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Category: Special Event

How to Enjoy a Production of A Christmas Carol at Blackfriars Playhouse

Rehearsals are underway for the American Shakespeare Company’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. The story by Charles Dickens has been adapted for the stage by Jay McClure. Get tickets now for performances (December 10 – 30) of this classic and family-friendly tale.

Join Ebeneezer Scrooge as he navigates Christmas Eve night with visits from the Christmas ghosts and learns how to be a better, kinder person. See all your favorite characters like the Cratchits, Jacob Marley, and Tiny Tim. This show brings surprises and new twists to the classic story, and while it’s not a Shakespeare play, audiences will get to enjoy the ambiance and historically accurate details in this re-creation of Shakespeare’s theater.

The Christmas Spirit is Alive at the Blackfriars

Demonstrate your own Christmas spirit by giving back to the community by donating to ASC’s Project Goodfellow. The project will support the Valley Mission this holiday season. The Mission hopes to receive cleaning supplies, first aid supplies, shower shoes, and undergarments for men, women, and children. They also need rain gear and ponchos. Donations can be placed in bins during performances or dropped off Tuesday to Sunday afternoons.

Other Ways to Enjoy ASC Productions

Want to watch an ASC production from the comfort of your own home? Check out the offerings on BlkFrsTV. Access to several pre-recorded shows is available on a rolling basis. Current productions of Macbeth, Henry V, and All’s Well that Ends Well are available for streaming by both single title and packages. You can also gift tickets to digital performances as presents this holiday season.

Where to Stay While You’re in Town

Visiting from out of town? Treat yourself to an American Shakespeare Center Package at the Berkeley House Bed & Breakfast. This tastefully updated historic home is a five-minute stroll from the theater. Or stay next door to the theater at the beautifully renovated Hotel 24 South. You might also book a stay in the Bard’s Nest, a boutique hotel room for two that’s located steps away from the Blackfriars. And while there’s no Shakespeare experience at the Blackburn Inn, you might want to try out one of the other packages like the Winter Escape or the Relax & Rejuvenate Package, which includes breakfast and a facial treatment at the hotel’s spa.

Where to Eat

Sit down for drinks and pre-performance snacks at The Green Room, a modern gathering place run by Blackfriars actors. You might get some behind-the-scenes stories about past productions and you’ll definitely get something yummy. If you’re looking for some Shakespeare-themed tastes, you can’t go wrong with The Pampered Palate’s Blackfriars hot pastrami and swiss on rye sandwich. Finally, grab a Shakespearean pie at Shenandoah Pizza and Taphouse. This basil pesto delight boasts artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Don’t stop there, though. Shenandoah Pizza offers an extensive menu of gourmet options.

What to Do Next

Make sure to catch up on your holiday shopping in downtown Staunton, which is packed with interesting independent shops and galleries. Find something fun in the curated selection of toys and games for all ages at Pufferbellies Toys and Books. Shopping for an outdoorsy friend? Explore the gear at Black Dog Bikes, Sole Focus Running, and Wilderness Adventure. Find one-of-a-kind gifts at the Art for Gifts Holiday Market, Made; By the People; for the People, or The Sparrow’s Nest.

Savor the Sweet Staunton Summertime

Can you believe there are only a few weeks of summer vacation left before everyone heads back to school? If you’ve already been camping, cheered at a baseball game, and spent a week at the beach, here are a few more ways to savor the sweet Staunton summertime! 

County Fairs and Festivals

The Augusta County Fair is happening now through July 31. Gorge on carnival food and see rides, exhibits, livestock, acrobats and other sideshow performances, music, tractor pulls and more! If you miss the fair in Augusta County, head up to Rockingham County Fairgrounds for the Rockingham County Fair from August 16-21 for more fair action, including music by Hardy with the Hackens Boys and a demolition derby. The Rockbridge Regional Fair and Expo is happening in Glasgow on August 26-28 and will feature music, rides, pageants and more.

Normally a springtime festival, Art in the Park is being held in the fall this year. On September 4-5, head to Staunton to enjoy the shady space by Gypsy Hill Park’s bandstand as you browse the work of a variety of juried artists. You’ll find photography, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, wood turnings, activities for kids, and more.

Pop over Afton Mountain on August 5 for fun and to support a good cause at the Rockfish Valley Volunteer Fireman’s Carnival. You’ll find rides and games for the entire family as well as delicious pit-cooked chicken and other food. Grottoes Volunteer Fire Department will host a Chicken in the Park event on August 14, and a Sunday lunch on August 15.

