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10 Things You Must Do in Staunton this Holiday Season

Staunton lights up and shines for the holidays, and our calendar is already bursting with treats this year, including music, shopping, historical tours, and even a chance or two to see Santa! Make plans now to explore Staunton’s holiday music, events and entertainment this holiday season. 

Taste The Best of OUr Culinary Scene

From a holiday tea to oysters at BLU Point Seafood’s raw bar, to Christmas dinner at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center, to a Biteseeing Staunton tour, our town bursts with culinary delights. Check your favorite restaurant for holiday specials.

See How the Better Half Lives on the Historic Staunton Foundation’s 47th Annual Holiday House Tour

Hundreds of visitors will flock to Staunton’s popular Historic Staunton Foundation’s Holiday House Tour to celebrate Staunton’s architecture and holiday decor. This year, five beautifully restored private homes in Staunton’s Gospel Hill Historic District will be showcased and discussed. Saturday, December 7, 5-8 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 8, 1-5 p.m. 

Applaud a Live Performance at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse

December 4-January 1: For information on showtimes and tickets, visit the American Shakespeare Center.

  • A Christmas Carol – Join Marley, the three Christmas ghosts, the Cratchits, and Tiny Tim – they’re all back to take Scrooge on the ride of his money-grubbing life.
  • Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) – Ring in the holidays with this fast-paced Christmas journey through all of your favorite holiday classics! Be prepared for a whirlwind of laughter, carols, and joy as you experience the Holiday Spirit like never before.

Relax to Beautiful Music

Fill your holidays with beautiful music by attending Advent Lessons and Carols at Trinity Episcopal Church. Trinity’s traditional candlelight service, sung by the Trinity Choirs, interweaves scripture, carols, and choral music. Music for organ, choir, and congregation. Sunday, December 8, 5 p.m

More public music follows on January 5, 2020 with Trinity’s Playing of the Merry Organ with Friends.

Score Unique Gifts in Our Downtown

Don’t head to the shopping center! Enjoy seeing Staunton’s walkable downtown dressed for the holidays. You can count on finding special and unique gifts for everyone on your list in our downtown boutiques and artisan shops. Mark your calendar for:

  • Small Business Saturday Walk off your Thanksgiving calories, make a dent in your holiday shopping, and support local businesses while you’re doing it? It’s a win-win-win at Staunton’s annual Small Business Saturday. Our downtown shops are filled with great deals and holiday cheer and many merchants will be offering discounts and refreshments. Saturday, November 30, 9 am – 7 pm
  • Art for Gifts in the R.R. Smith Center for History and Art. This annual, juried holiday market highlights the handmade fine art and crafts by 60 Virginia artists and artisans. November 15 – December 31, Extended gallery hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 1-4 p.m.
  • Blow Your Own Ornament at Sunspots. Aspiring glassblowers ages 7+ can huff and puff and create a piece of original art for their tree or window by blowing an ornament at Sunspots Studios. Ongoing. 

Gaze into the Lights in Gypsy Hill Park

Make time to enjoy the 14th annual Celebration of Holiday Lights in Gypsy Hill Park. Local churches, community organizations, businesses, and individuals design and erect festive displays along the entire 1.3-mile loop every year. The celebration “focuses on strong community values that all can enjoy regardless of age, background or religion.” The display is free to the public and best viewed from a car. The park will shine brightly from November 25 – January 1.

Another great way to view the lights is to attend Caroling in the Park. This Parks and Rec event includes caroling by local choirs, hot chocolate and cookies, bonfires, photographs with Santa, and hayrides that circle the park. The event is free, but it supports the Valley Mission, so donations are appreciated! December 21, 4-6 p.m.

Cheer for Your Neighbors at the Staunton Christmas Parade

Let the 2019 theme of “Small City, Bright Lights = Big Christmas” get you pumped for the holiday season at the annual Staunton Christmas Parade. Marching bands, holiday-themed floats, and local organizations march the route that winds through Staunton’s festive downtown. Make sure you stay until the end to catch a glimpse of parade marshals, Santa and Mrs. Claus! December 2, 7-9 p.m.

holiday high tea at the Frederick house

Happy holidays from your friends over at the Frederick House! This holiday season we are proud to be hosting yet another high tea benefiting Wendy’s Place Cat Rescue!

