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Plan Your Next Vacation in Staunton

Did you know that January 25th is National Plan a Vacation Day? And just like us, we bet you REALLY need one! From romantic weekends to family getaways, to weekends with the girls or guys, let us help with some quick recommendations on what to do on a vacation in Staunton!

Romantic Weekend

Share romantic meals, be pampered in luxurious lodgings, sightsee on one of America’s best main streets, and even discover the great outdoors. Here are some of Staunton’s best bets for couples.

Where to Stay

  • The Hotel 24 South and The Blackburn Inn both feature elegant rooms in tastefully updated historic buildings. Check the specials for romantic add-ons like champagne, chocolate, and spa packages.
  • The Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast offers an elaborate breakfast as well as packages for champagne and a trip to the Blackfriar’s Theatre.
  • The Frederick House is a 20 room inn, comprised of 5 historic houses, located in downtown Staunton, Virginia. They offer the privacy of a hotel, with the personal experience of a Bed and Breakfast.

Where to Eat

What to Do

  • The Staunton Farmer’s Market is open from the first Saturday in April until Thanksgiving, and it features fresh produce, baked goods, and live music. 
  • Take a self-guided or seasonal guided walking tour with the Historic Staunton Foundation.
  • Visit the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace to learn about Wilson’s connection to Staunton and much more.
  • Stop to flirt at Ox-Eye Tasting Room or take a scenic drive to Barren Ridge Vineyards to reconnect with your sweetie over some local wine.
  • Shop downtown Staunton’s independent stores and galleries for a range of wares including gourmet chocolate and olive oil, art-glass ornaments, unique gifts and art, and vintage treasure of all kinds.
  • Take in a show at the American Shakespeare Center. The 2022 season includes Romeo and Juliet, The Comedy of Errors, The Tempest, and more.

Family Fun

Looking for a wonderful family trip where fun, history, and the great outdoors are all in big supply? Here’s how to enjoy Staunton’s best with your family.

Where to Stay

  • The Fairfield Inn and Suites is a family-friendly hotel convenient to both downtown Staunton as well as the interstates. The hotel offers a free hot breakfast, free Wi-fi, and an indoor saltwater swimming pool.
  • The Storefront is a two-level downtown lodging with a full kitchen, two queen-sized beds, and a unique bar/lounge area with a television.

Where to Eat

  • Voted one of the best breakfasts in the Valley, Kathy’s Restaurant heaps on the goodness with traditional breakfast fare served all day.
  • Your kids will love the caboose parked outside of The Depot Grille. They’ll also love the American fare served inside for lunch and dinner. The menu includes a section for kids. 
  • Shenandoah Pizza’s gourmet pies celebrate local ingredients and lore. Parents will be pleased with the extensive tap list.
  • The menu at Baja Bean has loads of Tex Mex options including choices for the younger set and an impressive tap list. 
  • Finish your meal with one (or more) of the 18 fresh-made gelato flavors from The Split Banana.

What to Do

  • Pool your wits to solve one of the active puzzles and escape a themed room at Crack the Code Escape Room
  • Step back in time at the Frontier Culture Museum, which invites visitors to explore the lives of the Shenandoah Valleys pioneers from the 1600s through the mid-1800s.
  • Watch as artisans use extreme heat, to blow and shape molten glass into globes and art pieces at Sunspots Studios
  • Family favorites for shopping include treasure hunting at Staunton Antiques Center and hobby shopping at Staunton Trains and Hobbies. Pufferbellies is the largest independently owned toy store in the Valley, which has a hands-on policy and something to fascinate kids and grownups alike.
  • Hit up one of Staunton’s great city parks like Gypsy Hill Park to feed the ducks, hit the skatepark, and play on the playgrounds. Montgomery Hall Park has more playgrounds as well as miles of hiking and biking trails.
  • There’s always something happening at Augusta Expo. Events include the Augusta County Fair, monster truck rallies, Bigfoot conventions, and more. 

Getaway with the Girls

Share the best of Staunton’s trendy restaurants, local wine, and unique shopping with your besties. You’ll make so many new memories that you’ll want to make Staunton an annual destination.

Where to Stay

  • Not only does 4-suite Gibson’s Warehouse have an interesting history as a working railroad warehouse, but it’s also just steps from downtown Staunton dining and entertainment. Renovated efficiency apartments are appointed with full kitchens and living spaces. There’s also a common space in the lobby with seating so guests can mingle and socialize.
  • Staunton Stays is a four-suite boutique hotel in a beautifully renovated Victorian house. Each suite is decorated according to a different theme. All offer full kitchens, modern bathrooms, living quarters, and access to a laundry room.

Where to Eat

  • Try a range of Spanish tapas and other Mediterranean food at Aioli Restaurant.
  • Enjoy wine by the glass or bottle at Yelping Dog Wine. Share a cheese plate or munch on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.  
  • Savor wine, beer, and light fare such as apps and sandwiches at The Green Room.
  • Dine at Table 44 for amazing Southern food with a twist.

What to Do

Guys’ Weekend

Staunton has golf, cigars, the great outdoors, and food and beer.  What else do you need for an awesome guys’ weekend? 

Where to Stay

  • Tru by Hilton has modern amenities, access to both the interstate and downtown, and generous public gathering spaces.
  • Avid Hotel focuses on getting the essentials right at a value price.

Where to Eat

What to Do

5 Ways to Enjoy Your Staunton Staycation

Not ready for far-away travel just yet? You might want to skip that mid-winter trip out of the country. Why not take a Staunton staycation instead? We’ve rounded up five ways to have a blast and make new discoveries right here in Staunton. Here are our tips for seeing our beautiful city through fresh, new eyes.

Fill Your Days With Local Fun

How well do you really know Staunton? Why not find out with one of the unique tours you can take when you download the Traipse app on your phone. Combining trivia with touring, Traipse brings Staunton to life in over 12 themed tours. Level up your history game with a tour of the Frontier Culture Museum or the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library, and the Camera Heritage Museum. Little ones will love the Antique Fire Engine Museum at the fire station, starring the oldest motorized fire engine in Virginia.

