start thinking about how you can positively impact the earth this year. Along with reducing your carbon footprint, you can visit Earth Day Staunton 2022 on April 23. The new location on Bells Lane combines the fun of the information-rich, family-friendly event with incredible views of Augusta County’s farmland. You’ll meet animals, including educational ambassadors from the Wildlife Center of Virginia, learn to fly a kite, learn to preserve our waterways, and much more.

Get Ready to Shop and Eat Al Fresco

Staunton’s popular Shop and Dine Out Downtown initiative is getting ready to open up for the 2022 season (April 1 – October 30.) Each weekend, the city closes several blocks of Beverley Street so that businesses and restaurants can set up outdoor spaces on the sidewalk and street. Tables, chairs, tents, and enthusiastic shoppers and diners fill the street. Those outdoor dining spaces are filled, in turn, with groups chatting, laughing, and loving the al fresco dining experience. 

Wool Week at the Frontier Culture Museum

One of the most interesting events at the Frontier Culture Museum is the annual Wool Week (April 25 – May 1), when interpreters sheer the winter fleeces from the sheep and process them into usable products. Visitors can watch every step of this fascinating and arduous process as well as learn about the lives of the Valley’s early settlers.

Art in the Park

Memorial Day weekend seems a long way away, but it will be here in no time. Plan to improve your decor by purchasing a unique work of art created by a regional artist at the Staunton Augusta Art Center’s 55th annual Art in the Park festival in Gypsy Hill Park. Join the fun at this Staunton tradition where you’ll find amazing art, community spirit, live music, food, and creative activities for the kids.

Your Guide to Things to Do On Presidents’ Day

Whether you know it as Presidents’ Day or George Washington’s Birthday, the holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February is designed to let us think about the founding and safeguarding of our democracy. You might mark the occasion by exploring history or hitting the Presidents’ Day sales, but you don’t have to travel all the way to Washington D.C. Here are some Staunton-area things to do.

Learn About a President at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum

Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton, and though he only lived here a short time, you should visit the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum complex. You’ll learn about Wilson’s life and times as well as the history of Staunton and what it was like to endure a WWI trench. Exhibits also examine prohibition and suffrage. Explore gallery space in the Presbyterian manse where Wilson was born, the Pierce-Arrow Presidential limousine, the surrounding gardens, the research library, and the gift shop.

Register for one of the upcoming programs in the Reckoning: U.S. Presidents and Racial Inequality series. The series concerns the struggle for racial equality in our nation with the hopes that discussion and reflection will help us advance as a just society. It “explores the views and the political policies of individual presidents toward minority populations, with an in-depth focus on how each of these minority groups was affected by presidential policies directed toward them.” The programs feature conversations between historians and opportunities for the public to ask questions. Past programs have been recorded and are available on the website.

Learn About Other Virginia Presidents

Virginia is sometimes called the Mother of Presidents because it has produced more presidents than any other state. The eight are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.

You can also travel over Afton Mountain to Monticello to learn about the life and legacy of Thomas Jefferson. Explore Jefferson’s house and gardens. On-site tours, virtual events, and other resources examine Jefferson’s own complex history as both an enlightened thinker and an owner of enslaved persons. James Madison lived at Orange County’s Montpelier for 76 years. Visitors can learn about the house, grounds, and his role as “Father of the Constitution.” Travel a little farther to D.C. to tour George Washington’s Mount Vernon, or explore the house and grounds virtually

Check out the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s exhibit, The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden, which “grants visitors an insight into the lives and contributions of the men who led our nation since its founding through 900 historical objects and artifacts.” This permanent collection can be viewed in person or online. It will answer all your burning questions like, “what creature was featured on James Monroe’s dessert service,” and “did Grace Coolidge really keep her pet raccoon at the White House?”

Take a Virtual Field Trip

Other online exhibits that deserve a timely visit are the Lincoln Home and the Museum of the American Revolution. Head to South Dakota where The National Park Service has put together a Mount Rushmore site with a lot of valuable educational plans for kids of various ages. 

Other History Near Staunton

There’s nothing about the lives of presidents at the Frontier Culture Museum, but you can connect with the past lives of ordinary citizens through costumed interpreters working on traditional farms. 