High tea is $10 and includes unlimited hot tea, coffee, or hot chocolate as well as four courses of both savory and sweet finger foods. Guests who prefer only a hot beverage without the finger foods are invited to attend and pay a reduced rate of $2. December 7, 12-6 p.m.

Greet Santa at the Train Station and Ride the Winter Express Trolley

Father Christmas (the old school Santa of yesteryear) will arrive at the train station on the Buckingham Branch Railroad during Cherish Every Christmas. Parents will be able to treat the little ones to a ride of a lifetime aboard the Winter Express Trolley, where they’ll enjoy a ride, a reading of The Polar Express, and special treats from the Clocktower. Cherish Every Christmas also features horse and carriage rides, a tree lighting celebration, and a holiday sweater contest. December 7, 3-7 p.m.

Explore the Frontier Culture Museum By Lantern Light

The 2019 Lantern Tours at the Frontier Culture Museum bring historic holiday traditions to life and explore the changes that have happened over time. Visitors attending this popular event will tour the museum on foot and by horse-drawn wagon. They’ll see living history vignettes at the English, Irish, German, and American farms as well as a Mummer’s play. The tour will conclude with light refreshments and live music. Reservations required. December 13-15 and 20-23. 

8 Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving (Without the Cleanup)

Have you been dreading the cleanup and possibly the calories of Thanksgiving this year? Want to avoid the Black Friday crowds? We’ve rounded up some places to dine away from home as well as alternative non-feasting activities to help you feel thankful this season.

Enjoy a Grand Buffet Brunch at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel 

If you want a grand buffet brunch this Thanksgiving, but want to avoid the recipe planning, the hours in the kitchen, and the dishpan hands, head over to the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center for a feast you’ll remember for years! Sample salads, seafood, decadent entrees, a carving station, and a dessert buffet if you save any room. Reserve a seating from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Get Cozy with Your Family at Kathy’s

Winner of a Best in Virginia Award, Kathy’s Restaurant has been a Staunton institution since 1986. Kathy’s will be open all day on Thanksgiving and, after 11 a.m., you can order from a special holiday menu in addition to their regular menu of hometown favorites. And if you’d rather have the famous pancakes, you’re in luck – breakfast will be served all day.

Leave the Baking to the Professionals

Lighten your load and order a delectable pie from Firkin Pie. They have several options including a Thanksgiving pie with all the fixins’ inside! For those looking for more than just pie for dessert try Paris Cake Company or Sweet Nana Cake. You can’t go wrong with their plentiful options of cupcakes, cookies and cakes. And you’ll go gobble, gobble over Cocoa Mill Chocolates’s chocolate turkeys! Enjoy carving up these artisan chocolates. 

Take a Drive Along the Skyline Drive and Eat Thanksgiving in Shenandoah National Park

There’s nothing like following the Skyline Drive along a ridge and looking at the Shenandoah Valley from above to make you feel thankful for being alive. Better yet, reserve your spot at Thanksgiving in Shenandoah National Park at Skyland, where you’ll enjoy a full traditional buffet in the beautiful dining room. If you can take your eyes off your food to take in the backdrop outside the huge windows, you’ll feel like you’re in the sky.

Explore Holiday Traditions at the Frontier Culture Museum

The Frontier Culture Museum stays open every day of the year, and Thanksgiving is no exception. Living history exhibits illustrate what life was really like for early settlers of the Shenandoah Valley. Not only will your family learn about the holiday traditions from costumed interpreters, but you’ll also see how hard people had to work in the pre-supermarket, pre-microwave, pre-dishwasher past to feed and clean up after themselves.

Tour Downtown Staunton with Traipse

Tour on your own time. Discover one of the “Best Main Streets in the USA,” (USA Today) with the free app,Traipse. Explore Staunton’s historic sites, architectural treasures, and awe-inspiring attractions on this tour/scavenger hunt in downtown Staunton. Choose from several tour options and go at your own pace.