Fruit Picking

Nothing says summer like a fresh fruit pie or smoothie, and nothing says family like time spent bonding in an orchard or berry patch. Here’s how to head into the country and make some memories this summer. Remember to check what’s in season on this calendar and call the farm ahead of time to see what’s available. Don’t forget your sunscreen and bug spray!

Troyer Nursery specializes in strawberries, but there’s still plenty to pick later in the season. You’ll find sweetcorn, tomatoes, green beans, red beets, squash, zucchini, onions and other vegetables. They also sell milk and ice cream mix from Mount Crawford Creamery. Critzer Family Farm is dedicated to environmentally-friendly farming practices and education. It’s a nice place to take the kids to learn about food production and to pick seasonal strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, peaches, plums, pumpkins, and fresh veggies. Don’t skip home-churned ice cream after your time in the sun!

If you want to wait for the weather to cool off a bit before heading outside, mark your calendar for the end of August when the crops of Concord and Niagara grapes start to ripen at Wenger Grapes. Another good option is Sunrise Orchards, a small pick-your-own apple orchard that offers Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Jonathan by the bag, peck, half bushel, or bushel from early September until the apples are gone. Carter Mountain Orchard is a bit of a drive, but they offer the pick-your-own fruit experience on a large scale. You can pick or buy pre-picked apples and other seasonal fruits and shop at the farm market, making sure to order a plate of the apple cider donuts! The pumpkin patch at Middle River Farms opens in the middle of September. You’ll find beautiful views and over 30 varieties of pumpkins and gourds. Their wagonload deal is one of the best around!

Best Barbecue

Barbecue season lasts all summer, giving you plenty of time to celebrate and try all the Staunton varieties of this juicy, smoky warm-weather staple. Here are the places worth the drive!

Peck’s Bar-B-Que is a local favorite, known for Virginia-style smoked pork served chopped, sliced, or coarse. Get your meat on a sandwich or on a platter with sides like coleslaw and hush puppies. If you want straight meat, you can order that too. The less carnivorous will enjoy salads, fish, and chicken choices. Shredder’s BBQ also serves your favorite Virginia barbecue. It’s made with locally raised meats and smoked with hickory wood.

Kline’s Hog Wild BBQ serves Carolina and sweet-style barbecue and sides for dining in and taking out. Drink a milkshake with your meal or finish with some of the fresh-churned ice cream that Kline’s is famous for! Big Red Barbecue’s menu is packed with selections like pulled pork and fried catfish. The menu also includes a ton of breakfast selections. Check Facebook for daily specials like jerk chicken and shrimp and grits. Valley Smokehouse specializes in seafood, barbecue, and steaks. Be on the lookout for events like all-you-can-eat seafood or scallops, prime rib, and tuna steak meals! Finally, next time you dine at Mill Street Grill or The Depot Grille, make sure to sample their slow-cooked ribs and homemade barbecue sauce.

For even more summer fun, visit our blogs on Live Music, Ice Cream and Swimming Holes.

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

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

Happy Birthday America Virtual

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

Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts

You’re in for a treat with this year’s annual Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts! Choose from over 50 different concerts extending through August 6. Concerts range from chamber music, Fourth of July music, and multi-genre selections. See world-renowned celebrity guests in the Celebrity Series and Sunday Matinee Series. Heifetz students perform in the Stars of Tomorrow Series as well as the intimate Fridays in the Gallery series, which is set in a quiet gallery surrounded by Shenandoah Valley art. Anything goes in the Heifetz Hootenanny Series, which will occur in the Blackburn Inn’s new Great Hall.

Red Wing Roots Music Festival

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

Summer Stage at the Blackburn Inn

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

Staunton Music Festival

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

Redbeard’s Summer Concert Series

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

Stonewall Brigade Band at the Gypsy Hill Bandstand 

Staunton’s historic 70-member Stonewall Brigade Band is bringing big sounds to your Monday nights from now through August 30. The oldest-continuous community band in the U.S. was originally a marching band, but with the addition of woodwinds after the Civil War, it became a concert band. It first played in what is now Gypsy Hill Park in 1889. Concerts begin at 8 p.m. See the full schedule here.

Tuesday Nights: Praise in the Park in Gypsy Hill Park 

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

Bluegrass in Gypsy Hill Park

Local and regional bluegrass entertainers will visit Staunton on Wednesday nights between July 7 and August 25. Most concerts include sets by two different groups. Get ready for some energetic tunes and banjo picking from  Mark Templeton Band, Southern Rail Express, Page County Ramblers, Donnie Mason and In the Tradition, and more. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. See the full schedule here.

