#LOVEstaunton

Category: Performing Arts

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

Experience BaroqueFest in Staunton, VA

The Staunton Music Festival’s 10-day summer concert series brings over 80 world-class chamber musicians to town every August to showcase 600 years of music. But did you know that SMF brings almost 40 concerts to town each year, including “intimate” concerts in the spring and fall that are “often focusing on specific repertoire, from Baroque to Modern.” 

This spring’s offering is BaroqueFest a “three-day immersion in the very best music from the 17th and 18th centuries.” Baroque is known for the birth of the orchestra and common-practice tonality, in which a piece of music is composed in a specific key. BaroqueFest will include programs for voices, orchestra, and chamber ensembles. Performers will play period-appropriate instruments like historic keyboards, winds and brass, and strings. 

Photo by Leslie Kipp

How Do I Purchase Tickets?

Purchase individual tickets for individual concerts or buy a BaroqueFest or annual pass.

Photo by Leslie Kipp

BaroqueFest Itinerary

Here’s how to enjoy all the BaroqueFest programming as well as find food, lodging, and fun in Staunton in your downtime. 

Friday, April 8

12 p.m. Concert: Organ Recital with David Schrader

Master organist David Schrader performs a solo recital on the historic Taylor & Boody instrument at Christ Lutheran Church. Christ Lutheran Church | Free admission

Find Your Lodging 

Check into a tastefully updated room with historic details at the Blackburn Inn, a venue for some of the music. Other elegant and historic lodgings like Hotel 24 South or Frederick House provide access to Staunton’s shopping, dining, and walkable downtown. Browse all of our lodging options here.

Dine on Staunton’s Finest

Sit down to a fresh seafood dinner at Blu Point Seafood or casual drinks and light fare at The Green Room. If the weather is warm, try dining al fresco at one of several restaurants participating in Staunton’s Shop and Dine Out Downtown program. You’ll find fare ranging from gourmet pizza and burgers, Mexican, elevated Southern comfort food, gelato, and much more.

7 p.m. Concert: Concerto Italiano

Mark the start of spring–and the SMF BaroqueFest–with a ravishing program of Italian music, from Renaissance madrigals to concertos by Vivaldi, Marcello, and others. Central United Methodist Church | $26

Saturday, April 9

Fuel Up and Explore Staunton

Prepare for a big day with coffee and a pastry or breakfast sandwich at Serendipity Java Bar and Eatery. This new cafe is located in the Wharf District near the historic train station. Make sure you check out the nearby Sears Hill Bridge. The view you get of downtown is worth climbing the steep steps to the top. Nearby, the Staunton Farmers’ Market is open for the 2022 season. Look for fresh treats, live music, and a chance to shop and chat with producers. If you have time, catch a ride on Staunton’s historic trolley, a fun way to get around downtown. Stops on the line also include Gypsy Hill Park and the park-like Thornrose Cemetery.

12 p.m. Concert: Kaffeehaus Zimmermann

Leipzig’s cafes were prime music venues in the Baroque era. Enjoy orchestral, chamber and vocal music by Handel, Zelenka, Pisendel, Telemann, and Pachelbel. First Presbyterian Church | free admission

Fill Your Afternoon with Art and Craft Beverages

Satisfy your curiosity at Sunspots Studio, where you’ll watch artisans making creations out of molten glass. You’ll get a chance to ask questions and observe every step of the process. After that, browse the gallery for unique art glass home and garden decor, barware, and jewelry. Next, visit Redbeard Brewing or nearby Ciders from Mars for a taste of what’s new on the craft beer and cider scene. Take advantage of the warmer weather by sitting outside. Enjoy dinner at Table 44 or Byers Street Bistro, both of which serve Southern food with a twist and boast tasty cocktail menus.

7 p.m. Concert: The Old-Bachian Archive 

Orchestral, chamber, vocal, and choral works by lesser-known members of the Bachian clan, closing with Johann Sebastian’s Cantata 207. First Presbyterian Church | $26

Sunday, April 10

Enjoy Another Staunton Meal

Celebrate your weekend with a big breakfast at veteran-owned Vic’s Eats, which opens bright and early at 8 a.m. Enjoy hearty sandwiches like fried eggs, cheese, and your choice of meat served on pancake buns or fresh-made biscuits. Next, burn off those calories with a self-guided walking tour of downtown Staunton, named by Architectural Digest as one of the 30 Most Beautiful Main Streets Across America. Stroll through six historic districts and admire Staunton’s notable Victorian architecture. Look, especially, for the work of TJ Collins, who designed or remodeled over 200 buildings at the turn of the century. 