Write a Letter to President Biden

Finally, whether you agree or disagree with the current administration, you have the right to make your opinion known. Why not put your valuable ideas into a letter, and send it to the President? You might even get a letter in return!

The President of the USA 

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Washington, DC 20500

For more events in Staunton, please check out Staunton on Tap!

Galentine’s Day in Staunton

Valentine’s Day takes center stage every February, but there’s more to life than your love life. In fact, relationships with gal pals often last much longer. Your friends support you through your highs and lows, and you can count on their total honesty. And let’s face it, who else can you complain about your romantic partner to? Let’s devote some energy to making memories with your girlfriends this year. Galentine’s Day is February 13. Here are some of our Staunton picks.

Have Some Fun

Channel your inner Sherlocks and work together to problem solve at Crack the Code Escape Room. The escape experience will test your communication skills, make you feel confident, and you’ll be sucked into the story. Better yet,  they’re running a special on February 13 where participants get 10% off and some chocolate from Giancarlo Fine European Pastries! If you’d rather have an outside experience specific to Staunton, download the Traipse app, which is part walking tour and part scavenger hunt with puzzles at every stop. Explore Staunton’s watering holes with the Pub Crawl tour or meet the trees in Gypsy Hill Park. Another good way to bond with your besties is to hit the trails at Montgomery Hall Park for a round of disc golf or some mountain biking.

Sick of girl talk? Take a break with an energizing Drum for Fun class and learn to connect on a more rhythmic level. Classes are appropriate for both beginner and advanced drummers.

If you’re OK with going out with the girls on a night that’s not the 13th, you could attend a weekly Tuesday trivia event like Cheesy Team Trivia at the Clocktower or Trivia Tuesdays with King Trivia at Redbeard Brewing Company. Queen City Brewing hosts regular open mic nights, so you can support your sisters in their creative endeavors.

Check the schedule at the Tempest Bar and Lounge (formerly Downtown 27) for lots of live music and fun, including the return of the immensely popular Studs of Steel Live on February 18. This show promises “high energy, theatrical performances and crowd participation. Inspired by the movies “Magic Mike and Fifty Shades of Grey.” The Tempest Bar and Lounge has also scheduled a speed dating event if your gang is looking for romantic partners. 

Friends who enjoy shopping together will love Design at Nine for the latest in women’s fashion, shoes, and accessories. Try The Sparrow’s Nest for jewelry, pottery, art, and more. If you’re looking for cool gifts, check out Made; By the People, for the People, The Foundry Pop-Ups, and Latitudes.

For home scents and luxurious bath and body products, try Marian’s Candles Scents & Seasons, Redwood & Co., or Essentially Zen.

Book a Spa Day

Wind down after all that action with a spa day at the Spa at the Blackburn. Indulge yourself with skin treatments, massage, reflexology, and nail care. You can also relax at Breezy Hill Day Spa with massage, pedicures, body wraps, and more. Mill Street Body and Soul Day Spa and Salon offers a menu of body treatments as well as makeup application classes and boudoir photo sessions.

Get Crafty

Harmony Harvest Farm is hosting an event for Galentine’s Day called Blooms, Besties, and Brews at Stable Craft Brewing on February 12. You’ll be guided by a professional floral designer as you create a beautiful arrangement. This workshop includes materials and is appropriate for all levels.

Create a beautiful and unique addition to your wardrobe with a Silk Scarf Workshop on February 10. The workshop is led by Suz Hues of The Foundry Pop-Ups. You’ll learn a new technique and take home wonderful memories and a new scarf. All materials are included.

Share Some Nibbles

Toast the friendship and your feline friends at the Valentine’s Tea at the Frederick House. Proceeds benefit Wendy’s Place Cat Rescue.

Enjoy the area’s biggest selection of fine wine by the glass or bottle at Yelping Dog Wine. Share a cheese plate or munch on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Yelping Dog runs regular wine tastings from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Seed to Tail also hosts a weekly wine tasting event. This new farm-to-table gourmet sandwich shop sells a large selection of wine from Virginia and around the world. 

