Category: Uncategorized

Earth Day 2021

Earth Day events are designed to help us learn to restore our planet by promoting clean air, land, and water, supporting native species, and more. In past years, Staunton has held a large educational fair for Earth Day, but this year things will look a little different in order to keep people safe from Covid. A number of activities will occur virtually or will be extended for a longer period of time.  Click here for the full schedule.

Live Events:

  • Earth Day Staunton Stage: Come to the Sunspots Pavilion on April 24 from 10 – noon for music and demonstrations including tips for native gardening, climate restoration, honeybee behavior, and more.
  • Shenandoah Mountain Warblers & Wildflowers: Join Friends of Shenandoah Mountain and Headwaters Master Naturalists at one of three Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail sites to explore the trails, and identify birds and plants. Each site will have a master naturalist, a birder, and a biologist standing by to help you and answer your questions. May 8, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

  • ​Litter Cleanup & Classification (Ages 11-Adult): Most litter can end up in our waterways. In this activity you’ll select an area to collect litter (it doesn’t need to be near a body of water). Download the pdf and track the amount and type of litter you found. This will be used in a national database.
  • Earth Day Paddle Trip with Friends of the Middle River: This self-guided, 3-hour float on the Middle River is available to those who have their own boats and transportation. May 1st, put-in 8 – 9:30 a.m. 

Virtual Meetings:

  • Meet a Bat! Afterschool Animal Encounter & Flappy Hour for Adults: Leslie Sturges (Save Lucy the Bat) will teach the community about how bats are beneficial to the community. She’ll have separate programs for kids (they’ll get to ask questions and see a real bat) and adults (more answers to your bat-related questions, plus “batty” drink recipes). April 21, 4:30 pm  
  • Climate Reality and What We Can Do About It: Shenandoah Green will discuss the climate and teach us how to “restore balance.” April 22, 5:30 p.m.
  • Watch & Talk — Kiss the Ground: Register to watch the movie and then join the virtual discussion with soil experts on how to “stabilize Earth’s climate, restore lost ecosystems and create abundant food supplies.”

Links available here soon

Activities with Apps and Online Components

  • Families can download the ActionBound app and participate in a series of miniature quests called “Earth Day Staunton Bound.” The free activity will be available until April 30.
  • Identify that new-to-you plant or critter with the help of iNaturalist’s Seek app. Take photos and earn points as you learn about the subject’s life.

Natural Areas in Staunton’s Parks

If you’re looking to “get in touch with nature” while in the city of Staunton, you should really check out the natural areas in our parks. Hikers and mountain bikers will love wandering the trails in Betsy Bell Wilderness and Montgomery Hall Park. Both offer miles of trails and the particular sense of peace you get when you’re surrounded by the natural world. Birders, too, will revel in the high number of species that can be identified in these hotspots. Montgomery Hall also offers Nature Ridge natural playground. Tucked away behind the softball field, this playground features no swings or slides, only natural elements that will absorb kids for hours of imaginative and exploratory play.

Staunton Businesses that Promote Good Stewardship of the Earth

Refill Renew

How can you enjoy your favorite cleaning and personal products and do something good for the environment at the same time? Shop at Refill Renew, a low-waste refill shop where you bring your own refillable containers, and pay for the bulk product you add. Choose from hair and body products, sunscreen, various cleaners and detergents, as well as local apple cider vinegar. You’ll also find reusable lifestyle goods like stainless steel utensils and straws, mesh product bags, beeswax wrap, biodegradable trash bags and more.

Concepts Created

Bryan Black, designer and owner of Concepts Created, has been constructing custom furniture out of reclaimed wood and other materials since 2000. Each piece is created after a detailed consultation with the customer. Skilled handcrafting and attention to detail produce unique pieces that have both beauty and history.

Staunton Farmers’ Market

Farmers’ markets are wonderful ways to score the freshest possible produce and connect with your community. They also support local agriculture and sustainable farming practices. Visit the Staunton Farmers’ Market April – November.

Staunton Plant Co.

Native plants are important because they have adapted to their native conditions and generally don’t require as much fertilizer or pesticides as other species. They also support the shelter and food needs of local species of birds, mammals, and insects like butterflies. Staunton Plant Co. specializes in locally grown and native plants. This full-service garden center also provides annuals, perennials, mulch, trees and hanging baskets to beautify your property.

JMD Farm Market & Garden Center

Not only does JMD Farm Market & Garden Center offer locally grown annual, perennial, and vegetable plants, they also carry garden gifts and fresh, local meats, fruits, and vegetables. Shop, enjoy a glass of wine, and let the kids explore on the natural playground.

Several downtown Staunton shops offer garden and garden-themed decor. You might know Blair Made for beautiful handmade wooden signs, but check the website for a glimpse of her vintage botanical prints that are printed on wood and will allow you to look at fresh flowers all year long. Harmony Moon has a nice selection of planters and flower pots, whimsical bird houses, windchimes, birdbaths and other garden décor.


Staunton in Bloom

Historic Garden Week

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

After being cancelled for Covid in 2020, Staunton’s Historic Garden Week Tour is back in bloom for 2021!  The walking tour showcases four gardens on New and Lewis Streets in the downtown area, the Gardens at Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum as well as other outdoor spaces decorated with floral installations created by the Augusta Garden Club. For safety reasons, guests will only have access to the gardens and the exteriors of the homes. 

In addition to the tours themselves, guests may also attend several outdoor presentations. These include a “Fun and Fantasy” floral design demonstration taught by Garden Club of America judges. Visitors can attend educational talks about Staunton architect, T.J. Collins, and also learn about the ongoing archeological dig in the gardens of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum. Finally, guests will get to see plein air artists from the Beverley Studio School at work. Take home a memory by purchasing a finished painting at the “Wet Paint Sale.”

If You Go

  • When: April 17, 2021, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Purchase tickets online for a specific time. No tickets will be sold on the day of the tour.
  • Plan to wear flat walking shoes. 
  • Hungry? Purchase a boxed lunch ahead of time, or visit one of our restaurants close by.
  • Please plan ahead: there are no public restrooms on tour properties. Restrooms will be available in the parking lot at tour headquarters at 205 N. Central Ave. 

After visiting Staunton, plan to tour more of Virginia’s historic gardens. See Virginia Garden Week’s suggested itineraries. Nearby destinations hosting tours include Lexington, Albemarle County, and Lynchburg.

Best Gardens in Staunton

If you can’t make it to the Garden Tour, Staunton offers more places where you can enjoy the spring bounty. Walk through many of our public spaces or explore the residential neighborhoods and you’ll be wowed by the gardens. In early spring, flowering trees like redbuds, magnolias, Bradford pears are budding out. Look for dogwood displays to follow. Early spring flowers include daffodils, tulips, forsythia, lilac, and violets. Check out some of our favorites.

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum

The Historic Gardens at Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum are open to the public from dawn to dusk. Originally part of a much larger estate, the existing gardens were designed by landscape architect Charles F. Gillette in 1933. Maintained by the Garden Club of Virginia, the gardens include perennials, lilacs, boxwoods, and hostas. Stroll the brick pathways and admire the plants or rest on a quiet bench just steps from the bustle of downtown Staunton.

Gypsy Hill & Montgomery Hall Parks 

Both Gypsy Hill Park and Montgomery Hall Parks have flower gardens maintained by Staunton Parks and Rec. Look for seasonal blooms and annuals in the landscaping around buildings and park features as well as various types of labeled trees. The dogwood tree is both Virginia’s state flower and tree, and for over 100 years. The Augusta Garden Club’s Project Dogwood has planted over 150 of these springtime beauties in both parks. They’ve also erected signage to identify and provide information about the different types of trees.