11 a.m. Concert: Purcell & Co. at the Blackburn

Enjoy music by Purcell and English contemporaries in the historic and newly-renovated Great Hall at Blackburn Inn. The Blackburn Inn | $20

12:30 p.m.: Lunch & Lecture: The French Baroque

Guest speaker Dr. Jon Gibson introduces the afternoon concert over catered lunch at the Blackburn Inn. The Blackburn Inn | $40

4 p.m. Concert: April in Paris: Versailles

The glittering French capital provides a sonic backdrop for works by Charpentier, Lully, Couperin, and many others. First Presbyterian Church | $26

Fill Up Before Heading Home

If you’re heading back home and not spending another night in Staunton, grab a quick bite to eat before you hit the road. Wright’s Dairy Rite is a retro 1950s diner that serves burgers, shakes, sundaes, and more with classic curbside service. It’s time to start planning your next trip to Staunton!

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.

Black-History Month in Staunton

The Black experience is essential to understanding Staunton and the surrounding areas. Read on to learn about how to celebrate Black History Month and other events in Staunton. We’ve also noted important places and citizens and gathered resources for gaining a broader understanding of our city’s Black history, culture, and contributions. We’ve also included a list of area Black-owned businesses.

Festivals and Events 

Black History Month at Mary Baldwin

Join the Mary Baldwin University community this February to celebrate Black History Month. The school will host a full lineup of events including lectures, research presentations, concerts and other performances, readings, open houses, trivia, and much more. Here’s the full schedule.

For more Black History Month events around the state, check out the schedule on the Virginia Tourism Corporation website.

Juneteenth Celebration at the Frontier Culture Museum

In recent years, Montgomery Hall Park has hosted an annual Juneteenth celebration as a way to celebrate the end of slavery. Last year the celebration moved to the Frontier Culture Museum. The celebration has included food, live entertainment, children’s activities, information booths, voter registration, health screenings, and more.

African American Heritage Festival

In recent years, Staunton’s African American Heritage Festival has been canceled due to Covid. Hopefully, it will return in the near future! Expect plenty of music and entertainment to keep you busy. Visitors will also find presentations by historians, art by regional artists, vendors, and community outreach and resources. Area churches gather for an “under the tent” worship service on Sunday morning, and everyone can enjoy an afternoon of gospel music. This free, annual two-day festival in September is the largest and oldest in the Shenandoah Valley. The event is open to the public and everyone, regardless of heritage, is welcome.

Area History

Before the Civil War, many farms throughout the Shenandoah Valley relied upon the labor of enslaved African Americans. In 1830, only about one-sixth of Staunton’s African American population was free to work as blacksmiths, shoemakers, laborers, domestics, and barbers. After the Emancipation Proclamation, opportunities grew. By the end of the century, Staunton had 26 Black-owned businesses including grocery stores, cabinet-making shops, cobblers, restaurants, barbershops, laundries, and more. Within 10 years, there were nearly 50 Black-owned businesses in Staunton. These included a newspaper, hotel, restaurants, a meat market, an insurance company, a jewelry store, and professionals such as doctors and a lawyer.

Black-Owned Businesses Today

According to WHSV, while many businesses struggled, area Black-owned businesses were “nearly twice as likely to fail during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Want to support a local Black-owned business? Check out a regularly updated list of Black-owned businesses in the Shenandoah Valley compiled by the Black and Brown Owned Businesses-Shenandoah Valley Facebook page. The Newsleader identified some in Staunton.

Museums and Research

Booker T. Washington Museum and Library

The Booker T. Washington Museum and Library contains photographs, articles, books, yearbooks, and memorabilia like sports trophies and letterman jackets. It is housed in the Booker T. Washington Community Center, Staunton’s former segregated high school. The school educated Black students for 30 years before Staunton’s schools were finally integrated in 1966. The school served as both an educational space and a public meeting place for the African American community. It hosted social events, voter registration, and adult night classes. The building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2014.

Frontier Culture Museum’s West African Farm Exhibit

The Frontier Culture Museum’s living history farms educate today’s visitors by recreating the past. The West African Farm exhibit “explores the cultural contributions of African captives who were brought to Virginia in the 1700s.” Captives from many ethnic groups came from all over Africa, but many were Igbo from the West African Coast. The West African Farm demonstrates how free Igbo people lived in Africa in the 1700s. Visitors can learn about history, architecture, farming, cooking, folklore, pottery, weaving, and more.

The museum maintains an archive of lectures developed during the Covid shutdown. They explore various topics, but several relate to the area’s Black experience. Visit YouTube to see Unfree Labor in Early Virginia, Black Lives at Natural Bridge, West Africa and the Slave Trade, and Igbo/West African Masquerade Culture and the Dynamics of the African Diaspora Carnivals.

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum

Woodrow Wilson and a number of other presidents have been criticized for their attitudes on race and the history of slavery that surrounds them. The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum is tackling the topic of U.S. Presidents and racial inequality with a free lecture series. Register for the February 10 discussion about Abraham Lincoln with Edna Greene Medford, Ph.D., a historian and author of Lincoln and Emancipation, and Christina Shutt, the executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois. The museum further explores the topic of Wilson and race with several resources on their webpage.

