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

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

Pup-cation Fun for People and Pets

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

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

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

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

Un-Pack Your Bags

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

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

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

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

Paw-some Patios

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

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

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

Bark-tastic Breweries

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

Other Staunton Stops that are Mutts about Dogs

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

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

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

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

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

Father’s Day events

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

Grill him some steaks

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

Take him out to the ball game

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

Introduce him to his new favorite brew

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

Help him spruce up his car

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

Tee off at Gypsy Hill Golf Club

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

Get back to nature

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

Send him a gift

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

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

A Family-Friendly Guide to Staunton, VA

Are you bringing the family to Staunton this summer? Awesome choice! From historical sites to outdoor adventures to family-friendly places to eat and play, there’s so much to do that the entire family will have a great time. Are we there yet?

How to Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Staunton is a hilly town, but the 1.3-mile paved loop at Gypsy Hill Park is relatively flat and perfect for young cyclists. Better yet, there’s not a lot of traffic, so riding conditions are very safe. Gypsy Hill also has a skate park and ponds for fishing and feeding the ducks. There’s a dog park, too, if some of your babies are covered with fur.

Mountain bikers will find challenges at Montgomery Hall Park in the form of several miles of wooded trail with varying difficulty levels. Next, the family can cool off at the public swimming pool before playing a round of disc golf or burning some energy on one of the playgrounds.

Staunton is situated in some of Virginia’s best hiking country, so take advantage of hikes in Shenandoah National Park and George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. Consider Augusta Springs Wetlands, Sherando Lake Recreation Area, and North River Gorge.

Want to head underground to escape the heat? Visit the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel, a hiking trail that follows an old set of train tracks underneath Afton Mountain. You might also explore the formations in one of the area’s commercial caverns like Luray Caverns, Endless Caverns, and Grand Caverns.

Where to Find Entertainment

Spread out your blanket under the stars near the Gypsy Hill Bandstand where there’s live music four nights a week during the summer. Staunton’s historic 70-member Stonewall Brigade Band will get you parading with marches and big band classics on Monday nights. Tuesday night’s Praise in the Park will treat you to gospel and activities for kids. Local and regional bluegrass entertainers will visit Staunton on Wednesday nights, and Thursday brings you Jazz in the Park. Don’t miss the Happy Birthday America celebration on July 4th. Have a blast with a 5K race, a lively parade, a parent/child baseball game, concessions, live music, and fireworks.

Teach the kids to knock down some pins at family-owned Staunton Lanes! There’s also a snack bar and an arcade. If you’d rather exercise your brains, put your wits together to solve one of the active puzzles at Crack the Code. You’ll have an hour to solve multiple puzzles and escape one of the themed rooms. 

Staunton is home to the American Shakespeare Center‘s Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, so it would be a shame to go home without experiencing it. However, if your kids are a little young for the Bard, you might find an age-appropriate movie at the Visulite. Bonus: if you’re a parent sitting through another video-game-themed movie, at least you can enjoy a beer while you watch.

Where to Learn

Step back in time at the Frontier Culture Museum, which invites visitors to explore the lives of the Shenandoah Valley pioneers from the 1600s through the mid-1800s. Costumed interpreters answer questions and demonstrate daily activities. The Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library teaches about the life and times of this president who hailed from Staunton, as well as educational programs and downloadable content targeting younger audiences.

While Sunspots Studios isn’t a museum, you’ll learn all about the process of blowing glass if you stop in for a live demonstration. Using extreme heat, artisans blow and shape molten glass into globes and art pieces. Visitors can purchase completed (and cooled) glass in the gallery.

How to Explore

Explore the Saturday morning Staunton Farmer’s Market to find the tastiest local produce and baked goods. Listen to live music and talk to the producers at this weekly event that celebrates community. You can also see more of Staunton by hopping on the green trolley as it loops through town. Hop on and off at area attractions like the Jumbo Museum, where you can visit the oldest motorized fire engine in Virginia, and Gypsy Hill Park, where you can ride the $1 Gypsy Express Mini-Train that’s been delighting the young-at-heart for more than 60 years. Families will also love the way the free Traipse! app makes walking fun. Half historic tour and half scavenger hunt, Traipse encourages you to take an active part in learning about the town. 