Gardens at the Staunton Library

The library has several garden beds, including a large one that wraps the corner of Augusta and Churchville Avenues. Make sure to visit the award-winning Brenda L. Papke Memorial Sensory Garden, a small, universally accessible space designed to stimulate all five of the senses. Sensory favorites include: lavender, rosemary, Annabelle Hydrangea, and butterfly bushes. Download a scavenger hunt to use in the library, when open, and the garden.  

Mens’ Green Thumb Park and Watering Can 

Blink and you might miss this little gem as you drive into Staunton. It’s worth a second pass though: Look for spring blooms spilling out of a giant watering can and larger plants like elephant ears later in the season.

Best Gardens Near Staunton

Edith J. Carrier Arboretum

James Madison University’s Edith J. Carrier Arboretum celebrates native Virginia wildflower, tree, and shrub species in a peaceful, wooded environment. The 125-acre sanctuary contains walking paths, water features, play areas for kids, and daffodil, perennial, and pollinator gardens. Other garden areas showcase ferns, daylilies, herbs, and a shale garden of endemic perennials that survive only in the harshest of conditions.

Boxerwood Gardens

The Play Trail at Boxerwood Gardens will keep your kids busy for hours, but you’ll also want to explore the 15-acre Woodland Garden. Follow the trails through the woods, around the pond, and along the wildflower meadow. Early spring blooms include magnolia and cherry trees.

Shenandoah National Park

Wildflower season at Shenandoah National Park begins in late March and extends all the way through fall. Springtime blooms to look for are redbuds, trout lilies, bellworts, violets, and wild geraniums. Over 850 different species grow here, including many specimens from the aster, pea, lily, mint, and mustard families. Check here for a calendar of what’s in bloom.

Pebble Hall Wildflowers

Pebble Hall Wildflowers offers over an acre of wildflowers and herbs that you can pick to create your own seasonal bouquets. Wander the lovely grounds admiring the views, taking photos, sharing a picnic, and petting the cows. Hula hoops, a small nature museum and a fairy garden will please the younger set. Check out the schedule to see what’s blooming.

White Oak Lavender Farm

Pretty sights and even better smells will greet you at White Oak Lavender Farm. This lavender destination provides beautiful views, a chance to tour and explore the lavender fields and processing areas. You’ll also find a lavender shop where you can purchase lavender-infused items, a discovery area for kids, and a tasting room for the Purple WOLF Vineyard.

Andre Viette Farm & Nursery

The Andre Viette Farm & Nursery is known best for its daylilies, but the extensive display gardens are open to the public and contain much more. The sun and shade gardens will inspire your own landscaping. Check out the garden center to purchase what you like most!

Staunton Silver Linings: How to Spend a Rainy Day

Is a sudden thunderstorm threatening to put a damper on your Staunton plans? Don’t beat yourself up asking “water” we going to do in the rain, because Staunton looks good in clouds, too! Check out these surefire remedies for cabin fever.

Indulge in a Spa Day

If rain makes you stressed, book a spa treatment at the Spa at the Blackburn, Staunton’s newest place for relaxation. Pick from massage, reflexology, nail or skin treatments, or indulge yourself with a full day of luxury.

Other soothing places include Breezy Hill Day Spa, housed in a historic mansion, or Mill Street Body and Soul Day Spa and Salon, which is right downtown. Both spas’ services include massage, facials, manicures, and pedicures. If you’d prefer to relax at home, stop by Essentially Zen Artisan Body & Bath Co. You’ll find soaps, bath bombs, candles, gift boxes, and much more to help you relax in these stressful times.

Eyeball Some Art or Visit a Museum

Explore the rotating exhibits of art and history at Staunton Augusta Arts Center, located in the historic R.R. Smith Center for History and Art. The Beverley Street Studio School Gallery and Co-ART Gallery host multiple exhibits of fine local art each year. For more art, visit Mary Baldwin University’s Hunt Gallery. The art ranges from “abstract to classical, reflecting a wide variety of media and artistic intentions.” If you’re hankering for a chance to do your own creative work, Staunton Makerspace offers both courses, space, and tools for independent work.

If you haven’t been to the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library yet, a rainy day is the ideal time to tour the 19th-century manse and bone up on your history. Snatch a selfie in front of Wilson’s 1919 Pierce-Arrow Limousine or tour the state-of-the-art WWI trench warfare exhibit. The museum is also offering live virtual programming and is opening a new exhibit called “The Quarantine Museum,” in which Staunton residents share their stories of navigating the pandemic.

Find the Bottom of Your Glass

When downpours make you thirsty, get a sense of Staunton’s local wine offerings at the Ox-Eye Vineyards tasting room, which is located in a cool, historic building and has a covered outdoor seating space. Hang out with friends at Yelping Dog, for a wide selection of wines from around the world. Redbeard Brewing Company, Shenandoah Valley Brewing, and Queen City Brewing offer delicious craft beer right in Staunton’s downtown. Skipping Rock Beer Co. is just a short drive away. Sip beer and spend the afternoon enjoying your brew over a board game or two or stunning the world with your knowledge during weekly pub trivia.

Take a Break from Netflix

A rainy day is a perfect excuse to watch a play or a movie. Amp up the culture factor with a performance of one of Shakespeare’s hits at the Blackfriars Playhouse, which has started selling tickets for its Actor’s Renaissance Summer outdoor performances of Macbeth. More performances will follow, but in the meantime, take advantage of BLKFRSTV, where you can stream cinema-quality performances in the comfort of your home. Is a movie and a beer more your speed? The Visulite airs the latest movies and lets you relax with a glass of wine or craft beer. Covid safety measures are in place, including extensive cleaning of all touchpoints and socially distanced seating.

Roll the Dice

Speaking of games, if the sound of raindrops makes you eager to roll dice, Staunton has lots of options to get your game on. To purchase a game to take back to your place, try Pufferbellies for family games and puzzles or the Dragon’s Hoard for strategy games or live gaming.

Limber up those wrists and cure your cabin fever with bowling at Staunton Lanes, where you can roll some straights and fill up on nachos and fries. Your peeps will also enjoy a collaborative breakout puzzle at Crack the Code Escape Room. Crack the Code has recently moved to a new location and is offering both live and take-home escape challenges, some of which are Staunton-themed.


Score Something New

Staunton has dozens of cool shops offering unique gifts and items. If you’re looking for something uniquely Virginian, check out Made; By the People, Medieval Fantasies Company Gyfte Shoppe, or The Sparrow’s Nest, which features jewelry, clothing, art, decor, and more from local artists and farms. Harmony Moon and Jude’s: A Fine Emporium carry gifts for all members of the family. And if you’re shopping for Fido, hit up the Well Balanced Paw.  Light up your tastebuds at Staunton Olive Oil Company where you’ll find premium olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and the local herbs and spices to complement them. If books are what you’re into, check out Staunton’s newest bookstore, The Book Dragon, which carries new and used books for the entire family. Alternatively, browse for hours through the huge inventory of reasonably priced used books, comics, CDs, and DVDs at Know Knew Books.

Embrace Something with Memories

17 E. Beverley Antiques boasts two floors of goodies, from furniture, fine jewelry, and art, to retro clothing and accessories. Continue the hunt at Staunton Antiques Center, 10,000 square feet bursting with vintage furniture, housewares, and clothing, as well as contemporary work by local artists. The Factory Antique Mall in Verona is the largest in the country. Spend your rainy afternoon browsing acres of antiques, jewelry, toys, and other items sure to evoke memories of another era. Nearby, Verona Antiques fills a space once occupied by a roller rink with high-quality antiques and art. 


Staunton Women in History

Everyone has seen the Woodrow Wilson birthplace and heard, or at least heard about, the Statler Brothers lighting up the nights on Independence Day. However, a number of other less presidential, but also important people have ties to the town. From the wife of a president to leaders in education, read on for more about the notable women with connections to Staunton.

