#LOVEstaunton

Category: Special Event

Top Things to Do in Staunton This Summer

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

Shop & Dine Out Downtown

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

American Shakespeare Center at MBU’s Rose Terrace

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

SummerStage at The Blackburn Inn

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

Get Your New Beerwerks T-shirt

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

Nearby Swimming Holes 

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

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

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

Staunton Parks – Gypsy Hill & Montgomery Hall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick Your Own Fruit & Produce 

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

 

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.

How Much Do You Love Her? Staunton Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

You might not have gotten to visit much with your mom this past year, but hopefully, you’re getting to spend some time with her this Mother’s Day. How will you show her how much you love her?  If you’re still looking for a last-minute gift, we have some Staunton-centered ideas for you.

Share an Experience with Mom

  • 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 various levels of artist.
  • Do you and Mom bond over the silver screen? How about taking her to a movie at the Visulite Cinema? Sip beer or wine while you watch , and then head over to The Green Room to discuss the film over wine and snacks.
  • If you and Mom share a passion for finding treasures, consider taking her to Staunton Antique Center. This unique store has three levels of goodies, including original art from local artists. Compare your finds over coffee and French pastries at Réunion Bakery & Espresso.

  • Is Mom a little horse crazy? Get her back in the saddle with a guided trail ride through the Valley at Star B Stables. Take her for a day of fun and visit the horses at Stable Craft Brewing.

  • Looking for something a little different? Something a little freeing and meditative? How about a FREE Drumming workshop? DrumForFun Staunton is offering an introductory class for adult beginners on Saturday, May 8th at 1:00 pm.  

 

Flowers, Wine, Chocolate, and Jewelry

  • There’s a reason flowers, wine, chocolate, and jewelry are perennial favorites on Mother’s Day. Continue the tradition with a Mother’s Day bouquet from Rask Florist. You can order online from Honey Bee’s Florist and arrange to have flowers delivered. Brin’s Posy Floral creates vivid and artistic bouquets.
  • Treat Mom’s sweet tooth with an overflowing “platinum pail of chocolates” assortment from Cocoa Mill. Giancarlo Fine European Pastries also creates incredible chocolates (and much more) right here in Staunton. Consider signing Mom up for an upcoming pastry class. 

  • Have your personal message engraved on any piece of jewelry from H.L. Lang Jewelers. Or buy Mom a Staunton charm of a Queen City landmark like the clock tower or the watering can. Crown Jewelers carries a beautiful selection of both new and estate jewelry.

Take Mom out for Brunch

Staunton restaurants shine in the brunch department. Take Mom out for “inspired Southern cuisine” at Zynodoa (brunch served from 10-2). You’ll bond over American classics at The Depot Grille (brunch served from 11-2). Table 44 serves up inspired twists on your favorites as well as an unforgettable loaded bloody mary (brunch served from 11-2).

Buy Her Something Special

  • Spoil Mom with luxurious soaps, lotions, and all things that smell good from Redwood & Co. or Essentially Zen Artisan Body & Bath Co. Essentially Zen offers curated gift boxes and “zen boxes,” which are a curated collection of specialty soaps, house soaps, and bath bombs designed to fit an individual fragrance profile.

  • Give mom the star treatment at the new Spa at the Blackburn by treating her to a massage, skin treatment, manicure, or all three. 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! 

Staunton Pride Festival

Celebrate Staunton Pride October 5-7

October is LGBTQ history month, and local nonprofit LGBTQ Tech is producing the first annual Staunton Pride Festival celebrating the LGBTQIA2+ community and its allies. Staunton Pride’s goal is to “support all members of our community in order to increase acceptance and inclusivity in the Shenandoah Valley.”

Friday Night Kickoff

All are welcome at the fun event, which will be held rain or shine on Beverley Street in downtown Staunton. A kickoff party with Shagwüf and The Judy Chops to benefit the Shenandoah LGBTQ Center on October 5th.

Saturday Dancing in the Streets

Get ready to party on Saturday, October 6th at the street festival on Beverley Street from 9:00 am – 7:00 pm. Highlights will include food, vendors, a local beer & cider garden (opening at 11:00 am,) a music stage, and a show headlined by Virginia native and indie-pop sensation, Catey Shaw, known for her songs “Brooklyn Girls” and “The Ransom.” Plan to dance in the street:  The Johnny Clark Set, The Sugar Jackets, The Crowles, Drägön Wägön, and DJ Jason round out the lineup. 