Thursday Nights: Jazz in the Park 

Celebrate hot summer nights with the Jazz in the Park summer concert series. You’ll hear classic jazz standards performed by S.P.L.A.A.A.T. Quartet, amazing stride/boogie pianist William Hayes performing with The Boogie Kings, and trumpeter John D’earth, who has collaborated with greats such as Tito Puente, Dave Matthews, and Miles Davis. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. See the full lineup here.

Nearby Music

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

 

Staunton Father’s Day Gift Guide

We get it. You love your dad, but he can be awfully hard to shop for! Before you add to his collection of #1 Dad mugs and sports-themed t-shirts, check out this list of cool Father’s Day gifts to let the father figure in your life know how much you care.

Breweries

Your dad likes to drink beer, right? What about taking him out for a day at the nearby breweries? You can connect over a flight or a pint. 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). Pamper dad with beer merchandise like a t-shirt or a growler with his favorite brewery’s name on it. Or make a weekend of it: Stable Craft Brewing rents cozy and comfortable cabins. Not only does the brewery make excellent beer, there’s also first-rate food to be had as well as chances to listen to live music and play yard games like disc golf and corn hole.

Beverley Cigar Store

Help Dad celebrate the world’s reopening. Beverley Cigar Store sells cigars, pipes, pipe tobacco, and more, including smoking accessories, lighters and clothing like summer guayaberas. If you know what Dad likes to smoke, get him his favorite. Otherwise, pick out a selection of different flavors. If you smoke as well, take him to the store where you can kick back, socialize, and relax. On weekends, Beverley Street shuts down to vehicular traffic for Shop and Dine Out in Downtown, so you can chill outside in the fresh air.

CFO Trading Co.

CFO Trading Co. sells fine, casual men’s clothing from brands like Properly Tied Apparel, Duck Head, and Dearborn 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. CFO Trading Co. also carries pit barrel cookers, an excellent choice for someone getting into smoking food for the first time. Accessorize the cooker with a variety of tasty sauces.

Wilderness Adventure

We bet your dad would love a weekend camping trip with you (and the kids if you’ve got them). Reserve a weekend at one of our area campgrounds. 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, from hiking to paddling, and more. If Dad has troublesome feet, he might like a pair of OS1st socks. They’re designed to help with problems like bunions, plantar fasciitis, blister protection, and more.

Golf at Gypsy Hill Golf Club

Is Dad a golfer? Gift him a round at Gypsy Hill Golf Club. Not only is this a beautiful, challenging course, it also boasts some of the cheapest rates in the area. 18 holes with a cart costs just $25. That leaves plenty in your pocket to celebrate the 19th hole at nearby Queen City Brewing. And if you (or dad) need some golf school before hitting the links, Gypsy Hill Golf Club also offers one-hour private lessons.

Fishing

Teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime! South River Fly Shop (Waynesboro) provides fishing supplies, guided trips, and instruction. Pick from a half or full-day (lunch included) guided float on the South, James, Shenandoah, or Jackson Rivers. No matter what your skill level, Mossy Creek Fly Fishing (Harrisonburg) can tailor fly fishing instruction to your specific needs. The classes are small with only four students per teacher. Mossy Creek also offers half and full day wade or float guided fishing trips.

Flowers, Candy, Etc.

Dads like flowers, too! Let him know you’re thinking of him with an arrangement from Honey Bees Florist. Does your father already have everything? Sweeten his day with a box of chocolate business cards from Cocoa Mill. Another 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. H.L Lang’s fine jewelry selection includes engravable cufflinks. Crown Jewelers sells Citizen watches that wind themselves with the movement of your wrist.

Martial Arts

Has Dad been binging Cobra Kai and fantasizing about taking up martial arts? There’s no time like now to help him tone up his dad bod and add new belts to his wardrobe. Grandmaster Dong’s Martial Arts offers hapkido, karate, tae kwon do, kumdo and weapons classes for kids, families, and adults. Another good place to learn self-defense is Total Defense Martial Arts, where people of all ages can study western-style boxing, Filipino martial arts, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Top Things to Do in Staunton This Summer

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

Shop & Dine Out Downtown

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

American Shakespeare Center at MBU’s Rose Terrace

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

SummerStage at The Blackburn Inn

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

Get Your New Beerwerks T-shirt

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

Nearby Swimming Holes 

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

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

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

Staunton Parks – Gypsy Hill & Montgomery Hall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick Your Own Fruit & Produce 

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

 

Celebrate Juneteenth Staunton Style

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

Juneteenth Celebration at Sunspots Pavilion

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

5th Annual Juneteenth at the Frontier Culture Museum

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

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

Juneteenth After Party at the Pompei Lounge

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

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

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! 

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.