Go Ice Skating at Generations Park

Dig your ice skates out of storage because the 2019 skating season at Generations Park in Bridgewater starts on Thanksgiving Day. What better way to usher in the season than practicing your axels, Salchows, or just trying to circle the rink without landing on your butt? Hours are 3-9 p.m. and rental skates are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

Take a Hike

Though chilly, late November often brings excellent hiking weather. There’s nothing better for family togetherness than venturing outside, screen-free. Stretch your legs. Expand your lungs. Absorb vitamin D. Kick through some dry leaves. Take in the views. Take some photos. For some good trails, check out our list of area hikes for beginners.

Run a Race

You won’t feel any food guilt if you sign up for a turkey trot on Thanksgiving. The Valley Children’s Advocacy Center’s 8th Annual Club at Ironwood Turkey Trot heads off at 9 a.m. Sign up online or on the day of the race to run or walk this lovely golf course. Proceeds from the race support the Valley Children’s Advocacy Center.

A Day in the Life of Muralist Christy Baker

There’s no way you could miss the newest addition to downtown Staunton: the “You Belong Here” mural by artist Christy Baker. Vibrant, beautiful, and meaningful, its message encourages visitors and residents alike to come to Staunton and stay awhile. We got a chance to catch up with Christy, and she’s given us all kinds of insight into her artistic process, the daily schedule of someone in her line of work, and her thoughts on public ideas about people who make a career out of the arts. Read on to meet Christy.

 

Besides creating and painting murals, what kind of work do you do?

I founded a paint company called Good Bones Paint, a DIY-friendly, one-step furniture paint. It can be found locally at Augusta Paint in Staunton as well as over 40 dealers in the Southeast.

I also started and co-own an artistic finishing business in Charlottesville. Pigment is my main focus, and we have a 2,500-square foot professional paint studio/shop where we ‘re-fab’ furniture, cabinets, offer color consultation services, and more. All of our work is custom and client-specific. We work with architects, designers, home and business owners, and nonprofits.

I’m also a mom of two boys (plus two dogs and a flock of chickens!).

How did you get started?

I have been painting and making things since as far back as I can remember! I began large-scale work in high school. I started taking commissions as a teenager and then went on to art school in New York City.

Do you travel a lot or are you based mainly in a studio?

Most of my mural projects are within a hundred mile radius of my Charlottesville studio. I would say half of my time is ‘in the field’ and the other half is in the studio.

 

What percentage of your work is actually painting vs. bookkeeping, promotion, planning, etc.? 

I spend a lot of time on the logistics of running a business. I have three employees with Pigment, and one is a part-time office manager who handles the books. I am currently looking for an intern for social media assistance as that side of the business is probably my least favorite. Thankfully, I have a strong, enthusiastic client base who continue to amaze me with their support.

When I am on-site working on a large project I tend to focus on the actual work as much as possible. On the ‘You Belong Here’ mural, for example, I have managed to answer emails, create estimates, and make calls before and after the long days of painting.

What’s your style?

Color is paramount!  I am constantly amazed at the psychological impact of color and the relationships between hues.

Curiousity and playfulness are also a common thread in my work. When it comes to public work I respect the importance of the interaction of the viewer with the piece and as such my work hold a message of hope, peace, and ideally, truth.

In my personal work, I enjoy painting from life and spending time observing and translating what I see.

Describe your process for creating the design. 

My family and I have spent a fair amount of time in Staunton over the last decade. From Mischief & Magic, to visiting friends who live here, to just exploring the area, we have found Staunton to be a treasure of a town.

The pair of cardinals are a nod to our state bird and also a nod to the Virginia is for Lovers campaign that funded this project. Also, I frequently see the most beautiful female cardinal outside of my home studio window and wanted an opportunity to showcase her. The males are lovely too, but why not represent both? The cardinals also serve to add some vibrant color and some stylized lines. I wanted them to lift the banner over the mountains to illustrate that the natural world is offering a message of affirmation.

What message do you hope to portray about Staunton? 

I have had a few conversations with folks who have thought the message of ‘You Belong Here’ is a political one, but for me, it’s personal. I was born in Virginia, but we moved every few years. By the time I left for college I had moved eight times. I always longed for a sense of home. Whenever I come back to the area and get the first glimpse of the mountains, I feel like I am home.

I thought about the residents and what would signify a sense of place for them, individually and collectively. I considered those who have lived in the area for generations and those who have ancestors native to this land. Before the buildings and monuments and streets, what would ‘home’ look like? And for those who are new to the area, what would they see that would connect them to the past and provide a sense of place? I kept coming back to the mountains and the phrase ‘you belong here’.