A Service for Everyone

Staunton Pride will have a special Pride Eucharist worship service led by Reverend Marion Kanour on Saturday, October 6th from 7-8:30 PM. All are welcome as Emmanuel Episcopal Church hosts the service in collaboration with clergy from Grace Episcopal Church, Massie’s Mill, Trinity Episcopal Church, Staunton Virginia, and Stuart Hall School.

Get Wild at the Drag Show

Save some energy for the can’t-miss drag show at the Clocktower on Saturday night. Alexa V. ShontelleGabrielle DupreeKatrina Colby, Chris Smith Kristina Kelly,  Alexea Breeden Kelly, and at least five other performers will strut their stuff and wow you with their amazing routines and eye-popping costumes. Buy your tickets here or in person at Mill Street Body & Soul Day Spa and Salon.

 

Before You Go

  • Organizations offering support to the LGBTQ community will be on site
  • Make sure to visit the PRIDE LOVEworks, which will be on display in downtown Staunton October 5-10
  • Show your pride and support the organization by purchasing shirts, stickers, and magnets
  • The festival is family friendly, but the locations of some of the events require attendees to be over 21

Plan Your Visit to Staunton

While Staunton always offers a positive atmosphere and a welcoming community, the following businesses designate themselves as LGBT-friendly on Virginia.org:

Where to Stay

Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast

The Blackburn Inn

Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center

Hampton Inn – Staunton

Inn at Old Virginia

Staunton /  Walnut Hills KOA Campground

The Bunkhouse at North Mountain

Where to Eat and Drink

Emilio’s Italian Restaurant

Baja Bean Company

Mill Street Grill

The Store

Second Draft Bar & Bistro

The Coffee Cave

Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co.

Where to Shop

Medieval Fantasies Company Gyfte Shoppe

Latitudes Fair Trade Store

Staunton Books Popup

Pufferbellies Toys & Books

Harmony Moon

Redwood and Co.

Cherish Every Moment

Staunton’s Farms, Fall Foliage, and Festivals

Fall is coming and there’s no better way to welcome the (almost) sweater weather than by traveling to Staunton to enjoy farms, fall foliage, and festivals! A trip to the Queen City will give you the opportunity to harvest and taste some of our local food, photograph our views, and celebrate our culture. 

Farms

Farms and Farmers’ Markets

Staunton Farmers’ Market 7-noon Wed. and Sat.

North Augusta Farmers’ Market (Verona) noon-5 Wed.

Take a drive out to Polyface Farms to see a national leader in best-practices farming. You can take tours of the farm and buy pasture-raised, hormone/antibiotic-free chicken, beef, pork, and eggs at the farm store.

Meadowcroft Farms and the Inn at Meadowcroft. Sample some of the 68 different kinds of pickles, relishes, jams, salsas and spreads at the farm store. If you’re looking for a unique and special place to stay, try the inn, which is a situated in a historic (and modernized) log cabin that is over 200 years old.

Pick Your Own

Pick your own wildflowers and herbs at Pebble Hall Wildflowers and Herbs from May to October. Use them fresh for floral displays or culinary pursuits or dry them to use them later. The farm offers beautiful photo opportunities as well as onsite massage and lodging.

Are you looking for a great deal on pick-your-own pumpkins and gourds? Middle River Farms offers pricing by wagon load. The farm also sells locally grown produce, eggs, cheese, and fall decor.

Another great spot to search for the great pumpkin is Mulberry Hills Farm. Visitors can expect a seasonal pumpkin patch (with a wide variety of pumpkins, gourds, squash, and other decorative items). The farm also sets up seasonal backdrops for your family photos and the kids can pet friendly farm animals.

You only need to drive a few miles south of Staunton to get to Sunrise Orchards, a small operation that offers a welcome change from crowded apple orchards. You can pick your own red delicious, yellow delicious and Jonathan apples by the bushel, peck or bag. Plan a picnic to enjoy under the trees with spectacular views of the mountains.

September is grape season, so spend a morning picking Niagara or Concord grapes at Wenger Grape Farm. These grapes can be used for wine, juice or jam, or enjoying by the handful. This beautiful farm offers a wealth of wholesome photo opportunities.

Fall Foliage

You can’t beat the way the Shenandoah Valley dresses up in the autumn. Leaves will be peaking between late September and early November, so plan to take a drive on the Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway for some breathtaking displays.

For a more private option, head to the westernmost end of Augusta County and check out the views from the Confederate Breastworks interpretive site at the top of Shenandoah Mountain.

If you want to leaf peep in town, wander the trails in Montgomery Hall Park, pack a picnic and hang out under the trees near the Gypsy Hill Park grandstand, or take a stroll through historic Thornrose Cemetery. One of the best views of Staunton can be had from Wilson Park high on Sears Hill.