Where to Stay

Staunton has a number of casual lodgings that are perfect for families. Reserve a room at the Howard Johnson. There’s an outdoor pool, and it’s an easy walk to downtown and dining. Tru by Hilton and Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriot have great locations convenient to downtown Staunton as well as I-81 and I-64. Fairfield Inn and Suites has an indoor pool. If you’re hoping to spend more time in nature, book a campsite at Shenandoah Valley Campground or Walnut Hills Campground.

Where to Eat

Kathy’s Restaurant heaps on the goodness with traditional breakfast fare like pancakes and omelets served all day. Alternatively, grab some coffee and lite fare to go from The By & By. Catch some lunch at Wright’s Dairy Rite, a diner where your kids can get their burgers and fries in boxes that look like classic cars. Shenandoah Pizza serves gourmet pizza by the pie or by the slice celebrating local ingredients and lore. Skip the chain restaurants and grab a family-friendly meal at Remedy Burger, where there are smash burgers for adults and “happy trays” for smaller appetites. The Depot Grille serves up delicious American fare and includes a menu for kids. Finally, indulge yourself with a selection of fresh-made gelato flavors at The Split Banana, or head to Kline’s to get custard-style homemade ice cream. 

Where to Shop

If you want something to keep the kiddos busy on the ride home, Pufferbellies Toys & Books will deliver big time. This is the largest independently owned toy store in the Valley, and its carefully curated shelves will fascinate the kid in all of us. Readers will find a big selection of new favorites at the Book Dragon, and hobbyists and gamers will like Staunton Trains and Hobbies, the Hobby Surplus Outlet, and The Dragon’s Hoard.

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

Must-See and Do in the Beverley Historic District

Downtown Staunton contains many examples of Virginia’s finest Victorian architecture. Most of the buildings in the Beverley Historic District date from the 1870s to the 1920s. In fact, this small, walkable district was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. Besides history, this bustling section of Staunton boasts much in the way of shopping, dining, and culture. Here’s how to spend an afternoon or a weekend exploring the Beverley Historic District. 

Where to Stay

  • Hotel 24 South (formerly the Stonewall Jackson Hotel) was built in 1924 and remains the city’s tallest building. The renovated rooms and suites are luxurious and modernized, but the hotel retains its historic charm. On-site amenities include a business center, fitness center, and heated indoor pool. 
  • The Frederick House combines the extravagance of a fancy hotel in a more personal setting. They offer a menu of signature breakfasts as well as plenty of privacy and personality. The 20 guest rooms are spread between five historic homes.
  • The Storefront once served as a tea shop and is now a two-level accommodation. The ground floor boasts a unique bar/lounge area with a television, bathroom, and full-size futon. Upstairs, you’ll find a bedroom, bathroom, and full kitchen. 

Where to Have a Drink

  • Grab some flights or pints at Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company, a small craft brewery right on Beverley Street. They don’t serve food, but you can have carryout delivered or walk a few steps to a delicious nearby restaurant. 
  • The Green Room is a hip gathering spot in Staunton run by Blackfriars Playhouse actors. Sip wine, craft beer, cider, specialty non-alcoholic cocktails, and savor light fare like charcuterie boards and sandwiches. 
  • Yelping Dog Wine stocks hundreds of types of wine, from bottles produced locally to those made around the world. Stop in for a glass and a cheese plate or gourmet grilled cheese sandwich.