Staunton/Augusta County African American Research Society

Want to learn more about the general and family history of Black people in this area? Visit the Staunton/Augusta County African American Research Society’s website for resources. The society’s mission “is to research, develop and maintain an ongoing written, pictorial and multimedia archive of the African American experience in Staunton and Augusta County from its early settlement in 1738 to the present by focusing on education, business, politics, religion, military service, and cultural experience.” The society has worked to gather genealogical records from the library as well as oral histories from older citizens.

Laten Ervin Bechtel’s In Their Words: Growing Up In Segregated Staunton and Augusta County, Virginia

Laten Ervin Becktel has delved into the area’s history of segregation by conducting interviews with 30 African Americans who grew up in segregated times. In this 300-page oral history, Bechtel records an important, and often overlooked, side of local history and shows racial discrimination through the eyes of those who lived it. Available in the Staunton Public Library.

Notable Staunton Addresses

  • In 1946, Montgomery Hall Park became one of only two Virginia parks dedicated to African American use, and people traveled long distances to visit. The park remained segregated until 1969. Learn about the park’s history by watching the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library’s 2008 Montgomery Hall Park Project.
  • The congregation of Allen Chapel A.M.E (African Methodist Episcopal) worshipped in various places before the original church was built at 921 West Beverley Street. The first Black church west of the Blue Ridge is also the sight of the city’s first Black choir and first Black school for adults.
  • Fairview Cemetery is a predominantly African American cemetery located in northern Staunton that was founded in 1869. The Lambert Street location was outside city limits at the time and part of a Black community called Sandy Hollow. 
  • The masonic lodge on East Beverley and Market Streets was incorporated in 1882. Staunton’s “Colored Masonic Mount Zion Lodge, no.18” is one of the oldest African-American masonic lodges in the U.S. The nearby Cabell House (654 E. Beverley Street) is the last exposed-log structure in Staunton. It was built in 1869 by Edmund Cabell, a “free man of color,” and owned by three generations of his family. 

Notable Black Stauntonians

  • Robert Campbell was born free in 1794. After serving in the War of 1812, he moved to Staunton and opened a barbershop on Beverley Street. His successful business allowed him to buy five downtown buildings and he was considered wealthy by the standards of the times. 
  • Willis McGlascoe Carter was an NAACP leader who was born into slavery in 1852. He became a principal in Augusta County’s segregated public schools. He led the Augusta County Teachers’ Association and edited the Southern Tribune, an African-American newspaper. Carter helped create the Negro Industrial and Educational Association of Virginia. He’s buried in Fairview Cemetery.
  • Born in 1898, Dr. Charles J. Waller served as regional vice-president of the National Medical Association. He practiced medicine in Staunton for many years without hospital privileges. Later, he became a member of the King’s Daughters’ staff and was elected president. He was also the first African-American to run for Staunton’s city council.
  • Captain William Green Jr. was born in 1920 and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1939. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and became one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, one of our country’s first Black aviators. He flew 123 wartime missions in Europe and earned a Distinguished Flying Cross, an Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters, E.T.O. ribbons with three battle stars, and the Purple Heart.
  • Born in 1940, Rita Wilson was Staunton’s first Black councilwoman. She served 16 years as a member and vice mayor of city council. She also served on the school board and the board of the Frontier Culture Museum.

For more information, take a look at the Staunton African American Heritage Brochure.

What’s Playing Next? Staunton’s Summer Music Roundup

Picture kicking back on a blanket under the stars enjoying a picnic and listening to the Steel Wheels and other favorite artists. Or imagine relishing the sounds of Beethoven while the light shines through the stained glass at Trinity Church. Or how about celebrating the 4th of July virtually from the comforts of your own home? There are plenty of ways to get live music into your life this summer. Here’s a guide to your Staunton summer soundtrack!

Happy Birthday America Virtual

It’s still too soon to hold Staunton’s traditional Happy Birthday America Celebration with Wilson Fairchild. However, you can join in the fun with the virtual version by tuning into the Happy Birthday America YouTube channel. The virtual celebration will “feature guests, pictures and memories looking back through the years.” Musical guests will include Rhonda Vincent, The Malpass Brothers, Jimmy Fortune, Tony Jackson, and Mark Wills & Ruth Graham. Tune in online at 7:15 p.m. on Sunday, July 4.

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 through August 6. Concerts range from chamber music, Fourth of July music, and multi-genre selections. See world-renowned celebrity guests in the Celebrity Series and Sunday Matinee Series. Heifetz students perform in the Stars of Tomorrow Series as well as the intimate Fridays in the Gallery series, which is set in a quiet gallery surrounded by Shenandoah Valley art. Anything goes in the Heifetz Hootenanny Series, which will occur in the Blackburn Inn’s new Great Hall.

Red Wing Roots Music Festival

Have you bought your tickets for the annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival yet? If not, you’d better hurry. The festival is coming up on July 9-11, and features some of the biggest names in folk music. Listen to The Steel Wheels, Tim Mavericks, Sarah Jarosz, Hiss Golden Messenger, Ragged Mtn String Band, and over 40 more as they play five stages. The festival will be staged at Natural Chimneys Park against the stunning 120-foot limestone towers. Besides the music, festival attendees can expect a beer garden, food and craft vendors, and lots of fun outdoor activities. Join bike rides, yoga, and lawn games for adults and kids alike.