In the last several years especially, I’ve seen such pain in the longing for identity and belonging. There has been such hate and division and such a resistance to listen. My hope through the design and message of this mural is to be a reminder to those who encounter it that, yes, you belong here and also so do your neighbors. We can remind each other of our connectedness instead of our differences.

How did you feel when your piece was selected? 

I was so surprised and thrilled to get the opportunity to create this piece for Staunton. My sons were with me when I read the acceptance email and they were confused and a bit concerned about why I was shouting until they realized it was a very good thing.

What Steps Are Involved in painting the mural? 

Each mural project is unique and has its own set of challenges and difficulties. A wall of this size can take anywhere from a week to several months. So much depends on the condition of the wall, accessibility, and ultimately the design. Because the budget was fixed from the outset I knew how much I could budget for the labor involved. The intricacy of the design was somewhat dictated by the number of hours and the amount of materials allotted, including the lift rental. 

I clean and prime each wall and use a high-quality paint which is crucial. Topcoats aren’t needed unless vandalism or weather are concerns.

There are several methods of transferring a design to a wall. I prefer to use a digital projector, which I used on this project. A fair amount of what I do is free-hand as I go and changes need to be made. Sometimes I might incorporate a stencil as well.

I have used everything from extension ladders to boom lifts. Before starting any project I assess the safety concerns and address them. Whether it’s power lines, wasps’ nests, unstable ground, or just being tired, it’s best to deal with it from the outset.

What is your typical daily routine?

I take care of emails and design work early in the morning and then head over the mountain to arrive on-site at 9 a.m. Once on-site, I check in with any assistants and then start setting up my work space. I usually have a list of priorities for the day and I start working down the list. At the end of the day, I break down my work station, clean my brushes and head home. Sometimes I have to swing by my studio to follow up on any projects that need attention.

Do you spend a lot of time fielding questions from passersby when working in a public space?  

One of the things I love about creating public art is interacting with folks passing by. Sometimes it can be distracting to the work but I try to make an effort to respond when people take the time to ask a question or make a comment. Usually, I can keep working as I talk but sometimes I take a break to get into a more involved conversation.

What kinds of questions do people walking by ask?

Most people want to know how long something will take or how I get the design so big!

What do people generally think about public art? 

The nature of public art is that it is open for conversation and critique. Everyone has an opinion but not everyone shares their opinion. In general, I have found that people welcome public art, especially if it brings a sense of positivity. When public art gets contentious is when it is hurtful or inconsiderate to the audience. Public art can be controversial regardless of intent, which I think is a good thing. When public art carries with it a sense of permanence or an oppressive agenda is when things get ugly.

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions surrounding people who create art for a living?

One misconception I run into a lot is that an artist should be willing to do work for free. We should compensate artists fairly for their work. I wouldn’t create art if I didn’t feel passionate about it, but that doesn’t mean I should allow my work to be devalued because I love what I do. Years ago I committed to pursuing a career as an artist and I am still paying off the student loans. I view myself as successful in that I can provide for my family through my skill and abilities as an artist and designer. That said, I would like to have more time to pursue other interests and spend time with my friends and family. All art requires time, material, space, and a sense of safety. Often I find myself with a few of those elements but not all.

Many people think artists are lazy or disorganized. I’ve found, myself included, that as artists we are always working. Our minds are formulating projects and ideas, our eyes are taking in references and inspiration, our bodies are moving and making constantly.

What will you work on next? 

I have several mural projects, a few custom painted floors, and some hand-painted signs lined up for the next few months!

What is your dream project?

My sketchbook is full of ideas for projects I’d love to pursue should I have the resources available. I’d love to create more immersive, experiential art pieces that invite interaction and transformation.

 

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report: Weekend of November 1-3, 2019

Staunton Area

The autumn colors have peaked in Staunton over the past week. They’ve been spectacular, despite predictions of less-than-stellar colors due to drought. Many trees have dropped their leaves in the past few days, but there’s still time to see some brilliant foliage. Plan to visit the Staunton Farmer’s Market on one of its final weeks this Saturday and check for some color in the historic Wharf area and nearby on the grounds of Trinity Church.