Where to Eat 

  • Start your day with coffee and a healthy and delicious breakfast at The By & By. Nearby Vic’s Eats is a veteran-owned cafe serving mouth-watering breakfast items as well as salads, sandwiches, and French press coffee. Réunion Bakery & Espresso brews delicious coffee drinks as well as mouthwatering French-inspired pastries. Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery focuses on vegetables, fruits, and organic grains and is a convenient way to grab a quick, fresh bite for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The Pampered Palate feeds hungry diners fresh quiche, sandwiches, and wraps.
  • Are you craving the freshest sustainable seafood available? BLU Point Seafood Co. is where “the Chesapeake Bay meets the New England shore.” The bar delivers a big menu of cocktails, beer, wine, and cider, including many local options. Zynodoa will inspire your tastebuds with southern cuisine in a stylish, metropolitan setting. Aioli shines for its Mediterranean cuisine and tapas. Don’t skip dessert: The Split Banana will refresh you with 18 fresh flavors of gelato.

Where to Shop

  • Adults and children can find their next great read on the shelves at The Book Dragon. Fans of rare books should check out Barrister Books. Words Matter’s collection of word art and poetry is perfect for home decor or memorable occasions. Blair Made designs beautiful custom handmade wooden signs.
  • Peek in at Ware House Miniatures to pick out a dollhouse and all the furnishings. Next door, find a variety of model kits at J C General Merchandise. The Heifetz Music Shop delights with music-themed gifts. 
  • Tap into the positive energy we need so badly at Little Shoppe of Crystals. Browse the selection of crystals, jewelry, aromatherapy, and more.
  • The Foundry Pop-Ups promotes the work of local artists and craftspeople who make clothing, jewelry, bath products, candles, and decor. Known best for handmade swords, armor, and Welsh items, Medieval Fantasies Company also sells jewelry, candles, and bath and body products that smell like magic. 
  • Design at Nine is your source for distinctive women’s clothing, shoes, and boots as well as the accessories you need to tie your look together. Latitudes Fair Trade Store has unique and trendy clothing, bags, scarves, and jewelry. Men will look sharp after shopping at CFO Trading Company for clothing, outerwear, scarves, hats, and seasonal accessories. 
  • Taste and purchase ultra-premium extra virgin olive oils, infused and fused olive oils, and balsamic vinegar at Staunton Olive Oil Company. Sweeten your day with a selection of chocolates from Cocoa Mill. Beverley Cigar Store sells cigars, pipes, pipe tobacco, smoking accessories, lighters, and clothing.

What to Do

  • Built to resemble Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Theatre, the American Shakespeare Center stages high-quality productions of Shakespeare’s plays as well as contemporary works. Visulite Cinemas brings the latest popular and artistic movies to the big screen and you can sip a glass of wine or beer while you watch. Enjoy live entertainment like DJs, music, and karaoke at the Tempest Bar and Lounge

Take a self-guided or seasonal guided walking tour with the Historic Staunton Foundation and download our Architectural Walking Tour of Historic Staunton map before you go. Access even more of downtown Staunton by taking a Traipse Tour unique to the Queen City.

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

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

Historic Garden Week Staunton Tour: April 23

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

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

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

Staunton Gardens

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

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

Nearby Gardens and Farms

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

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

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

Markets

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

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

Springtime in Staunton

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

Farmers’ Market

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

Get Some Garden Inspiration

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

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

Take a Hike

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

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

Themed Adventure

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

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

Make Earth Day Plans

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

Get Ready to Shop and Eat Al Fresco

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

Wool Week at the Frontier Culture Museum

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

Art in the Park

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

Galentine’s Day in Staunton

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

Have Some Fun

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book a Spa Day

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

Get Crafty

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

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

Share Some Nibbles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more events, check out Staunton on Tap!

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.

Check Out The New Kids On The Block

Spring still seems a long way off, but now’s the time to start making your spring itinerary. Plan your next date night, find a special gift, or just score a really good cup of coffee to get your morning going. Get to know Staunton’s newest businesses.

New Restaurants:

Seed to Tail is a new farm-to-table gourmet sandwich shop that also sells, vegetables, eggs, baked goods, take-away-family meals, and a large selection of wine from Virginia and around the world. They “hope to connect the local community and visitors to the rich foods grown in our own backyards.” Check out the menu or the event schedule for wine tastings and special meals.