Summer Stage at the Blackburn Inn

Spread out your blanket and get ready for a great night under the stars at the Blackburn Inn’s Friday night SummerStage concert series. The concerts will extend through Labor Day and they will showcase talent like The Quebe Sisters, David Wax Museum, Bonnie Bishop, Hackensaw Boys, Bryan Elijah Smith, and more playing in a wide range of genres. Along with the music, you can enjoy beverages from local vineyards, breweries, and cideries. There will also be food from the 2nd Draft Bistro. The grounds open at 6 p.m. and the music starts at 7 p.m.

Staunton Music Festival

You’ll experience classical music spanning over 600 years at The Staunton Music Festival (August 13-15 and August 18-22). Dozens of musicians will perform in both large and small ensembles. Performances will take place in in downtown Staunton in historic Trinity Episcopal Church, Blackfriars Playhouse, and First Presbyterian Church. Festival highlights include “Time Lost and Found,” which examines the philosophical issues of time in music, “Music Transatlantica,” and “Masters and Students.” While some events are ticketed, many are free.

Redbeard’s Summer Concert Series

Want to sip some delicious craft beer while you listen to music? From now until October, find a seat at Redbeard Brewing Company on the last Saturday night of each month for their Live Summer Concert Series. Favorite groups like The Judy Chops, Six Shot Rebellion, The Findells, and Drägön Wägön will headline. 6-9 p.m.

Stonewall Brigade Band at the Gypsy Hill Bandstand 

Staunton’s historic 70-member Stonewall Brigade Band is bringing big sounds to your Monday nights from now through August 30. 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 begin at 8 p.m. See the full schedule here.

Tuesday Nights: Praise in the Park in Gypsy Hill 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 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, Sierra Losh & Just Us Country Band, Ed Pettersen & Streets of Gold Quartet, Brian Buchanan & Heaven’s Mountain Band, and Covenant Band. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. See the full schedule here.

Bluegrass in Gypsy Hill Park

Local and regional bluegrass entertainers will visit Staunton on Wednesday nights between July 7 and August 25. Most concerts include sets by two different groups. Get ready for some energetic tunes and banjo picking from  Mark Templeton Band, Southern Rail Express, Page County Ramblers, Donnie Mason and In the Tradition, and more. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. See 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. Quartet, amazing stride/boogie pianist William Hayes performing with The Boogie Kings, and trumpeter John D’earth, who has collaborated with greats such as Tito Puente, Dave Matthews, and Miles Davis. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. See the full lineup here.

Nearby Music

You might also check out Waynesboro Parks and Rec’s Groovin’ at the Greenway and Wayne on Main events, which allow visitors to get comfy outdoors while listening to live music.

 

Top Things to Do in Staunton This Summer

After a year spent hiding in our homes it’s time to get outside and LIVE again. From live music to alfresco dining, here’s our roundup of fun things to do in Staunton this summer.

Shop & Dine Out Downtown

Celebrate summer by heading downtown to the Beverley Street area to dine alfresco during Shop and Dine Out in Downtown. Staunton closes Beverley Street from 4 p.m. Friday afternoon to 7:30 a.m. Monday morning so that restaurants and businesses can use space on the sidewalks and in the roadway for dining areas and merchandise displays. Customers can spread out and stay safe. Restaurants participating in Shop and Dine Out Downtown include: Laughing Bird Pho, Shenandoah Pizza & Tap House, Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company, Baja Bean Co., BLU Point Seafood Co., and more.

American Shakespeare Center at MBU’s Rose Terrace

Check out a performance by the American Shakespeare Center.  See the schedule for dates and showtimes of Macbeth, Henry V, and All’s Well That Ends Well. Some shows will be happening on-site at the Blackfriars Theatre, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s performance space. For a special summer treat, watch the Bard’s work under the stars on Mary Baldwin University’s Rose Terrace. Historic Rose Terrace has the distinction of once being the most expensive house in Staunton, and it appears on the National Registry of Historic Places. Its beautiful flat lawn makes a lovely, sheltered performance space.

SummerStage at The Blackburn Inn

How about kicking back on the lawn of the historic Blackburn Inn for a concert under the stars this summer? You’ll enjoy the sounds of Americana, roots, country, folk, and bluegrass bands during the weekly SummerStage series of concerts. The concerts will take place each Friday night from Memorial Day through Labor Day. You’ll be able to dine on a gourmet picnic box and enjoy beverages from local breweries, cideries, and vineyards. The series will feature artists like Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass, Fireside Collective, David Wax Museum, Bonnie Bishop, and more. Get your tickets today!