Edith Bolling, Wilson’s Second Wife

Edith Bolling Wilson was Woodrow Wilson’s second wife. She was born in Wythville, VA, in 1872 and traced her ancestry back to Pocahontas. Bolling married and moved to D.C., and after her first husband died, married again in 1915, this time to president Woodrow Wilson. When Wilson became bedridden after a stroke, she managed his office and determined what matters of state were important enough to bring to his attention. Edith is known for setting sheep to graze on the White House lawn to save on the manpower that would be needed to cut it during WWI. After Wilson died, Edith worked to preserve her husband’s birthplace, which is now the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library.

Staunton Female Seminaries

Women’s education, which was limited in the 19th century, got a big boost in the 1840s when three female seminaries opened in Staunton.

Mary Baldwin and Augusta Female Seminary (1842)

Augusta Female Seminary was founded by Reverend Rufus W. Bailey, a New England native who came to Staunton to start a Presbyterian school for girls. The Augusta Female Seminary was constructed next to the church. According to Dictionary of Virginia Biography, the school offered an exemplary education for Southern women of the time, stressing academics, devotion to Christian principles, community service, and self-reliance. Mary Julia Baldwin was one of its first students who grew up to later run the school for 34 years. It was later renamed in her honor.

Mary Baldwin attended Augusta Female Seminary and graduated in 1846 as valedictorian. Baldwin started a small school and later took over Augusta Female Seminary in 1863. Not only did she save it from floundering financially, she revamped the curriculum to elevate it to the level of a university. Baldwin proved to be a good businesswoman and administrator, and the school thrived during her 34-year tenure. It came to be “considered one of the most distinguished for young women in the southern states.” Baldwin died in 1897 and is buried in Staunton’s Thornrose Cemetery.

Virginia Female Institute (1844)

Maria Sheffey was a wealthy widow who started a school for girls at her home, Kalorama, in the 1830s. Though Staunton had many schools, this was the first to offer education to girls past elementary school. Later, Ms. Sheffey’s school merged with an Episcopal seminary to form The Virginia Female Institute. Mrs. Sheffey served as a joint principal alongside Reverend James McElroy. The school eventually became Stuart Hall, which still exists today.

Wesleyan Female Institute (1846-1900)

The Wesleyan Female Institute was a Methodist school attended by both boarding and day students. Reverend J.R. Finch was the first principal, and the school was housed in several places over the years, including the church basement and Madison Place.

Local Heroes

YuLee Larner

For 32 years, YuLee Larner wrote weekly “Random Ramblings” and “Larner Lines,” columns for the Newsleader about birds and nature. Larner also wrote Birds of Augusta County, Virginia and Virginia’s Birdlife: An Annotated Checklist. A founding member of the Augusta Bird Club and a president of the Virginia Society of Ornithology, Larner was widely considered one of “the most respected self-taught ornithologist[s] in Virginia.” The YuLee Trail through Staunton’s Montgomery Hall Park is a wonderful place to walk, mountain bike, and look for wildlife. It is named in her honor.

Rita Wilson 

Rita Wilson, Staunton’s first Black councilwoman and vice mayor, served the community for 16 years. She retired in 2008 and passed away in 2016. Staunton City Council named its chambers after her to honor her legacy. Wilson strove to be a community leader and “represent people that she felt were underrepresented.”

Staunton Legends

Ethel Moses (1904-1982)

Ethel Moses was born in Staunton, but she moved to Philadelphia as a child. Nicknamed “The Black Jean Harlow,” Ethel Moses was a hugely popular Harlem performer in the 20s and 30s. She drew crowds to the stage and to her films because of her beauty, her dancing and acting ability, and her engaging personality. She toured with the Cab Calloway band, and began acting in films in the mid 1930s, working with filmmaker Oscar Micheaux on projects such as Temptation, Underworld, God’s Stepchildren, and Birthright. According to Blackpast.org, “Moses remains an important figure as she was one of the few Black underground actresses who represented African American characters in roles that accurately reflected Black life during a time when most major Hollywood filmmakers refused to do so.”

Eva Clark

In 1906, 25-yr.-old Eva Clark, a trapeze artist with the Cole’s Brothers World Famed Triple Railroad United Shows Circus visited Staunton. After her performance, she found herself in the middle of a confrontation between a “friend” and her jealous husband and was shot in the abdomen. Clark was abandoned by both men and the entire circus, but she refused to accuse anyone of a crime, saying it was only an accident. She survived for three weeks at King’s Daughters’ Hospital before succumbing to sepsis. For years, each time a circus came to town, performers would gather to decorate her grave with flowers. In fact, her grave in Thornrose Cemetery is often still decorated with small trinkets and her story has morphed into one of Staunton’s favorite ghost stories.

Other Notable Women

Other notable women who hailed from Staunton include Sadie Adams and Sue M. Wilson Brown, who were African American suffragists. Gertrude Harris Boatwrite Claytor was a mid-twentieth century poet and Mary Yost became the dean of women at Stanford University from 1921-1946. Diana Adams became a principal dancer in the New York City Ballet in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Guide to Arts and Culture for Staunton

From Shakespeare performances to giant metal sculptures to delicate glass art, Staunton offers its residents and visitors a wealth of artistic experiences.  It’s been a tough year for those who rely on visits to performance spaces and galleries, so now that things are opening up a bit, make sure you help keep the arts and culture scene alive and thriving in Staunton. You’ll also enrich your life!

American Shakespeare Center

Staunton’s most famous contributor to the arts and culture scene is American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse. Not only does the playhouse perform Shakespeare’s masterpieces (and more), it also lets you get a sense of how the plays were actually performed in the space. Visitors to the Blackfriars can attend performances that include scholarly lectures or talk sessions with the actors. They can take behind-the-scenes tours of the space and sign their kids up for camps. During the pandemic, the Blackfriars shifted gears and offered performances in alternative spaces, including outdoors on the lawn at the Blackburn Inn. The Blackfriars also filmed seven productions to air digitally on BLKFRSTV. Camps still educated young people, but they were virtual. The ASC SafeStart program will bring “safe, live theatre to audiences online, outdoors, and inside in our beloved Blackfriars Playhouse.”

Staunton Augusta Art Center

Located in the R.R. Smith Center for History and Art, the two galleries at the Staunton Augusta Art Center host regular shows of work by regional artists. With the beautiful, historic hotel building designed by T.J. Collins in 1893 as a background, the curated exhibits will inspire you. Original work is available for sale in the gift shop as well as the annual Art for Gifts sale each winter holiday season. The SAArtC also hosts the annual, juried Art in the Park Festival, scheduled this year for September 4-5. Enjoy a day in Gypsy Hill Park exploring the vendor’s open-air displays while live music happens on the bandstand, and kids take advantage of a number of free activities. The art center runs workshops and summer camps for children. There’s a community arts calendar on their webpage that gives you a centralized schedule of all the upcoming arts happenings in the area.

CoArt Gallery & Beverley Street Studio School

After you contemplate paintings, photographs, and more by local artists at the CoArt Gallery, you should buy your favorites to take home and display on your own walls. Serious art students can sign up for a class with the Beverley Street Studio School. Lectures, workshops, and classes for teens and adults are held in a variety of forms including in-person, Zoom, and outdoors. Love nature? Sign up for plein air painting this June or a course devoted to drawing trees. 

Staunton Music Festival 

The Staunton Music Festival’s annual 10-day summer festival includes world-class chamber music ranging from the Middle Ages to commissioned world premieres. This “immersive classical musical experience” brings over 80 acclaimed chamber musicians to Staunton to perform a number of concerts in a variety of downtown Staunton settings.

Heifetz International Music Institute

The Heifetz International Music Institute educates young musicians in their artistic growth and treats the community to a variety of world-class listening opportunities. After a year of online programming and virtual concerts during Covid, Heifetz will perform live music again as part of its Ensemble in Residence concert series.