To see the leaves at their brightest, check out this fall color predictor site from Shenandoah National Park.

Festivals

Octoberfest

October 6

Octoberfest at the Frontier Culture Museum is a blast. Start the day with Irish Road Bowling and then tour the German farm. Later on, kick up your heels dancing to live music, eating traditional food, and drinking good beer. Tour the museum to see how past residents of the Valley celebrated their harvests.  The festival offers fun and activities for the entire family.

Fall Foliage Art Festival

October 13-14

150 fine artists come to downtown Waynesboro, VA for the 46th annual Fall Foliage Art Show. Artist bring paintings, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry, pottery and wood to this outdoor juried show. You can also enjoy delicious food, craft beer, and music. The Street Arts Festival takes place concurrently with Fall Foliage and offers a chance to admire the vibrant works of talented street artists as they make urban spaces their canvas.

Fall Foliage Bike Festival

October 19-21

Now in its 28th year, the Fall Foliage Bike Festival attracts over 750 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 over eleven SAG-supported routes over two days.

 

Fourth of July Happenings

Full of fireworks and fanfare, head to Staunton for a truly unique Fourth of July. 

Happy Birthday America

Tuesday, July 3 starting at 6:30 pm
Wednesday, July 4 starting at 7:30 am
Gypsy Hill Park

Celebrate America’s Birthday with two-days of festivities! This family-friendly party kicks off on July 3rd with an opening ceremony and an evening of entertainment. The party continues on July 4th with the Firecracker 5K (7:30 am), followed by the Happy Birthday America Parade (10 am) and the Official Welcome and Posting of the Colors (12 pm) along with activities, performances, and concessions for all ages. The headline performance by homegrown, country group, Wilson Fairchild—sons of Harold and Don Reid of the Statler Brothers—starts at 8 pm. The evening ends in grand fashion with fireworks. This event is FREE and open to the public. See the complete schedule

The Children’s Art Network is selling the Official Happy Birthday America t-shirts and ball caps as a fundraiser: Let’s “Paint the Park” and “Flood the Field.” These items are currently on sale at Ltd7 in Staunton and Kimco in Fishersville for $20. They may be purchased on July 3rd and 4th at Gypsy Hill Park near the entrance of the John Moxie Stadium.

Independence Day Celebration

Wednesday, July 4 from 9 am-5 pm
Frontier Culture Museum

Experience the Fourth of July with hands-on activities and presentations at Virginia’s living history museum. Historic celebrations include the reading of The Declaration of Independence, sack races, pie eating contests, woodworking and cooking demonstrations and much more. Entrance to the museum is Pay What You Will. See the complete schedule.

Looking for a low-key, yet festive way to celebrate our Nation’s Independence? Check out these family-friendly options:

 

bbq on the lawn

Wednesday, July 4 from 5 pm-9 pm
The Blackburn Inn

Celebrate the Fourth of July with a BBQ at the The Blackburn Inn. Enjoy the beautiful grounds of the newly renovated Blackburn Inn with delicious burgers, a beer garden, and special lawn games for all to enjoy. 

Pets are welcome on a leash in the beer garden – so bring your furry friends along. 
*This event is weather permitting.*

10th annual pork and cork

Wednesday, July 4 starting at 6:30 pm
Barren Ridge Vineyards

Enjoy a beautiful sunset while you sip wine at Barren Ridge Vineyard’s 10th Annual Pork and Cork. This relaxed evening includes local musicians Who Shot John and an extensive barbecue feast catered by Hogback Mtn. BBQ. End the evening with fireworks!  Wine is available for purchase but tickets are required for this event. *Due to fireworks, dogs are not allowed to attend this event.*

Share the Love; Share Your Staunton Story. 

Love is in the air and on display in downtown Staunton. Virginia’s LOVEWorks, or LOVE Letters, are on display, May 6 through 12, in celebration of National Tour & Travel Week. The display is in downtown Staunton on the corner of Greenville Avenue and New Street. 


In celebration of tourism and all things Staunton we ask you, locals and visitors, to share your love of Staunton through pictures and words. Residents, business owners, and visitors are encouraged to visit the display, snap a photo with it and share the reasons you love Staunton on social media, using the hashtags #LoveStaunton and #LoveVA. The visitors center on New Street has 50 selfie sticks to loan to those who want to snap a photo with the display or at any of Staunton’s other popular “selfie spots.”

Stay tuned to Visit Staunton’s Facebook and Instagram pages to follow and participate and to share your own Staunton love stories.