Get Your New Beerwerks T-shirt

Have you signed up for the Beerwerks Passport yet? As if you needed more incentive to try the 18 breweries along the Beerwerks Trail. Not only can you enjoy tasty craft beers, Valley views, and brewery entertainment like live music and trivia, but once you get your passport stamped at eight breweries, you can send it in for a free t-shirt. That’s high summer fashion! Start with Redbeard Brewing Company, Queen City Brewing, and Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co. right here in Staunton. Next, venture out of town to Skipping Rock Beer Company, Seven Arrows Brewing Co., and Stable Craft Brewing.

Nearby Swimming Holes 

Escape your stale house and take a break from the kiddie pool this summer! The Staunton area has several swimming lakes like Sherando and Todd Lakes with hiking trails, picnic areas, and sandy beaches.  Water seekers will also like hiking to waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park or the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. St. Mary’s Falls is a four-mile out-and-back hike that pays off with an icy mountain pool and scenic waterfall. For more splashy ways to beat the heat, check out our post on area swimming holes

Frontier Culture Museum’s summer events – Juneteenth, 4th of July, Roots Music

Make sure you visit the Frontier Culture Museum this summer for a living history lesson on the earliest settlers in our area. You’ll get to see how various groups lived, worked, and passed the time. Exhibits include Native American, African, German, Irish, English, and American farms. The museum is hosting a free Juneteenth Celebration (June 19). This year’s theme is “The Continual Evolution of JUNETEENTH” and it will feature live music and event speakers. Later, the museum teaches visitors how our ancestors celebrated 4th of July with demonstrations, games, and more. Come to the museum in August for a series of live Roots Music concerts. You’ll enjoy the music of Karen Jonas, Haze & Dacey, Wound Tight Bluegrass, Troy Breslow, and Southern Hospitality.

Staunton Parks – Gypsy Hill & Montgomery Hall

There’s lots to do at Staunton’s public parks. Jump in the pool or take your dog to the Bark Park in Gypsy Hill Park. Let your kids feed the ducks, play on the playgrounds, or ride their bikes around the 1.3-mile loop. Set up your blanket for live music Monday – Thursday nights at the bandstand. Montgomery Hall Park also offers a pool as well as playing fields and playgrounds. Of special note is the Nature Ridge natural playground, where kids are encouraged to explore and interact with nature. Bird lovers and mountain bikers will love the miles of trails winding through the woods.

Music Festivals – Red Wing Roots Festival, Heifetz, Staunton Music Festival

There’s no shortage of live music this summer, and that’s wonderful news after last summer’s silence. 

  • Add live music to your summer schedule with The Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts. The festival, made up of 50+ concerts, includes performances by Heifetz students, alumni artists, celebrity faculty members, and special guests hailing from around the world. The music will range from chamber music, to Fourth of July music, to the multi-genre Heifetz Hootenannies. It all starts on June 29 and extends through August 6. 

  • The annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival (July 9 -11) is your chance to groove to wonderful music under the towering limestone Natural Chimneys. Listen to The Steel Wheels, Tim O’Brien Band, Son Little, Ragged Mtn String Band, and many more. Camp in the Natural Chimney’s campground and enjoy outdoor activities like daily group bike rides, hikes, morning yoga, fun runs, and activities for kids. Your entire family will have fun at this festival, whether you come for the day or the whole weekend.

  • The Staunton Music Festival (August 13-15 and August 18-22) is an “immersive classical music experience featuring more than 600 years of music” from the middle ages to world premieres. Dozens of musicians will perform during the festival in both large and small ensembles in a variety of locations throughout historic downtown Staunton. While some events are ticketed, many are free.

Music & Miniatures of Note in the Valley Exhibit at the R.R. Smith Center for History & Art

“Music & Miniatures of Note in the Valley” is a fun exhibit at the R.R. Smith Center for History & Art featuring the whimsical pairing of the region’s musical story with miniature scenes from the Valley’s past. The exhibit runs April 23 – September 6.

Augusta County Historical Society History Gallery in the R.R. Smith Center for History & Art
20 S. New St., downtown Staunton
Free & open to the public
Exhibit hours: W-F 1-4 p.m., Saturday 10-4

Watch for special events associated with this exhibit throughout the summer.

Pick Your Own Fruit & Produce 

Imagine a summer day in the fresh air soaking in the scenery and picking the freshest fruit and produce around. The entire family can enjoy this wholesome pastime away from the crowds. Consider Critzer Family Farm, which provides strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, peaches, plums, pumpkins, and fresh veggies, the “freshest, best-tasting and healthiest produce that you can find.”  The farm boasts environmentally-friendly methods and a commitment to educating kids and bettering the land and community. Enjoy your bounty in baked goods, canned for later, or by the handful on the car ride home.  Click here for our guide to more local pick-your-own fruit and produce farms.

 

Celebrate Juneteenth Staunton Style

Are you ready to embrace the warm weather and the loosening of Covid restrictions? Are you ready to celebrate community and learn about cultural heritage? Are you ready to dance? Read on for some local ways to enjoy  Juneteenth, the holiday to celebrate the end of slavery.