Sunspots Studio & Glassblowing

You don’t have a Sunspots glass ornament hanging in your window or on your Christmas tree yet? Don’t worry. Not only can you purchase glass art, glassware, vases, and jewelry at Sunspots Studios & Glassblowing, you can make yourself comfortable in the onsite studio and watch the artists making the art. The live demonstrations happen every day, and the artists will explain what they’re doing in each step of the blowing, coloring, and shaping process. Once the glass cools, you can come back and take it home with you!

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Artmobile

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Artmobile mobile museum and studio will make a stop at the Sunspots Pavilion on May 29-30. The artmobile travels around Virginia carrying selections from the VMFA collection to share with visitors. As visitors view the art, they’ll actually be connected with museum educators via Wi-Fi, so they can get a real-time lesson!  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.


Make time to walk down West Beverley to the corner of North Central Avenue to visit the “You Belong Here” mural. Painted in 2019, by Charlottesville artist Christy Baker, this colorful painting covers the entire side of a building with its welcoming message and Shenandoah Valley imagery of cardinals and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Nearby Waynesboro also boasts murals along its Street Arts Trail. More than a dozen interesting and beautiful works have been created during the annual Street Arts Festival.

Giant Metal Sculptures

You can’t miss the giant watering can as you turn under the railroad tracks and head into Staunton’s downtown, but did you know you can find more giant metal sculptures if you know where to look? Ferguson Metal Fabrication created carbon steel flower pots, nuts, books, eyeglasses, crutches, and shoes for the city and area businesses, and they bring a surprising touch of whimsy to the urban landscape.

Oak Grove Theatre and ShenanArts

Staunton is home to two community theaters that, in normal years, offer robust schedules and a chance to enjoy lots of local talent. Oak Grove continues to offer virtual programming and hopes to resume some of its outdoor productions this summer for its 68th season. No date has been set, but ShenanArts will resume normal programming as soon as it is able.

Shops Offering Handmade and Fair Trade Crafts

The Potter’s Daughter Studio is home to both a pottery and painting studio and Concepts Creative constructs custom furniture out of reclaimed wood and other materials. 

If you’re looking for handmade and fair trade crafts, clothing, art, and jewelry by both domestic and foreign artists, make sure to visit Harmony Moon, Latitudes, Blair Made, and Made; By the People, For the People. The Sparrow’s Nest and Medieval Fantasies both carry cool, handmade products.


Wayne Theatre

Nearby Waynesboro also has a history and reputation for supporting the arts. Each year, the Wayne Theatre brings many performances to town, including musical theater, movies on the big screen, live music, and art shows. During Covid, the Wayne moved much of its programming online with its “At Home with the Wayne” program. The program has continued to air classic movies as well as taped encore performances of its past hits. Teens and adults have had lots of chances to sign up for online workshops including makeup art, singing, auditioning and more. While much programming remains virtual, the Wayne’s calendar has recently begun filling out with more live events, now that we better understand Covid safety protocols.

Shenandoah Valley Art Center

The Shenandoah Valley Art Center is another wonderful community asset for the arts. Each year, SVAC brings us the Virginia Fall Foliage Art Show. Set against a background of autumnal color, the juried show draws 150 artists to downtown Waynesboro. SVAC hosts a rotating series of exhibits in its galleries and provides art education for children and adults alike with a wide range of camps, classes, and workshops, which are being run with Covid safety measures in place.

P. Buckley Moss Gallery

Buckley Moss became famous by creating “Valley style” watercolors of the Shenandoah Valley, its people, and its history, especially the traditions of the Amish and Mennonites. The P. Buckley Moss Gallery in downtown Waynesboro exhibits a large selection of artwork for view and purchase.

Your Agri-COOL-tural Staunton-Area Farm Itinerary in 5 Steps

The Shenandoah Valley has a wealth of farms and natural beauty. Since spring is practically here, and summer’s on the way, why not plan a vacation around getting the most out of the area’s agricultural bounty? Here’s our suggested itinerary in 5 steps.

Step 1: Take a Farm Tour

Polyface Farms is a national leader in best-practices farming. You can buy pasture-raised, hormone/antibiotic-free chicken, beef, pork, and eggs at the farm store. Stop by any time to take a self-guided tour. Polyface also offers scheduled lectures and private tours as well as “lunatic” tours where visitors ride in a hay wagon. Want to get the kids interested? Sign them up for summer camp to keep them learning with projects and activities centered around sustainable farming.

Wade’s Mill has been in business since 1750, grinding 100% natural, whole grain products with no additives, preservatives or bleaches. You’re welcome to explore the mill grounds or “mill around” looking at historic equipment and displays inside the three-story structure during business hours. More in-depth tours are available for a fee. Plan to purchase bags on freshly ground products to take home with you.

Next, take a self-guided tour of the 5-acre visitor’s area of the Cyrus McCormick Farm. Explore the scenic grounds, gaze at the mill wheel, and learn the history of the mechanical reaper, responsible for revolutionizing grain harvesting in the 1830s.

Step 2: Visit Some Animals

The Mt.Crawford Creamery sells the freshest milk, butter, and other dairy products. Visitors are welcome to say hi to the cows housed next to the dairy or register for a longer tour to learn about the farm’s history, farming practices, and the process of raising and milking the cows. Tours last an hour to an hour and a half, and you’ll definitely want to conclude with a scoop or two of ice cream from the on-site Smiley’s Ice Cream.

Another good place to visit for music, fun, agri-pub food, and delicious craft beer is Stable Craft Brewing. This brewery and event space is on a beautiful working horse farm. Visitors can hang out with the horses as well as sign up for a tour of the facilities. The tours educate participants on the brewery’s sustainable practices, introduce them to the brewers, and offer a peek behind the scenes. 

Middlebrook’s Creambrook Farm raises 100% grass-fed Jersey cows and sells raw milk herd shares. Follow them on Instagram to learn about tours and events. 

Step 3: Plan Your Own Garden

We know you’re itching to get outside and start working on your garden. Here are some places to go to get some inspiration and buy some plants to bring things to life!

You’ll find everything you need for your garden at JMD Farm Market & Garden Center. The center grows vegetable and garden plants, sells pottery, and has a small market which sells seasonal produce, meats, eggs, and local honey. Explore the greenhouses, then sit and enjoy a glass of wine while the kids have a blast on the small natural playground.

You might know the Andre Viette Farm & Nursery only for its daylilies, but the extensive display gardens are open to the public and will inspire your own landscaping. After oohing and aahing over the garden “rooms,” visit the garden center to purchase additions to your own sun and shade gardens.

Pebble Hall Wildflowers is not only a wonderful place for inspiration, you can also pick anything you see to take home with you! Follow the ½-mile loop through the fields of wildflowers and herbs, have a picnic, and admire the long views of the distant mountains. There’s even a small nature museum. Here’s a calendar of what’s blooming each month.

You won’t want to go back home after a visit to White Oak Lavender Farm because it smells so good! The farm encourages visitors to take self-guided audio tours to learn about growing and distilling the herb. Lavender plants may be purchased and you can harvest sprigs when it’s in season. You’ll also want to let the kids play in the interactive discovery area, which includes animals to pet. Stop in at the Lavender Shop for lavender products and savor a glass of wine, sangria, or a frozen wine slushie at the onsite Purple WOLF Vineyard.

JMU’s 125-acre Edith J. Carrier Arboretum is a wonderful place for both a springtime nature walk and for inspiration on how to use native Virginia flowers, trees, and shrubs in your own landscaping. You’ll find water features, artwork, play areas for kids, and more, nestled in the wooded environment.