Celebrate your love for cider at Ciders From Mars! From February 9th – 13th they will be offering a flight/cocktail combo special. Choose four ciders and any of their Craft Cider Cocktails for just $15!

It’s igloo season at Stable Craft Brewing. Rent a private heated igloo for up to eight friends and enjoy fresh craft beer and a delicious pub menu. Are you hard cider fans? Ciders from Mars presses locally grown apples into their out-of-this-world varietals, which can be enjoyed by flight or glass in their downtown cidery. You can also savor cider, as well as wine, beer, cocktails, and light fare such as baguette sandwiches and loaded tater tots at The Green Room.

Dine at Table 44 for amazing Southern food with a twist. It’s open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. Make sure you try a few of the cookies and cupcakes at Paris Cake Company after your meal. Serendipity Java Bar & Eatery is a cozy new coffee and lunch spot located near the historic train station. It serves muffins, seasonal scones, cinnamon rolls, egg and cheese bagels, French toast plates, and more. There’s a wide selection of coffees, espressos, and specialty drinks like razzle chai. Stop in later in the day for grilled lunch sandwiches. Looking for something to share?

Try a range of Spanish tapas and other Mediterranean food at Aioli Restaurant. Start with the bacon-wrapped quail, follow with parmesan truffle risotto or seafood paella, and save room for the Callebaut dark chocolate mousse.

For more events, check out Staunton on Tap!

Romantic Getaways in Staunton

Want to do something really special for your main squeeze this Valentine’s Day? How about a romantic getaway in Staunton? You’ll feel the love as you unwind and reconnect while sharing luxurious accommodations, decadent meals, and relaxing strolls through our historic downtown. We’ve even found some fun Valentine’s Day activities to try. Here’s our guide to where to stay, what to eat, and what to do on your romantic getaway in Staunton. 

Where to Stay

First things first: If you’re planning a romantic getaway, you’ll need a cozy nest away from home. Dreamy lodgings abound in Staunton, but we especially like those that are luxurious but also offer historic charm. The Hotel 24 South and The Blackburn Inn both feature elegant rooms in restored buildings, beds with pillowtop mattresses, and spa-like showers. You can impress your Valentine with the Blackburn Inn’s Love Is in the Air: Valentine’s Day Package, which includes prosecco and a pair of champagne flutes, a rose-petal turndown, a late checkout time, and dining credit at the onsite Second Draft Bistro. Perhaps a trip to the spa to relax and rejuvenate sounds like dream, so be sure to book in advance.

The Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast offers upgraded elegance in a large Queen Anne Victorian residence decorated in period style. Your stay includes an elaborate breakfast as well as an option to reserve a champagne and chocolates special. Frederick House offers the charm and individuality of a B&B as well as the comfort and amenities of a larger hotel. The beautiful and traditionally decorated 20-room hotel encompasses space in five historic downtown buildings. Ask about the Shakespeare Theatre Ticket special. Romeo and Juliet begins February 25th!

Cocktail Spots and Romantic Restaurants

Stop to flirt over some wine at Yelping Dog Wine or The Green Room, or grab a private tasting of Virginia estate wine at Ox-Eye Tasting Room. If the weather cooperates, you might also take a picnic to Barren Ridge Vineyards for delicious wine and one of the best views in Augusta County. If you’d rather refresh yourself with fresh craft beer, Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co. and Redbeard Brewing Company are located downtown. Nearby, Byers Street Bistro serves up some seasonal winter cocktails.

The Clocktower Valentine’s Day Soirée is happening on February 12 and 13. Start the night with happy hour at Tempest Bar & Lounge before dining on a decadent three-course dinner. Choices include shrimp, prime rib or lasagna, and tiramisu or creme brulee. After dinner, you’ll enjoy the comic show BoxCar Speakeasy & Reese Middleton’s Vintage Valentine Revue. Tickets include champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries.

