Don’t Hibernate! Plan Your Winter Escape to Staunton

With four distinct seasons, each offering an unparalleled experience, plan an unforgettable  trip— any time of year—to the heart of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Day 1: Attractions Galore

Start your day at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library where you’ll discover the life and legacy of the country’s 28th president in the city where he was born. Visitors will receive a guided tour of Wilson’s birthplace, as well as a self-guided tour of the museum featuring seven galleries which explore Wilson’s early years, his eventful presidency, suffrage, prohibition and World War I. Highlights include the President’s restored 1919 Pierce-Arrow limousine as well as a new, state-of–the-art World War I trench exhibit complete with lights and sound to experience what life was like for soldiers as they engaged in battle.
Winter Hours: Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm and Sunday: 12 pm – 5 pm.
“Pay What You Wish” for Sunday admission during the months of January and February.

Shakespeare is serious fun at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theater. Take a backstage tour where you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look as you go on, behind and under the stage. Photography— including selfies–are encouraged!
Winter Tours (through March 31): Monday-Friday at 2 pm and Saturdays and 11 am.

Other “winter friendly” attractions include: the Camera Heritage Museum, R.R. Smith Center for History and Art and Sunspots Studios.

Head back to your hotel and freshen up for a night out. Enjoy dinner at one of our local restaurants in downtown Staunton. Visit Emilio’s for its authentic Italian taste; Aioli’s for its Mediterranean fare; Mill Street Grill for their barbecue ribs; or The Depot for American inspired dishes.

Then it’s off to the Blackfriars Playhouse for an award-winning performance. The Actors’ Renaissance Season (running January 19-April 8) embraces the spirit of early modern rehearsal conditions where the actors lead the charge in directing the shows, choosing the costumes, and producing all with limited rehearsals. Filled with murder, love, laughs, revenge, and rediscovery choose from five different plays, including: Hamlet, Richard II, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Way of the World, and Antonio’s Revenge.

Day 2: Shop ‘til you Drop

No trip to Staunton is complete without shopping! Explore our nationally recognized Main Street featuring over 100 unique boutiques, artisan studios, antique shops, galleries, and restaurants. Lovers of antiques can peruse from eight different shops in and around Staunton. And if you haven’t found what you’re looking for, head to the Valley’s premier antiquing destination: The Factory Antique Mall. With 200,000 square feet of antiques and over 200 vendors, making it the largest antique mall in America.

Hobbyists will enjoy a number of eclectic shops that range in interests from clocks to model trains, planes, and automobiles and even miniature houses.

Day 3: wildlife viewing

Situated between Shenandoah National Park and the Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Staunton is a great place to view winter wildlife. Check out these local hot spots for when the chilly weather keeps you close to your hotel. If you’re looking for a trip that takes you farther afield, see Winter Wildlife Hot Spots Part 2. 

Special Events:

Winter Wine Festival: February 24 from 12-5 pm at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel
Enjoy samples from the states most accomplished vineyards and wineries along with live music and light bites.

Annual Swedish Fire Festival:  January 27 at Barren Ridge Vineyard
This annual event features Nordic cuisine paired with Barren Ridge wines, live music and sometimes dancing! A Swiss alphorn performance, melted Raclette cheese, warm and spicy mulled red wine, and the lighting of Swedish fire torches complete this festive evening.