Step 4: Visit a Farmers’ Market or Farm Store

Located in Staunton’s historic Wharf neighborhood, the Staunton Farmers’ Market brings you fresh goodness every Saturday morning from April through Thanksgiving. Not only will you enjoy chatting with the farmers, the community feel of the market will have you returning each week. Everything sold here has been grown or produced from within 75 miles. The market is a great place for seasonal produce, herbs, plants, and cut flowers. You can also find meat, baked goods, honey, and pickled items. 

Verona’s North Augusta Farmer’s Market operates each Wednesday afternoon (May-October) at the Augusta County Government Center. You’ll enjoy perusing the big selection of fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat, bakery items, honey and artisan crafts.

Farmers’ market fans should also check out the Waynesboro Farmer’s Market, Stuarts Draft Farm Market, and Harrisonburg Farmers Market.

Nu-Beginnings Farm’s store in downtown Staunton specializes in locally grown and produced foods and vegetables. From baked goods, to dairy and eggs, you’ll find something that celebrates the tastes of the Valley. The store also features an eat-in or carry-out menu of sandwiches, soups, salads, snacks, and desserts.

Check the schedule at Valley Pike Farm Market for upcoming live music and floral workshops. The Farm Market emphasizes local and Virginia products and includes a coffee shop, deli, ice cream shop, bakery, food trucks. You can also buy many varieties of Virginia wine and beer. 

Mount Sidney’s Cool Breeze Farm believes in the humane treatment of animals as it raises and sells pasture/forest-grazed pork, free-range eggs, chemical free produce, and grass fed beef. 

Meadowcroft Farms produces more than 60 different kinds of pickles, relishes, jams, salsas, and spreads at its farm store. You might find the setting so beautiful that you want to take a mini vacation at the historic (but modernized) on site Inn at Meadowcroft.

Step 5: Pick Your Own

Your family will love bonding over a pick-your-own adventure at one of our area farms and orchards. Check out this crop availability calendar and spend a summer or fall afternoon selecting the best from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. We promise they’ll make your dinner or baked goods taste amazing! And the pictures you snap will last a lifetime.

Get your early summer strawberry fix at Troyer Nursery. Come back later in the season for sweetcorn, tomatoes, green beans, red beets, squash, zucchini, onions and other vegetables. They also sell milk and ice cream mix from Mount Crawford creamery.

The Critzer Family Farm boasts environmentally-friendly methods and a commitment to bettering the land and community and educating children. The Afton Mountain farm offers you-pick strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, peaches, plums, pumpkins, and fresh veggies. Oh, and there’s home-churned ice cream to enjoy after you pick.

Plan to celebrate sweater weather picking apples and enjoying the scenery at Carter Mountain Orchard or Sunrise Orchards. You’ll like the grapes and photo opportunities at Wenger Grapes. And plan to pick a wagonload of over 30 varieties of pumpkins and gourds at Middle River Farms!

Step 6: Eat Something Farm Fresh

Zynodoa is known for its upscale Southern cuisine sourced primarily from the Shenandoah Valley.  Start your evening with a specialty cocktail at the bar. Then select an entre like local Polyface Farm sweet tea brined chicken is a full-on  feast. It’s served with fresh cauliflower, swiss chard, a.m. fog mushrooms, rutabaga puree, and white miso chicken jus. 

Nu-Beginnings Farm’s store in downtown Staunton specializes in locally grown and produced foods and vegetables. The store features an eat-in or carry-out menu of sandwiches, soups, salads, snacks, and desserts. From baked goods, to dairy and eggs, you’ll find something that celebrates the tastes of the Valley. 

Firkin Pie Company specializes in both sweet and savory pies using seasonal ingredients. Grab a slice of peanut pie packed with salted peanuts, maple syrup, and peanut butter before it’s gone! Or catch a spring-time citrus pie to awaken your senses.

For more ideas on how to get a farm-to-table meal, check out More than a Movement: Staunton’s Farm to Table Restaurants.

Staunton Spring Itinerary in 5 Steps

Many of us are probably planning to stick close to home this spring. Fortunately, there’s plenty to keep you and the family busy in the Staunton area. From hiking to biking to hot-air ballooning, here are our local picks for springtime fun!

Step 1: Dust off Your Hiking Boots

It’s been a long, cold winter, and you’ve probably spent too much of it inside. How about a nice, easy hike to stretch your legs and break in your boots? A family-appropriate 2.5-mile hike that you’ll love is Hidden Rocks Trail. The gently rolling terrain has several creek crossings, so wear your water shoes. You’ll see a pretty waterfall and climb up to the aptly named cliffs, where you might get to see rock climbers. Looking for something longer, without creek crossings? Check out the wooded loop trail at Trimble Mountain. Hike clockwise to leave the steepest part for the descent, and make sure to follow the short path to look at Todd Lake when you finish.

Want more? Visit Shenandoah National Park or read our recommendations for more Hikes for Beginners.

If you enjoy studying the migration patterns of our feathered friends, see Plan Your “Nest” Adventure: Birdwatching in Staunton.

Step 2: Level Up Your Biking Skills

This is the year you’re finally going to get into mountain biking, right? Test your trail readiness on the singletrack at Montgomery Hall Park. You’ll get to explore miles of trail that will prove an appropriate challenge to beginners, but will entertain more advanced riders as well. Once you have some experience under your belt, head out and pedal the trails in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest

Families seeking easy, scenic, and mostly flat rides should pedal the 1.3-mile loop at Gypsy Hill Park. Wind down after your ride with some time on the playground or a stroll around the duck pond. While a bit further afield, Lexington’s Chessie Trail, Waynesboro’s South River Greenway, or the trail system that starts in Mountain View Park in Grottoes also offer gentle rides that are safe from traffic. 

Here are some additional Staunton area biking ideas

Step 3: Dine Alfresco

Nothing feels better when warm weather arrives than eating alfresco. Pack a picnic and climb to somewhere with a view. Check out the peaceful, open space on Mary Baldwin University’s Cannon Hill or lounge on a blanket in Woodrow Park to view the city from above. There’s also plenty of room to spread out with wine and a sunset at Barren Ridge Vineyard, just a short drive from town. For more picnic ideas, see Eat Your Heart out at Staunton’s Best Picnic Spots

Is actually packing the picnic too much trouble? Grab takeout from one of our downtown restaurants. Many let you order online! If you’re looking for something especially portable, check out Hot dogs: Staunton’s Top Dogs Are off the Leash or Wanna Get Cheesy: 9 Pizza Paradises.

Nobody will forgive you if you forget dessert, so make plans to scoop up some cold gelato at The Split Banana. Load a waffle cone with one of their signature flavors like matcha (green tea), Virginia peanut butter, or white chocolate grisbi. If you’d rather eat soft serve, Wright’s Dairy Rite has been serving up frozen treats since the 1950s. You can even cruise up in your car and have your treat delivered to your window, old-school style!

Step 4: Try Something New

We bet you’ve never ridden in a basket through the sky, or walked under a mountain, or watched people blow bubbles in molten glass. Start checking off that bucket list with a hot air balloon ride from Bridgewater’s Star Ballooning, which specializes in sunrise and sunset views.

You won’t be able to see anything without a headlamp as you explore the 2.25-mile Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel trail, which has just opened for foot and bike traffic. The tunnel is spooky fun mixed with exercise and history. Finally, head to downtown Staunton to tour the gallery at Sunspots Studios. Make sure to attend a live glass blowing exhibition in the studio where you’ll see masters manipulate the glass like wax!

Click here for more Staunton-area bucket list ideas and area gems within a one-hour’s drive.

Step 5: Treat Yourself to Something Special

Whether you’re a history buff, or you love bonding over games, or you want to bring home the perfect piece of unique artwork, Staunton is the place to find your next favorite thing. History lovers should visit the Frontier Culture Museum or the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library for unique views of the past and souvenirs from the gift shops!