Juneteenth Celebration at Sunspots Pavilion

Get the Juneteenth party started early on Friday, June 18th at the Juneteenth Celebration at Sunspots Pavilion in the historic Wharf. The free event is from 6 – 10 p.m. and features a variety of vendors as well as music by Steve The Painter & DJ Adonis. Expect to hear old-school classic club hits from the 70s, 80s, and 90s as well as some sounds from South Africa. All that dancing will make you hungry, so grab a bite from one of the onsite food trucks, Wharf restaurants, or stroll over to Beverley Street to take advantage of dining opportunities. Beverley Street is closed to vehicular traffic on the weekends. 

5th Annual Juneteenth at the Frontier Culture Museum

In the past, the annual Shenandoah Valley Juneteenth Celebration was held at Montgomery Hall Park. This year, however, the Frontier Culture Museum is hosting the free family-friendly event on June 19, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year’s theme is “The Continual Evolution of JUNETEENTH” and it will feature live music and event speakers. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and plan to hang out. If you’re feeling competitive, join the 3-point shooting competition or the cornhole tournament. Food, jewelry, craft, and other vendors will be on site.

Visitors should also explore the rest of the 200-acre living history museum and learn about the early inhabitants of our area from costumed interpreters.  Of special interest will be the museum’s West African farm exhibit, which “explores the cultural contributions of African captives who were brought to Virginia in the 1700s.” Though enslaved peoples were captured from all over Africa and represented many ethnic groups, many were Igbo from the West African Coast. The clay farm exhibit demonstrates how the Igbo cooked, farmed, created crafts and pottery before enslavement.

Juneteenth After Party at the Pompei Lounge

DJ Adonis is back, this time at the Pompei Lounge at 23 E. Beverley Street on Saturday, June 19th, 10 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. This Juneteenth After Party is sure to get you dancing. The Pompei offers plenty of room to spread out over two floors with several unique spaces, a balcony, and an open-air terrace.

If you’d like to discover resources for gaining a broader understanding of our city’s African-American history, culture, and contributions, check out our post on African American History in Staunton.

Best of Virginia 2022

Every January, Virginia Living Magazine asks its readers to name their favorite businesses and attractions in a write-in poll. The magazine features them in its Best of Virginia issue, which is designed to guide readers to all the best places in five different Virginia regions. Locals and visitors voted for favorites, and Staunton really shines as a place to visit and do business. Read on to find out who our local favorites are award winners in various categories. If you haven’t yet visited, what are you waiting for?

Shopping 

Staunton’s historic downtown, a winner in the category of Historic Site, is walkable and low-key. It offers plenty of parking and an opportunity to shop for a variety of unique items.

Book Store – 3rd Place: The Book Dragon Shop
Fine Jewelry Store – 3rd Place: H.L. Lang & Co
Florist – 2nd Place: Honey Bee’s Florist
Men’s Clothing – 1st Place: CFO Trading Company
Historic Site – 1st Place: Downtown Staunton

Entertainment & Events

Staunton’s American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse received recognition as a Performing Arts Company as well as a historic theater. This recreation of Shakespeare’s theater offers year-round performances, behind-the-scenes tours, and scholarly talks. You should also try to catch a play at ShenanArts, where since 1981, locals have pooled their substantial talents.

Entertainment for Adults – 3rd Place: Visulite Theater
Historic Theater – 1st Place: American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse
Museum – 1st Place: Frontier Culture Museum
Performing Arts Company – 1st Place: American Shakespeare Center; 2nd Place: ShenanArts

Best Food & Drink

Though a small city, Staunton has much to offer the culinary scene. A full 15 of our restaurants earned recognition in categories ranging from Steakhouse (Mill Street Grill and The Depot Grille) to Mexican Restaurant (Chicano Boy Taco) to Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurant (Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery). Shenandoah Pizza, and Cocoa Mill Chocolate were feted for what they do best. We stood out for wine at Yelping Dog Wine and cocktails at Zynodoa. And of course, if you come to Staunton, you can’t skip dessert at The Split Banana or Kline’s Dairy Bar. Other winners included Byers Street Bistro, Kathy’s Restaurant, and Wright’s Dairy-Rite.

Breakfast/Brunch Restaurant – 2nd Place: Kathy’s Restaurant
Burger Joint – 2nd Place: Wright’s Dairy-Rite
Fine Dining – 2nd Place: Zynodoa
Food Truck – 3rd Place: Gloria’s Pupuseria
Ice Cream Shop
– 2nd Place: Kline’s Dairy Bar; 3rd Place: The Split Banana
Indian Restaurant – 1st Place: Taste of India
Mexican Restaurant
– 2nd Place: Chicano Boy Taco
Outdoor Dining – 2nd Place: Byers Street Bistro
Pizzeria – 3rd Place: Shenandoah Pizza
Seafood Restaurant – 1st Place: Blu Point Seafood Co.; 3rd Place: Mill Street Grill
Steakhouse – 1st Place: Mill Street Grill; 3rd Place: The Depot Grille
Restaurant for Vegans or Vegetarians/GF – 3rd Place: Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery
Bakery – 3rd Place: Reunion Bakery
Chocolatier – 1st Place: Cocoa Mill Chocolate
Farmers’ Market – 2nd Place: Staunton Farmers’ Market
Wine Shop – 1st Place: Yelping Dog Wine
Cocktails – 2nd Place: Zynodoa
Winery – 3rd Place: Barren Ridge Vineyards

Outdoor Spaces

The Shenandoah Valley is practically overrun with beautiful views, and according to voters, none are better than the sweeping vistas of the Valley when viewed from nearby sections of the Appalachian Trail and the Skyline Drive.