Try a New Outdoor Adventure

Venture a little way out of Staunton for some of the best outdoor adventures in the country. Glide downhill at one of the area’s four awesome ski resorts: Wintergreen Resort, Bryce Mountain Resort, Omni Homestead Resort, and Massanutten Resort all offer skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. Bridgewater’s Generations Park has a stellar skating rink. Shenandoah National Park and George Washington and Jefferson National Forest are packed with interesting trails in a range of difficulties, though you should check online before visiting for an area’s opening status. Head underground at Grand Caverns, the country’s oldest show cave. Another way to get underground is by exploring the Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail that follows an old railroad bed under Afton Mountain!

Skip the Souvenir and Invest in Something Unique and Meaningful

Do you sometimes waste money buying silly trinkets when you’re on vacation? Why not take all that money you’ll be saving and put it toward something you’ll really love, something that will bring your room together? Consider heirloom-quality furniture from Concepts Created, which uses reclaimed wood to create custom dining tables, hutches, benches, mantles, and more. Buy some exquisite art glass from Sunspots Studio, or make your walls pop with work from a local artist from the CoArt Gallery. If you like to personalize your space with words, check out the gorgeous custom signs from Blair Made. And if your kids are pining because they didn’t get Mickey Mouse ears, take them to Pufferbellies Toys & Books and let them pick out something they’ll love even more!

Are you one of those people who hangs out behind the camera and only goes on vacation for the photos? Score lots of likes by setting up shots at Staunton’s Best Insta-Worthy Spots, including near the large metal sculptures of flowerpots, books, and eyeglasses created by Ferguson Metal Fabrication. 

Make Take-Out a Fine Dining Experience

If you’re still hoping to wait a bit before hanging out in a crowded restaurant, why not take carry-out to the next level? Iron the fancy tablecloth and use those fancy forks you got for your wedding. Shake things up by ordering something new from your favorite restaurant. Most Staunton restaurants offer takeout, so you could even order different courses from different spots. Start with a bottle of wine from Yelping Dog Wine and a loaf of fresh bread from Newtown Baking. Enjoy entrees from Table 44, Chicano Boy Taco, or the Depot Grille. Still hungry? A decadent pie from Firkin Pie or a sundae from Wright’s will taste just right at the end of your night. 

Did you get some fancy new cookware for Christmas? The Staunton Grocery will help you break it in by supplying all the local and specialty food items you can’t find in the supermarket. Peruse the catalog online for meats, condiments, spices, specialty oils, and more, and whip up a gourmet feast.

Another good way to fill up and stay warm is to gather around the firepits and sip craft beer at Skipping Rock Beer Co. or Stable Craft Brewing.

Your Home Away From Home

Clutter and day-to-day tasks overwhelming you? Leave your baggage (physical and emotional) behind and check into a Staunton lodging property. Not only will you enjoy some focused time with just the essentials, but you’ll also see your city with new eyes. Best of all, someone else will make the bed! Book a room in a luxury historic hotel, a convenient brand hotel, a well-appointed bed and breakfast, or a unique vacation rental. Stop by the front desk or the Visitor Center for some brochures and ideas about where to spend your day. 

Staunton has much to offer both visitors and long-time residents. Get out there and have fun like a tourist!

What To Do In Staunton on a Snowy Day

Has winter weather stuck a wrench in your plans? Kids home from school and already bored? Fortunately, Staunton has plenty of ways to keep busy on snowy days and in freezing temperatures. From skiing to creating a comfortable den to snuggling with a new book, here’s how to make the most of a snow day in Staunton.

Ride Your Sled

You may have noticed that there’s not a lot of flat ground in Staunton. This may be exhausting for walking and biking, but it’s terrific after a good snow. Bundle up and try out some of our slopes. Montgomery Hall Park and Gypsy Hill Park offer lots of hills, places to park, and even winter bathrooms. Residents also gather to sled on the sweeping hill on the Mary Baldwin campus.

Walk the Winter Wonderland

Staunton is beautiful all year long, but nothing rivals the long winter views of distant mountains when the leaves are off the trees. For some incredible winter views and a chance to reach your daily step goals, try some in-town hikes. The city plows the 1.3-mile loop road at Gypsy Hill Park, making it a prime spot to walk or jog when the sidewalks might still be snowy. Quiet Bell’s Lane is a local birding hotspot that winds through farmland just north of Staunton. If you’re willing to get your boots snowy, Betsy Bell Wilderness offers winter solitude and views of Staunton from above from two from overlooks. Finally, the miles of hiking/biking trails through Montgomery Hall Park and the climb from the Wharf to Woodrow Park boast chances to see nature’s best winter show.

Ski, Snowboard,Tube, or Skate

Hoping to secure a spot at the Winter Olympics? Staunton is located just a short drive away from four awesome ski resorts where you can master the moguls and enjoy apres-ski amenities in style! Wintergreen Resort, Bryce Mountain Resort, Omni Homestead Resort, and Massanutten Resort all offer snow tubing. Along with 12 tubing lanes and a 120-foot drop, there’s a 5,000 square-foot skating rink at Massanutten. See Downhill Fun for more information. You can also lace up your skates at the outdoor rink in Bridgewater’s Generations Park. The rink is open through the beginning of March. Reserve time slots online.

Outfit Yourself for Winter

Shop for outdoor gear suited for wintry weather at Stan’s Ski and Snowboard. You’ll also find a wide selection of seasonal gear at Wilderness Adventure. Runners can bundle up for the winter at Sole Focus Running Shop, and Black Dog Bikes can help you ready your wheels and gears for your next big adventure.