Gamers will love the selection of table games and accessories at The Dragon’s Hoard. And if family games are what you seek, Pufferbellies Toys and Books has a curated selection of award-winning games for all ages.

Staunton has a number of galleries featuring original work by local and regional artists. Tour a gallery to find inspiration or a focal point for your wall. The Staunton Augusta Art Center regularly hosts exhibits, and art can be purchased in the gallery or online. The CoArt Gallery displays the work of over 40 local artists working in a variety of media. The space features different artists each month. 

For more on Staunton’s shopping scene, check out Where to Get Your Shopping Fix in Staunton.

Staunton’s Sweetest, Tangiest, Saltiest Margaritas

It’s time to brighten up the shortest days of the year with a frosty mix of tequila, triple sec, lime, and more. Since the 1940s, bartenders have been putting their secret twists into this classic. Whether you enjoy yours frozen or on the rocks, there’s a sweet, tangy, salty burst of flavor waiting for you in Staunton!

Baja Bean / 9 W. Beverley St.

Baja Bean is the place for delicious Tex-Mex food. They also have a well stocked bar that includes beers on tap and by the bottle, wines, and mixed drinks like margaritas. You’ll definitely want to try the pomegranate margarita, which includes Espolon Silver, pomegranate juice, lime juice, and pomegranate arils, all served in a Baja pint glass for $11. This pairs perfectly with chili lime tacos, fish tacos, or chopped salad.

Can’t get enough? Baja was kind enough to include the recipe:

Pomegranate Margarita

  • 1.5 oz Espolon Silver Tequila 
  • equal parts pomegranate juice and sweetened lime juice 
  • ice 
  • Shake and top with pomegranate arils, a lime wheel and your choice of salt or no salt!

Byers Street Bistro / 18 Byers St.

A round of margaritas at cozy and casual Byers Street Bistro is the perfect way to celebrate. Choose from the house margarita, the raspberry margarita, the pineapple-melon margarita, or the spicy grapefruit margarita. Plan to share some Nashville chicken bites or pub pretzels with your drinks and then stick around for handhelds or personal pizzas for dinner.

The Green Room / 130 W. Beverley St.

The Green Room is a comfortable, hip place run by Blackfriar’s Playhouse actors. The space offers room to relax and connect over drinks and snacks as well as shop the shelves for “funky, and fresh finds.” You’ll enjoy drinks from the curated wine, craft beer, and cider lists paired with sandwiches or a cheese board. You do not want to miss the clementine’s margarita, which is made with Mattei blanc quinquina, lime, clementine soda, with a smoked salt rim.

El Puerto / 830 Greenville Ave.

El Puerto’s extensive menu runs ten pages long and includes all your Mexican favorites, plus more to try if you’re feeling adventurous. While you’re deciding, order up a frosty margarita, which comes in two sizes: regular and jumbo. Anything on the menu will complement this treat, but you might try a camarones a la diabla, which is pan-seared jumbo shrimp cooked with sweet and spicy chipotle sauce and served over rice and avocado salad.

Mi Rancho / 2116 W Beverley St

If you’re in the mood for authentic Mexican food off an extensive menu head to Mi Rancho. Order your meal and then dream of next summer over a variety of refreshing mixed drinks, like pina coladas and tequila sunrises. Mi Rancho’s showcase drink, however, is the great big and delicious margarita, which comes in strawberry, lime, mango, or peach flavors, and is good enough you’ll want to order the jumbo size. The Staunton location has happy hours Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-9 p.m.

The Book Dragon / 102 W. Beverley St.

How about a ready-made party for your home? Grab your copy of Drinking with Chickens at The Book Dragon. This hilarious book is full of recipes for margaritas as well as many other cocktail recipes. Pair it with an InBooze Cocktail Kit, which is designed to help you create 6-8 cocktails at home. You’ll love the classic margarita kit.

The Well Balanced Paw / 29 Byers St.

Who says people should get to have all the fun? Visit The Well Balanced Paw and buy your fur baby a plush, squeaky Muttgarita chew toy. Enjoy happy hour with your dog !

Medieval Fantasies Gyfte Shoppe / 10 S. New St.

The margarita love doesn’t need to end with drinks. Medieval Fantasies Gyfte Shoppe offers a margarita salt scrub skin exfoliant. Check out the catalogue for more medieval and fantasy-themed gifts.

More Places to Score a Margarita

The Depot Grille / 42 Middlebrook Ave.

The Depot Grille features a gracefully mirrored and carved 40-foot bar that was repurposed from Albany, New York’s luxurious Ten Eyck Hotel. The Depot specializes in steak and seafood. Relax and have a drink and an appetizer like wings or fried oysters before your meal.

Zynodoa / 115 E. Beverley St.

Zynodoa specializes in “inspired Southern cuisine,” and the ever-changing menu is always full of delicious and seasonal meals that feature locally sourced ingredients. You’ll want to start your evening with a cocktail (or two!) at the bar, which has the feel and tastes of the big city.

Thai Staunton Restaurant / 1000 Greenville Ave.

Thai Staunton Restaurant serves up any cocktail you can think of, including margaritas, which are guaranteed to compliment your spicy curry!

The 1924 / 24 S. Market St.

The 1924 a casual dining area and lounge just off the lobby of the historic Hotel 24 South. Enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail with a light meal on a Friday or Saturday night. Sit by the fire with your margarita and a plate of wings or a delicious angus burger.

Mill Street Grill / 1 Mill St.

Belly up to the bar at Mill Street Grill for a drink before your meal. A margarita would sure pair nicely with your gourmet burger or steak!

The Clocktower / 27 W. Beverley St.

Clocktower Food and Spirits serves a great menu with modern versions of classic pastas and desserts as well as a large sandwich and panini selection. Stop in for a cocktail and an appetizer or a full meal

Stay Safe in Staunton: How Our Accommodations are Keeping You Healthy

Now that there’s a vaccine, the end is (almost) in sight. We’ve been busy planning how to welcome you back to Staunton. Our lodging providers have also been planning and putting measures in place to keep you safe. Cleanliness initiatives include new and enhanced cleaning methods, reduced contact and social distancing, sanitizer stations, and cleanliness amenity kits. Things might look a little different when you return to Staunton, but it’s still the same great town with lodging just steps away from shopping, restaurants, and entertainment.

Hotel 24 South / 24 S. Market St.

Guest rooms at Hotel 24 South boast immaculate rooms with plush pillowtop mattresses and extensive in-house services. The hotel received extensive renovates in 2005 and 2018, and the rooms and suites are luxurious and modernized. However, the hotel’s historic charm remains. On-site amenities include a business center, a fitness center, and a heated indoor pool. Located in Staunton’s walkable downtown, Hotel 24 South is close to a number of fine dining and entertainment opportunities. 

To keep you safe, Hotel 24 South has increased cleaning frequency and is using EPA and CDC-approved cleaning products. They’re also washing linens and towels according to CDC guidelines. Guests and staff are practicing social distancing, and public areas are arranged to encourage it. High-touch surfaces in both rooms and public spaces get extra cleaning. These include door handles, elevator buttons, remotes, and light switches. Hotel 24 South has set up hand sanitizer stations.  “We will continue to seek out new technologies, innovations and training for our staff for how we can continue to make our hotel a cleaner and safer environment for all of our guests and associates.”

Blackburn Inn & Conference Center /  301 Greenville Ave.

The Blackburn Inn sits on 80 landscaped acres on the edge of downtown Staunton. This upscale boutique hotel is in a historic building and combines character and charming details like original wood floors and tall windows with crisp, modern amenities. Updated touches include marble bathrooms with rain showers, soaker tubs, and luxury linens. You can also book a manicure or massage at the new onsite spa.