Hiking or Biking – 1st Place: Appalachian Trail
Park – 1st Place: Skyline Drive

Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you to everyone who voted. Get out there and support Staunton’s favorite businesses and attractions.

Shop & Dine Out in Downtown and Beyond!

Shop & Dine Out in Downtown

Shop and Dine Out in Downtown will resume on weekends beginning Friday, April 1, 2022 to provide additional opportunities to welcome residents and visitors for shopping and outdoor dining on weekends and will continue through October 30, 2022. Beverley Street will close on Friday evenings at 4 p.m. and will remain closed until Monday mornings at 7:30 a.m. each weekend. Cross streets will remain open.

This initiative allows restaurants on Beverley Street—that don’t have outdoor space—to spill out onto the sidewalk and even the street! Restaurants, tasting rooms, and retailers are maximizing the extra square footage to safely accommodate customers that are eager to get out and shop, dine, and explore in Staunton.

A map of the area with parking, pedestrian walkways, and restaurant take-out/pick-up spots clearly delineated is available here.

Beverley Street historic district

Dine Out in Downtown Participants:
Baja Bean Co. 

BLU Point Seafood Co.
Clocktower Eats & Sweets
The Green Room
Remedy Burger
Shenandoah Pizza & Taphouse
Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co.
The Split Banana
Vic’s Eats

Yelping Dog Wine
Zynodoa

Additional establishments in the Beverley Street Historic District:
Aioli
Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery
Firkin Pie Company
The Pampered Palate
Reunion Espresso & Bakery
The Shack
The Staunton Grocery

Beyond Beverley Street

Our foodie footprint extends way beyond our charming main street. Staunton is a melting pot of flavor with a wide range of cafes, bakeries, coffee shops, ice cream parlors, and more! Check out Staunton’s other historic and business districts that are taking dining to a whole new level. These businesses are open for takeout, delivery, and inside and/or outside dining. Please call ahead before visiting to verify hours of operation.

Central Avenue:

Chicano Boy Taco
D & L Donuts
Gloria’s Pupuseria
Gonzo’s Pollo
Jade China House Restaurant
Nu-Beginning Farm 

Greenville Avenue/Statler Boulevard:

El Puerto
Great Wall

Kathy’s Restaurant
Kline’s Dairy Bar
Maria’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant
Thai Staunton Restaurant
Second Draft Bistro at The Blackburn Inn
Wright’s Dairy-Rite

Wharf Area Historic District:

Byers Street Bistro
Ox-Eye Vineyards
The Depot Grille
Taste of India
Mill Street Grill

Newtown Historic district:

Crucible Coffee Roasters
Paris Cake Company
Table 44
Ubon Thai Victorian Restaurant Inn

The West End:

Giancarlo Fine European Pastries
Stella Mia Pizzeria
Los Marquez
Mi Rancho
Mike and Maria’s Italian Restaurant
Valley Smokehouse

Other Favorites:

Masaki Japanese Restaurant
The Queen Bean
Seed to Tail Kitchen & Market
Staunton Flying Pizza

Call ahead to make sure the restaurant your visiting is open. Please refer to our map for all restaurants along with contact information. 

Virtual Staunton Visits

Looking for some much-needed entertainment while we are all sheltering-in-place, but tired of Netflix, TikTok, and YouTube?  Staunton has lots of options for virtual entertainment and education to keep you busy from the comfort of your own home this spring.

Bring American Shakespeare Center home with BlkFrsTV

“Thrilling…These webcasts effortlessly convey the joyous experience of watching Shakespeare performed in Blackfriars Playhouse..let ASC take your mind off your troubles as you commune at home with theater’s supreme genius,” — Terry Teachout for The Wall Street Journal 

Streaming Shows

Since audiences can’t come to the Blackfriars, ASC is bringing the Playhouse to you. Pull up a chair to the virtual hearth for cinema-quality streaming video of their complete 2020 Actors’ Renaissance and Tour Homecoming seasons. These high-quality performances are available until May 3, 2020 and each performance is just $10 per household. Can’t commit? Don’t worry, you have a week to watch the performance. Have more questions? Visit their FAQ page to find out about BLKFRS TV. 