Sip Something Tasty

You’ll be FREEZING after all that time in the snow, so warm your body with some hot cocoa and lunch from Cranberry’s Eatery & Grocery. You won’t be able to resist the Italian dark chocolate cocoa at Split Banana, which is topped with decadent whipped cream and shaved chocolate. Caffeine lovers will want to taste the fresh-roasted flavor of the coffee at Crucible Coffee Roasters, and if you like to warm up with craft beer, Redbeard Brewing Company has your new favorite brew on tap. If you want something really special, try this tasty number from Zynodoa. It incorporates Callebaut chocolate, peanut miso caramel, house-made marshmallows, Elijah Craig bourbon, and Amontillado sherry!

Cuddle up with a Book

Find your next great read on the shelves at The Book Dragon. You’ll find new books for adults and children as well as a selection of used titles. Pufferbellies also sells popular books for kids and they can help you find what’s right for your young reader. Set the mood for relaxation with a candle in your favorite scent from Essentially Zen Artisan Body & Bath Co.

Roll the Dice

Is the entire family home together on this snowy day? Stave off cabin fever with a new board game. Try Pufferbellies Toys and Books for a curated selection of games and puzzles. You’ll find something for all ages and plenty of enthusiastic advice from staff. If you’re into strategy games, war games, and more, The Dragon’s Hoard has a big selection of games, gaming and hobby supplies, dice, and miniatures. 


Exercise your brain and your Scooby skills at Crack the Code Escape Room. Visitors can tackle both live and take-home escape challenges, some of which are Staunton-themed. Dust off your bowling bag: you’ll score big on indoor family fun with a few rounds of bowling (and trips to the snack bar) at Staunton Lanes.

Culture Yourself

Check to make sure it’s open, but a museum can be the perfect way to spend a snowy or wet afternoon. The Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library is a good destination to learn about history and tour the 19th-century manse. Plus, you can even visit virtually! Explore the rotating art and history exhibits at Staunton Augusta Arts Center in the historic R.R. Smith Center for History and Art. The Beverley Street Studio School Gallery and Co-ART Gallery host multiple exhibits of fine local art each year. 

10 Things We Are Thankful For In Staunton This Year

Thanksgiving is almost here. Take some time between raking leaves, planning side dishes, and agonizing over table settings to reflect on the many things we’re thankful for in Staunton.

Our Great Outdoors

Staunton’s location in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley provides incredible views of mountains on both sides. Were just a few minutes from Shenandoah National Park with its many trails and Skyline Drive. We’re also right in the middle of George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, a wonderful place to hike, bike, paddle, and explore. Even downtown Staunton offers a robust park system featuring trails, views, pools, wilderness areas, playgrounds, ballfields, and a dog park.

Independent Small Businesses

Staunton boasts a diverse mix of indie shops. Our small business owners are following their passions, and creating one of the best independent shopping districts in the state. Hurrah for Staunton Olive Oil Company, Essentially Zen Artisan Bath and Body Shop, Latitudes, Made; By the People, For the People, Medieval Fantasies Company, Refill Renew, Pufferbellies Toys and Books, and more

Foodie Scene

For a small town, Staunton has a lot of good food and this list only scratches the surface. Enjoy fresh coffee and out-of-this-world pastries at Reunion Bakery & Espresso, Crucible Coffee Roasters, or Newtown Baking. Sit down to a tasty lunch emphasizing local ingredients at Serendipity Java Bar and Eatery, Table 44, the Pampered Palate, or Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery. Savor a dinner at Chicano Boy Taco, Zynodoa, the Mill Street Grill, or Aioli. Make sure to leave room for something sweet from The Split Banana, the Clocktower Eats and Sweets, or Wright’s Dairy Rite

Craft Beer, Wine, and Cider

Virginia is making quite a name for itself in the craft beer and wine scene, and our local area is no exception. In fact, Staunton was just named one of the “20 Best Beer Towns in the United States.” Hop on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail to sip at 19 breweries, all within an hour’s drive. Queen City Brewing, Redbeard Brewing Company, and Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co. are all within city limits. Baja Bean Co. sells a wide selection of craft beers by the bottle or on tap. Wine lovers can taste the local varietals and more at Ox-Eye Vineyards Tasting Room, Yelping Dog Wine, the Green Room, or the new Seed to Tail Kitchen & Market. Barren Ridge Vineyards is just a short drive away. If you prefer cider, grab a seat and a flight at Staunton’s new cidery, Ciders from Mars.

Artists, Artisans, and the Performing Arts

There are many ways to explore Staunton’s flourishing arts community. Walk around and visit Staunton’s collection of murals and public art. Drop in at a gallery. Take a class at Beverley Street Studio School. Visit Sunspots Studios, where you can watch glass art being created in front of your eyes. Catch a virtual performance by The American Shakespeare Center or a live show at ShenanArts where local performers put on high-energy performances. Got dramatic kids? Sign them up for a theater class with Silver Line Theatre Exchange.

Live Music 

From the world-renowned performers who perform at the Heifetz International Music Institute, to the wonderful local musicians enlivening the scene at our favorite breweries and restaurants, Staunton is home to the very best in music–making. We’ve got live, free music almost every night of the week at Gypsy Hill Park during the summer. We have music festivals that entertain all year long. These include Red Wing Roots Music Festival, the classical Staunton Music Festival, as well as rock, blues, jazz, and folk festivals.

Local Farmers and Producers

We are fortunate to be able to enjoy some of the freshest, most delicious locally grown food available anywhere in the USA.  We have a seasonal farmer’s market (and new winter market,) farm-fresh roadside stands, and pick-your-own farms.  We’re the envy of many communities in the “buy fresh, buy local” movement. Plus, many of our restaurants prioritize using this seasonal and healthy food in their recipes.