Beyond Staunton

The Virginia Department of Forestry  reports peak fall foliage this week in the mountains. The weather should be sunny and in the 50s this weekend, so make up for the lousy Halloween weather by getting the family outside for a hike. Take advantage of Fee-Free Entry Day at Shenandoah National Park on Sunday, November 11.  Here’s a link to the park’s list of suggested hikes or plan to leaf peep from your car while cruising along the Skyline Drive.

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report: weekend of October 25-27

Staunton Area

You won’t need to look hard to see autumnal colors this weekend as you move around Staunton. Though our fall foliage display isn’t quite as vibrant as in years past, it’s starting to really feel like fall, and you should scout some backgrounds for your seasonal photos. 

Visit Gypsy Hill Park, Montgomery Hall Park, Woodrow Park, Betsy Bell and Mary Gray Wilderness Area, and Thornrose Cemetery for some of the loveliest views in town. Check here every week for our updated fall foliage report.

Beyond Staunton

The colors continue to march on outside city limits. Expect to see yellows and reds from maples, though the drought has impacted the brightness of the yellows. Look also for red displays from sumac and, surprisingly, poison ivy vines, which add festive garlands to tree trunks. The Virginia Department of Forestry estimates that 50 percent of the trees at higher elevations have changed. Check out the views along the Skyline Drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and from the top of Shenandoah Mountain to the west.

Gypsy Hill Golf Course – Staunton, VA

Did you know that you could bring your clubs and play a round of golf in the middle of historic Staunton? The Gypsy Hill Golf Course is a historic 18-hole, par 71 municipal golf course in Gypsy Hill Park. Designed by Gene Ham and opened in 1919, the hilly course is open year round to members and nonmembers. Plan to add a round of golf to your next Staunton itinerary.

Facilities

Gear up for your round at the fully stocked golf shop. You can also rent carts, relax at the pavilion, and celebrate (or plan) your victories in the course’s scheduled tournaments.

Best rates in the area

You can pay a yearly fee to become a member of the Gypsy Hill Golf Course, but nonmembers are also welcome to play, and the rates are some of the best in the area. Rates for nonmembers:

  • 18 holes with cart: $25
  • 18 holes after 11 a.m.: $20
  • 9 holes with cart:  $18
  • Walking 18 holes: $10
  • Walking 9 holes: $8

Knowledgeable staff

Feeling rusty? There’s never an off season for dedicated golfers. The course offers instructional clinics in the summer. You can also hone your skills and improve all aspects of your game with a by taking a private lesson with course pro, Wes Allred. 

  • Adult one-hour lesson: $40
  • Senior one-hour lesson: $30
  • Junior one-hour lesson: $20

Beautiful course with many old trees

The Gypsy Hill Golf Course is beautiful and graced with many mature shade trees. The hilltops afford long-range views of the mountains. The course makes use of the park’s rolling hills, and you’ll get a challenging workout during your round. Carts are available for those who’d rather enjoy the ride.

Close to other attractions

The Gypsy Hill Golf Course is located in Gypsy Hill Park. Gypsy Hill Park was originally bought by the city to preserve the springs that provided Staunton’s water supply in the late 1800s. It was named for the travellers who camped near the springs on their way through the area. Over the years, the city has built various recreational spaces including a walking and biking loop, playgrounds, bandstand, tennis courts, fishing and duck feeding lakes, picnic facilities, and a dog park. It’s an easy walk from the park to Queen City Brewing and Lundch for refreshments after your round, and it’s only a mile to downtown.

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report: Weekend of October 18-20

Staunton Area

Many of Virginia’s trees are still dressed in green, but here’s hoping this week’s cooler nights and shorter days will bring on the colors we’ve been waiting for! Look for reds in Staunton’s maple trees and burgundy on the dogwoods.  According to Smoky Mountain National Park’s Fall Foliage Prediction Map, we should look for the leaves to peak over the next two weekends. Check here every week for our updated fall foliage report.

The Mountains

It’s starting to really feel like fall, so wear some layers when you explore the trails this weekend. You’ll start to see autumnal colors this as you visit higher elevations. The display aren’t yet as vibrant as in years past, but you’ll still find some beautiful backgrounds for your selfies, thanks to the cold, the shorter days and the breakdown of chlorophyll. 