The Blackburn Inn takes additional precautions for its guests’ safety and comfort. The inn has joined AHLA’s SafeStay initiative, which works to enhance “hotel cleaning practices and workplace protocols to help guests and employees feel confident during post-pandemic travel.” Among the steps being taken to ensure guest safety is commercial laundering of linen. Room surfaces including bathrooms, coffee makers, refrigerators, remotes, and floors are thoroughly cleaned with disinfectant cleaner between guests. Guests can also take advantage of contactless check-in and check-out using the OpenKey phone app.

Staunton Stays / 208 Kalorama St

Staunton Stays is putting your health and safety first when you stay in one of their four beautiful suites. Rooms in this boutique Victorian hotel offer queen-sized beds and a sofa bed. You’ll also find full kitchens, modern bathrooms, living quarters, and laundry room access. Each plush suite is decorated according to a different theme, including the Shenandoah Valley, France, dreams, and the artist’s imagination.

Staunton Stays is monitoring and following the Covid guidelines carefully. The hotel is certified to be in compliance with the Virginia Department of Health’s Sanitary Regulations for Hotels. Staunton Stays performs deep cleanings between all bookings and provides hand sanitizer for all guests. They have placed two commercial-grade air purifiers in the lobby, which are also used in the rooms between bookings.  Finally, Staunton Stays maintains a flexible cancellation policy to accommodate you and meet your needs.

The Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast / 303 Berkeley Place

The 1897 Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast sits across the street from the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace. Keep walking to access all the restaurants and shops downtown Staunton offers. The innkeepers recently modernized the 8,000 square-foot Queen Anne Victorian mansion and retained many original details. You’ll love the many tasty dishes served at breakfast. These include praline pecan French toast, spinach quiche, stuffed Dutch baby pancakes, and more. Make your stay even better by taking advantage of the American Shakespeare Center package, the craft beer package, or the champagne package.

To keep visitors safe and to continue to serve breakfast and social distance in the dining room, the Berkeley House is limiting occupancy to two guest rooms per night. The bed and breakfast has also increased cleaning and disinfecting procedures between guests and will not enter the guest rooms during guests’ stays. The innkeepers will remain masked and gloved while in guest presence.

Holiday Inn Express and Suites / 47 Rolling Thunder Ln

The new Holiday Inn Express & Suites offers easy access to both downtown Staunton and the highway. Relax in the comfort of your home away from home. Rooms have comfortable beds, safes, mini fridges, blackout shades, and more. Bathrooms feature both tubs and separate walk-in showers. Amenities at the hotel include a business center, a complimentary hot breakfast from the breakfast bar, and access to a fitness center and an indoor pool. 

For your safety, Holiday Inn Express & Suites adheres to the IHG Way of Clean and promises “that when you’re ready to travel again, your stay will meet our high standards of cleanliness.” These standards include new and enhanced cleanliness initiatives and technologies. They also include frequent deep cleaning and disinfecting, especially of high-touch areas. Along with reduced contact at the front desk, guests may use the IHG Studio app, which allows content streaming as well as service requests and review of room charges. Guests and staff are expected to social distance. Spaces in common areas have been cleared and opened up and sanitizer stations have been placed for guests to use. 

Fairfield Inn and Suites, by Marriott / 114 Crossing Way, Staunton, VA

Visitors to Marriott’s 98-room Fairfield Inn and Suites will know you’ve come to a good place when you enter the spacious lobby, which is bright with natural light. Guests can choose rooms with king-sized beds, queens, or suites designed to provide separate working and sleeping zones. If you want to catch up on work, you’ll enjoy setting up your workspace with the free Wi-Fi, ergonomic chair, and moveable desk. The lobby’s Corner Market stocks goodies 24 hours a day. There is also a fitness center and an indoor swimming pool. 

Marriott hotels subscribe to a “multi-pronged approach to meet the health and safety requirements of [their] “Commitment to Clean” standards.” You can expect guests and hotel workers to wear masks, social distance, and respect posted occupancy limits, including in pool and fitness areas. Partitions have been installed at the desk, or you can use the Marriott Bonvoy™ app for contactless check-in, keyed entry, and service requests. Breakfast and coffee are served in to-go bags. Rooms and public spaces will be cleaned with enhanced cleaning practices, including electrostatic sprayers and hospital-grade disinfectants.

Tru By Hilton Staunton / 120 Crossing Way, Staunton, Virginia

Tru, Hilton’s newest hotel chain opened in Staunton in late 2019. Tru focuses on building community. Ask the friendly staff for recommendations for taking advantage of the local culture and dining scene. Also check out the mural in the lobby featuring Staunton landmarks,  the real-time social media wall, and the 24/7 convenience kiosk stocking local products. Tru’s  rooms feature great mattresses, lots of towels, and large TVs. Included in your stay is a complementary breakfast and access to the fitness room.

Tru is keeping you safe with the Hilton CleanStay program. They have amped up their already rigorous cleaning standards by using hospital-grade cleaners from trusted companies like Lysol. After the room is thoroughly cleaned,  inspects and verifies the room meets the CleanStay standards and places the Hilton CleanStay Room Seal with Lysol protection over the door. They are adding additional disinfecting steps to high-touch surfaces. During their stays, guests can adapt their housekeeping preferences to their comfort level. Additional requested items will be delivered to the rooms in protective wrappings. Face coverings are required at Tru. Dining and lobby areas have been changed to provide proper social distance between tables and chairs. Ask about biodegradable dishware and pre-plated meals for breakfast. Tru has also set up contactless food delivery spots for guest ordering from outside restaurants.

Valentine’s Day Fun in Staunton

What a year! If you found love during quarantine or stayed in love during lockdown, you must be doing something right. You and your special someone have exercised patience and kindness toward each other, and you deserve a special Valentine’s Day to celebrate your love. Here are some ideas that are unique to Staunton that will help make your day memorable and romantic.

Zynodoa Valentine’s Day Menu

Zynodoa offers a delicious modern twist on classic Southern cuisine. You’ll always be able to find something delightful that emphasizes local and seasonal ingredients, but you won’t want to miss the special Valentine’s Day 4-course chefs tasting menu!  And if you want to make it a really special night, roses will be available to order ahead of time for your table. And for the couples that prefer to stay at home, Zynodoa is offering a takeout/pickup option that includes a bottle of bubbly,  Dibon Cava from Spain and a 12-piece box of Santiago Chocolates (local Staunton chocolatier) for $45.

Clocktower Eats & Sweets Valentine’s Day

The Clocktower restaurant serves a great menu with modern versions of classic pastas and desserts as well as a large sandwich and panini selection. You can get amazing crab cakes and even seven different kinds of mac and cheese any day of the year, but they’re really going all out for Valentine’s Day with their special Eats & Sweets menu. Treat your sweetie to great food and a special night out in this historic building in downtown Staunton.

Guests spending the Valentine’s weekend at the Holiday Inn Express will receive 20% off all orders at the Clocktower, along with a complimentary dessert. Pick up your voucher at the front desk!

Emilio’s Valentine Specials

Emilio’s will be open on Sunday, Feb 14th. Specials for Valentine’s weekend (February 12-14) include a lobster bisque soup selection. The entrée special will be grilled blackened salmon over wilted spinach in a white wine lemon butter sauce served with side lobster ravioli in our homemade Alfredo sauce. Plan to enjoy items from the regular menu as well as half-off bottles of  2013 Barbaresco.

Heart-Shaped Pizza at Shenandoah Pizza & Tap House

So, you’ve decided that you’d rather stay in with your sweetheart this year? No worries, we’ve got you covered! Order a heart-shaped pizza from Shenandoah Pizza & Tap House and it will surely make your beloved’s heart flutter.