Museums and Historic Sites

Staunton’s in touch with its history. Take a walking tour and admire downtown’s amazing Victorian architecture. See the past come to life at the Frontier Culture Museum and Woodrow Wilson’s Birthplace Museum. Check out the Camera Heritage Museum, explore Thornrose Cemetery, or even book a private ghost tour

Our Fun Community

Though Covid has put a damper on a some of the live community events, we hope to soon be able to take advantage of all our favorites. We’re thankful for the Staunton Christmas Parade, Caroling in the Park, Happy Birthday America Celebration, Celebration of Holiday Lights in the Park, Queen City Mischief and Magic, Art in the Park, Concerts at Trinity Church and many more.

The People

We are thankful for YOU!  You, as a visitor or local, all come together to make Staunton exactly what it is!  It wouldn’t be the same without you. We’re also thankful for our teachers, our police officers, and our Public Works department. We’re thankful for the servers and bartenders in the cafes who know our faces and orders by heart, the doctors who keep us healthy, and many more. We are grateful for all of the incredible people who live and work in Staunton that contribute every day to help make our small city so amazing. 

We hope you’ll enjoy and share this list.  But most of all – we hope you’ll add to this list with all the things you are grateful for in Staunton. Happy Thanksgiving!

Staunton Fall Flavors: Alternatives to Pumpkin Spice

It’s the time of year when all things pumpkin spice begin to tempt you with their warm, spicy, homey goodness. But did you know there are other flavors that also compliment football, leaf raking, and your favorite sweater? It’s time to put down the pumpkin spice latte and try some alternative fall flavors. 

Meals

Firkin Pie Company

Firkin Pie Company creates amazing sweet and savory pies with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Pie is served by the slice and in 5” or 9” whole pies. How about a cardamom-scented carrot pudding hand pie or a slice of pecan cheesecake pie? Or both! 

The Shack

Make reservations to share a special night over Chef Boden’s multi-course seasonal tasting menu at The Shack. The options change each week, but autumn ingredients might include butter beans, chanterelles, apple, rutabaga, pumpkin, chestnut, sauerkraut, duck, eggplant, oysters, and more, all paired with suggested wines.

The Depot Grille

The menu at The Depot Grille offers lots of tasty options, but we like Chessie’s Veggie Pasta, a vegetarian entree that packs some serious seasonal flavors. You’ll taste portobello mushrooms, sweet corn, tomatoes, broccoli, capers, and garlic.

Réunion Bakery & Espresso

Hosting a brunch? A quiche from Réunion Bakery & Espresso will demand the spotlight. Choose from the meat quiche made with bacon, caramelized onion, fontina, and dill or the veggie quiche, which features butternut squash, goat cheese, sage, and French parsley.

Desserts

Table 44 & Paris Cake Company

After your meal at Table 44, order the decadent Paris Cake Company apple lattice pie with house made vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce. Rather have your fall flavor in a glass? Try the honey old-fashioned, made with Old Overholt rye whiskey, honey syrup, Pechauds Bitters, and an icy orange twist.

Newtown Baking

Newtown Baking is known for their flaky French pastry, fragrant coffee, artisanal breads, and wood-fired pizzas. However, we’d be remiss to ignore their desserts like apple tart and this smooth, creamy chocolate panna cotta. 

Split Banana

The award-winning Split Banana serves 24 fresh-made rotating flavors of gelato each day. This dense, creamy treat is made from local grass-fed milk and packed with intense flavors. Strolling downtown to shop and leaf peep? Why not stop and try cinnamon, cocoa ancho, pumpkin pie, or espresso biscotti? If you’re chilly, you can’t go wrong with a steaming mug of “Super Incredible Hot Chocolate.”

Magdalena Bake

Try a new treat with Magdalena Bake’s traditional Argentinian torta rogel: thin layers of pastry are held together with dulce de leche and topped with meringue. The bakery also makes cinnamon rolls, cannoli, empanadas, and more. The fresh treats are beautiful and taste great, and the new storefront is an easy walk from downtown.  

Klines Ice Cream

Kline’s Dairy Bar serves up a mean pumpkin-flavored cone, but if you’re looking for an alternative, order a big bowl of German chocolate cake ice cream. Ice cream flavors change weekly, so check the website before you go. Think you’ll be hungry again later? Take home a quart for later along with some of the sweet or Carolina BBQ Kline’s is famous for.

Drinks

Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery

Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery has a big selection of food and drinks made with natural ingredients. For a toasty pick-you-up on a fall day, try a turtle mocha flavored with caramel, hazelnut, and chocolate, or a mug of spiced apple cider. Alternatively, you could just drink the latte.

Redbeard Brewing Company

Redbeard Brewing Company creates “small batches of big beers” in its location in Staunton’s historic wharf district. One of their autumnal classics is their Sweet Potato Pie Porter, which is “brewed w/ the filling from close to 40 sweet potato pies per batch.” If this sweet and yammy dark brown porter reminds you too much of pumpkin pie, try the German-style amber lager, Augusta Amber.

And More

Farmers’ Market

A Saturday morning stroll through the Staunton Farmers’ Market is a perfect way to get inspired to create a fall flavor of your own. Listen to live music, breathe the fresh air and check out the seasonal produce. Grab an apple cider donut from Blue Ridge Cider Doughnuts, or take those apples home and bake something amazing!  The Staunton Farmers’ Market runs through the Saturday before Thanksgiving. 

Staunton Olive Oil Company

Staunton Olive Oil Company sells ultra-premium extra virgin olive oils, infused and fused olive oils, and balsamic vinegars. If you’re not sure what any of that means, you’re in luck because you can taste and sample your way around the store to find something that perfectly suits your palate. For fall, we’d start with wild mushroom and sage infused olive oil, but with so many to choose from, why take our word for it?

Essentially Zen

You won’t be able to eat any of the soaps or candles you buy at Essentially Zen, but you’ll be tempted because they smell so good. Heat up your home with seasonal candle scents like “sweater weather,” “warm + cozy,” or “farmhouse.” You might even get a jump start on your holiday shopping by putting together a gift basket or subscription service for someone special.

Crown Jewelers

Instead of pumpkin spice, how about some pumpkin ice?  Crown Jewelers has some beautiful, brilliant yellow/orange diamonds for the special someone in your life.  Wear the golden fall sunshine on your finger all year long. 