Fall Flavors: 7 Staunton Alternatives to Pumpkin Spice

It’s the time of year when the warm and seasonal flavors of pumpkin spice flood the markets and coffee shops (and Instagram). But if you’re wondering when it all will end (pumpkin spice Cheerios? Pumpkin spice protein powder? Pumpkin spice dog treats?) it might be time to put down the pumpkin spice latte and indulge in alternative fall flavors. Here are seven local seasonal flavors to liven up your sippin’ and eatin’ selfies this fall.

Firkin Pie Company

Firkin Pie Company has long been a staple at the farmers’ market, but you can also get your pastry fix at their 310 Kalorama Street storefront. Choose a sweet or savory pie from the seasonal menu. Pie is served by the slice and in 5” or 9” whole pies. How about a tomato pesto, spinach, and goat cheese hand pie or a slice of plum custard pie? Or both! 

Staunton Olive Oil Company

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

Redbeard Brewing Company

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

Paris Cake Company

Does the crisp autumn air pique your sweet tooth? Grab your cozy sweater and hurry down to Paris Cake Company to indulge in some of their seasonal offerings. Yes, they have pumpkin whoopee pies and pumpkin spice cupcakes with chocolate icing that you absolutely should try. However, they also serve a spice pound cake with a swirl of chocolate and butterscotch buttercreams on top. Yum!

Emilio’s Italian Restaurant

If you want to sit down to an elegant dinner after a day of hiking and leaf peeping, visit Emilio’s Italian Restaurant for some of their butternut squash ravioli. Served in a cream butter sauce that is flavored with sage and lemon, this one is to die for!

Klines Ice Cream

Klines Dairy Bar serves up a mean pumpkin-flavored cone, but if you’re looking for an alternative, order a big bowl of German chocolate cake ice cream. This retro-style joint has a purple neon ice cream sign and garage doors that roll open, so your family can enjoy treats in the fresh air. Ice cream flavors change weekly, so check the website before you go. Think you’ll be hungry again later? Take home a quart for later along with some of the sweet or Carolina BBQ Klines is famous for.

Farmers’ Market

A Saturday morning stroll through the Staunton Farmers’ Market is a perfect way to get inspired to whip up a fall flavor of your own. Breathe the fresh air and check out the fresh produce. Talk to the farmers about the best way to prepare your bounty. Grab an apple cider donut or one of Lydia’s Cupcake’s brown butter and caramel cream cheese “Spice Up Your Life” cupcakes for energy. The Saturday Farmers’ Market runs through Thanksgiving.

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report: Weekend of October 11-13

Staunton Area

Staunton is finally seeing some seasonal weather this week! Though the highs later in the week are still predicted to be in the 70s, nights dipping into the 40s should bring us some color. Overall, the foliage is still green, but according to Smoky Mountain National Park’s Fall Foliage Prediction Map, we should be seeing “partial” color coverage this weekend. Look for the leaves to peak on the weekends of the 19th and 26th. Check here every week for our updated fall foliage report.

The Mountains

Make sure you get out to hike this weekend. You’ll notice that even the trees at higher elevations are still very green, but The Virginia Department of Forestry suggests that the green will soon be changing to yellow as limited daylight shuts down chlorophyll production. Though all deciduous trees change color and drop their leaves, the intensity of the show is varied from year to year and “this summer’s drought will probably cause a shorter and duller viewing season.”

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report: weekend of October 6-8

Staunton area

It might be October, but Virginia weather is still mostly hot and dry, and we’re not seeing any dramatic changes in the leaves yet. There’s some browning and yellowing with flashes or orange. Some trees are simply dropping their leaves. Longer and cooler nights will signal upcoming changes, but the drought conditions we’ve been experiencing (September was one of the driest on record) might put a damper on this year’s display. The Virginia Department of Forestry suggests looking to black gum, dogwood, and sumacs for the most color this week.

The Mountains

Virginia’s autumn color display tends to begin in the mountains and in the western part of the state. As October progresses, the leaf colors will move eastward and we’ll see more activity at lower elevations. The Virginia Department of Forestry predicts that the best colors will be seen on “October 10-20 in the mountains, October 15-25 in central Virginia and October 20-31 in eastern Virginia.” Check here every week for our updated fall foliage report.