Blu Point Seafood Company – Love Is In Air, And In The Sea

We’re in the mood for love! Blu Point has put together a great Valentine’s Day Take Out Package that includes one dozen unshucked oysters and 6 chocolate covered strawberries for $42. The deadline for placing orders is Wednesday February 10th, and they can be picked up between 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturday February 13th. Don’t miss out! Call (540) 712-0291 to order. 

Or dine in…


Byers Street Bistro

Valentine’s Day weekend has the Bistro serving up three different cocktails that are filled with “love”. Mardi Gras specials will be going on during this time as well, so make sure to stop in and celebrate!

Baja Bean Meal for Two

Baja Bean wants you to enjoy a $44 meal for two (vegetarian available), valid February 11th -14th, dine in or take out. Add a special cocktail for two that comes with two pint sized Baja keepsake glasses for $11. Limited availability, so order early! 



The Green Room

The Green Room has sparkling wines and charcuterie board specials for your Galentine OR your Valentine!

Stable Craft Brewing

Stable Craft Brewing has a few surprises for you! Introducing a Valentine’s Chocolate Covered Strawberry Stout and a Steak & Crab Cake for Two for Valentine’s weekend. They also are offering their Igloos for enjoying the great outdoors, while keeping you warm and toasty. Strawberry Cider will also be on tap while you enjoy listening to Kevin Chisnell and Crystal Armentrout.


Stelle Rose at Staunton Station

Stelle Rose has set the stage for a romantic dining experience for just you and your love. Enjoy the historic elegance of the station and order in your favorite Depot Grille meal for two! Reserve today by contacting Stelle Rose, then pre-order your food from the Depot Grille, as they feature their Valentines Dinner for two again this year. You can also order anything on their menu. They’ll even go pick it up for you! One hour table rental is $100. Meal total will depend on your food order from the Depot.

The Blackburn Inn – Valentine Sweetheart Package

Make reservations for a night of luxury at The Blackburn Inn with the Valentine Sweetheart Package. Imagine opening the door to your room and being greeted with chocolate-covered strawberries, a bottle of prosecco, and a bed sprinkled with rose petals. After a night of romance, a hearty breakfast for two will be delivered to your room.

Hotel 24 South – Date Night Getaway

Schedule a Friday or Saturday night getaway at Hotel 24 South. Not only will you get to relax in your stylish room, but you’ll also get chocolate-covered strawberries, drinks credit in The 1924 Lounge, and a delicious breakfast for two. Even your parking is included in this special.

Frederick House Valentine’s Tea

Frederick House is having a Valentine’s Tea from 12:00 pm-4:00 pm on Saturday, February 13th . Reservations recommended due to limited capacity seating/social distancing. 

Holiday Inn Express & Suites

Rest and relax at Staunton’s newest hotel property, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites. With an extended check out time of 12 pm, sleep in late and enjoy your complimentary champagne and chocolates. You don’t even have to leave your modern and sleek room as breakfast will be delivered right to your door. This special offer is available February 12-14 and can be booked by calling 540-609-5700.

The Book Dragon

The Book Dragon has books for all ages, new and used, and if you’re looking for a special book for your little love, look no further!

Artist Paula Hurley’s Exhibit, Love Staunton

Just in time for V-Day, stop by Co-Art Gallery to take a look at everything Staunton, in mixed media. Paula says ““Love Staunton” expresses the delight I feel in sketching, or painting parts of the city. Whether I use watercolor, acrylic, oil paint or ink I respond with the joy I feel while in the midst of a beautiful area to spend time and create art.”

Meditation in Motion

Meditation In Motion is offering a Valentine’s Gift Certificate for massage for that special someone in your world.  Align your chakras with Reiki, ground your energy with hot stones from the James River, synchronize your sweetness with Swedish massage strokes, and be treated to the passionate pampering of aromatic essential oils. 

Mill Street Body & Soul Day

Mill Street Body & Soul Day Spa and Salon tends to all your spa needs, including massage, hair, nails, and waxing. This Valentine’s Day, indulge in a sole-relaxing treatment for couples and your partner (and your feet) will love you for it! Want even more relaxation? Stick around for a 30, 60, or 90-minute massage.


Ali&Co. has heart shaped bath bombs and soaps, as well as “Make Your Own Signature Scent” perfume. Couples love making this together.

Chocolates from Cocoa Mill

Chocolates are another old Valentine’s standby that we shouldn’t mess with because they’re just so perfect. Cocoa Mill has heart-shaped boxes filled with artisan truffles. You can also get kind of crazy with boozy truffles and order a side of spice-it-up bark! 

Pufferbellies Valentine Care Packages

Pufferbellies Toys and Books is offering themed Valentine care packages of love for the little ones, or the not-so-little ones in your life.  Think baby sloths, toads, fairies and dragons!

Made; By the People, For the People

Pick up a pre-ordered beautiful bouquet or floral arrangement by Leslie Greer Designs at Made.  Place your order by February 8th! While you’re at it, shop for Virginia’s finest and American made gifts, some handmade, some quirky, some DIY, but all fabulous!

Barren Ridge Vineyards

Barren Ridge Vineyards welcomes you to experience their Four Chocolates and Wine Flight packages, made with love!  There will be special music on Saturday, February 13th from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm from Boxcar Speakeasy, and a virtual wine tasting, live at 5:00 pm on Saturday, February 14th. 

Champagne from Yelping Dog

You can choose from Staunton’s widest selection of local and international wines at Yelping Dog Wine. From over 1,500 bottles, you’ll be sure to find a delicious red, white, or sparkling wine to stoke the romantic fires. You might even select an insulated wine and cheese carrier, packed with deliciousness, and take advantage of the next temperate day for a romantic picnic. Check out Staunton’s best picnic spots.

Bath Treats from Essentially Zen

Treat your loved one to a relaxing and therapeutic bath with wonderful smelling supplies from Essentially Zen. You’ll find soy candles, artisan soaps, body frostings, and more. If you can’t make up your mind, try a gift of monthly Find-Your-Zen subscription boxes that include seasonal candles, bath bombs, scrubs, and lotions. 

Pupcakes from the Well Balanced Paw

The Well Balanced Paw is celebrating Valentine’s Day with special cookies and “pup”cakes. We also have Valentine’s day themed treats and toys. Also, on Valentine’s weekend, we will have special Valentine ice cream for you to treat your special furry Valentine! 

Flowers from Brin’s Posy

There’s a reason flowers are a traditional Valentine’s Day gift. They lift us up during the gloomiest days of the year and make us anticipate the spring that is coming. Brin’s Posy in downtown Staunton seeks to create unique designs inspired by the Shenandoah Valley to celebrate your special occasions. Order a Valentine’s Day arrangement, or better yet, treat your love to a subscription service for a weekly or monthly delivery of seasonal flowers.  Bonus!! Molly Rose Murphy with Queen City Music Studios will be doing singing telegrams, and Clocktower Eats & Sweets will be providing heart shaped cookies

Medieval Fantasies Gyfte Shoppe

From February 1-14, Medieval Fantasies Gyfte Shoppe will post Valentine’s specialty items on social media. Be on the lookout for all kinds of fun gifts including handmade Victorian Valentine’s day cards, chocolate strawberry loose tea, tea infusers with heart-shaped key charms, cherry chocolate welsh cakes, and more. Medieval Fantasies also sells bath items, candles, and even bows and arrows (if you want to play cupid or take your Valentine out for a bit of target shooting).

Meeting of the Minds at Crack The Code

You might not immediately think of an escape room when you’re planning a romantic Valentine’s Day activity, but there’s something thrilling about pooling your brainpower against a ticking clock at Crack the Code Escape Room. From cat ladies to weather gods, to missing FBI agents, five games are available right now, including two specially designed around Staunton. There’s no better way to spend Valentine’s Day than being locked in a room with the one you love. On February 14th, get 10% off your game and a free sweet from Giancarlo Fine European Pastries.