“Shop and Dine Out Downtown” Winds Down For the Season

We’ve become accustomed to the bustling atmosphere and walkable streetscape of Beverley Street each weekend. Born of pandemic necessity, but adopted because of its popularity, the Shop and Dine Out Downtown program has allowed restaurants and businesses to take advantage of Beverley Street when it closes for vehicular traffic each Friday afternoon to Monday morning. Tables, chairs, and tents fill the street, and those outdoor dining spaces are filled, in turn, with groups chatting, laughing, and loving the al fresco dining experience. But the cooler weather approaching means that you only have a few more weeks to take advantage of this Staunton experience before the restaurants return to indoor operations for the winter. Make plans to head downtown this weekend or next!

Retailers on Beverley Street

Beverley Street retailers are open during their regular hours, but some additionally offer an outdoor display of their products. Shop Beverley Street for art, fashion and jewelry, antiques and vintage, gifts, books, cigars, hobby supplies, gourmet olive oils and vinegar, chocolate, hemp and CBD supplies, and more!

Quick Bites on Beverley Street 

Grab breakfast or lunch at The Pampered Palate before a big day of exploring Staunton. Try the quiche breakfast platter or the buttered, seasoned, and topped pampered potato.

Check out Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co. for 18 craft beers on tap, including pumpkin ale, butterscotch ale, and New England IPA. Yelping Dog Wine sells delicious wines by the glass as well as a huge selection of local and global wines. Feeling peckish? Order a cheese plate or a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. The Green Room also serves craft beer, wine, and other pre-dinner libations. Don’t skip their fancy tater tots and one of their tasty sandwiches stuffed with ingredients like chorizo, manchego, olive oil, and Spanish pickled peppers.

Family-Friendly

Baja Bean Co. and Shenandoah Pizza & Taphouse both serve a wide selection of craft beers, and the entire family will love the delicious food. Baja specializes in Tex-Mex cuisine like the marinated chicken, spinach, corn salsa, and rice Popeye burrito or the chorizo hash served over potatoes, peppers, and onions and topped with fried eggs and cheese. Shenandoah Pizza serves up big specialty slices and pies named for local landmarks and businesses. The Sherwood Avenue is topped with meatballs, ricotta, and red onion, and the Staunton Steam has a spicy alfredo sauce, grilled chicken, pineapple, and basil.

Dinner Favorites

If you’re celebrating a special occasion, sip a “drunken pumpkin” cocktail as you peruse the menu at BLU Point Seafood Co. You’ll find fresh seafood as well as a raw bar. Entrees include blackened catfish with black-eyed peas and rice and a cajun cream. You might also enjoy shrimp n’ grits prepared with local grits and sausage. BLU Point’s sister restaurant, Zynodoa, specializes in “inspired Southern cuisine” and focuses on local ingredients. You can’t go wrong with the Autumn Olive Farm grilled pork chop served with braised cabbage, Wade’s Mill rye spaetzle, and a sweet and sour glaze.

Family-owned Emilio’s Italian Restaurant has created classic Sicilian meals since 1994. Try the delightful crema di Funghi, a tasty fall soup made with sliced mushrooms and onions in a smooth cream sauce. For more creamy vegetarian joy, follow with butternut squash ravioli, which is flavored with a light sage, lemon and cream butter sauce, and pecorino cheese. While Emilio’s doesn’t have Beverley Street seating, it has private outdoor spaces on the building’s 2nd and 3rd floors. 

Savor Dessert

Clocktower Eats & Sweets serves a big menu of American favorites for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They’ll also tempt you with freshly prepared desserts and a selection of seasonal cocktails like pumpkin pie martinis and apple cider mimosas. Save room for house-made gelato for dessert from The Split Banana. Flavors suiting a fall day include toasted almond, chocolate hazelnut, cocoa ancho, sticky rice, pistachio, and more!

More Restaurants to Love

More restaurants that are steps away from Beverley Street include Aioli, Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery, Firkin Pie Company, Reunion Espresso & Bakery, Crumbl and The Shack

Along Central Avenue, you’ll find Chicano Boy Taco, D & L Donuts, Gloria’s Pupuseria, Gonzo’s Pollo, Jade China House Restaurant, and Nu-Beginning Farm. 

The Wharf Historic District’s restaurants are Byers Street Bistro, Ox-Eye Vineyards, Ciders from Mars, Redbeard Brewing, The Depot Grille, Taste of India, Serendipity Cafe and Mill Street Grill.

Crucible Coffee Roasters, Newtown Baking & Kitchen, Paris Cake Company, Table 44, and Ubon Thai Victorian Restaurant Inn can all be found in the Newtown Historic District.

Staunton’s Fall Roundup

The weather’s cooling, the birds are migrating, and the kids are safely away in school. Football is back on TV, and the leaves are starting to adorn the lawn. But there’s more to fall than raking, cheering, and pumpkin spice latte. Here’s how to make the most of autumn in Staunton.

Fall Color

The leaves haven’t really changed yet, but you can’t beat the Shenandoah Valley for the upcoming fall color. To see the leaves at their brightest, plan to leaf peep at the peak of the season, which should be around October 11 through 25 this year. Check back each week for an update on the season’s progression.

Fall Fashion and Where to Find It 

The seasons are changing and it’s time to warm up your wardrobe, especially if you have a family portrait session in the near future. Here’s where to update your look in Staunton this fall. 

  • Shop Design at Nine for distinctive women’s clothing, including a large selection of seasonal shoes and boots as well as the accessories you need to tie your look together. 
  • LTD 7 and Latitudes Fair Trade Store have unique and trendy clothing, bags, scarves, and jewelry. 