Masterclasses and SHXCADEMY 

ASC announced two new opportunities to connect and learn something new direct from the stage and shops of the Blackfriars Playhouse and delivered straight to your home.  ASC/Masterclass series is a series of eight unique courses taught over 6-weeks by ASC artists and designed for everyone.  No experience is required to enroll and the best part is you can do it in the comfort of your own homewhere no one is watching. So you can let your hair down and immerse yourself in the experience as you connect with ASC’s artists in an intimate setting. Pick your area of interest which run the gamut from stage fighting, song writing, character building, cooking, movement and much more. Join ASC actors every week for an hour long class and dive into the creative process.  

The SHXCADEMY introduces participants to the practices of the rehearsal room through a series of four workshops, hosted live from the Blackfriars Playhouse, plus a digital ticket to the relevant BlkFrsTV streaming production you are studying. Working with ASC’s Education Team and ASC artists you’ll break down Shakespeare’s text into pieces, connecting character, story, and compelling moments. These workshops are perfect for families or individuals. Learn more about the workshops and to see the complete schedule. 

FREE ONLINE TOURS at Woodrow Wilson Presidential LIBRARY

Maybe a virtual tour of our 28th President’s home or an educational discussion with the museum curator is more up your alley? Check out the FREE online tours and programs offered at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum. Every Monday and Wednesday take a virtual tour of Wilson’s birthplace home. On Tuesday afternoons join the Curator Andrew Phillips or Education Director Emily Kilgore in a lively discussion with their “History at Home,” series focusing on a different topic every week. Friday’s topics switch every other week between Enslaved Laborers in the Manse and Wilson and the Pandemic. Enslaved Laborers in the Manse focuses on the enslaved people who lived and labored in the Presbyterian Manse where Woodrow Wilson was born, while Wilson and Pandemic looks at the 1918 pandemic and how it compares to COVID-19 and what we are currently facing today. Take a look at the complete schedule and list of topics. Registration is FREE but is required to participate. 

sip and swirl with Virtual Experiences at Barren Ridge Vineyards 

Barren Ridge is hosting a series of tastings and other experiences on Facebook Live. Their Live at 5 Wine Tastings are every Sunday at 5 PM and come with tasting sheets. Read up on the wine before joining Robert Higgs for a virtual tasting where you will learn wine tasting technique, varietal characteristics, and a bit of local history surrounding the Higgs’ 3rd generation family farm. For a more hands on experience, taste alongside Robert by pre-ordering your wine. Pick-up curbside or get your your wine delivered locally on Thursdays (15-mile radius). 

unwind with classical music 

Subscribe to the Heifetz International Music Institute’s YouTube channel. Their robust channel, with over 30,000 subscribers and millions of views, is your go-to for classical music—although their repertoire goes far beyond Beethoven, Bach, and Brahms. Their videos include performances from past seasons of their Festival of Concerts with tons of playlists to choose from. The Institute also releases a Video of the Week where they highlight a piece of music offering historical context surrounding the music and programmatic notes while highlighting the Heifetz alums, students, and celebrity faculty that take that stage of the Francis Auditorium at Mary Baldwin University. And if that wasn’t enough, the Institute also has their very own Spotify Playlist on their website. Happy listening! 

get up close and personal with wildlife

Get up close and personal with wildlife at the Virginia Wildlife Center. This animal hospital is home to two dozen animal residents like hawks, owls, eagles, opossums and snakes. These permanent residents serve as ambassadors for the center and you can visit them via the center’s critter cam. Channel 1 features the center’s education birds that are non-releasable: Buddy the Bald Eagle, Buttercup the Black Vulture or Athena the Barred Owl. Channels 2 and 3 show the cute and cuddly black bear yearlings and cubs who will be cared for until they are old enough to be released back in the wild. The Center is also offering virtual programs every week on Facebook. Here you can meet their animal ambassadors and learn about the different species. Visitors can also tour their animal enclosures and if you think you’re an animal expert try their Quiz Friday! Facebook live events.

Take a virtual Architecture Walking Tour

Explore Staunton and the city’s historic districts, and other areas of town, on a virtual walking tour via our blog. Every week this new blog series, Staunton on Foot, takes you on a stroll through one of Staunton’s historic districts, six of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Learn about the eclectic mix of architectural styles that range from Greek Revival, Second Empire, Romanesque Revival, Colonial Revival, Neo-classical, Federal, Beaux-Arts and more. Much of the city’s celebrated architecture can be attributed to one man, TJ Collins, a talented architect who practiced in Staunton from 1891 to 1911. He designed or remodeled nearly 200 buildings in Staunton, many of which still survive today including the courthouse, schools, churches, theaters, commercial buildings and private residences.

So far Staunton on Foot has explored three areas of the city, Beverley StreetThornrose Cemetery, and Newtown. While Thornrose Cemetery isn’t listed on the National Register of Historic Places it is chalk-full of history, character and beauty and definitely worth checking out. Newtown, ironically, is Staunton’s oldest distinctly residential neighborhood and is Staunton’s largest consisting of over 400 buildings.

Whether you’re visiting virtually or literally exploring by foot check out Historic Staunton Foundation’s walking tour map. Physical maps are also available for pick-up at the kiosk outside the Visitor Center at 35 S. New Street.