The Baja Bean is a fun place to take your date for dinner. Enjoy all your Tex-Mex favorites and a wide selection of craft beer on tap. They’re running Valentine’s Day special that includes fajitas for two, a special drink or dessert to share, and a lovely local bouquet from Harmony Harvest Farm. Would you rather spend Valentine’s Day cuddled up in your room? Stave off your hunger pangs by ordering a heart-shaped pizza from Shenandoah Pizza & Tap House.

Make reservations to share a special night over Chef Boden’s four or five-course seasonal tasting menu at The Shack. The options change each week, but winter ingredients might include cranberries, hazelnuts, lamb, rockfish, and more, all paired with suggested wines. 

If you’re seeking a spot that has the feel of the big city, look no further than Zynodoa. Choose a unique cocktail that incorporates locally sourced ingredients like herbs or honey or select beer or wine from the extensive list. Next, order a dinner featuring “inspired Southern cuisine.” On the menu: Virginia blue crab fritters, Polyface Farm sweet tea brined chicken, Wade’s Mill apple & cheddar grits, and Saunders Brothers Honeycrisp apple cobbler. Zynodoa also serves an amazing brunch.

Sweet Somethings

Feed your romance with a cone from The Split Banana, which serves a big selection of freshly made gelato flavors like coffee toffee, cherry cheesecake, or Guinness extra stout. You can hold hands and share cones as you stroll around downtown window shopping and checking out the Victorian architecture. If you prefer soft serve with a side of nostalgia, pull up to the old-fashioned drive-in and fill your dessert cravings at Wright’s Dairy Rite, a Staunton institution since the 50s.

Don’t wait until Valentine’s Day night to steal your sweetie’s heart. Meet for coffee and pastries at Réunion, a Staunton sweet spot where you can order espresso, buttery croissants, and other baked goods that taste like they’re fresh from Paris.

Wow your honey with a beautifully decorated and delicious dessert from Paris Cake Company, Gorgeous cupcakes decorated like flowers? Check. Cut out cookies decorated like rainbows? Raspberry swirl cheesecake? Check and check. Bonus: You can indulge in these treats after an equally delicious dinner at Table 44. Firkin Pie Company’s February lineup includes chocolate cream, raspberries, and cream, and bananas foster all baked fresh. Even Cupid couldn’t keep his hands off this fine, fine pie!

It will be love at first bite when you present your special someone with a box of handmade, gourmet chocolate from Cocoa Mill Chocolates. The Valentine’s Day assortment even comes in an edible box and was voted best overall in a Wall Street Journal taste test. Giancarlo Fine European Pastries creates incredible chocolates made from Cordillera Colombian 65 % cacao and 36% dark milk, single bean chocolate.

Valentine Fun

A meeting of the minds is always a good idea, so Crack the Code Escape Room makes for a genius Valentine’s Day date. What’s even better is that if you book a spot for February 13, they’re running a special where participants get 10% off and some chocolate from Giancarlo Fine European Pastries! Another good date is to book a Couple’s Getaway Package at the Blackburn Inn spa. This day of pampering will ease away all your cares. It includes champagne and strawberries and massages for both of you.

The Valentine Flower Workshop at Redbeard Brewing with Brin’s Posy (February 9) is marketed for everybody, especially men! Unleash your creative side as you make a Valentine’s Day bud vase for your favorite person. Not only will you get to sip tasty craft beer, but you’ll also save money on flowers this year. Keep busy on Valentine’s Day weekend with a Silk Scarf Workshop by Suz Hues of The Foundry Pop-Ups. You’ll learn a new technique and take home wonderful memories and a new scarf. February 10.

Stoke the romantic fires on February 11th with the Blackburn Inn’s WinterStage production Isn’t It Romantic. This evening of classic love songs features broadway star Nancy Anderson and jazz pianist Wells Hanley. Romeo and Juliet is on stage at the Blackfriar’s Playhouse. Book your tickets to see Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers navigate the dangers of hate and love. We dare you not to cry.

If you’re still looking for a Valentine’s Day gift, make sure to check out our wealth of independent shops, galleries, and antique stores downtown. You’ll find a range of wares including candles and bath supplies, gourmet food and olive oil, art-glass decor, jewelry, clothing, games and gaming supplies, art, and vintage treasure of all kinds.

For more events, visit Staunton on Tap.