  • If you’re looking for something with a story, check out Nanny June Vintage Clothing for ways to add a retro flair to your modern wardrobe. 
  • Don’t forget The Sparrow’s Nest for artistic jewelry and knitwear. 
  • Men will look sharp after shopping at CFO Trading Company for clothing, outerwear, scarves, hats, and seasonal accessories. 
  • And make sure to outfit yourself for that fall hiking or camping trip at Wilderness Adventure.

Pumpkin, Apple, and Grape Picking

If you’re looking for a family-friendly fall adventure to keep you busy when you’re not at soccer or football games, visit one of our area’s pick-your-own farms and orchards.

  • You’ll find views and crops of Concords and Niagaras at Wenger Grapes
  • Pick some Red Delicious at Sunrise Orchards. They also sell apple butter, pumpkins, and honey. 
  • Decorative gourd lovers can rejoice: the pumpkin patch at Middle River Farms (Grottoes) is open. You’ll find over 30 varieties of pumpkins and gourds. Their wagonload deal is one of the best around! 
  • Another stellar spot for pumpkins is Troyer’s Farm in Stuarts Draft. Explore the fields for mixed varieties of large and small pumpkins and gourds. Finish up with a trip through the 10-acre corn maze. 
  • Finally, enjoy a hayride and pick-your-own pumpkins and gourds at Mount Crawford’s Mulberry Hills Farms

Fall Flavors 

We know you’ve been salivating for weeks for a taste of apples, pumpkins, and anything with a hint of spice and cinnamon. Here’s a sampling of some of Staunton’s best fall flavors.

  • Firkin Pie has the best sweet and savory flavors of the season. Try the pork sausage roll, seasoned with caramelized onions, sage, and thyme that’s served with honey mustard or the beet Reuben hand pie. Save room for the Marlborough apple pie for dessert.
  • The Shack offers an ever-changing and seasonal tasting menu highlighting local ingredients.
  • Try Zynodoa’s Autumn Olive Farm grilled pork chop that comes with braised cabbage, Wade’s Mill rye spaetzle, and a sweet and sour glaze. Get a side of Wade’s Mill apple and cheddar grits and follow it all with a harvest thyme pumpkin pot de crème.

  • Order the pan-seared maple leaf duck breast at Aioli. It’s served with butternut squash parmesan risotto, vegetable tempura, and blackberry reduction.
  • Pick your favorite fall-flavored gelato like pumpkin pie or maple walnut at The Split Banana

  • How about an apple streusel or pumpkin pie from Paris Cake Company? They not only taste wonderful, they’re beautiful, too.
  • D&L Donuts bakes seasonal flavors of your favorite morning treat like pumpkin and apple crisp. You’ll want to arrive early to ensure you score one of these tasty seasonal treats.
  • Have you had a flight from Ciders From Mars yet? You can’t beat hard cider for a taste of autumn.
  • Queen City Brewing serves two delicious hard-pressed ales: Apple Ale and Cranberry Ale. Both are perfect for the fall season.
  • Redbeard Brewing Company releases their latest edition of Moriarty, a barrel-aged Imperial Stout on October 9.

Fall Events 

We’ve scoured the calendars so you don’t have to. Here’s what’s coming up near Staunton.

  • Catch the right wind and see your kite soar at Coyner Springs Kite Fly on September 25. See kite demonstrations, paint pumpkins, and sling apples at this fun event. If you don’t already own a kite, browse the selection at Pufferbellies Toys and Books.
  • Get ready for Halloween by learning about Staunton’s spooky history with a Ghosts of Staunton walking ghost tour on September 24 and 25.
  • Find a use for your old clothes at Staunton Parks and Rec’s Scarecrows in the Park event. Use your skills to create a silly or scary scarecrow to stand near the swimming pools and spook all the early morning joggers. September 25.
  • There’s no live Queen City Mischief & Magic festival this year, but keep an eye on Facebook for lots of fun, virtual events.
  • Celebrate German Heritage Day at the Frontier Culture Museum on October 2 and see how early residents of the Valley lived and made merry.
  • The Fall Foliage Art Festival (October 9-10) brings talented artists to downtown Waynesboro each year. You’ll find paintings, prints, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, and more as well as music, food, and craft beer against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge in full color.
  • The Fall Foliage Bike Festival (October 15-17) attracts hundreds of cyclists from around the mid-Atlantic states for a weekend of riding in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Escape the cities for a quiet weekend and choose from a number of SAG-supported routes over two days.
  • Wade’s Mill will host its 26th annual Apple Butter Festival on October 16. See apple butter being made the traditional way, enjoy tasty food and drink, and shop for local crafts.
  • October 16 is Fall Farm Day at Creambrook Farm. You’ll see baby calves and other farm animals, pretty views, and have lots of family fun.
  • Plan to take the kids to trick or treat at Swannanoa this Halloween. Expect goodies, photo opportunities, face painting, a food truck, and possible real ghosts!

Must-See & Do in Staunton’s Wharf

The Wharf Historic District shines as one of Staunton’s busiest and most vibrant neighborhoods. Once a quiet meadow, it was developed for business when the Virginia Central Railroad came to town in the 1850s. Along with warehouses and hotels, this district once featured saloons, distilleries, liveries, brothels, and a dispensary of a patent medicine that claimed to “cure all ills.” It’s now home to a wealth of independently owned businesses and restaurants.

Where to Stay

If you’re coming to Staunton for the weekend, plan to stay at Gibson’s Warehouse, a four-suite loft lodging in a historic TJ Collins-designed warehouse. Designed in 1905, the building was originally used to store hay, fertilizer, and farm equipment. Now, it’s the epitome of comfort and industrial cool, central to dining, shopping, and entertainment. Each suite offers a fully-equipped kitchen, living space, and a king-sized bed. There is also a common space in the lobby with seating areas so guests can socialize.

Where to Have a Drink

Redbeard Brewing Company serves excellent craft beer in a newly renovated tap room. Stop in for a pint of one of the dozen beers on tap and stick around for entertainment like live music, trivia, karaoke, and more. Try the award-winning 221B Baker Brown. 