Vic’s Eats is a new veteran-owned cafe serving mouth-watering breakfast items. Choose from red-eye mushroom or shrimp grits bowls, pimento avocado toast, stacks of red-velvet pancakes, coffee-coconut milk-braised pork biscuits, and more. You’ll also find salads, sandwiches, French press coffee, fancy teas, and everything else you need to make your breakfast a roaring success.

Locally owned Crumbl Cakes & Bakes opened last summer and serves up a rotating menu of muffins, scones, cupcakes, cookies, cookie dough, brownies, and vegan and gluten-free treats. There’s an espresso bar with plant-based milk options and a place for your kiddos to hang out while you enjoy your treat. Work with Crumbl to design a beautiful custom cake for your next event. 

Magdalena Bake’s new brick and mortar location on West Beverley specializes in delicious and beautiful-looking pastries, cookies, and cakes in an extensive array of flavors, including gluten-free options. If your tastebuds are hoping for something savory, you won’t be disappointed by the empanadas, which come flavored with beef, pork, criolla, and Caprese. 

Family-owned Serendipity Java Bar & Eatery is full of comfortable seating and natural light. Located near the historic train station, it serves muffins, seasonal scones, cinnamon rolls, egg and cheese bagels, French toast plates, and more. There’s a wide selection of coffees, espressos, and specialty drinks like razzle chai. Stop in later in the day for grilled lunch sandwiches. 

Ciders from Mars presses locally grown apples to create the hard cider you’ll enjoy by the glass, bottle, or flight. Choose from single-varietal ciders, blends, and ciders fermented with other local fruits. There are lots of seating options in the modern tasting room and outside on the large patio that overlooks the wharf. 

Restaurants Opening Soon

Owners of Staunton’s Green Room are opening a new restaurant down the street. Opening this spring, Remedy Burger will serve large smash burgers made from local beef and fries. They’ll also serve beer, wine, and cocktails, and customers will be able to use their phones to order from the menu.

This spring, Brisket Taco Co. will be “bringing the heart of Texas to the Shenandoah Valley” with dishes made from Texas-style smoked brisket. They’ll also use local toppings and cheeses on menu offerings, which will include tacos, breakfast tacos, nachos, and sides like smoked potato salad and smoked mac and cheese.

New owners plan to open 100-year old Marino’s Lunch again soon in Staunton. The space on North Augusta will be expanded and will feature outdoor seating, music, and art. The old Marino’s specialized in beer, Tuesday night bluegrass jams, and cheeseburgers.

New Downtown Retail

The Foundry Pop-Ups promotes the work of local artists and craftspeople and those who have produced unique products. You’ll find clothing, jewelry, bath products, candles, and more at the store’s downtown location.

Redwood & Co.’s new retail store in the Wharf sells home and personal fragrance collections of candles, diffusers, room sprays, soaps, and lotions. The new space also features a candle-design studio for customers to create their own uniquely scented candles.

Tap into the positive energy we need so badly at Little Shoppe of Crystals, which is opening in February. Plan to check out the selection of crystals, jewelry, aromatherapy, and more.

Entertainment and Event Spaces

Sea-to-table Blu Point Seafood Co. continues to bring you freshly sourced ocean bounty served the way you like it. Blu Point has expanded its space and now offers the Blu Room for events and private dining.

The Staunton Innovation Hub unites a community of creative people with a wide range of skills. Their space has several gathering areas and classrooms perfect for hosting your next event. The new Rooftop Deck accommodates 49 people and boasts incredible views of Staunton’s churches, hotels, and other historic buildings.

The Blackburn Inn’s WinterStage is bringing you two nights of great music and entertainment. Stoke the romantic fires with February 11th’s evening of classic love songs with broadway star Nancy Anderson and jazz pianist Wells Hanley. On March 18th, bluesman Mojo Parker joins local musicians for a “mid-winter blues odyssey.”