 

The Ox-Eye Vineyards Tasting Room, located in the yellow historic Fultz Office building, serves estate-grown, food-friendly wines. Stop in to relax over a tasting or a glass — you can’t go wrong with the Reserve Scale House Chardonnay — and make sure you tour the upstairs art gallery. 

Ciders from Mars has only been open for a few months, but people love the hard cider and the cool, modern space. Hang out at the bar, at a table, or grab a spot on the large patio and watch the bustle of the wharf. Ciders from Mars presses locally grown apples for its cider, and you can drink it by the glass, bottle, or flight. Try the Mellow Gold, made from Virginia Goldrush apples.

Where to Eat

Byers Street Bistro serves drinks, tasty appetizers like crab dip, stellar sandwiches and burgers, and the atmosphere is welcoming. Enjoy your food on the shaded brick patio. 

Locals and tourists alike rave over the food and kid-friendly service at The Depot Grille. Look for favorites like the crab cakes, fried oysters, and steak. Pose for selfies by the historic bar or the caboose parked outside. 

Once one of the largest flour mills in the Shenandoah Valley, Mill Street Grill dishes up a wide selection of choices including steak, ribs, seafood, and pasta. 

Taste of India boasts generous portions and good prices. You’ll enjoy a big menu of authentic Indian food that’s always rich, delicious, with a spice level suited to your needs.

Crumbl Cakes & Bakes just opened, but Staunton residents are already lining up for their daily treat. Choose from a rotating variety of cakes, cookies, cookie dough, and brownies. Try a vegan or gluten-free treat and don’t forget a  pupcake for your dog.

Where to Shop

If you’re shopping for unique gifts, you can’t go wrong with the Wharf district. Find some incredible art glass at Sunspots Studio, housed in the historic 1929 Klotz building. As a bonus, you can slip into the studio and watch the artists manipulate the molten glass into globes, vases, and much more. 

Spoil someone you love with artisan bath and body products from Essentially Zen. Choose from great-smelling essential oil soaps, soy candles, body frosting, and more. Essentially Zen will put together gift boxes tailored just for you.

Gamers will find supplies for all kinds of tabletop fun at The Dragon’s Hoard, and Pufferbellies Toys & Books carries a large, and well curated selection of toys, games, and books for all ages. 

Wilderness Adventure stocks your favorite brands of outdoor gear, clothing, accessories, and a huge selection of shoes. Better yet, investing in footwear here guarantees you’ll get a perfect fit. 

Don’t forget to get Fido a treat or a pet massage from the Well-Balanced Paw.

And of course if you’re in the Wharf on a Saturday morning from April to Thanksgiving, you don’t want to miss the producer’s only Staunton Farmers’ Market. Expect to enjoy the freshest local fruit, produce, cut flowers, baked goods, and more.

Where to Walk

Despite a history fraught with fire, flooding, and war, much historic architecture remains. Look for the the Beaux Arts-style Augusta County Courthouse and the Bungalow-style C&O Train Station. Many of the Wharf’s buildings are protected by the Historic Staunton Foundation.

For a detailed description of the historic architecture in the district, take our walking tour. Make sure you snap some selfies near the train station. There are lots of insta worthy backgrounds, including the Sears Hill Bridge that crosses the tracks and delivers walkers to Wilson Park, a small park with big views of Staunton.

Staunton’s Legen-Dairy Ice Cream Sweet Spots

Did you know that ice cream first came to the U.S. in the 1700s, but only members of high society could afford it? That vanilla is America’s favorite flavor? That the waffle cone was invented in 1904 at the St. Louis Fair? That it takes approximately 50 licks to finish a cone? July is National Ice Cream Month and Staunton has plenty of places to go to find your favorite flavor. Whether you like soft-serve, gelato, classic shakes and malts, or traditional scoops, we can help you find your Staunton-area sweet spot.

Wright’s Dairy Rite

Just look for the glowing neon sign! Generations of Stauntonians have been eating themselves happy at Wright’s Dairy Rite, which has been a Staunton mainstay since 1952. Not only can you sit in a retro booth and order your food with the built-in phone, you can also drive in and get classic curbside service. Originally a frozen custard store, Wright’s serves a full menu of burgers, subs, and sandwiches along with its frozen treats. The menu offers dipped cones, funnel cake fries, flurries, splits, milkshakes, malts, and drink freezes to cool off on a mighty hot day. To curb a raging sweet tooth, try a Wright’s Wheelie. This warm donut is mounded with ice cream, whipped cream, and your choice of topping. Keep an eye out for the next Wright’s Cruise-In antique car rally, returning September 5, 2021.

Kline’s Dairy Bar

The Staunton location of Kline’s Dairy Bar has made its ice cream fresh every morning since 1997. If you grew up in Staunton, you probably went to Kline’s after your big baseball win. Your best friend probably had a birthday party in the back room. This local chain has been in business since 1943, and that’s given it plenty of time to perfect its “continuous freeze” method of producing a soft, dense ice cream. Kline’s always makes vanilla and chocolate, but there are two different special flavors that change over on Wednesday. Check the sign, flavor card, or website each week for a rotation of can’t-miss flavors like banana and cake batter or local favorites like raspberry and lemon gingersnap in cones, cups, shakes, and sundaes. Kline’s in Staunton also offers Hog Wild BBQ, so you can get sweet or Carolina-style barbecue and burgers there, too. 

The Split Banana

Next time you’re in downtown Staunton, walk up to the window at The Split Banana and order the best part of your day. The Split Banana uses local grass-fed milk to create its award-winning gelato. At any given time, you can pick from 24 delectable and fresh-made flavors from a rotating lineup of more than 50. Choose traditional tastes or opt for something more adventurous like espresso biscotto, peanut butter and jelly, hazelnut, or cocoa ancho. Curious how gelato is different from ice cream? It uses more milk, making it lower in fat. But it’s also dense and creamy because it incorporates less air. Gelato tends to deliver intense flavors because it is served at a slightly higher temperature. A favorite of locals and tourists alike, The Split Banana stays open late, so night owls should stop in after dinner or a show. Can’t cram enough ice cream onto one cone? The Split Banana sells ice cream to go by the pint or quart.

Coming Soon: Crumbl

Crumbl is putting the finishing touches on its new downtown Staunton location. It’s set to open at the end of July. While Staunton’s newest bakery won’t necessarily specialize in ice cream, we couldn’t help but include Crumbl in this roundup because their rotating variety of cakes, cookies, cookie dough, brownies will include delicious and spectacular-looking ice cream cake!

Smiley’s Ice Cream at Mt. Crawford Creamery

Since a cow gives enough milk to produce two gallons of ice cream a day, the folks at Mt. Crawford Creamery have virtual ice cream machines on their hands! Onsite Smiley’s Ice Cream turns that milk into ice cream and that ice cream turns into smiles. Smiley’s is a bit of a drive from Staunton, but the slow-churned “front porch ice cream” and local ingredients like strawberries, peaches, and blueberries they serve is worth it. Smiley’s dips up 16 different flavors each day and shifts those flavors seasonally. Regular flavors include java chip, salted caramel chocolate chunk, black raspberry, and lime sorbet. Many options are gluten free. Order your ice cream at Smiley’s or plan ahead and buy online. Stay tuned: Smiley’s will soon be moving to a new, larger location in Bridgewater.

Sweet Creations at Valley Pike Farm Market

If you’re heading up to Harrisonburg, stop off at the Valley Pike Farm Market for a treat at Sweet Creations. You can order a cone, cup, or sundae made from fresh Homestead Creamery ice cream. It comes in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and a rotating selection of specialty flavors.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Artmobile Is Coming to Staunton

Are you starving for some art and culture, but haven’t found time to travel to the city? Fear not: The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is bringing the art to Staunton this weekend. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Artmobile mobile museum and studio will be parked at the Sunspots Pavilion in Staunton’s Wharf historic district on May 29th (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and May 30th (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) The event is free.

What Is the Artmobile?

Since 2018, the 53-foot artmobile has traveled around Virginia carrying selections from the VMFA collection to share with visitors in hundreds of locations. The artmobile brings real, physical art to people who, because of their distance from the museum, might not otherwise see it. The artmobile also includes interactive elements that will make the art-viewing experience more appealing to a 21st-century audience.

What Is the Exhibit? What Art Will You See?

The current exhibit is called A View from Home: Landscapes of Virginia, and it explores outdoor spaces through various stylistic lenses throughout the Commonwealth’s history. Visitors can see paintings, photographs, woodblock prints, and engravings from a variety of artists including:

  • American artist and suffragist, Adele Clark, who used her sketching abilities on street corners to draw crowds to rallies.
  • Hullihen Williams Moore, who connected history, the progression of time, and natural beauty through 20 years’ worth of black and white duotone photographs of Shenandoah National Park.
  • African-American self-taught artist George H. Benjamin Johnson, who is known for his landscapes, historical, and biblical paintings as well as his political cartoons speaking out against segregation.
  • Contemporary Japanese-American artist Miwako Nishizawa, who traces her style of woodblock printing to the Ukiyo-e woodblocks of the 1700s.

What kind of experience can you expect? How long will it take? 

As visitors view the art in 600 feet of gallery space, they’ll experience real examples of art from the museum’s permanent collection as well as interactive elements like touch screens, and audio-visual components. Visitors will even receive real-time lessons with museum educators delivered via Wi-Fi.

After you enjoy the exhibit in the Artmobile, explore the Wharf parking lot for a variety of free children’s art activities. Kids can create their own buttons and score art supplies to use at home. They’ll also receive information about illustrating their own landscapes in the hopes that they will display them later this summer at Art in the Park. Saturday, May 29 1 – 4 p.m.

How Can You See More from the Museum?

If you want to see more art from the museum, head to the Virginia Museum of Fine Art’s permanent location in Richmond. You’ll enjoy art from the Americas and around the world. There’s also a lot to see online, and lots of virtual tours and activities.

What Local Gallery Experiences Can We Enjoy?

If you’d like to continue your exploration of art locally, you’re in luck. Staunton’s galleries host the works of a number of talented local and regional artists. Visit in person or online at the Staunton Augusta Art Center, located in a historic building designed by T.J. Collins in 1893. The current Introspective Show by SAAC Board Members marks the occasion of the SAAC’s 60th birthday and includes paintings, sculpture, textile art, encaustic (wax) painting, and more. Just opened, Art: A Voice celebrates “the therapeutic value of art amidst mental health challenges.”

Another worthy place to view art is the CoArt and Beverley Street Studio School Gallery space at 22 W. Beverley Street. The current exhibit in the Beverley Street Studio School Gallery is called Shared Studios. It is a memorial to Dr. Mary T. Echols and Virginia “Dinny” S. Deane, two friends who shared studio space as well as a love of and enduring support for the area’s art community. The CoArt Gallery’s May exhibit Time in Flux showcases June Jordan’s oil paintings. Next month, stop in to see Julie Farrell’s After the COVID Spike: Those Who Helped Me Through It.

Art lovers can also stroll through Staunton to see Christy Baker’s 2019 large-scale “You Belong Here” mural and the various Ferguson Metal fabrication carbon steel sculptures that pop up in unexpected places around town.

What Else Can You Do in Staunton?

All this art will tire you out, so make time to refresh in downtown Staunton. Stop in at Redbeard Brewing Company for fresh craft beer or at Ox-Eye Vineyards tasting room for some local wine. Chow down on some wholesome and kid-friendly American fare at the Depot Grille or snag some handhelds from Byers Street Bistro. Save room for gelato from The Split Banana. Shop and Dine Out Downtown all weekend long!

If you miss your chance to see the artmobile in Staunton, you can catch it at Waynesboro’s Fall Foliage Art Show on October 9-10.